Over the past 20 months, some formerly unknown terms have become part of our vernacular, thanks to COVID-19. Do most non-scientists understand them? We’re guessing: Probably not. So, here’s a primer that may help you better understand what you're hearing and reading.
A Texas wedding this past April became an unintentional experiment in vaccine efficacy. All 92 guests were vaccinated but COVID disease broke through in six people. Four of them got one of the mRNA vaccines and developed one mild illness. Two got Covaxin, a vaccine developed in India. Both became very ill and one subsequently died. The culprit was the dangerous delta variant.
There has been no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doubters. One (of the infinite number) of criticisms of the mRNA vaccines is that clinical trial data is somehow unreliable, or that the vaccine won't work in the “real world." But a study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has slammed the brakes on that theory. The Pfizer/Moderna vaccines almost entirely prevented infection in first-line medical workers.
Andrew Wakefield, the godfather of the modern anti-vaccine movement, is spreading disinformation about the COVID vaccine, falsely claiming that the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are a form of genetic engineering. Like all good liars, he mixes a tiny bit of truth into a sea of lies.
We have two great vaccines so far. One has to be kept in a regular freezer; the other in a mega freezer. This is because they contain RNA, which is unstable, not the more-stable DNA. What sense does this make? For the answer, you'll need to navigate The Dreaded Chemistry Lesson From Hell! Enjoy. Hint: It's one lousy oxygen atom.
By any measure, today's announcement about the unexpected efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is great news. But, Pfizer's Dr. Robert Popovian cautions us that the job is not done. There are policies that are essential to ensure the vaccine is promoted to the public, distributed, and administered properly. And be priced so that everyone can get it. Devil. Details.