Vice President Mike Pence
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Senator Mitt Romney
All of them took center stage last week with a COVID-19 vaccine. Quite a few others have put their names and faces out there including this nurse.
She isn’t a well-known leader or influencer but certainly played a role in the latest COVID19 vaccine public relations campaign. Caught on camera, those watching saw the nurse manager hit the deck several minutes after receiving the vaccine.
While I appreciate that the news is finally covering all the facts, including that vaccines have serious side effects, I’ll never advocate for the administration of vaccinations to be shown on TV. What other medical procedure gets broadcasted on live television like vaccines do? None that I can think of. I know that airing the event with famous people and front-line workers is all part of the dog and pony show. Financial backers think it will help reduce vaccine “hesitancy”.
Vaccine hesitancy certainly exists, but so does not wanting to go to other types of medical appointments. I know no man who looks forward to a yearly check-up. I know no woman who excitedly counts down the days for her next breast or pelvic exam. Can you imagine if we got to see those procedures or other private exams on TV – like Pence’s prostate exam or Pelosi getting a mammogram?
Parading politicians and actors is nothing new. Neither is boosting ratings with celebrities, like how actor Ian McKellen took center stage when he received the vaccine last week.
Even though it’s usually the flu shot that gets national attention, we’re seeing the same propaganda and the same pomp and circumstance now with COVID19 vaccines. Surely it’s a put your money where your mouth is performance, and I’m sure we’ll soon see even more big names on stage in the coming weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if daytime television show hosts cheerfully feature their staff and headliner guests getting vaccinated. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to have front row seats to any of it. Of all the vaccines out there, these vaccines worry me the most.
A reader pointed out recently that when a vaccine reaction occurs from a COVID19 vaccine, as we watched happen with the nurse from Tennessee, they fall under the CICP. Different than the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) was established under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, also called the PREP Act. It’s what consumers will turn to when an injury occurs. “A countermeasure is a vaccination, medication, device, or other item recommended to diagnose, prevent or treat a declared pandemic, epidemic or security threat. On the rare chance you suffered a serious injury, or the death of a loved one, from the administration or use of a covered countermeasure, you may qualify for benefits.” [emphasis mine]
With may being the operative word in that last sentence, I wanted to find more information about this program and process.
Under the Frequently Asked Questions, #6 states that:
The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizes the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) to provide benefits to certain individuals or estates of individuals who sustain a covered serious physical injury as the direct result of the administration or use of covered countermeasures identified in and administered or used under a PREP Act declaration. The CICP also may provide benefits to certain survivors of individuals who die as a direct result of the administration or use of such covered countermeasures.
That may be reassuring for some, but keep in mind that an injury table, which specifies injuries eligible for compensation associated with the vaccine, doesn’t exist:
Even though a countermeasure injury table for COVID-19 countermeasures has not been established yet, requesters who demonstrate that their injury occurred as the direct result of the administration or use of a covered countermeasure based on compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence, may be eligible for compensation. [emphasis mine]
That said, adverse reactions from vaccines being administered in the United States have been noted.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet* for Healthcare Providers reports: adverse reactions following the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine that have been reported in clinical trials include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, malaise, and lymphadenopathy. (*not to be confused with the shorter 6-page Fact Sheet created for patients receiving the vaccine:)
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet** for Healthcare Providers reports: adverse reactions reported in a clinical trial following administration of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, myalgia, arthralgia, chills, nausea/vomiting, axillary swelling/tenderness, fever, swelling at the injection site, and erythema at the injection site. (See Full EUA Prescribing Information) (**not to be confused with the even shorter 5-page Fact Sheet for Patients )
Time will tell if other reactions are reported and recognized by the CICP. Time will also tell if those who fall ill from the injury will qualify for benefits. Those of us who have filed with the VICP on behalf of our children, who were injured by childhood vaccines, know that it’s a very small percent of cases that successfully makes it through the compensation process.
One more item to note is that EUA acronym in both COVID19 vaccine Fact Sheets. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) may be confused by some to mean the same thing as “approved by the FDA”. When a vaccine is approved by the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration has determined that the product has followed certain steps and certain standards prior to public distribution. When a vaccine is stamped with EUA, like both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been, some standards and protocols may not have been followed. That was made clear when Moderna skipped the animal studies. It goes without saying that the process of getting these vaccines to the market skipped other important steps. With how quickly the vaccines were made available, long-term studies were obviously not conducted. Documenting responses and reactions of the first recipients could create the chance for long-term studies to be established. Those who remember to report any problems they experience post vaccination can do so by use the newly created V-safe tool. Instructions for how to use it are outlined in the Healthcare Provider Fact Sheet:
Provide the v-safe information sheet to vaccine recipients/caregivers and encourage vaccine recipients to participate in v-safe. V-safe is a new voluntary smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to check in with people who have been vaccinated to identify potential side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe asks questions that help CDC monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe also provides second-dose reminders if needed and live telephone follow-up by CDC if participants report a significant health impact following COVID19 vaccination. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vsafeCDC.gov/vsafe.
Of course, the healthcare provider is responsible for, and required by law, to report any COVID19 vaccine reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database. In addition to that reporting, they are being asked to respond to inquiries from the FDA, too. They won’t get a sticker for doing so, but those who receive the newest liability-free vaccines can get one. Some are calling it a little ‘badge of honor’ to wear and comparing it to the “I Voted” stickers distributed during elections.
I have a better sticker in mind. Created by author Forrest Maready, it better sums up what I think will be needed as people put all their trust into fast-tracked, minimally tested vaccines.
Again from the vaccine Fact Sheets: Although limited scientific information is available, based on the totality of the scientific evidence available to date, it is reasonable to believe that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be effective for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals as specified in the Full EUA Prescribing Information.
It may help. But it may not. So good luck. Really really.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.