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.

49 Responses to “Anti-vaxxers won’t take a coronavirus vaccine? I might not take it either.”

  1. demodocus
    August 23, 2020 at 1:14 pm #

    I might, even knowing that I’d be in what will effectively be the 3rd level trials. *shrugs* I’m not sure, mind. I _am_ getting my flu shot again, though. I’m utd on all of the recommended vaccines for my age group. (too young for shingles, too northerly for dengue/yellow fever, too old for chicken pox or the hpv one.)

  2. Solar Surfing
    July 22, 2020 at 1:43 pm #

    The odds of any type of noteworthy negative reactions, the vast majority of which are non-fatal, including those during emergency actions with less than the ideal amount of testing, is stunningly low. Anyone who calls that a threat worth fearing or avoiding is innumerate and is by definition a criminal biological terrorist.
    “Since 1988 there have been fewer than 6,000 total serious adverse effects with causal evidence proven to have been directly related to ALL vaccinations (144 per year average). To put that into perspective, from 2006 ~ 2013 there were 1668 proven, causal, adverse effects related to the over 2 BILLION (2,236,678,735) vaccinations administered. That is a .000000834% chance of having an serious adverse effect to any vaccination. You have better odds of getting killed by lightning, a hippopotamus, or even ants, than getting seriously ill from a vaccination. Without being vaccinated, just contracting Measles alone, you have a 30% chance of having a serious reaction to the disease (hospitalization, long term disability or death) including a: 7% chance of Otitis media 6% chance of Pneumonia 0.7% chance of Seizures 0.1% chance of Encephalitis 0.2% chance of Death You are right, you do have a choice: 0.000000834% (risk of harm vaccinating) vs 30% (risk of harm with no vaccination).” Source: US Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administrator (HRSA), and CDC: Vaccinations and Immunizations

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      July 30, 2020 at 7:28 am #

      Hey, solar, are you planning on getting the dengue vaccine? How about the smallpox vaccine? Or any one of the numerous melanoma vaccines?

      I don’t recommend any of the above, unless you’ve been previously infected with dengue or are working with smallpox. “Vaccines” aren’t safe. Some vaccines are safe, relative to the risk of the disease. The risk of the disease, the efficacy of the vaccine, and the risk of vaccine adverse events all play into the question of whether taking a certain vaccine is a good or bad idea.

      The problem with a hypothetical covid vaccine is that it is likely to be rushed to market without adequate testing. Fauci is predicting a possible marketing in the US by October or November. Phase 3 testing just started, literally in the past few weeks, for the most advanced of the vaccine candidates. Do you really think less than three months is an adequate amount of time to demonstrate safety or efficacy in a large population? What if the covid vaccine ends up producing antibodies but making the disease MORE severe when and if it is contracted? It’s happened with other candidate vaccines. What if it ends up with a GBS risk of, say, 0.1%? Less risk than the disease, you might say, but with good quarantine an contact tracing, a country may have <1% of its population contracting the virus versus 100% of its population needing to get the vaccine. Still look like a good risk?

      The argument being presented is about the risk of a poorly thought through and inadequately tested vaccine, not about the safety of the technique of vaccination overall. Please consider the risk of the vaccine being presented to you when deciding whether to take it. (And get your tested and proven flu shot, VZV vaccine, and MMR, unless you have contraindications. Those are easy decisions.)

      • Solar Surfing
        July 30, 2020 at 11:23 am #

        I will never hesitate to get any recommended vaccine. It is a lie that any vaccine will be issued before at least MINIMALLY adequate testing during pandemic emergencies. More than a lie, this criminal talk is criminal biological terrorism, a crime against humanity. Emergency vaccinations offer a benefit far beyond any possible risk of worst case scenario problems with it. As my citation above indicates, only the innumerate can not grasp what a .000000824% risk of a less than fatal reaction means. The person who replied to me is innumerate at least, a terrorist at worst.

        • AnnaPDE
          July 30, 2020 at 11:33 pm #

          You’re comparing apples and oranges in the numbers you cite.

          A super low incidence rate from decades worth of using tried and tested vaccines says nothing about the risk/benefit ratio of a brand new one that can only have been tested for a measly few months, as opposed to years. That goes double for a formulation that is founded on newly developed mechanisms of action (eg mRNA vaccines) instead of ones that have been used for other diseases for ages.

          There have been candidate vaccines for other coronaviruses that turned out to make an infection more severe. This is not made-up antivax fear-mongering; in fact it’s the exact opposite: Making sure through a rigorous process of testing that vaccines are actually safe and effective.

          • Solar Surfing
            July 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm #

            I repeat – As my citation above indicates, only the innumerate can not grasp what a .000000824% risk of a less than fatal reaction means. The person who replied to me is innumerate at least, a terrorist at worst.

          • StephanieJR
            July 31, 2020 at 3:03 pm #

            I think you’re so anti-anti-vax, you’ve gone all the way around again and can’t seem to grasp that vaccines, whilst most are very safe, can be dangerous in certain circumstances. Such as the desperate circumstances of a rush job in an unprecedented pandemic, where the normal time to develop a vaccine can be years, but results are needed in weeks. At this point, anything released may not be safe, and could, in fact, make things worse. I really do hope that the vaccine is immediately safe and effective, but I doubt it will be.

            A little caution can be a good thing, not to the point of stupidity, but blindly following can lead to more problems, and I won’t be the first in line; I’ll be second.

          • Solar Surfing
            July 31, 2020 at 3:51 pm #

            That is a lie. Some vaccine projects go perfectly, all normal prescribed testing can be achieved in 6 months in that case. No inappropriate risks will be taken with the Covid vaccines just as none have been taken with others. For the third time I remind you of the risk of all vaccines averaged out has been .000000824%
            You are now in the willful ignorance zone, this is a matter of permanent record here for all to see unless you delete it.

          • StephanieJR
            August 1, 2020 at 9:40 am #

            Bitch, you have no idea who you’re dealing with. I’ll give you one thing, though; you amused my mum. She’s giggling away to herself about your stupidity. But she’s also sad that there’s so many stupid people in the world. Mostly, I just don’t give a fuck. I have far more interesting things to do today than listen to you.

          • Solar Surfing
            August 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm #

            It is irrelevant who I deal with, it is still .000000824% risk. That’s the beauty of hard science and data which does not change whether you listen to it or not. Your ‘mum’ has no Disqus account, irrelevant.

          • StephanieJR
            August 1, 2020 at 3:52 pm #

            …why the fuck is ‘mum’ in quotes? Do you not believe that I have a mum? Are you actually a very not intelligent AI that has no mother? Why does it matter if she hasn’t got a Disqus account. Would you like to argue with her, now?

          • Solar Surfing
            August 1, 2020 at 4:49 pm #

            More off topic ranting that has nothing to do with the proven safety of vaccines. All Americans recognize ‘mum’ as British lingo. I see you troll this site exclusively so a flag would no nothing, I am simply reporting your account and blocking you as an idiot pest. Finished!

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            August 2, 2020 at 7:15 am #

            Just curious, solar:
            1. There is a vaccine for rabies. If vaccines as a class overall have an adverse event rate of < 1/million, why don't we just give it to everyone?
            2. Likewise the yellow fever vaccine. Why not include it with the MMR?
            3. The first covid vaccines went into phase 3 testing in late July. There is evidence that immunity from natural infection wanes within months after infection, with some studies finding no evidence of protective immunity 3-6 months after recovery. Given this, how do you test the efficacy of a vaccine for covid in less than 3 months?
            4. How can you be sure that a vaccine that has not yet been developed will have the safety profile of currently approved vaccines?
            5. You are aware that some vaccines are not approved, or?

          • StephanieJR
            August 2, 2020 at 9:53 am #

            Better mascots than you have tried.

          • StephanieJR
            August 2, 2020 at 9:53 am #

            I’m Scottish, mate.

          • PeggySue
            August 1, 2020 at 2:10 pm #

            Some people are not amenable to any challenge to their beliefs. Others remember history. I remember history. I’m hopeful, and there are good voices to listen to that I will listen to as I make a decision, but I remember history.

          • Solar Surfing
            August 1, 2020 at 12:23 am #

            It’s a good thing that what you think is irrelevant. Only what science proves, verifies and is then peer reviewed matters.

          • AnnaPDE
            July 31, 2020 at 8:59 pm #

            Darling – first learn about conditional probabilities, then come back. You’re talking to a mathematician.

          • Solar Surfing
            August 1, 2020 at 12:28 am #

            No. All conspiracy theories are rejected. All claimed loop holes and side tracking is rejected. Go to the CDC site to read the details of how it was calculated. You have a .000000824% chance of any adverse reaction of any kind including a minor one hour long headache that vanishes completely and forever while your life saving protection continues for years or a lifetime.

          • Solar Surfing
            July 31, 2020 at 3:52 pm #

            All recorded events include new vaccines as well. No change.

          • AnnaPDE
            July 31, 2020 at 8:57 pm #

            No shit. Because vaccines usually aren’t released until they’re actually tested. And for the Covid vaccine candidates to date, there literally wasn’t enough time for proper tests. Those take months and years.
            Your argument is like the following: “There are hardly any roller coaster accidents at all. Not even on newly opened roller coasters. So let’s just all get on this brand new design roller coaster right after it’s built and run once, without the usual long and tedious testing and certification process. We see from all historic data that it must be safe!”

          • Solar Surfing
            August 1, 2020 at 12:22 am #

            Wrong again asshole. The data presented includes all vaccines in all states of development that have ever been administered. Period. .000000824% risk of ANY negative effect including a single hour of fleeting discomfort.

  3. Solar Surfing
    July 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

    You are all welcome to let your lungs slowly fill with pus and drown. More likely you will watch someone you love die horribly because you were willfully science illiterate. But you will be forced to do that in quarantine because nobody has the right to become a public hazard biological terrorist by refusing this essential vaccine.

    • MaineJen
      July 23, 2020 at 4:49 pm #

      …I would take a gander at the rest of the blog, before you assume that we’re all anti vaxxers.

  4. The Bofa on the Sofa
    July 21, 2020 at 11:00 am #

    What will you do if the vaccine is the Oxford version? I’m not sure the hype over it is justified, but if that one is available, what would be the issue?

  5. Peter Olins
    July 21, 2020 at 10:17 am #

    Hi Amy,
    You mention that 1/100,000 people receiving the ’76 swine flu vaccine had a serious adverse event. Given my age and health, if I contract covid-19 there may be a 1/100 (or worse) chance that I will DIE—definitely “adverse”. Personally, I would be more than happy to take an approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (and venture out from under the rock where I have been sequestering for the past 4 months).

    Given the dramatic advances in biomedical sciences, I also think that we may be better at developing a safe vaccine today than we were in 1976.

    I share your desire for careful scrutiny of the ratio of efficacy to safety of a new vaccine, but I doubt that this scrutiny will be lacking.

    I’m far more concerned that even if an effective vaccine is developed soon, there will be far too many people unwilling to receive it (for various anti-science or political reasons), resulting in morbidity and death of many in vulnerable segments of the population.

    • Solar Surfing
      August 1, 2020 at 12:41 pm #

      Note that the 17 illegally hacked downvotes for Mr Olin’s accurate post all come from one criminal anti-biotech troll who makes fake sock puppet accounts to cheat Disqus. Ted Miner’s annual trolling tally on DISQUS for year seven of criminal abuse:
      7,110 posts for 2018 at an average of 17.5 posts per day. This is almost exactly half the number of posts he made in 2017 but still a huge amount of Disqus abuse other civil science respecting users detest. Please flag him for spam and report his accounts.
      His various sock puppet accounts posted as follows:
      razorjack was most prolific at 776 posts
      Duncan DeBunkerman next at 619 posts
      E. Sandwich with 618 posts
      Goldfinger 603 posts
      SUNNY with 584 posts
      GOOSE with 441 posts
      Sparkle Plenty with 415 posts
      Wally 386 posts
      patzagame with 285 posts
      Debbie 3554 with 200 posts
      Peaceful Warrior with 377 posts
      Cletus DeBunkerman with 269 posts
      Even the original Ted Miner showed up for 85 posts
      Not content with 11 DISQUS accounts, Ted Miner invented four more for 2018:
      Anne Temple with 998 posts
      ROBIN with 549 posts
      Byron Smith with 416 posts
      Papa Ray with 272 posts
      Rob Bright with 604 posts
      sir_Ken_g with 198 posts
      jbd, Hortense DeBunkerman, William, Popeye, Liam Pederson, Milo, Tbony and Chas Erikson are his newest fake accounts in 2019. Also very suspect is the Lisa Markarchuck account. Both Ted Miner and Lisa are banned from the Genetic Literacy Project, NPR, PBS and Mother Jones.
      Two of his retired (deleted by abuse reports) accounts – TZ and T Zena, and there are more – S.G. and grinninglibber also exhibit the same behavior and will be added to this list.
      With 17 accounts to log into and upvote each of his 7,110 posts, it is no wonder Ted Miner couldn’t reach his higher post number for 2017. On top of that he had to downvote and flag all the posts of other DISQUS users he disagreed with 13 or 14 times. Ted Miner is a mentally ill Machiavellian sad ist with a dopamine addiction he feeds by abusing Disqus.
      Now in 2020 Turd has employed bot programs to downvote posts at sites where he has been banned from commenting. His latest new fake account is “Esme”.

      • MaineJen
        August 1, 2020 at 1:37 pm #

        You have an unhealthy obsession with DISQUS

        • Solar Surfing
          August 1, 2020 at 4:56 pm #

          Me? ME??? Look above at the factual account of what REAL obsession looks like! That moron is a mentally ill Machiavellian sadist with a dopamine addiction. His total anti-biotech post count in the last 9 years is over one million. He has been banned from dozens of sites but he stalked Mr. Olins here and he used to stalk me relentlessly until I locked my comment history. Ted Miner hacked two of my previous accounts so I’m on my third. One of his fake accounts features a stolen photo of me and it uses my Facebook account name. He doxes my real name and home town frequently. But I’m the one with an obsession??

          • Heidi
            August 1, 2020 at 7:46 pm #

            Just no. MaineJen is NOT a troll. She’s been commenting here for years. Jayzus.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            August 2, 2020 at 7:17 am #

            Solar seems to suffer from a bit of projection on the issue of trolling.

          • Solar Surfing
            August 2, 2020 at 11:02 am #

            Nothing whatsoever in any of my posts hints at that. This makes YOU the troll. The immutable fact – any suggestions that vaccines are not safe are criminal acts of biological terrorism. This crime is the cause of many thousands of American deaths, avoidable illness and job losses. Don’t pretend for one second you are not a terrorist.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            August 2, 2020 at 6:55 pm #

            Um, yeah.

            Solar: A locked comment history is a sign of troll behavior.
            Solar’s comment history is locked.
            Also Solar: I’m not a troll. How could you possibly think that!

          • Solar Surfing
            August 2, 2020 at 11:04 pm #

            What we think does not matter. Only what we can prove is relevant. Your activity here proved you are the troll. I was forced to lock my history or be stalked relentlessly by the Ted Miner virus. I do not want to lock it but that idiot can track me and infect every thread I visit. I watched him do that to several others. He stalked Mr Olins here.

          • MaineJen
            August 3, 2020 at 6:39 pm #

            You’re hilarious. My comment history is locked so trolls like yourself can’t see it. Mission accomplished!

            I’m also…a woman.

            I have never in my life upvoted myself, that’s tacky.

            Thank you for playing?

          • Solar Surfing
            August 4, 2020 at 1:56 pm #

            I said SUSPICIOUS, not proof or a definite catch. If you got around Disqus enough you’d see this extreme criminal troll in action. Every single one of his 22 sock puppet accounts have a locked history and an impossibly high comment to upvote ratio. These two combined are a dead giveaway. Start noting the comment to upvote ratio of other commenters you encounter – none will have a 1 to 5 or greater upvote ratio except Ted Miner’s 22 accounts. This is because he upvotes himself with multiple accounts in his delusion that the petty vote count is a major endorsement or indicator of truth or a ‘win’ when it is no such thing.

          • MaineJen
            August 4, 2020 at 2:50 pm #

            …OR…my life doesn’t revolve around disqus?

            Nah. You got me. I’m a troll. Add me to your lists and block me.


          • StephanieJR
            August 4, 2020 at 2:51 pm #

            I’m starting to think that YOU’RE Ted Miner having a mental break.

  6. expat
    July 17, 2020 at 3:24 pm #

    I used to visit this site many years ago and wanted to drop in to contribute to your coronavirus discussion. I’ve been looking at the science of herbal treatments for colds and thought you might find it interesting:

    • expat
      July 17, 2020 at 3:25 pm #

      I’m shocked to see my old screen name again after so many years! Man. The internet really never forgets. What did I write on this site back then!?

  7. The Computer Ate My Nym
    July 10, 2020 at 11:14 pm #

    I suggest waiting until the EMA approves it.

  8. rational thinker
    July 10, 2020 at 7:00 pm #

    My grandmother passed away early this morning. She actually moved into a nursing home 3 weeks ago. She was 94 and she did have some medical problems so it was going to happen anytime sometime soon. We don’t know if she possibly contracted covid or not, Right now they are thinking it was just old age, but it could have been covid. I doubt they are even going to test for it but I would be nice to know at least for the sake of closure.

  9. Lee McCain MD
    July 9, 2020 at 4:47 pm #

    I just took the MMR vaccine. I think the data on the MMR’s mechanism of action by stimulating long-lived myeloid-derived suppressor cells is fascinating; so much so that a Covid vaccine maybe a mute point.

  10. July 9, 2020 at 4:45 pm #

    Yes…I have concerns…but so much attention has been focused on COVID research that I hope any deficiencies in safety/efficacy testing will be swiftly noted by the scientific community, your quotes notwithstanding. We’ll see. No one in my family is at especially high risk* for death from COVID, which may affect the eagerness with which we take the vaccine.

    * I realize that “not especially high risk” isn’t the same as “no risk.”

  11. Alia
    July 9, 2020 at 3:06 pm #

    I’m in Europe and I sincerely hope that the EU healthcare regulators will take utmost care before approving any vaccine.

    • Griffin
      July 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm #

      My husband works in clinical trials in both Europe and the US and sometimes the plethora of regulations in Europe gets him down. Everything just takes sooo long here. Last week he got really frustrated because he’s been trying to get a 45 yo woman with terminal breast cancer with no remaining treatment options into a drug trial that he’s working on – but the poor woman has to wait FOUR weeks (untreated because nothing works) until everyone is sure that the regulations have been met. He says that things go MUCH quicker in the US.

      I guess red tape (of which there is PLENTY is Europe) is a check and balance and sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes not so good.

      I guess it’s a good thing in terms of vaccine safety, though…

  12. PeggySue
    July 9, 2020 at 12:10 pm #

    Totally agree. The administration’s response to this disease has been a cluster!@#$ from beginning to now, so there is reason to worry.

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