I had a good blog planned for today and was writing it in my head a couple nights earlier in the week. Then came Thursday.
Anita and I had bypassed our opportunity for the Pfizer vaccines as I am one of “those skeptics.” Using a new process for vaccination (mRNA) would suggest prudence in waiting for the dust to settle and see that there are no long-term effects in others more willing to venture into the unknown. Add that the government pushed so hard and so fast . . . I am still of Ronald Reagan’s mind: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” (August 12, 1986) I can just wear a mask and stay six feet away from anyone without one.
However, when we discovered an Ensemble 2 Clinical Trial for the Janssen (J&J) vaccine to be conducted at UK (University of Kentucky, not the real UK under the Queen’s domain 😉), I immediately wanted to be one of the 200 recruited here to participate.
One: The Ensemble 1 Phase 3 CT had over 45,000 participants with not one life-threatening adverse event, and only two minor adverse events, which were quickly resolved. This follows that the Janssen vaccine employs tried-and-true old technology of vaccine preparation, utilizing an adenovirus that causes common colds, modified to produce the coronavirus “spikes” without the coronavirus.
Two: There is no special sub-freezing temperature required. I have seen too many mistakes in simple lab procedures to trust the huge roll-out of -80⁰C (-112⁰F) storage and shipment of vaccines. Now, they claim Pfizer does not need those extremes for short terms, but that was not the story a week ago. A vaccine that requires only normal refrigeration just looks safer to me.
Three: The protection, while lower than the Pfizer and Moderna double-dose vaccines, is close enough to single-dosages of those. And the Ensemble 2 CT is going to test the idea that may bring the Janssen vaccine in line with the double-dosed results of Pfizer and Moderna. We will be given two injections several weeks apart.
So Thursday, March 4, Anita and I went through all the paperwork and consent forms to participate and were given double-blinded injections. (Blind participation means the participant does not know if they are getting a treatment or placebo, but the researcher knows; double-blind means neither the participant nor the researcher knows if they are receiving the treatment or placebo.) We both received injections and went to bed fine that night. But on Friday I could feel every muscle in my body and some I did not even know I had! Every joint was painful to move, not severely, but enough that we figured I either got the “real McCoy” in the trial, or was having a reeeealy significant “placebo effect” reaction. Very slight elevation of temperature (for me: 98.3⁰F; usually 97⁰ or lower) and a mild headache. My wife says I am a really cool guy, and usually give headaches rather than get them. 😏
Fatigue plagued me quite a bit yesterday when I usually work up this blog, and I spent a lot of time in bed, as I would usually do if I had a cold. So today, no philosophy, no theology, no living advice and no recipes. Just a brief report on why I am posting a boring blog instead of my usual brilliance. 🙄
Did Anita get the vaccine or placebo? She usually handles colds much better than me, and Dr. Greenberg, the excellent primary investigator at UK, says 25% of people so far who received the Ensemble 1 vaccine did not have any reactions. If the decision is made by Janssen to ‘unblind’ the study, and she finds out that she only received the placebo, she can go back for the Emergency Use Authorized vaccine.
If you want to know more about the Janssen vaccine, try this website here for information without lots of “medical technologese.” And just for the record, I do not have any affiliate connections to anything I ever recommend in my blogs.
Stay safe, stay warm and love your neighbor as you love yourself.