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3 Things You Should Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine

In all honesty, some level of skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine is warranted. As a country, we've never experienced a situation such as this. In recent history, there has never been a virus as deadly and contagious as COVID-19. Moreover, there has never been a vaccine developed at such a swift rate.

That's why we're here to break down all of the pros and cons of the COVID-19 vaccine to help you make the most informed decision. It's your health we're talking about, after all, it shouldn't be taken lightly.

1. It doesn't contain the actual virus

First off, let's discuss what's inside of the COVID-19 Vaccine. As it stands, all COVID-19 Vaccines that currently exist are messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades with a focus on other viruses such as the flu, rabies, and even Zika.

One benefit of mRNA vaccines is that scientists have the ability to apply a standardized mRNA "template" to new vaccines as new viruses are discovered. This means that scientists can tailor the mRNA vaccine to an individual virus to create vaccines at a rapid pace!

But how does it work? First off, mRNA vaccines contain strands of mRNA that function as a sort of instruction manual within the body. In the instance of COVID-19, these instructions tell the body how to create a fragment of the "spike protein" unique to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since mRNA encodes only for spike protein (which is a harmful protein found on the surface of the actual virus), the vaccine itself cannot cause a COVID-19 infection.

2. There are very few side effects if any, and the ones reported are extremely mild

Generally, any side effects reported as a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine were reactogenicity symptoms. This means that nearly all symptoms were mild to moderate and would dissipate after only a few days. These side effects include pain, swelling, and redness in the area where you are vaccinated (common for any shot), as well as chills, fatigue, and headaches which should also go away in a day or two. It's important to note that these side effects are more common after the second dose of the vaccine.

But what about the more severe side effects that have popped up in the news cycle? Each of these can be considered one-off occurrences as they are not above the rate expected in the general population. In fact, many of these reported side-effects are simply unrelated to the vaccine as these cases tend to pop up sporadically every single year. When comparing the rate of these cases over the last month to the same period last year, there is no data that suggests that these cases are statistically significant. As such, there is no scientific link between the COVID-19 vaccine and any of these harmful side-effects.

3. The development process was not rushed as it went through full regulatory and safety review

One of the biggest fears behind the COVID-19 vaccine comes from the rapid pace at which it was developed and tested in clinical trials. However, relative to previous vaccine R&D, the COVID-19 vaccine was actually developed at a controlled pace. Right from the get-go, several of the biggest pharmaceutical companies signed a pact that stated that corners wouldn't be cut in an effort to be first to market. But if we're being honest, people don't really trust Big Pharma companies, and for good reason. There's an extensive history of big Pharma cutting corners and exploiting others to make a profit.

The important thing to note here is that you don't necessarily have to trust Big Pharma to trust the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. First off, all results from clinical trials are available online and show comprehensive testing for each stage of the development process. In reality, the fast-tracking of the vaccine was the sole result of upfront financing provided by the federal government to ensure that no shortcuts were taken.

In essence, the government paid for vaccines to be mass-produced without knowing whether or not they worked. While this can be interpreted as a waste of funds, it also means that the time between final trials and the first delivery of a vaccine (which can often take months from production to distribution) was basically cut out of the equation. This accounts for why the vaccine was able to be developed, tested, manufactured, and distributed at an unparalleled rate.


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3 Things You Should Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine

In all honesty, some level of skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine is warranted. As a country, we've never experienced a situation such as this. In recent history, there has never been a virus as deadly and contagious as COVID-19. Moreover, there has never been a vaccine developed at such a swift rate.

That's why we're here to break down all of the pros and cons of the COVID-19 vaccine to help you make the most informed decision. It's your health we're talking about, after all, it shouldn't be taken lightly.

1. It doesn't contain the actual virus

First off, let's discuss what's inside of the COVID-19 Vaccine. As it stands, all COVID-19 Vaccines that currently exist are messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades with a focus on other viruses such as the flu, rabies, and even Zika.

One benefit of mRNA vaccines is that scientists have the ability to apply a standardized mRNA "template" to new vaccines as new viruses are discovered. This means that scientists can tailor the mRNA vaccine to an individual virus to create vaccines at a rapid pace!

But how does it work? First off, mRNA vaccines contain strands of mRNA that function as a sort of instruction manual within the body. In the instance of COVID-19, these instructions tell the body how to create a fragment of the "spike protein" unique to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since mRNA encodes only for spike protein (which is a harmful protein found on the surface of the actual virus), the vaccine itself cannot cause a COVID-19 infection.

2. There are very few side effects if any, and the ones reported are extremely mild

Generally, any side effects reported as a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine were reactogenicity symptoms. This means that nearly all symptoms were mild to moderate and would dissipate after only a few days. These side effects include pain, swelling, and redness in the area where you are vaccinated (common for any shot), as well as chills, fatigue, and headaches which should also go away in a day or two. It's important to note that these side effects are more common after the second dose of the vaccine.

But what about the more severe side effects that have popped up in the news cycle? Each of these can be considered one-off occurrences as they are not above the rate expected in the general population. In fact, many of these reported side-effects are simply unrelated to the vaccine as these cases tend to pop up sporadically every single year. When comparing the rate of these cases over the last month to the same period last year, there is no data that suggests that these cases are statistically significant. As such, there is no scientific link between the COVID-19 vaccine and any of these harmful side-effects.

3. The development process was not rushed as it went through full regulatory and safety review

One of the biggest fears behind the COVID-19 vaccine comes from the rapid pace at which it was developed and tested in clinical trials. However, relative to previous vaccine R&D, the COVID-19 vaccine was actually developed at a controlled pace. Right from the get-go, several of the biggest pharmaceutical companies signed a pact that stated that corners wouldn't be cut in an effort to be first to market. But if we're being honest, people don't really trust Big Pharma companies, and for good reason. There's an extensive history of big Pharma cutting corners and exploiting others to make a profit.

The important thing to note here is that you don't necessarily have to trust Big Pharma to trust the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. First off, all results from clinical trials are available online and show comprehensive testing for each stage of the development process. In reality, the fast-tracking of the vaccine was the sole result of upfront financing provided by the federal government to ensure that no shortcuts were taken.

In essence, the government paid for vaccines to be mass-produced without knowing whether or not they worked. While this can be interpreted as a waste of funds, it also means that the time between final trials and the first delivery of a vaccine (which can often take months from production to distribution) was basically cut out of the equation. This accounts for why the vaccine was able to be developed, tested, manufactured, and distributed at an unparalleled rate.


This Haunts Me: Dave Rubin's Bizarre Interviews with Larry King

This week, Larry King was hospitalized with COVID-19. Back in May, he argued with Dave Rubin about the necessity of lockdowns.

Update 1/23/2021: It was announced on Saturday that the 87-year-old broadcasting legend died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. No cause of death was given, but the timeline strongly suggests that COVID-19 was a contributing factor.

In response, Dave Rubin tweeted what would seem to be a heartfelt memorial to his "mentor" and "bonus grandfather," if not for the fact that Dave Rubin pushed for the lax policies that likely led to Larry King being exposed to COVID-19 in the first place. As such, we can only recall Larry's words: "David, that sounds ridiculous."

Update 1/5/2021: Larry King has been moved out of the ICU, and is reportedly breathing on his own in an LA hospital.

Larry King is a legend of broadcasting.

For more than six decades he has worked in radio and television, developing his signature interview style. His nightly CNN show Larry King Live ran for 25 years — into his late 70s. But even after it ended in 2010, King was far from ready to retire.

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Operation Warp Speed, while necessary, does not come without its concerns. While it is an amazing feat that pharmaceutical companies were able to facilitate the production of multiple vaccines within ten months (as opposed to five years), there are many consequences that many reveal themselves without long-term testing. Let's not forget that each of these pharmaceutical companies are competing with each other. They want to be the first to market with a vaccine, so what's stopping them from cutting corners in the process? Even in the short-term, four Pfizer vaccine patients developed Bell's palsy as a side effect, resulting in paralysis in half of their face.

Another strong argument against taking the COVID-19 vaccine is the possibility of losing our freedom—"medical tyranny," some call it. As we begin to reopen, what's to stop certain governors, the travel industry, or even private businesses from mandating that everyone show proof of vaccination? With Biden set to be inaugurated in January, who's to say that he won't instate a federal vaccine mandate?

Thomas Jefferson once said, "If the people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medication they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Freedom in this country is quickly dissipating and the quicker we give in, the quicker we let our government know that we are no longer willing to fight.

That being said, COVID-19 presents overwhelming challenges and must be dealt with accordingly. But we urge those considering the vaccine to think about the many serious risks that the vaccine may possess. Everyone wants to "get back to normal," but is this really the best way?

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Has The COVID-19 Vaccine Been Rolled Out Too Quickly?

On December 11th, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use for a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. While the vaccine is currently only available for front-line workers, the elderly, and those with auto-immune disorders, the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has spiked a conversation regarding its safety.

Vaccines are definitely a touchy subject. Just look at The Cutter Incident in 1955 where a polio vaccine ended up containing the live virus and caused an outbreak. What about the link between the swine flu vaccine and cases of Guillain-Barre? We often make fun of the anti-vaxxer sentiment, but in reality, much of it is warranted. Vaccines are much more complicated than we realize. That's why many Americans are skeptical of the lightning fast production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a recent survey by Pew Research, only 29% of American adults say they "definitely" plan to get a vaccine. But where does that leave the remaining 71% of the population? Similarly, in an AP-NORC poll in mid-May, fewer than 50 percent of Americans surveyed said they would commit to getting a coronavirus vaccine whenever it becomes available.

Operation Warp Speed, while necessary, does not come without its concerns. While it is an amazing feat that pharmaceutical companies were able to facilitate the production of multiple vaccines within ten months (as opposed to five years), there are many consequences that many reveal themselves without long-term testing. Let's not forget that each of these pharmaceutical companies are competing with each other. They want to be the first to market with a vaccine, so what's stopping them from cutting corners in the process? Even in the short-term, four Pfizer vaccine patients developed Bell's palsy as a side effect, resulting in paralysis in half of their face.

Another strong argument against taking the COVID-19 vaccine is the possibility of losing our freedom—"medical tyranny," some call it. As we begin to reopen, what's to stop certain governors, the travel industry, or even private businesses from mandating that everyone show proof of vaccination? With Biden set to be inaugurated in January, who's to say that he won't instate a federal vaccine mandate?

Thomas Jefferson once said, "If the people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medication they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Freedom in this country is quickly dissipating and the quicker we give in, the quicker we let our government know that we are no longer willing to fight.

That being said, COVID-19 presents overwhelming challenges and must be dealt with accordingly. But we urge those considering the vaccine to think about the many serious risks that the vaccine may possess. Everyone wants to "get back to normal," but is this really the best way?

Do you plan to get the COVID-19 Vaccine as soon as it is available to you?

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Is The COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

Last week, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved by the FDA for emergency use. Americans knew this day was going to come, but now that it's here, many are not sure how to react. Under Operation Warp Speed, the COVID-19 vaccine was developed and tested at an unprecedented pace, leaving many skeptical about it's safety. While national health experts such as Dr. Anthony Faucci has reassured the public about the diligence of all research and development, it's safe to say that many Americans are not convinced.

The anti-vaccine movement has only grown stronger in recent years. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) named vaccine hesitancy one of the top ten threats to global health. A growing vaccine hesitancy movement has contributed to decreasing vaccination rates in the US, especially among cloistered communities who are more vulnerable to misinformation campaigns.

However, skeptics of the COVID-19 vaccine aren't often an "anti-vaxxer," but just vaccine hesitant. What's the difference? The anti-vaxxer movement is largely misinformed by outdated studies that touted false claims about the side-effects of vaccines. The most well-known argument from this movement is that vaccines can cause autism, which has been extensively debunked since a bogus study linked the MMR vaccine to an autism diagnosis in 1998.

In this case, arguments against vaccines largely go against scientific evidence. With the vaccine-hesitant, however, are people who are reserved about being vaccinated, but are still open to being assured that the treatments are safe. According to a IPSOS Mori poll published earlier this year, only 53% of respondents said they were likely to take the vaccine. This means that many Americans are most likely hesitant towards a vaccine due to potential side effects that may result from the rushed development process.

Still, there are many strong science-backed arguments that reinforce the safety of the vaccine. For example, while it might appear that the vaccine was developed in record time, ongoing research behind mRNA vaccines have been studied for more than two decades. The recent application to the COVID-19 virus is the result of many years of testing and development.

Moreover, receiving the mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA or genetic makeup in any way. There is a fear that vaccines can interfere with human genetics, when in reality, this is unfounded as the vaccine is not able to reach the area of your cell where DNA is stored. Similarly, the vaccine will not give you COVID-19 as there is no live virus used. If you do get any side effect like fever or chills, it's simply a sign that your body is generating an immune response to the virus.

Other distrust in the vaccine is tied to a larger distrust in big pharma companies among the general public. Big pharma is not exactly one to be trusted between controversies such as the legacy of Martin Shkreli and the infamous opioid crisis. However, nine organizations have signed a pledge to only seek approval for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. It's obvious that these companies are desperately vying to be first to market with a vaccine, but they're also under intense scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration.

As the first vaccines are rolled out across the country, only time will tell how effective they are and what the potential side-effects may be. Still, we need to remember that this virus didn't just come out of nowhere. It is the result of an intensive and rigorous testing and development process that is predicated on accountability and trust. While fostering trust is no easy feat, it is the only way we can survive this public health crisis.

Do you plan to get the COVID-19 Vaccine as soon as it is available to you?

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

This is an extraordinary scientific achievement, but is it safe?

The average vaccine takes approximately 10 years to develop. There are currently two COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) that will likely be authorized and released to the public within a year of the discovery of the virus. How can a safe vaccine possibly be developed so fast?

These will be the fastest vaccines ever developed, by a margin of years. The next fastest vaccine ever approved for public use was the mumps vaccine, and that took 4 years.

Unfortunately, that speed has made a lot of people nervous. Will the vaccine be safe? Are they skipping steps? How is this process moving so fast?

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Let's Unpack This: Is Biden's New Website Hot or Am I Just Desperate?

Biden's new website is...nice.

It's been said many times: Leaving Trump behind feels like emerging from an abusive relationship, or perhaps renewing one's relationship with a former BFF (America) after she leaves her sh*tty man.

After all, Trump is a classic abuser. He gaslights, he lies, he cheats, and he is leaving behind an America with 200,000 people dead and more dying every day. He never admits his mistakes, creating a vicious cycle wherein he does something atrocious, gets a tan, and then shows up smiling with flowers (or in his case, a last-minute attempt to curry favor with the Black community by befriending several aging rappers).

Many Americans are still under his spell, and there's not much a lot of us can do about it. People in abusive relationships are often in denial about what's happening to them, and they often won't leave until they decide to. Shaming someone in an abusive relationship is rarely an effective way to get them out of it, as they've likely already been shamed many times.

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Follow the Science - Accepting The Temporary During COVID-19

And how do we apply the principle of "the temporary" not only to science but to our daily lives?

On a daily basis, we hear that we should "follow the science" with regard to COVID-19. What does that mean in the context of COVID, exactly? Moreover, based on humanity's lived experience of "following the science" what does that mean in general?

By definition, "science" consists of establishing and testing falsifiable hypotheses. Once tested, a hypothesis becomes established as fact until some new element of the testing environment finds it wanting in some respect.

As a result, scientists - or, more likely, a lonely iconoclastic scientist - test a new hypothesis that refines, or even explodes, the previous hypothesis resulting in a new hypothesis. That new hypothesis becomes the latest established fact and subsequent generations marvel at their benighted ancestors who accepted the previous hypothesis.

In other words, "following the science" means accepting the temporary positions of constantly evolving human knowledge. Such knowledge has been historically disproven when more refined measurement, better information, or a genius insight comes along. Given the shortening interval required to double the total sum of human knowledge, these positions become ever more temporary.

In terms of the development of geocentric astronomy, consider the millennium that passed from the ancients to Ptolemy. A mere 500 years passed before Copernicus revolutionized the field with heliocentrism. Only 200 years elapsed before Newton elucidated the laws of motion and gravitation.

True, it was the same 200-year interval that lapsed before Einstein's quantum leap to his theory of relativity. But less than 30 years later Fr. Lemaitre posited the Big Bang theory. Since then our knowledge of physics has evolved at such a dizzying pace that every few years there are groundbreaking discoveries that change our conception (or at least scientists' conceptions) of the universe.

Here's the point: when we "follow the science" we are correct for increasingly short intervals of time. This is because we are continually learning that fundamental elements of our understanding are wrong, or woefully incomplete.

Systems we use to describe the world have gaping holes that render a system such as geo-centrism obsolete with the introduction of heliocentrism. It was inevitable that heliocentrism would be usurped by the concept of an infinite ever-expanding universe - revealing our previous understanding to be at a preschool level compared to a doctoral program.

Following the science has long been the refuge of totalitarians. How did White Supremacists in the antebellum South justify their critical race theory? With science - carefully reasoned studies and tracts that they claimed to demonstrate the genetic inferiority of Blacks.

How did the Nazi party justify its version of critical race theory? With science - carefully controlled experiments on supposed genetic deficient populations carried out by the likes of Mengele.

How did the 20th-century Marxists justify wiping out millions in the Ukraine, the Cultural Revolution, or the Killing Fields - just to name a few? With science - as they touted the revealed truth of Social Science that requires the inevitability of class struggle.

Galileo on trial defending science

Even the Catholic Church - a supposed "enemy of science" - actually suppressed Galileo in the name of science. The real charge against him was not disagreement with his theories, but that he presented the theories as fact in the face of established science at the time.

Pick your bugaboo authoritarian regime at random and you'll find that each and every one bases its authority on "science".

So, let's bring this back to COVID.

The very same authorities have told us to "follow the science" all along. Not surprisingly, that science is constantly changing. COVID seemed nothing more than a nuisance until it turned into an existential threat to humanity that required shutting down our economy.

That shutdown was supposed to be two weeks so that we could flatten the curve. But then it turned into the oxymoron of eradicating an unstoppable, communicable virus.

Wearing masks was unnecessary until it turned out to be necessary. The virus wasn't transmitted person-to-person until we realized it was transmitted person-to-person.

The Swedish approach to minimizing economic lockdown was a grossly negligent mistake that put lives at risk. But then we realized that lockdowns themselves caused more human harm and suffering than the actual virus. This goes on and on, with breathless anxiety-inducing instructions as to what we should do as responsible citizens.

If we give this a charitable reading, we can assume people are acting in good faith who realize that their "science" changes rapidly as human knowledge of COVID expands. If true, then we should take their revealed science with a healthy dose of salt and wait for it to change in short order.

If we give it a less than charitable reading, then we can assume that this is an agenda propagated by authoritarians seeking power. In an election year during which so much power is at stake, this notion isn't at all far-fetched.

As for me, I go back to simple scientific discussions about diet. During my lifetime I've seen amusing swings in scientific opinion in this regard.

Are eggs good or bad for you? Sometimes eggs have been viewed as a death sentence by cholesterol consumption - guaranteed to give you a heart attack. At other times, eggs have been touted as an essential part of your diet that promotes brain health.

Is red meat good or bad for you? Sometimes red meat lurks as a killer. At other times red meat leads the way to weight loss and energy.

As it happens, I like both eggs and red meat. Indeed, I find myself to be more energetic, happier, and more productive when I include both in my diet. Others may disagree based on a different lived experience. Fine by me, but I suspect a scientist won't convince either one of us one way or the other. After all, we have our actual experience.

So, when people tell you to "follow the science" my recommendation would be to study this rapidly changing and evolving body of knowledge and get to understand what science actually means.

Further, I'd suggest that you question the agenda of anyone who presents "science" as a settled matter that only supports their own conclusions.

Finally, I'd suggest that the practicality of your own lived experience counts for much more than esoteric theory. After all, whether explained by Ptolemy, Copernicus, Newton, or Einstein, we find our feet firmly on the ground.

Margaret Caliente is a professional athlete turned internet entrepreneur and Manhattan-based journalist.

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