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Old 2021-10-29, 17:30   #11
Batalov's Avatar
Mar 2008

3×3,229 Posts

Let me try another parallel (similar to tetanus).

I had shingles ~5 years ago and it was quite painful. The nerves inflame and misfire deep inside of you - so you don't even know what exactly it is; you start thinking that your organs, stomach or liver are failing, and it is hard to function because it really hurts. So - when you get it, there is a therapy, but one only gets it by prescription, hence a visit to a doctor. And the antiviral pills are huge (1 gram twice a day); and they have some side-effects. But even with the inevitable doctor visit delay etc, -- do these pills work right away? Hell no! I was in equal pain for another 2-3 days. There was also a statistical chance that pain would stay, but I got lucky. It went away and never returned.

So, a bit later-- When I heard that shingles vaccine was approved I got it (even though it does hurt in itself, but nothing compared to real shingles - some 101F fever and associated fatigue and headache). It is incidentally same (but much smaller dose) as vaccine for kids for chickenpox. The virus is the same.

Similar here, with COVID versus a COVID dissident battle:
Step 1. you don't do anything. Step 2. You get COVID. Step 3. It will have to be diagnosed, twice (to rule out false positives); time passes. Step 4. you start taking the Merck pill. And you will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function. Step 5. After a couple days you get better.
Between steps 2 and 5 a few days will have passed, the viral load will have done some damage to your brain and heart, and also you may have gotten side effects from the pill. Much better to avoid the whole thing.

Drugs are a transient agent; most of them are relatively simple molecules (compared to immune complexes which are huge); most of them get converted by your body to a circulating form of itself (lose the salt which balances them in the solid pill, an perhaps lose some sidechain), go around you whole body in the blood stream (even where they don't need to go), and then they get further split apart and leave your body. If you take the Merck pill for a week, and then get COVID two weeks later - your body will remember nothing of the drug.

In contrast, vaccine is a punching bag that gets presented to immune system, which then learns to recognize it and punch it to bits and then the vaccine is gone just like a drug. But the immune system remembers.
Now, why the booster? Immune system has memory subsystem and active subsystem. Active subsystem is ready to fight (and get more troops to fight) within hours. Memory system has to match the new enemy to the old catalog, prepare the cells and then start fighting, in a matter of a day or two (the troops have to be built). For two days the body will have to suffer the virus and some damage will be done.
And if you do the booster - you wake up the army which will stay in tents for several more months then will disband. Then - next booster.

There are plans (in a year or two) to pre-mix covid shot with yearly flu shot cocktail of four flu strains of the year.(they don't call flu vaccine quadrivalent for nothing). Then it will become a pentavalent vaccine and it will become a word (well, there is another one already now).
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