Austria is dropping compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for adults saying it is unlikely that the measure, suspended since March, would raise one of western Europe's lowest vaccination rates, Health Minister Johannes Rauch said on Thursday.

what could possibly go wrong

@HMH
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13d

Tbh, probably nothing as COVID-19 is not dangerous enough to bring healthcare in Austria to a collapse. And as vaccinations do not prevent the spread of the virus and only provide some short term protection against COVID-19, it makes a lot of sense that getting the vaccine should be your personal choice.

@AgreeableLandscape
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21d

As always, the rich and healthy won’t suffer, the poor and broken will. They’re basically saying “it won’t affect me and my family’s caste so I don’t care if the peasants below us get sick and die”

We have no idea how dangerous covid is long term and the virus is still actively mutating. What we do know is that roughly one in six people suffer from chronic problems after contracting covid, and that this can happen with each reinfection. Letting this thing run wild through the population is a very dangerous experiment.

@HMH
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13d

the virus is still actively mutating

Just as about every other virus. One example is the common cold which actually can be caused by Coronaviruses (not SARS-CoV-2 of course). Yet we never made a fuss about that even though it’s theoretically possible that one of these viruses mutates into something dangerous.

Letting this thing run wild through the population is a very dangerous experiment.

Vaccination is (sadly) not changing that. I am not sure what’s supposed to be done but to just let it run wild. The only thing I can think of is lockdowns like currently in China for the rest of time. This is definitely not something I’d want.

We have no idea how dangerous covid is long term

This very thing can also be said about the new vaccinations. Every medication has adverse side effects and just as with COVID-19 we have no clue how things will be in say ten years.

Just as about every other virus. One example is the common cold which actually can be caused by Coronaviruses (not SARS-CoV-2 of course). Yet we never made a fuss about that even though it’s theoretically possible that one of these viruses mutates into something dangerous.

The reason we don’t make a fuss over common cold is because it’s not nearly as dangerous. Covid is dangerous, and it is causing long term harm to a significant number of people.

I can’t fathom how anybody would prefer dealing with the nightmare that we’ve lived through to China style lockdowns where you stay home for a few weeks and life goes back to normal.

And no, the very thing cannot be said about the new vaccinations. We have a much better idea of what the vaccines do because we design them. Yes, there are potential risks that something is missed, but comparing that to a virus is incredibly misinformed and shows profound misunderstanding of how science works.

@HMH
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23d

I can’t fathom how anybody would prefer dealing with the nightmare that we’ve lived through to China style lockdowns where you stay home for a few weeks and life goes back to normal.

That’s why we have discussions like this! I can assure you there is a significant amount of people like me, who absolutely prefer the current situation to what’s going on in China. Also note that even though some of the lockdowns in China have been lifted, the situation is far from back to normal.

And no, the very thing cannot be said about the new vaccinations. We have a much better idea of what the vaccines do because we design them.

Ehh, I would not be so sure. The way most of these vaccines work is by injecting mRNA which makes your cells produce a part of the Virus, namely the Spike protein. This protein is known from sequencing the virus. There are several unknowns. Obviously it is impossible to tell what kinds of damage the presence of the Spike protein may cause in the long term, especially if it is produced at places the virus itself may not even reach as it is not injected into your body. (Something that is known is that mRNA vaccines, especially if administered improperly and the mRNA is injected into the blood stream your risk of getting myocarditis is greatly increased.) Something else to consider is that the delivery of the mRNA via nano lipid particles is also a very new technique which to my knowledge has previously never been widely tested on humans. So there is no proper long term data either.

Saying we have a good idea of possible adverse side effect of a medicament just because we designed it is incredibly naive. It’s not like we perfectly understand how the immune system works and can just design the perfect vaccine. Instead all that’s been done is to take a part of the virus and have it built using mRNA in your body and then hope for the best.

This is the very reason why developing vaccines takes many years, you have to make sure there are no severe adverse long term effects by observation, because you do not fully understand what the vaccine is doing within the body. I do not think it is reasonable to expect that vaccines developed in a tiny fraction of the time typically required are as safe and performant as those developed within the normal time frame.

In short, I think the situation is way to complex to make predictions as good as to allow comparing long term effects of the virus with that of the vaccines.

Also note that even though some of the lockdowns in China have been lifted, the situation is far from back to normal.

It’s a lot more normal than anywhere in the west if you don’t want to gamble your long term health. People seem to be rather dismissive about potential long term effects, and the gamble may backfire spectacularly.

Ehh, I would not be so sure. The way most of these vaccines work is by injecting mRNA which makes your cells produce a part of the Virus, namely the Spike protein. This protein is known from sequencing the virus. T

There is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that the protein is in any way harmful. And we do know that the virus reaches pretty much everywhere including your heart and brain. It’s also pretty clear that the risk of myocarditis is incredibly small. Literally billions of people received vaccines at this point, and it’s pretty clear that we see far more damage from the virus than the vaccines statistically. It’s not even comparable.

Saying we have a good idea of possible adverse side effect of a medicament just because we designed it is incredibly naive. It’s not like we perfectly understand how the immune system works and can just design the perfect vaccine. Instead all that’s been done is to take a part of the virus and have it built using mRNA in your body and then hope for the best.

Saying that we know that having your cells produce a bit of protein that your immune system then destroys is less risky than having a virus attack your organs is just stating the obvious. Pretending otherwise is just playing mental gymnastics.

I recommend actually learning about how these vaccines work and what they do.

@HMH
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02d

People seem to be rather dismissive about potential long term effects, and the gamble may backfire spectacularly.

You are right, this is a gamble I am willing to take. At the beginning of the pandemic I might have favored a very strict lockdown like in China but at this point its just too late, we have to accept that COVID-19 is going to stay.

There is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that the protein is in any way harmful

Of course the protein is harmful, if it were not our immune system would not attack it and cells producing it. If it weren’t harmful the vaccination would not even work in the first place. The question is how harmful it is and in how far having it produced via mRNA injections differs from what the virus itself does.

And we do know that the virus reaches pretty much everywhere including your heart and brain

Yes, the dosage and distribution matter though, the distribution of the protein via the vaccine is surely going to be different from what the virus does.

It’s not even comparable.

For young people it actually is at least regarding myocarditis, see https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.23.21268276v1.full.pdf But admittedly, there are a lot of papers and of course I am cherry picking here. What I want to say is that things are not as clear cut as you make them sound to be.

Saying that we know that having your cells produce a bit of protein that your immune system then destroys is less risky than having a virus attack your organs is just stating the obvious.

This is the very oversimplification I have tried to point out. How is any of us supposed to know that? Also note that our immune system is not only destroying the protein but also the cells producing it. This is actually how you get myocarditis. If the mRNA gets into your blood stream and subsequently reaches your heart, your heart may start producing spike proteins which in turn makes your heart a target for your immune system.

I sure hope your assessment is right though, actually I think mRNA vaccines are a fascinating technology and I’d love to see them developed further.

playing mental gymnastics.

Well, in a way science is exactly that :)

Of course the protein is harmful, if it were not our immune system would not attack it and cells producing it

That’s not how the immune system works!

Yes, the dosage and distribution matter though, the distribution of the protein via the vaccine is surely going to be different from what the virus does.

The protein is not the harmful part of the virus. You don’t understand how the virus works. There is plenty of literature on the subject, please educate yourself.

This is the very oversimplification I have tried to point out.

It’s not, this is literally what the effect of the vaccine is.

Well, in a way science is exactly that :)

It’s not.

@HMH
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02d

That’s not how the immune system works!

What’s that even supposed to mean? If an object enters your body and provokes an immune response it is by definition harmful at least in the way that the immune system requires energy to destroy it. I. e. you are better off if said object doesn’t enter your body in the first place.

The protein is not the harmful part of the virus. You don’t understand how the virus works.

My bad, I meant to say the mRNA and its container, which is what my main concern is.

It’s not, this is literally what the effect of the vaccine is.

Perhaps you are missing my point, let me restate it: The virus does damage by attacking cells which then are forced to replicate the virus. Thus these cells are attacked by the immune system and die. A very similar thing happens with mRNA vaccines. Except that cells are only forced to replicate a part of the virus which itself can not do any further replication. If both mRNA vaccine and virus were always distributed very similarly and thus affected pretty much the same cells, I could not see how the vaccine could possibly be more dangerous than the virus and for quite a while I thought this was obviously the case. But this is not true. Distribution as well as dosage may differ.

At least for the short term we do know by observation that statistically taking the vaccine, especially for high risk groups, is much safer than getting infected. But I still think there are too many variables to consider to make a proper prediction about how possible long terms effects of an infection compare to these of the vaccines.

If an object enters your body and provokes an immune response it is by definition harmful at least in the way that the immune system requires energy to destroy it. I. e. you are better off if said object doesn’t enter your body in the first place.

This has nothing to do with how harmful the object is. Immune system simply detects that the object is foreign to your body. Immune system can react to plenty of harmless things as seen with allergies, and fail to react to harmful things as seen with viruses like covid.

My bad, I meant to say the mRNA and its container, which is what my main concern is.

How is mRNA and its container harmful, what exactly is the concern?

A very similar thing happens with mRNA vaccines.

Except it’s not similar at all. The virus destroys cells and subverts their internal machinery to produce more of itself. The vaccine simply uses mRNA code to tell cells to produce a bit of protein. This doesn’t harm the cells, and most importantly there’s no replication happening in the process. Again, I urge you to actually read up on how the technology works. I recommend reading this explanation as a primer.

@HMH
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11d

The vaccine simply uses mRNA code to tell cells to produce a bit of protein. This doesn’t harm the cells

That’s just not true, cells exposing the spike protein after being forced to produce it by the mRNA vaccine will also be attacked by the immune system. While not necessarily all these cells will be killed there is still some amount of damage that’s being done.

How is mRNA and its container harmful, what exactly is the concern?

Regarding the container aka lipid nanoparticles: I do not know and as far as I can tell there has been too little previous work on this to enable us to make long term predictions.

That’s just not true, cells exposing the spike protein after being forced to produce it by the mRNA vaccine will also be attacked by the immune system. While not necessarily all these cells will be killed there is still some amount of damage that’s being done.

The immune system predominantly attacks the protein itself, and you lose cells all the time that in itself is not harmful. What’s harmful is a chain reaction the virus causes where it exponentially hijacks more and more cells and converts them to virus factories. The vaccine does not do that.

Regarding the container aka lipid nanoparticles: I do not know and as far as I can tell there has been too little previous work on this to enable us to make long term predictions.

In other words your concern stems from having superficial understanding of how this technology works and lack of trust in the experts.

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