Would you take a home-made COVID-19 vaccine?
Well, if your neighbor made it… probably not.
But what if a team of scientists – some of which are affiliated with Harvard and MIT – recommended you do it?
Heck, they’ll even send the ingredients to your house. How about then?!
Well, regardless of how you feel about this (for yourself OR others), it’s happening. The “Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative”, or RADVAC, was formed with one mission: to create a home-made COVID-19 vaccine. The team includes 20+ scientists, and they plan to distribute their vaccine across the country – if it works.
Because this “DIY vaccine” is distributed by individuals, it doesn’t have to go through the testing other vaccines go through.
Uhh… is this a good idea?!
We’re not sure, actually.
To be honest, it seems like a bad idea at first glance. So far, RADVAC has no proof that the vaccine is effective at all. Not only do they risk side effects from the vaccine itself, but critics suggest that this approach has further consequences.
For example, if people take the vaccine, they may think they’re safe – and thus be less likely to take care of themselves.
That said, if the vaccine is effective, it would mean faster access to COVID-19 relief – which is obviously a big win for all of us. It would be a classic example of “the ends justify the means” – so if you believe in that concept, you might appreciate what RADVAC is doing.
It’s important to note that the vaccine is not intended as a replacement for masks.
“We don’t suggest people change their behavior if they are wearing masks, but [the vaccine] does provide potentially multiple layers of protection,” said the project founder, geneticist Preston Estep.
What does the FDA say?
So far, the FDA has been quiet.
In fact, it’s not clear whether or not the FDA would even be capable of stopping the project if they wanted to. Members of the collective claim that they are exempt from FDA regulations because everyone creates and administers the vaccines themselves – and because participants never pay anything.
That said, the FDA is pretty good at finding ways to interfere when they want to. Only time will tell whether these at-home vaccines will be allowed – or for that matter, whether or not they’re even effective.
We’ll follow this story as it develops. In the meantime, what do you think: would you take a home-made COVID-19 vaccine?! Let us know in the comments below!