An annual vaccination?

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 17, 2022, 11:37 PM | comments: 0

I got the new bivalent Covid vaccine yesterday morning. While the efficacy data is still not very thorough, the safety wasn't a concern, so I figured after 11 months since my last booster it certainly couldn't hurt. Somehow I've managed to not have Covid after two and a half years, or if I did, I was totally asymptomatic. While I was only marginally concerned that I might be at risk for some adjacent thing, like the hypothyroidism (which a study did determine was serious last year relative to Covid outcomes), I think I've always been more concerned about the persistent long-term problems. More than anything though, I'm just happy to be a good neighbor and reduce the chance of being a transmission vector.

I stuck with the Moderna version, and here in the US, the bivalent flavors are targeting the original along with the BA.5 omicron variant. Like the three previous times I had the shot, including the original series and booster, I did get a fever about 12 hours in, which lasted about 6 hours. I suppose it wasn't that big of a deal, except that I felt kind of beat up by the lack of sleep. The funny thing is that I had the same side effect with the flu vaccine the last time I had it, which is probably 15 years ago. Apparently when I get a vaccine, I know it's working. Fortunately this one didn't kick my ass until after work.

The question now is whether or not this will be an annual thing. All eyes are on this winter. There's a range of things that could happen. On one end of the spectrum, the virus could burn itself out as a combination of natural immunity and vaccination takes hold, although a lot of experts thought that statistically might happen in the omicron wave. It didn't because at the other end, the thing could mutate yet again and evade immunity. Fortunately outcomes can still be better provided that immunization happens on a significant scale.

And that's the rub this time. People aren't lining up for shots the way they did the first time around. A fairly low percentage of people got the original booster, which is why the wave early this year was so big. The initial response to the new bivalent booster has been really weak. It's hard to believe that more than 400 people in the US are still dying from this everyday, for no obvious reason other than not getting vaccinated.

I still strongly believe, and the science and statistics support this, that Covid vaccinations are easily one of the greatest human achievements in my lifetime. I wish more people would appreciate that for what it is, which is pretty much a medical miracle. I will never understand why it has ever been political, other than an urge to lean toward willful stupidity.


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