Tuesday, January 18

Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca? The Ridiculous and Hilarious Rise in Vaccine Envy | Zoe williams

LLast week, I had reason to search for images of men getting vaccinated (not a fetish, it was for work reasons) and I found a photo of a flu vaccination campaign in 2012. I tried to remember nine years ago: Do ​​you have vaccines against the flu? Were there different types of vaccines and did we care which one we received? These are rhetorical questions, by which I mean stupid questions. Even when I think I don’t remember, I remember perfectly well. We never think about the flu vaccine, because we don’t really feel anything about the flu.

There is something endearing about the intensity of opinions about Covid vaccines, as if we are all trying to fight every indomitable sentiment about the giant and undesirable event of the pandemic in more manageable shapes and sizes: tribes and loyalties, preferences and points of interest. sight. It’s like being a teenager again: emotions are too vast to comprehend, too volatile to make sense. But maybe if I scratch “AstraZeneca” on my desktop, someone else might like AstraZeneca too, and then at least there will be two of us.

In the vaccine tribes, the people who have been Pfizered are the ones who get the most praise. Pfizer appears to be more effective after two doses than the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine (protection against hospitalization is about 96% with Pfizer and 92% with AstraZeneca, and AstraZeneca fares worse after being shot), but this sense of prestige has nothing to do with effectiveness. It’s just that a lot of them were the first to get the jab. That doesn’t make sense: they were the first because they were the oldest or the most vulnerable from a clinical point of view. But there is no point dividing the hairs on why they were the first, because they were.

If we look back fondly on anything from this brutal period, it will be those early days at vaccination centers, people grinning from ear to ear and thanking everyone, even the mandatory local news cameraman. There was also a kind of performative bravery, one in the eye of anti-vaccines. I am not afraid, because medicine is nothing to fear.

The fact that the Pfizer vaccine initially has to be stored at an extremely low temperature also makes it appear hyperscientific, like an ultramedicine of the future. It also has a great origin story – it was invented by Dr. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, a husband and wife team, who did lab work on their wedding day and are astronomically rich, but still spend all their time reading newspapers. . I don’t know why this detail is so often discussed. How are the rich supposed to spend their idle hours? Counting your money? Never mind, there it is: the more I think about the Pfizer, the more I wish I had it.

Modern has a rarity value. By the way, this doesn’t make sense either. The UK has bought 17 million doses of Moderna, it’s as rare as a mouse on a tube track, but you have to admit that you still get a little excited when you see one. When people who have owned the Moderna gather at parties, they nod like Beetle drivers. (I guess here, since there are no parties).

AstraZeneca is normcore, the 100m dose monolith in the UK market. You can’t distinguish yourself at all with an Oxford vaccine – you’re basically running with the pack (although at least you have immunity). Unfortunately, humans crave the distinction, which is why everyone who has had AstraZeneca tries to find a novel twist on it, usually with side effects. You never listen to people who have had Pfizer talk about their arm pain or mild flu-like symptoms. It is not because they did not receive them, it is because they were already special.

There is an opinion that if you have non-life-threatening side effects, you should not mention them, as it simply prevents other people from getting vaccinated, and besides, what are you, a baby? I definitely agree with this. Stoicism is a huge plus and a headache is a small price to pay for protection against a potentially deadly virus. It’s pretty rude to scientists, when you think about it, for them to break their balls and do who knows how many whole nights to save a billion lives, only to find us all turning around and saying, “I was still feeling a little tired from the late, three days later. “

Unfortunately, if something happens to me, I am constitutionally unable not to mention it. If I see someone on a bus wearing the same mask as me, I mention it. If I spend a day unable to do anything but look at crime proceedings and order soft drinks in a whiny voice, I’ll mention it for weeks. So this is what passes for uniqueness, in the Oxford vaccine world: We all tell each other privately how we feel afterward, minute by minute, while maintaining a public face of “just a scratch, nothing to see.”

Just as he was about to have vaccine news, two friends, doubly AstraZeneca-ed, discovered that their two teenagers had Covid. The chances of social distancing in a family are basically nil, and none of the adults succeeded. These things really work, damn it.

Zoe Williams is a columnist for The Guardian


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