The Great Vaccine Hype

Blog#37- 7/30/20

By Richard Davis

Listening to news reports one might think that the only way that we can move from pandemic mode to some degree of post-pandemic normalcy is to have a vaccine to rid us of COVID 19. Any vaccine that is developed will not magically make COVID 19 go away. It might help a little, but a magic bullet cure is unlikely.

The sound bite, short-attention span world is not suited to explaining complex issues such as how vaccines are developed and how they work. Instead, the world sees hope when a lab developing a vaccine sends out premature press releases of success so their stock value can increase.

There are well established scientific protocols in place for vaccine development and they all require years of trials and research. Sometimes vaccine development efforts are successful and sometimes they are not. When a vaccine is developed and made available to the public it takes years for us to see the big picture of how the vaccine works.

The COVID 19 pandemic has made politicians more impatient than usual and they want to speed up the process for developing a vaccine. It would be a good thing to develop a vaccine quickly, but we have to look at the tradeoffs. You don’t have to be a virologist to know that a vaccine that is put on the market after a year or less of trials will not tell us if people will develop long-term immunity or if the vaccine will remain effective after a year.

Vaccines work by activating the immune system without causing disease. There are a number of ways that vaccines are made and they include using: weakened viruses, inactivated viruses, proteins from a virus, a viral protein grafted onto an innocuous virus or the mRNA that encodes a viral protein.

Keep in mind the fact that vaccine-induced immunity is usually weaker than immunity that develops after an infection. As the first generation of vaccines are in development researchers believe these vaccines may decrease the severity of the disease but not stop it from spreading. They may work in a manner similar to flu shots. For a vaccine to be approved by the FDA it has to prevent or reduce severe disease in at least 50 percent of people. Not exactly a high bar.

Current vaccines in development have shown the ability to induce antibodies that neutralize the coronavirus. Of course, we will not have any long-term data that would tell us if that kind of neutralization is permanent.

Vaccine manufacturers are moving into phase three trials which usually take years but are now being done in months. The information that is gained from these trials will be less than what is needed to effectively move to a world in which COVID 19 is less of a threat. Speeding up phase three also means that we will have a shorter window in which to look for rare and long-term side effects.

If a vaccine is put on the market and it proves to be of marginal benefit or if it turns out that life-threatening side effects become apparent after more than a year after its use we will be in much worse shape than if we were patient and followed a more thorough and lengthy vaccine development process.

There are many other issues related to accelerated vaccine development and we have to realize that whatever becomes available after a shortened development phase may end up making life worse for a lot of people.

Then there are issues of distribution and cost of the vaccine. With dysfunctional leadership and a lack of a national pandemic response I fear that it may be years before this country is able to be a little freer from the shadow of COVID 19.

Comments | 7

  • A Cure All??

    I have heard and read that a “merry heart does good like a medicine”. My Father loved to teach me good things like drinking and liking an old Vermont folk energy and health drink! It had to be enjoyed with this working in your soul however, “work for others and build a heritage for those to follow you”. Sadly I wish I had listened to him back then in the 60’s but he was happy as to my final life’s choices. Here is his little health non AMA recipe… Take apple cider vinegar, honey, fresh ginger ..mix it all together in good water and refresh ourselves in the hot hay fields of Northern Vermont, Orleans County! I hope this helps everyone! Of course you can do this in any Vermont County! Peace,Melevav

    • Very doubtful

      Vinegar, honey and ginger are good, but are not a “cure all” for COVID-19:

      “Hot drinks with lemon and honey, vitamin supplements, foods with garlic and ginger, apple cider vinegar, gargling with salt water… none of these things has any impact on your immune response and won’t eliminate the virus. But if they make you feel calmer and healthier, they can’t hurt.”

      Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands….


      Another issue with vaccines is that they need to be taken by a substantial portion of the population for them to work.

  • Natural Ways are the Best

    I just gave a cup of olive leaf mate to a friend here at the Yellow Deli (there is one near you in Rutland, Vt.). Well yes, that is a bit from Brattleboro but at least it is just up the road from Manchester, Vt. I am hoping that strengthening our immune systems and remembering that old adage, “Mate and Olive leaf will get you through times of no vaccines better then vaccines will get you through times of no olive leaf”. Please research the anti-viral benefits of olive leaf!! Melevav

    Olive Leaf

    …increases white blood cell count to fight infection.
    …is high in antioxidants.
    …is one of the most effective natural antibiotics.
    …stops the angiogenic process, which triggers tumor growth.
    The substance oleuropein delivers a potent antiangiogenic
    and antioxidant effect by preventing the reproduction and
    migration of advanced tumor cells.
    …slows the growth of cells linked to brain cancer, urinary bladder
    cancer and breast cancer.
    …dramatically reduces diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
    …reduces triglyceride levels without the side effects.
    …fights off “superbugs”.
    …has even been scientifically found to protect against skin
    …has high levels of antioxidants and eliminates toxins, so can
    reduce skin damage, including signs of aging.
    …battles a host of disease-causing microbes, including some
    viruses that are known to cause respiratory infections and
    the flu.
    …was able to reverse many HIV-1 infection-associated changes.
    …offers anti-inflammatory properties, with beneficial effects on
    both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
    …helps to decrease the production of cytokines and enzymes,
    which are markers for the inflammatory process.
    …improves brain function and fights Alzheimer’s disease.
    …has long been proven that those who follow a Mediterranean
    diet and keep physically and mentally active, are less likely
    to suffer from dementia. Olives, in particular, appear to play a
    key role in this regard, as well as the olive leaf.

  • Follow Up

    “Hot drinks with lemon and honey, vitamin supplements, foods with garlic and ginger, apple cider vinegar, gargling with salt water… none of these things has any impact on your immune response and won’t eliminate the virus. But if they make you feel calmer and healthier, they can’t hurt.” cgrotke

    Of course good food, a healthy soul free of guilt, are only immune supporting measures and not a “cure all”. Having said that we all reap what we sow in regards to keeping ourselves spiritually and physically healthy. Please see this…

    Dr. Morton Walker “Olive Leaf Extract” and its benefits in combating viruses and strengthening our immune systems.

  • Yes, Agreed

    Chris, I do see your point re. the blood issues. Anything that I and others have done over the years with natural remedies are not immediate, lightening fast approaches to healing disease. For some of us in life having common sense in food and life style choices have worked to keep us healthy. I remember going to the World’s Fair back in 1964 at Flushing Meadows, Queens N.Y. The memories I walked away with were that the coming modern technology was going to solve the planets problems? Vaccines were one of those promising hopes but in the end they have weakened many an immune system and have their many risks. Melevav

  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race

    “Any vaccine that is developed will not magically make COVID 19 go away. It might help a little, but a magic bullet cure is unlikely!” R. Davis

    A good life serving others goes along with building our immune systems. Thank you for being kind to one another! Melevav

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