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Coronavirus diary – Part 42

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[FILE] A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident to test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Shenyang, in China’s northeast Liaoning province on December 31, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT


The debut of the vaccine marked what might be called the triumph of hope or desperation. Vaccines ordinarily take years to produce. The argument is that the technology employed this time was not just begun recently but commenced during the MERS incident, held in abeyance, and re-started all over with the emergence of the COVID-19. With the ravaging virus, many countries enlisted into the race to produce a vaccine, the quickest route, perhaps, to recovery.

Somewhat, the entrance of the vaccine signaled the move to save lives in ways positive, or negative. The vaccine is out with an accelerated percentage of efficacy even though clinical trials barely cover the least significant percentage of the global population and therefore foisted as safe for the global immunisation drive. On December 8, 2020, the Washington Post coronavirus newsletter edited by Angela Fritz captured the vaccine development as follows: “Pfizer’s vaccine candidate cleared a major regulatory hurdle this morning. The Food and Drug Administration confirmed its safety and efficacy. It also found evidence that the vaccine, which is given in two doses three weeks apart, began to protect people after the first jab.” Following the administration of the vaccine on a few oldies in Britain, Fritz with an ethnocentric euphoria further enthused, “This is how Britain won the West’s race for a coronavirus vaccine.”

F. William Engdahl, a strategic risk consultant and a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization and author of “Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” published in 2007, points to sinister underlings in the vaccine crusade. In his piece titled, “What’s Not Being Said about the Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine. ‘Human Guinea Pigs’?” ran in Global Research, he argued about the dire risk the mRNA vaccines being promoted by Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and their state sponsors.

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The arguments are basically, that the Pfizer vaccine is based on “experimental technology known as gene editing, specifically mRNA gene-editing, something never before used in vaccines” and dogged by lack of precision. Two, there is something dodgy about the vaccine underlined by two notable developments, namely, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer sale of 62% of his stock in Pfizer, making millions in profit in the deal at the time the vaccine breakthrough was being announced is food for thought; and the signing of an agreement between Mainz-based BioNTech and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in September 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Wuhan China on the development of the new mRNA techniques to treat cancer and HIV. There is equally an agreement between BioNTech and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd to develop a version of its mRNA vaccine for novel coronavirus for the Chinese market. These shreds of evidence underlined the centrality of BioNTech in the vaccine circulating in China, Europe, and North America. As he has rightly noted “Both US and EU authorities and presumably also Chinese, waived the standard animal tests using ferrets or mice and have gone straight to human “guinea pigs”. Three, the mRNA technology on which the vaccine is based is not fail-safe. He relied on the informed opinion of Dr. Romeo Quijano, a retired professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, who noted that “Exogenous mRNA is inherently immune-stimulatory, and this feature of mRNA could be beneficial or detrimental. It may provide adjuvant activity and it may inhibit antigen expression and negatively affect the immune response. The paradoxical effects of innate immune sensing on different formats of mRNA vaccines are incompletely understood.”  

John O’Sullivan of Principia Scientific International who wrote the piece titled “Bill Gates Admits COVID Vaccine Changes DNA, Now Doctors Rebel” on December 5, 2020, stressed the point that “Beyond any doubt, the vaccines developed and launched to fight the novel coronavirus are composed of recombinant DNA.” The latter are “molecules of DNA genetic code from two or more different species that are inserted into a host organism to produce new genetic combinations that are claimed to be of value to science, medicine, agriculture, and industry.” He further noted that “Since the focus of all genetics is the gene, the fundamental goal of Big Pharma’s laboratory geneticists is to isolate, characterize, and manipulate genes”.  

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The US Centre for Disease Control, a promoter of the vaccine states that “COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the immune cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them. Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface.” Dr. Yella Hewings-Martin, with a similar explanation in the Medical News Today on December 18, 2020, agreed that “mRNA vaccine technology is not new, but until recently there were no mRNA vaccines approved for humans. 

Controversial claims, one might say, but the backlash is already occurring. In the United States, Gregory Michael, a Florida obstetrician, who was hale and hearty and without pre-existing conditions before getting the jab on December 18, died from the Pfizer vaccine. On a general note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made public that a total of 21 people suffered anaphylaxis upon getting their first dose between December 14 and 23, 2020. Norway, with a low number of coronavirus cases and the corresponding death toll, is in the middle of vaccine backlash. Twenty-three people died in Norway within days of receiving their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine with 13 of those deaths related to the side effects of the shots, according to New York Post. This development has forced the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to caution to the extent that “For those with the most severe frailty, even relatively mild vaccine side effects can have serious consequences…For those who have a very short remaining life span anyway; the benefit of the vaccine may be marginal or irrelevant.” On the other hand, Steinar Madsen, Head of Norway’s medicines agency denied direct link and attributed death to underlying ailment of the deceased.

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In Britain, The BBC reported that two people had adverse reactions shortly after receiving their vaccinations. The BBC said they appeared to be anaphylactoid reactions, which tend to involve a skin rash, breathlessness, and sometimes a drop in blood pressure, rather than anaphylaxis, which can result in death. According to Times Now News, Sonia Acevedo, 41, A Portuguese health worker, died two days after getting the Pfizer vaccine on New Year day, 48 hours after inoculation. In Israel, according to Reuters, about 240 people after a jab with Pfizer vaccine were diagnosed with the COVID-19 underlining the fact that the vaccine does not provide immediate immunity to the coronavirus, given up to a week or so to engender a first stage immunity of about 50 percent and another 21 days interval for a second jab that would result in about 95 percent immunity.

Therefore, the vaccine hesitancy is not misplaced after all. In her report titled, “Alarming number of US health care workers are refusing COVID-19 vaccine” in New York Post, Kenneth Garger, underlined vaccine hesitancy among workers especially, in several US cities and states such as New York City, California, Ohio, and Texas. She noted that “U.S. health care workers are first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — but an alarming number across the country are refusing to do so.” According to the Los Angeles Times, in California, 50 percent of frontline workers in Riverside County rejected the vaccine. In Ohio, about 60 percent of the nursing home workers are said to have opted out of the vaccination binge. 

Worried by the rising incidence of vaccine hesitancy, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch cited by Garger, based normalcy on vaccination. In her words, “Our ability as a society to get back to a higher level of functioning depends on having as many people protected as possible.
Note that the debate on the vaccine and its discontent will be continued next week.
Akhaine is a Professor of Political Science at the Lagos State University.

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