• Kat J. McAlpine

    Editor, The Brink Twitter Profile

    Kat J McAlpine

    Kat J. McAlpine is editor of The Brink, Boston University’s news site for scientific breakthroughs and pioneering research. Kat has been telling science stories for over a decade, and prior to joining BU’s editorial staff, publicized research at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering. Profile

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There are 10 comments on The COVID-19 Vaccines: Everything You Need to Know

    1. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to mandate the vaccine right now, because there is not yet any evidence that it prevents transmission (only that it reduces the severity of mild symptoms). In other words, based on what we know today, the vaccine helps the person getting the vaccination, but it is not clear that it helps anyone else.

      Even if evidence were to come out to show a reduction in transmission, this is still a novel vaccine with no long-term safety data (although the short-data are positive!), and no one should be coerced into taking it.

  1. “There’s no formal guidance that’s been provided for that yet [from the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)]. There’s evidence that there is a small risk of reinfection three or more months after an initial infection. For anyone who is three months post infection, it makes sense for those people to be vaccinated. “

    If the statement above is true everyone could need to be revaccinated every three months!! In which case this horror story will never end. In fact, since natural immune responses to real viral infections is almost always better than the response is to an inactive virus in a vaccine, the effective response to covid vaccination is likely to be even shorter than that seen in persons who have had the infection.

    1. Missy can you back up your projections with scientific information? Do you know how the vaccine is even designed and how versatile it is? Are you trying to create fear and distrust in scientists’ work?

      Like, do you think we should also never get the flu shot because the flu strains change yearly? Do you think that because it’s less than 100% effective we shouldn’t even bother with a flu vaccine?

      It may be possible that the coronavirus strains will keep on changing and therefore will be also incorporated into regular flu vaccines, just like how some swine flu strains are now included in every year’s flu vaccine.

      We need to get over our fear and have people like you start believing in science. Your anti-vaccine rhetoric is very damaging. Shouldn’t we then stop giving babies pertussis or tetanus vaccines, because their immune response is better? Shouldn’t we just have let polio and smallpox run rampantly in our societies because we trust our bodies more than science? Do you even know how vaccines and immunity work?

      I believe in scientists’ and doctors’ work. I will take the vaccine as soon as humanly possible, but I also know that it isn’t the end all be all. It needs to be augmented with mask mandates, social distancing, and more public health measures. And I will dedicate my entire career to make sure that misinformation spreaders and science denialists like you don’t gaslight us into believing that vaccines are futile.

      1. BME… did it ever occur to you that your thought process just might be scaring people? I must have an archaic thought process because I do believe in the human bodies “natural” immune system.

        1. The body’s own “natural” immune system also leads to millions of deadly autoimmune disorders every year. It is not a perfect system; sometimes it could use a little help.

        2. Oh, then it totally must be okay for me to NOT treat my Crohn’s disease, and instead let it rampantly destroy my guts because my immune system is so much better at fighting illness than if it were tampered with, even if it’s attacking my own intestines and making me feel incredible pain? Is this what you’re implying?

          Well, in that case, let’s do away with doctors and antibiotics. My body can handle a severe sinus infection without no medication, because my immune system is just that strong! Is this what you’re implying?

          No. My thought process isn’t scaring people. I’m training under actual physicians and scientists at BU who have contributed immensely to our understanding of disease and immunity, and I will listen to them. I’ve read the scientific reports, I’ve talked to doctors and vaccine skeptics, and I have the freedom to believe in science and the evidence – and guess what? I will.

    2. Please don’t go down the rabbit hole here. The more evidence that presents itself, the more it seems that reinfection is highly unlikely. With a vaccine widely distributed we will find ourselves in a spot were life will be normal again. This is not going to be an every 3 month occurrence. Again, the data shows that reinfection is incredibly rare. For once in 2020 lets bask i some good news

    3. This doesn’t square with the scientific evidence. There is a chance of often asymptomatic reinfection after contracting the disease but it’s not clear whether this person is infectious. In addition, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna studies have shown that their mRNA vaccines elicit an even higher immune response (because of adjuvants and specificity to a single protein with high antigenicity) than actual viral infection which would reasonably confer longer and more robust protection. Your claim that “natural immune responses to real viral infections is almost always better” is factually incorrect and there are many cases of viral infection conferring less protection than a vaccine. Also, only AstraZeneca’s vaccine has attenuated virus of those vaccines approved/close to approval.

  2. From what I see here, there is an evident need for more data on several fronts and we have decided that we are willing to use the general population as the test group with the hope that everything works as planned. While the toll of the pandemic does need to be weighed when making the decision about how much positive data is needed before rolling out the vaccine to the general public, we have to realize that the current plans are represent incredibly risky behaviors that normally would never even be considered. We should trust the science that shows good preliminary results, but please don’t worship scientists; they, too, make mistakes and do not know a lot of things. There are a lot of unknowns that really do need to be investigated and should leave room for concern until we get definitive answers.

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