Considering the Covid-19 Vaccine

The realms of natural health interest typically contain a fair amount of folks who, for a variety of reasons, are wary of vaccines, opposed to mass vaccination, and/or in general just retain a fair amount of skepticism towards the medical “establishment” as it were. You don’t work in this field as long as I have without hearing plenty of people’s horror story experiences of misdiagnosis and/or mistreatment that left them with a scar of trauma from the conventional medical system. It breaks my heart every time, and it certainly points strongly to where and how our system needs improving.

However, I will preface this, before you read any further, by stating that I am not Anti-vaccine or opposed to vaccination protocols out right. Nor am I “against” conventional medical care as a rule. Science and history have both proven there is a time and a place for different sorts of medical interventions if it means reducing over-all suffering and casualties. Indeed, if it were not for continued experimentation and advancements within biological and medical science then it is likely that ritual slaughter offerings, bloodletting and leech’s could have continued as a “reasonable” basis to “medicine”.
That being said, I’m also not one to merrily go along with something simply because an ‘authority’ told me to do so. I always seek reason and context and understanding to make an educated choice for myself, especially if it has to do with my own body. And there are plenty of reasons to maintain healthy skepticism when we live in a country with a for-profit medical system.

But moving on with a few more thoughts…
(And note, these are just expressly my thoughts, based on my own limited deductions, and are no substitute for professional medical advice!)

So what about the Covid-19 vaccine?

For anyone with pressing concerns and questions needing answered succinctly, in fairly approachable and understandable language, without any obvious political or monetary bias or sounding terribly patronizing – I recommend everyone start by reading this article shared by the University of Michigan. I found that it covers a lot of ground as an FAQ breakdown of myth, misunderstandings, and concerns surrounding the new Coronavirus vaccines, while being grounded in straight forward science. I’m going to avoid reinventing the wheel in writing, so to speak, as they’ve already put together a fairly great article in my opinion, which has consolidated plenty of info that I don’t need to bother trying to paraphrase here.

“Herd Immunity” – yes, it is a thing. In the wilds of nature (you can picture early cave-humans living along side other wild beasts not so unlike them at the time) diseases run their course. This is how it has been since the dawn of life on the planet. The weakest among a population are the most susceptible to being hard hit by whatever the offending pathogen. While others are strong enough that they barely show a symptom, or some get sick but recover and hopefully pass this newfound strength and adaptability to their future generations in some capacity, and still some may luck out and somehow already be naturally immune. But some will die as part of this whole unfolding process.
This cycle generally gets regarded a bit differently when we may be referring to, say, a detrimental fungal spread affecting a plant species, or a parasitic mite attacking some bird population and so forth. On the one hand, it is typically easier to distance our level of care and concern the farther away something is from actually impacting us personally. On the other hand, there may be biologists, conservationists, farmers – and whomever else has a stake in the effected – feeling inclined to combat the offending pathogen in order to try and protect the host species and reduce its over all casualty. They might thus employ scientifically discovered and backed means to treat the affected population. Why then should treatment of our fellow species, in the wake of something impacting us on a global scale no less, be any different? The point is, we don’t typically go around wantonly leaving other things to perish when/if it is actually within our capacity, and certainly if its in our interests, to at least TRY and do something about it.

Here’s the thing, nature’s version of “herd immunity”, when left to its own devices, at best it still causes a lot of casualties, and at worst it doesn’t even work. Sometimes entire populations will still succumb and be wiped out due to a biological failure to adapt to a harmful pathogen, or due to said pathogen’s faster adaptation that circumvents any progress the invaded species’ immunity attempts to deliver. If scientific advancements in medicine and human progress are worth anything, if we have learned anything over the centuries, then the hope is that we learn ways to mitigate biological disasters if we can, try to out-smart them, and try to render them a total non-issue. Essentially, life saving surgeries and medications, including vaccines, are an attempt to step in and control how something such as “herd immunity” operates, and to be honest it all throws the “survival of the fittest” notion right out the door. Technically one could argue that any and all practices of medicine (holistic or not) and emergency interventions are not “natural”, because they are all means by which we interject in “nature taking it s course”, and try to dictate whatever process is unfolding with our bodies. But is there anyone among us who’d forgo a tourniquet if our limb accidentally got chopped off and we were bleeding out?

Or here’s a different hypothetical scenario for illustration…
Would you rather hear a medical professional say to you something along the lines of, “Sorry, but your grandparent/parent/premature-baby is weak. We must let nature take its course, even if that means weeding out the weak ones among us.” Then they sit back and do nothing at all to help your loved one’s fight for survival?
Or, would you rather hear them say something like, “We’re sorry your grandparent/parent/preemie is ill, struggling, and highly at risk. We promise we will do all we know to do in order to try and get them well again, or at least give them a fighting chance”?

A vaccine is an attempt to create a more rapid herd immunity in a controlled capacity, in order to minimize the over all casualties. It worked for smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough and more – all of these diseases, which used to kill people regularly just a century ago, are virtually non-existent now (at least in the developed world with access to medical care). So it could be said that the attempt at trying to minimize casualty is ultimately a more humane approach as opposed to rendering the weakest amongst us in constant peril for their lives and forced to stay, perhaps indefinitely, in heavy isolation until, if we’re lucky, nature’s course of herd immunity works itself out.

Of course there are exceptions to everything. For example, people with auto immune diseases such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis etc… were not specifically tested in the vaccine trials to determine safety – to date. Nor were pregnant women. Though doctors may still be willing to give the vaccine to auto-immune patients – with the general thinking being that they are (truthfully) higher risk members of the population for developing severe manifestations of Covid-19, should they be exposed.

A quick look at the current vaccine types that are approved and being administered are that of an experimental new type of vaccine that uses messenger protein units administered into the body to send an early signal to the body of what to be on the lookout for – training it essentially, preparing it to raise its defenses should you be exposed to the Coronavirus. What it is doing, the way that it is working, is really no different than how our own bodies would naturally be trying to learn to fight off the illness. The idea with vaccines is that they act as a jump start to preemptively prepare our bodies to tackle the pathogen right away instead of us having to “learn the hard way” by having to go through a full manifestation of said illness. Traditional vaccine types that contain a bit of actual viral cells within their formulations are also trying to do a similar thing, in terms of educating the body on how to mount its defenses and what to mount them against. The difference with these new mRNA protein based vaccines is that they can work without the (arguably riskier) need of containing actual viral cells in the formula. And another benefit, in my opinion, from a more “natural” evaluation point of view, is that they contain far less “extra” ingredients than traditional vaccines, since their base solution, acting as the carrier for the proteins, is just natural compounds of fats and sugars.
The words “new” and “experimental” could sound scary, but the fact is that the development of this sort of vaccine, and how it works, is arguably more natural in both its ingredients and its mode of action within the body than a more historically “typical” style of vaccine (not to mention, also more ‘natural’ than a whole host of other types of pharmaceuticals that many people live on, daily, to manage chronic and degenerative conditions!)

The reason why you may care to exercise caution with regards to inoculation if you suffer from an auto immune condition, however, is because of what auto-immunity essentially is. An auto immune state in the body is where the body’s immune system has gone off its rails, so to speak, and become hyper sensitized, to the point it begins misidentifying proteins and tissues of your own body as being foreign substances, and thus your own body starts attacking itself. There is no research at this time to show whether or not introducing the protein molecules found in these vaccines could trigger a severe auto immune flare reaction. There has been some suggestion that only people with an auto immune condition that has gone completely into remission (i.e. not even currently needing to be managed by any medication or supplements) should attempt taking the vaccine. Of course no one knows conclusively yet whether then introducing the proteins from the vaccine into the body would then trigger the auto immunity to come out of remission either. These risks and concerns would be relevant regardless of whether these vaccines were the new messenger-protein types, or a more typical construction containing dead or live virus material in their formulas. As a general rule of thumb, vaccination in auto-immune individuals is always something to be discussed with one’s doctors.

Just to add a personal note too, I have my own reasons to feel concern, in that I had a bad allergic reaction to one of my childhood immunizations. It was severe enough to prompt the doctor to not finish the full round of booster protocol for that particular immunization. The reason it was safer to forgo the vaccination rather than risk further allergic response was because by that time period in our history so many had been immunized that there was a general herd immunity to bank on that I’d likely stay safe. Of course, if that particular illness were to ever see a resurgence then I’d be at much higher risk than most, because of never having been fully immunized whereas most others have been. So yes, caution being exercised because of knowing your body and your medical history, and discussing that with your doctor, is valid and important. But I remind myself there were other immunizations I received that I did not have allergic responses to – a negative reaction to one thing does not mean one can never administer anything else ever. For those concerned by the possibility of allergic response, one could always receive the vaccine and then opt to wait around at the doctor’s for an hour or so, just to get past the biggest “danger” window of possible anaphylaxis setting in, while safely in the company of medical professionals should you need emergency treatment. That’s an easy and simple ‘better safe than sorry’ middle ground approach.

To briefly touch upon a couple other concerns that may be floating around in some people’s minds, I will say that if you have worries about “the money trail”, “big pharma”, and/or government tie-ins, its worth distinguishing a couple of differences in the current vaccines available: the Pfizer vaccine claims their funding for research and development was largely internal, and they refused to get funds from the government because they did not want to get tied up with any politics – an admirable gesture in its own way, though there’s no arguing Pfizer is still one of the biggest in the “pharma” game, rendering them wealthy enough in their own right to be able to turn down government assistance. Whereas Moderna, the other producer of mRNA type approved vaccine, did accept some funding from the government, as they are not a big and long-time established pharmaceutical company, they’re newer to the scene of the medical science and tech industry. But they are also originators of research in mRNA type vaccine theories, (research which, by the way, began before Covid-19 was circulating the planet, so this is really not quite so “new” and “experimental” as some people think it is) and thus they arguably might be the more knowledgeable in what it is they’re producing and distributing, its efficacy, its safety, etc…
There are also vaccines by other companies currently in the works of development and approval for distribution, some of which will be the more traditional type containing dead/inert virus material within them, should you feel any better about that method over the newer mRNA types. But in the end, regardless of our feelings about it, its essentially true that money makes the world go round. There has to be funding for research and development, and funding has to come from somewhere. We are left to draw our own conclusions of what that “means” to us, if anything.

There are pros and cons that could be argued from personal standpoints to all of this information of course, so its really all going to come down to your own personal comfort level. (Again I refer you to this article for some more specific FAQ&A covering a variety of concerns). I may analyze what concerns might be worth consideration depending on one’s health status, but ultimately I encourage everyone to have a good long think on what action could be best for the collective greater good.
Thousands of people, most medical professionals, have already been vaccinated without repercussions. Conversely, the casualties of coronavirus – relative to its length of time spreading around the globe – are staggering.
It is up to everyone to make their own decision and to discuss their risks and concerns with their doctor. Thankfully we do live in a free country, so you do have the choice as to whether you get the vaccine or not. There is no legal mandate being made, and no enforcement happening to make everyone get vaccinated. You are allowed to ask questions of your doctors and to read articles freely online to try and look for answers that may satisfy you. The hope is that a certain level of respect for science (or even just hope for the betterment of our fellow humans and our future) will inspire enough to take the chance with this vaccine, willingly, with the leap of faith that a control will be established over the spread of this pathogen, and then globally we can proceed onward with our lives in a safer world.