Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The "Good", the "Bad" and the "Ugly" Myths about Vaccine Efficacy

 Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine

Ed Hessler

Mike Ryan is the health emergencies director for the World Health Organization (WHO). His mother was concerned about a Covid-19 vaccine, used where she lives. She worried that "the vaccine might not be good enough."

"Ryan," according to this article in STAT on this question by Helen Branswell, is "never one to mince words," told her 'Whatever vaccine they show up with you take it. Because that is the best decision you can make on that day for your health."

I hear talk and read articles about so-called "good and bad" vaccines and know that Ryan's message repeated by health care providers the worldwide is "not necessarily well-received."

When or if people become picky this blunts reaching herd immunity as quickly as possible and it "overlooks essential facts." Branswell writes that "the vaccines perceived to be less effective also happen to be ones that may be the best option in rural America or in low-income countries because they don't require the ultra-cold freezers and complex delivery systems more commonly found in or near major cities."

One of the problems, Branswell notes is that "the phenomenon is already playing out, even among some who understand the caveats around when the studies were conducted and the operational benefits of these easier-to-deploy vaccines." She quotes one immunologist who did not hesitate to specify Pfizer or Moderna." Common sense" he said.

Glen Nowak who directs the Center for Health and Risk Communication at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia told Branswell,"'I think, right now, the message really has to be that the vaccines that are authorized for use are authorized for use because they will provide significant protectin against Covid-19 illness. And if you're not vaccinated, yu havae no protection against Covid-19 illness.'"

Furthermore, "decisions about where to use some of the vaccines that appear less effective will be viewed through a lens of racial or socioeconomic inequality, even if the reasons to offer those vaccines in certain settings make sense from a public health point of view and gets vaccines to those places faster."

According to Kasisomayajula "Vish" Viswanath of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, "'This is going to explode in the near future, I think.'"

Branswell's reporting may be read here.

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