COVID-19 Vaccine: Thoughts from a scientist, an MD, two (semi) anti-vaxxers…and me!
UPDATE #1: Video here with my response to some of your comments.
UPDATE #2: Here are our thoughts on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
UPDATE #3: No, this is not a sponsored post. (I’ve been asked by more than a few people if big pharma paid me!)
When I asked you guys if you’d like to know my stance on the Covid-19 vaccine, including what my scientist husband thinks, I didn’t predict the massive response. I read all 250+ of your emails, some of which included ten or more questions!
- Diane Sixsmith, MD (my mother-in-law). Diane spent more than 30 years as a hospital emergency department physician, including as chairwoman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at The New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens. It should also be noted that my MIL is crazy brilliant (like, was valedictorian in every school she ever attended) and she’s also a generally a low-intervention type of doctor. In all my years of motherhood, she’s only once suggested that we actually needed antibiotics. She’s an open-minded clinician and appropriately skeptical of big pharma. It somehow feels relevant to mention that she breastfed her youngest child until she was four years old.
- Daylon James, PhD (my husband). Daylon is an Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Biology in Obstetrics & Gynecology—as well as the New York State-certified Director of the Reproductive Endocrinology Lab—at Weill Cornell Medical College. Daylon is by nature a skeptic (sometimes maddeningly so!), and is on board with all of my evidence-based natural parenting choices (such as un-medicated birth, extended breastfeeding, etc.). He supported my decision to space out some of the vaccinations we gave our own children when we became parents.
- Suzanne & John Goss (my parents). These two are my co-founders of Gimme the Good Stuff and Certified Holistic Health Coaches. They have spent 45 years researching and testing out all manner of alternative and natural health theories. In the 1980s, they also were probably what we’d now call anti-vaxxers, although they never self-identified as such. They are both a wealth of knowledge and my guideposts for parenting, diet, and all-around wellness.
- Maia James (me!). You probably already know more than you want to about me, and I mostly did the asking during this conversation—but I will pipe in with my own opinions in the transcript below. Here’s everything I’ve previously written about vaccines.
So let’s get to it!
Q: Do you all plan to get the Covid vaccine for yourselves and your children? Or do you plan to wait and see how it goes first?
Suzanne: I do intend to take the vaccine when it is offered to me. I have some concerns about vaccinations in general—I’ve never even gotten a flu shot! A global pandemic is an extenuating case, though. In general, I question a lot of mainstream medical recommendations, especially pharmaceutical ones—because there is so much money behind the industry. But this is different—we know the very real risks of Covid-19, and I have repeatedly read that scientists have been studying how to create a vaccine for this type of disease for many years. I still do question the number of vaccines that kids receive, and if I were still the mother of young children, I’d want to see how the trials go before vaccinating my own kids. When Maia was six weeks old and had her first checkup, the doctor gave me a pamphlet about all the shots she would be getting and I was horrified when I read the list of potential side effects! I refused all the shots and began to do a ton of research. I then found an MD who was more holistically minded, and he told me to get a certain subset of vaccines that he felt were critical. So my kids had very limited, delayed vaccination. Of course, Maia then got to college and decided to go and get them all in what was perhaps mostly teenage rebellion!
John: Hundreds of thousands of people have already received this vaccine—all those who enrolled in the trial as well as the Phase 1 recipients. So by the time most of us get this shot, there will have been at least a million other people walking around having been vaccinated months before. There is also the social responsibility factor—we can’t all sit back and wait until everyone else gets it, and we need to do our part to stop this pandemic.
Maia: I will definitely will get the vaccine as soon as it’s available for “young” healthy people like me. I normally am skeptical of new, fairly untested medications, but if this is what is needed to put the world back on its axis, I am basically like, “sign me up.” Daylon and I have talked about the kids—he agrees with me that because the (known) risks of Covid seem to be very minimal for kids, we will wait as long as we can to vaccinate our children. Daylon does worry about long-term unknown risks from kids who have gotten sick with Covid. We have one friend whose daughter has lingering neurological issues. I guess we will have to see how the pediatric vaccine trials go before I will commit to when I’ll allow my kids to be injected.
Note: I’m not even publishing Diane and Daylon’s response to this–they are both getting the vaccine with no hesitation!
Q: What are the ingredients in the vaccines for Covid-19? How safe are the ingredients?
Daylon: The specific ingredients in vaccines are proprietary, but having worked with modRNA, I can guess that the components are single strands of messenger RNA (mRNA) that has been modified to make it get into cells without causing them to self destruct. I know that the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine also use lipid nano-particles (charged nano-particles of fat, not the grey goo of nanotech sci-fi infamy) to encase the modRNA and make it easier to enter your body’s cells/tissues. I would bet that the additives that have historically inspired fear and dread (mercury/thimerosol, etc.) are not a part of this vaccine because the only effective means of preservation are maintenance of freezing or ultra-cold temperatures.
Maia: You you guys know how much I hate “proprietary” ingredients or materials! In my opinion, all ingredients in vaccines (or any pharmaceutical for that matter) should be available to the public.
Update since this conversation took place: Moderna and Pfizer vaccine ingredients are now available. While the chemical names here look long and scary, there isn’t any thing TOO terrifying in either vaccine. I, of course, don’t ever love PEG chemicals, and that appears in both. More on this later.
Q: What exactly is mRNA and how can we feel okay about it when it’s never been used in a vaccine before?
Daylon: mRNA is ubiquitous in the cells of our bodies and the cells of all living organisms. It is a fundamental building block of biology. Viruses are also made of RNA, and eons of evolution have trained the cells of organisms to recognize RNA from outside of the cell as a viral attack, and to self-destruct as a result. But as a therapeutic, RNA is amazing: it translates directly into the bioactive molecules that is codes for; it is not a self-perpetuating material like normal RNA viruses, so it cannot “cause” coronavirus; and it is ephemeral, so leaves no trace after it has been translated into its bioactive payload. The “mod” part of modRNA stems from the fact that among the bases that make up any strand of RNA (A, U, G, C), the “U” or uracil residues are replaced with a “pseudouridine” that makes these modRNAs unrecognizable to the “self-destruct” machinery that usually protects from the action of viral RNA. The bottom line is that the modRNA is a molecule that is effectively indistinguishable from natural mRNA in terms of toxicity.
Maia: I’ve picked Daylon’s brain about this at length, and also done a bunch of my own reading—because doesn’t something that’s basically a virus’s DNA just sound terrifying? I’m now actually convinced this technology is safer than the older means of creating vaccines, and that moving forward we will see all new vaccines being made this way. For parents that can be a little vaccine hesitant (myself included), this will be a double-edged sword; I predict lots more vaccines in the coming years.
Q: How is the Pfizer vaccine preserved? Is there mercury? What about the Moderna?
Daylon: These are both preserved by ultra cold temperatures, so there should not be no need for more traditional preservatives (like the controversial thimerosal).
Q: Are the vaccines a live attenuated vaccine?
Daylon: No. Neither Pfizer, AstraZeneca, nor Moderna are live vaccines. I don’t foresee any of the Covid vaccine candidates being live virus.
Q: How can we trust the safety of any vaccine when it hasn’t been tested long enough to know of any dangerous long-term side effects?
Daylon: The vaccines that use the mRNA (as described above) were able to be produced so quickly because as soon as we received the virus’s sequence from scientists in China, we had a blueprint (basically a map) of all the viral components which could be copied to create the vaccine. The technology has been in development for more than decade. So with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, scientists read the genetic sequence of this specific virus, and plugged it in to the vaccine. The discovery process for a vaccine is actually very short because you copy the virus that already exists—as opposed to trying to come up with a therapy for most illnesses. In the past, the modalities have been less effective (the original smallpox vaccine, for instance, was literally just tiny amount of smallpox). The technology over the last century has been incrementally improved to the point that we longer have to introduce a living organism into the body. The safety trial had the required phases (1, 2, and 3)—and all the data was released and is still available. The bottom line is that yes, I trust the process. There were simply no red flags during the trials or regulatory process, which is also part of the reason this has gone so quickly. I am more comfortable taking this vaccine that is made of something (RNA) that exists in nature versus a drug that has to be taken chronically and is usually something the body has never seen.
Maia: One thing that really strikes me here is that with vaccines the therapy IS the disease. Imagine trying to come up with a treatment for say, lupus. Where do you even begin? With vaccines, you’re putting something “natural” into the body. Maybe we should be less worried about vaccines than we are about the medications we take on a daily basis.
John: I am in general very skeptical of “big pharma.” I have never gotten the flu shot, but from all the research I’ve done, it seems this RNA technology may actually make this a safer option.
Q: What is the probability of adverse side effects, especially for my son, who has had bad reactions and febrile seizures after a vaccine in the past?
Diane: Having a reaction to one vaccine does not necessarily mean you will have a reaction to another—it depends on the ingredient in the vaccine. For example, just because someone is allergic to peanuts doesn’t mean they will also be allergic to almonds. Many people have mild reactions to vaccines—these are minor, expected, and show the body is successfully making an immune response to the vaccine as it is supposed to. Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site are all normal reactions, as are flu-type symptoms such as muscle aches and low-grade fever. Reactions beyond those are very rare.
Daylon: I think it’s important to recognize that some side effects occur as a result of your immune response to the vaccine. These can be acute, like the patients with histories of highly allergic reactions, or they can be normal consequences of the vaccine provoking an immune response. Indeed, early reports from people who have received the vaccine suggest that after the second dose the inflammatory response is significant. Popular media and disinformation campaigns have made “vaccine side-effects” virtually synonymous with “autism spectrum disorder.” There is no scientific basis for this potential or similar neurological complications stemming from this vaccine. On the contrary, I am personally terrified of the cryptic neurological sequelae of Covid-19!
Q: How far out from giving a vaccine do side effects usually show up? Are we pretty much in the clear if we have people a few months out from getting vaccinated and no serious side effects have shown up, or do we truly need to wait a much longer period of time?
Daylon: I believe the criteria for the phase three trial required waiting three months after initial dose for reporting of side effects, and given that first patients received their doses July 27th and the trial wrapped in mid-November, this lines up. I don’t think there is a scientific basis for thinking that side effects of the vaccination would present themselves beyond the short term (days to weeks). In ten days there will be zero trace of that RNA in your body. That’s why it has to stay ultra cold; it’s incredibly fragile. I feel that any poor outcomes would almost certainly happen quickly.
Diane: Most side effects occur in the first two days and they are local pain at the injection site, muscle aches, low grade fever. So far there are not any long term effects but of course most people in the trials have only had 3-4 months since having been given either vaccine.
Q: I have an auto-immune disease and am worried that this puts me at extra risk of a severe reaction to this vaccine.
Diane: There is no reason having an autoimmune disease will make the vaccine less safe for you. In fact, you may be more at risk from Covid than someone without an autoimmune disease. However, if you are on immunosuppressive drugs for your autoimmune disease, you should seek advice from your treating physician.
Q: My daughter has egg and dairy allergies; would this be safe for those with allergies?
Diane: So far, six people in the U.S. apparently had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. Hence people with a history of anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) may want to wait until more information on this becomes available.
Maia: Felix is allergic to peanuts, but because he’s never had an anaphylactic reaction, he is considered at normal risk with this vaccine. I may decide to lurk around the pediatrician’s office for a half hour after he gets jabbed to make sure nothing happens, because I have read that if an allergic reaction is going to happen, it’ll happen very quickly.
Suzanne: I react to bee stings and penicillin, so I would certainly let my doctor know this before getting the vaccine. Because I’ve never had anaphylaxis, I’m not worried enough about a possible reaction to not get the vaccine.
Q: Would this vaccine produce life long immunity or would it be like the flu shot that is required year after year?
Daylon: This remains to be seen, but I doubt one vaccination (even if it’s two doses) will confer lifelong immunity. The virus will—like all virures—mutate, but studies do suggest that the minor mutations won’t mean the vaccine won’t work. I don’t think we will need to come up with a new vaccine each year the way we do with the flu shot, but we will just have to see.
Diane: The vaccine trials showed that the vaccine provided protection in at least 95% of patients. The assumption is that it will prevent Covid-19. How long that protection lasts is, at this time, unknowable. Some vaccines, such as measles, presumably produce lifetime immunity. Tetanus, on the other hand, needs to be renewed every 5 to 10 years. It remains to be seen with Covid, but in the current pandemic with widespread passage from person to person, even a few months of immunity is extremely valuable.
Q: What do you make of people being infected with Covid more than once and the fact that natural antibodies seem to disappear over time?
Daylon: Antibodies do become undetectable, but you have to think of those as just soldiers on the field–and if you’ve been infected with this coronavirus, your body has the ability to deploy more soldiers. Our immune system is multifaceted—it’s just that antibodies are the easiest part to measure via a blood test. I think even if antibodies have disappeared, it would be highly unlikely to become reinfected with this strain of Covid-19; all evidence suggests that the vast majority of people should be able to mobilize an effective immune response for years after establishing initial immunity.
Diane: There are only a handful of cases—maybe 5—of documented reinfection among the tens of millions of cases of worldwide, and even those may be dubious or reflect a rare mutant virus. Hence the likelihood of getting ill with this Covid strain again is infinitesimal. Even so, apparently people in the high risk groups, front line health care workers and nursing home residents, who have had Covid, will still get the vaccine to boost their immunity and provide further protection in case natural immunity to Covid is not robust.
Maia: If I had been infected with Covid-19 already, I would feel comfortable waiting on the vaccine. I don’t personally feel that people who have already recovered need to rush out to get this shot. In fact, if they hold back, that means more doses for those who are still vulnerable!
Q: Isn’t natural immunity just as valuable or even more important than vaccine immunity? My family is healthy and we take care of ourselves–I worry more about the vaccine for us than I do about the disease.
Daylon: Natural immunity is not necessarily better or stronger than vaccine immunity, and moreover, I don’t think it’s worth the risks that come with being infected with Covid-19. The unknown risks of Covid really concern me—this disease has existed for one year, and I worry about what we will see in ten years from people who have been infected.
Suzanne: With many diseases, I would prefer natural immunity rather than an injection. When it comes to Covid, though, I don’t think it’s worth the risks. I usually defer to the wisdom of the body, and I understand why anti-vaxxers say we should trust our bodies. But we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and dealing with a brand new virus. Perhaps because I eat well and exercise I could handle the disease and emerge with natural immunity. But I also recongize that this is a privileged position. We are part of a community and we do have some responsibility to protect people who may not have the resources to live a perfectly healthy life. Perhaps even more importantly, it is possible to be healthy and also become very ill from a new virus—just consider what happened when Europeans arrived here in the 1500s and infected Native Americans with flu and smallpox. I imagine that most Native Americans ate very clean food and were fit and had high vitamin D levels! But the simple fact that the viruses were new and no one had any immunity was enough for them to devastate the population.
Maia: Just because diseases are “natural” doesn’t mean that they are benign. We know that HPV can cause cervical and other cancers. Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer. HIV is, of course, a virus.
John: Your natural immunity is fending of things all the time that we aren’t even aware of. I’d like my body to also fight this off without my even being aware–and I’d rather do that via the vaccine than by getting Covid.
Q: If we opted to not vaccinate – or, let’s say we get vaccinated but we decide not to vaccinate our kids – what does that mean for herd immunity? At what point are most of the unvaccinated people actually protected – what is the statistic and when would we reach it?
Daylon: There are various estimates for what the threshold percentage is for herd immunity, but I don’t put much stake in any single number. The fact is that the threshold is highly dependent on how transmissible the pathogen is. For example in the case of measles, it is estimates that more than 90% of the population must be vaccinated to interrupt the chain of transmission. Then there are other variables like vaccinating in the midst of a pandemic as opposed to prophylactically. Ultimately the only answer that makes sense to me is that we need as many people as it is possible and prudent to vaccinate. I don’t think we will really have an idea about the threshold for herd immunity until the pandemic is behind us.
John: Since the beginning of this pandemic, there have been those in favor of a “let it rip” strategy. I don’t think there is really a herd immunity “debate”—we all want herd immunity, whether through vaccination or natural infection. It’s a question of how we get there—and in my opinion, the vaccination is likely to be the safer path, and one with many fewer lives lost in the process.
Q: What do you think about this vaccine for pregnant or nursing women?
Daylon: If it were my wife, my calculation of the risk would be that the vaccine is better than the disease during pregnancy. There is an identifiable risk of Covid-19 to pregnant women, and that concerns me.
Diane: The vaccine was not tested in pregnant or nursing women, but the manufacturers plan to do further testing. Right now, ACOG recommends that Covid-19 vaccines “should not be withheld from pregnant individuals” and should also “be offered to lactating individuals similar to non-lactating individuals when they meet criteria for receipt of the vaccine.”
Maia: I think this is a hard one. There are vaccines that are not recommended during pregnancy (like varicella and MMR), although the risks of these are called “theoretical.” If I were pregnant, I suppose I would have to evaluate my personal risk of catching Covid (based on how isolated I could be, what the community transmission was in my area, and so on). Of course, I know that my husband would want me to get it, because he’s concerned about what risks Covid-19 itself might pose to a pregnancy. If I were nursing, I would feel comfortable getting the vaccine.
Q: If we have a choice of which vaccine to get, is there one you would recommend over another?
Daylon: I like both the Moderna and Pfizer and would choose these first. This is based mostly on my judgement of their efficacy and the mode of treatment. As a comparison, the AstraZeneca vector is based on adenovirus, which is also safe in my opinion, but may not be as effective in eliciting a vigorous immune response. Some studies have shown that because the actual adeno-based vectors themselves are designed from the adenovirus that causes the common cold, some individuals may have varying levels of pre-exisiting immune response to the vector, thereby mitigating the amount of corona spike protein that is created by the adenovector to elicit a constructive immunity to Covid-19.
Diane: I doubt there will be a choice in the early months of which vaccine to take. It will depend on supply and what regions get what, so I think you get what you get until the spring when perhaps there may be more options. After that, unless new information surfaces, I think either vaccine is acceptable with very similar efficacy.
John: Based on my research, I’d prefer one of the mRNA ones—so either the Pfizer or the Moderna.
Maia: I also want one of the RNA vaccines, and I’ve researched the ingredients of both in the hopes of being able to determine if one is better than the other one. The good news is even the worst ingredients in both are rated about a three out of ten on EWG’s hazard scale. These aren’t “Good Stuff,” and nothing I generally recommend even in something like body lotion (for instance, polyethylene glycol), but fortunately neither has some of the ingredients in conventional vaccines that concern me most (such as aluminum). The two RNA vaccines have slightly different ingredients, but neither one seems safer than the other. UPDATE: I do have a preference, actually.
Q: I’m very nervous about the possibility of forced vaccinations. Can you speak to this?
Daylon: I don’t see that happening. Even within my hospital, they are recommending it for all employees, but not requiring it.
Suzanne: I’ve read that they cannot force a vaccine that it’s still under emergency approval. And a vaccine has never been forcibly given to all people.
John: There’s not one politician that’s talking about forced vaccination. At the institutional level, sure—schools may eventually require a Covid vaccine, or it may be required for travel. But it doesn’t seem likely that they will come banging on doors to inject people.
Q: What source does Dr. James get his information from? Curious what third parties, etc. he trusts on the information he reads regarding the vaccine and analyzing the study results. Same question to the rest of you!
Daylon: I am basing my opinions on the clinical science studies that have been filling the medical/scientific journals as well as the foundational science that has been done on corona and other viruses, generally, as well as the technologies (adeno-associated vectors and modRNA) that I have grown familiar with in my own research. People should know that all of the media reporting is a distillation of firsthand science that is being done for the first time on a novel coronavirus. While there have been previous coronaviruses (MERS, SARS1), these have not had the same scale of infection, and thus only a small proportion of the scientific focus. As such, the scale of the research interest and effort with this coronavirus is unprecedented and vastly exceeds any knowledge we may have gained from previous studies. Given this tremendous volume of research, there is a lot of media distillation that may misrepresent the totality of our understanding. We must be careful to support every claim with evidence from a primary source. I rely on peer-reviewed work from the most reputable journals, and when there is no peer-reviewed study available I have relied on preliminary data, when available, and my intuition when not.
Q: Is there any evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine contains a tracking microchip that will be implanted into my arm if I get this vaccine?
What do you guys think? I expect a heated debate on this, so please comment below!
Maia, Founder & CEO
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Did all of you get the booster?
Yes, Daylon and I both got one booster. The grandparents also got the second booster.
I am curious how the three grandparents did with getting the vaccine, and if any of your opinions have changed given all of the reactions posted on VAERS.
Everyone who was interviewed above (including me) is now vaccinated, and no one had more than mild side effects.
I absolutely agree with people pointing out people ARE being forced to vaccinate (current CA requirement in schools). I have a child with many intolerances and a few anaphylaxis allergies (and autism, and, and….) and although he has a medical profile that would warrant a medical exemption, they are no longer honored in CA. No religious exemptions either. Other states are following (recently Hawaii). The only option in our area is a ridiculously lacking independent study program through the school, or 100% homeschool – neither of which I can afford to stay home and do. Can’t believe I’m being forced into this choice. And yes, work places are starting to require Covid vaccine, and they’re already talking travel, etc. You may not be required to vaccinate, but you and your unvaccinated family will be barred from most aspects of life including work, school, travel, social functions, etc. And in terms of vaccinating while pregnant…..I can only say I wish I would have known when I was pregnant what I know now and not exposed my developing fetus to a flu shot (high dose of Mercury). I pray pregnant women will wait to get Covid (and flu) vaccines until after giving birth. For those of us who HAVE already witnessed firsthand vaccine injury to our children, this dilemma as to whether to inject more vaccine or face dangers of Covid is beyond gut wrenching and terrifying, but rest assured, eventually we are being forced.
Thank you. Thoughtfully written. I am in general a slow or low vaccine person for my children and have had complications. But with Covid vaccine technology it is a new world and likely will be helpful for future vaccine technology. I get my vaccine tomorrow and am nervous but hopeful.
People have been forced to get vaccines, and if they don’t they are not allowed in education. CA law is that our children must be vaccinated up to “CDC guidelines” and if they are not, they aren’t allowed in schools. It doesn’t matter if they have any kind of exemption, those have a expiration date. This vaccine that had very little research done on children will likely be in that schedule and that in itself is terrifying.
Thank you so much for the incredible effort it must have taken to put this together. It was incredibly helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I want to start by saying thank you for this. It’s so informative and I really loved reading all of the opinions.
My question is for Daylon and his calculations on the vaccine being better than getting the disease for pregnant women. Are you able to elaborate more on this? I feel like from what I’ve read about pregnant women not doing well with disease there is no detail about the health of these women. I’m 33 and pregnant. I’d consider myself healthy (clean eating, light exercise regularly, low stress etc) and I have no pre-existing medical conditions. What would you say the chances are of me 1.catching this disease (we’ve been pretty good with social distancing but my son is in preschool) AND 2.having a potentially fatal or life altering outcome for me or my baby ….and then my chances of a potentially fatal or life threatening outcome from the vaccine?
I thought I felt confident in my decision not to get the vax because my baby will be born beginning of May so I thought I should try to hold out and wait until her birth but your statement has made me a bit nervous.
I’ve asked Daylon to elaborate, and really he just keeps citing the meetings he attends in his practice (with obstetricians and reproductive endocrinologists)–they all feel based on the studies they see that there is no risk to the vaccine in pregnant patients. Although, at this point if you’re young and healthy you probably will not be offered the vaccine before May–and it sounds like you’re low risk of catching Covid in any case.
thank you for bringing a refreshing and comprehensive picture of the vaccine process. You really impressed me. I am grateful.
Thank you for all your info, time and balanced reasoning, scientific facts, and thoughts. There are so many negative comments from people that just sound insane and their logic is from another planet. It makes me sad and very fearful for everyone’s health. Can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write an article on why you don’t get the flu vaccine? I’m very interested to hear your perspective along with your great team. I’m sure you’re super busy but I think it’s really needed. I got it when I was pregnant and then gave it to my 7th month old. I’m wondering if I should get it again when I’m pregnant again. I would really love to have all the facts before I decide. Thank you!!!! xo
Thank you for this information! I’m a nurse at a hospital, but I’m breastfeeding and very torn on whether to get vaccinated. Can you elaborate a little as to why you think it’s safe for the baby
I don’t have a study to site that says it’s safe, of course, so my feeling that I would be comfortable is mostly based on intuition and research I’ve done about other vaccines or even alcohol while breastfeeding—how much is excreted in milk and the potential harm of the specific ingredients in these vaccines (no heavy metals is a big plus!). I suppose I would also take into consideration the age of the baby and whether breast milk were the sole source of food.
Have any of you read the book Bill Gates had in his stack, How to Lie with Statics? He’s putting it right out there for everyone to see how they’re getting away with this bs.
Where are all the dead people from covid in the streets? I haven’t seen one.
I agree with another comment that this post should have included someone that was more hesitant about the COVID vaccines. I realize that might have been hard to find amongst their circle of friends and family but still feel like this important piece was missed. Most people from the medical field has an inherit bias that vaccines are “safe and effective” because that is the strong consensus in that circle. I’ve seen that over and over. If you have alternative thoughts to that consensus you could loose your job so it would take some guts to post your true thoughts about this vaccine or any if you are part of the medical community. I’d also take this post more seriously if it has at least some references. While I respect each person’s opinion on the matter – show me the science! Your responses are far too “high level” for this very complex topic. There are plenty of articles or papers to reference so your audience has more confidence in your opinion if they want to get into the weeds on the topic. Why no mention of “‘paradoxical immune enhancement phenomenon” that is well established with COVID vaccines? This is likely one of the biggest concerns with these vaccines and no one is talking about it recently. However, when the pandemic started this problem is so serious you had Peter Hotez and Paul Offit (look them up if you don’t know who they are) basically telling everyone to not rush this vaccine because of serious challenges they and others have never been able to solve. These guys make vaccines for a living and are huge proponents of vaccines in general. If we can’t listen their warning then I’m at a loss. Paul Offit even noted he couldn’t imagine having a vaccine ready within 2 years but yet here we are. Furthermore, if you really dive into the science of these new vaccines with new technology never rolled out there should be great caution for anyone based on the known unknowns and unknown unknowns (re: Donald Rumsfeld classic clip on the “knowns”). For more on the details surrounding these vaccines everyone should consider reading and listening to Robert F Kennedy Jr and Del Bigtree to understand both sides of the science. As anyone reading this blog likely knows really on one side is being told through social media and main stream media. Any opposing side is being censored like the world has never seen. I know some will quickly label Robert and Del as quacks or anti-vaxxers but the fact of the matter is these guys are so far in the trenches with vaccines and the lack of science they are winning law suits against HHS, CDC and NIH for their incompetence. They are really fighting for a better vaccine program and not against vaccines. They want a better, more robust process and monitoring system. I realize no one is right about everything but they are not the only ones concerned about these vaccines. Many world renowned scientists are very concerned you just don’t hear about them since they are being censored. The trials didn’t have robust animal studies because they didn’t have time to perform them which should be talked about more so people understand what that means. The vaccines are released under emergency use meaning they are purely experimental at this point. They don’t have robust safety data what so ever even though they are selling it to us like they do. This is so much of a concern that former Pfizer R&D executive Mike Yeadon has been outraged with the entire process and has taken Twitter. Can we hear from him on main stream media since he knows a thing or two about all of this? Nope. He can’t even get on BBC in the UK to express his professional opinion that we should weigh far greater than anyone writing or responding to this blog. Bottom line is for a blog post like this you have gotta dive a bit more into the science versus just opinion. I think your audience can handle getting into the weeds a little and probably would love to with some of your references!
Thank you for this. Vaccines are definitely a controversial topic. I can’t, in good conscious, be ok with the new COVID vaccines. Or any for that matter. There is SO much money behind them and that always leaves a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The fact that no one talks about this makes it even scarier. Money and power play a HUGE role. Until ‘scientists’ face the concern that thousands or parent’s have when it comes to the ‘safety’ of vaccines, who can we really trust? I absolutely NEVER thought I would not be able to trust pediatricians. Yet, here I am not trusting them. It’s heartbreaking.
In this particular case, we cannot work on changing anything if we are dead. I am a sensitive, and a two-time breast cancer survivor. I will take take the vaccine, not just for me, but for everyone. I am also not crazy about staying home for the rest of my life. That would not be a life well-spent.
This was great – thanks!!!
Thank you for the thoughtful research and commentary. Excellent food for thought.
Biggest issue for me is that since the vaccine is proprietary, we don’t know what’s actually in it. Therefore, all are researched guesses/theories, albeit educated ones. It is so upsetting that this concealment has been allowed all these years, and it’s only money/power that keeps it that way.
The other concern is why the big push to vaccinate when the virus has a success rate of 99.985% with no herd immunity yet in place?
This was informative and helpful! There is so much information out there, yet so many unknowns! I trust the information that you give, so thank you!
Maia and panel – I’m curious if your thoughts re: pregnancy, breastfeeding, and vaccinating children change in light of the guidance the UK government is providing healthcare professionals re: the Pfizer vaccine. The lack of any data regarding fertility has me concerned about vaccinating my sons and daughter.
The excerpt below is from “REG 174 INFORMATION FOR UK HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS” > https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948101/Temporary_Authorisation_HCP_Information.pdf
4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation
There are no or limited amount of data from the use of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2.
Animal reproductive toxicity studies have not been completed. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine
is not recommended during pregnancy.
For women of childbearing age, pregnancy should be excluded before vaccination. In addition, women of childbearing age should be advised to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after their second dose.
It is unknown whether COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 is excreted in human milk. A risk to
the newborns/infants cannot be excluded. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 should not be used during breast-feeding.
It is unknown whether COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 has an impact on fertility.
My understanding is that all of the above is just because we haven’t tested the vaccine on those populations, so it’s all unknown–and unknowable right now, unfortunately. FWIW, my husband doesn’t see how there would be an effect on fertility.
Thank you so much for this post. It was wonderful to be able to see so many points of view that came to the same conclusion. I’m very wary about vaccines and stretched out vaccines for my kids due to my own allergies (I’m allergic to a lot of anti-biotics, not sure if they hit that genetic jackpot) so I was worried about these new vaccines. Everything I have read and everything in your interview comes to the same conclusion: better to get the vaccine than to get Covid. In all honesty I thought of people who took the Polio vaccine on sugar cubes. They had no idea what the long term effects of the vaccine might be, but they definitely knew they did not want to be stricken with Polio, and they needed to stop it’s spread. I’ll be holding off for my kids to see how trials go, but this was so helpful to read. Thanks again, and have a Happy, Healthy New Year!
Thanks Erin–I am across the board of the same mind:).
I am part of a covid long haulers Facebook group. Many of them have said they have tested positive for covid and then months later test positive again. Someone in your post said there have only been a handful of reinfections worldwide. So are these situations not reinfections? If not, what are they?
My question would be were the sick when they tested? If not I would think a false positive test.
Do any of these vaccines also stop the spread of the virus? If not, won’t we have millions of vaccinated people who are asymptomatic spreading the virus everywhere?
The evidence is not conclusive on whether once you are vaccinated you can still spread the virus. However, once enough people are vaccinated or have gotten the virus and we reach herd immunity, then we won’t be spreading it anymore.
This is an interesting brief information,Thank you!
A few more trusting answers may help to understand the o risks of unknown origin of tomorrow and the future.
How does it affect our DNA, now and for the future?
Are there any human cells or parts of a human body, or tissues, or any resulting from aborted feces used in developing and/ or administering this vaccine from any of the companies distributing them?
There are so many variables yet unknown.
We all can be confident that Results vary of recovery and treatment from this vaccine or no vaccine,
based on age, tolerance, each individuals level of immunity,
Levels of risk-taking, ability to receive truthful information, building of knowledge and awareness Of your own body and healing abilities and mechanisms used in doing so.
Where is all the data that is working for many enhancing our immunity against this and all other virus/ bacterial infections/invaders?
Can we establish how we can build our confidence in the choice not to vaccinate?
Where can we locate the studies/information distributed on the results thus far of God’s earthly and untainted natural therapy’s, supplements, frequency therapies, and modalities, etc. of cooperation that enhance our own individual cellular activity and protection, as we know from the flu vaccines and outside invaders?
The following statement is vague,
Daylon: The vaccines that use the mRNA (as described above) were able to be produced so quickly because as soon as we received the virus’s sequence from scientists in China, we had a blueprint (basically a map) of all the viral components which could be copied to create the vaccine. The technology has been in development for more than decade. So with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, scientists read the genetic sequence of this specific virus, and plugged it in to the vaccine. The discovery process for a vaccine is actually very short because you copy the virus that already exists—as opposed to trying to come up with a therapy for most illnesses.
How do you and how can we be confident of the truth of this blueprint?
what other country has trusted the virus sequence from scientists in China?How would you know that you can trust this map and that reigns as the truth?
Are all studies based on this blueprint from China?
Thanks for your work in researching this! I would be interested to hear from any other experts with a different opinion. I think there is usually valid points on both sides of an argument (especially when it comes to vaccines). You all basically agreed on all points.
Hi Taylor, You’re welcome. Yes, I welcome experts with differing opinions but so far we haven’t heard any. Suzanne
Thanks, Maia, and all. This information was so specific, helpful and all in one place! As a teacher, I plan to get the vaccine as soon as possible. I want to protect myself and members of the community and the risks of the vaccine seem far less than the risks associated with getting Covid. However, because I have a compromised immune system, I’ll consult my doctor first.
Yeah, I think that’s smart all around. I can’t wait until this is over! Miss you guys:).
What if you have COVID but don’t have symptoms yet and you get the shot?
This has already happened–no extra risk as far as I understand.
Love this. You may have changed my mind about eventually getting the vaccine!
I received some conflicting information about whether children versus parents should get the vaccine. It’s a little concerning.
On one hand, our pediatrician here in CA recommends the children get the vaccine versus the parents.
On the other hand, my brother in law who is a surgical nurse in Pennsylvania, was told by their hospital admin team that they are recommending children do not get the vaccine.
What are your thoughts on this?
I am highly skeptical of vaccines and don’t think the risk outweighs the benefit in many cases But this, as you say, is different. We have a responsibility to help stop this. Some people may (or, probably, will!) have adverse reactions to the chemicals in this vaccine. But many more are dying from covid.
Thank you for being a voice in the holistic health-minded community saying this.
Thanks for your feedback. We are cautious with vaccines and think questioning is ok. However the risks of Covid are very real and like nothing I have seen in my very privileged healthy life so I am deferring to the scientists and doctors who know way more than I.
Such good information here! Thoughts on getting the vaccine if you are a nursing mother who has already had (mild) COVID-19? I work in public health and could get the vaccine tomorrow, but I keep going back and forth about getting it. Am I wrong to think my natural immunity should be enough?
I don’t think you’re wrong. Both my MIL and my husband feel very strongly that you should be protected at least for a while (as in, a few years).
Thanks for your response! I think I’ll wait until I’m done nursing to take the vaccine!
That’s what I would do, I think, if I were in your shoes!
Thank you for answering so many lingering questions I had. I have also never had the flu shot and refuse it for my children as well (which is always an argument with my husband)
I am still skeptical about getting the vaccine, most of my skepticism is of big pharma, but you made me feel more comfortable about the possibility of taking it. I value your opinion and thorough research. Thank you! Thank you!
Hi Jennifer, We are definitely skeptical of many pharmaceuticals. There is far too much focus on profit in our health care system. This virus though has been a focus of the scientific community worldwide. I have never gotten a flu shot. I cannot say that I never will as I continue to age but I support your skepticism especially with children. The scientists and doctors in our family know how skeptical we are and they have our best interests. We are trusting their research and expertise and felt it was important to share. I still think a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle is the best protection for our health but vaccines have their place too, especially now.
Well rounded response. Appreciate all of the varied backgrounds and how you offered it up as a panel discussion. We’re at the bottom of the vaccine list but we’ll be getting it!
I have alway appreciated your website and the wealth of free information you provide and I hope this comment comes across respectfully! I do want to say I’m disappointed that you didn’t offer the input of even one person who does not plan on getting this vaccine. It would have seemed more well-rounded and realistic as there is (from my viewpoint anyway) a lot of hesitancy surrounding this vaccine and some very valid reasons for not getting it. It would have been nice to have been able to hear both sides of the “argument” so-to-speak. I have many family members and friends in the medical field and some definitely plan to opt out of receiving it. It would have been wonderful to hear an educated opinion that differs from the 5 opinions here. I’m also disappointed on how casually it was mentioned that the vaccine might be required to travel- as if that wouldn’t be a massive breach of medical freedom (which needs to remain a basic human right). You are of course entitled to publish what you wish and I fully respect that but you have a wide range of followers and some of us (I know I can at least speak for myself) feel rather estranged right now.
Hi T. J.,
Sorry that you are feeling estranged right now. From what I have read from other health and wellness bloggers; there are plenty of opinions that are against the vaccine. Unfortunately, we don’t read anyone that is against the vaccine strongly that we know or trust. If you know someone who is against the vaccine and has some knowledge about it we would be happy to get their input. The only people I have found are fellow health coaches with no expertise in medicine, pandemics, or viruses. I certainly believe that the best way to protect yourself is through diet and lifestyle but this feels very different in that it is effecting the whole world and killing many people and leaving others with health problems. I am fine with admitting that I don’t know the answer to this dilemma and I am following the advice of the experts. I hope that you can find some peace and please reach out if you find someone with credible sources that offer an alternative solution to the pandemic. I haven’t seen my grandchildren (in close contact) since last March and that leads me to eventually accepting that I will get the vaccine in order to free me from isolation. Of course, I am in an older demographic that is at more risk although we are in excellent health. My children, have been very careful and concerned about us. Thanks for reaching out. Suzanne/Nana
The mRNA in the vaccine tricks your cells into creating viral proteins then the immune response comes from the viral proteins, correct? Am I understanding this correctly? How do we know if there are any long term effects to our bodies making these proteins? It just seems like there is no way to know of any long term consequences in this amount of time. The problem with new therapeutics is we don’t know what we don’t know. I took multiple drugs in the 90s I was told were perfectly safe, then the FDA came out and basically said whoops, we were wrong, these particular drugs are dangerous. For now I’ll hold off and continue to be very cautious and social distance.
What are your thoughts on the vaccine’s effects on fertility? Is there info about this specifically? We plan to get pregnant in the next year and I’m on the fence if we should wait to get the vaccine.
I also have never gotten the flu shot (and I am 65 years old ) despite the pressures from my peers who get their flu shots like clock work every year and without hesitation. I also have Hashimoto and still refuse to get the flu shot.
I do feel better now about getting the Covid vaccination thanks to your comprehensive article.
Thanks again !
You and I are similar. I will be 70 this January and have never gotten a flu shot. The Covid vaccine feels like a different situation. I haven’t been able to see my children or grandchildren up close because we are all trying to follow the guidelines to keep everyone safe. That has been extremely difficult as we are a very close family. We wear masks and meet outside. As you can tell from reading this article the scientists and medical doctors in our family are very sure that we should get the vaccine and we will be fine. We are trusting their advice. Thanks for reading.
I’ve been researching this topic as well as childhood vaccines starting just before the pandemic.
I guess you could say I “woke up” in many different areas of health and wellness after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.
This is how I found your website ( which I love) among many others.
I have lost some friendships over this topic, I find it very sad that some of us are not allowed to have a difference of opinion when it comes to our health. We should all have the freedom to make personal decisions in regards to our bodies and our health with out being bullied or being called such derogatory names. Unfortunately, this is where we are.
All I can say is ,do your own research, you’ll need to do some digging, a lot of the information is buried.
Go with your gut and please ,use some common sense. If you use the media as your only source of information, you’re only hearing one side.
Be open! I’ve always been open to different ideas, different opinions, including different political opinions, viewpoints, different religions, different cultures, different ways of healing your body. Your immune system is actually a miraculous thing.
And also consider, if you or a family member are injured by the vaccine the pharmaceutical companies are not liable, neither is your Doctor, you’re on your own.
I agree that we should all be open to different opinions. And I like to question opinions to make sure they have some facts behind them. It is good to be skeptical and this is a challenging issue because it’s the first worldwide pandemic that has brought our country to it’s knees in a while. Think of the native Americans who were decimated by diseases that they had not been exposed to before by new settlers who came to this country. We do a lot of research and if you read our article it is not from the media it is from a scientist, a medical doctor, and our family members. That is a small sample for sure, although I think the medical community is pretty aligned that the vaccine is necessary especially for people with compromised immunity and to promote herd immunity without killing more people. Also, sometimes the media is a good place to get information depending on the source. I don’t think it is a good idea to disregard all media. And I agree our immune systems are a miraculous thing and our best defense agains illness. This is a very difficult time for everyone and I agree that we all are responsible for our own health. Just always check your sources of information and stay open. Best Regards, Suzanne
Wow, I for sure thought I would pull this up and you would all be against it. It was so educational and extremely helpful. Thank you so much!!
Thanks Katlyn, we are trying to stay open and learn.
This was so comprehensive, and literally answered all the of questions that were in my
mind at any given day.
Thanks so completely! I hope this isn’t inappropriate, but there’s the “rumors” floating around about [tissue] .. I’ll leave it at that; any evidence?
Bless Y’all for this round table!
Thank you for doing this. I still feel the need to talk to my doctor, considering I’ve had very bad reactions to the regular flu shot, with each time worse than the previous time, and I’ve had reactions to shrimp, (ear to knee hives), even though I’ve not tested as allergic to it. I would like to get it, because I do want to travel again in the future, and I think this might be required to do that.
This is wonderful. I trust so much of what you research. This really puts my mind at ease. I had already decided to get the vaccine after doing my own research but this confirms I made the correct decision. Thank you for your hard work in putting this together!!
So glad it’s helpful! ❤️
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