Boris Palmer was a guest at “Hart aber fair”. (Archive image) Photo: dpa / Christoph Soeder
With "Hart aber fair", the experts are surprisingly honest about the risks of the corona vaccination – and the Green politician Boris Palmer has to be corrected by a medical professor.
Stuttgart – A crude joke by the moderator Frank Plasberg at the expense of Boris Palmer, the green mayor of Tubingen, and an instruction from Palmer by a medicine professor after the omniscient Green politician downplayed the possible risks of a corona vaccination – that belonged to the decorative entertainment elements of the program "Hart aber fair" on Monday. But about that later, because otherwise in the panel discussion – it was the day on which the US company Moderna applied for approval of a corona vaccine in the EU – the risks and side effects of vaccination were discussed quite seriously: in all directions.
At the end, it is the turn of the sales staff and teachers
But before that, the issue of the fair distribution of vaccines – approvals are expected at the end of the year and mass vaccinations in the summer – had been touched on. Because what is the order? Science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar demanded that lists with a sequence of the groups of people to be vaccinated had to be drawn up very early on. "If you decide something like that ad hoc, the scramble begins".
And the Minister of Health of North Rhine-Westphalia, Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), who made it clear that his country will soon be able to vaccinate 80,000 to 100,000 people a day, saw it similarly. Laumann suggested that it was not politics but ethicists and medical professionals, ideally the Standing Vaccination Commission, who decide on the ranking of those to be vaccinated. However, this suggestion did not prevent him from suggesting his own, personal sequence: First the employees of the health services, then the greatest risk takers, i.e. the elderly and the sick, followed by the state security personnel and in fourth place should be the vaccination of people with many Contacts are made: shop assistants, employees in schools and daycare centers.
Fake news campaigns are feared – as deadly as in Japan
The debate has not been fully clarified, but there is a contradiction. The so-called prioritization was called early on, although there are still important unknowns in all the invoices. There is not yet much evidence about the tolerability of the vaccine or its effectiveness in people over 60, it said. The question and the doubt as to whether it would make sense to move older people up the ranking in such a situation, instead of waiting for the long-term effects of the vaccines, was at least touched on by Boris Palmer.
Around 60 to 80 percent of the population should already participate in vaccination, according to the medical professor Eva Hummers, who is a member of the Standing Vaccination Commission, which does not approve vaccines, but issues vaccination recommendations. Hummers and other studio guests now see two major risks appearing on the horizon: anti-vaccination campaigns on the Internet, but also possible side effects of the vaccines themselves. Mention was made of a “fake news” campaign in Japan, the vaccination rate against cervical cancer in women from 70 percent to 1 percent, with fatal consequences, now 600 to 800 Japanese women die from this cancer every year. An alleged vaccination victim had been shown online, a young woman whose body shook like a man possessed. "That was an absurd story, unspeakable fake news and a disaster for the vaccination," said Eva Hummers. Similar false reports have to be expected with the corona vaccination, one has to be prepared for it.
Much is not yet known about vaccines
Perhaps more serious, however, is that some things are still unknown about vaccines. For example, the question of whether a vaccinated person can still carry the virus and infect others with it. The advice is already issued that vaccinated people continue to wear the mask until science has clarified this question. The vaccines were developed relatively quickly, are they really safe? “Do you have a queasy feeling”, moderator Plasberg asked Professor Hummers, and she replied: “It’s not entirely unproblematic.” The follow-up observations and findings about the long-term effects were still missing, which will probably only be available in six months. "In fact, it’s faster than usual. It’s more unsafe than it usually is," said Hummers.
Mayor and medicine professor have a dispute
A little medical digression by Boris Palmer, according to which anti-vaccination opponents wrongly conjured up two fears, namely that the vaccine would “destroy” brain cells and body cells of the liver and heart and interfere with the genetic material and make us “zombies”, but what in the area belongs to myths, then had to be corrected slightly by Professor Hummers: Yes, that the vaccine is not built into the genome, Palmer is right, but "I see the matter with the body cells a bit more critically," says the doctor. According to Hummers, it is basically conceivable that the gene for the spike protein – with which most vaccines work – is expressed in the body’s cells. This means that they make the spike protein themselves. “It presents itself as its own defense system and it is directed against the cells that produce it.” Depending on which cells are involved, reactions can occur, although not in the brain because antibodies do not go into the brain . But that cannot be completely ruled out, as there are “uncertainties” and manufacturers of the vaccines are working to eliminate them.
Palmer replied that these problems had never been observed in animal experiments, but Professor Hummers had the last word there, too: These findings could not simply be transferred to humans, that with such transmissions sometimes "something goes wrong", that has already happened.
After all, a clumsy remark about the Green politician who had already been vaccinated against Corona fell back not on Palmer, but on the moderator Plasberg. Palmer had pointed out that he had felt “zero side effects”, to which Plasberg said: “But you got a new hairstyle!” Nobody laughed, except for the moderator himself.
Vaccination damage in swine flu 2009
How will citizens be willing to vaccinate? Ranga Yogeshwar said that there had to be two vaccinations at intervals, and that it was quite possible that side effects "that are not so easy" occur and that people then decide against the second vaccination. He required open and trusting communication about all side effects. The vaccine damage caused by the drug Pandemrix against swine flu in 2009, when 30 million people were vaccinated, has been cited as a negative example. At that time, the incurable sleeping sickness broke out in 1300 mostly younger people afterwards, but that had only come to light through research in Finland and Norway – against the resistance of the manufacturer. And in Germany at that time there was no systematic evaluation of vaccinations either. “We have to make relevant risks open,” says Yogeshwar, “we need real communication.”
Vaccine skeptics shouldn’t be insulted, says Boris Palmer
There should not be a compulsory vaccination – that was the consensus among the studio guests. A two-class society of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people is also undesirable. Boris Palmer called for personal decisions to be respected: “One should not discriminate against or abuse people who have not been vaccinated. One should stop at advertising for the vaccination. "Health psychologist Monika Sieverding took the same line:" If you have reservations, you shouldn’t press them. "
Men are less afraid of vaccination than women
Sieverding is convinced that the corona vaccination will be a widespread success, some vaccinated people will pull the other hesitant after a period to think about it. Sieverding pointed out a surprising finding: men have always been the more negligent compared to women when it comes to early cancer detection and all types of health prevention. This has now changed for the first time, as a new study showed: Men are less afraid of the corona vaccination than women and are less negative about it. Sieverding could only guess why: “Women have a high level of digital health literacy and collect more information. It is possible that the side effects make them more insecure. ”And not the men? No, they just didn’t get that much information.