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February 14, 2021 | Weighing the Risks of Vaccination

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

 

 

Been vaccinated yet?  I haven’t, although I’m trying not to give friends the impression that I’m making some sort of political

statement. That means not emailing them links to every vaccine horror story that surfaces, or to growing evidence that the vaccine may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.  That mRNA vaccines have not been well-tested and could conceivably cause bodily harm or death is beyond argument at this point.  That is why I am waiting until most Americans have gotten their shots and reported any side effects before I decide whether to get mine.

The person I trust most about this is my personal physician, who also happens to be one of my oldest friends. He was quite confident back in April that the combination of hydroxycholoroquine, zinc and Zithromax was highly effective in treating Covid. This was an unpopular view at the time; indeed, half the country was rejecting the regimen merely because Trump had endorsed it. However, my friend had already treated two dozen Covid patients, and all but one recovered completely without getting very sick. The one patient who did get sick, a mutual friend of ours, had waited until ten days after he’d shown symptoms to start treatment.

Two Brothers Part Ways

My physician friend had no qualms about getting vaccinated himself, especially since he sees so many patients who are infected. He does a weekly radio show and undoubtedly influenced many, including skeptics like me, to get their shots. However, his brother, a surgeon, has so far chosen not to get vaccinated, in part because of a bad reaction he got years ago to a flu vaccine.

I’ll be monitoring the health and progress of two close friends in particular, since they’ve been scared to death to leave their homes since the lockdowns began last March. Both have just received two shots spaced a month apart, and both have seized the opportunity to get back to more or less normal life. One is a wine importer whose business requires frequent trips to Europe.  He hasn’t flown anywhere in the last year, but next weekend he’ll be traveling with his daughter to Vail for a week of skiing. For a guy who could not even set foot in a grocery store, immersing himself in a crowded ski resort at high season will be an act of daring.

A Powerful Inducement

The other friend, a retired entrepreneur, has a scary medical history and has lived under an even stricter lockdown than the wine importer. So fearful was he of catching Covid that he chartered a jet to fly him and his wife from New Jersey to Florida and back last fall. His passion in life is high-stakes poker, but neither he nor any of his card-room buddies have played face-to-face in nearly a year. A poker game surely ranks high on the list of superspreader events, given the constant banter in close quarters and the circulation of contaminated cards and chips. Even so, the group recently restarted their regular game, and although they are not oblivious to the risks, they are no longer prisoners in their own homes. For those of us in our 70s or older, this kind of freedom will remain a powerful inducement to get vaccinated even if the risks prove to be considerable.

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February 14th, 2021

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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