I find I tend to reiterate I am not an anti-vaxxer a lot. It borders on the defensive. I suppose it is because I am not and don’t want to be construed as such due to my extreme right-wing tendencies. Unfortunately, there is a well-deserved image anti-vaxxers have cultivated of being quasi-insane, scientifically gratuitous charlatans whose fringe fears test the leeriness of even the most open-minded. I am well-versed in the conspiracy wing of the internet and since I am so ideologically tolerant, much of what goes on there doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m mostly amused.
I “happily” got J&J’d about a month ago, shortly before the “clot pause” which made for some jittery waiting for the days to pass while keenly awaiting the slightest sign of low platelet counts or brain, stomach or leg clots. I’m 56 years old and I have high-risk relatives so I was willing to accept the vaccine risk.
The vaccines rolled out to subdue the COVID-19 pandemic are innately risky despite the flowery Utopianism of Pharma, Inc. Their usage and dispersal was accelerated by the urgencies implemented by the moneyed interests and their tools of commerce. The pandemic was death for business and one year was a predetermined limit on the global time-out. Economies of scale could not cope if this had continued and serious intervention was needed. The bar of safety for this rescue was very low since the threatening costs were so great: that of lost revenue on a massive scale of economic Armageddon. The greatest threat to the world is stagnation of the economy.
The fix is in. Bring a novel vaccine platform to market, one which has precariously lingered in the playground of our scientists without complete confidence for a decade. It was tossed around in laboratories but no one seemed to feel confident enough yet given their unfamiliarity with its long-term ramifications.
Vaccines are a godsend for humanity’s progress because they have freed mankind from the burden of oppressive diseases. Longevity has increased leaving us with the ability to fulfill a new era of excess and luxuriance. Decades of work and research refined vaccines which were largely based on dead or live viruses as vehicles by which they were introduced into our bodies in a form that would enable our immune system to fight off microbes which, in eras past, might have struck us down young. Now we were free to live extravagant lives with much consumption and showers of riches. A new stage of vaccine technology are mRNA vaccines, clever little assemblages which hack our genetic system into producing proteins which “arm” us against specific viral infections. This is an emerging technology that has been under development for some time and which does not instill absolute confidence to the sensible person. Only the blindest science-worshipping vaccine acolytes would place absolute trust in the offerings from Pfizer and Moderna. Both mRNA vaccines are experimentally tinged and the process of refinement and creating “safe” version is an ongoing one. Unfortunately, the collective cost/benefit analysis dictates that the vaccines are “worth” it for the health and prosperity of society. A few human lives or dramatic reactions cannot be allowed to sink the ship.
No vaccine is “safe.” It is not likely that we can ever inject a foreign active agent that harnesses your body on a molecular level without cases of some complications over a vast scale of subjects. That is common sense. Vaccines are a trade-off and vaccinating middle-aged and older people with the Pfizer and Moderna offerings is a sensible risk. Most long-term effects, if present, wouldn’t manifest until long after the recipient is dead. Given the perilous unknowns of hacking our genetic system, I am amazed anyone under 40 or 45 would subject themselves knowingly to these COVID-19 vaccines.
But the most puzzling thing for me to witness is the sight of parents willingly marching their children into the vaccine line. As a public citizen and avowed epidemiological layman, I wonder if we are anywhere close to absolute confidence in the safety of a lifetime’s span of these vaccine’s effects? Those in their 20’s and 30’s can be expected to live another 60 or 70 years; that is an eternity in the realm of genetic fiddling with our cellular system. If our understanding of cellular structure was comfortably comprehensive, would we even entertain gimmicky names like “junk DNA” to describe the 98% of cellular contents that don’t directly transcribe to proteins?
We are asking 2% of the DNA to transcribe our message. Do we possess the vast knowledge to instruct the other 98%?
Other research advances in the last decade also suggest “junk DNA” might just be misunderstood genetic material. Scientists have now linked various non-coding sequences to various biological processes and even human diseases. For instance, researchers believe these sequences are behind the development of the uterus and also of our opposable thumbs. A study published in Annals of Oncology last year showed that a non-coding DNA segment acts like a volume knob for gene expression, ultimately influencing the development of breast and prostate cancer. And a study in Nature Genetics this year found mutations outside of gene-coding regions can cause autism.
Exploring the role of non-coding sequences is now an area of intense research. Increasing evidence suggests these noncoding sequences might help cancer defeat treatment, and experts now see them as promising tools for cancer diagnosis.
What of our externally inflicted genetic byproduct? Can we account competently for all we are instructing our cellular mechanisms to copy?
The is a perfidious wave of vaccine porn washing over this country. The sheep are blind to ramifications but subservient to the expediencies of commercial survival. Maybe they have a point. I don’t know.
I think 30% of parents have blind faith and are completely overlooking the potential danger such a meddlesome vaccine might pose to pre-pubescent and pubescent children for the duration of their adult life. Young humans whose genetic expression is nascent and subject to delicate perturbation. Old people have every reason to be vaccinated. Middle-aged people have every right to measure the risk of vaccination. Young adults are free to subject their remaining lives to the vagaries of greed and chance. But children deserve the chance to reach adulthood before they are asked to condemn themselves.
The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be authorized for children ages 12 through 15 within days. Among parents who were surveyed, three in 10 said they would get their children vaccinated right away, and 26 percent said they wanted to wait to see how the vaccine was working.
The most elemental and base motivations of human nature must never occlude our drive to survival.