Questions, Questions…

Nana Dadzie Ghansah
3 min readDec 18, 2020

By Nana Dadzie Ghansah

There are still a fair number of Americans who do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There are the incorrigible anti-vaxxers who peddle outlandish claims about GMO organisms, luciferase, and chips. They are honestly beyond redemption. Then are those who harbor real worries that the vaccine was rushed and that there are still unknown side effects that will creep out of the woodwork down the line. These are fair concerns so let’s tackle them:

Were the vaccines rushed?

They were not rushed. Scientists have been working on mRNA therapeutics since the 1990s, and a coronavirus vaccine has been in the works since SARS(2002 -2003) and MERS (2012). As a matter of fact, by late 2019, Moderna working closely with the NIH had eight or so vaccines against known viruses using the mRNA platform that they were planning to bring to market.

The seminal invention that allowed the mRNA of the spike protein to be created in a stable form was developed and patented by teams from the NIH and the University of Texas in 2017.

Dr. Sara Gilbert at Oxford had one almost ready for MERS when COVID-19 broke out. As soon as the Chines published the sequence of SARS-CoV-2, she switched her efforts.

Moreover, most people are used to vaccines made out of the whole or part of the attenuated or inactivated virus. This method takes longer — about 5 to 10 years. On the other hand, mRNA vaccines are much faster to design and make, giving the perception that things were rushed. Consider the fact that it took the Moderna-NIH teams three days to come up with the construct.

Are there still unknown side effects?

To the latter, let’s consider what happens when one gets infected with SARS-CoV-2 versus when one receives any one of the two mRNA vaccines.

Even if one does not get sick after contracting SARS-CoV-2, the body mounts an immune reaction — the activation of the innate immune system soon leads to the adaptive one. The result is the activation of B and T-cells. From the diagrams posted, one can see the different proteins in or on the virus that elicit these immune responses. The disease is sometimes caused by the overly active immune response to at least fourteen of the 29 proteins that the virus…

Nana Dadzie Ghansah

An anesthesiologist, photographer, writer, and poet. He lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky.