Safe and effective. That is what we are being led to believe about the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine, which the Australian Government intends to roll out in a few short months. In the budget handed down just a few days ago, under key Covid-related assumptions, it states “a population-wide Australian Covid-19 vaccination program is assumed to be fully in place by late 2021, with social distancing restrictions continuing until a vaccine is fully available”.
This means that there is a “mandatory as possible” (as per our Prime Minister) vaccine heading our way, so let us take a look at these claims of safety and effectiveness for the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine as per the Prime Minister’s media release dated 7 September 2020. This media release claims “The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is world leading, having entered Phase three trials. To date it has generated strong immune responses, with no significant safety concerns.” This is not entirely true.
It has been well documented by many global news sources that trials of this particular vaccine were halted on or around the 10th of September, due to a participant in the UK contracting what is believed to be transverse myelitis after receiving her second dose of the vaccine. This put trials of the vaccine on hold in all locations across the globe including the US, South Africa, and Brazil, in addition to the UK.
As is common during vaccine trials, this diagnosis has never been confirmed. There has been no conclusion on this case, which is of significant concern. The trials have restarted around the globe, in all locations with the exclusion of the US, which is still on pause on the 17th of October 2020.
Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord, a major part of the central nervous system. Its symptoms vary from mild to severe, with the seriously affected suffering permanent impairments that impact their ability to perform ordinary tasks of daily living.
Shockingly, transverse myelitis is listed as a potential side effect on the package inserts for commonly administered vaccines such as MMR, Gardasil, and Hepatitis B – with the latter being administered on day one of life, before any allergies can be ascertained.
An especially important fact due to the acceleration to market for this vaccine, is that the animal testing phase has been skipped altogether. This is quite significant when coupled with the evidence that the vaccine industry has unsuccessfully progressed testing beyond this stage for a coronavirus vaccine in three decades.
Oddly enough, the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine will only need to be set at around 50% to receive the green light from the FDA.
Thomas Lumley, a biostatistician at the University of Auckland in New Zealand has said “The companies are aiming for the vaccines to stop at least 50% of vaccinated people getting symptomatic COVID-19, the definition of success in the FDA guideline, but they are hoping for an efficacy of 60% or greater. But even 60% would not be enough to reach herd immunity, in which enough of the population has vaccine-derived immunity to stop the disease spreading”.
The Australian Government has committed $1.7 billion dollars in the supply and production agreement for this vaccine, stating in this media release that there will be 3.8 million doses available in January and February 2021.
According to the latest CDC data, Covid-19 has a >99.4% survival rate across all ages. The question we have to ask ourselves is a rushed-to-market vaccine, with no long-term safety studies, skipping animal testing in trials, which is only around 50% effective and potentially carries severe risks like transverse myelitis… something we really need?
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