Anti-vaxxers won’t take a coronavirus vaccine? I might not take it either.

Infectious doctor show COVID 19 vaccine for prevention,immunization and treatment for new corona virus infection(COVID-19,novel coronavirus disease 2019 or nCoV 2019 from Wuhan). Medical technology.

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately about whether anti-vaxxers will be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine.

Pediatrician Phoebe Danziger writes in The New York Times A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It:

If a vaccine for coronavirus is developed tomorrow, will you take it?

Many people won’t. According to recent polls, half to three-quarters of Americans intend to get the vaccine if one becomes available — woefully short of what we’ll need to protect our communities.

I might not take it either and I’m about as far from an anti-vaxxer as anyone can be.

An independent panel, convened by a scientific organization that has no ties to government or industry, should vet the vaccine before roll-out.

The handwringers assume that any COVID vaccine that receives FDA approval will be adequately tested, safe and effective. But that may not be true.

Dr. Danziger recognizes the problem:

They question the safety of a vaccine developed on an accelerated timeline, and in the shadows of political pressure — a concern that has also been raised by staunchly pro-science, pro-vaccine experts.

I’ve raised that very issue, We can have a safe coronavirus vaccine or a rapidly developed vaccine; we can’t have both!

Those worried about COVID vaccine uptake inexplicably ignore this legitimate concern.

It’s not a theoretical risk. It has happened before. In 1976, faced with the looming threat of a particularly virulent form of swine flu, President Gerald Ford rushed a vaccine into production and insisted on releasing it immediately. The result: more people were harmed by complications from the vaccine than from the flu.

Emergency legislation for the “National Swine Flu Immunization Program” was signed … on April 15th, 1976 and six months later high profile photos of celebrities and political figures receiving the flu jab appeared in the media. Even President Ford himself was photographed in his office receiving his shot from the White House doctor.

Within 10 months, nearly 25% of the US population, or 45 million citizens were vaccinated …

But the vaccine wasn’t safe. Over 450 people were paralyzed temporarily or permanently by reactions to the vaccine. The worst part was that the swine flu turned out to be less of a threat than the vaccine designed to prevent it.

Why did the debacle occur?

Ford was facing a tough re-election campaign that fall (one he subsequently lost) and he feared the impact of an epidemic on his electoral prospects. He was more concerned with producing a vaccine quickly than producing it safely.

We can’t trust the FDA or the CDC on this issue; they’ve been subverted by intense pressure from the Trump administration, an administration that has repeatedly demonstrated its contempt for American lives. Given the choice between preventing people from getting sick or falsely assuring people they won’t get sick Trump picks lying every time.

We can’t trust industry. The vaccine will be a financial bonanza for the first company to gain approval. The conflict of interest is enormous.

But I would hope that we could trust the medical profession and the public health profession.

Unfortunately, they seem to be putting the cart before the horse:

First, we must build a coalition of community leaders, public figures and other influential individuals to help combat disinformation and focus on the ethical importance of immunization…

We also need to engage community leaders and public figures who can help mediate national and community discussions about the values, moral principles and identity concerns about vaccination …

We should explore ideas such as offering “green vaccines” — manufactured using transparent processes and ingredients — that vaccine-hesitant Americans may be more likely to accept.

No, first we MUST ensure that any COVID-19 vaccine is thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy by scientists unconnected either to the administration or industry. An independent panel, convened by a scientific organization that has no ties to government or industry, should vet the vaccine before widespread roll-out.

This is all the more important when you consider that the first vaccines to market are unlikely to be traditional vaccines manufactured in traditional ways. We cannot and should not extrapolate from previous vaccines if the new vaccine doesn’t use previous technology. For example, a number of scientists and pharmaceutical companies are working on mRNA vaccines, a form of vaccine that has never been used in humans and therefore may have side effects and dangers that are unanticipated.

Contrary to the fears of the handwringers, the biggest problem we now face is not how to get people to agree to be immunized with the first vaccines that gain FDA approval. The biggest problem is how to be sure the the first vaccines that gain FDA approval are safe, effective and without major side effects.

I’m NOT opposed to a vaccine against COVID-19. I’d even be willing to be part of a study to test for safety and efficacy before either were assured. But I wouldn’t simply agree to receive a vaccine merely because it has been approved unless I saw high quality, long-term safety and efficacy data.

Let’s address that issue first — before we start worrying about who will refuse to take the vaccine.