I need to start this blog by disclosing that I have just received my second AstraZeneca jab, and to be honest, I am now feeling very relieved. I hope that as more vaccines become readily available in Australia, we will all have the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Some people may have had a bad experience with the medical system in the past, or may have experienced some side effects from other vaccines. However, when you look at the statistics, they are so compelling and demonstrate a clear mandate that based on the fact that hundreds of millions of people are now vaccinated, the levels of any serious side effects from vaccinations are extremely low, and the protection against COVID-19 is very high.
To arm myself with all the information I needed to feel comfortable about the vaccination, I went straight to the most authoritative person in immunology, Professor Peter Doherty, who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the nature of the cellular immune defence. His book, An Insider’s Plague Year provides us with a deeper understanding of the virus and explains why we were able to in such a short time able to come up with an effective vaccination.
I also felt that if I am going to get the AstraZeneca (AZ) jab, I should get the facts straight from the horse’s mouth – the team responsible for developing the AZ vaccine. I could not help feeling so much awe, respect and admiration for Professor Sarah Gilbert and her team after reading Vaxxers – The Inside Story of the Oxford Astrazeneca Vaccine and the Race against the Virus. Professor Sarah Gilbert is Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute within the University of Oxford, and she has devoted her career to developing vaccinations. She was the Oxford project leader for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. In another blog, I will take the time to share the incredible effort in designing a vaccine, and explain that by no means was this an overnight effort but based on many years of research in better understanding how our immunity work.
I am concerned that some people may hesitate to be vaccinated because of so much misinformation, or simply they are feeling pressured to be vaccinated. There may be some individuals that for health reasons are unable to receive the vaccination; however, as one epidemiologist recently stated this number is very small.
I do not want to get caught up in all the fascinating theories circulating which seem to have an incredible ability to spread and mutate more rapidly than the virus itself. An interesting paper, COVID-19 vaccine rumors and conspiracy theories: The need for cognitive inoculation against misinformation to improve vaccine adherence, explores some of the many rumours and conspiracy theories that have led to mistrust and vaccine hesitancy. The authors state by tracking COVID-19 vaccine misinformation in real-time and engaging with social media to disseminate correct information could help safeguard the public against misinformation.1
In a future blog, I will investigate some of these theories, and as tempting as they are to believe, we will explore ways to establish some cognitive inoculation.
Researchers are now finding that vaccination against COVID-19 offers better protection against COVID-19 compared to naturally acquired immunity.2
Studies from around the world have analysed the outcomes of community-wide vaccination programs with Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines and have concluded the currently available COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective in preventing severe complications and deaths from COVID-19 in adults of all ages.3,4
An interesting video titled Can we get rid of COVID-19 forever? on Vox draws comparisons between COVID-19 and smallpox virus. While we were able to eliminate smallpox virus, we may not be able to do the same with COVID-19. It is suggested that while we are unable to get rid of COVID-19, we will eventually be able to live with it, and more importantly, in time the virus will no longer have the same devastating effect on the health and wellbeing of so many people around the world.
An article published back in August 2019, before COVID-19 even appeared provides us with some great insight into why it is important to learn from past pandemics. Gunderman states that flu epidemics will remain an annual feature of the rhythm of human life and as a society we should learn from the pandemics of the past and learn how to mitigate such disasters in the future. How interesting that this was only published less than seven months before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
A link to this interesting article can be found here: https://www.healthline.com/health/1918-flu-pandemic-facts
Now I keep going on and on, I will end this blog. And yes, in next week’s blog, I will share with you the important role that essential oils, herbal medicine and the role other integrative considerations can play in supporting a healthy immune system and providing adjuvant support for individuals with symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have tested positive to COVID-19.
Please take good care,
1. Islam MS et al. COVID-19 vaccine rumors and conspiracy theories: the need for cognitive inoculation against misinformation to improve vaccine adherence. PLoS ONE, 2021;16(5):e0251605. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251605
2. Thomas L. Natural vs. vaccine-induced COVID-19 immunity. Downloaded on 27 Aug 2021 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210810/Natural-vs-vaccine-induced-COVID-19-immunity.aspx
3. Henry D et al. Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines: findings from real world studies. The Medical Journal of Australia, Pre-print, 20 May 2021.
4. Evans SJW et al. Vaccine effectiveness studies in the field. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2021;385(7):650-651. doi: 10.1056/NEJMe2110605