Wired: The Media is ignoring Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine, which are “pretty bad”
On Monday, vaccine researchers from Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced results from a “Phase 1/2 trial,” suggesting their product might be able to generate immunity without causing serious harm. Similar, but smaller-scale results, were posted just last week for another candidate vaccine produced by the biotech firm Moderna, in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
As both these groups and others push ahead into the final phase of testing, it’s vital that the public has a clear and balanced understanding of this work—one that cuts through all the marketing and hype. But we’re not off to a good start. The evidence so far suggests that we’re getting blinkered by these groups’ PR, and so seduced by stories of their amazing speed that we’re losing track of everything else. In particular, neither the mainstream media nor the medical press has given much attention to the two vaccines’ potential downsides—in particular, their risk of nasty adverse effects, even if they’re not life-threatening. This sort of puffery doesn’t only help to build a false impression; it may also dry the tinder for the future spread of vaccine fear-mongering.