Today, 6th January 2021, The Netherlands as the last EC country, has begun with the vaccination program for Covid-19. What are your thoughts? Many countries have a policy about who is first in line, where the vaccination locations will be set up and the pure logistics about moving the vaccines themselves to said locations under cooling. It was several days ago when the first batch arrived over here and since then they have been held in a tight security unit.
Even though other countries have started their own programs, it is big news this morning, like in other countries, that the first person is vaccinated. The news is reporting it almost nonstop. And every time I hear something about it, the doubts come up again in my mind.
As a child (me included) we were vaccinated against ‘deadly diseases’ it was quite the norm and still is to this day. I know there are some people around the world who don’t agree and please, this is a personal choice these days, either you do or do not have your own children vaccinated, but in some countries, there is a stigma about allowing un-vaccinated children into either daycare or schools.
The whole purpose of said vaccination is to inject ‘the virus’ in a controlled quantity into your system so that the body’s natural immune system does its work. That is the way it happens. Simply saying.
For several years a general influenza vaccination is given to people over a certain age to protect them from the annual normal outbreaks of flu across the globe. But Corona, or Covid-19 as it is correctly called, gave the world an immense problem. The speed at which the virus travelled and still travels and how it affected people was something we had never experienced before. It meant that something had to happen really fast if we were going to gain control over the virus, which is now mutating, just like viruses do.
Having worked for more than 20-odd years in the pharmaceutical industry, I know only too well how long it normally takes for a new product to be developed. It is years of work, trials and testing and then getting very strict approval from the appropriate authorities. Often the patents would be nearly at their expiration date when the product was finally launched onto the market, which meant that many other producers could make the so called ‘me-too’ copies. The pharmaceutical companies are big business with enormous budgets. I remember Dr Matheus Rath saying that the world is controlled by two things, the oil industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing things, but I just recall how long all the work actually took. I have huge admiration for all the people who work in this field.
However, in several months, some of the big pharmaceutical conglomerates have been able to produce a vaccine and the question that keeps coming up again and again it my mind is – how well have they tested this? Have they really made sufficient studies into possible side effects? To be honest they do not know at this stage what side effects there may be long term. And that is pretty scary.
It is sort of being between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea’. Everyone wants this pandemic to be over so that life can return to normal but at what cost? Health is, as I have said many times, something that no amount of money can actually buy. You may have millions on your bank account, but you cannot buy good health. Simple!
So, what is good sound advice? I do agree that because many conglomerates have worked together and enormous amounts of money have been pumped into making this vaccine that it may have all happened quicker than normal. Another thing to think about as you are on the verge of maybe getting vaccinated or not, which is after all a personal choice, is this: are you then ostracized by society if you don’t get the vaccine. What if you are not allowed to travel if you have not had the vaccine. We may be all still in a worldwide lockdown but listening to the news it is as if we are being promised utopia. Once everyone is vaccinated, it will all be fine again. But will it?
How long will it be before the vaccination actually works? For starters you have to have a booster jab, three weeks later after the first one. It is things like this that bring the doubt into my own mind and maybe yours? It is not so much that I am against the idea, which I am not, but the questions that many of us have I am sure.
How safe is it? And will this really stop this viral global pandemic? As I wrote earlier the virus is, as we have all seen, mutating in the UK and its spread already to other countries. Viruses are carried by moisture and the air, so how can you literally stop it. Of course, by introducing the strain into the human body in the hope that its own immune system will create the so-called barrier, or in simple terms recognize the virus and deal with it. This is a very true fact that the healthy human body functions perfectly and does in normal cases, but can it cope with this viral strain? We just don’t know.
Many people have been infected and many people have lost their lives. Many are in hospital either in special wards or in the intensive care. Staff (doctors and nurses) are working day and night to deal with the patients and they are exhausted. And when we become exhausted, our own system becomes more vulnerable.
This is not an easy blog to write because there are so many factors and things to think about. But still that niggling voice in the back of my mind, is it safe? Has it been sufficiently tested? Do they really know what the side effects may be long term?
We all hope that the vaccination will mean that we are no longer susceptible to becoming affected and resilient to the effects. People who have had Corona and survived (as of course there are milder cases) are still not feeling 100 percent. Many people are talking about previous influenza pandemics which happens almost every year and the numbers. And to be honest I cannot comprehend the numbers anymore about the tests, positive or negative and hospital admissions, deaths and such like. I only know the numbers are alarming.
Quite by chance my own GP came yesterday and we talked about the pros and cons of this new vaccination. On the one hand as a doctor, he said he thinks it is good to get vaccinated and we should be getting on with it, instead of talking about it for days, as was the case here in The Netherlands. There are people who have a higher risk factor than others. In actual fact I have the influenza vaccination myself for the first time this year. It’s related to age, which is a depressing thought. If you have reached a certain age, then you are eligible. He said that he was surprised that the GP’s were not being asked to vaccinate the people on their patient lists who are more vulnerable than others, even if it means he said, ‘working all weekend to get it done’. I agree.
But in the meantime, centers have been set up where lots of people will come to, have the vaccination, wait for 15 minutes to see if there are any side effects and I presume they mean like fainting or such like and then all come back three weeks later. Isn’t this going against the idea of having a lockdown to ensure people do not gather in large numbers?
In December I actually had to have a Corona test myself. I booked online using my personal codes and drove the car. Parked in the long line of cars to wait my turn. I did not have to leave my car or mix with anyone apart from the person doing the test who was suitably protected (clothing, mask, gloves etc.) and I got the result same day by email and text message. Brilliant logistics.
On this morning’s news there was a live report of people assembling at said center, some wearing masks, others not, journalists and the tv people all interviewing everyone and it raises eyebrows. Virtually everything has been shut down, apart from the essentials, but hey let’s all congregate at the vaccination place instead! Seems very double to me. Wouldn’t it be better to apply the same principle as the testing places, vaccinate without leaving the car and if you are the type who faints at the sight of a needle then let someone else drive you?
This and many other factors were my thoughts when I decided to write this probably quite ‘controversial blog’. In my own personal circles, mixed reactions about whether to have the vaccination or not. Some keen others not.
But don’t you agree with me that it all seems ‘double’. We have been asked for weeks now, to stay at home, work from home, schools and such like shut, everything shut apart from ‘essential goods’ shops, no contact professions – like the hairdressers, manicure salons, pedicures, gyms etc. etc. Restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters, museums – all shut down. And yet, we are all asked to come to the vaccination centers and they expect several hundred people to be vaccinated every day. And that is what I mean about being ‘double’ on the one hand avoid literally everyone as much as possible and then congregate with many people for the vaccination.
Here is the Netherlands they expect that everyone will be vaccinated around August/September time. What? So long?
Won’t a viral pandemic be over by then, when the weather has improved? Just like normal with influenza?
And that is exactly my point, so many doubts and deliberations? What is your choice? Do we actually have a choice, because won’t the people who say ‘no’ to the vaccine end up as pariahs of society?
Please share your own thoughts in the comment box below.