Episode 440: COVID-19 Vaccines Part 1 - mRNA Vaccine Technology
The Whole View, Episode 440: COVID-19 Vaccines Part 1 - mRNA Vaccine Technology
Welcome back to episode 440 of the Whole View. (0:27)
Stacy explains that today's topic is one she and Sarah have received the most questions on possibly ever.
Stacy also lets the audience know that this show will be a 2-parter, possibly a 3-parter depending on how deep in they get.
This show has been long in the making because she and Sarah had to wait for the research publication. Then Sarah has done her own research on top of it to prepare for this show.
Sarah shares that she's been following this topic for about a year now: ever since the novel coronavirus was sequenced.
It's important they lay out the science for listeners, look at the technology and history of vaccines, answer the frequently asked questions, and bust the myths surrounding this topic. (2:08)
She and Stacy decided to divide the show into multiple parts to take their time and do the subject justice.
Stacy takes a minute to address how polarizing the word "vaccine" can be. And she and Sarah are aware of this.
She wants to assure listeners they understand vaccines are a personal decision for everyone, just like every other health and medical choices are.
Stacy and Sarah are here to provide the information you need to be an informed consumer.
Note On Vaccines
In this episode, they will discuss the mRNA vaccine technology in the history of vaccines. (2:40)
Next week's episode, Sarah and Stacy will go over the safety and efficacy data for the first two vaccines, Emergency Use Authorization, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and the Moderna vaccine.
Sarah and Stacy will discuss their thoughts on vaccinations going forward. But Stacy reminds listeners that it's never aimed at telling others what to do.
She also reminds listeners that she and Sarah are not medical professionals.
If you have questions regarding the vaccine for yourself or your family, discuss them with your doctor.
There is a lot of information that is both true and not true floating around on the web.
Stacy is very excited to talk about the science and breakdown behind these vaccines and gives a little background on herself for context.
Both Stacy and her mother have anaphylactic reactions to things like gluten due to multiple autoimmune disorders.
Stacy has brought up to Sarah whether or not she thinks getting the vaccine is a good idea for someone with health issues like Stacy's mom.
Stacy also wonders how having the coronavirus, but not having the antibodies, will affect her if given the vaccine.
Sarah reiterates just how many questions they've received from listeners around this subject. (5:10)
She takes a moment to share a few she thinks accurately sum up what they want to cover in this episode.
I am sure you don't want to cover this topic, but you are a source I highly trust as I am sure a lot of your other followers do. Would you consider doing a show about the Covid vaccines out there? It's so hard to know what to believe these days.....Not looking to be told what to do, but merely to be presented the information as you do so well in breaking down the real science that is not filtered through such a biased lens.
Can you please do an episode explaining the science behind vaccines, and explaining how they really work, including the new Covid one. You always do an excellent job of explaining things well in a relatively easy to understand way without shortcutting good science.
Stacy assures listeners that they will do their very best to break everything down.
However, you might still have questions or have heard something different that might conflict with prior information.
Stacy encourages you to reach out via the contact forms on the website for any follow-up.
If you're part of the Patreon family, use direct access to talk with Sarah and Stacy there.
She also encourages listeners not to attack the topic on social media or to put too much emphasis on things you hear without any sources cited.
A Brief History of Vaccine Technology
Sarah starts off by going way back into the history of vaccines. (8:27)
The very first form of inoculation was called variolation.
The first variolation for smallpox dates to the 1600s in China and Ottoman Empire and practiced first in Britain and colonial Massachusetts in 1721.
They took the pus from someone suffering a natural smallpox infection. And then they'd would then rub it onto punctured or cut skin of someone who had never been exposed.
If the procedure didn't kill you, you'd have immunity to the illness. However, Sarah noted it was pretty successful in terms of early inoculation.
Sarah explains briefly how cell memory aids in fighting episodes of re-exposures.
This is what gives us immunity or less a severe immune response when exposed. Development Of A Smallpox Vaccine
Dr. Edward Jenner is considered the founder of vaccinology in the West.
He noticed many milkmaids were immune to smallpox. He realized they were getting infected with cowpox (a related variola virus that is relatively harmless to humans), and the infection built an immunity to smallpox.
In 1796, he inoculated his gardener's 8-year-old son by variolating cowpox pus from a milkmaid's hand.
Jenner then demonstrated this immunity to smallpox by exposing the boy to smallpox 6 weeks later, and he didn't get sick.
That's a lot of confidence! And also, not cool.
Jenner then repeated this experiment multiple times over a couple of years with different people and published his methodology in 1798.
He named his process vaccination because the cowpox virus is called vaccinia.
Doctors started administering this as a smallpox vaccine all over the world in 1798.
This is the first instance of understanding that exposing the body to a weaker version of a virus could stimulate enough of an immune response to tricker cellular memory.
Over the 18th and 19th centuries, systematic implementation of mass smallpox immunization culminated in its global eradication in 1979.
It took just about 200 years from the start of this vaccine to the eradication of smallpox. Other Vaccine Development
Louis Pasteur's experiments spearheaded the development of live attenuated cholera vaccine in 1897. And then an inactivated anthrax vaccine in 1904.
Plague vaccine was also invented in the late 19th Century.
Between 1890 and 1950, bacterial vaccine development proliferated, including the Bacillis-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination, which is still in use today.
In 1923, Alexander Glenny perfected a method to inactivate tetanus toxin with formaldehyde.
The same method was used to develop a vaccine against diphtheria in 1926.
Pertussis vaccine development took considerably longer, and a whole-cell vaccine was first licensed for use in the US in 1948. mRNA vaccine technology
Sarah tells the audience that many of the childhood vaccines given to children today were developed 70 – 100 years ago.
There have been advancements in the vial today that are different from what was in the vial back then.
However, the vaccine technology is pretty much the same now, and it was that then.
Sarah underlines that mRNA vaccine technology was one of the biggest advancements since Jenner and Pasteur's experiments.
When looking at vaccines today, they all have the same basic ingredients (18:20)
They all work by stimulating an immune response against what's called an antigen. An antigen is a bad thing that makes us sick.
The body develops immunological memory by the adaptive immune system in response to the antigen.
It's the same way our immune system develops memory when we've been naturally infected.
But because vaccines use weaker viruses, it goes without the danger of natural infection.
Vaccinations are very costly and big investments to undertake. So we really only develop vaccines against illnesses that are very, very bad and have a huge impact on society.