May 2021 Community Views:

Point of View: The Covid Vaccine is an Act of Love


A couple years back, my dearly loved uncle was diagnosed with a terminal auto-immune disease, but with regular treatments he still has a long life ahead of him. He's been vaccinated, but a recent test found no anti-bodies developed from the vaccine.  Not very surprising, since his treatments effectively disable his immune system. With a weakened immune system incapable of mounting a defence against Covid, and no protection from the vaccine, he is very vulnerable, and will likely die if he is infected.  My heart aches for friends here on Lasqueti, and many thousands of Canadians, and many millions world-wide who are facing a similar existential threat, reliant on the immunity of others for their own personal safety.


Nonetheless, the mRNA vaccines are truly a miracle of science, tapping into our body's natural processes to build immunity. These fragile little strands of nucleic acid program our cells to generate tiny fragments of the "spike" protein found on the corona virus, and, in the process, are simply disassembled and recycled.  When our immune system detects the little bits of spike protein it says "Hey, that's not human" and launches an attack to destroy them.  In doing so, the immune system learns how to recognize Covid by its spikes, and how to make the anti-bodies to destroy it, protecting us from a future infection. I mean truly, it is such an elegant solution, an amazing scientific achievement, and represents a huge advance in safety and efficacy over traditional vaccines.


I feel such an incredible debt of gratitude to the researchers who spent decades and careers unlocking the secrets of the genetic code; and to the teams of scientists who were able to develop and test these new vaccines in record time; and even to the pharmaceutical companies, so easily vilified, for their efforts to ramp up production facilities;  to our governments, so often lumbering and incompetent, for coordinating the vaccine distribution; to our amazing made-in-Canada public healthcare system, which provides a free vaccination to any citizen who wants it; and to the nurses who generously braved some fierce weather to cross the Strait, to our little community, to deliver this life-saving technology to us.


Because of all these people, many of whom spent their lives dedicated to this pursuit, often without much reward or recognition, and most of whom I will never meet nor get a chance to thank, I will one day soon be able to sit down with my family, break bread with my uncle, share memories, and make new ones.  I can't wait.


Joseph Fall

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