The latest thing in nut theories–if it hasn’t been superseded by a newer one, and you’ll have to forgive me if I limp along behind this stuff–is that it’s dangerous for women who are still menstruating to even be around people who’ve been vaccinated.
Why’s that? So the little vaccy-things jump out of the vaccinated Person V and into still-fertile Person non-V, implanting some version of Rosemary’s baby that’s been updated to look like Bill Gates?
Quite possibly, with just the tiniest touch of exaggeration.
Utterly irrelevant photo: This is for all you British mystery fans out there. If you remember a detective called Campion, this is the flower he named himself after. It’s a wildflower–a.k.a. a weed–and grows wherever it damn well pleases. It stays in bloom for a good part of the year and is a cheery little beast. This is the red campion, in spite of being pink. It also comes in white.
The theory is that the vaccines shed the spike protein. (Please don’t ask about the mechanism for that.) Someone who described herself as a cosmic doula posted an Instagram video saying, “Women in their menstruating years are experiencing severe side effects from people around them having received this jab.” They miss their periods. They have excruciatingly painful periods. Post-menopausal women start to have periods. Cats flee from them.
Okay, I made up the bit about the cats, but you have to admit it’d be upsetting.
Someone on Facebook who likes to Capitalize stuff she Considers Important listed the side effects of being around a Vaccinated Person as bleeding, hemorrhaging, passing clots, irregular periods, miscarriages, severe cramps, abnormal pain, post-menopausal periods, and decidual casts.
Most of these things aren’t fun but they’re also not signals that an asteroid is headed for earth or that Bill Gates has implanted his own DNA into the Covid vaccines, which will turn us all into non-rich versions of him. They happen, even in non-pandemic times.
In other words, call me when men start having periods. You’ll have full attention. Until then, I’m not impressed.
Gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Gunter said, “Neither of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines . . . nor the Johnson and Johnson vaccine . . . can possibly affect a person who has not been vaccinated, and this includes their menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy. Let me be very clear. The COVID-19 vaccines cannot affect anyone by proxy.”
So she’s no fun at all. And cats flee from her.
Vaccination and pregnancy
If we’ve had our fun now, and if the cats have crept back into the room, allow me to mention a study of 35,000 women that says the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe for pregnant women–not to mention the people standing next to them. Their rates of complications, miscarriages, and premature births were the same as the rates for those things before the pandemic.
The vaccines may also be safe for pregnant men, but it was hard to find a large enough pool for the researchers to follow. For the time being, guys, you’re on your own.
Longer-term follow-up is needed, but pregnant women face a higher risk of severe Covid and hospitalization than non-pregnant women in their age groups, although their babies don’t seem to be affected.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was released too late to have been included in the study.
Yeah, but what are we immune to?
A new study says that the Covid vaccines activate–
Oh, hell, this is complicated, so you’re going to have to pay attention, okay? The immune system has these cells that we’ll call helper T cells, although when they appear in court they’re known by their formal name, CD4+ T lymphocytes. And to distinguish themselves from the defendants, they wear those strange, lawyerly wigs that distinguish British barristers from the normal run of human beings. But never mind all that. We’re friends here and we can afford to be informal and wigless. Helper T cells it is.
The study says that once activated by either of the two mRNA vaccines (those are the Pfizer and the Moderna), the helper T cells will recognize any of the current Covid variants and slaughter the little bastards.
Okay, that’s not a direct quote. I get carried away with the opportunity to slaughter small and bloodless things that have no apparent nervous systems so I can do it in good conscience.
The activated helper T cells may also protect us against one of the coronaviruses that causes the cold.
Sorry, not all colds. Just one form.
This is important because our antibodies are cute little things but they’re not as smart as T cells and sometimes need a phone call to tell them where to go and what to do when they get there.
But before we get too excited, first this was a small study and second it may only mean that they’re able to prevent the variants from causing severe illness, not to prevent all infections.
The Pfizer upgrade
If all goes as expected, the Pfizer vaccine will soon be easier to ship. Up to now, it’s had to be kept at the temperature of dry ice, meaning a country needed one hell of an infrastructure to use it at all. In its new form, an ordinary freezer will keep it safe.
It’s also one of the more expensive vaccines on the market, so making it easier to ship won’t solve all the problems involved in getting it where it’s most needed.
How’s it stacking up against the variants?
Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, said “We have already data for the UK [variant]—I hate using the countries, but people know them like that—which is very prominent in Israel… efficiency was 97 percent.
“We have data from South Africa, with the South African variant, and overall the efficacy was 100 percent. And also have data from Brazil. And it looks also this is very well controlled.”
You’ll notice that he didn’t give us any numbers from Brazil. Let’s assume there’s room for improvement.
It takes, he said, 100 days to tweak a vaccine so that it’s more effective against a worrying variant.
The search for a universal vaccine
So will there ever be a Covid vaccine that doesn’t need tweaking?
Possibly, and I suspect I’ve written about it before but it’s not as if I pay attention to what’s going on here. That’s your job.
One has shown encouraging results in animal studies. It targets a part of the virus that seems stable–in other words, it doesn’t mutate–and indications are that it will protect against multiple coronaviruses, not just Covid. So it could–potentially, remember; we’re not there yet–protect against coronaviruses that have yet to make their way into our lives, and also against multiple cold viruses.
And it can be produced cheaply. If you brewed it in a keg the size of your car’s gas tank (or petrol tank if you’re speaking British), it would cost $1 a dose. That’s compared to $10 a dose for the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer.
But if production is ramped up, you won’t be brewing it in your car’s gas tank, or even (Prohibition-style if you know your US history) in your bathtub. You’ll be using industrial-scale tanks and it’ll be a whole lot cheaper.
“If you have two or three or four, pretty soon you get enough vaccine to immunize everybody in the world,” according to Dr. Steven Zeichner of the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.
The vaccine’s designed to attack a part of the Covid virus called viral fusion peptide, which sounds like it’s going to blow something up but is just another damn peptide, not a nuclear weapon.
When in your life did you hear the word peptide as much as you have this past year?
This particular peptide is a universal coronavirus part. That means you can get from any used parts dealer, any junkyard. Etsy has it. I’d mention Amazon but I’m carrying on a one-person boycott so I won’t. It’s a part of the spike protein that hasn’t shown any changes so far and that’s unlikely to show any in the future. It’s like the headlight that’s used on this year’s model and also the 1957 model.
Or so Zeichner says, and he knows more about this than I do–which wouldn’t be hard. Let’s say he knows considerably more than I do and trust his judgement on this. After all, he did have enough sense not to bring junkyards or headlights into the discussion. I’m to blame for that.
Even if he turns out to be wrong and under pressure from the vaccine the peptide does mutate, we will have been given some breathing room.
This doesn’t have to be a new vaccine. Existing vaccines will be able to incorporate the target as they add new tweaks.
But a universal vaccine isn’t ready for human studies yet. For one thing, in animal tests it prevented severe symptoms but not infection. The developers want to tinker, retune the engine, give it a new set of tires, do all those things that will make it more lethal to coronaviruses. The preliminary data, they say, are exciting, but these are the very early stages still.