The New Year 2021 is upon us and to our dismay COVID-19 is still on the rise at a very fast pace possibly due to a new mutated strain initially identified in the UK. The mutated strain is believed to be 70% more contagious and thus may be the reason rates of new coronavirus cases are rising at a ferocious rate.
We are being told that the best way to stop the COVID-19 pandemic is to vaccinate. Unfortunately, for some of us suitable vaccines are not yet available. Also, for medical reasons some of us cannot be vaccinated for COVID-19 by certain types of vaccines. Moreover, some of us who are able to be vaccinated may not develop antibodies and immunity.
No Suitable Vaccine is Available
A Safe COVID-19 Vaccine is Needed for Children
A safe vaccine has to be found for children because Bloomberg on January 4, 2021 reported that the new UK mutated strain and a new mutated South African strain of COVID-19 may be causing more severe illness in young people under the age of 20 who do not have underlying health conditions.
According to the Jerusalem Post, January 7, 2021, Professor Sharon Alroy-Preis told members of the Knesset in Israel that the mutated South African strain of COVID-19 is alarming because it can cause severe disease among the young. She also said that preliminary research suggests that the current vaccines may not be able to be as effective against the mutated South African strain as they have been against earlier strains .
There are no COVID-19 vaccines available at present for children. No vaccines for COVID-19 have been tested for safety for children. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and Moderna mRNA vaccines were tested only on adults over the age of 18. Children will not be vaccinated until a vaccine comes along that has been tested for safety for children. The Israeli MIGAL Galilee Institute is currently developing the MigVax oral vaccine for COVID-19 that is planned for adults and children. At any rate, it will certainly be easier to get a kid to swallow some sweet tasting vaccine than to have bring them for one or two injections!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has not yet been research done on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccines do not contain live viruses, so no one can catch COVID-19 from an mRNA vaccine. Trials by Moderna mRNA vaccine on pregnant rats did not show any harm. However, no trials have been carried out on pregnant humans. No one knows if the vaccine can harm an unborn baby or have some kind of negative effect on the pregnancy. Since supplies of vaccines are limited, the CDC is only recommending for now that front-line healthcare workers be vaccinated. The CDC recommends that pregnant women who are front-line healthcare workers might decide to make a personal decision to get vaccinated, as COVID-19 may be more severe in pregnant women. Israel is so far not vaccinating pregnant women. If you are pregnant the best thing to do now is to socially isolate yourself as much as possible. See our post from October 3, 2020 about Steps to Take to Prevent COVID-19.
The CDC reports that no studies have been carried out on breastfeeding mothers to determine what effects a vaccination could have on breastfeeding mothers, their babies or their milk supply. In Israel the vaccine is being given to breastfeeding mothers and the doctors hope that their babies will get some immunity from their milk.
Who cannot get a Vaccine for COVID-19 for Medical Reasons
Some people cannot get a vaccine for COVID-19 for various medical reasons. You must check with your doctor to see if it is safe to take the vaccine. Some of the medical reasons some people cannot take some of the COVID-19 vaccines are:
Some people suffer from severe allergies that can lead to anaphylactic shock and sometimes instant death. They can only be vaccinated if a vaccine is shown not to cause anaphylaxis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that anyone who gets a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of a vaccine should not get the second dose. In fact, The CDC states that even if people get only a mild allergic reaction to a first dose of a vaccine, they must not get the second dose because the second dose could trigger a more severe allergic reaction that could lead to anaphylactic shock. The CDC also states that anyone who has known allergies to any of the ingredients in the vaccines should not take them. However, the people who had severe allergic reactions to the mRNA vaccines were allergic to other things like penicillin or shellfish. Researchers suspect that the allergic reaction may be to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbates. PEG is commonly used to treat constipation. At any rate, people with allergies should only be vaccinated in a hospital or medical setting where they can be instantly treated in case the vaccine triggers a severe allergic reaction.
People with Allergies not Usually Accepted to Participate in Clinical Vaccine Trials
For the record, people with allergies are not usually accepted to participate in clinical vaccine trials. Initially two people in the UK, suffered anaphylaxis followed by one in Israel and 21 people in the US as of January 6, 2021. Normally, with other types of vaccines the potential for severe allergic reactions is about 1 in a million. However, with the Pfizer vaccine it appears to be one in 100,000. If you suffer from allergies, check with your allergist to see whether it is safe or not for you to take a vaccine for COVID-19.
People who suffer from certain kinds of auto-immune diseases may take an mRNA vaccine according to the CDC, even though there is no available information regarding the safety of this kind of vaccine for them.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
People who had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in the past or who contracted GBS from previous vaccines may take an mRNA vaccine according to the CDC. GBS usually follows some kind of infection and mRNA vaccines do not contain live or weakened viruses and can’t cause viral infections. However, they should not take different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines without consulting their doctor.
Weakened Immune System
Some people have disease conditions where their immune system has been weakened such as cancer patients, people with organ transplants or certain diseases of the immune system like HIV/AIDS. In this case their bodies cannot develop enough antibodies to get sufficient immunity from the vaccine. In other words, the vaccine may not offer them sufficient protection. Some vaccines are made with live viruses that cannot affect normal healthy people. However, vaccines that use live viruses should not be given to people with weakened immune systems because they could possibly be infected by a live virus. Check with your doctor to see what kind of vaccine is safe for you if you have cancer, HIV/AIDS or have had an organ transplant.
Long-acting Antibody Treatment instead of Vaccine
AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Antibody Trials
People who cannot get a vaccine to prevent infection by COVID-19 may be able to be protected for 6-12 months by a special antibodies treatment. AstraZeneca is currently carrying out two clinical trials on a long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination therapy at the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) in the UK. This is based on antibodies that were taken from people recovering from COVID-19. AstraZeneca is testing whether two injections of antibodies can be used to protect patients from COVID-19. In other words, since their own bodies cannot produce antibodies, the antibodies can be delivered to them by injections. However, this treatment will probably not be available until the spring of 2021.
No Vaccine can Give 100% Protection against COVID-19
To date there is no COVID-19 vaccine that can give 100% protection against contracting COVID-19. This means that some people who are vaccinated will not develop antibodies to get immunity and could still catch COVID-19. This is why vaccines are only effective in developing herd immunity if everyone gets vaccinated. Those people who do not develop immunity from their vaccines are not likely to catch COVID-19 if everyone around them is vaccinated.
For this reason, even after being vaccinated, you must continue social distancing and wearing a mask. No one knows for certain exactly how long it will take for the vaccines to achieve their goal of reaching herd immunity.
Stay Home until the Wrath Passes
For those of us for whom there is no current vaccine available, the only preventive measure that may be 100% effective is to self-isolate. Stay home until the wrath passes or until a safe vaccine is found. We have to be patient until we know for certain that COVID-19 is no longer spreading amongst us.