The Vaccination Blues

Do you get the vaccination blues? It’s a feeling of ‘enough already’ with all the misinformation and lallygagging with people not getting ‘the jab’ because of a host of half-baked ideas bouncing around the interweb. Can any of these false notions be effectively debunked? Is it even worth a try? Or is the mountain of misinformation too much?

One of the pernicious rumours out there is that the vaccine carries a type of gene therapy that can change human DNA. It’s quite a conflation of disparate ideas, and trying to unravel it might be a fool’s errand. Doing so requires going back to basics in epidemiology, which is an ever-changing subject, so maybe what follows is already out of date.

In basic epidemiology, one concept to understand is the difference between a bacteria and a virus. A bacteria is a living one-cell organism. When it infects the human body it feeds off blood or tissue, produces waste, and replicates itself. The immune system attacks it and creates antibodies to fight it off; if the immune system fails, the waste overwhelms the body leading to sepsis and death. A virus is quite different; and their origin and behaviors are not fully understood. A virus is not a one-cell organism and it doesn’t exactly seem to be living until it infects a cell. Once inside the host it makes itself a part of the cell so it can grow and replicate. This eventually kills the cell, and the new viruses are released into the blood stream to infect other hosts. Just like with bacteria, the immune system attacks the virus while in the blood stream and creates antibodies to fight it off. If the virus replicates too much, there’s lots of cell damage and often secondary bacteria infections that lead to death.

Why does this matter? Because apparently some viruses in the past have changed human DNA and become part of the human genome. Once medical scientists realized this was possible, they developed the idea of gene therapy — which is the transplantation of normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones in order to correct genetic disorders. It’s a highly experimental procedure that requires a persistent approach, lots of shots, and it’s not always effective. 

So these ideas have been jumbled together to confuse people into thinking a vaccine is going to change their DNA. All a vaccine does is introduce dead or nonlethal cells, or pieces of cells or viruses, into your blood stream so that the body can create natural antibodies to fight off the deadly organism that causes an illness. There’s no genetic material (normal or harmful) to be implanted inside cells. The idea of trying to hide gene therapy in a vaccine is impractical and pretty much impossible. 

Will this convince everybody? Certainly not. The conspiracy cauldron is too powerful for some to break free from. The ‘government’ or the ‘doctors’ become the stand-ins for every parent who’s misinformed us or every smarter person who got something wrong or any powerful person who thought we were too stupid to understand their brilliance. A conspiracy mindset rights these wrongs and makes the believer the smart one in control of their situation. “I’m not putting that vaccine crap in my body! (But of course, I’ll take this pill made for a horse.)” 

And so the rest of us wait for people to get vaccinated and the pandemic to end, while singing the vaccination blues. 

Categories: Media-Arts-CultureTags: , , , ,

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