New York City has changed in so many ways, yet it has not changed at all.
I was out yesterday evening to celebrate a good friend's birthday via drinks in the park, and I never felt so proud of my fellow New Yorkers. As this has become more prolonged, instead of whining and complaining, they have started stepping up.
>95% of them wore masks, including those on bikes. EVERY group social distanced out of respect for others, and only then would masks come off.
The number of people out and the quiet of the city are different. But the sense of community and unity is the same.
If this can happen in the most congested city in the country, it can happen everywhere. Because caring about others well-being is not a geographical thing, or a Blue or Red thing, or a race thing, or an age thing.
And as the South Korean Health Minister stated, social distancing in itself acts like a vaccine until one in reality can actually be produced. So just as social distancing is the socially responsible thing to do, so is getting vaccinated.
As a result, I decided to write a two-part post about vaccines. Because vaccination is something I feel VERY strongly about.
So first, a disclaimer - these are MY views on MY personal page. If you disagree with the entire premise of vaccines, then please keep those thoughts to yourself.
Please be respectful of my request.
If you are open-minded about vaccines but have questions or concerns, please ask away. Intelligent, PRODUCTIVE discourse is the goal. Any comments which I believe are only looking to stoke fear and spread misinformation about vaccines will be ignored and promptly deleted.
Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. But an anti-vaccination stance is NOT based in scientific fact, and I have done everything possible to ensure the information I post is not skewed by emotion or irrational fear.
The choice to not get vaccinated, if you qualify, is a selfish one. And this pandemic has made that selfishness even more apparent - it has separated those who only give a fuck about themselves and those who actually give a fuck about others.
It really is that simple.
Today will be talking about vaccines in relation to COVID-19. Tomorrow will be a more general post about vaccines.
The time we are buying by social distancing and wearing masks is giving the world a chance to formulate a vaccine in a timeframe history has never seen.
Fauci met with Congress and stated he is optimistic that a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to be produced and there are several candidates which look promising. However, he cautioned a viable vaccine could still be months away.
He warned that unforeseen challenges may surface as these potential vaccine candidates are further studied, and the safety profile of these vaccines must be established, including assurance the vaccine does not create the risk of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE).
See Post 36 for a review on ADE, and why producing a vaccine like for Dengue must be avoided.
In the meantime, manufacturers will begin producing vaccines "at risk", which means resources will be put forward to produce vaccines even BEFORE they are approved - this is where the "at risk" component comes from for the manufacturers.
But if their vaccine IS approved, millions of doses would already be produced and available to the public immediately versus spending additional time producing them after obtaining approval. This would be a very good thing, indeed.
Listen, I understand there is fear surrounding the safety of a vaccine attempting to be produced at a faster rate than any other in history. But I am also confident when a vaccine is approved, its safety will have been vetted appropriately.
Why am I so confident?
Because if it is NOT safe, the ramifications would be disastrous - especially for the public trust in the CDC and FDA, ones that are already tenuous. The fall-out would be immense and give vaccine opponents a plethora of ammunition to drive their non-science based agenda home.
Not properly vetting vaccines has led to disastrous results in the past. If medicine is to move forward, it is essential to learn from these mistakes:
A vaccine to COVID-19 is our best chance to get back to a normal life. I truly believe this. This is the only long-lasting solution I see to achieve some degree of normalcy once again.
But our society loves quick fixes, so here comes Sorrento with a claim of one.
Sorrento Therapeutics has stated they have discovered an antibody that can 100% neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus, claiming it as a cure. But NO ONE should be looking at this as a long-term solution even if their claims hold up during in vivo studies.
Passive immunity lasts only for a short period of time, and implementing this on a mass scale is not only not feasible, it would be prohibitively expensive. And even this treatment runs the risk of having significant side effects.
This is still best used as a treatment for those who have developed significant disease, not as prophylaxis to keep the general population healthy.
Do not buy into the marketing hype.
Finally, if you, like me, enjoy traveling as a part of your normal life, you may have no choice but to get the vaccine.
Because in my mind, it is not out of the realm of possibility proof of vaccination may be required for you to travel.
I could very well see the equivalent of a yellow card for proof of yellow fever vaccination being required for US citizens, or any area which is still deemed as "high risk" for COVID-19, to travel to other countries. At this time, most countries have restricted entry to many foreign citizens, with the US at the top of that list. And I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future unless a vaccine is created. Because the virus will NOT magically disappear.
No matter what that egotist Eric Trump thinks. The virus is NOT a Democratic ploy to undermine Trump. The virus will NOT magically disappear after election day (yes - he said that). The rest of the world is NOT destroying its economy because of an election.
The conspiracy theories and self-centered thought plaguing our nation MUST STOP.
And when a vaccine is created, the world will not care about an individual's anti-vaccination stance. Or "my body, my choice". Because the health of their people is more important.
As a result, our US Passport is pretty worthless at the moment. Unless we get this disease under control, the world will not be welcoming us back anytime soon.
By the way - if you just read this and thought to yourself, well shit, if it is mandated to travel, I guess I would get it in that circumstance, please realize your desire to travel is more important than your desire to keep others safe.
Let that sink in.
I want to stay healthy. And I want others to stay healthy. But dammit, there is still so much beauty in this world I yearn to see, so many experiences I yearn to have. And a vaccine can get me there. That is my hope.
And when it does, I cannot wait to embrace the world once again. And it embrace me back. And never let go.