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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.


SPONSORED

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.


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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No Good Billionaires—Myth 3: Those Foundations Do a Lot of Good

Billionaires' private charities help them push personal agendas on the world—when they aren't just dodging taxes.

Don't you just love stories about people giving back?

While there's a lot of greed out there, some of the richest people on Earth realize how lucky they are and decide to share the wealth.

Just look at Jeff Bezos of Amazon and his decision to donate $100 million to food banks. It's a lot more than you and I (and several large families put together) will ever give to charity… Because it's more than we'll earn in our entire lifetimes.

It's more than you could fit in the trunk of your car in stacks of $100 bills! If you put it all in a basic savings account, you and me and those several families could all easily live off the interest alone!

Actually, when you think about it like that, it's kind of more money than any one person could ever need or even spend on anything normal...

Sure, if you want to travel the world in a luxury blimp, eating meals out of the skulls of dead celebrities, you could spend it all pretty easily. But if you're just trying to have a happy, comfortable life, $100 million isn't much better than an $80,000 salary.

Fixing the World's Problems

So why doesn't any of these mega-billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Elon Musk, or any one of the Walmart Waltons just give away their riches and go down in history as the person who ended world hunger? At an estimated cost of $20 billion a year, each of them could afford to end homelessness in America for between two and eight years.

They could even keep a few car trunks stuffed with hundreds so they could continue living like kings and hunting olympic athletes for sport. And imagine how much all those people could improve their lives if they had stable places to live and sleep.

It must not be that simple... Because if private greed was the only thing standing in the way of transformational change, governments could have collected all that wealth with some steep taxes and made the world a better place. There has to be some reasonable explanation for why these people don't just give it all away…

In this series we are looking at a number of prominent myths around philanthropy, including the notions that billionaires' "wealth" is substantially different than money, and that they are important patrons of the arts.

Previously we debunked the ideas that charity is better than "government handouts" and that it's even possible for billionaires to be generous, but today we'll look at the question of whether their private charitable foundations are powerful forces for good.

Myth: Those foundations do a lot of good though

The Myth: They might not be as good as well-funded government programs, but in the absence of the political will to raise taxes and establish those kinds of programs, the private charitable foundations of billionaires do a lot of good and are a great option for helping people in need.

Why It's Wrong: There's no doubt that some of those foundations have truly helped people in significant, life-changing ways. But, generally speaking, the stated charitable missions of these organizations are secondary to their function as tax havens.

Adam Ruins Everything - Why Billionaire Philanthropy is Not So Selfless | truTV www.youtube.com

In the past these organizations were a useful way for anyone lucky enough to be leaving assets in excess of ~$600,000 to their loved ones to avoid the estate tax. These days the estate tax has been gutted to the benefit of no one who has ever earned anything, and the amount has been pushed above $11,000,000. But there are plenty of people who still want that loophole or enjoy the prestige that private charitable foundations provide them.

Often private LLCs directly controlled by the billionaire funders, these foundations allow for income not only to evade income tax, while earning the donor a tax deduction on top of that. Of course in order to qualify for these benefits, the organization must meet the requirements of a non-profit, but the standards aren't exactly strict.

What Billionaires Want

Not only can the organization focus only on the issues that matter most to a person with ungodly amounts of money (a cure for all the papercuts they get from flipping through their stacks?), they only need to spend 5% of their investment assets annually. And they could choose to spend that amount on administrative costs and salary for the friends/lackeys they've chosen to run them.

You basically have to be as blatantly self-serving and corrupt as Donald Trump—spending other people's money to buy a portrait of himself—to come under any real scrutiny, and even then it's only if you're running for president...

On top of that, these foundations are free to grow their assets through investments—even in for-profit industries that work in diametric opposition to the foundations' stated goals. Consider the fact that—until Bill Gates was publicly shamed into divesting—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was heavily invested in fossil fuel companies.

Apart from their horrifying impact on climate change, these companies are among the worst offenders on Earth in terms of polluting fresh water resources. If only there was a charitable foundation that was focused on preserving and cleaning water supplies in developing countries. Like, for instance, the WASH program…of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Worse still, many so-called charitable donations end up going to think tanks, university branches, and political advocacy groups that fund and promote research and policy initiatives that support the interests of the wealthy.

The effect is to amplify ideas that ultra-wealthy already believe and what they want to be true. If you were a researcher who had reason to believe that increasing the top marginal tax rate to 90% could solve all of our nation's most pressing problems, you would struggle to get your research funded. But if you managed to complete it and get it published, there would immediately be 10 well funded studies seeking to disprove it.

The Bill Gates Approach to "Fixing" Education

Look again at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Not only does it give a lot of money to so-called good causes that primarily serve the wealthy, but even when the foundation is focused on trying to do actual good they often end up hurting more than they help.

Among its primary focuses has been revamping America's public school systems, which has involved billions of dollars being spent on various initiatives to change the way teachers are trained, the way children are taught, and the way schools themselves are organized—all with an emphasis on data collection and standardized testing.

Among the complaints against how the Foundation operates is the fact that its model of reform and success involves little input from educators and that Bill Gates himself essentially steers the ship with little resistance from within the organization. And the results have been...less than stellar.

Obviously the goal of improving the education system for everyone is admirable, but the allure of Gates' money and his supposed genius has tempted state and local governments to match his initiatives with a lot of money of their own.

And time after time those initiatives have been abandoned as soon as they don't yield the results Gates was looking for—leaving schools and municipalities on the hook for cleaning up the mess without that financial backing.

Common core protest

From Common Core to smaller schools to creepy data mining, Gates' ideas have faltered or crumbled when they meet with the real world, and they've ended up costing the communities they "serve" a lot more than they've ever cost him. At this point you could argue that the biggest accomplishment the foundation has achieved is rehabilitating Bill Gates' predatory reputation.

But he is way too rich to be ashamed of his failures. So Bill Gates just keeps going and pushes his narrow-minded views on education even harder. These days he's helping New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with the idea that we don't even need classrooms

Stricter Standards for "Charity"

So while claims that Bill Gates is using vaccines to spread the mark of the beast and practice eugenics are a bit wild, the work of these private charities definitely deserve more scrutiny.

Basically, even when these private foundations aren't glorified tax shelters, they're still awful. As well-intentioned as some billionaires might be, they are too powerful, too used to getting their way, and too detached from real life to actually be much use in helping people.

In other words, we need to make the standards for these foundations far stricter—to make sure they're doing some actual good in exchange for their tax evasion—and once we've done that, we need to tax the hell out of all the billionaires' money so they remember what it's like to be human.

And if you're thinking that we can't do that—because all that wealth is tied up in investments—we'll have to cover that myth in the next installment.