To Vaxx or Not to Vaxx!

What are the short- and long-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations?

When can I expect my vaccination?

Every medication comes with its own baggage, and vaccines are no exception. A new pandemic virus like COVID-19 with its own oddities, can only be matched by a newly developed vaccine that can effectively stop its progression. The public goal of vaccination is to out-pace COVID-19’s killing spree by immunizing a wide segment of our population against it. It is a given that the final stage of implementation of immunization involves consent of individuals who will receive them. Every one of us may have his or her own personal reasons for accepting or rejecting any medical treatment. However, in the final analysis, COVID-19’s vaccination boils down to two major considerations. The first one is the number of and the extent of our presumed comorbidities for getting a more devastating manifestation of the disease. The second one is our chances for, inadvertently, getting a COVID infection as a result of our lifestyle and daily exposure to the virus. It would be apparent that we get COVID-related symptoms only if we contract the virus or become COVID-positive. With these in mind let us now delve deeper into this subject. 

To Vax or Not to Vax! Proponents of each believe in merits and risks for their positions. The worst, common, case scenario for each in the eye of their opponents, is dying! Although the consensus is that one has a skyrocketing high, and the other, a negligible chance for this outcome! To phrase it more sophisticatedly, and to avoid the use of morbid terms, let’s call this the associated mortality rate for these two contrasting courses of action. The vaxxers are fearful of COVID and deep in their heart they believe in the science of medicine. The antivaxxers for most part believe what they see with their own eyes and not the eyes of their minds. They don’t see COVID, and they can’t see the elixir that is dissolved in those few drops of the vaccine. Interestingly, most of the vaxxers  also do not have much clues about this! As it turns out, I guess the next best logical question to ask is “who do we trust more”? Would you rather put your bet on the vaccine, on the scientists who supposedly follow the rules of impartiality to develop the vaccine, on our government that we expect to care for our health, or on our elite governmental agencies such CDC for protecting our health and monitoring pandemics, and FDA that is commissioned to thoroughly evaluate each drug and biological for its reasonable safety and efficacy before introducing it to the public. When a malicious enemy endangers our lives and our country, we may argue the merits of all sorts of confrontational alternatives for some time, but when the final decision is casted in, we’re all one, the Americans, and we full-heartedly back our government’s decision! We love and support our country, and we expect our country to defend us when an infectious enemy breaches our borders and infiltrates our bodies.

How can we spot COVID and how should we avoid it on our own? We interact with so many people on daily basis. How can we be sure who has the virus and whom we should stay away from? Who do you believe has gotten rabid with COVID? Your son, your nephew, your niece, your neighbor, your work pal, your doctor, your barber? Your…? I know one thing for sure: I may never know who harbors COVID unless they turn rabid with fever and cough, or there is a test that can mark asymptomatic COVIDians for susceptible people who have not yet had a close encounter with this morbid virus! But what if I don’t trust any test that pokes me to begin with! Of course, one alternative would be to wait and see if any of those who have been in my close proximity in confined premises for extended time, will turn positive with symptoms, get admitted to the hospitals, or God forbid, die as a result! Of course, if I have been in proximity of the latter individuals, there is much chance that I may be harboring the virus, or I might have harbored for some time. In response to those acquaintances of ours who die as a result of COVID, I guess we can extend our utmost sympathy and condolences to their family members and relatives! Some of us who don’t believe in COVID may find comfort in beliefs like: “they were too old or too sick”, or “it was about their time to die, as no healthy person dies because of a flu”!  

How to distribute our scarce medical resources?

What about those of us who believe that it is the duty of our country to defend us against myriads of tiny COVID rascals who have invaded our bodies from all directions like invisible missiles? They are those of us who believe that our two mighty governmental agencies, the CDC and the FDA, are the ones that should dictate the rules of engagement during our war with COVID. They believe that these agencies alongside statewide or local public health departments are the sole trustworthy authorities that should direct us to receive vaccination according to their sophisticated prescribed schedules. Interestingly, whatever the CDC and FDA do for us, most other governments across the globe try to adopt them, as the gold standard of public health practices for their own citizens.

Born to be Free! But I’m an American! I want no one and no agency, including my own country’s public health agencies to tell me how to defend myself or how to take care of my very own body! No one can inject anything into me unless I say so! I only believe in what I see! I can’t see those tiny rascals whom they were calling special names! I don’t understand what those scientists say about those vaccines either! I don’t believe what they claim about the safety of that which they have placed in those lipid things… what do they call it? Let me Google it! Here: micelles! Sounds like “measles!” Wow… wow …wow … wait a minute … are they telling us into our faces that they want to make us all autistic! Have you heard of the jazzy term that they have coined for the capsule that safeguards their genetically engineered COVID mRNA? Are they using the terms like “nanoparticles” to spin my head in dazzlement? Honesty, those scientists aren’t even smart! Had they called the capsules of their elixir “very small fatty particles” they would have sold it to me on the spot! Fatty particles… bacon … bacon-N-Egg! Oh mine, get it all into me doc! Can I request a mouthy instead a butty-gluty one though! I love to chew on my oil-riggy bacon! I just love those types of vaccines! What do they call it …? Hey Google, what’s the …? “ORAL PREP! If there is no “oral pepsi” yet available, should I go to the back of the vaccination line and wait for the next COVID season or the miracle of an oral vaccine, whichever comes along first!

Do you see what I see? All I see with certainty is that they are invading my body with something that I know nothing about! I asked from an older pal, with awesome sense of humor, if he knows about the RNA vaccine! He said it is not “R-and-A”! It’s “R-n-A”! It is an international vacation home-away-from-home rental agency! Young people rent them during spring breaks! From what I’ve gathered from some COVID-terrified people, large numbers of students fill each unit up to the limit, and then begin their non-stop COVID-orgy-parties! But I don’t want to blame our young people! They know it’s all a hoax, and it hits hard no young fellows! All they see, and I see what they see, is that our government doesn’t want them to party! Oh, I just remembered this: Some of my pals say that it isn’t COVID … it’s just a flu! They see people dying of COVID across the globe, but they believe that they have been dying of the “common cold”! For them common cold is as much COVID, as dolphin is fish. Wow! This is going too far with no end in sight! Let me wrap it up and move on by just saying “my fellow vaxxers and antivaxxers, just keep on doing what you believe in … just do your best to be candid to your core beliefs! All that matters, is that we are all Americans, and this melting pot of contrasting beliefs is our real America! If you’re an anti-vaxxer, good for you! Just be a little careful until the herd immunity kicks in! Until then, play it a little safe, and every now and then ask yourself what are the chances that the vaxxers may be right on some fundamental issues! On the other hand, if you’re a vaxxer, don’t forget that you’re in America, the land of the free. It is then that you may feel a little better what our fellow American antivaxxers have been saying all along… they have been pointing to the best of our country: Our freedom! To be a real American is a hard proposition as nothing matters more than being free, and it worth fighting for dearly!

Whom should we all be worried about? We can settle our case with vaxxers and antivaxxers who honestly believe in what they say, and act as what they say! But must beware of the hypocrites! They are the tzars-of-SARS! They are the ones that must be exterminated!

Do we know all the associated side effects of COVID vaccines? We may be prompted to say: too soon to tell! But wait a minute! This is an unprecedented situation, as millions of people across the globe are opting in and out of the COVID-19 vaccination with every passing moment. For this reason, we will have a high degree of certainty to secure considerable information about the side effects of mRNA COVID vaccines sooner than ever in the human history. Of course, this only makes sense if we assume that all available data will be analyzed in a non-biased and objective manner without any personal and political impingements. If so, then we will soon be in an awesome position to judge associated risks of these novel vaccines. Actually, I must add that never in the history of medicine we have been able to test a new vaccine on so many individuals in such a short time. An average phase 3, that is the last study phase before receiving FDA approval, involves testing the new drugs on 1000 to 3000 volunteers. The phase 3 of the Pfizer and BioNtech vaccine development involved over 40,000 participants. This is an unprecedented number compared to any other sample size in the human history. This is in itself the most assuring safety measure that anyone can expect of any medication. Despite this, the decision to vaccinate or to not, can heavily swing to one pole or the other, according to our core beliefs. The good news is that we are in America, the land of the free! No one can mess with our bodies without our well-educated consent! So, we have a CHOICE…we have something that so many others across the globe dream of having… and as I am writing this, I can’t stop screaming: God bless our beautiful America!

One man’s trash is another’s treasure! To make the matter even more interesting we should bear in mind that some people’s risks may be a fortune for the others! The matter that baffles most of us is the severity of the COVID vaccine’s side effects. It is so far a common consensus that the current mRNA vaccines only have mild-to-moderate side effects. The most common reported ones are headache, fatigue, muscle ache, chills, and pain at the injection site. To some people even these may sound alarming! However, medical professionals consider these as assuring signs! Why? Because they indicate that our immune system is reacting against the spike protein recipe of the mRNA vaccine.

Is it possible that these vaccines may have some long-term health hazards that may only become apparent in the future? The answer is: hard to say as anything is possible! For all we know, from the time of Spanish flu pandemic in 1919, through the early months of 2020 when COVID began slaughtering people, the average human life span has roughly increased from 50 to 80 years. This has been to a large extent due to our health, hygiene and medical practices. Will this be a good reason to take in a new vaccine? Of course not! One can always argue that all history is fake! There is only “now-time” and it is the “show time”! I don’t know of yesterday…no one knows about tomorrow…all I know is…click on the link “Don’t know much about history” and check it for yourself!

Don’t Know Much About History

Look at it all this way: Had it not been for our science of medicine to keep many of us breathing while dragging our self-damaged fragile bodies, many of us would have been dead long before the COVID. For those of us it may be easy to blame it all on COVID!  More importantly, why should I care for pharmaceutical companies who care for nothing but raking in their profits? Why should I listen to the covert healthcare advocates of these companies who make their living by turning a big number of us into walking zombies? Is that life worth living for any more days? What should I say to those who say “if you aren’t young and don’t impress anyone, including COVID, as young, then don’t you think that it’s about time for you to go on? Even better…look at it positively… if you go, you will give room to a young one to grow”!

Oh…just something popped into my head…let me spell it out before I forget!  Do you know what happened to all those leaders of mine that I embraced like sunshine? They took refuge in the best medical facilities that our WORLD could have offered, and many cut in line to get their vaxx-jabs before all others!  

Wow…wow, and one more wow again! Wait a second! Do you recall what happened to that friend of yours who took his guard down because his middle-aged children; those who supposedly knew their ways around, told him: dad it’s all a hoax…don’t believe it a bit! I do personally know of one such ironic story; it was about a dad and grandpa who let his guard down and died lonely in a COVID ward while his COVID vaccine stocks were soaring off the chart!

Did I hear it correctly? I guess I must have burning ears! Didn’t you say don’t give me this or that … and just tell me if you’re going to get the vaccine or not? Well, now that you forced my hand open, I will tell you this: relative to my own chances for contracting COVID-19, that is predicated upon my own acquired hygienic precautions, and social life interactions, I trust that I will, reasonably, drag it, for as long as I can! This helps me to gather even more data before making up my mind! My current dilemma is if I should take the vaccine now and then live my life happily as I used to before COVID era, or should I practice smart way of abstinence from the virus until I am convinced that I cannot abstain from getting my vaccination any longer! Why? Are you ready for another confession of mine? If you do, then here we go; I despise living as an endangered person among others who have attained some degrees of immunity against COVID-19 either by contracting the disease and recovery from it, or by being vaccinated against it!

When is my turn to get my vaccine?

Am I a lucky man or what! To look at this from a more positive personal stance, I must admit that I am a lucky senior citizen who lives in a suburban setting. I have the choice of limiting my interactions with others. I have the luxury of dragging my sheltered life reasonably for much longer compared to many others. But I must also admit that my heart bleeds for those who don’t have the luxury of postponing their vaccinations. These are the people who have no other choice but to interact with others who may potentially harbor the virus. It’s easy for me to say, “give my vaccine to someone else who needs it more now”! On the surface, this shows my benevolence, as it appears that I’m waiving my own share of vaccine to allow someone else to get it ahead of me! But what if I’m subconsciously using others as guinea pigs to enhance my own survival and well-being! If so, I am a despicable pretentious slime whose highest moral stances are raised on immoral foundations. But no matter how I look at it, it feels so good to have the luxury of waiting to get my vaccination for several more months to evaluate more pros and cons of these novel vaccines. 

When I think more about the criteria employed by our public health agencies for allocating scarce resources such as current mRNA vaccines to the people, I can’t stop appreciating the fair and egalitarian rationale that they employ for their allocation. In nutshell these are the levels of untoward and unintended exposure of various segments of our population to the virus, and the extent of presence of risk factors in each of us for dying as result of COVID.

Where am I on this long line?

Can I get there before COVID gets to me?

When we deploy our soldiers to warfronts to defend our country and our way of life, we full-heartedly provide them with the most sophisticated gear and survival munitions to ensure their safe and healthy return upon completion of their mission. For this reason, it is our moral duty and it only makes utmost sense, if our healthcare providers on the frontline of our battle against COVID-19, to be the first vaccine recipients. Then it comes to nursing home workers as they tend to individuals with high levels of COVID comorbidities. Who’s next? Well, I guess the nursing home dwellers! Wow, at the beginning it all looked so easy, but it is gradually becoming more cumbersome! If we think in terms of the scarcity of vaccines alongside the rapidly falling numbers of our fellow citizens, we will be baffled by the fairest meritogenic algorithm for allocating them! As I was writing this, I realized how artfully our Public Health Departments have already anticipated most if not all reasonable relevant angles of prioritizing allocation of limited resources during the pandemics! It is no wonder that within the past 60 years or more, our medical practices and our health sciences have progressively become the gold standard for prestigious colleges and universities across the world. 

Don’t you love doctors who say what they believe and do what they say?

When is our turn for our vaxx jabs?!

You know what? It just occurred to me that before I get too excited about giving my deltoid-muscle-vaccine-injection seat to others, I should first figure out when will it be my turn to get the vaccine! Incidentally, do you know where on this long line for vaccination you are located? Well, here is the best way to figure this out for ourselves; just click on the following informatory link! It is developed by Stuart A. Thompson, animated by Jorge Colombo, and published, online, by the New York Times. This is so far one of the best user-friendly devices developed for estimating our positions relative to all others in our geographic areas. Click on the NYT COVID-19 Timeline link below and check it out for yourself!

NYT COVID-19 Vaccine Timeline

Where is your position? For me, based on my risk profile, I am behind 118.5 million people across the United States. In my own state I’m behind 3.9 million others who are at higher risk than me. Wow, so many people in line for receiving this scarce life-saving injectable elixir before me! Am I still willing to give my seat to another one if my turn comes along? Is 118.5 million people before me in my own country, and a countless number of other people across the world, enough number of people to convince a skeptic like me about the safety of our current mRNA vaccines? 

It just occurred to me that I can’t stop myself from shouting: God bless our frontline health care professionals for taking their vaccines long before skeptics like me. Like our soldiers who are fighting our foes on the frontlines of our battlegrounds, our healthcare professionals in COVID infested emergency room trenches deserve to have their ammunitions first. Don’t you love them? Don’t you love people who are candid to their cores? By the same token, don’t you hate those hypocrites who make their living by leading the antivaxx and anti-science campaigns, and then cutting in line in front of so many other deserving individuals to receive their vaccines? Honestly, I don’t mind those who are truthful to their cores…actually, I adore them! Nothing makes me more furious than those who act contrary to their moral core. How about you?

Great educators lead by example!

What if I’m an antivaxxer who is truthful to his core, and willingly chooses to opt out of the vaccination! As long as I do not jeopardize my own or another person’s life by practicing safe hygienic conducts, it would be smart if I wait for the herd immunity to settle in and support my survival! In time, many with comorbidities will die of COVID, many contract COVID and gain some levels of immunity to it, and many more get vaccinated! Well, this will greatly increase my odds of survival, doesn’t it? Well, this is the beauty of being an American! We live in the country of the free, the country whereby the vaxxers and antivaxxers are all proud to call themselves, Americans. We are willing to assume the highest death toll when it comes to COVID to preserve our freedom … God bless our beautiful country! 

Herd immunity may not be a bad one!
What are the chances that you will be that lucky one!

Epilogue

Well, it is so heartwarming to be an American! We have the choice of vaxxing or not vaxxing! Nevertheless, we should be aware that great rewards only await those who choose wisely! What would you choose?

Before you go; don’t you want to know what’s my plan for myself!

I’ll tell you … no matter how I throw the dice it comes down on the side of getting my vaxx! Do I prefer to take my vaxx jab sooner than later? You bet, I do! Do I see myself  cutting in line in front of others who deserve it more than I do? I’ll tell you: You’ve  gotten me off-guard on this one as it cuts into the crux  of my moral dilemma on this matter! All I can add is that I’ll do my best to play it fair! If there is only one dose of any vaccine that is about to expire on the shelves of any retail store, pharmacy, or hospital in my area,  I will do my best to intercept it with my arm before it is tossed into their dumpster!

Dr. Eftekar (Dr. E) is the founder and head coach of the Center for Conquest of Longevity and Northwestern Medical Review. A unique attribute of Dr. E is his well-rounded academic background that, in addition to the science of medicine, extends over several other disciplines such as physiology of aging and longevity, philosophy of science and medicine, and integrated kinesiology.

Comment 1

  1. Shirin Mahjoory
    January 23, 2021

    Very informative and very true. Thank you

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