Could we have had vaccinations against COVID-19 sooner, or given what we know now, taken more time to discover the rare side-effects we only know of now, before mandating the shots for all?
In the book The Vaccine: Inside the Race to Conquer the COVID-19 Pandemic by Joe Miller, based on the speed of the development and the methods used, I found out that it might have been possible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine out to the public in as little as 88 days from its conception. Based on the 100 Days Mission report created at the 2021 G7 conference, given the decisions the BioNTech team made in order to bring their vaccine to market as quickly as possible, and the timeline they were able to follow, we could have had the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine out to the public as early as April 9, 2020, within the second iteration of “two weeks to slow the curve.”
Historically, it takes two to five years to develop a vaccine, and it can take up to ten years. So when most of the world declared the COVID-19 pandemic so severe and dangerous that we had to shut down most economic and social activities, to think that we could be trapped in lockdowns for up to five years only added to the misery.
This development time involves finding and testing a vaccine that is effective enough against the disease it is fighting to be worth testing, and then testing it in round after round, looking to improve the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety in each round. When enough testing results in a vaccine that is good enough for the public, according to health authorities, like the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA), only then is it finally made available.
But even this long development cycle doesn’t guarantee a vaccine that is safe for everyone. In the book, Richard Hatchett, the CEO of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) says “the most common side effects were picked up in the initial safety and immunogenicity studies, while the rare events were detected only through careful pharmacovigilance after the vaccines were released.” The main information the enormous human studies provided, he argues, was whether the vaccines were effective, “and we can determine a vaccine’s effectiveness after it has been released – we do this every year for influenza.” [emphasis mine]
This would indicate the “vaccine deniers” who were skeptical about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine were, indeed, correct. Now, in late 2022, two years after the vaccine was first released to the public, we know several things we were not informed about – such as that the vaccine needs to be re-administered every six months (and updated for new strains), the efficacy rate of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine can be as low as 44%, many of those vaccinated still continue to get COVID-19, and the rates of vaccine-related heart inflammations and heart attacks are so high in younger men that the CDC revised its vaccination guidance to say the initial series of shots should be 8 weeks apart in men under 40.
For those of us, like me, who were ready to do anything in order to be free of zealous mandates, cancellations, and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, having any way out of the nightmare would have had me in line for such a shot. If it did anything at all, it would have eased the societal and economic pressure, and the riots and chaos that started in May and continued through 2020 would have been far less likely.
For those who would rather risk catching the disease itself, which was in no way as deadly as had been implied for those who are young and/or healthy, knowing that the vaccines were released without factors and risks we are only being informed about now, mandated vaccinations were grotesque. As of November 24, 2022 the CDC conservatively admitted to having 697 verified cases of myocarditis or pericarditis (heart inflammation and heart attacks) associated with the COVID-19 vaccines, with many more cases under review. Certainly those 697 people who would rather have taken the risk of catching COVID-19 instead of taking the vaccine. And other countries, like Denmark, are saying the vaccinations aren’t necessary at all for anyone under 50.