Why Use Risky Vaccine When Alternatives Exist?


I did not know Francine Boyer. The Quebec woman passed away recently from cerebral thrombosis, a blood clot, some time after having received her first shot of the AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine. A rare but devastating side effect of the AZ product.

People are quick to explain that the chances of this are infinitesimal – 0.001 per cent (1 out of 100,000) – and that the vaccine is safe.

I’m all in favour of vaccines but it seems to me that if one product poses a risk, regardless of how minimal, while there are risk-free alternatives, the use of that product should be put on hold.

What makes Ms. Boyer’s passing significant is that it could have been avoided. Regardless of how slim the risk of blood clots is, there are other vaccines – Moderna and Pfizer – that have, so far, shown no signs of clotting problems.

I’m all in favour of vaccines – I’ve had my first jab of Pfizer, and will get my second in July – but it seems to me that if one product poses a risk, regardless of how minimal, while there are risk-free alternatives, the use of that product should be put on hold.

The key is the fact that alternative vaccines exist. If the AstraZeneca vaccine was the only game in town, then one could easily discount the low risk of clotting. But that is not the case. There are two other vaccines that are being administered without problem. Why would anyone take the risk, even one so miniscule, when two other vaccines exist? Why would any government allow the continued distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine when other safe products exist?

The key is the fact that alternative vaccines exist. If the AstraZeneca vaccine was the only game in town, then one could easily discount the low risk of clotting. But that is not the case.

Let’s switch it around. If you had the choice of being given a lottery ticket for one lottery that had a one chance in 100,000 of winning; or either of two other lotteries that had zero chance of winning, it’s not difficult to figure out which is your best choice. One in one-hundred thousand is not great, but it’s better than none.

The availability of alternative vaccines makes the very slim chance of clots from AstraZeneca something that should not be risked.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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