I Will Be Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine as Soon as I Can

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Not long ago, I wrote a post about the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer. At that time, I only had access to the results of the small clinical trial, but those results were very encouraging. Now, the initial results of the large clinical trial are available, and they are even more encouraging. In short, the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the group that was being tested. While there were side effects, they were generally mild. Of course, not all kinds of people were tested. People under 16 years of age were not included in the clinical trial. Neither were pregnant women nor those who are immunocompromised. Thus, the results don’t apply to people in those groups.

Like most clinical trials used for licensure of a medication, this was a large-scale, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. That means a large number of people (43,538) were randomly assigned to receive either two doses of a placebo (an injection of saltwater) or two doses of the vaccine. The doses were separated by 21 days. Neither the people getting the injections nor the researchers directly involved in the study were aware of which injection each person got (that’s what “double blind” means). Once there were enough COVID-19 cases among all the participants to make a reasonable conclusion about the results, the researchers learned which injection each participant got. At that point, they could compare the two groups.

When they made the comparison, they found that starting seven days after the second dose, there were only 8 cases of COVID-19 in the group that got the vaccine doses, while there were 162 among those who got the saltwater injections. Thus, the vaccine clearly provides strong protection against COVID-19, at least among people like those who were in the study. Now please understand that people in the study were only tested for COVID-19 if they exhibited symptoms, so this says nothing about whether or not the vaccine protects against asymptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Of course, the small clinical trials had already shown that the vaccine would be effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19. This large-scale trial was done to confirm that result and, more importantly, to determine whether or not the vaccine is safe for the majority of people. While it is impossible to know for sure, all indications are that for people over 16 who are not pregnant and not immunocompromised, the vaccine is safe. The vast majority of vaccine recipients reported pain at the injection site, compared to only a small percentage of those who got the placebo. Small percentages of those who got the vaccine also reported redness and swelling at the injection site.

The most commonly-reported side effect after pain at the injection site was fatigue. In people aged 16-55, for example, 59% of those receiving the vaccine reported fatigue after the second dose, compared with 23% of those who got the placebo. The percentages were slightly lower for those over 55. Headache was the next most common side effect, followed by muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Figure 2 from the study gives a good summary. There were a total of four people who had severe reactions to the vaccine. Those reactions were a shoulder injury related to administration of the vaccine, severely swollen lymph nodes, an abnormal heart rhythm, and unexplained severe sensations in the leg. There were two vaccine recipients who died, but there were four placebo recipients who died. None of the deaths were judged to be related to the clinical trial.

Based on these results, I plan to get the vaccine as soon as I am allowed to. My wife is in a high-risk group, and she will as well. My adult daughter and her husband have a business that requires extensive travel throughout the U.S. They will also be getting it. Whether or not you or your family get this vaccine (or one of the others that will no doubt become available over time) is up to you. Medical decisions are deeply personal and should be made in consultation with a physician who knows your medical history. I would never presume to tell anyone how to make such decisions. I simply wanted to communicate to my readers what I think the data say about this vaccine.

I will add one more thing. One of my readers said that she heard the COVID-19 vaccine can make women unable to have babies, because the vaccine is training the body’s immune system to fight a protein that is similar to syncytin-1, a protein important to the formation of a placenta. Thus, it is possible that a woman who gets pregnant after getting the vaccine will be unable to form a placenta. While it is true that the proteins are similar, their similarity is in their function, not their actual structure. Both proteins facilitate connection to a membrane, but they do so in very different ways. As a result, their structures are quite different, and a protein’s structure is what the immune system attacks. Thus, there is no reason to expect that the vaccine will cause the immune system to attack syncytin-1.

In addition, women who contract the actual disease would have the same problem, since the immune system attacks the same protein whether it comes from the instructions given by the vaccine or the virus itself. I don’t know of any reports indicating that women who contracted COVID-19 are unable to form a placenta. Finally, while pregnant women were excluded from the trial, 23 got pregnant during the trial. Twelve of them were in the group that got the vaccine. They are being followed, and as of the December 4th National Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting, no adverse effects have been found.

35 thoughts on “I Will Be Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine as Soon as I Can”

  1. You have always been so careful not to just believe whatever research is coming from the government on things like global warming, age of the earth, life on other planets etc. but when it comes to vaccines you don’t seem to look at any other science. There are scientists with “credentials” that are adamant that this needs to be further tested. A group of doctors are on their way today to the CDC to protest the vaccine until further research is done … As far as the danger to women of childbearing years question… The HPV vaccine plunged many women into ovarian collapse syndrome. All this has been verified. A really good reason not to rush this one.

    1. Connie, I come to my conclusions based on what is in the scientific literature, not what the government says. As the clinical trial shows, this vaccine is very effective and safe for the kinds of people who were in the clinical trial. The results are also consistent with the other clinical trials that have been done. Most “experts” are wrong, so the only way to arrive at a reasonable scientific conclusion is to look at the data. That’s how I come to my views on global warming, age of the earth, life on other planets, and vaccines.

      1. Who performed these clinical trials? That is the real question. The vaccine maker who holds no liability as per the PREP act? (They actually hold no liability for any vaccines as per the law Reagan signed in 1986.) And who evaluated the studies? The FDA, CDC? When the government and pharmaceutical companies get together, it usually doesn’t end well for the citizens of our country.
        “I’m with the government and I’m here to help you.” 🥴

        1. As stated in the paper, this is the result of a worldwide collaboration between people from the drug company and people from independent universities. Since the study was double-blind, there is no way for it to be rigged in favor of the drug company.

          From Fundacion INFANT (F.P.P.) and iTrials-Hospital Militar Central (G.P.M.), Buenos Aires; State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse (S.J.T.), and Vaccine Research and Development, Pfizer, Pearl River (J.A., A.G., K.A.S., K.K., W.V.K., D.C., P.R.D., K.U.J., W.C.G.) — both in New York; Vaccine Research and Development, Pfizer, Hurley, United Kingdom (N.K., S.L., R.B.); Vaccine Research and Development (J.L.P., P.L.) and Worldwide Safety, Safety Surveillance and Risk Management (S.M.), Pfizer, Collegeville, PA; Associação Obras Sociais Irmã Dulce and Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Bahia (E.D.M.), and Centro Paulista de Investigação Clinica, São Paulo (C.Z.) — both in Brazil; Global Product Development, Pfizer, Peapack, NJ (S.R.); Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati (R.W.F.); Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore (L.L.H.); BioNTech, Mainz (ÖT., U.Ş.), and Medizentrum Essen Borbeck, Essen (A.S.) — both in Germany; Tiervlei Trial Centre, Karl Bremer Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa (H.N.); Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey (S.Ü.); and Worldwide Safety, Safety Surveillance and Risk Management, Pfizer, Groton, CT (D.B.T.).

  2. Did any part of this vaccine get created with aborted babies?
    Can this vaccine cause sterilization?
    And lastly, does this alter your DNA?

    1. No (no cells at all), No, and No. I address the sterilization part in the article above, and the DNA part is addressed in the previous article linked in the article above.

      1. Thank you for your response and the initial information. I have shared them with several friends who are also pondering this question.

  3. I have to go back and see if I can find some of the results that show the severe side effects but if I remember correctly it was a fairly small sampling of people that ultimately were experimented on. The animal trials were lacking.
    https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/11/researchers-rush-to-start-moderna-coronavirus-vaccine-trial-without-usual-animal-testing/

    Also we now know more about treating COVID-19 and several powerful therapeutics and prophylactics This from Dr.Kory is compelling. The suppression of this information (in addition to hydroxychloriquine )has no doubt cost thousands of lives. These medications have to be administered early on in the infection .

    https://www.instagram.com/tv/CIwvPHJlf-y/?igshid=1bxjp3prkotum

    1. I suggest that you actually read the article upon which you are commenting. As I say in the article, 43,538 people were experimented on. That’s not a small number. Also, the reason we do animal trials is to see if there is any risk posed to the volunteers in the clinical trials. Thus, the lack of animal trials meant the first set of volunteers was more at risk than in most clinical trials. The clinical trials are the only meaningful way to assess the danger to people.

  4. Thank you for posting your unbiased thoughts, even though you most likely know the backlash! I’m more of a centrist on this issue

  5. it posted early.

    I’m more for a centrist on this issue and appreciate something without a crazy agenda, which I’ve seen so much of.

  6. Good luck, I will pray for you all. Nobody can claim to know what the effects are 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years down the line so I think I’ll take my chances with the very survivable disease. Out of curiosity, do you all get the Flu Shot every year?

  7. “The vast majority of vaccine recipients reported pain at the injection site, compared to only a small percentage of those who go the placebo.” I think you meant “got.”

    Thank you so much for posting this. We have been praying for this vaccine!

  8. In regards to your comments on covid’s effects on placentas, are you aware of that covid is known to noticeably affect their appearance? Do you think this is cause for concern?

  9. Good for you, Dr. Wile! Biblical creationists are in an extraordinary position to speak out on this volatile topic because it is clear you have staked your career on standing with God and what he cares about while also deeply understanding science.
    I hope the vaccine from Jannsen quickly becomes available as well. It is gentle enough to use with high risk people. And I too got the vaccine as soon as I could. The only symptom I had was mild soreness in the injection site for 5 days, so I believe it was the real dose rather than the placebo.
    Ignorance of how medicine actually works can have deadly consequences. May you and others like you continue to help us find our way through the conflicting narratives.

  10. Could you please point out where it is stated the placebo is saline? I didn’t see that anywhere, I may be overlooking it. I find that most surprising, if it is the case, because in so many of the past trials for vaccines we currently use the placebo has been another vaccine or an adjuvant.

    1. There are no adjuvants in this kind of vaccine. The paper says:

      With the use of an interactive Web-based system, participants in the trial were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive 30 μg of BNT162b2 (0.3 ml volume per dose) or saline placebo.

  11. Dr. Wile I am puzzled by your enthusiastic endorsement of this vaccine when it is clearly unproven. It has just been introduced and comes with a host of concerns. You say reactions have been mild yet after it’s release in the UK we already have two severe anaphylactic reactions.
    Here is an article warning against the use of peg yet you say there are no adjuvants in the vaccine. Again, clearly there are. I urge you to contain your enthusiasm until more is known about this vaccine so others don’t potentially dangerously follow your example.

    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/pfizer-covid-vaccine-reaction-fda-peg/

    1. I am not sure how you turn this article into an “enthusiastic endorsement” of anything. I am simply reporting on the results of a large-scale clinical trial and, based on those results, informing my readers that I am my family will be getting it when we are allowed. I specifically say in the article that I would never presume to tell anyone how to make any medical decisions.

      Now please allow me to correct the errors in your comment and link. Polyethylene glycol is not an adjuvant. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, an adjuvant is a chemical that is designed to stimulate the innate immune response. Polyethylene glycol does not do that. It is an excipient, which is used to stabilize the mRNA/lipid nanoparticle complex.

      The link you gave says that polyethylene glycol is not in other vaccines, but of course, it is. It is in some versions of the flu vaccine. It is also an ingredient in many other medicines and a host of personal care products.

      Yes, there have been two cases of severe anaphylactic reaction and two strong allergic reactions so far, but there have been 137,897 injections given. Since 137,893 out of 137,897 would be considered a “general” result, side effects are generally mild (in confirmation of the clinical trial I describe in the article). Here is a link with less disinformation than the one you provided. As you can read:

      Anaphylaxis is an over-reaction of the body’s immune system, which health specialists describe as severe and sometimes life-threatening. While such allergic reactions are rare in any individual vaccine recipient, they are not unusual during large-scale rollouts, scientists, experts and industry figures said.

      The reports nonetheless led to Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) beefing up its guidance for the shot at midnight leading into Thursday, specifically warning that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis should not take it.

      This is the proper way to address very rare side effects in any medication, including vaccines. Once these very rare side effects are found, the recommendations of who should get the vaccine are adjusted. Since the vast majority of people getting the vaccine aren’t having severe side effects, the idea is to keep the few that might get them from being injected. That way, the entire population can be protected.

  12. Hi Dr Wile-do you have any information if this vaccine will prevent asymptomatic people from spreading? Or can those vaccinated still be silent spreaders? Thanks!!

  13. Dr. Wile, we met at a conference you spoke at several years ago and my siblings and I have, for the most part, loved studying science using your textbooks. Given your willingness to challenge other holy grails of modern “science,” and your care to instill in your readers the idea that “the conclusions of science are always tentative” (it has been over a decade since I studied using General Science and that still rings clearly in my ears), your wholehearted promotion of vaccines in general and particularly the COVID ones seem contradictory I’m afraid.

    Firstly, while this post does discuss some research, it is neither purely nor primarily an update on current research. A brief disclaimer that you won’t tell anyone how to make their own medical decisions hardly negates your choice of title or the undercurrent of the entire post – “I’m getting the vaccine and you should too!” The pharmaceutical industry has a large marketing team and plenty of propagandists of their own, they don’t need our help. If further research validates the safety concerns many people have raised, will you be content with having encouraged people to take part? If some of your readers follow your example and experience the severe side effects that have already been reported, or others, can you live with a clear conscience having been a part of the cause?

    Secondly, we both claim to be believers in the God of the Bible, the Creator of the universe. As such, we affirm that humans uniquely bear the image of our God. While this vaccine doesn’t include aborted foetal cells on the ingredient list, it still utilised them during testing (HEK-293), and thus is morally tainted by the blood of our fellow image-bearers. Are we willing to get that blood on our hands? If our fear of . . . going home to be with our Saviour(!) is greater than our hatred for sin then our spiritual lives are in a sad state.

    Your testimony is powerful and you have a lot of good work. Please don’t throw out critical thinking or Christianity when dealing with these highly politicised topics.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Bianca. I will have to correct one falsehood, however. This vaccine (and Moderna’s, which uses the same strategy) has no connection whatsoever with fetal cells derived from abortions that took place decades ago. There are COVID-19 vaccines in development that do use them, but the one in this post and Moderna’s do not. While I understand your dislike of vaccines that have a tangential relationship to abortion, I personally think that it is more pro-life to use such vaccines to save current lives than to refuse them to protest previous murders.

      I come to my conclusion about vaccines the way I come to all my conclusions on scientific issues. I follow the data. The data clearly show that vaccines are generally safe and very effective. Once again, this particular vaccine has been tested on more than 45,000 people, and it has been demonstrated to be both safe and effective. You ask whether or not I can “live with a clear conscience” if people take the vaccine and have side effects. The data show that people are significantly more at risk by not taking the vaccine, so I ask you whether or not you can live with a clear conscience if people don’t take the vaccine based on your views and end up suffering long-term consequences or death? In my estimation, that is significantly more likely than someone suffering long-term consequences because of the vaccine.

      Also, I can’t imagine how anyone gets the message “I’m getting the vaccine and you should too!” from this post. I specifically say that this is a deeply personal decision and should be made in consultation with a physician who knows a person’s medical history. Since I am not a physician and don’t know anyone’s medical history, I am specifically saying to look elsewhere for advice in your specific situation!

      I think my work is good specifically because I do not throw out critical thinking. I don’t think something is bad simply because it has the word “vaccine” in it. I look at the data and make my determination that way. I would suggest that you do the same.

      1. I’m 59 and got covid in November (I tested positive) and was quite fatigued for 10 days, as well as a dry cough, a headache for a couple of days , chills at times, night sweats , etc. , I recovered at home. My question is : Dr. Wile would you get the vaccination if you already had covid ?

        1. I would not. I don’t see the point. The vaccine doesn’t do anything an infection wouldn’t do. I know lots of experts are recommending it, and I am not an expert. However, every medicine (and every food, activity, etc.) comes with a risk; I just don’t see any benefit to justify the risk in that kind of situation.

  14. Hello Dr. Wile, I have a concern about the vaccine and was wondering if you would be willing to offer your perspective. I have heard that the Covid-19 virus itself may negatively affect male fertility (https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2020/11/15/covid-19-compromises-sperm-count-and-quality-in-recovering-patients/). In light of that, could the Covid vaccine also cause problems with male fertility? Do you think this is a legitimate concern? Apparently a research group at the University of Miami is testing this hypothesis (https://www.local10.com/news/local/2020/12/20/study-investigates-effects-of-covid-19-vaccine-on-male-fertility/).

    Are there any other ingredients in the vaccine that you know of that could cause any potentially negative effects on male or female fertility?

    1. There is no known reason why the ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine would harm male fertility. However, we can’t know everything, so that’s why a study is being done. The only known issue regarding female fertility is what I discuss in the article, and early indications are that probably isn’t a problem. Once again, however, until more studies are done, we won’t know for sure.

  15. I appreciate all of these comments and concerns and would like to commend Dr Wile for being genuinely scientific in his answers. As a Christian pharmacist it is often difficult to give graceful answers to anti vaxxers and pro vaxxers at the same level. Thank you Dr Wile. God is using you in ways you know not 💜

  16. Dr. Wile,

    I greatly appreciate your blog post and responses here in the comments. Personally, I am much less informed than you, and yet I still struggle with the temptation to get combative with people who disagree with me on vaccines and the virus. It’s uplifting to see how you stay away from combativeness and respond amiably and respectfully to people in this comment section.

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