...despite many years of trying, we have no vaccines, yet, against HIV, hepatitis C, malaria, or the common cold. We also never developed a safe and effective vaccine against SARS or MERS, two other potentially lethal respiratory viral infections.
By Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.
Special to www.JenniferMargulis.net
Chances are you’ve seen the headlines: healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines. Back in December 2020 the Los Angeles Times reported between 20 and 40 percent of healthcare workers didn’t plan to get the Covid vaccine. New York newspapers reported the same. According to the New York Post and Newsday, around 30 percent of healthcare workers were refusing Covid vaccines. More recently, at the end of April, we learned that 40 percent of marines are also wary of getting vaccinated.
Thirty percent of healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines
Everyone in the world — quite literally— is well aware by now of the several vaccines to slow the spread of Covid-19. But in our rush to vaccinate, we seem to have forgotten that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any of these Covid-19 vaccinations. A main reason that we see thirty percent of healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines is that these vaccines are all unapproved.
Indeed, all the Covid-19 vaccinations in the United States are administered under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. This means that the Covid vaccines are unapproved medical products used in an emergency. Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines feel concerned about getting unapproved vaccines.
Developing safe vaccines takes years
It typically takes many years to create a new vaccine. Even after years of research and development, success sometimes eludes scientists’ best efforts.
For example, despite many years of trying, we have no vaccines, yet, against HIV, hepatitis C, malaria, or the common cold. We also never developed a safe and effective vaccine against SARS or MERS, two other potentially lethal respiratory viral infections.
Messenger RNA technology
The vaccines used for the first Covid-19 inoculations, brought to market by Pfizer and Moderna, employ a messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Significantly, this is the first time mRNA technology has been used in a vaccine. However, mRNA technology has been used in cancer therapy. And has shown success in producing various proteins to attack and disrupt certain cancer cells.
Health experts have asserted that it was not too much of a leap to use mRNA in developing vaccinations. Normally, the DNA in the nucleus of a human cell produces mRNA. The mRNA acts as an instruction manual to create proteins. The mRNA is released from the cell’s nucleus into the cytoplasm of the cell where it travels to the ribosomes to deliver its instructions.
The idea behind its use in an anti-Covid-19 vaccine was to produce a synthetic mRNA to instruct the cell’s ribosome protein factory to create a SARS CoV-2 spike protein.
As the CDC explains, the appearance of a spike protein then stimulates our own immune system to create an anti-spike antibody. Technically, then, the use of mRNA in this way is not a true vaccine, but rather a type of immunologic or gene therapy.