COVID-19 vaccine choice. Should vaccines be a choice or does vaccine choice put people at harm?
By Nicole Johnson
Special to www.JenniferMargulis.net
As the COVID-19 vaccines make their way to the general population, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 vaccine, which may be a blessing for many people, may not be for everyone.
In our excitement to get back to normal, we should not rush to mandate or require COVID-19 vaccination. I believe that we should all maintain the freedom to make the best medical decisions for ourselves and our families. We need to make medical decisions based on our own individual health and risks. This is the case for any other medical treatment or intervention. Shouldn’t it also be the case for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Why wouldn’t you want a COVID-19 vaccine?
I hope you will consider some of the reasons a person might not want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccines have been fast-tracked and offered for emergency use. So we’re still learning about the short-term side effects, which include a rare and often deadly blood disorder called thrombocytopenia as well as anaphylactic shock and at least one life-threatening skin condition. We won’t know the long-term side effects for some time. We also don’t yet know if a vaccine recipient can still contract and spread the virus. And we don’t know how pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, or medically fragile people will handle the vaccine.
We also don’t know all the potentially severe side effects of the vaccine or who’s at risk for them. We do know there have been cases of anaphylaxis after receipt of the COVID19 vaccine – but we are not sure who is susceptible to this type of reaction.
No COVID-19 vaccine liability
While vaccine injury may seem rare, many people are unaware of injuries following vaccination because vaccine manufacturers are exempt from liability for injuries. This means you can’t sue them. There is no discovery. And documents and settlement awards from these proceedings are private and often not disclosed to the public.
Few Americans are familiar with our National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This program has paid out $4.5 billion to date for injuries from vaccines. NVICP, however, does not encompass the COVID-19 vaccines. But you still cannot sue the makers of COVID-19 vaccines in court. Why not? Because these “emergency use” vaccines are covered under the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, which is another relatively unknown government program that rarely makes awards and limits payments to injured parties. So if there’s a hot lot of a COVID-19 vaccine, if there’s a fault in the manufacturing process, or an ingredient that is causing harm, it doesn’t matter. Vaccine makers will not be liable for any injuries from COVID19 vaccines. If the vaccine causes you or a loved one harm, compensation from the government is extremely unlikely.
VAERS and COVID-19 vaccine choice
Vaccine injuries are tracked by a public health surveillance system called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The CDC and the FDA co-manage VAERS. VAERS is a passive reporting system: it relies on individuals and healthcare workers to report their experiences. The system is designed to alert the CDC and the FDA to any unusual patterns of adverse events. As of January 29, there have been over 11,000 reports of adverse events from COVID-19 vaccines, including 501 deaths. Other adverse events include reports of headache, high fevers, nausea, pain in extremities, and tremors.
For many healthy people, children in particular, COVID-19 is extremely mild. Individuals should always have the right to weigh the risks and benefits of a medical intervention, especially with a fast-tracked, highly experimental vaccine.
I hope that we can be tolerant and understanding of others who may have different risks or concerns. Each of us must make the COVID-19 vaccine choice for ourselves or our families without discrimination or judgment from others.
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Nicole Johnson is a graduate of the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism. She earned her law degree from Samford University and worked as an attorney for ten years. Married to a doctor and the mother of two, she enjoys writing, trail running, and farm photography.
Thank you for this, Nicole. Here in the UK it seems only a matter of time before the division over masks spreads to division over vaccines (aka gene therapy).
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree that the division is coming over the vaccine issue. I don’t know any way out of this other than conversation – which is becoming increasingly difficult with media/social media censorship.
Lee Hammond says
Thanks for writing about this. Vaccines can be a divisive topic but money is flowing to stifle the discussion on most social media. Whereas my partner and I are in agreement, I can’t even talk about it to my own [trained as a nurse] sister!
In my work and social circles in México, I am pleasantly surprised how skeptical people are about the coming of the vaccines. While in theory, México has socialized medical care, in practice it is slow and cumbersome. I don’t think too many people are relying on vaccines to allow them to live and move freely. Like red lights and speed limits, Mexican people will find a way around them.
You say “We also don’t yet know if a vaccine recipient can still contract and spread the virus.”. I believe this is incorrect. It has been stated that you may still contract Covid-19, if exposed, and will possibly shed the virus, and may be an asymptomatic spreader.
That is of course an issue as the asymptomatic spread may increase, through the mechanism of virus suppression there will be an increased selection pressure, so that more viral variants may emerge.
The Pfizer and Moderna work through the spike protein and anti-body generation. The virus is made up of 29 protein types, and is mutating fast (several times per day). Natural immunity includes NK cells and antibody protection from many of virus proteins, not just one.
Pfizer is making plans and informing their investor that the plan to roll out boosters for the foreseeable future.
In a few interviews Pfizer have started to talk about the future. My understanding is that they plan to increase product prices (Pfizer says “the price of $20 was for the pandemic…that’s why we gave them such low price”), that it will be for a long duration with continuous need for boosters (Pfizer says “for the foreseeable future”).
From HBO about price: https://www.axios.com/pfizer-ceo-coronavirus-covid…
Video about “foreseeable future”: https://twitter.com/i/status/1371595466664636425
Rebecca Felix says
Hello my question is if the kidneys are level, would the vaccine be ok,cause now see seriously problems HEART, respiratory very hard to breathe. But diabetes is fully controlled already 1 month with NEW ISSUES.
Hello my question is if the kidneys are low level, would the vaccine be ok,cause now see seriously problems HEART, respiratory very hard to breathe. But diabetes is fully controlled already 1 month with NEW ISSUES.