The Covid vaccine appears to be a contentious subject for many, from conspiracy theories to mistrust of science.
One thing that has not been clear and transparent is the understanding that the vaccine doesn't give you immunity to Covid-19. It gives you an immunity response to the spike protein of the shell of the virus.
Yes, there is a difference; one is the transport of the virus the other is the virus itself.
In most cases, our understanding suggests that antibodies designed to hinder or bind with the spike protein reduce or remove the virus's ability to bind with a cell and pass through the viral RNA that is the virus.
And the research linked below found that this approach was 95% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections. It also covered associated side effects and reactions, which was interesting because they were not significantly different from the placebo group's reported effects and reactions.
There's sound logic in this, as we have traditionally targeted the immunity against the virus outside the cell; at the same time, past vaccines have mainly used the whole virus, not just a part of it. This means we have had the full range of possible immune responses in past vaccines to protect us that we don't with the mRNA one.
The vaccine does not convey or prime the immune system for a Covid infection if it happens to get into our cells; the war on Covid by the vaccine happens outside our cells.
We also see as the mutations and variants emerge, more of the spike proteins being viable to connect to cells, making it more virulent and more effective in spreading and establishing.
And this is where the gaps in our immune response have a factor in us stopping the infection or it getting through into cells. So it's not 100% effective, 95% with the studies, and we will see vaccinated people get sick with Covid.
One of the critical issues raised by people is the time to develop the vaccine. This is where understanding appears to be lacking the most.
The whole mRNA delivery process has been in development and testing for over 40 years. It was initially conceived as a gene therapy tool to deliver DNA similarly to CRISPR, except they couldn't get it to work.
However, they did figure it was good at delivering RNA, or messenger RNA (mRNA). Enough RNA for the cell to replicate the RNA like a virus that would trigger the immune system to a foreign invader. Thus the discovery of another way to deliver a vaccine.
This was effectively the competition for the chicken egg process we have had for all the others, but more expensive, new, and untested in the field.
When we came to needing a vaccine for Covid, we discovered we needed an extra 100 billion eggs for development and production on top of what we had with a shaky Covid impacted supply chain. So the egg process for the Covid vaccine wasn't a realistic option for the number of doses needed.
Thus the mRNA process came to the front.
Given that this was a vaccine for humans that was new, and we hadn't had a vaccine for SARS that was successful. It was also a more expensive option, so it needed to be front funded.
This is why it was developed so quickly, it didn't need to go through the lobbying for funds process, and it didn't need to compete with other research projects. It was "here's the order and the money, go!" and "Have you finished it yet?"
We knew there was a serious issue with those vaccinated with the SARS vaccine or who previously had SARS exposure getting Covid-19; this was where they were at a significantly higher chance of reaction with a cytokine storm on being exposed to Covid.
These are the early cases in China where we saw people collapsing in the streets and contributed to the very high death toll we saw but wasn't reflected in the stats reported by China.
Also, this SARS angle was potentially a significant factor in China locking down as they did because they have substantial SARS and SARS vaccine exposure that the rest of the world did not.
All of this guided selecting the "pathogen" chosen for the vaccine, as an attenuated Covid virus is not easy to do quickly. (The Chinese whole virus vaccine is proof of that)
Those developing the vaccine also will have considered the whole "The vaccine gives you Covid" issue because we did not know how immunity for Covid worked at the time; it was just too early in the pandemic to be sure.
We did know that the spike protein did trigger the immune system to react. The spike protein could be used without possibly infecting the person with Covid with the limited data at the time.
The vaccine creates an immunity to the spike protein shell, not the virus, which is a massive difference from every other major regular vaccine we have had to date.
This means that peoples immune system is focused on the binding sites of the virus and reacts before the virus takes hold. It fights the Covid virus outside the cell rather than once the cell is infected.
However, there is one fatal challenge here; the vaccine does not create any immunity to the Covid virus; it doesn't carry any Covid virus code for the immune system to identify it and prepare. This is why we see breakthrough infections of Covid-19; the vaccine does not vaccinate for the Covid virus, just the receptor sites, the spike proteins, which can be incomplete in your body's response to neutralising the virus.
It also explains why vaccinated people become sick with Covid and become infectious; they are not vaccinated for the whole virus, just primed with an immune system to attack the invader's unique shell.
What we do know is there appear to be two stages with a Covid infection:
- The body's reaction to the virus before it infects deeply into peoples systems. This seems to cause the cytokine storm and anaphylaxis type responses we are seeing.
- The "flu" symptoms we see with the inflammation in the ENT, Lungs, and gastric systems. It is also where we see some of the adverse reactions to the vaccine too.
- The second is the Covid virus itself which appears to attack both the blood in terms of haemoglobin and the immune system in terms of B & T cells. This is what causes the ICU admissions and ventilation need.
The problem is that these points have not been explained well to anyone in amongst all the noise, so they have confidence that they aren't being taken for a ride.
The other aspect to this is the media trades of FUD, like insurance, Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
They both sell views based on fear and sensationalism; there's nothing sensational about a vaccine that is well tested and works. There's more "revenue" from mass hysteria and creating questions and conflict where there are none.
- If you want evidence of this with Covid, look up the Santa Clara study last year. Antibody testing that tried to extrapolate data from a small sample to the population was the wrong way for this mathematically.
- Four big news services in the US ran with it and created all manner of harm. The problem with this stuff was the margin of error included a 0% result and went as far as -84%, which isn't possible.
- The study was roundly condemned by the medical and scientific community and withdrawn, but not until after the news media had screwed it up. A retraction, which they didn't publish, always gets less coverage than the original story.
The new bit in this vaccine is the spike protein and some refinement on storage and delivery. This bit didn't appear to have been done with the original research.
So there is pedigree in the vaccine we have from Pfizer, and Moderna, where the testing and analysis on safety and efficacy have been done. We would not have the vaccine if these aspects were not covered off.
Interestingly, the data on side effects and reactions are looking to be better than the chicken egg process; it is simpler and cleaner for people's systems, despite the significant noise to the contrary.
But don't just take my word for it; here's the medical peer-reviewed, repeated, critiqued research that supports all of this.
- New Zealand's current vaccination information from the Ministry of Health.
- Spike protein RNA research and collaboration
And the PDF doc
- Covid-19 vaccine design (October 2020)
- Covid-19 vaccine safety and efficacy (December 2020) (Pfizer & BioNTech Funded)
- mRNA vaccine technology, the development. This is very technical but has excellent graphics to convey information and concepts for those of us not medically trained.
- The UK case and genomic analysis for Covid in the UK, very good data on Delta compared to Alpha Covid and also vaccine impact against unvaccinated
- The story of mRNA
- The EU story on mRNA
- MedSafe's mRNA monitoring, management and approval
- MedSafe's adverse reaction reports on the Pfizer vaccine, this is good New Zealand data collected by the University of Otago
- And this is CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring), established in 1965. New Zealand has had the highest rate of reporting adverse reactions to medicines per population in the world for at least the last two decades. However, since 2011 Singapore and in 2012, the USA now has a higher rate of reporting. However, NZ is still the 3rd highest reporting country globally. This high rate does not reflect a bigger problem in New Zealand; instead, we are more diligent about reporting these events.
The bulk of the story above, rather than the linked science, are my observations from the outside looking in as this pandemic unfolded in China and worldwide. The news articles and media reports on vaccines were investigated and debated through their selection and issues.
Much of the China reports and media I read and watched in January 2020 were censored and removed any the Chinese government by Late January and Early February 2020.
In July 2020, China also removed a significant portion of the Coronavirus genomic record from the shared scientific database. So there has been active destruction of data in this journey we are all on.
I'm an electronics engineer and life insurance adviser with 20 years of underwriting and claims experience.
- My role as an adviser is to translate the technical into concepts that people on the street can understand to make life decisions.
- I'm not a medical professional, and TBH many medical studies are technically well above my pay grade. But I can read and understand most.
- I have access to medical specialists with insurers and clients across the spectrum to check my medical understanding and clarify any gaps.