Reason, proofs and muffins | Opinion
Some people oppose COVID-19 vaccination saying they don’t know what’s in the vaccine and refuse to put suspicious ingredients into their bodies. I’ve heard this apprehension from well-meaning people who don’t know how vaccines work or how newer ones have been developed. Sometimes we have to go with some evidence, with a little bit of confidence. First comes the proof.
The most recently developed effective vaccines do not contain live viruses. Vaccines like the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine include messenger RNA (mRNA), a bit of genetic material. The body uses this piece of DNA to mimic a protein in the virus that causes COVID-19. The mRNA causes the person receiving it to mobilize their immune system to mount a defensive response to the COVID-19 virus. MRNA in is only present in the body for a short time and disperses. It does not stay in the body and does not change a person’s genetic makeup.
These vaccines have been in development for over 20 years. The COVID virus is a new mutation in an old family of viruses that triggered the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2002 and the emergence of MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) in 2012. Four types of Corona viruses in this virus family also cause the common cold, and we still know that there is still no cure for a cold except to endure it and get it through. But this is where the similarities between COVID and the common cold end, as the strains that cause MERS and SARS are deadly – just like COVID-19.
The families of these deadly viruses have been studied for more than 50 years, Eric Yager, associate professor of microbiology at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences told Medical News Today. Scientists have long had data on the structure, genome and life cycle of this type of virus. As the epidemic worsened, research accelerated. The corona virus family is not new to research, but this mutation and its delta variant are. The vaccines have been shown to be effective, approved for emergency use last year by the Centers for Disease Control, and are now permanently approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration.
Why trust the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? It’s a long story. The FDA began as the Bureau of Chemistry under President Lincoln as part of the Department of Agriculture. When food was made for mass consumption during and after the Civil War, the food contained toxic metals like lead and arsenic. The milk was mixed with ground chalk to fill the milk diluted with water. The rotten meat was mixed and canned with fresh. Hazardous ingredients designed for increased shelf life and benefits, and at that time, nothing needed to be labeled. The drugs were unregulated and were barely concealed pranks containing serious addictive and toxic chemicals. By the turn of the 20th century, industrialization meant that large quantities of dangerous foods and drugs could be mass produced and sold without consequence; for example, in 1912 Mrs. Winslow’s soothing syrup “for teething and colicky babies”, unlabeled and containing morphine, killed many infants it treated. The cocaine in Coca Cola explained why the drink was so popular and energizing. It took decades for the government to regulate foods and drugs deemed safe for human consumption.
As for not putting substances that I don’t understand into my body, I just ate potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, propylene glycol, and acidic sodium aluminum phosphate with my coffee – chemicals included in small amounts in my lemon poppy seed muffin. But the ingredients are labeled and are included in amounts the FDA says are OK. The worst things they do with flour, shortening, and sugar are to increase my waistline and increase my blood sugar. Do I know exactly, chemically, what I am putting in my body? No. But I trust the FDA when I eat my muffin, and I trust the CDC when I get the shot. The consequences of not getting vaccinated – like panting for breath and considering over 700,000 American deaths and counting – are far more serious.
HE Gilman, who lives in Monroe Township, has worked in social services, publishing, bookstores, kitchens and academia.