With news that 20% of clinical subjects in the high-dose group suffered “serious” injury in trials of the Moderna vaccine, Oxford University has now become the front-runner in the race to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) even went as far as to deem Oxford the “leading candidate.”
Many developers are competing to produce a vaccine for SARS CoV2, and it appears that Oxford skipped the conventional animal trials in its haste to win the race and is now in three late-stage human trials. Just one needs to be successful in order to make the vaccine available to high-risk candidates as early as October. Conjectures are that full approval could come as soon as the beginning of 2021, according to pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is already building supply lines internationally in advance of this prospect.
Kate Bingham of the United Kingdom vaccine task force assured the British Parliament that Oxford was a long way ahead of the field, even as AstraZeneca stated it has already ordered 2 billion doses of a vaccine, not yet cleared in safety trials, to be made “widely and rapidly” available.
No vaccine for a coronavirus has been produced in nearly two decades of widespread attempts. The average length of time for vaccine development is 20 years, with the fastest ever taking seven years. This will have taken closer to seven months if it is approved for emergency use by October. Even rotavirus vaccine patent holder Dr. Paul Offit, who has been adversarial toward the vaccine-hesitant community labeled “anti-vaxxers,” has expressed caution about rushing this process.
While news of Oxford’s rapid progress is heartening to many who fear a virus that has a mortality rate of 0.26% and a 99.74% recovery rate, it is unsettling to others who know the many serious health complications associated with vaccines, as proven by the more than $4 billion paid out to victims by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
The pressing need for a vaccine might be moot if doctors were allowed to advocate loudly for the drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which has saved thousands of lives worldwide. Nearly 60 studies affirm its efficacy as a therapeutic and prophylactic treatment for COVID-19, and it has a nearly 70-year history of safe use as a generic. Yet frontline doctors have been censored and de-platformed for backing its use, two major medical journals retracted fraudulent studies that claimed it ineffective, and an epidemiologist from Yale has risked his career for insisting on its effectiveness.
More recently, three doctors from California and Florida published an open letter to Fauci, questioning his disparagement of HCQ and its proven success when used in the early stages of Coronavirus infection in conjunction with zinc and azithromycin. The growing scientific evidence demonstrates that HCQ is a safe, inexpensive treatment for COVID-19 that Oxford and others hope a vaccine could be. But only one of these two treatments already has been in use for the better part of a century, while the other is the beneficiary of breathless media coverage that might accompany the return of Jesus.
It is also worthwhile to note that the Coronavirus vaccine and all those who sell or administer it, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, have the same comprehensive indemnity protections against vaccine injury and death that all manufacturers of vaccines and professionals who administer them have enjoyed since 1988 — when Congress first conferred this immunity. This protection against lawsuits is likely encouraging developers, such as those at Oxford University, to have few worries about long-term side effects from their “warp speed” vaccine.
With 44% of respondents in a recent poll indicating they are unlikely to take a COVID-19 vaccine willingly, the Oxford scientists may have to tamp down their enthusiasm. Many Americans, now coming face to face with the trepidations of anti-vaxxers, are sharing an unexpected sympatico. Alarmingly, failing voluntary compliance by Americans in taking the Coronavirus vaccine, mandates and compulsory vaccination may be the next steps. As constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz said about forcible vaccination in a recent debate with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:
“If you refuse to be vaccinated, the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor’s office and plunge a needle into your arm.”
With the fastest vaccine ever developed in human history now reaching its final stages in the Oxford trials, let us hope that Dershowitz, in this instance at least, is standing on shaky legal and constitutional grounds.
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