Drugs – Vaccines and Otherwise

Protesters call for an end to COVID-19-based restrictions in Sacramento, California.Credit: Stanton Sharpe/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

I’ll start off by saying that absolutely no one has asked me to write anything about the current state of Covid protocols, vaccines or anything else pertinent to this continuing pandemic. But that’s never stopped me before. I can’t speak to conditions all over the world which vary greatly from country to country. I’m talking about what’s going on in my country, the United States. What I need to say is based on the sad fact that millions of people who have access to vaccines are refusing them. The best way to stop the virus is through herd immunity which can only be achieved by having at least 70% of the population get vaccinated. The government has the vaccines. But it doesn’t matter. The fact that the virus is cruising through this country, mutating at will, which is what viruses do, also doesn’t matter. The fact that new variants are causing the bulk of new infections, also doesn’t matter. The fact that the majority of new infections are now emerging in people between the ages of 30-50, also doesn’t matter. Perish the thought of getting vaccinated as part of a personal responsibility to one’s fellow citizens because that, also doesn’t matter. Some think it’s a question of personal choice. Their government doesn’t have the right to tell them what to put in their bodies. They are free. Or they think the virus is a hoax. Or they think that ultimately it will just become a “regular” flu. Or that they are so fit and healthy that even if they get it, it won’t be any big deal. Or that they don’t trust the vaccines because they haven’t been studied long enough. I have to say that I had misgivings about the vaccines for two reasons. First, when they were being developed under Trump’s auspices I was terrified. I don’t trust a single thing that happened with him at the helm. Secondly, I have an anaphylactic allergy. Some people who received the vaccines early on had a few anaphylactic responses. Choking to death or at least beginning to is terrifying. In the end, I brought my epipen to my vaccination appointments, informed the EMT’s who were observing about my issue, and was lucky. I’m now fully vaccinated and mindfully going about my business with the proverbial abundance of caution because of the many unvaccinated and their potential for spreading breakthrough variants.

Tonight as I was trying to make sense of the nonsensical, a lot of thoughts were running through my mind. Doesn’t every medication have adverse effects for some people? I pulled a bottle of ibuprofen out of my purse and took a photo of the very abbreviated health warnings.

From my ibuprofen bottle

Then I unfolded the warning sheet from a prescription bottle I picked up today. I only show part of its warnings below.

Prescription warning

The truth is, there’s nothing that can guarantee a 100% safety response in the pharmaceutical realm. Never has been and never will be. For some, an aspirin means death. So what else? Next, I looked up the religions that prohibited vaccinations. I found this article to be quite thorough, pre-dating Covid and having fewer prescribed limitations than I suspected,or at least had been led to believe.

Why Is There a Religious Exemption for Vaccinations?Almost no religions object to them. Slate. https://slate.com/technology/2015/02/religious-exemption-for-vaccines-christian-scientists-catholics-and-dutch-reform-church.html

My smallpox vaccination mark

I don’t know how old I was when I got my smallpox vaccination. Certainly too young to have been asked my opinion about it. Given everything I’ve read about the millions of grisly deaths from that dreaded disease, I’m so grateful for its eradication due to vaccinations. I remember getting my polio vaccine and boosters. For a needle hater from birth, I was glad that at least the booster was a liquid-infused sugar cube. We were lined up in school to get those. My cousin Dennis got polio. He was the same age as my brother. He wore braces on his legs and used crutches and canes to get around. I wasn’t old enough to understand all the particulars of his life. I know he fell in love and was married but eventually his young wife had an affair with a “whole” man. He shot himself in the head when he was twenty-five years old.

My life predated today’s childhood vaccines. I had measles, chickenpox, mumps and rubella. I missed a lot of school and felt terrible. I was so glad my kids could be vaccinated and avoid those hazardous diseases and many more. Sometimes people are unlucky and have a dreadful response to vaccines. But those numbers are minuscule compared to the vast illness prevention benefits of vaccination.

Michael in the cancer infusion suite

But let’s talk about something else. Every single day, people ingest food, beverages, health supplements, vitamins, alcohol and illegal drugs of every kind, without having the vaguest notion where they come from, how they’re made or how safe they are. Lettuce can give you deadly E coli. Botulism and norovirus emerged on cruise ships multiple times. And how about talking about cancer drugs which are well-known as toxins? People trying to stay alive and survive their cancers willingly ingest chemicals that make their hair fall out, make them nauseous and unable to eat, make them emaciated and weak. I know, up close and personal. For five years, my husband was inundated with toxic cocktails causing potential side effects as long as the proverbial arm. Some people were lucky and escaped with minimal issues. We counted the days until the drugs were flushed from his system so we didn’t have to worry about splashback coming from the toilet that might contaminate me. So we could kiss and make love with each other without fear of an accidental exchange of his poison into my body. We lived through this time in fear, but also willingly, to get more life together. Here are a few links below to some of these drugs with enough warnings to set your hair on fire.

https://www.keytruda.com/side-effects/

https://www.rxlist.com/carboplatin-side-effects-drug-center.htm#consumermultum

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/Tarceva.aspx

I can imagine what Michael would say about those people who are opting out of a vaccine that could save lives. He would be appalled and furious. Over 570,000 lost in this country and well over 3 million worldwide. With an inequitable distribution of vaccines, nation by nation, in this country we are closing vaccination sites due to denial or mistrust or just blind ignorance. Foreign nationals are flying to this country to scoop up vaccines that would otherwise be wasted. What is wrong with people? I will never understand how the myths, lies and phony conspiracy theories have interfered with what should be an easy decision. Whatever normal people wish to return to will never be possible until this virus is stopped cold in its tracks. And that can’t happen without vaccination. There are those who will refuse cancer treatment when their turn comes. But most will try to stay alive, at least a little longer. What’s the problem, people? Go and get your shots before Covid is our life forever. When will it be enough? Ok. I’m done venting. I’m so tired.

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