A cacophony of screeching hospital bed wheels and barked orders from medical professionals filled the hospital’s intensive care unit, the ominous double doors that marked the entrance still rattling from being abruptly barged open. On the bed lay a young woman, skin mottled with unexplained bruises and rendered unconscious due to the ongoing medical catastrophe that was unfolding within her veins. In truth, this was her third visit to the hospital in as many weeks as she experienced a series of increasingly distressing side effects from a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination. After an initial series of fevers, shortness of breath and headaches, the complications became markedly more sinister. Merely sixteen days after her vaccination, despite treatment with two separate drugs, the patient had developed large bruises due to bleeding beneath her skin as well as inflammation and pain in both of her legs. By day seventeen she was unable to maintain consciousness. The diagnostic process in the hospital revealed the presence of a thrombosis, a plug of clotted blood, in her right internal jugular vein and her right transverse sinus. Without treatment this would undoubtedly have resulted in a stroke. Moreover, her platelet count was calculated as being a mere 10,000/µL. When this number is considered against the fact that the lowest possible healthy platelet count is 150,000/µL (1), it is clear to see that the patient required urgent medical attention. Having a platelet count this low, a condition known as thrombocytopenia, would have made it almost impossible to stem the internal bleeding the patient was clearly exhibiting. Undeniably, without the medical intervention that she received, this particular, previously healthy recipient of the Covid-19 vaccination, would have died.
There are not enough superlatives to correctly describe how terrifying that experience must have been. Equally, there are not enough superlatives to correctly describe how astronomically rare showing adverse reactions of that severity to the vaccine are. To be precise, there is a 1 in 250,000 chance of experiencing thrombosis as a result of taking mRNA based vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna (2). This means that you could take one dose of the vaccine every day for the next 685 years before you would be likely to have developed a blood clot. Furthermore, it is unlikely that you worry before every car journey you take. Data from 2004 would suggest that any given UK resident has annual odds of 16,831 to 1 of being in a fatal car crash (3); it is more likely that you will be involved in 14 fatal car crashes in a single year than develop a thrombosis from taking a dose of an mRNA vaccine. What can be said for the alternative? Granted, although miniscule, there is always a chance of developing a life threatening blood clot as a side effect of taking an mRNA vaccine. Sadly, abstaining from inoculation is a poor alternative; there is a 1 in 25,600 chance of developing thrombosis as a complication of contracting COVID-19 itself.
In order to allay any residual trepidation that you may harbour, I would like to briefly clarify the mechanism by which these ground-breaking mRNA vaccines work. Unlike traditional vaccines, mRNA jabs do not utilise live viral matter to achieve immunisation. Instead, the mRNA that is introduced to the body is essentially a recipe that your cells can use to produce a protein that characterises the virus, known formally as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. This protein is then presented on the cell’s surface. The body’s immune system can then begin to recognise this protein as foreign to the body and begin to prepare suitable antibodies that can be used to combat the virus in the event of contracting COVID-19 (4). In essence, you’re giving your body a head start. Two comforting conclusions can be drawn from this. Firstly, your DNA is not in any way altered; mRNA is a separate tool your body uses and will be broken down after the protein is produced. Secondly, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccination as there is no viral content in the jab.
I feel if this article was to be boiled down to one word, that word would be context. In light of this, I would like to conclude by providing context one final time, this time regarding the potential complications of mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations when compared to the complications of COVID-19 itself. One of the greatest short term dangers of COVID-19 to severe sufferers is the onset of diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). This condition causes the lungs to fill with fluid, damaging the cells that line the lungs. This fluid combines with these dead and dying cells to form a hard structure which lines the inside surfaces of the lungs. This hard structure makes taking in oxygen and, by extension, getting rid of carbon dioxide very difficult, regardless of how much you try to breathe. This places the body in a state of acute respiratory distress, a syndrome of its own right which carries a mortality rate of 64.7% (5). As part of the body’s long term response to COVID-19, the substance interleukin 6 (IL6) is often overproduced. High levels of IL6, a substance which causes inflammation, are often seen in patients with Crohn’s disease (6). Raised IL6 is also closely associated with a whole host of heart conditions (7) as well as depression (8) and changes in metabolism.
Ultimately the choice is yours; the purpose of this article is to provide clarity and context, not to tell you what you must or must not do. I fear it isn’t much of a secret as to the decision that I have made personally, I hope you choose similarly.