LONDON – The Coronavirus pandemic has indeed reset a lot of orders in humanity. Much have been written about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, and much more will be written about it. We are certainly on some new tracks medically, politically, and legally when dealing with the controversies around the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines.
Most of the current COVID-19 vaccines have been produced by the method of mRNA Coronavirus gene therapy. Whilst millions have accepted these vaccines, and indeed have been vaccinated, the more cautions ones and late adopters amongst us have been labelled “anti-vaxxers.” Those who are eager to open the doors of economic and international trade, forget that COVID-19 has taken away millions of souls from Mother Earth, and has indeed thrown development back by 15 years. Labelling anyone for choosing to protect their health and making a choice for which they are conformable with is not objective.
There should be no rush to get everyone vaccinated, nor to promulgate laws to mandate COVID-19 vaccine passports that will suddenly turn the wheels of trade to restore the lost two years of COVID-19 terrors and damages. Total restoration of any kind cannot completely rule out a divine intervention – although many may not agree with this view. My concern in this write up is for the preservation of individual right to choose alternative healthcare options and to give full consent to COVID-19 treatment cum vaccination.
The universal declaration of Human Rights
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) made a proclamation of the declaration of Human Rights as the foundation and standard for all human communities and nations of the world. Thus, no matter the tides and pressures of various countries to facilitate a swift divert to economic recovery and development, these fundamental human rights inscribed in stone should not be compromised or overlooked. Citizens of various earthly communities should be provided with options, from which they place their choices and give informed consent to what method of protection and preventions from COVID-19 they should take.
Until such choices are provided, it remains an infringement on the rights of the human families and nations to enforce COVID-19 vaccination as a mandate, especially by strategically tying social freedoms and movement to warranting COVID-19 vaccination passports.
Manufacturing traditional protein vaccines
Before the method of using mRNA segment for gene therapy in the manufacture of vaccines, most vaccines were produced as protein vaccines. We have the measles, mump, BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) used against tuberculosis, polio, and rubella vaccines to mention but a few.
Some are produced as “live attenuated” vaccine products, and they pass through tests and longer durations of monitoring before being released to the human population for use. They are produced as ‘protein vaccine’ as against this mRNA gene therapy being hailed for use in the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, with a measure of safety associated with it. While many accepted these vaccinations, some people may choose not to get any vaccination of any type, and that is a right that should be respected.
The onus lies with the heads of governments to ensure that alternative vaccine types are made available to the population. This will make room for people to give their informed consent and choose.
Notwithstanding, when there are alternatives vaccine types like the COVID-19 protein vaccines, it is my honest belief that more people will get those vaccination types. There will also be improved confidence in accepting this mode of COVID-19 vaccine. When such becomes available, then, we can label anyone who rejects all forms of available vaccinations a ‘COVID-19 anti-vaxxer’.
Side–effects of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine
Without being dogmatic, it is pertinent to point out that COVID-19 vaccine like any other medication has its own list of side-effects. Every individual has his/her personal idiosyncratic reactions to any medication, and, of course, to any vaccine too. The more common side-effects include pain at the injection site, mild redness, muscle pain, low-grade fever, muscle aches, mild headaches, chills, weakness, fatigue, reduced appetite, and diarrhoea.
With some vaccines, there have been increased concerns of their associations with persons developing blood clots, facial palsy, overt COVID-19 symptoms, and subsequent death. The reporting of these more serious side-effects has been titled towards blaming the causation on one pharmaceutical brand/manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccine or the other, rather than on honest scientific assessment of any correlation/co-morbidities in the health of such patients, and how they reacted to the vaccine type. There should be more transparent reporting on these with open access to research data.
While the pharmaceutical industries may be applauded by the speed with which work has been done to achieve some form of vaccination against COVID-19, they should not rest on their oars for now. The current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are insufficient as they are all in one bulk – basket type of vaccine.
There is need to begin further work like providing protein COVID-19 vaccines to allow for alternative choices and informed consent by people. Until such is provided, the universal declaration of human rights and the nations of the United Nations Charter have an obligation to protect and preserve the rights of each person to make informed choices on their preferred healthcare options. Within that right is also the right to say ‘no’ to vaccination.
Also, the notion to create a vaccine passport should be shelved until all options are laid on the table for the human families of the world. Protein vaccines are not known to cause such harsh side-effects as seen with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.