The COVID-19 vaccines are here, and they are winning the battle against the virus. However, it seems that the mRNA (Moderna and Pfizer) vaccines are winning the war of public opinion, as they have had no scandals and extremely high effectiveness.
The Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which are adenovirus vaccines made using deactivated cold viruses, have had a much bumpier road. Back in March, two dozen countries — mainly in Europe — suspended use of the Astra-Zeneca jab after numerous reports of blood clots among recipients were reported.
Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a joint statement issued on April 13 with the Food and Drug Administration, suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S.
“As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine,” the statement read.
The moratorium was lifted ten days later, but the damage was already done.
People were more hesitant to take the vaccine than ever, and the safety profile of the vaccine was damaged by a phenomenon that is far less common than serious side effects from Aspirin.
But, no matter how low the risk of a particular decision or medical procedure is, people can make the best-informed decision for themselves if they have all the facts in hand.
Fortunately, one scientist thinks he’s figured out why the Astra-Zeneca shot, and possibly the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, can, on rare occasions, cause blood clots.
Andreas Greinacher, a blood expert at the University of Greifswald, casts the blame on stray proteins, in addition to a preservative known as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (or, more simply, EDTA), according to Fox News.
Greinacher’s hypothesis, per Fox News, “is that EDTA, which is common to drugs and other products, helps those proteins stray into the bloodstream, where they bind to a blood component called platelet factor 4, or PF4, forming complexes that activate the production of antibodies.
“The inflammation caused by the vaccines, combined with the PF4 complexes, could trick the immune system into believing the body had been infected by bacteria, triggering an archaic defense mechanism that then runs out of control and causes clotting and bleeding.”
In essence, the response, as Greinacher claimed, is like that of a sleeping dragon.
Prof. John Kelton of McMaster University in Canada said that his own lab has replicated some of Greinacher’s findings. However, he cautioned about it taking them as fact right away.
“[Prof. Greinacher’s] hypothesis could be right, but it could also be wrong,” Prof. Kelton said.
Either way, Greinacher should be commended for seeking the truth, as the truth can help people around the world evaluate the (low) risk of these vaccines for themselves, and make an informed decision.
I’m the type of person where if there is a vaccine available, I will put it into my body — but not everyone will agree with me, as the comments sections of many of my previous vaccine-related articles indicate.
All in all, this is real science at work. Not the pontifications of politicians or bureaucrats masquerading themselves as scientists, but real science.
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