by Jon Biddle

Although I have had the entire week off from covid central, I haven’t been idle. Both Sam and I have spent what seems like an eternity on the new website, updated my mailing list and gripped my ad campaign so I know where I stand – my wife is a clever woman. What she doesn’t know regarding digital footprints and marketing frankly isn’t worth knowing.

I now know the difference between a CRM, mailing integration, ads manager and even a marketing pixel. Yes, I didn’t even know what that was and now I do. My world is all most complete. Grandchildren would also add to that completeness, but no pressure Jorden and Jenwin.

I want to talk about vaccines. Seems to be the buzzword of the moment, which is great. The USA have decided to get rid of Trump, so he is old news; the virus is no longer centre stage as the vaccine is here to cure everything…

Huh, that’s not the reality at we’re facing, so from my understanding as a medical professional – because there has been many people asking my opinion, and I must stress now, if you’re in the ‘I’m never having it’ or ‘still on the fence,’ I will not try to convince you otherwise. It’s your choice and my choice, although based on the empirical evidence is only my opinion.

I think people are confusing old school vaccines with the current covid vaccine. In that we would be injected a variant strain of the virus, hoping our body reacts to the invasion. As it’s just a small viral load, our body successfully fights the infection and as a result, you create antibodies making you immune. That’s a simplified, laypersons explanation to how vaccines work. 

Let’s take a butchers at H1N1 or to you and I, a variant strain of influenza, which makes us only up to 48% protected from influenza. Now, there is a reason for this fluke. We have heard immunity to influenza and the ones we don’t; we have a vaccine for. The H1 and N2 numbers change to different numbers to accommodate the differing strains that are currently raging through your community, which has been identified as H3N2. 

The vaccine for that current year is modelled to which strain will be most prevalent that year. The vaccine is then manufactured and disseminated. With heard immunity and the vaccine, we can predict the numbers we see at the hospital and the potential death rate. Again, a very simplistic explanation.

So, the covid vaccine is quite different. It follows a modern genetic approach to understanding viruses. 

So, to quickly answer the standard question ‘how come they made the vaccine so quick?’

This is a simple answer, sadly, and there is no conspiracy theory. We need to look back to the 1918/19 Spanish Flu. The science of understanding health patterns in communities was not understood. The genesis of a big word most of us have become used to over the last few months, Dr Anthony Fauci is one of these who arguably is the most well known. And this is the science of epidemiology and the science of community health patterns.

By first understanding infection vectors, we quickly knew who was at risk, and how this was going to affect us. Added to this, pathologist who works in harmony with epidemiology and in the last twenty years has had a focus on dealing with global pandemic potentials and had already done most of the legwork. Creating a vaccine for a virulent virus from a pathological POV is, for us, mercilessly simple. You have to remember that our data collection has never been more robust, the secret to everything relating to the health of a nation, is in the numbers. 

With the science, they drill down to the molecular structure of the virus. Unpacking the strains, genomes, right down to the organelles of the cells within the virus. 

The covid vaccine comprises of messenger RNA, or mRNA. A naturally occurring polymerise in our body’s. This translates a protein production in the physiology inside your body, which creates a viral protein that fights the viral load of COVID-19, rendering you immune to the virus while the vaccine is active in your blood.

Which brings the next question, ‘how long will it last?’ 

The quick answer is, we don’t know. We know that people that have been infected with covid have antibodies for around three months. This vaccine could last longer, could be for years, might only be for the year, could be only for six months. Because this vaccine is new, there is no data to date, so the coming months will be interesting. The next stage is an immunisation program which will no doubt follow soon..

Which brings the most important question, the question that seems to strike fear in people, ‘is it safe?’

My opinion is and remember, it’s my opinion after reading a lot about the vaccine and talking amongst my peers. Yes, the vaccine, by understanding the manufacturing process and the biology of how the vaccine works inside us, is safe and yes, I will have it, there is, like with everything, a caveat. Some people may be allergic, some people may feel lousy, for some it might not even work, but for the majority, yes, you should consider having it.

If there was a flip of a coin, risk covid or have the vaccine, maybe you should walk a mile in my shoes. 

I have watched people die from this disease. It’s not a quick death. Our treatment has changed and in the early days, people died quickly. Now they don’t. We get to know them, sometimes we care for them for weeks before they die and their death is drawn out with a painful advancement of the disease. I have treated people that are still suffering the debilitating effects of what is becoming known as ‘long Covid.’ I would take my chances on a virus that uses a revolutionary matrix of mRNA than dry drowning to death from COVID-19 or massive organ failure.

‘So why not do it the old way, like the influenza shot, why are we messing about with genes and genetics?’ 

From a physiological POV, using mRNA is something our body’s are familiar with. Allows us a level of predictability higher than using an old style vaccine. Also, as this is a synthesis, can be produced in high volumes quickly which segues to the last question ‘how come the vaccines was produced so quickly?’

For the conspiracy theorist amongst us, here’s where I let you down as gently as I can. In the same vein that Donald J. Trump won the 2020 election, there is no collective control by governments. This wasn’t a scientific biological weapon and the Chinese, although want world domination, they won’t be so stupid to create a virus that infects the entire world. Spoiler alert, china is already there. The new world order comes as big data, the virus has impacted on this subversive fight between the East and the West, a fight we have be having through the waxing and waning of sabre rattles since the inception of the Silk Road – educate yourself and hit this LINK.

Ebola, SARS, MERS that have happened over recent years have made huge advancements in viral pathology. The fundamentals now of vaccine production is mind bogglingly rapid. Once you understand the cellular structure of a new virus, finding a vaccine using mRNA is an academically quick process. When the next one comes along, which it will, finding the cure that will be just as quick. And please don’t quote me on here, but the bacteria in this world are trying to kill us all the time. One day, they might succeed. According to the WHO, at a rate of three to four per year, new viruses are on the warpath for our destruction. The one thing that I could scare the living shit out of you is our resistance to antibiotic therapy, a truly genuine cataclysmic scenario if these clever minds that have saved us from COVID-19 don’t come up with antibiotics that can treat us in the future.

Should you have this vaccine? Unequivocally, yes, you should. You want a resemblance of a normal life because 2020 has been anything but normal, then yes, go get the vaccine.

Remember, this is my opinion, some, a small percentage of my colleagues are wary of the vaccine, some media outlets are distrustful of the vaccine and that’s okay. There’re children in the western world not vaccinated and live normal lives and the beauty of our society is we have this choice. 

I wrote recently about doom-scrolling; we need to stop looking at the negative press about covid. We as a species are incredible. Our ingenuity literally blows my mind. 2020 has been a shit year for most of us, yet we live in the best time. Never in human existence has today, right now, been the best time to be alive. Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Heres a link to the blog post I wrote about being born in 1900. These lives were very different from the trauma we have had to endure this year.

As always, stay frosty.

Jb

Harvester, by Jon Biddle
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