Wed | Mar 3, 2021

No need to fear COVID vaccines

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2021 | 12:09 AM


There has been concern, scepticism and fear about the rapid development of vaccines for COVID-19. The reports of adverse reactions added to the anxiety, but we have to consider that vaccines, like prescription medicines, may have adverse reactions, which is why doctors ask about known allergies before administering doses. Science and technology is also constantly advancing. The few adverse cases from COVID-19 vaccines amount to a tiny fraction, when compared to the nearly 10 million doses administered to date in the United States of America and Canada. People have a right to oppose vaccines; they can choose to live with the risks. The fact is, vaccines have helped to fight pandemics and deadly diseases effectively for decades, saving lives and safeguarding public health.

The two prominent COVID-19 vaccines already approved in the Americas are Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna; both use mRNA technology, a biological DNA messenger which sends messages to cells to create specific proteins which build an immune response to fight the virus. Research on cancers and other diseases over the last 30 years resulted in breakthroughs which led to the development of mRNA in medicines – this did not happen overnight. These developments in research offer some hope for better treatment options for a wide spectrum of infectious diseases. Those fearing vaccines should realise we often put more harmful things in our bodies, such as excess fat, sugars, alcohol, toxic fumes, chemicals, drugs and other substances.

Although most COVID-19 patients will recover, many will not. Symptoms of COVID-19 can be severe and there is the risk of long-term ailments, such as persistent cough, breathing difficulty, chest and back pains, etc. Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were approved as safe and effective in USA, Canada, UK, most of Europe, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Mexico by a diverse group of health experts. The research, testing and findings for both vaccines have been widely published, unlike vaccines developed in some countries, like China and Russia. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not contain dead or mutated viruses, fetal tissues, nor mercury or aluminium; they do not contain nanochips to control us! The ingredients are fats, salts, sugar and the key component, mRNA.

Countries are now moving ahead to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of their population to achieve herd immunity; Jamaica’s target for 2021 is a low 16 per cent. We now learn that the Government is exploring other vaccine sources that are considered safe, including the vaccine from Cuba. Those who refuse vaccines will not only live with the risks, they may be in a pickle if vaccine passports become mandatory to access airports, cinemas, concert venues, especially overseas. It is also believed that the virus may re-emerge seasonally like the flu. People should stay informed, stick to the facts, and refrain from spreading rumours and misinformation. We must balance what we know with guidelines from health experts. As case numbers and deaths continue to spike globally, more so than during the first wave, we must decide which risk is potentially worse!

P. Chin