Are COVID Vaccines Safe?

By: 
Al Jacobs

With the world now entwined in Year Two of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re at the final stage of our epic event: development of substances to thwart the virus. But because of the 2020 U.S. presidential election and hostile partisan involvement leading up to the vaccines’ development, the circumstances seem anything but standard.

With the two major political parties each attempting to blame the other for the nation’s misfortunes, then-President Donald Trump decreed that a safe and effective vaccine became mandatory – before the date he would stand for reelection – and he allocated a massive sum of government funds for this purpose. And as promised, vaccines became available before election day. To his personal misfortune, he failed to be reelected; to the misfortune of the populous, the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines may be less than as promised.

As the coronavirus vaccines first became available, recipients experienced an adverse anaphylaxis side effect from the Moderna. Shortly thereafter we heard of 33 deaths in Norway from the Pfizer-BioNTech … also resulting in seven deaths in Germany. Then, on April 12, 2021, the FDA and the CDC recommended a pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after discovering six cases of serious adverse events tied to blood clotting. One woman died; another is in critical condition.

As for a reason: Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA advisory panel, described the U.S.’s upfront financing of all the vaccines. He said “The government essentially paid for overlapping phenomena, which is to say the vaccines were mass-produced without knowing if they worked or were safe, so overlapped phase III trials, which would never normally happen.” What’s abundantly clear is the vaccines were jammed through as a political expediency.

We are now at the stage in this lingering epidemic where we’re beginning to evaluate the efficacy of the various vaccines we possess. Admittedly this should have been accomplished long before they became available in massive quantities, and particularly so before we began using the country’s enforcement muscle to coerce the public to accept them as an effective response to the virus … with no questions asked. However, considering the political and economic forces which turned our once rational nation into an asylum, this current lunacy was inevitable.

The question at hand: How will America emerge from the malaise confronting it … and of equal concern, who is capable of providing sensible and workable guidance to preclude an horrendous economic and health cataclysm? Instinctively, the very first place most ordinary citizens turn is to their elected representatives.

By tradition, credit for momentous accomplishments are often ascribed to prominent leaders of the past. As examples, President Woodrow Wilson is credited with successfully ending World War I, as is President Franklin Roosevelt lauded for bringing America out of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The fact neither presumption is accurate is unimportant; these beliefs nonetheless capture the public’s imagination.

With such a point of reference, we might expect President Biden to rescue the nation from the pandemic, just as we Californians presumably look to Governor Gavin Newsom to transform this state back into a model of prosperity. However, as the president’s recent public statements reveal no evidence of any such personal capability, and inasmuch as the governor was the individual almost solely responsible for the initial decimation of his state, we’d be searching for deliverance in all the wrong places.

So where is the next likely place a rescuer may be found? Understandably we will direct our attention to those persons whose academic specialty is combating the conditions causing the calamity in the first place. This means we must place our reliance upon those whose specialties consist of battling the sort of disease which caused the pandemic.

In this particular instance the choice of a savior is easily made; it will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, since 1984 the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). As such, he oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat established infectious diseases as well as emerging diseases. The NIAID budget for fiscal year 2021 is an estimated $6.1 billion. Who could possibly be more capable than he for providing the foresight and expertise necessary to remedy our woes?

Dr. Fauci personally recommends that to keep yourself safe, even if you’ve already received the vaccine, it’s important not to let your guard down. He then addressed what he previously called the “looming question” – whether vaccination can prevent transmission of the virus, “We don’t know yet whether or not it prevents you from getting infected where you’re not with symptoms … but you have virus in your nasopharynx that you could then infect an unvaccinated person who might be vulnerable, and you will have inadvertently and innocently gotten them sick.”

When asked what may be safe after vaccinations and whether masks must still be worn, he said even people fully vaccinated should “continue to wear a mask over their nose and mouth, stay at least six feet from others and follow other precautions to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.”

He then added “If you are vaccinated, and if you are with someone who’s vaccinated, the things you can do are much, much more liberal in the sense of pulling back on stringent health measures, versus when you’re out in society.” When asked to elaborate, he said “If you’ve been vaccinated and want to give another vaccinated person a hug, that’s reasonable.”

As for how Fauci is now living his personal life, he says he orders takeout from restaurants, but he doesn’t dine indoors – even though indoor dining is permitted in many jurisdictions – for, as he added, eating indoors is a high-risk activity for coronavirus transmission, even if capacity is reduced and tables are spaced apart.

He is also not flying yet “for a number of reasons … I’m at the age that is still at a pretty high risk,” so resuming flying is “not going to be like a light switch that you turn on and off.” He stated he also still wears a mask in public and “I have not really changed much in my public health measures that I abide by.”

With that as an introduction of sorts, it’s time to address the question our title poses – “Are the COVID Vaccines Safe and Effective?” And we may not ignore what a vaccine is: a substance given to a person for protection from a particular pathogen, prompting an immune response in the body to produce antibodies to fight the pathogen, which in turn prevents a disease. As to whether the three approved vaccines are safe, the report by Dr. Offit of the FDA, together with the current pause in the distribution of Johnson & Johnson, does not fill me with enthusiasm. They really should have assured safety in the traditional manner rather than rush through to meet a political goal.

As for the vaccine’s effectiveness, the statements by Dr. Fauci effectively admitting to his current living practices, do not speak well for Moderna – the vaccine he selected. If after the vaccinations he must continue to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, not eat out, refuse to fly in a plane and constantly avoid almost everyone, this is most certainly not indicative of effectiveness. In summary, I contend the vaccines are neither verifiably safe nor effective. And considering the political deviousness of their creation, it’s appalling they are being foisted off on the public as they are.

Al Jacobs, a professional investor for nearly a half-century, issues weekly financial articles in which he shares his financial knowledge and experience. Al may be contacted at al@abjacobs.com

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