Friends and family have told me, that after they get vaccinated, they won’t have to wear a mask or social distance in public anymore. They’ll be bulletproof. This misunderstanding of the new vaccine could not be more wrong and more dangerous.
You might think Trump pulled off a miracle by getting the Covid-19 vaccine developed in record time. Truth is, mRNA vaccine research has been in the works for a decade. It’s a novel vaccine never tried in real-world application before. It’s totally different from the flu vaccine, for example. The flu vaccine is made with dead or inactive parts of the flu virus and bio-produced in hens’ eggs. It stimulates the body’s immune system to create antibodies that will attack and destroy the flu virus, should such an invasion take place. This type of vaccine takes years to develop and get FDA approval. The Covid-19 vaccine, a synthetic created in the lab, does not destroy the virus. It stimulates the body to produce proteins that block the SARS-Cov-2 virus’s “spike” protein from entering a cell, thus denying it the opportunity to replicate and invade other cells. The vaccinated person does not get sick, in other words, s/he becomes asymptomatic. Unfortunately, the virus itself is not affected, leaving it to be expelled with exhaled breaths to infect other persons.
It’s estimated that 15 to 40% of infected persons are asymptomatic, and they are the largest contributors to the spread of the virus. Add to that number the people who’ve been vaccinated, and you have a huge population of virus spreaders, thus further endangering those who are vulnerable or those not vaccinated. It’s estimated that 50 to 60% of Americans will refuse to be vaccinated, either because of fear, mistrust, or Constitutional liberties. This unprotected population amplifies the need for everyone to wear masks and social distance until the virus is eliminated. If everyone were to get vaccinated, the virus will undergo attrition sooner, and then we can all get back to our normal lives.
The coming mRNA vaccines are not silver bullets. They’re extremely unstable and require sub-zero temperatures to keep them viable during shipping and storage. A virus-destroying vaccine may come years in the future, but in the meantime, we still need to protect each other.
And that’s my two oinks’ worth, my friends.