“The various vaccines effects in the real world have yet to be proved/proven.”
I said this because it is unequivically true as admitted by the companies developing them. I also think Peter Doshi has made some good points and is worth reading. I guess Node, when I said that I was thinking more about the protective effects. I think the safety data THUS FAR is not worrying but because not enough time has elapsed they cannot know long term safety data. In general vaccines have a proven safety record and are generally considered to be amongst the most safe medical interventions. I think they can use that history to a certain extent to add weight (though not conclusively) to an argument that these new vaccines will likely be safe too. That said, this is a new vaccne modality, there are always possibilities of unforseen side effects with any new medication/treatment and strict surveillance needs to be maintained.
“You don’t seem to see vaccines as crucial in getting us back to normal.”
The history of such disease pandemics is that eventually an equilibrium is reached and they end, often but not always, having killed huge numbers of people. In my opinion the most useful comparison is the 1918 flu pandemic. It continued for 3 years and it was the second year that saw huge numbers of young people dying. We don’t have the same kinds of data from 1918 as we do now, they didn’t have the availability of medical care as we do now but with a much smaller world population and much less ability to travel it still killed millions. It was a flu virus, H1N1. You know, it was a “bad flu.”
Whilst I think there was a possibility of eradicating the current Sars-Cov-2 virus in the beginning, if world governments had acted properly, I think that ship has sailed and is in deep ocean water by now. It’s not that I don’t think such measures could work just that I don’t think it is now possible to get agreement across world governments to implement them properly. Therefore I think given it is in every country that it is going to remain endemic.
“At best they (the vaccines) may speed things up”
If vaccination converts serious disease to “stay at home, drink plenty of hot drinks, take two paracetamol” disease then just that will make a huge difference to its impact. It will lessen the need for lockdowns, reduce the numbers requiring hospitalisation and so on. (Yet to be proven though)
If vaccination does confer immunity, even if short lived it will act as a circuit breaker and similarly if it reduces transmissivity/transmissability. (what’s the correct term?) That blood samples from vaccinated people are showing antibody reactivity to antigen challenge is a good sign though again always with the caveat that in vitro doesn’t always translate to real world (in vivo) situations. Thus I think vaccines have a good chance to speed the return to normality.
” By what calculation do you consider vaccines worth the risk?”
We had a short introduction to Sars-Cov-2 in early 2020. It was inadequately handled with insufficiently robust measures introduced too late and not just in the UK. Inevitably it came back again (it never really went away) with infections rising, hospital admissions rising. Again, the obvious threat was inadequately handled with half assed measures leading to the current situation with the addition of new variants. We are now in a worse situation then we were back in April 2020. Not just with disease matrics but people are fed up and restless, worried about their futures. It’s not a good mix. I fear history is repeating itself and we are inviting a similar course to 1918 albeit mitigated somewhat by modern medical care. This is happening world wide. Thus, having made a bollocks of it up to now with the situation being irretrievable (in practice though not in theory) with a potential for things to get hugely worse and continue for another 2 years cycling through lockdowns/partial lockdowns, on balance I think vaccinations are worth the risk.