Editor:

This is my personal view of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is not written to discourage people from taking it, but to give a bird’s-eye view of what this vaccine is all about.

The COVID-19 vaccine now being administered is an emergency vaccine. Emergency, which means that it was approved out of necessity, even though it has not been completely studied. It was manufactured quickly, and an essential randomized clinical study was done in record time. 

How was this possible? One: Unlike vaccines in which attenuated virus or viral proteins or toxins are used, there is no need for viral materials to make it. Instead, the so-called Messenger RNA or (mRNA) were used. In this process the gene that produces the protein in the spike on the surface of the virus is known. So this gene can be instructed to make similar protein that mimics the protein of the virus, which in turn induces the body to produce antibodies. 

Two: Being in Pandemic there has been no problem to satisfy the number of volunteers as subjects for randomized study. One will also note that the day following its approval there were instantly 20 million doses available, which means that preparation has been going on for months; they cannot prepare these overnight.

This vaccine is far more likely to protect you than it is to do you harm, but complications are possible.

Complications are the drawbacks of vaccines. There are immediate complications from a few minutes to hours, intermediate complications, from days to up to two years, and late complications, which will be two years and beyond. Intermediate and late complications are missing from this study.

Lack of sufficient time for adequate study put safety to question for long term complications, which could be anything. It can vary from simple skin reaction, to involvements of different organs of the body up to sudden death. But these outcomes are expected to be very rare.

Since the vaccine involves sub-molecular levels of body functions RNA and possibly DNA, the effect on the offspring of childbearing age recipients is unknown.

In spite of this incomplete study, will I personally take this vaccine? The answer is “yes” because the alternative is worse. The benefits we can get out of this vaccine outweigh the risk of complications and fatalities from getting COVID-19. This is the reason why the use of this vaccine was approved.

Pedro O. Atienza, MD

Maquoketa