2020 has been a year unprecedented in our lifetime. So much has drastically changed. “Flattening the curve”, social distancing, masks and handwashing have become everyday language for all. COVID-19 has amplified isolation and loneliness, pointing to the need to stay connected albeit physically distanced. There have been efforts to establish a reliable evidence-based approach to treatment of COVID-19, though treatment and prevention have even been politicized in some countries. Thankfully, vaccines have been produced in record time and are now being used to help bring the pandemic under control. There are questions and also misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Michael Hogue, Dean of the Loma Linda School of Pharmacy, serves on the CDC Vaccine Taskforce. He shared insights about frequently asked questions on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines:
“Have the vaccines been produced too fast to be reliably safe and effective? Actually, the SARS-Cov-2 was sequenced within days of its being identified. The numbers of individuals enrolled in the current ongoing big vaccine study exceed the average numbers of previous studies testing previous vaccines. Regarding efficacy, the first dose gives 50% immune response protection; the second dose imparts 95% immune protection. Because this is an emergency use authorization release at present, the acceptance of the vaccine is voluntary, not mandatory.
Does the mRNA biotechnology, a first for vaccines, change our DNA? This technology has been used in medical treatments for 15 years. The vaccine enters the cell cytoplasm where the antibodies are created to fight the spike protein of the virus. The mRNA does not enter the cell nucleus, and therefore does not alter the cell’s DNA or genetic structure/function.
Are the ingredients of the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines dangerous? There are no preservatives in these vaccines which is why the storage and transport require deep freeze facilities. Side effects of fever and body aches usually resolve within 72 hours. In the UK there were two significant allergic reactions (a low number, probably due to no preservatives).”
Dr. Hogue’s perspectives are reassuring, affirming my decision to take the vaccine when it is offered to me. Taking the vaccine in consultation with your health care provider’s advice would be a responsible approach to this crisis. For the SDA church’s official position on vaccines see www.adventist.org/articles/immunization/.
Our holiday celebrations will be different. Some are mourning the loss of loved ones. Especially now, we need to cling to the promises found in God’s Word! He has promised, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”, Hebrews 13:5, NIV. Thank you for your faithful work in Comprehensive Health Ministry, serving, supporting and extending the healing ministry of Jesus. In a little while we’re going home. Encourage each other with this Good News, and do not grow weary in doing well! Maranatha – evenso,come,LordJesus!