For this week’s blog, I’m going to get uber-serious on your collective asses! So strap yourselves in!

Now, before we go any further than this, I just want to say…

I’m NOT an anti-vaxxer.

That’s not what this post is about, and I don’t really want to get into that as a subject. This is a post about something different.

Here’s a little food for thought for you. This past November we saw the launch of the new latest games consoles from two of the biggest companies in the world.

In the white corner…

Yup, that’s the PlayStation 5 from Sony. 

That’s the Sony Corporation – a company valued at $45 BILLION!

Their new console has been out 2 weeks after YEARS of extensive development, and already we’re seeing these kind of news reports…

Meanwhile, over in the black corner…

The XBox Series X from Microsoft.

That’s Microsoft – worth in excess of $1 TRILLION (yes, you read that right!)

And again, they released this console after years of development, and a swift Google tells you this…

Now, my point here is NOT to take a swing at the issues that these consoles are having upon launch, but to point out that these HUGE corporations ploughed VAST amounts of cash into developing these consoles, and spent millions on marketing, advertising and distribution…

…and the things are still NOT PERFECT on the launch.

Which is fine. These are electronic goods, and anyone who has spun around the sun a few times could have foreseen these issues. New products almost ALWAYS have teething problems. Bugs that will only be found when the product hits a wide user base who test the item in ways that the developers likely never foresaw.

I think you know where I’m going with this by now.

Here’s another headline for you…

Now, I’m not disputing that the world needs a Covid vaccine.

Ask any of my friends, and I’ve said all along that this would be the endgame. A vaccine was ALWAYS an inevitability. While science at large can’t cure the common cold, Covid was something that had HUGE consequences on the world. Huge death tolls and economic disaster.

The company who has the name on the drug that fixes this problem is going to be famous forever.

Maybe that’s just me being cynical, but it’s true. We’ve seen a RACE the past 12 months between pharmaceutical giants and academic bodies to be the ones that cure the pandemic.

Anyway, the key words in that sentence are ’12 Months.’

Don’t get me wrong, Pfizer is a big company…but can they pull off in LESS THAN A YEAR what the two big tech giants couldn’t with years of prep?

Can they create a product that performs flawlessly from day one?

And can they create enough stock to fulfill demand without production and supply issues?

Colour me skeptical.

The issue for me…

I WANT a vaccine. I want it in the worst possible way.

I miss life.  I miss going out to dinner. I miss the cinema. I miss theatre. I miss going swimming, seeing friends, seeing my work colleagues…

But am I confident enough in a drug that’s been in development for a relatively short period of time and that we can’t be sure what the long term side effects may be?

It’s one thing to have some software glitches in your console. Or an issue on your new car that needs a recall. Or a spelling mistake in a new book.

These things happen.

With the best will in the world, they are unavoidable.

But a vaccine is something different. This is something that you will be pumping into your body and hoping for the best.

The facts are that some of the smartest people in the world have been working on a way to get our planet back to normal. Multiple scientists working at multiple companies and universities in order to find a solution to this pandemic that has held the world hostage since March.

Competition can be a good thing. It can drive us to new heights of achievement.

But I worry about the other aspect to all this…

While I’m positive that the scientists are all in on this for the betterment of mankind, what about those companies?

Money.

That is often the bottom line in all this. Too many companies have ploughed too much money into this research to be left at the bottom of the pile. Too many governments are paying too much money to get those drugs that will save their economies.

Greed can lead to cutting corners.

And THIS is one area where you do NOT want to be cutting corners.

The optimist in me wants these miracle drugs to work. I want life to return to normal, and I do not want to see reports years from now about tragic side effects.

The truth is that the world CANNOT wait much longer for this vaccine.

But…the pessimist in me doesn’t want to be a first adopter. I’m happy to wait a little while longer to make sure that when I DO have that vaccine pumped into me, it’s as safe as it can possibly be.

I got books to write!!!!

Love & Books

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24 Comments

  1. Silvey

    Reply

    I was rather shocked when I heard the news. I thought the UK required vigorous testing over a number of trials before your government would approve a vaccine. I’m in the United States, but I thought the UK operated much the same way in that regard. I hope it works.

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      I totally understand the urgency to get this vaccine out quickly. We live in unprecedented times. Preventing more loss of life and economic disaster depends on it.
      But, I have to admit that the speed of this make me – personally – nervous.
      Put it this way… EVERY time I ever had a brand new car it was recalled for something wrong with it.
      You can’t issue a recall for a vaccination.

      • Silvey

        Reply

        I spoke too soon because it seems that the US was ready to jump the gun too. I was not expecting that move. Many people are enthusiastic to take the shot. I’m not about to volunteer to be the guinea pig, so I say more power to them.

        • Jon Ford

          Reply

          Everyone has their reasons to either be super-enthusiastic or reluctant. My Dad got it the other week and I’m glad about that. I can understand how there are people who desperately NEED this vaccine in order to do their job, or see family they haven’t seen for an age. As you say, more power to them.
          For me…I’m happy to wait a little bit.

  2. Flashyf

    Reply

    Interestingly, the anti-vaxxers ( there is another word that has suddenly entered popular usage ) have compared the Covid-19 vaccine to the terrible thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s.
    The Thalidomide Society itself has said that this is not a fair comparison, since the vaccine that caused thalidomide was never tested properly.
    But what is really interesting is that this debate has put more focus on people who suffered from this tragedy, who in the past have been largely neglected. So it could be argued that some good has come out of all this.

  3. Mitch

    Reply

    You bring up a lot of valid points. I think the way you compared it to the newest consoles was brilliant. There are always bugs in everything, this is not something we want a bug in. I’m still on the fence, but lucky for me I am not in the first group that it will be available too.

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      hehe, it just stuck me when I started reading all the reports of the problems with the new consoles and in the very same newsthread there was the article about the Vaccine being passed.
      My initial thought were ‘Blimey, that’s quick!’

      Here’s a quote from http://www.medicinenet.com

      “In the United States, it takes an average of 12 years for an experimental drug to travel from the laboratory to your medicine cabinet. That is, if it makes it. Only 5 in 5,000 drugs that enter preclinical testing progress to human testing. One of these 5 drugs that are tested in people is approved.”

      So yeah… VERY quick turnaround on this one.

    • RaeY

      Reply

      This is exactly what I’m feeling. I’m not sold on getting it yet. Thankfully I’m not one of the first ones that it will be available to. My hope is that we aren’t forced to get it, if we choose not to. I just read an article stating that we might have to show that we got it to travel in 2021.

      • Jon Ford

        Reply

        That wouldn’t surprise me. To be honest though, I’m not planning any travel until all this calms down. With travel agents, airlines and carriers all going bust left right and centre, I wouldn’t trust my money to be safely invested in a holiday anywhere outside the country at the moment. I’m a patient man, I’ll bide my time till the vaccination has been tried and tested a while, then I’ll be good to go. 🙂

  4. Acro

    Reply

    I’m honestly worried about being coerced into getting the vaccine. How many of our employers will lean on us to do so? Most of us can’t afford to lose our jobs. Will our kids have to get one in order to attend school in the future? Most of us can’t miss work to homeschool and haven’t the talent to educate a child anyway.

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      Yeah, I know what you mean.
      I’m uneasy about a vaccine. I want one, but I don’t like having to trust something we know little about.
      It’s one thing to have a console sitting under my TV spewing smoke, it’s quite another to find out a year from now that the drug they pumped into my system is causing my toenails to fall off.
      I’m hoping that the pandemic has proved to many ameployers that there can be a much better work life balance for their employees.

  5. Reply

    My sleeve is rolled up!!!
    Vaccinate me baby!! 😆
    Seeing you today Jonathan, stood on pavement was lovely 😊 but just made me even more heavy hearted.
    I am a tactile person (not everyone is I know) I miss hugs, I miss friends/family sat round a table chatting, laughing, showing care.
    This pandemic, as annoying as it is, has also shown me that I like, no, love being home. I have never in my life spent so much time in a place I call home.
    I now will always look for balance in my life and I feel freer. A clearer mind. My anxiety has hindered my life but in the last couple of months I manage it far better and I am determined to keep it that way. In the balance I am searching for I need my friends and family to be physically in front of me not through a screen. Ready player one we are not and I hope it never will be.
    So the sleeve of top is rolled up ready. We just have to trust and make the future for the next generations safer.
    Let’s get back to living..

  6. Jack Evans

    Reply

    I agree with some of your points, but for me the benefits outweigh the risks. I’m glad the vaccine has been approved and I hope to get a shot as soon as possible. I help care for my vulnerable father and I’d hate to give him COVID-19 during routine care. My brother has already had the disease. He got over it quickly, but the virus caused him to have blood clots which led to a stroke. He was healthy before that. I want the shot.

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      I think for everyone it’s going to come down to a balance of benefit versus risk.
      I’m in a similar position, my dad has been ill for a while and in and out of hospital. I’ve not been allowed to go see him while he’s in there.
      I also miss my friends and family, and it sucks in isolation.

      I’m just wary of anything I’m going to pump into my body where we have no idea what the long term side effects may be.

    • MarieE

      Reply

      I couldn’t agree with this more! The benefits will outweigh the risks (or so I hope). I too have a hand in taking care of my elderly parents and I don’t want to get them sick. I am glad that something was done quickly and I hope it’s effective.
      I’m sorry to hear about your brother! That is scary for sure.

      • Jon Ford

        Reply

        I know that, again, I’m comparing apples with sausages, but I read today that they’ve have to pull Cyberpunk 2077 from the Sony Store and offer refunds because of the mess the game is at launch. This is one of the biggest software houses in the world and a game that took years to develop.

        And it’s not right out of the box.

        I do hope that the benefits outweigh the risks, but I’m still wary of pumping something into my veins that has had less that a years worth of testing. In fact, probably only a few months worth. I think I was reading the other day that normal process for a drug to pass muster and be registered fit to use it between 10-15 YEARS! This vaccine has been fast tracked and shortcutted, and that concerns me!

        And no… I’m not worried about them putting tracking chips into it etc. I’m as far from a conspiricy theorist as you’re likely to find. It’s purely the timescales on this that worry me.

        • Blairs

          Reply

          This caught my eye, first time I am commenting here but I have been reading the blog and comments for a few weeks.
          I do like your comparison, apples to sausage made me laugh. My generation knows all about consoles and bugs. I knew there would be issues with the new PS5 but it didn’t stop me from buying it. Yes the bugs will irritate me, but they won’t harm my body.
          I will not be getting in that line for this vaccine, not in the near future. I’ll be watching to see if people drop like flies (from the vaccine).
          I did have to chuckle about the tracking chips line! I’ve heard the conspiracy talk too but I’m not biting.

          • Jon Ford

            LOL I’m glad the analogy made you chuckle.
            Yeah, I just wanted to be clear that I’m NOT on the conspiracy train at all. I honestly think that Covid is what it is. A Global Pandemic. We’ve seen them historically (things like The Black Plague) and we’re lucky in this day and age with fast and efficient international travel, that we’ve not seen more of them. Luckily we do live in an age were people are – as a general rule – healthier and more aware of health issues than they were 600years ago when Astra-Zeneca would have been trying to find a new breed of leech to use.
            I also think that’s why we’re seeing a big backlash towards the governments of our countries. Without a doubt certain things could have been handled better, or we could have been better informed about certain aspects of this emergency, but honestly…were there any Governments in the world that had any kind of experience in dealing with shit like this? Pretty much everyone is winging it, especially in the early days. It’s been a game or reaction, and sometimes the decisions made when reacting to the changes in the virus may not have been the right ones.
            Still, with a little luck this will all be over later in 2021. Fingers crossed! 😀

  7. Phili

    Reply

    I am 99% sure that I will get the vaccination when it is available to me. I think by then that enough people will have both doses and we will see if it has any adverse affects. I mean, I know we won’t know long term issues but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.
    I get the whole “it’s going into my veins” but I have to believe that it will be okay.

  8. AV Wilder

    Reply

    That’s like comparing apples and oranges though. The vaccine has a human component in a way that the Xbox does not. A flaw in a game system won’t matter as much, so the stakes aren’t as high. They’re going to ship that machine out while knowing there are flaws that they can patch up later. The same isn’t true for a vaccine. The researchers are putting their reputations on the line and the whole world will absolutely annihilate Moderna, Pfizer, and the scientists involved, if they happen to get it wrong.

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      While that’s somewhat true, arguably the pressure on these scientists to deliver (fame and fortune to the comapny that nails it, the stemming of the death toll, and the return of society to normal) must be HUGE. This world NEEDS a vaccine more than it needs another games console. My concern here is that to do that they are circumventing the traditional drug approval process (which can take up to 10-15 YEARS in some cases) to rush out a drug that will be pumped into hundreds of millions of veins.
      Rushing to get something ready in a high pressure environment invariably leads to mistakes… here’s hoping that those mistakes are simply limited to the supply and demand issues we’re currently seeing.

  9. Jim

    Reply

    I’m not an anti-vaxxer in the traditional definition of the term, but they are too unreliable for me to bother with them. Flu vaccines, for example, average about a 25% success rate from what I’ve heard. At this point there are new Covid strains making their way to the U.S. so why would anyone believe that a vaccine made for one older strain would work on a new strain? That’s not how it works with the flu, consider again the success rate, so why would it work in this case?

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