The COVID vaccination is a shot in the arm for fan filmmakers…but only if they get it! (editorial)

Most of my readers, I am hopeful, are either planning to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines or have already gotten one or both (if necessary) shots. And if you are one of those people, I applaud you!

In fact, as of this week, I have joined the partially-vaccinated group, having received my first dosage of the Moderna vaccine. (California just opened up vaccinations to people with obesity…the only good thing to ever come from my chronic weight problem!)

I am pleased to report that, with the exception of a ridiculously sore left upper arm for 36 hours—which is now mercifully back to normal—I am feeling just fine. I didn’t die or go into anaphylaxis; I didn’t pass out or grow a second head.

In fact, now that I’ve gotten my first vaccination shot, there’s only unusual thing that I’m feeling:


Honestly, folks, I hadn’t realized how much I’d been living with this almost constant pounding of fear and dread these past 14 months. Like some crazy end-of-times sci-fi horror movie, there was literally a super-virus out there that could kill me! And sure, COVID-19 isn’t necessarily fatal to everyone, but when you’re 5′ 9″, 255 pounds, and have hypertension, this unpredictable virus was more likely than not to do a serious number on me…and possibly even end my life at 54. When you feel as though you’re taking a potentially fatal risk just by going to Costco…that’s stress!

Now, I realize that, with the Moderna vaccine, one dosage isn’t enough yet. Full immunization doesn’t come for me until my second shot in the middle of April. But for the next four weeks, the odds of my surviving an infection if I get one just shot up considerably!

It’s troubling to me that a number of people in our fan film community are not planning to get the vaccine (I won’t name names). In fact, I was texting one of my own INTERLUDE team members that I was at Rite Aid awaiting my shot, and this person sent me back the following IM…

You’re really going to take vaccine that hasn’t been through more than 4 months of clinical trials? You really are a gambler. Also, do note, that you’ll be 3 times more contagious for 2 weeks after you take the vaccine, so you’ll want to have st. john’s wort on hand for your family. There’s a high likelihood they’ll get it from you.

Nothing like getting a little emotional shot in the arm just before you get an actual shot in the arm! So I showed the message to Helen, my Rite Aid pharmacist. I’ve known this woman more than a decade, and I’ve literally trusted her with my life as well as the lives of my wife and son.

Helen explained something to me about the vaccine that I was unaware of…


So no, I don’t need to worry about infecting my family with COVID-19 for the next two weeks because I’m not being exposed to the actual virus—I’m being exposed to an amazing-but-harmless “copy” of the virus.

In fact, as I learned more about what these new vaccines, I realized that they’re the kind of space-age medical breakthrough that Dr. McCoy would have developed to treat a mysterious alien disease…which is kinda what COVID-19 is. Even though it comes from Earth, it’s something our human bodies have never encountered before, and that’s one of the reasons that it’s killing us.

Y’see, Bones would never use one of those “ancient” Earth vaccines like a flu shot, where doctors would inject a small amount of the live virus into a patient to trigger their immune system to produce antibodies against it. “Poppycock!” McCoy would shout with obvious scorn if you told him about COVID-19. “You want me to inject my patient the very thing that’ll kill them??? We don’t do anything so barbaric in the 23rd century. I’ll just synthesize an inert COPY of the virus, thank you very much!”

Imagine that!

Imagine if doctors could construct some 21st century equivalent of nanites that could be injected into a patient just long enough to “teach” our immune system to make antibodies for that specific virus. “Set phasers to COVID-19!” our white blood cells would say. Indeed, this is what happens with a flu shot and most other vaccinations that we get: tiny bits of deadly or debilitating diseases are injected—not enough to kill us but enough to “teach” our body to defend itself.

But Dr. McCoy (or Dr. Crusher or Dr. Bashir or the EMH…not Phlox, though, since he uses all of those weird space creatures) has a better way that avoids the deadly virus altogether. He simply replicates a synthetic version that can’t harm his patients at all! It goes in, updates the immune system, and then quickly breaks down and is flushed out of the body.

The medicine of the future…TODAY!

Dr. McCoy is likely using custom-designed messenger RNA (mRNA) to accomplish all these futuristic vaccination miracles. But just like smart phones, video calls, and computers that can understand our voices, 21st century medicine has caught up to Star Trek more than 200 years earlier than expected!

Our medical researchers here on Earth (in the present) have actually been studying and working with mRNA for decades already. Along with other viruses like the flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus, scientists have used mRNA vaccines to “teach” human immune systems to fight specific infections WITHOUT EVER GIVING SOMEONE THE ACTUAL VIRUS.

So when my friend said the new vaccine “hasn’t been through more than 4 months of clinical trials…” that’s not quite accurate. Using mRNA to make a non-lethal “copy” of a virus (I like to think of it as “3D-printing a virus”) is something we’ve been doing and testing on people for many years. Scientists just needed to figure out how to 3D-print a specific COVID-19 copy and keep it from breaking down in transit before being injected. That’s one of the reasons these vaccines were developed so relatively quickly: scientists had a HUGE head start!

Here’s how the CDC explains it all in a pretty picture…

Click to enlarge

You can also read more about it here.

The other crazy rumor going around is that mRNA will change someone’s DNA. One of my relatives actually believes that…and he went to medical school (back in the 1960’s). But I’m sorry to tell ya, but you’re confusing mRNA with gene therapy. I mean, I WISH I could inject something to change my DNA! I’d remove the insulin resistance that makes it hard for me to lose weight; I’d fix my eyesight, keep my hair from turning gray and falling out, and I might just throw in a superpower or two like invisibility or super-speed!

But alas, the mRNA protein can’t actually enter our cells and get to all of that sacred DNA in the nucleus. Feel free to read more about it here, but long story short: mRNA just stands at your kitchen window, holding up a recipe for you to follow to make dinner. It does NOT remodel your house.

All of this is to say that the new COVID vaccines aren’t some horrible bogeyman that will turn you into a Pod Person or take away your ability to dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever or whatever it is you’re worried will happen to you. On the other hand, getting COVID-19 is like playing Russian Roulette with your sense of taste and smell (if you’re lucky) and with your ability to breathe if you’re not.

Currently in the U.S., over half a million people have already DIED from catching COVID-19 (worldwide, it’s 2.6 million). And even now, with 1 out of 5 Americans having been vaccinated with at least one dosage, two World Trade Center attacks worth of victims are still dying EACH WEEK in those country. Think about that for a second.

Now tell me how many people have died or have even gotten sick from taking any of the various vaccines…out of hundreds of millions of doses? Certainly not two 9-11’s worth of deaths per week! In math terms, we write this as RISK OF COVID-19 > RISK OF VACCINE. Much, MUCH greater! Almost infinitely greater!!!

“Media cover-up,” you say? Well, that would have to be one heck of a conspiracy, folks! And worldwide…across both liberal AND conservative media sources? No doctor is blabbing the truth (despite that whole “do no harm” oath)? Not a single reporter or news outlet is”going rogue”? There’s no Lois Lane or Clark Kent anywhere on the (daily) planet who is choosing to report the story of the century—a guaranteed Pulitzer!—that there’s a huge international cover-up of thousands or even millions of dead or dying vaccine recipients that aren’t even being allowed to check into hospitals so there won’t be a paper trail or piles of bodies???

C’mon, people.

Anyway, this blog isn’t intended for those of you who don’t believe all this nonsense abut doctors and scientists secretly wanting to destroy humanity faster than COVID-19 by creating not one, not two, but three (or more) deadly “vaccines” to alter DNA and…what? Have shorter lines at theme parks? Finish what Thanos started in Infinity War and Endgame? Conspiracy theories typically don’t make a lot of sense.

Who needs an Infinity Gauntlet when you can just use vaccines, right?

The fact is that getting a vaccine provides a peace of mind that I haven’t felt since this whole world turned upside down last year. “COVID will no longer kill me…” is an amazing way to wake up in the morning and lower stress!

And for fan films in general, knowing that everyone on the set is vaccinated will eliminate most of the onerous precautions that have needed to be implemented this past year…but only if EVERYONE is vaccinated. It’s all or nothing, people. If even ONE unvaccinated cast or crew member, one volunteer or visitor shows up, that means that everyone will need to wear a mask—because that unvaccinated person could be carrying a variant that the vaccine doesn’t fully cover yet. Just because you’re “young and healthy” or you’ve already gotten COVID (people have caught the virus twice, folks), it doesn’t mean you can’t provide a convenient host for the virus to live in, replicate in, and possibly even mutate into something even worse in.

And if you inadvertently spawn a new COVID variant that the vaccines can’t protect for, then the entire world is back to masks and social distancing and Zoom Christmases…and it’ll all be your fault for not getting the vaccine.

So get the damn shot! It’s what Dr. McCoy/Crusher/Bashir/EMH/even Phlox would order you to do.

8 thoughts on “The COVID vaccination is a shot in the arm for fan filmmakers…but only if they get it! (editorial)”

  1. You’ve said it all! My senior family got our 2nd shots 2 weeks ago. So after a year of “sheltering in place” we’re safe to go back to living again … wearing masks to protect others still, of course. NBD now that we know we’re safe. (Still want to do our part to help keep others safe. )

    In fact, with so very few flu cases this year, we’ll probably go back to masking next fall.
    Even if it turns out that we don’t need to wear masks if it’s learned that the vaccinated can’t pass on COVID, I really like the idea of not getting the flu (especially since we know that flu vaccines are much less effective than the COVID one is now).

    I hope the Trek fan community is as sensible as you are. Best wishes.

  2. I too had that same weight off my shoulders feeling when I got the first shot. That sense of relief was also startling to me – I had not expected it. I’m in decent health for someone who is 75 but I do also have elevated risk (as does my wife) from things that happen to our bodies as age piles on.

    And tested for only 4 months? That’s a classic ignoring facts given that over 20% of the American people have had at least one shot. I was a bit skeptical at first because of the lack of long-term followup, but when I had a chance, I jumped on it because so many people had gotten the vaccine ahead of me.

    My wife and I were fortunate in not having much of a reaction to the second dose.

    And we can’t expect an “Amanda Rogers” to wave her hands and make the disease go away. We have to do it ourselves by our precautions and our getting the vaccine. Otherwise many more will die than need to. And that will include people we know and love.

    1. I wrote the blog specifically to get more stories out there of people who got the shot and were fine afterwards. There are just too many “I’ve heard about…” or “I have a friend who…” second-hand accountants that are spreading false fear about this vaccine. Have you noticed how it’s always “a friend of mine” or “someone I know,” and people who actually got the shot(s) and had really bad reactions are never the ones posted themselves? That’s because people aren’t having really bad reactions other than a sore shoulder and potentially a “flu”-like sickness that passes in n 18 hours.

      It’s not some nefarious plot by Dr. Evil and a cabal of thousands of scientists and researchers to break down the immune resistance of humanity. That doesn’t even make sense outside of an Austin Powers movie!

  3. Oddly enough I’ve just been offered my first jab and will get it on Sunday. I imagine it will be Astra Zeneca. For the record I am a young, sprightly, mid to late 40 something. I’m sure it’ll be fine and am looking forward to building up some immunity. The other strange coincidence is that this time last year I was suffering from the real thing. Anyway, get jabbed when it’s offered and LLAP.

    1. For anyone who claims there is a global media conspiracy to hide the ill effects of the Pfizer, Moderna, and/or Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the general public, I point to the whole Astra Zeneca outcry. A teeny-tiny 28 out of millions of doses correlated with blood clots, and it’s been front page news every day for a week and a half! If the other vaccines were triggering negative reactions in any way, we’d know about it the same way we do the AZ vaccine.

      Global media conspiracy, my ass!

  4. Forgive me, I shouldn’t be hijacking your excellent Fan Film site for a vaccine discussion. So I promise I won’t comment on this again (and I’ve commented on one of your other blogs in an attempt to get back on topic 🙂 ).

    The AZ vaccine has a had a rough time thanks to friction with Europe. Despite being neighbours, we still have a rivalry with the French and their own vaccine program failed so they are hurting. After Brexit, Britain was derided for not joining the European vaccine procurement program (they were prepared to let us despite the fact we’d left). I thought it was a bad idea at the time (I’m actually pro-Europe) but I’ve been proved wrong, the government got this right (I suppose they had to get something right eventually) and we got our orders in early and provided funds for early prep of our UK plants to produce AZ in large volumes. To duck political pressure for lack of progress on vaccination, Europe has seized on any excuse to dismiss the AZ vaccine despite the fact that the millions of shots of it given in the UK to our most vulnerable have rescued us from a crisis that, at the beginning of the year, had our health care system at breaking point (perhaps even beyond it). It’s now highly embarrassing to Europe to have a neighbour on their doorstep doing a massively better job than they are. Fortunately I have quite a few European friends and they also see through what’s been happening.

    So that, IMO is why AZ has had so much bad press. As to why this hasn’t happened for any others, I wonder if Europe’s a little more scared of offending a certain larger country that was also out in front in the vaccine development race?

    It’s a pity, all this politicking has achieved is to lower take up of vaccine in Europe and to prolong the crisis. I’m very proud that our country, despite our modest size, has come up with the first vaccine that is cheap, easy to store and highly effective. I note that a major US trial has confirmed this today.

    BTW I’m not dismissing the US vaccines, they are massive technical achievement, highly effective and I’m sure the process will improve, become more affordable and be picked up everywhere. And, as you may know, we were the first country in the world to approve Pfizer-Biontec. Even ahead of you guys! I know even that caused some political outcry because the US Drugs Administration had some explaining to do. At one point they did accuse their UK counterparts of cutting corners , but rowed back on that fairly quickly.

    God bless Star Trek for its hope that humanity might eventually move past all this petty behaviour!

    1. One day, we will look back at how quickly this vaccine was developed and yet how atrociously it was administered in many places (including the U.S.) and historians will scratch their heads. It’s kind of like trying to figure out how Hitler was able to take a perfectly reasonable country full of beer brewers and schnitzel eaters and turn then into a genocidal mob. However, 80 years later, we almost watched Dnald Trump do something similar in a country where the beer isn’t nearly as good! 🙂

      Anyway, we’ll get this figured out. The UK did indeed get it right, and therefore, the rest of the EU has a map to follow. Imagine what would have happened–Brexit or no–if none of you guys figured out a way to properly vaccinate. I’m just glad we’ve also gotten our act together here in America. Once we’re done with our own people, we will most likely–as we usually do–ride arrogantly across the planet on our white horses helping everyone else, patting ourselves on the back for being the great hope of the world. It’s annoying the to rest of you, I know, but at least we do end up being helpful more often than not.

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