We Should Be Using COVID-19 Vaccines Now Instead Of Waiting
A couple of weeks ago, we got the biggest news in the COVID-19 vaccine fight that we've had yet. Results from Phase 1 and Phase 2 research on a vaccine from Oxford University were published in the medical journal The Lancet. In that research they showed the vaccine was safe, and produced a "strong immune response".
This news came just weeks after the United States Government announced they were putting $1.6 billion into producing similar vaccines. That program has been named "Operation Warp Speed".
The way that the vaccine works is different from traditional vaccines that use a dead, or weakened, version of a virus to jump start an immune response. Instead, the Oxford vaccine (and those like it) are a T-cell vaccine that uses a carrier virus (like a Trojan Horse) to introduce pre-programmed T-cells into the body. These new T-cells train the bodies white blood cells to fight off the SARS-CoV-2 virus, or COVID-19. This particular vaccine from Oxford uses a common cold virus found in Chimpanzees.
Again, this vaccine has proven to be safe and effective through 2 of 3 phases so far. It is safe for humans, and has helped prevent COVID-19 in those who have been vaccinated. So why aren't we using it right now?
If we have a global pandemic, where people are dying, and economies are being broken beyond repair...why aren't we acting?
We are now at a place in the virus response where we can factually say that we are intentionally holding ourselves back from beating the virus. We have an answer in front of us, that is safe and works, and we're holding it back because "that's the way we've always done it"? This is sickening.
But don't take the word of some idiot with a radio show...take the word of the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University, Steven Salzberg.
Forbes posted a story penned by Salzberg asking the same question...and answering it outright. In reference to the successful vaccines who have proven to be safe and effective, he posted:
"So why not start administering millions of doses right now? We should."
However, it appears that political pressure caused him to add an update this morning where he appears to have slowed his pace a little. He has been pressured politically into posting an update saying we now should not skip Phase 3 and start administering now. However the rest of his story remains up, with all of his justifications for starting to dose masses as soon as possible.
Before Salzberg was politically pressured into changing his assertion, he stated:
"We already know that the vaccines in phase 3 trials are safe–otherwise it would be unethical to give the vaccine to 30,000 people, as these trials are doing. Weighing the risks versus the benefits, I think we should immediately ramp up production, using government funds rather than private money, and then offer these vaccines for free to anyone who wants them."
This is exactly what I was asking before. If we have something that research shows to be safe and effective, we should be using it. Now Salzberg brought up ethics in his post, before the politically forced updates, which is something I've asked about this this scenario before. But when I brought up the ethics of this scenario before, I questioned whether or not it was ethical to withhold a safe and effective vaccine from those who may die otherwise.
So now we wait again. We have a vaccine, or multiple versions as it would appear, that is safe and effective, but we're sitting on it. We're going into Phase 3 trials, which theoretically could take a month, or could take 6 months. Since we're playing by made up rules right now, and political pressures keep forcing brilliant minds like Salzberg to silence themselves or revise their beliefs, we really don't know when we'll be allowed to resume regular life.