Advantages of a vaccine and specifically the Sars-CoV 2 vaccine
An introduction to Immunology:
Sars-CoV 2 is a virus.
Viral particles aren't “alive” on their own. They need to get into our cells and then take over that cell. When they take over the cell, the cell stops functioning as a “you” cell and becomes a virus factory. That cell will never turn back to your side, it's always a virus factory from that point on. You have to kill that cell and replace it with a new one to get over an infection. Some cells you can't kill and replace, so the virus lives there forever.
We have several options for fighting infections. There are “non-intelligent” methods of killing things and “intelligent” methods.
The “non-intelligent” methods don't require recognizing a specific infection. They might cause broad damage. They aren't adaptable.
With the “intelligent” methods of killing an infection, our immune system learns to recognize a specific infection, adapts, and attacks that infection directly.
We can attack infections specifically with:
Antibody mediated immunity: Antibodies are proteins that attach to 1 specific infection and coat it. That attachment either neutralizes the infection or signals our immune system to kill it. We use antibodies to stop a virus from entering a cell. Preexisting antibody can block the virus from getting into the cell in the first place.
Cell medicated immunity: This is when our infection fighting cells attack the infection directly. We would use cell medicated immunity to target a viral producing factory to kill it.
The process of the immune system learning to fight an infection is absurdly complicated. It would be impossible to explain it all here. (A PhD immunologist may spend their whole life studying 1 immune mediator out of hundreds). In broad terms, there are multiple cells and chemical messengers involved. Mistakes can happen, and if they do, serious consequences may occur.
Cytokine storm: an excessive immune reaction that can kill people, ie Covid and SARS
Autoimmune reactions: Your immune system fights you by mistake instead of the infection
Neglecting to turn inflammation off and having an ongoing inflammatory disorder.
Some infections have evolved to trick our immune system into making mistakes and that is an evolutionary advantage to the infection, so they are harder to heal from or be destroyed. Borrelia, the bacteria of Lyme Disease, can trick our immune system into fighting it incorrectly, and in doing so, spreads Borrelia around. Some infections may mimic the “look” of one of our cells and trigger an autoimmune reaction where we end up fighting ourselves forever, because we got that infection.
Covid (SARS CoV 2) lives in endothelial cells. Endothelial cells are the lining of structures. They line the respiratory tract, digestive tract, reproductive system and nerves. The lining of any of these structures can become a virus factory. If Covid gets into the lining of your nerves, you have to kill the lining of your nerves to get rid of it. If it gets into the lining of your lungs, then you have to kill the lining of your lungs. The process of trying to kill those cells (inflammation) is what causes damage during the infection.
When a virus gets into a cell it takes over the machinery and then makes a whole bunch of copies of itself. Then that cell (which was you) ruptures open and dumps out virus and those move to the next cells, taking them over and killing those cells too. Our immune system is trying to kill virally infected cells, that is effectively you trying to kill you! The more cells you need to kill, the higher level of inflammatory response you have... thus you have more symptoms. OUR IMMUNE RESPONSE is the major cause of damage during an infection. The level of immune response determines the level of damage. You might heal from that, but the process is destructive. Less inflammation is better, yet inflammation is essential. It's a delicate, and incredibly complicated, process.
Each time the viral load goes up, your immune response goes up. The longer you have the infection without a targeted response, the more of your own cells you need to kill and replace.
If you had the vaccine, and the virus gets past your initial antibody response, you are going to have more antibody faster and ready when the first round of newly made viruses break out of your cells. If you haven't had the vaccine then there will be multiple rounds of millions of viral copies taking over millions of your own cells. Then your immune system has to kill all those infected cells. It's obviously better to have a quicker immune response, less inflammation and less of your own cells die in the process.
The point of a vaccine is so your immune system already learned to recognize an infection and produce antibody. For Covid this blocks the virus from getting into cells in the first place. Blocking the infection from getting into the cells means you NEVER CONTRACTED the infection. You got exposed, but didn't “catch” it. You are not contagious at this point.
(NOTE: You could spread the virus if an infected person sneezes in your face and then you sneeze in someone else's face before the antibody neutralizes the virus. So, even at this point, you technically could spread it. Please, don't be gross like that. Wash your hands and wear a mask. Problem solved!)
If there is a higher quantity of virus than antibody, then that the infection might get into your cells because the immune system got overwhelmed by the sheer number of the virus. This is not a vaccine failure.
If you do contract Covid and have been vaccinated (or had Covid Previously) your immune response will be MUCH faster thus, less dangerious. You already have antibody producing cells specific to the virus. You just need to make more of those specific cells and increase antibody level. This process of producing more cells and antibody is fast, perhaps 1-2 days. During this time, the virus can be reproducing.
If you contract Covid and have not been vaccinated, you have to start from the beginning of the process. An immune response subsequent to an infection takes 5-7+ days for you to recognize and fight the infection. During that time the virus is reproducing, mutating, spreading and causing damage. You will have MUCH MORE viral particles and infected cells. MUCH MORE of your cells will be virus factories at that point. It will take you more time to catch up, kill your own cells, neutralize the virus...and in doing so your inflammation will be much higher. This is the point you are going to sustain much more damage than if you already recognized the virus and mounted a quick efficient immune response.
When you get a vaccine, your immune system sees a specific protein of the virus ahead of time. Without the vaccine your immune system has to decide which part of the whole infection to fight. Your immune system is seeing a whole variety of proteins and damaged “you” cell fragments. That mixture of virus and your cellular bits is more likely to trigger an autoimmune response and long term consequences.
After a vaccine, it is quicker to make antibody levels go up during an infection because the cells that make the antibody are already there. This process is quicker. If you have not taught cells to make antibodies yet, then your immune system has to figure out what to fight. That takes much more time and during that time there is more risk of damage.
There is a thought that getting the vaccine might cause damage so it's better to get the infection instead. There is a much higher chance you are going to get damage from the infection than the vaccine. All drugs and vaccines have risks, but the risk of the infection is MUCH higher. That is not debatable. Of course, it's safer not to get a vaccine at all...if you never get the infection. Assuming you get the infection, the vaccine is WAY SAFER than Covid. A lot of people that contract Covid have symptoms lasting months after the infection. A small percentage of people who get the vaccine have side effects. Health is always a gamble, but the risk of side effects from getting the vaccine are far less than the risk of damage from getting the infection.
The vaccine may increase the risk of side effects. As a naturopath, I would try to support an individual to reduce their risk of side effects. I would consider treating the risk of blood clots, increased inflammation, risk of autoimmune disease flare, risk of Lyme Disease flares, etc.
If you previously had Covid or have had the vaccine do you need to get a booster?
People that have had the vaccine or had the infection will have antibodies to Covid. Those antibody levels taper off over time. If you get exposed to a lot of virus but your antibody level is tapering off, then you may get the infection again because the virus isn't bound up by the antibody. This can happen when your antibody is at a peak and it can happen when your antibody levels are tapering off. You might not have enough antibody to stop from getting the infection, but you can respond to it quicker. A quicker response means less inflammation, less damage, less virus coming out of you, less spreading the virus.
It takes information to know if boosters are helpful and I'm not sure at the moment. Boosters are recommended for people at risk of injury from the virus. The booster increases the antibody level to hopefully bind up all the virus before it takes over your cells. I think we need to research the efficacy of boosters and that'll take time. I would guess that it depends on a persons' preexisting condition and risks for damage from a Covid infection
The Political Discussion:
Should I use ivermetcin or other treatments.
I feel like this questions is grasping at straws. Get the vaccine. If you contract Covid after you had the vaccine, the illness will be less risky and go away faster. While you are sick, then you may need to use interventions for the illness if it is severe. This should be decided at the hospital or by your doctor. I feel that people are looking for alternative treatment to the vaccine because of trust issues and all of the disinformation out there. The vaccine conversation is easy, and laid out above.
“I have an immune system, and my immune system can fight infections.”
Yes, it can. It does every day. It's doing it right now. There is a lag between your exposure to an infection and then time you respond to it. During that time, you may get a severe infection that kills you. You may get triggered into an autoimmune disease. You may give Covid to other people and kill them. During that time your virus factory cells are developing mutant viruses that may go on to infect other people. You may not have any symptoms at all. The point of a vaccine is so that your immune system already knows the infection in order to destroy it effectively, so you don't have to learn it and do it all by yourself.
One Final Statement:
A legitimate reason to avoid the vaccine is that you have an immune system disorder that will flare up when the vaccine causes an immune response.
Everyone else should feel lucky and confident that we have a powerful tool that is free and accessible to us, and is proven to save the lives of our families, friends, and the people around us.
I think education and empathy are tools to fix our current crisis.