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September 21, 2020



Well, that's horrifying.

I do think they have more practice now than when they were doing the polio vaccine, so there's that in our favor, but yeah, no. I am also a bit curious as to how the conspiracy theorists are doing with vaccine; a Q-compromised relative became convinced that all vaccines were used for mind-control and she would *not* be getting a COVID vaccine ever, but if Trump endorses it, I have no real idea what that will do (or whether he'll half-endorse it; "those of you who are scaredy-cats enough to demand a vaccine can have it, here it is I got it for you" is a different message from "everyone needs to get this vaccine, period."

I am also significantly concerned that it would not just be salt water, since many people (within production or research or testing or analysis) would jib at calling salt water a vaccine, and it would only take one whistleblower to make things interesting. Something questionably safe but that they can handwave at a paper saying "we put it in monkeys and when we dissected them 20 minutes later, they were totally fine" or something is slightly more likely, I think? And any problems associated with it would be delightful snacks for the actual anti-vaxxers.

(I also am not an anti-vaxxer, but was opposed to the fast-and-hard rollout of Gardasil, because of how mixed up the company's money was in the legislation and how much money they poured into advertising and to drive "grassroots" activism in favor of the vaccine. It turns out the vaccine was basically fine and a good thing! (although slightly more than is advertised; there are more HPV strains it doesn't clock out, some of which apparently may cause cancer as well? But it's *close* anyway!) But it *could* have just been a cash cow that either didn't do much or that had significant side effects for a not-minimal percentage of people, and they tried to push it straight to full-population-coverage without having a period of years (to detect side effects in increasingly-large cohorts) and I thought that was a *terrible* idea, especially in adolescents where health and side effects are already complicated to detect because adolescence is both hard and weird and there are all sorts of changes going on and very few of the kids know what is normal and what is abnormal - yes! Let's shove a less-than-ideally-tested novel vaccine on *the entire population of kids in the US* and just sort of hope it doesn't have bad effects that show up five years later... But that did work out. But I'd oppose it jumping straight from "trials" to "everyone gets it" if that sort of thing happened again, esp. because while cervical cancer is horrible, it's also not extremely common.)

Also, if there isn't a significant penalty for companies that send out a vaccine to anywhere that turns out to have substantial bad batches, etc., that is... not likely to come out well, with the rush and with them bulk-manufacturing various vaccine candidates. I can well imagine some businessman looking at a batch of 100,000 vaccines that turn out to be not safe/effective enough for FDA criteria and saying "well, how do we avoid losing the manufacturing costs on these? Puerto Rico?"


I so hope we get a safe and effective vaccine. Some of the ones being developed don't use whole, killed virus, so it seems like they would be safer. Who knows? Safe or not, it seems likely that the virus will mutate so any single vaccine will only be effective for a limited time.


KC - yikes - Puerto Rico and prisoners need to watch out. They’d be guinea pigs.
Arlene - a vaccine would be nice, but remember the world defeated the 1918 flu in two years without a vaccine. (Well, the world minus the 17-50 million who died.)

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