Ronald R. Cherry
Updated July 19, 2021
It is important for truthful scientific information regarding messenger RNA (m-RNA) COVID-19 vaccines, both Pfizer and Moderna, to become widely understood by Americans. During clinical studies m-RNA vaccines for COVID-19 were 80% effective starting 7 days after the first injection, and 95% effective starting 7 days after the second injection. The Israeli Health Ministry has observed Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to be 99% effective in preventing hospitalization, serious disease and death for those who are past two weeks from the second dose. m-RNA coronavirus vaccines are extremely effective in the real world a week after the second dose, just as demonstrated in clinical studies. A recent study observed 94.5% & 94.2% effectiveness, respectively, of Moderna & Pfizer vaccines against developing any COVID-19 related disease, and 100% & 92% effectiveness, respectively, for Moderna & Pfizer vaccines against developing severe disease. Another recent study observed the Pfizer vaccine to have strong effectiveness against the Brazilian and British variants of SARS-CoV-2, and “lower… but very impressive” effectiveness against the South African variant.
Pain at the injection site is common; low grade fever, fatigue, muscle aches or headaches may occur, usually on day 2 or 3 and usually lasting about 1 day. There were no deaths from these m-RNA vaccines during clinical trials involving 40,000 people. A recent study observed a 2% risk of allergic reaction from m-RNA vaccines, and a 0.025% (1 in 4,000) risk of anaphylaxis – 94% of whom were women. Average time to anaphylaxis was 17 minutes after vaccination; 6% of these anaphylaxis cases required treatment in an ICU (0.0015% of all vaccinated = 1 in 65,000); all recovered from anaphylaxis with no deaths, thus professional medical treatment for severe reactions has been very effective. Rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have occurred, mostly in male adolescents and young adults, usually a few days after the second m-RNA vaccination. The risk of myocarditis or pericarditis in adolescents and young adults should be balanced against their small risk from COVID-19 illness, and first discussed with their primary care physician or provider before receiving vaccination.
The CDC states: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the [DNA] J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths,” which means the rare deaths which have occurred soon after m-RNA vaccines may well have been due to other causes. Balance this tiny and acceptable m-RNA vaccine risk against the 1.8% case fatality rate of COVID-19 in the United States, which is much higher in the elderly and those with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, immunosuppression, or underlying heart, lung or kidney disease, and balanced against the overall American mortality rate of 185 deaths per 100,000 (120 in 65,000), and against 17% mortality in those hospitalized with COVID-19 (11,050 in 65,000), 11.5% mortality for those admitted to a regular hospital ward, and 40.5% mortality in the critically ill (26,325 in 65,000). COVID-19 is 3x more deadly than influenza in hospitalized adults, and 10x more deadly than influenza in hospitalized adolescents.
It is believed by most vaccine authorities that, in pregnant women and their fetuses, the risk of harm from COVID-19 illness is greater than the risk of m-RNA vaccine. The CDC and Mayo Clinic note that pregnant women who have COVID-19 appear more likely to develop severe respiratory disease requiring ICU care and are more likely to be placed on a ventilator. Some research suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to have a premature birth and cesarean delivery, and their babies are more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit. Pregnant women and those of childbearing potential should discuss this issue with their OB-GYN physician. There is no scientific evidence that these m-RNA vaccines can cause infertility. People with a history of anaphylaxis to prior vaccines, and those with known allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate 80, should consult with a Board-Certified Allergist before receiving any vaccine. People who experience an allergic reaction within the first 30 minutes after receiving the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the second dose.
m-RNA vaccines are only active in a person's cell cytoplasm where they attach to ribosomes in the process of producing SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins (not the virus its self), thereby inducing natural immunity against the Coronavirus. These vaccines do not enter the cell nucleus and have no biologic power to affect our genetic code or inheritance. These m-RNA vaccines do not empower others to track your position or movements – a truly wild and scientifically uninformed conspiracy theory. These m-RNA vaccines do not contain mercury. These m-RNA vaccines are not produced using animal cells or tissue. These m-RNA vaccines are not produced using fetal cells or tissue, aborted or otherwise. These m-RNA vaccines will not cause you to become positive for SARS-CoV-2 by nasal swab RNA testing.
Vaccination is often recommended about 3 months after recovery for those who have suffered from COVID-19 illness, providing lasting immunity even against current SARS-CoV-2 variants, likely eliminating the need for additional booster vaccination. m-RNA vaccination for survivors of COVID-19 illness significantly boosts immunity against SARS-CoV-2:
“Twelve-months after infection, the geometric mean half-maximal [antibody] neutralizing titer (NT50) for the 37 [recovered] individuals that had not been vaccinated was 75, which was not significantly different from the same individuals at 6.2 months. In contrast, the vaccinated [recovered] individuals showed a geometric mean NT50 of 3,684, which was nearly 50-fold greater than unvaccinated individuals.”
Many survivors of COVID-19 will desire the additional immunity which derives from convalescent vaccination. Vaccinated individuals who have not suffered from COVID-19 may or may not need booster vaccination down the road. The CDC recommends a two injection regimen spaced three or four weeks apart, however recent research indicates that survivors of COVID-19 develop adequate immunity after only one m-RNA injection, and possibly even without convalescent vaccination. I was vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 m-RNA vaccines in the standard two injection regimen, experiencing arm soreness at the injection site with both, and some fatigue and body aches after the second. I am witness to the incredible destructiveness to human organs in patients who develop critical COVID-19 illness, thus I fear the disease and not these wonderful vaccines, which to date are estimated to have saved almost 300,000 American lives, cutting 900,000 deaths to 600,000, and can save many more. Although a few cases have been reported, I have not observed a single fully vaccinated patient admitted to my hospital with COVID-19 in months, all are unvaccinated, a nationwide trend.
Ronald R. Cherry, MD
Board Certified Pulmonologist
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.