Stating that coronavirus was not new, Dr. Dawes said it was more deadly than other severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) diseases of recent years and while positing that vaccines should not be seen as a panacea to getting back to a state of normality. He has also debunked the many conspiracy theories making the rounds on social media that the vaccine was being forced upon the population because it was part of the new world order.
Dr. Dawes delved into the debate over the virus and the several vaccines that have been developed during a virtual symposium hosted recently by the Guidance and Counselling Department of Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College.
He said with coronavirus being around for many years, groundwork for the development of experimental vaccines was laid from 2005 “so all we had to do really was to change a few details as to which of the spike proteins from SARS 1 to make a vaccine specific for SARS 2.” Using the construction of a house to illustrate the point, he said “the house is already built; you just change the fixtures that you put in there and it’s unfair to say that you’ve built a house too quick when you already have the shell and all you’re doing was to change the fittings inside.”
Dr. Dawes noted however, that trials for the vaccines had been speeded up and there was no long term data “but judging from what we know about vaccines, and we have been using vaccines from smallpox in the 17th century, we do know that vaccines pose a risk to some persons in particular, especially those who have a tendency to have allergic reactions.” He stressed however, that it was highly unusual that persons would develop reactions to the vaccine years after taking it based on the reaction with other vaccines.
He shared that having overcome his own skepticism through studies and several wake-up calls, he would suggest that two factors to serve as the driving force for taking the vaccine could be the thought of doing something to decrease the chance of having the virus or of passing it on to loved ones.
Dr. Dawes outlined that even after taking the vaccine it was necessary to continue wearing masks, sanitizing and maintaining social distancing until the point of herd immunity is reached and there’s less of the virus circulating.
“The truth is that the effectiveness of the vaccine is not measured by the inability to catch the virus. What is looked on as success, is that they will decrease your chance of getting it. And this is why the vaccine seen as a silver bullet is causing more harm than good”.
Each vaccine offers a different degree of coverage “so it’s not going to get rid of it completely, it’s going to be more like a flu vaccine whereby it decreases your chance of getting the virus and if you do get it you get a much milder course and your chance of getting severe disease, being hospitalized or dying from it is significantly lessened. It also decreases your risk of transmitting the disease,” he advised.
Regarding children and the virus, Dr. Dawes said they were less vulnerable to it and less likely to pass it on.
Sam Sharpe Principal, Dr. Lorna Gow Morrison said the symposium was in keeping with the college’s role of impacting lives and educating the wider community and the topic was important in uncovering facts and fallacies about the Covid-19 pandemic
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