Hello, hi. Welcome back guys.
New year, new vibes but same Quite Frankly. The content I make is always changing and in this new year, I’d love to touch on topics that I myself continue to learn and be educated on. Case in point – the CV19 vaccine. That’s the new thing that followed us into 2021, understandably as the cases continue to rise and ya’ll continue to go to parties (we ain’t never making it out the trenches).
Being that I work in the healthcare sector, I’ve been offered the first dose of the vaccine and I’m shooketh. It’s not by force, no one is going to strap me down but I’d like to make an informed decision in this case. This also begs the question of why this case is so different. I’ve grown up pro-vaccine and in a very pro-vaccine household (my mum’s a nurse, she doesn’t play that game) so why is this specific vaccine worrying me? I’ve taken all the routine vaccines so what’s up?
One of my fears included the development of the vaccine “seeming rushed” and the wider community not knowing the long term effects e.g on fertility, which I can imagine is a cause of scepticism for some women. Other than those two things, I say inject me. I’ve truly had enough and want to be gallivanting with the best of them. However, these two things are truly important so I decided to sit down, crack open the books and do some research.
Shoutout Google Scholar, The Catalyst in Me blog and the NHS website – I like easily accessible information. I shouldn’t have to climb over the mountains and valleys to get some research findings. Naturally, let’s preface this by saying I am not, and will never claim to be an expert. These are just things I feel I wanted to know in order to make an informed decision. In this post, I’m going to cover how the vaccine developed so quickly, and the worries I also have about potential adverse side effects.
To bring everyone up to speed – the UK has approved two vaccines; the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. Both require two doses, with both doses (according to research) giving the best protection.
The speed at which the vaccine popped up aligns with the present conspiracy theory that the government generated this disease. Let’s debunk that one first. According to Oxford, research had already been working towards speeding up the process of creating vaccines. With diseases that can wipe out thousands, science no longer has the 10 years waiting time to develop a vaccine. That being said, scientists utilised a common cold virus for chimps and engineered it to become “the building block for future vaccines”. In addition to this, previous incidences of coronavirus relatives have popped up on the radar in the last 20 years. The Sars coronavirus in 2002 and the Mers coronavirus in 2012 meant that scientists were not completely in the dark. When COVID hit, they had a slight headstart.
In addition, money! Money hinders a lot of the research process but given the gravity of the situation, countries were providing funding. Everyone recognised this wasn’t something that was going away and ensured they funded this global issue. Oxford also make it a point to identify that a lot of the time, research processes are long for no other reason than admin issues so that’s something to note.
Both vaccines report limited investigated fertility and don’t really know much of the effects on pregnant women. As it stands, both have studied animal mating and fertility with Pfizer stating “no vaccine-related effects on female fertility, pregnancy, or embryo-foetal or offspring development“, and Oxford similarly explaining that “preliminary animal studies do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to pregnancy, embryofetal development, parturition or post-natal development”.
Oxford makes a point to clarify that they are yet to complete definitive animal studies. They also remain unsure of how relevant such animal studies are to investigating human risk with the COVID vaccines- consistent with all animal research if we’re honest. This means that the effects on fertility? Unfortunately, we just don’t know enough about. Both pharmaceuticals do report some adverse side effects but these have been found to be common with many vaccines. The ones that were most reported with the Oxford vaccine included injection site tenderness, injection site pain, headache, fatigue, chills and nausea to name a few. It’s important to note that most of these adverse reactions “were mild to moderate in severity and usually resolved within a few days of vaccination“. From this side – it seems to be a regular, degular vaccine.
That being said, I need to know more about the long-term effects on women. There may have been vaccines in the past that we also had no clue on how they would affect the women’s body. However, I’m at an age now where I’m able to check for these things ( in comparison to 10 year old me that was just hoping to the GP and not questioning anything they injected me with). I say all this to say, I’m going to wait but once I have more information? Hook me up. The speed in which this has happened is no longer a worry, and having read the guidelines I’m reassured that this vaccine is not going to make me grow 6 limbs.
Let’s talk stats quickly.
According to Professor Stephen Evans from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it is necessary for “about 80-90% of the population to have immunity” before the government no longer views Covid-19 as a threat. In comparison to this, research by KCL (hey, alma mater) and Ipsos MORI found that 53% of the population of the UK would be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine when it became available. To round up – there’s a slight problem.
References // Useful Links
Ultimately, we have a decision to make. However, I don’t think anyone needs to apply pressure just yet. Pick up where I left off and read up more on things that are causing hesitancy. This was just the bare minimum and naturally, there are more resources out there. Make an informed decision, and from there we move.
sending love and see ya’ll in the next one,