Pfizer vaccine deemed safe and effective by the FDA, and a question for readers

December 8, 2020 • 8:45 am

Ripped from the headlines of CNN!  Click on the screenshot to read:

Many of us know that the FDA is meeting Thursday to decide whether to approve the Pfizer vaccine for general use. If the approval occurs, vials of vaccine will be making their way across the U.S., ready for immediate transfer into the arms of Americans.

Now, judging by the headline above, it looks almost certain that the FDA will indeed approve the vaccine in two days, and the first ranks of Americans will start getting vaccinated. Who gets it first appears to vary from state to state, but, rightly, healthcare workers and nursing-home patients (and their carers) will almost always be the first in line—and that’s what the FDA recommended as well.  After all, if the vaccine is safe and effective, why wouldn’t it be approved?

The good news gets even better: it appears that some immunity is conferred even after the first dose, which appears by itself to be 50% effective (two are required for the 95% effectiveness). Flu vaccine—the single shot we should all have gotten already this year, is only between 40% and 60% effective. “Effectiveness” is the reduction of risk that you get when you are vaccinated.

From CNN:

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released a briefing document detailing data on Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which will be considered this week for emergency use authorization in the United States.

The document confirms that the vaccine’s efficacy against Covid-19 was 95%, occurring at least seven days after the second dose – an efficacy that had been previously reported by Pfizer. The proposed dosing regimen for the vaccine is to administer two 30-microgram doses 21 days apart.

However, the document also notes that the vaccine, called BNT162b2, appears to provide “some protection” against Covid-19 following just one dose.

The document describes the efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine in the time between the first and second dose as 52.4%, but the document notes that “the efficacy observed after Dose 1 and before Dose 2, from a post-hoc analysis, cannot support a conclusion on the efficacy of a single dose of the vaccine, because the time of observation is limited by the fact that most of the participants received a second dose after three weeks.”

In other words, “the trial did not have a single-dose arm to make an adequate comparison.”

The document goes on to detail the safety profile of the vaccine as “favorable” and notes that the most common adverse reactions to the vaccine have been reactions at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.

Severe adverse reactions occurred in less than 4.6% of participants, were more frequent after the second dose and were generally less frequent in older adults as compared to younger participants, according to the document. The document adds that swollen lymph nodes also may be related to vaccination.

That’s good enough for me, and I’ll be taking the shots as soon as my doc recommends it—which I presume will be as soon as I’m permitted to get them.

A STAT-Harris Poll published last month, however, showed that the proportion of Americans willing to get vaccinated depends on the vaccine’s efficacy, but only weakly.  Below are those data in graphic form.  What’s disturbing is that if the vaccine were 50% effective, only 60% of Americans would be likely to get the shots. And even with over 90% effectiveness, which is the case with all the vaccines about to hit the market, the willingness rises to only about 63%—a pathetically low figure. I’ve heard that the acquisition of herd immunity in the U.S. to coronavirus requires that 70% of Americans have immunity; even counting those who were infected, the figures on willingness to get vaccinated doesn’t give us that level of immunity. However, it will protect those smart people who get the shots.

So here’s the question: assuming you can get the shots because you don’t have a condition that bars them, are you going to get vaccinated? (I’m assuming that the Pfizer vaccine, or one with similar effectiveness, is the one on offer.) If not, why not?

208 thoughts on “Pfizer vaccine deemed safe and effective by the FDA, and a question for readers

  1. Absolutely, I’ll be getting it! Though I’m not in the US, but Britain, and vaccinations have started here already. It’ll be a while before I can get one though, since I’m 24 and so one of the lower risk categories. (Then again, I am a bit of a chubster and I smoke- does that make me more likely to get it sooner? I doubt it!)

    1. I had been allowing that the situation was not necessarily a matter of all around incompetence. The agreements were made before we knew of its safety and effectiveness. Remember these are RNA based vaccines, which were seen as pretty risky, and there are other U.S. based vaccines in the pipeline.

    2. Fortunately, it’s not as if it’s a wasted opportunity. It’s just that more early receivers of the Pfizer vaccine will come from countries other than the USA. This is a better state of affairs than the one that I feared which is that Trump would buy up all the vaccine and not release any to the rest of the World until after all Americans had been vaccinated and then at extortionate cost.

      There’s more good news: The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective according to an independently reviewed paper published in the Lancet

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55228422

        1. Look at it this way. Let’s say the USA has bought enough vaccine for all but 46.9% of the people (to pick a completely random percentage), can you guess which 46.9% won’t turn up for their jabs?

    1. We’re the same age, John, and of the same mind about vaccinations! Just convince me that all the health care/first responder workers are already protected.

  2. “assuming you can get the shots because you don’t have a condition that bars them, are you going to get vaccinated?”

    I will roll up my sleeve for a needle ASAP…,

    Now for a pedantic interpretation of the question : it could very well turn out that I personally do not get vaccinated in the near future even though I am willing, so the answer would be “I don’t know”.

  3. Yes, I will take the vaccine. (I almost ended that sentence with “with pleasure,” but that would’ve been weird.)

  4. “assuming you can get the shots because you don’t have a condition that bars them, are you going to get vaccinated?”

    Yes.

  5. Certainly get the shots. The CVS is suppose to be heavily involved in it here but I have not heard any details on how they are going to work it. For normal stuff they send us messages on our phones to pick up pills and so forth. Our’s is inside a Target store and that is where I get the flu shots and shingles. Not sure how they are going to do this inside the store.

  6. In the UK they are starting a new trial to see if a “mix and match” approach of two different vaccines may be more effective: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55228415

    I will happily get a shot if/when I’m offered one. I had an embarrassing experience when I got a rabies shot before travelling back in the late ’80s. I happily rolled up my sleeve, only for the nurse to say “it’s not going in there!” The serum is very viscous and needs a wide needle…

    1. Back in bad old days, one of the prophylactic treatments in areas with malaria and shisto was 5 ccs of gamma globulin injected into one buttsteak (you pick which one). I couldn’t sit for three days.

      1. The only bad reactions I ever had from a vaccination was Typhoid and Yellow Fever. Ouch!

        Gama globulin (and hepatitis, plague, rabies, Japanese B encephalitis, and all the typical “childhood” vaccines and the annual flu vaccine (every year since 1994)) never bothered me.

        My body doesn’t get inflamed very easily.

        This doesn’t seem to have affected my immune responses; but there’s no way to be sure.

      1. Different Barry McGuire. It has caused some confusion over the years. Main problem was we were both in showbiz, widely construed.

        I was an actor and some episodes I appeared in (Gunsmoke, Real McCoys, Perry Mason, Silent Service) are found on YouTube or Daily Motion. Names of episodes can be found on my IMDB page. A link to a Real McCoys episode can be found right here on WEIT.

  7. Of course I will take it, I’m no fool.

    I would like to take this opportunity to point out that in under a year from emergence we have developed multiple effective vaccines for a pandemic.

    SCIENCE, BABY!

  8. Of course I’ll get vaccinated. Twice! 🙂

    What’s disturbing is that if the vaccine were 50% effective, only 60% of Americans would be likely to get the shots.

    I view this as a problem of expectation management. Without understanding much about the science of vaccination, I bet most laypeople were expecting numbers such as 99.95%. A 60% or even 95% effectiveness sounds “low” to them, like it may not be worth any unknown risks. But, I’ll also bet that your average layperson didn’t know that flu vaccine effectiveness was only 40-60%, or that 95% is quite a spectacularly high number for a vaccine. So once we educate people that 95% is a really good number, and not a really bad as they might intuitively gravitate towards thinking, then I bet a much higher percent of people will support it.

    I also suspect that a lot of on-poll naysayers will line up for the vaccine regardless of what they say. Indeed, I bet a lot of these conservative evangelical “the vaccine is from satan” types would get incensed at the thought of being left out or being put to the back of the line. The resistance to a vaccine which is not even on the market yet is mostly political theater – a way of showing your Trump bona fides, without actually having to do anything or sacrifice anything. When the vaccine becomes generally available, and thus being anti-vaxx has an actual health and/or social cost to it, they’ll be pushing their way to the front of the line. In fact I’ll predict that they will then flip the script and yell about how unfair it is that welfare queens and immigrants and [insert dogwhistle here] get the vaccine ahead of good upstanding Christians.

  9. Yes. I will also be glad to wait for essential workers to get the vaccine. Even grocery store clerks should be in that category.

  10. Yes, of course, and I’d prefer to get the Moderna vaccine if I have a choice since theirs is RNA encoding a segment of the spike with two residues swapped for proline residues which I think affords greater stability of the segment, so longer half-life once circulating inside the recipient, which appeals to my protein structural background.

    In any event, I’d like to get one of the two RNA vaccines – Moderna or Pfizer – since they’re RNA and don’t require an adjuvant. What I THINK (not having heard or having much credibility as an immunologist) this means is that the lipid-enveloped RNA circulates thru you, arousing an immune response as it gets translated, while the protein-based vaccines like JNJ’s sit pretty much at the site of injection. If anyone has anything to weigh in with on that, pls do.

    Plus, the RNA vaccines are revolutionary. Never an RNA vaccine before. AND, none of the COVID cases in people who have been vaccinated with them have been severe (=requiring hospitalization).

    I asked at my vaccinization pharmacy of choice yesterday if they were compiling a list of people who wanted to be in line and they were not, yet. And, they said that they don’t have the low-temp equip needed for that yet. But added that while the nursing-home patients et al first in line are getting theirs, they’ll be getting the necessary refrigeration.

    1. So you may be able to answer this question. It is my understanding that the 2 RNA vaccines will not stop transmission but the third one does. Why? How?

    2. I thought the reason we administer vaccines mostly in the intramuscular region such as deltoid is because there is good blood supply there. Even if we inject a protein vaccine into the muscle, once it starts circulating in the blood, it would be able to reach all areas of the body and stimulate an immune response everywhere, so it’s not like it’s confined to the region it’s injected.

      I agree the idea of an mRNA vaccine sounds interesting though!

  11. I have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the clinical trial. Talking to family and friends, I am saddened over how many say they will not be taking any of the vaccines. Most claim to be worried at how fast the vaccines are being rolled out even though I reminded them that there was only a year between clinical trials and the implementation of the Salk polio vaccine. Others claim to be concerned that “big pharma” will not be liable for injuries from the vaccines and every other excuse you can imagine: unproven “nanotechnology” used to produce the vaccine, animal DNA hidden in the vaccines, etc.

      1. From the reaction I had after the injection, mild flu-like symptoms that lasted about 12 hours, I’m positive that I got the vaccine.

    1. I had a friend of my brother* (at my Mom’s funeral! Good grief) this summer complain about two things:

      – This got politicized. It will go away on 4-Nov!
      – I don’t think the vaccines will be safe, they didn’t do animal studies

      I just changed the subject (assholes, to bring up politics at a funeral. Some jerk did this at my Dad’s funeral 10 years ago too). I needed to “be the adult”.

      But, in my fantasy world, I replied:

      1: It was Trump who consciously chose to politicize public health measures such as masks and social distancing; and publicly demonstrated his disdain for them again and again. Because he thought he’d gain personal benefit from those actions.

      2: [You idiot, you don’t have a clue about how medical treatments are developed!] The reason for animal trials is to lower risk for human trials. Once the risk is accepted for Phase 2 and 3 trials, the use of animals is off the table (and would be prohibited by an animal use oversight committee as unnecessary). The human model is the best possible model. Duh!

      (* This dude has a PhD in physics. Just like with Ben Carson, a high level of education does not guarantee good judgment or wisdom.)

    2. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is reporting a 70% efficacy. Few individuals tested were older than 55, so its performance in older people is still unknown. Also, they screwed up the testing, with many people receiving smaller-than-standard doses in the first shot. The labs were not completely honest in their reporting of this latter “error”. The report was published today
      https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32623-4/fulltext

  12. Yes, I’ll be getting it as soon as I can. My wife tested positive a couple of weeks ago. She’s over it now but I’m still keeping my distance.

    There is a lot in the media these days about people who say they won’t get the vaccine. My guess is that this is overblown. Many of those who are saying it are probably just showing fairly normal reaction to a yet-to-be-approved vaccine. Once people around them are getting vaccinated, and not dropping dead from it, they’ll be in line for it. Also, many schools and businesses are going to require proof of vaccination to allow people to enter. There’s probably going to be a fight over that but it evidently has a very long legal precedent. In short, all that’s going to happen is that those who trust the vaccine will be in line ahead of those who don’t. That’s seems fair.

    BTW, anyone tracking this new disease in India?
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-55209763

    1. I have not followed this, but if that reporting is accurate, it sounds like a mass poisoning event rather than an emerging disease.

  13. I will get vaccinated after I discuss any concerns with my doctor. Even so, I may stay quarantined a bit longer and let others, who are anxious to get vaccinated, go first. Not entirely altruistic on my part.

  14. There was a link a while ago showing where people are ‘in the line’. What bothered me is that prisoners seemed rather low on the list. In terms of risk of exposure, I don’t think this is right.

    Maybe the hold-outs will need encouragement. Such as employers requiring for you to get injected. Or airlines requiring that passengers provide documentation that they were injected. I am spitballing here.

    1. Put yourself in the shoes of a politician or civil servant who has to explain to a citizen/constituent: “No, you (or your child or your parent) isn’t going to get vaccinated now; but this convicted murdered is. You have to remain at risk longer to lower the risk for this murderer.”

      This is a deadly serious proposition. More than 2000 people are dying per day in the US.

      I’m not saying prisoners should be bottom of list; but this is not an easy protocol to develop or execute and justify — either way it leans.

      1. My sense was that the rates in prisons was oddly low, but I think that came via my son, who is an atty with the Public Defender’s office in Allegheny Co PA. In any event, I looked for more before just posting that, and found the Marshall project that has been tracking that. PA is among the very low states, with rates varying wildly. From only glancing at a few other states, TX seems to top the list – imagine that. OH spiked early and then seemingly got smart.

        1. Rates in (all) Minnesota state prisons are very high. The vaccine may be mute by the time it’s available to the prisons due to the inmates and staff already contracting the disease.

  15. Yes. The data looks good, and the risk that there is some nasty, unknown adverse effect that presents later on after large numbers of people have received the vaccines is far outweighed by the risk associated with me transmitting the virus to my family, coworkers, and patients.

  16. YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

    Yesterday I watched a newspiece re phone aps that will ID whether you have been vaccinated. Ticketron and a CA soccer team indicated they would require these aps for customers to gain access to their venues for concerts and games

    Prediction: we will see even more ongoing paranoia from the right, (ironic) rants about ‘unconstitutionality’ from people who have spent the last month (not to say the last four years) using the document as toilet paper, and people acting out in the same way we’ve endured with idiots attempting to enter businesses without mask.

    1. I expect that while this period of vaccination is going on throughout 2021, people will start to resist the continued need to wear masks even after they are vaccinated due to others not yet having the vaccine and the lack of knowledge of whether you still spread the virus after vaccination (you just don’t get sick). Of course, you will hear more “ma rights” protests when those that are not vaccinated are locked out of participation in some public things after the general population is vaccinated. Also expect in the nearer term over the coming weeks, “I should be vaccinated first because…..” from others. It’s going to again bring out the embarrassingly selfish side of our society.

      1. There is a group of 74 million people who could be the ones to be at the end of the vaccination list.Those who own MAGA hats can be at the tail end of that list too.

  17. Yes, definitely.

    Tangential question: does it make any sense to be able to tell by sight if someone has been vaccinated? Today we can tell if someone is being careful if they are wearing a mask (and wearing it properly). We steer away from those who aren’t. How would we visually identify a mask-less vaccinated person (who is presumably about as responsible and not dangerous as a mask wearer)?

    1. What? Apart from a tattoo* I don’t see how it would be possible to identify the vaccinated. I have to say – that’s an odd question and what it implies is terrifying

      *and if they aren’t on a ventilator.

      1. A chip!! I’d get one if it would afford me passage to places otherwise off-limits. Like the proverbial Letter of Transit.

    2. I think for the next year, we will still be wearing masks as more populations are vaccinated. This is going to be met with resistance but there is still no knowledge of whether the vaccinated can still spread the illness.

    3. I will keep wearing a mask in public, even after I get vaccinated, until my local authorities say it’s no longer needed.

      Part of mask wearing (and I remember hearing this from China way back last winter) is: You are showing you are taking everyone’s health seriously. And not being an asshole. (As Sam Harris says, try to be less of an asshole each day.)

  18. I’m getting it as soon as my place in line comes up. I have risk factors.

    Lots of the vaccine are already moving to distribution points in anticipation of approval. (You (a manufacturer) usually know whether and approximately when approval is coming. (I’ve presented or supported with technical expertise at many product reviews with the FDA or with BSI.) In this case, the communication between the manufacturer and the FDA has been exceptionally close, by all reports. And this is a very good thing.)

  19. I’ll get it. Health Canada is due to approve the Pfizer vaccine shortly as well but we are only getting just under 300,000 doses to start in December. That’s not much but I suspect it will be going to the LTC hot spots first and then the health care workers after more comes in. I expect to be vaccinated by Fall 2021 at the latest as part of the general population. Moderna will start rolling out in the meantime and Health Canada is currently looking to approve 3 more vaccines that were sent to them earlier so there will eventually be a lot of choice.

  20. Yes absolutely I’ll get whichever one comes by. We have received a broad plan of action from work on how this will proceed, which seems appropriate (I work for a hospital chain, but not seeing patients, so not in the first wave group). I was interested that this vaccine is voluntary, whereas flu shots are compulsory (a condition of employment) if you don’t have a medical waiver.

  21. I’ll probably take both jabs.
    I’m participating in a study exploring whether the BCG vaccine protects against post-Covid dementia. I suspect I got the placebo since no reaction at the injection site. (They should inject not just pure physiological water as placebo, but something that will give a mild local reaction. That would make it really double blind).
    I guess that protection against Covid will take precedence over not defaulting in a study. Difficult choice, but is not taking the Covid vaccine not a sign of dementia in itself?

    1. It would be unethical, to say the least, to put anything in a placebo that causes symptoms (other than from the jab itself).

      But you do bring up a point often not mentioned – many drugs trials cannot be placebo controlled. Especially with chemo therapeutics, the lack of side effects can reveal the placebo so the blindedness of such a trial is compromised. They CANNOT give a placebo that mimics side effects so in some cases it is impossible for patients and their care givers to miss who is getting the therapy and who isn’t. Fortunately there are ways to design a trial such that real effects of a non-placebo controlled drug can be assessed.

      1. In the Oxford/AZ vaccine trial they used a meningitis vaccine as placebo, rather than saline. I assume that this was to mimic the minor side effects. I’m happy to be corrected if this assumption is wrong.

        1. Yeah, I wasn’t clear. Placebos can cause SOME symptoms (injection site pain, minor systemic symptoms, etc).

          So, to be clear, in their single-blinded,multi-center randomised trial COV002 (n >12k), Astra Zemeca used the mg vaccine (MenACWY) solely as placebo but in the other trial (COV003, n > 10.5 k) they used saline. The mg vaccines was used to “to maintain masking of participants who had local or systemic reactions” – jab pain and any vaccination related symptoms.

          See here for COV002; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32466-1/fulltext

          Note that they mention that one of the limitations is that these were single blinded studies (the patients didn’t know if they were getting placebo or not) and some study participants reported side effects related to the size of the dose (which didn’t differ between placebo and vaccine) – the low concentration injections were larger so resulted in some injection related symptoms.

  22. Oh Yeah!! Recently completed the two shot Shingrix regimen, unpleasant, but definitely beats the alternative. At 74,, I’ll take any viable vaccine appropriate for me with the approval of my doctor.

  23. Yes. Will definitely be getting the vaccine. My concern is the rollout. I’m in my seventies and will likely get it early, but as time goes by I think there is going to be growing frustration with delays and certain groups lobbying to jump the line. Here in Minnesota, after diminishing the seriousness of the pandemic, Republican legislators now want to have priority.

  24. I will get vaccinated soon as possible. My only concern is what preservatives they use. Do they still use mercury based preservatives? I guess the Pfizer vaccine wouldn’t need any because it’s stored at -70…

        1. Mercury, like other elements, can be bound to other things making it safe. Millions of people have fillings in their teeth that are amalgams that contain mercury that is tied up with silver, tin, and such.

          From the CDC:

          “Two types of mercury to which people may be exposed — methylmercury and ethylmercury — are very different.

          Methylmercury is the type of mercury found in certain kinds of fish. At high exposure levels methylmercury can be toxic to people. In the United States, federal guidelines keep as much methylmercury as possible out of the environment and food, but over a lifetime, everyone is exposed to some methylmercury.

          Thimerosal contains ethylmercury, which is cleared from the human body more quickly than methylmercury, and is therefore less likely to cause any harm.”

          It’s like ethanol and methanol. Both are alcohol. One will kill you, one will make for a pleasant evening, assuming you don’t get too drunk.

          1. Sodium metal is extremely toxic and so reactive that when reacting with water it will release enough heat and hydrogen gas to explode. Chlorine is also extremely toxic and as a gas is used to exterminate animals and humans.

            Add them together, sprinkle it on your corn on the cob and it tastes better.

            Douglas’ comment is exhibit #1 in why it is so important to have a minimally scientifically literate society.

            1. You obviously missed my point. Did you put a touch of mercury on your corn? Or maybe a bolus each morning to make sure your heavy metal dose overwhelms your metalothioniene protective mechanism? You must be ignorant of the fact that the 50% mercury content of dental amalgams represents a far greater source of mercury exposure than anything else for most folks. And contrary to the decades of denial not the ADA. it is not immobile and inert. But we digress…

              1. Do people still have mercury fillings? My dentist replaced all of mine, I don’t know how many years back. Her decision, and I trust my dentist.

              2. My impression is that amalgam fillings have slowly decreased and not used much if at all.

              3. As I understand it, the risks of exposure are much greater during amalgam removal than while they are in your mouth day-to-day.

          2. “It’s like ethanol and methanol. ”

            Mercury is a metal, and organic derivatives thereof are organometallic chemistry. The mercury group in particular will react with thiols in cysteine and other sulfur-containing moieties.

            Methanol (CH3-OH) and ethanol (CH3-CH2-OH) are in the domain of organic chemistry. The products of enzymatic oxidation are part of what cause poisoning by methanol.

            Reaching conclusions about general relative health risks for human exposure – at any age – to mercury derivatives and alcohols constructed on the basis of some unspecified significance of the insertion of a methylene group – especially when the reactive group is unchanged between the two – is dubious.

            Thimerosal is highly toxic. The bottle has pictograms of a skull and crossbones and a dead fish in a dying ecosystem and a health rating of 3. There’s a reason the bottle and MSDS contain that information, and the derivatives are still toxic.

            Thimerosal MSDS:

            https://web.archive.org/web/20080625045712/http://www.conncoll.edu/offices/envhealth/MSDS/neuroscience/thimerosal.pdf

            1. You should be careful in your reading of that MSDS. For one thing, the skull and crossed bones in an MSDS doesn’t signify extreme danger (ethanol has a skull and crossed bones too); it is NOT a symbol meant to indicate that the material is always toxic, only that it could be. Further, the toxicity for thimerosol is listed with an LD50 (lethal dose enough to kill 50%) in rats and mice at 98 – 66 mg/kg respectively. A dose of the flu vaccine using thimerosol as a preservative is about 50 ug/dose. So at injection, the doseage for a 68 kg person (~150 lbs) would be 0.0007 mg/kg, far below any toxicity seen. Furthermore, this form of mercury is chosen precisely because it does not persist and is rapidly excreted from the body. Other forms of mercury are retained and THAT is what makes those forms so dangerous; heavy metals like mercury and lead are cumulative poisons. So while the MSDS looks scary (and it kinda is) careful reading and understanding of what these documents mean are critically important to their value.

              None of this is to minimize the concern with mercury – it IS toxic in almost all forms but the form used in thimerosol is among the least toxic known. NaCl is among the least toxic forms of sodium and chlorine.

              Although there is concern for the few remaining vaccines that contain thimerosol, mostly flu vaccines intended to be used in areas with unreliable storage facilities and in places that can’t use single use vaccines (if a medic needs to dose multiple people from the same vial of vaccine, that vial needs to be kept as clean as possible), there have been a number of studies going back more than two decades now since the controversy arose which have shown no connection between thimerosol in vaccines and any bad outcomes (autism is one claimed, so are neuro-degenerative diseases).

              1. “You should be careful in your reading of that MSDS”

                I have used thimerosal so you better be certain I was careful with the relevant literature the bottle came with and the bottle and the white powder inside. BTW – it’s thimerosal with an “a”, not thimerosol, as if it is an alcohol.

                “thimerosol is among the least toxic known”

                It is not only the concern about the pure compound but knowing risks and how materials can get in unexpected places and undergo unexpected or transformations without one’s being aware of it – it doesn’t sit there as thimerosal it’s entire lifetime, and neither do the things it is exposed to.

                “NaCl is among the least toxic forms of sodium and chlorine”

                sodium zero and cationic aqueous sodium are emphatically NOT the same materials, to say nothing of chlorine. What precisely is the point of this argument? That chemistry is fascinating? If so, what does that have to do with vaccination?

              2. Thyroid planet

                Ah a spelling flame – how quaint. I neglected to use the edit function so I guess I’m to blame.

                So it sounds like you have some experience with thimeerisoil, that suggests you have some laboratory experience?

                The fact is the mercury in theimoylasol is among the least toxic forms of that element, just as NaCl is among the least toxic forms of those elements. That’s the smegging reason WHY theemersoul is used in a few vaccines (do you know how long ago it was removed from almost all vaccines?). Thymoilsol isn’t as toxic as other forms of mercury BECAUSE IT DOESN’T PERSIST. If you pee the mercury out – it can’t hurt you anymore.

                I am all for evidence based medicine and all the evidence shows that theemeereersal in vaccines does not cause measurable harm and we know why it doesn’t

              3. “If you pee the mercury out – it can’t hurt you anymore”

                Infants? Toddlers? Do liver disorders matter? Urinary disorders? Other conditions? It matters what happens in humans, as interpreted by doctors — rats and mice are not precise models for human physiology.

  25. Yes. I was expecting it to be something you have to think about – say 60% effective, 5% chance of serious side-effects. But the amazing way these vaccines have turned out, the decision couldn’t be easier.

  26. I will get it, albeit with a lot of trepidation. I worry that this is being framed as a “pro science vs. anti-vaxxer” issue, and that such a stark dichotomy could make people say “Well, if I have to pick a side, I guess I agree more with the anti-vaxxers here,” thus giving them more creditability overall. Anti-vaxxers on issues such as “Does the MMR vaccination cause autism” really don’t have a leg to stand on at this point. Millions (maybe billions?) of dollars of research has been poured into these questions, specifically looking for just such a link, and none has been found. There is a huge body of evidence there.

    The Covid vaccine, however, really does have very limited data behind it, so I think it’s understandable that people will be nervous. There are autoimmune issues that can be triggered by any number of things – straight up allergic reaction, or Guillain-Barre Syndrome, for example – and have been linked to the flu shot. I think it’s certainly plausible that a small minority of people could experience these with the Covid vaccine. In addition, there are almost always some tiny minority of people who experience rare side effects for any medication or medical procedure, and data on that will likely not be in until the vaccine has been distributed to millions of people. That this is a novel type of vaccine, from what I understand, in that it is an RNA vaccine, presumably increases the unknown factor once you go from an emergency based clinical trial to millions and eventually billions of people being vaccinated.

    In addition, I feel my life will still be on hold indefinitely because the fact that this vaccine has not been approved for children has received relatively little attention. People say things like “given the reduced risk to children, a vaccine is not as much of a necessity,” which I agree with, but that doesn’t really translate to practical terms. Given the reduced risk to children, if they wait 1 – 5 years for a vaccine (my son is a baby so will be in the last group approved, presumably,) does that mean they can go to school? Go to Target? Go to big family gatherings? Go on vacation? Go to Disney World? Is there some kind of guidance for where on that scale children should be? Saying that children have a reduced risk is comforting, but if the reality is that they should still, realistically, remain semi-quarantined for the next five years, it’s still not great news.

    As a random point of interest, btw… a seemingly popular conspiracy theory that I have already heard making the rounds is that the vaccine causes infertility because it trains the body to attack a spike protein that is also part of the placenta. I think this is getting traction because of thisSenate invitation. This is not something I am concerned about, but just noting it as I think it’s good to know what’s going on outside of one’s particular bubble. I try to keep up with this stuff when I notice it on message boards or Facebook.

    1. “I think it’s certainly plausible that a small minority of people could experience these with the Covid vaccine.”

      We have more than a quarter million people dead from Covid-19 in the US today. It will be a half million soon. How on earth can you think the possibility of a small number of people possibly having an allergic reaction to the vaccine is a sensible reason to not be vaccinated? I’m baffled by this logic.

      And why in the world would any adult not be vaccinated just because children might not have access?

      Finally, giving credence to the quack theories of fringe doctors invited to speak in public by idiots like Ron Johnson (my senator, to my great embarrassment) is a grave mistake.

      1. My mention of children was more an aside, neither here nor there regarding adults being vaccinated. Just disappointing to realize that the arc towards normalcy is probably much more complicated and longer than I pictured when I heard “Vaccine with 90% immunity.” Unvaccinated children complicates that picture a lot, especially for people who have children. And anecdotally, I’m not sure how much awareness there is of that reality. I’ve been seeing articles about “Could Covid vaccines be mandatory for children to return to school?!” without any real mention of the fact that those vaccines aren’t even available at this point and it’s looking like a best case scenario will be that they are maybe available for 12+ year old kids within a year to a year and a half.

        As for being baffled by people being terrified of unknown side effects – that’s subjective I guess. Fear of contamination is a very common phobia (One I actually understand much better after having a child – something about that process really triggered that fear in me. I get why products marketed to parents often play into that fear in various forms. I guess in our hunter gatherer days the risk of your child eating a noxious plant was pretty high.) The idea that you are injecting something into your body and it turns out there is a .001% chance that there is some hideous side effect? Scary, at least to me. Guillain Barre, for example, often causes total paralysis, which, even if the chance is minuscule, is pretty terrifying. And if there are other, at this point in time totally unknown side effects or long term effects that don’t show up until a few years later? Also really scary. Again, subjective, but for the sake of understanding where other people are coming from (my Republican relatives, unsurprisingly, have already said they won’t get the vaccine right away,) I think it’s worth thinking about.

        1. .001% is worth worrying about when the chance of dying is 3 to 20 percent if you’re over 60? You need to grab ahold of relative risks! These are in no way comparable.

          1. Some people are absolutely terrified of flying when the fact is we are several orders of magnitude more at risk driving to the airport than we are in the plane. I am so scared of heights that even a photo can get my heart pounding. Irrational fears are one of many maladaptive things flesh is heir to and the solution for people like me and Roo is to never lose sight of reason and hope that alone will overcome the fear. Good luck, Roo.

            1. It is true that irrational fears exist. It is also true that we have the ability do determine our actions, especially in situations like this, using reason. I dislike getting shots. I look away and don’t watch, but I never allow the decision to get a vaccination or a blood draw for testing to be driven by my anxiety about needles sticking into me.

              One might shrug and say “to each their own” except that everyone’s action here has an impact on everyone else.

            2. Yes, lol, I will sometimes feel my heart pound and move my son’s formula away from the window and into the pantry where it’s not visible from outside. Because I realistically think someone is going to crawl in my window while I sleep, poison it, and crawl back out? I mean, rationally, no, but just the image in my head makes my heart pound.

          2. I don’t know that this is the risk, obviously, just saying it’s an unknown. I also don’t think the memory of Swine Flu helps, for those who are a bit older and remember it well. I’ve heard some of my older relatives mention that and it was a very similar “You should trust us, we’re the scientific authorities!” type rhetoric, and some people’s lives ended up being ruined.

            That’s why, again, I think a more middle ground rhetoric is better – acknowledging that there are unknowns and that everyone is just doing the best they can. That said, that is just my personal intuition, and perhaps it’s entirely wrong. Maybe such a message would just freak people out and make them think “See! See! Even scientific authorities say it’s dangerous!” Maybe a “Take it, and if you don’t or even have doubts you’re an idiot!!” message of confidence is better overall, I don’t know. It’s a difficult tightrope to navigate, and I feel I’m pretty good at predicting the likely response of people in my in group, but am often shocked by large populist responses in general, so can’t speak to the best attitude to adopt there.

              1. Ha, EdwardM, I saw that! Interesting world now that we can edit and delete our comments here in WEITland. You must have tumbled to the realization that you had forgotten the Confederate dead! 😉

              2. We’re not going to convince one another, so my last comment on the topic.

                If someone said “So you have to roll this dice. It’s a 1,000 sided die. There is a 1 in 1,000 chance that you will ruin your child’s life with narcolepsy (which was an unexpected side effect of the Swine Flu,) or nerve damage, blindness (optic neuritis also associated with vaccines, if I understand correctly – reversible, but that’s not to say every such side effect would be), or some other unknown irreversible damage that will be forced upon them for life. Now. Roll.”

                Would you feel great about that? Even if the consequences of not rolling the die was risk of death via respiratory illness? I would not. I don’t think most people would. To me that’s pretty straightforward. I think if it still looks inexplicable to you, this is a subjective bridge we’re just not going to cross. If you really can tune out all “low probability high fear” situations – you could swim in shark infested waters knowing sharks don’t really like to bite humans that often, and so on – good on you, but I don’t think we’re going to converge on a common perspective on this one.

              3. You leaving something out from the scenario you offer. The missing part is this: “If you don’t roll the die, there is a 5 in 100 case that you or someone you love will die”.

                This is the thing about perspective. Unless you pay attention to what the alternatives are, instead of just looking at one risk assessment, you are doing yourself and those you love a grave (potentially literal one) disservice.

            1. GBJames – You are exactly right! I was curious because HOLY SHIT 4 of the top 10 were in the past week. So when I googled “killed in action” for the US military I didn’t notice they were leaving out those damn rebs! HA! Include them and more than 3k were killed at Antietam

    2. Re. Guillain-Barre, fro a very recent TWiV post I was listening to a day or two ago, I got the impression that G-B is quite treatable now vs. when it first emerged. I’d give the episode if I remembered it, but it was somewhere between 688 and 690. If I find it again I’ll come back with it.

      1. Here it is, This Week in Virology #689 with Dr. Daniel Griffin who is actively in the trenches treating COVID patients. His comments re. G-B start around 26:00.

        NB that the G-B he mentions is a COVID secondary effect, and not from vaccination.

        1. Thanks for posting, have not listened to it yet but good to know that things like G-B may be more treatable in 2020. I had a distant cousin who had it after a flu shot so that has always stuck with me, but that’s probably been about 20 some years ago at this point.

          An aside – I my feelings about not making this situation a stark dichotomy were further affirmed today after they had two cases of anaphylactoid reaction on literally the first day of vaccine distribution, followed by rather vague advice that people should avoid the shots if they have ‘severe allergies’, leaving people scrambling, wondering what type of allergies, how many, and what level qualifies as ‘severe’ (I think that this is also suspect advice in that I had been researching peanut allergies since my son gets a rash from peanuts but no other symptoms… I wanted to try giving him small amounts of peanuts on my own, but decided against the idea when I read that really, every allergic reaction is a unique event and you can’t count on the same level consistently over time. So to some extent an allergy is an allergy is an allergy.)

          I am still, of course, incredibly grateful for the ways that science has improved human life by orders of magnitude. But I think adopting what could be interpreted as an imperious attitude on such topics is a mistake, especially when the science itself is in a position that will likely make it very vulnerable to criticism. This was the first day of vaccines – I feel there will be other reactions and side effects, and it’s probably best not to treat people as if they’re crazy for worrying about something that is statistically (at least I assume, given the number of people in the trials compared to the number of people in the world) quite likely.

            1. Funny, but upon closer examination, we do account for choking when we eat, and take measures to minimize it in children and adults. Shrugging off choking as “Ha ha, stupid people who don’t trust food!” would be a terrible thing to do. And telling someone who had a bad experience with choking, had dysphagia, or merely suspected that might be the case – say a person signing off on a solid food diet after a loved one had experienced a stroke – “You’re being ridiculous! Look at these statistics on choking!” would indeed be a problematic attitude. We would of course not shrug off that person’s concerns, even if they were low probability.

              I think this comes down to saying “Two things can be bad at once, this is not an either or / a bigger risk totally cancels out a smaller one” situation. If you have to escape a burning building by climbing three stories down a rickety ladder, you don’t say “No problem! When buildings are burning, the magic of statistics means that falling off a ladder is impossible – or, if it happens, it’s great!”. Both scenarios still suck, one being worse doesn’t change that.

              1. One being hugely, gigantically, worse should be determinative. A gnat and a stampeding elephant aren’t equally dangerous, even though gnat bites are annoying. It is your failure to acknowledge the importance of the difference in scale that dismays me.

              2. Again, last comment, as we clearly don’t see eye to eye – people have had their lives ruined by things like the Swine Flu vaccine. (Side note – when I looked back on that, I guess there were two? And they both had serious issues? One in the 70s and one in the 00s, I actually wasn’t aware of that until I Googled it.) That is not a ‘gnat’. It is a very bad, very low probability event. I don’t think saying “I will get vaccinated, but gosh darn it I am scared of this possible low probability event!” is anything to be dismayed about. I
                In fact, I think it’s strange to say “Not only do you need to be vaccinated, you need to be excited about it! Perhaps a party is in order, where everyone has to wear silly hats and eat needle shaped sugar cookies!”. (And worth noting – given my age and health status, the risk of my becoming ill from Covid is a fairly low probability one as well. How would you feel if I said that I had very low subjective fear of getting Covid, because the odds of it being very harmful are very low? I doubt you’d find that equally logical. If you think subjective reaction and actual risk should always line up, you go down some strange lines of thought there. Should we shrug off people dying if the overall percent of people who die is really quite low? Etc. Statistics can’t inform our every subjective reaction.)

                This is, as I discussed above, ‘stark dichotomy’ land. I don’t personally see a need for such stark dichotomies, although the one caveat I continue to add to that is that perhaps that degree of social pressure / projected confidence / chest thumping is simply necessary to sway society in the most productive direction overall. I don’t tend to be a fan of such things, but then, I have been taken by surprise again and again by how in thrall people can be to them, so I am perhaps becoming rather cynically convinced that a certain degree of mob pressure is a necessary ill in life, at least in certain zeitgeists. The time we are living in now is nothing if not populist, so if there was ever a time for such things, I suppose now would be it. But that is a strictly pragmatic take. At a logical level, again, I don’t see any reason not to say “Wow, I don’t like either of these options. One is less bad than the other, but I am still not having a party involving silly hats because I’m overjoyed by either.”

  27. Of course I’d get the vaccine. Apart from the fact that it will protect me from COVID19 at least for a bit, there is also my duty to everybody else to contribute towards the herd immunity.

  28. Yes…having asthma, hopefully I can get it with the second wave of vaccines. I have my annual doctor appt. this Friday; I’ll be asking him a bunch of questions, though I expect he won’t have good answers yet.

    I wonder if all the mask wearing will also lower flu infections this year.

    I went to drop off a FedEx package yesterday, and a sign on the door read: Masks not required. Be Free. I turned around and went to another FedEx location. I will never venture to the idiot’s store again.

  29. I’m surprised there’s not a single “no” among the 100 comments above. So I’ll add one. No, I don’t plan to get the vaccine any time soon because I don’t think COVID-19 is dangerous enough for me to rush into a vaccine that’s barely been tested. After a couple years, if COVID-19 is still a thing, then I’ll think about it getting it.

      1. According to the CDC’s current best estimates of fatality rates, people have a 99.997% chance of survival in the 0-19 age range, a 99.98% chance of survival in the 20-49 range (that’s me), and a 99.5% chance of survival in the 50-69 age range. At 70+, it’s listed at 94.6%. And that’s if you get it.

        I’m not convinced of that 250,000 figure. First, those are merely deaths “with COVID” (including those merely “presumed” to be with COVID), not necessary “of COVID”. And even if they were 100% caused by COVID, that doesn’t mean they are deaths that wouldn’t have happened anyway for some other cause. The median COVID death age is about equal to and in some places exceeds the normal life expectancy. Death from some kind of disease, heart attack, etc. is normal when you’re over 80. We won’t have an accurate picture for at least a couple years.

          1. Seems okay. 39% of beds are used for COVID patients. (The recommendation is that this figure not exceed 50%.) 46% of beds are used for non-COVID patients. 15% are unoccupied. The infection rate where I live is estimated at 0.92, indicating that the virus is slowly dying out at the moment.

      1. No, I think people should do what they think is best for them. What’s that thing people like to say? “My body, my choice”? 🙂

        1. You do understand that COVID-19 is a communicable disease, right? Your choice to not do the right things can lead directly to the death of another person. If you aren’t going to get vaccinated, wear your damn mask and stay the hell away from people.

          1. There are lots of communicable diseases, and moreover there are lots of actions people take that increase the risk of death for others, e.g. driving at 65 MPH rather than 55 MPH, driving at all rather than taking public transit, etc. Shutting down businesses increases the risk of death via suicide and drug overdose for the people who depended on it. I’m interested in what principle distinguishes these. Is it some specific threshold of risk? Should we also mask up for the common flu? Should we wear masks for the rest of our lives? I don’t see COVID-19 as being significantly different. It’s not ebola.

    1. OK, then I’ll add, not a “maybe,” but a “when.”

      Yes, I will get it, and from my doctor’s office and not the local Walmart. But I’d like to be after the many people who do desperately want and need it first: people who have to be in contact with others as a part of their job. I don’t.

      Though I get “credit” for being old, I have no underlying health issues, live alone and am very unlikely to catch or spread anything. I’m also an excellent mask-wearer and social distancer.

      Never went out much pre-pandemic, so this is not really hardship. For a lot of folks, it is. That’s the plan, anyway.

  30. Yes, I’ll be getting vaccinated, and so will my wife, just as soon as we get the summons from the NHS. We’re both scientists, and our mothers were both nurses who made sure we got all of the available vaccinations when we were kids. We know the importance of vaccination, not only for us as individuals, but for the whole of society.

  31. I’d get it. I hope the entire family can get it at the same time (we’re with different general practitioners), though I don’t know if that matters here (isn’t it the case that with the flu shot it is better to get everyone vaccinated? We do, and usually close together).

  32. Yes, I will get it. I don’t worry much about my own health, but I consider it wildly unethical willingly to submit other people to increased risk just to avoid minor inconvenience (or a very small chance of adverse outcomes) for myself.

  33. In the UK the vaccine is being rolled out by the NHS in a phased way with highest risk groups being invited to be vaccinated first and then moving on down through the risk categories as supplies of the vaccine and the alternative ones from other manufacturers) become available. My wife and I will certainly get the vaccine as soon as we are offered it.

  34. When we have a vaccine ready for the ‘non-essential people’ I will get it, but I am a little bit concerned about the pain involved: seeing a seringe perpendicular to an upper arm I get a little bit worried. 🙂

  35. The single dose efficacy is likely higher than the 52% number quoted in the report. This number is based on all Covid cases detected between 1st dose and 2nd dose. It appears that the vaccine takes about 10 days after the 1st dose to kick in so during the first 10 days the incidences in the 2 groups track but then sharply diverge. If the data from the first 10 days is excluded the observed efficacy is significantly higher. See Figure 2 in the report. This is extrapolating from small data but the 52% number is overly conservative if trying to determine the single dose efficacy since it includes data from the time when the vaccine has not become effective.

    1. On behalf of all sane Wisconsinites*, please accept my apology for the existence of Senator RoJo.

      *For purposes of this comment, just accept my membership in this group.

    2. Hmm . . . Dr. Jane “Orient”? If she is non-“oriental,” I wonder if those predisposed to exquisite offense-taking have given her grief for it.

  36. I certainly intend to get the vaccine. By the time it’s my turn, there will have been enough time passed and enough doses administered that I can change my mind based on how it went with earlier recipients. But I would still get it if I were closer to the top o’ the list.

    1. It’s really worrying that the police, sheriffs, and firefighters are such Trumpists. It will be trouble when the Civil War II starts. Let’s hope the military is still on the right side.

        1. I will get vaccinated. Where I am, it will probably be the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine in early February. The report on its efficacy should come out this week. I am wary of the untested messenger-RNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer.
          And just a reminder: The Heart is on the Left Side.

  37. ¡ Y E S !

    An’ I wan’m’ l o l l i p o p* afterward to be
    o’th’ C H E R R Y flavor, please.

    Blue

    *NO muck back at me. I am of the 1950s,
    when injections in to kiddos, then, warranted
    a treat after. ‘Sides: daily I not only brush
    but also use m’C L O V E – flavored floss.

    So there.

  38. Yes, as soon as I can. Also trying to get in a trial. I was rejected from one but might get into Sanofi trial next month.

    1. Yes, looking forward to getting the vaccine. Interesting that at work in the NHS, some of the staff are debating whether to get it. These are staff who spend a lot of time on social media.
      Incidentally, regarding Professor CC’s hernia operation, the cost of the mesh used in my unit is £17.56 for 70 x 150 mm and £29.97 for 100 x 150mm, so I’d say he was over-charged somewhat.

  39. I will get vaccinated when I can. Apparently according to the NYT page, I just need to wait for 246 million other Americans to get it first. I am aware it will not actually be that long.

  40. Since the overall top is COVID, I just returned from my mechanic’s shop where he’s tending to the transmission in my pickup. All young guys far above the average independent mechanical shop in intelligence level – eg one is putting a Tesla motor into a 1980 Mercedes 300CD. And all are masked while inside.

    One of the guys returned from a COVID absence (he’s now 11d fever and symtom-free), with the unsurprising comment – “You don’t want to get it.” Did he know who he got it from? Yes, his father-in-law, who didn’t say anything about feeling ill when they had an early Thanksgiving. Where did he get it from? (Wait for it!) His church – they all go in wearing masks, then take them off and sing.

  41. I will take it when available, although I have already had the disease. My wife is currently treating patients with Covid, so she will likely be one of the first vaccinated.

    The only vaccine I have ever been hesitant about was the Anthrax one, during the Gulf war. The papers they had us sign before inoculation used the word “experimental” too many times, and seemed sketchy. But I got it.

  42. Yes, I will. And I would think the more efficient mRNA vaccines aren’t as limited (hopefully no egg substrates necessary for the lipid vesicle carriers – egg allergic can’t use regular influenza vaccines, say).

  43. YES!

    I’m in Canada and I’ll get it as soon as I can. Which won’t be for quite a while. Being
    57 and no comorbidities I’m in that nowhere-land age-wise where, being male and late 50’s I have an elevated risk of a bad COVID outome, but not old enough of course to “elderly” requiring it early. Essentially, back of the line. I’m as freaked out about suffering from long covid (esp. if some of it is permanent) let alone dying.

    Plus, aside from whatever benefit for myself, I want to be part of ending the pandemic.

    I’m hoping my wife, a GP who also goes in to the hospital once a week for obstetrics, will be in that first group of health care workers to be vaccinated. I want her protected, and of course she’s a main vector possibility for our household.

    I have to say it is so refreshing to see virtually everyone in this thread saying “yes” to getting the vaccine. I’ve been spending too much time on other sites which, amost no matter where you go, have some significant portion of anti-vaxxer/vaxxer-hesitant.
    This place gives me a boost in my faith in humanity just when I need it.

  44. Of course I will. I’m 66 and I have asthma. Plus I want to be able to go places and do things. The upside is greater than the downside.

  45. I’m walking around with my sleeve rolled up just in case a needle lands there I’m so ready to take it.

    I’ll take ALL of ’em. You could put each of the 3 vaccine needles in shot glasses and I’d say “Line ’em up barkeep!” and bang them in (myself if necessary) in a row.

    My elderly parents in Australia were nearly killed a few years ago by whooping cough, a disease that without anti-vaccine idiots SHOULD be extinct.
    So I guess my answer is…. yep!
    D.A.,
    NYC
    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/

  46. Yes. Our hospital is getting both and I won’t get to choose but the moment I get the email that it’s my turn, I’m there. Plan is to stagger the injections within departments so if people get side effects the whole department doesn’t call in sick at once. Had a rough time with the Shingrex but even if this is twice as bad it will be worth it. Had to cancel our trip to Borneo in March and I am determined to get there!

  47. Re: http://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/world/americas/canada-vaccine-approve.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    “Canada on Wednesday become [sic] only the second Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, a week after Britain did so and a day before U.S. regulators will meet . . . Health Canada said that it had completed a rigorous, independent review . . . — the same kind of scrutiny applied by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . . . Canadians could receive the vaccine . . . before Americans do, though Pfizer is based in the United States . . . .”

    So bloody what if Pfizer is based in the U.S.? What a non sequitur. This is Times grudging whining to at least the second power. Shall U.S. citizens be vaccinated before anyone else in the world because Pfizer is located in the U.S.?

    “. . . likely to aggravate President Trump . . . [who] was angry that Britain . . . had acted before the United States . . . .”

    Oh, blasphemy, that anyone should act before the U.S. does! The Times and Trump seem to have this mindset in common.

    “Vaccines developed in Russia and China are already in use . . . though clinical trials on them are still underway . . . .”

    I hope they work well. If they don’t, the Times will be sure to let one know. If they are successful, the Times will grudgingly report it, but (I predict) will be sure to insert one of their classic (likely non sequitur) “even though” statements to-the-effect that, unlike the West, they didn’t conduct rigorous clinical trials.

    ‘When asked why her group was able to approve the vaccine ahead of the F.D.A. in the United States, Dr. Sharma said, apparently jokingly, “we’re just better.” She added, “We’re not in a race with any other regulator, we’re trying to beat the virus.”’

    What mindset thinks up such a question? Again, this U.S. obsession with being “Number One” and the “Leader” of whatever’s happening. (As opposed to “leadership,” the world would be grateful instead for reasonable U.S. cooperation and consideration.) How dare Canada approve the vaccine ahead of the U.S.! Did Canada need the U.S.’s permission? Does Canada somehow owe the U.S. an explanation? Somehow it reminds me of the U.S. bloviation, after Mao emerged victorious, about “Who Lost China?” As in, “Who Lost the Bragging Rights for the Coronavirus Vaccine Development?”

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