Your Best Shot

Confused and baffled by the news reports that constantly change the COVID story. Me too, the more I hear, the more hesitant and reluctant I become. The COVID vaccines were not developed overnight. So they aren’t just some ‘stab in the dark.’ The road to finding the vaccines was an arduous and bumpy one. We have vaccines now that work, that are healthy inoculations, and that are safe.

Don’t be confused by the news reports that seem to bounce from one view to another about vaccine efficacy and vaccine safety. The vaccines took a long time to be developed and as with any medication, there are side effects but the risks are very small according to the health professionals.

Ask your doctor to advise you in regard to the benefits and safety of getting “your best shot.”

Hit Me with Your Best Shot
Why Don’t you Hit Me
With Your best Shot
Fire Away ©Eddie Schwartz

If you loved the 80s, you would remember Pat Benatar’s hit “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Why use these lyrics? Well, a month ago, I had my first shot of the Covid vaccine. I must say it felt a bit liberating. Perhaps life may become normal real soon. Before going on – I must give kudos to Durham Region Health Department.  It was easy to book a time online. Arrival on the day there were lines but in and out in 40 minutes, including a 15-minute wait after receiving the vaccination to ensure you have no side effects. Before leaving, I got a date for my second shot. Well done to all involved.

Vaccine skepticism
From media reports, it seems we have people who are skeptical of the vaccine. Consider conspiracy theories that have circulated about potential vaccines, such as the fear that the injection will contain surveillance microchips; the vaccine was developed so fast something must be wrong with it. First, Facebook knows more about you than any vaccine. Many people are checking their heritage by sending DNA to for-profit companies. As for the speed in development, well, it was longer than you think.

One of the problems with vaccines is the delivery system, so your body will not reject or make you ill. How did Pfizer and Moderna get a vaccine so fast? We must go back some thirty years.

‘Frankenstein phobia’
Scientist Katalin Karikó struggled for years to convince colleagues that messenger RNA could have disease-fighting applications in humans. Karikó spent the 1990s collecting rejections. Her work, attempting to harness the power of mRNA to fight disease, was too far-fetched for government grants, corporate funding, and even support from her own colleagues.

“Every night I was working: grant, grant, grant,” Karikó remembered, referring to her efforts to obtain funding. “And it came back always no, no, no.” By 1995, after six years on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, Karikó got demoted. She had been on the path to full professorship, but with no money coming in to support her work on mRNA, her bosses saw no point in pressing on. She was back to the lower rungs of the scientific academy. Kariko felt she was right, and with time, better experiments came together. After a decade of trial and error, Karikó and her longtime collaborator at Penn — Drew Weissman, an immunologist with a medical degree and Ph.D. from Boston University — discovered a remedy for mRNA’s Achilles’ heel.

That discovery, described in a series of scientific papers starting in 2005, largely flew under the radar at first. Still, it offered absolution to the mRNA researchers who had kept the faith during the technology’s lean years. And it was the starter pistol for the vaccine sprint to come.

So, you see, the COVID-19 vaccines from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna rely on this technology. They have a success rate of being 90% effective.

Now you know somebody did not develop these vaccines as fast as you think. And if there are microchips in the vaccine, someone somewhere is watching me write this article.

Get your best shot
When it’s your turn, do your community a favour and sign up. Let the vaccinators hit you with their best shot.

Source: Michael McFarland


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