But Will the Vaccine Be Safe?


by Beth Guidry Hoffman

For those in the vaccine movement broadcasting one-size-does-not-fit-all, that message resonates now more than ever with recent adverse reactions occurring as the COVID-19 vaccines roll out.

There was fanfare in the media at the prospect of an end to the pandemic, with approval given to Pfizer’s RNA vaccine. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “I have looked at the process; I’ve looked at the data; I’m convinced this is safe and effective.”

However, two healthcare workers in Alaska suffered allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. A middle-aged woman with no history of allergies had an anaphylactic reaction 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine. Two health care workers in the UK experienced similar reactions. Not seen in Pfizer’s clinical trial, these reactions occurred as the vaccine was being rolled out in December. Pfizer has said people with a history of severe adverse allergic reactions to vaccines … were excluded from their late-stage trials.

Britain’s medicine regulator said, “Anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.” The suspect ingredient, “polyethylene glycol, or PEG, helps stabilize the shot and is not in other types of vaccines.” 1

Chief scientist for the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS), Dr. Moncef Slaoui, “confirmed … 10-15 percent of the volunteers who participated in clinical trials reported significantly noticeable side effects.” A more serious reaction happened in the case of a 44-year-old male, who compared his experience to “full-on COVID-like symptoms.” He sat by the phone all night thinking, “Should I call 911?” A woman in her 50s suffered a migraine, leaving her exhausted and struggling to focus. She said: “The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day.” Both received Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine, the second vaccine to be approved.

Arnold Monto, MD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, notes, “these rates of severe reactions are higher than what the public is used to. [More] than is ordinarily seen with most flu vaccines, even the high dose ones.”2

Generally, only people determined to be healthy are accepted for vaccine clinical trials. In the population at large, “with millions getting vaccinated some people will inevitably get sick.” Some with “rare, but serious adverse effects.” (WSJ, “Charting a Path to the Pandemic’s End” 12/ 5-6/20.) One such rare reaction–although reported in a clinical trial in India–happened with the vaccine Covishield, from AstraZeneca and Oxford University. A 40-year-old male spent eight days in an ICU after he “developed acute encephalopathy (brain dysfunction) within 10 days of vaccination.” 3

With RNA vaccines using technology never before used in a vaccine, Dr. Slaoui indicated: “There is no way to know what longer-term side effects such as autoimmune diseases may be.” “Very long-term safety of the vaccines is not yet understood,” he said. Once the trials are completed, researchers will continue to monitor participants in the real world for years after. 2

For those concerned the vaccine may be mandated, this could prove to be difficult.

Legal expert Alan Dershowitz emphasizes, “as long as the vaccine is safe and effective” (and that is crucially important, he states) … “the state would have the power to … compel vaccination.”4 Although perhaps safe for many, vulnerable individuals stand to be adversely affected. Plus, there appears to be confusion about whether immunocompromised individuals are safe to receive the shot. According to the Wall Street Journal, adults with high-risk medical conditions are the third highest priority to receive the vaccine, after the first group of health care workers and long-term care facility residents (WSJ 12/12-13/20). The second group will include essential workers such as police, firefighters, teachers, grocery store workers, and those over 75 (WSJ 12/20/20).

However, The Highwire reports that in Pfizer’s experimental vaccine data submitted to the FDA, “there are … insufficient data to make conclusions about the safety of the vaccine in subpopulations such as children less than 16 … [those] pregnant and lactating … and immunocompromised individuals.” 5

Lastly, there’s the issue of compensation if someone is injured. “The recourse for the people that get [COVID-19 vaccines] initially is not going to be great if they are harmed… ,” said Renée Gentry, director of the Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic at Georgetown University Law School. “The countermeasures compensation program is effectively a right to file and lose” (WSJ, 10/12/20).

Vaccine manufacturers are exempt from liability when their products harm people during normal times. In this pandemic, “an amendment to the PREP Act, updated in April, stipulates companies ‘cannot be sued for money damages in court over injuries caused by a medical countermeasures for Covid-19.’ ” 6







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