Somewhere around there are people whom are so lucky that they have the opportunity to take a vaccine against Covid-19 (from Pfizer), but for some reasons doesn’t want to because they are scared of what the vaccine may do to them. Well, if someone wants to take the vaccine because they expect to grow an extra limp, then they will get disappointed, because it won’t happen. Just because the vaccine may be a mRNA vaccine, doesn’t mean that it will mess up with your gene. As a matter of fact, the mRNA will never get in touch with your DNA. Please note, that the ’m’ part stands for ’message’. What the vaccine actually does is that it sends a message to the cells. The mRNA itself will only stay in your body for a few days. During that period, your cells will start producing a protein which have the signature of Covid-19. That protein will stay in your body for some days more, maybe up to about two weeks, where after it will be gone too. But during that period of time your immune system will have got to learn the signature of the protein, and will thereafter your immune system will react quickly if you ever should encounter the real Covid-19 virus.
So if it truly is so simple, why all this fuzz about testing the vaccine? Well, by making a vaccine there are some risks. The most likely risk that the body will respond with some sort of allergic response against the vaccine. And yes, there may be a few of you which may experience such some sort of bad reactions. But out of the about 60.000 which have been tested none has got a reaction so bad so the vaccine shouldn’t be approved.
So why be afraid of taking the vaccine? Well, maybe because some scientists are not that good at explaining numbers. As a result, there are still lots of people around which still believe that Covid-19 is nothing worse than an ordinary fly. There are lots of numbers around, so let’s try to take a close look at some of them. If we look at the numbers for Denmark, then the 16th of December 113.095 had got Covid-19 and 80.564 was over it, whereof 950 was dead. The death rate is calculated to be 0.8%. And yes, it may not appear to be much, but the number is cheating. First of all, unless you are a scientist, the number you actually want to know is your change to survive Covid-19, that is, if you will get rid of Covid-19 while you are alive or because you are dead. And if that is the number you want, then you will notice that 98.9% of all whom has got rid of Covid-19 are still alive – and that gives a death rate of 1.1%. The difference between the 0.8% and the 1.1% happens to be those which have got Covid-19 and which are still not dead. Well, it may not sound as much of a difference, but there are more to it than just that. Because what the death rate often is compared to is a flu. And the death rate of a flu is often mentioned to be something like 0.2%. And since 0.2% doesn’t seem to be that much of a difference to 0.8% (which is the official “death rate” number for Denmark), then you may get the impression that Covid-19 is nothing but a strong flu. However, what you haven’t taken account for is, that quite a lot gets Covid-19 but has no symptoms. And since Denmark are testing a lot (as in really, really many), then it is quite important to take account for all of those which are measured to have Covid-19 and which have no symptoms – at least if you want to compare Covid-19 with a flu. And this is because nobody has ever cared about anybody with a flu and who has no symptoms. So, the death rate of 0.2% for the flu is for those 0.2% which have a flu AND who has symptoms. Some are saying that about 80% of those which have Covid-19 have no symptoms. So, if 4 out of 5 of those which have Covid-19 has no symptoms, then out of the 113.095 Danes who have got Covid-19, then only 22.619 have Covid-19 with symptoms. And it is safe to say, that all of those 950 which are dead had symptoms, at least if you count death as a symptom. So, 950 dead out of 22.619 with a symptom gives 4.2%, which is the number which should be compared with the 0.2% of a flu.
The 4.2% is of course an average, where young an otherwise healthy people have a considerably lower risk. And if you are so lucky to be in that group, you may be more scared of this new mRNA vaccine, simply because it is new and (thereby) scary. And you may therefore think that this vaccine could have some unknown risk which you don’t know of. Risk such as concentration loss, losing your ability to smell. Possibly permanent breathing problems, or maybe even the risk of losing a limp while you are in a respirator. Ups, wait! No, sorry, all of those risks are not unknown, they are known risks. They are known risks for those which are getting Covid-19 and which are lucky enough to survive.
So, if you are so lucky, so you are being offered a Covid-19 vaccine, but you don’t want to, because you are scared of an unknown risk. Then you ought to compare that unknown risk of the Covid-19 vaccine, where none appear to be found about those thousands of people which have tested it so far. And compare that unknown risk with the known risk for those surviving Covid-19. Because even you may be in the group of people which most likely won’t die of Covid-19, you still have plenty of other reasons to fear Covid-19. Because unlike a flu, then Covid-19 may actually break your health for the rest of your life, even if you should be lucky enough to survive Covid-19.
Yes. Long Covid hasn’t gotten a lot of press until recently, but it affects a significant number of people who get relatively mild cases–including younger people–and no one knows how long it lasts. I’m glad you mention it.
Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense.