pandemics-data & analytics
see also: The Ugly Truth About The Covid-19 Lockdowns
Source: Gossip Lanka December 7, 2021
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many have questioned the motives behind lockdowns, virus regulations and, more recently, vaccines. Global advocacy group PANDA has spoken out against myriad decisions, questioning those in charge and challenging statistics and information. While it has garnered support along the way, the think-tank has also gained its fair share of critics. Recently, BizNews published a piece by journalist Ivo Vegter, who states that PANDA cannot be taken seriously anymore. The article has sparked vociferous debate, Vegter’s viewpoints striking a nerve with many. Below, PANDA’s founder Nick Hudson replies in a detailed article.
Response to Ivo Vegter
After a cordial dinner where he contested me only on a single point regarding vaccine efficacy, Ivo Vegter has penned a broadside attack on PANDA and me in the Daily Friend that is fraught with fabrication and misrepresentation. As Ivo has declined an invitation to a live debate, I respond here.
A fair warning to the reader: this response is very long. I encourage you to read it in full, because it’s been an opportunity to provide our most comprehensive perspective yet on vaccines in one article. But I also know this can all be exhausting, so here is a summary of my main responses and salient points.
- PANDA has from the outset advocated that Covid-19 vaccines should be available to all adults who choose to use them based on informed consent, offered to the non-recovered vulnerable minority and contra-indicated for the young and the recovered, non-vulnerable majority. We stand by that perspective.
- Further, we believe that coercion has no place in public health. In the context of Covid-19 mandates – whether they be lockdowns, mask mandates or vaccine mandates – are morally wrong and represent a dangerous power grab.
- We also see no sound medical or epidemiological reasons to mandate the current crop of vaccines.
- Ivo accuses me of “outright lying and fabrication of data”. He is wrong and I explain why, and it is quite scandalous that a journalist would make an accusation of criminal activity against me (it is illegal to purposely spread false information about Covid-19) without running the most basic of checks first. Ivo’s objection illustrates an inability to parse data and a lack of integrity.
- Ivo’s misinterpretation that “Covid-19 is not an old person problem” is patently false. The fatality rate of the elderly is more than a thousand times the mortality rate of the young. If Covid-19 cannot reasonably be described as a disease of the elderly, what on earth can be?
- For all Ivo’s protesting, I stand by my central point most emphatically. Covid-19 has been served up to an unsuspecting public as an airborne ebola to which everyone is susceptible, yet the reality is that it presents negligible risk to the majority of the population. PANDA has a vast network of doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, scientists and other professionals (more than 100 members across the globe) who have analysed 20 central claims of the prevailing Covid-19 narrative and identified weaknesses in them. These are summarised in a table in the main article. This is important when it comes to assessing the medical merits of universal vaccination.
- We have not yet seen signs in all-cause mortality data that Covid-19 vaccines are saving lives. In a world flooded with alternative narrative, this statement can be jarring. But the theory that they do so is supported neither by the manufacturer trials nor by national aggregate mortality data from the UK. The Pfizer trials were not scientifically sound and analysis by PANDA members concludes there is no reliable evidence in the UK data that the vaccines reduce all-cause mortality.
- When it comes to recovered people, vaccines are unnecessary and a net harm, no matter how low the adverse event rate might be. It has repeatedly been shown that ‘hybrid immunity’ is a total fabrication. Meanwhile, vaccine adverse events run at a four times the rate for recovered individuals. Hence we contend that vaccination should be contra-indicated for such people.
- When it comes to the safety conundrum, Ivo’s treatment of vaccine adverse events reporting systems is nakedly biased. He has not understood the shortcomings of the Pfizer studies and he casually, callously, and without good justification dismisses the plentiful evidence of severe heart problems resulting from vaccination.
- Ivo cites weak studies to show lower transmissibility among the vaccinated. He also dismisses the real-world data that shows outbreaks occurring in all highly vaccinated countries. At the very least, he might have acknowledged transmission reduction is very tenuously asserted. This is crucial because the entire ‘greater good’ argument for mandating vaccines rests upon it.
- Constant unthinking retorts of ‘discredited’, ‘misinformation’, ‘covid denier’, ‘antivaxxer’ are signs of frail logic. An army of Ivos employs such terms to intimidate. It is time to regard the use of terms like ‘antivaxxer’ as fundamentally unserious and unhinged. It is time to re-enable open inquiry into matters that affect us all so profoundly.
- The policy response to this epidemic has done great harm to ordinary people while deepening the reach, influence and power of oligarchs, politicians and sheltered academics. Ivo parrots the voices of this ‘elite’, but people are tiring of this flimsy condescension, and PANDA stands in their corner.
Gossip lanka Response to Ivo – Full Article
PANDA is a collective of scientists and volunteers from around the world. We have from the outset advocated a minimalist approach to vaccination, saying the vaccines should be offered to the non-recovered vulnerable minority and contra-indicated for the young and the recovered, non-vulnerable majority. We stand by that perspective.
We have further asserted that coercion has no place in public health, so that in the context of Covid-19 mandates of any sort – whether they be lockdowns, mask mandates or vaccine mandates – are morally wrong and represent a dangerous power grab. Such one-size-fits-all measures also contradict long-standing principles of public health and the many declarations birthed from past atrocities. Aside from the moral and political questions, we also see no sound medical or epidemiological reasons to mandate vaccination.
We concur with last week’s judgment of a US District Court: “In general, the overwhelming lack of evidence likely shows [the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] had insufficient evidence to mandate vaccination on the wide range of facilities that it did. Looking even beyond the evidence deficiencies relating to the specific facilities covered, the lack of data regarding vaccination status and transmissibility – in general – is concerning. Indeed, CMS states that ‘the effectiveness of the vaccine[s] to prevent disease transmission by those vaccinated [is] not currently known’.”
I shall expand below on this question, of whether the Covid-19 vaccines should be expected to or do actually show any sign of reducing transmission.
We see no discernable sign in all-cause mortality data that the vaccines are saving lives; the theory that they do is supported neither by the manufacturer trials, which had more deaths in the vaccine than the placebo arm, nor by national aggregate mortality data from the UK, which has been so widely relied upon.
Pharmaceutical companies and vaccine stakeholders such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have a financial stranglehold over medical institutions. This is true domestically and internationally. The FDA, upon whose licensing and approvals many other nations have relied in reaching their own determinations, receives 45% of its funding from pharmaceutical companies through so-called ‘user fees’. When Gates’ proxy, IHME, produced models that scandalously overestimated the threat posed by Covid-19, not one institution of public health objected. It was left to groups like PANDA to point this out, and when we did, we faced censorship and outcry from media outlets funded by the same culprits.
Gossip lanka Misquoting
Ivo’s dramatic claim that “Hudson is outright fabricating data, citing studies but lying about their contents” arises from a situation where, in an incidental letter, I accidentally referenced the 14 October 2020 version of Prof John Ioannidis’ study instead of its 14 March 2021 update or the WHO Head of Emergencies’ press briefings. The irony here is that the range of values for the global infection fatality rate (IFR) – 0.23%, 0.15% and 0.14% – makes no difference to the validity of my ensuing statement. It’s lost in the rounding! I think his conclusion is therefore unreasonable and overblown.
The statement that Ivo takes issue with is this one:
“The risk presented by Covid-19 to healthy under-70s is negligible, with an infection fatality rate (IFR) of less than 1/10,000.”
The IFR for all under 70s globally is around 0.05%, per the paper Ivo is accusing me of misquoting. Yet, around 95% of those dying under 70 have severe comorbidities, leaving the IFR for healthy under 70s squarely within the limits I articulated. There is no “outright lying and fabrication of data” going on here, and it is quite scandalous that a journalist would make an accusation of criminal activity against me without running the most basic of checks first. Ivo’s objection illustrates an inability to parse data and a lack of integrity.
Even these numbers assume that there has been no misattribution of deaths, which is a bad assumption. In most countries, any death with a positive Covid-19 test result is recorded as a Covid-19 death. In South Africa, the Department of Health (DoH) requires that all deaths be listed as a Covid-19 death “unless a clear alternative or unrelated supervening medical cause of death (such as trauma or poisoning) is apparent.” Covid-19 must not be stated as the cause of death only where there is a clear alternative cause of death in which Covid-19 played no causal or contributory role. In addition, the DoH requires that in the case of any person who dies from a pre-existing condition (such as cardiovascular disease) but Covid-19 is considered to have played a contributing role in the death, Covid-19 must be listed as an additional cause of death. Quite ridiculously, broken necks and gunshot wounds show up as “accompanying causes” in the US detail.
This is a sharp departure from sound public health practice. More significantly, since PCR tests run at high-cycle thresholds can continue to trigger positive results up to 11 weeks after resolution of an infection, this problem becomes highly magnified. So it is not a “trope”, as Ivo so carelessly puts it, to argue that plenty of misattribution has gone on. Indeed, in the case of children, misattribution seems to have been virtually 100%. An investigation by a team at Johns Hopkins University into the actual cause of death among official Covid-19 deaths of children came to the stunning conclusion that Covid-19 was not a primary cause of death for ANY healthy children in 48,000 cases, finding “a mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia”. A further study in Germany found that Covid-19 played a causal role in the death of only one in a million children, almost all of whom had co-morbidities.
Ivo’s misinterpretation that “Covid-19 is not an old person problem”is patently false. Wherever you look, the average age of Covid-19 deaths approximates the average age of non-Covid-19 deaths, and the involvement of comorbidities is broadly the same for the two, despite the over-attribution problem skewing national averages downwards. The fatality rate of the elderly is more than a thousand times the mortality rate of the young. If Covid-19 cannot reasonably be described as a disease of the elderly, what on earth can be?
Several efforts have been made to represent the situation differently. Most notably, South Africa’s then minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, served up the lie to end all lies in December 2020. He sternly warned South Africa that because of the beta variant we are “all at equal risk now”. Nothing spreads fear like telling people their children are going to die, and a wave of panic ensued. Within weeks, the reality that must have already been clear to Mkhize emerged in the published data. The average age of hospitalisation had actually increased. Supplicant media gave the minister a free pass on this outrageous disinformation, which should have been widely criticised as the scandal of the year. Only PANDA spoke out.
So for all Ivo’s protesting, I stand by my central point most emphatically. Covid-19 has been served up to an unsuspecting public as an airborne ebola to which everyone is susceptible, yet the reality is that it presents negligible risk to the majority of the population. This is important when it comes to assessing the medical merits of universal vaccination.
The reason these facts are important is that they demonstrate the massive gap between public perception and reality. Again, fatality risk to a normal-health person under 70 (someone without a severe comorbidity) is less than 0.01%. Meanwhile, the man in the street believes he has a large probability of dying if infected. In Australia, a poll put the average perceived risk of death from infection at 38%, a 4,000-fold overestimate by the median mainstream media junky.
How did this gap between perception and reality arise? Through propaganda. From the start, controlled media organisations have projected a fear narrative completely at odds with the data. This has been promoted by the deployment by governments of behavioural science techniques in an unprecedented way. In the past, public agencies have used ‘nudge’ techniques to boost projects such as organ donation or to combat drunk driving and smoking. But during Covid-19, such techniques have been used in an entirely different way; to heighten the perception of risk without limit in an attempt to promote acceptance of draconian measures that had never before been part of public health policy or guidelines. In this way, an entirely false narrative about Covid-19 has been created.
PANDA has contested all of the following 20 central claims of the prevailing Covid-19 narrative, which journalists have enthusiastically promoted:
|1||The virus is new.||The virus is closely related to widely circulating betacoronaviridae, sharing 65-70% common genetic material.|
|2||Everyone is susceptible (immunologically naive).||Pre-existing or cross-immunity is widespread, and moreover children almost universally enjoy robust innate immunity.|
|3||The virus is deadly. (Recent polls revealed that the average member of the public believes the infection fatality rate (IFR) is 20 to 38%.)||Ioannidis’ study, the most comprehensive to date, reveals the global IFR for under 70s to be 0.05%, with almost all fatalities involving serious comorbidities. For the median risk member of the population the IFR is less than 0.01%, meaning that for most people risk is negligible.|
|4||Lockdowns are effective at reducing deaths.||More than 50 studies have shown that lockdowns have no material beneficial effect on Covid mortality, and that they worsen overall mortality outcomes when non-Covid collateral harms are factored in. Lockdown had no place in prior public health or pandemic respiratory virus guidelines, existing as a fringe idea among people who advocated militarised approaches to pandemics that completely contradicted public health and epidemiological practice and theory.|
|5||Cloth mask mandates are effective.||The most comprehensive study to date, by the European CDC, demonstrated that almost all papers supporting cloth mask use were of low evidentiary value, and most exhibited signs of bias. The WHO admitted that its reversal on mask efficacy was politically motivated. There is no sign in the international epidemic data of mask efficacy. Behavioural science teams have been revealed to have deployed masks as a tool of psychological warfare (to increase compliance with public health measures). Masking as source control is inconsistent with aerosol transmission.|
|6||Transmission is by droplets and fomites, so masks, sanitizing, stickers, social distancing and perspex screens are effective.||The most comprehensive study to date, by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, found no evidence supporting droplet and fomite transmission. Airborne aerosol transmission has the most evidentiary support, as for other respiratory viruses. Almost all the countermeasures deployed at great cost have no basis in science.|
|7||Asymptomatic transmission is a driver of the epidemic.||Primary evidence suggests the opposite is the case—that asymptomatic infected people share small innocula, acting beneficially to spread and boost immune recognition. Asymptomatic cases are very rarely index cases in disease transmission, and somewhat less rarely of infection transmission.|
|8||PCR testing at high cycle thresholds is appropriate. A positive result proves a case of disease or causality in a death.||PCR testing is not competent for diagnosis of Covid-19, or detection of “cases”, infections or infectedness. In particular, when deployed at high “cycle thresholds”, it is prone to generating epidemiological false positives, with severe economic consequences.|
|9||Covid-19 is untreatable. Nothing can be done until a patient arrives at hospital, at which point they should be ventilated and put on Remdesivir.||Early intervention in the 6-8 day window when the disease enters its inflammatory phase has been shown to be remarkably effective, eliminating most deaths. Remdesivir and early ventilation have killed many. Off-label drugs have shown efficacy in many studies, yet are the targets of obvious propaganda by pharmaceutical companies and captured media.|
|10||The vaccines materially prevent transmission.||By their very mechanism of action, injectable vaccines cannot and do not materially prevent transmission. This is not even a claim made by their manufacturers, but by politicians and conflicted scientists. There is no evidence for transmission reduction in the international epidemic data. The “greater good” argument is wrong.|
|11||The vaccines are about 95% effective.||Manipulation of the trials to hide pronounced initial negative efficacy owing to immunosuppression has been ubiquitous. Actual efficacy is lower than indicated, and apparently also negative after 20 weeks or so. “Real world studies” double up this error by treating the recently vaccinated as unvaccinated, a move that represents nothing less than a gross scientific fraud.|
|12||The vaccines are so safe that nobody should hesitate to take one.||The vaccines have triggered unprecedented levels of adverse events in multiple countries. The mechanisms of action for these adverse events are known. We field continuous reports of wilful and draconian suppression of adverse event reporting in South Africa and elsewhere, and of an omerta in the halls of public health. There may be a group of people for whom benefits exceed harms, but until our requests for data transparency are complied with, it is difficult to tell how big this group is.|
|13||Everybody will benefit from vaccination.||The current vaccines may pass the hurdle for net benefit for the vulnerable, non-recovered minority. The majority of the population, including the young and the recovered, suffer net harms from vaccination.|
|14||Natural immunity is less broad, durable and strong than synthetic immunity.||By its very mechanisms of action, synthetic immunity is much narrower than natural. Natural immunity confers medium-term sterilising immunity, while synthetic immunity cannot. By invoking a greater range of immune response, natural immunity can be assumed to provide more durable and flexible (against variants) protection than synthetic.|
|15||Science is an institution and its authorities’ perspectives are infallible and final.||Science is a process that only proceeds by robust conjecture and criticism.|
|16||Long Covid-19 is an unusual and dangerous component of the epidemic||Sequelae appear to be no more common for Covid-19 than for other respiratory viruses. Where Long Covid-19 clinics have been established, they have quietly been closed, unutilised.|
|17||Containment is possible for contagious respiratory viruses.||Zero Covid-19 policies have failed wherever they have been attempted. Animal reservoirs make them futile.|
|18||“Pandemicity”. Pandemics are going to occur more often because there is more contact between humans and animals and because humans are more connected.||Urbanisation and commercial farming practices have reduced human-animal contact. Interconnectedness of humans means that many mild viruses are distributed worldwide, ensuring that immune systems recognise more deadly variants that may emerge. Contrast this with the fate of the indigenous peoples of South America when they were first exposed to European diseases.|
|19||Reducing spread reduces deaths||Reducing spread by restricting the mobility of the non-vulnerable shifts disease burden onto the vulnerable, causing more of them to be struck down before endemicity is attained.|
|20||Escalation of perceived threat is in the interests of public health.||Perceived threat drives hysteria, leading to pronounced and deadly nocebo effects (effects of negative expectations on outcomes, the opposite of placebo effects).|
In the context of these points, it is our view that grievous harm has been done to populations, while a narrow elite have seen their net asset values soar, and technocrats and bureaucrats have accumulated previously unimaginable power and control.
None of the 20 myths recorded here were consistent with experience from other respiratory viruses, and none of this “Covid-19 exceptionalism” has been borne out by the data. Indeed, those countries that adopted the unprecedented measures with the most enthusiasm, such as South Africa, have experienced the worst all-cause mortality and morbidity outcomes. Countries with no or lighter measures, such as the Nordic ones and notable others, have experienced negligible excess mortality. Instead of course-correcting as it emerged that the assumptions were incorrect, we have witnessed constant doubling down.
This hysteria is driving countries to take ominous steps towards mandating vaccines and instituting draconian curtailments of fundamental liberties of those who do not or cannot comply. This is all based on the flimsiest of evidence – seen yet again in the public health panic over the omicron variant – and contravenes multiple international accords and declarations. Conflicts of interest among protagonists loom large.
The vaccine efficacy conundrum
We have not yet seen signs in all-cause mortality data that Covid-19 vaccines are saving lives. In a world flooded with alternative narrative, this statement can be jarring. But the theory that they do so is supported neither by the manufacturer trials nor by national aggregate mortality data from the UK and elsewhere.
The Pfizer trials were scientifically weak. They were set up as randomised trials (but not double blind, despite deploying self-reporting of symptoms), involved a particularly young and healthy study group, and were ‘unblinded’ after an average duration of just 2.5 months, rendering them close to useless for assessing even medium-term efficacy or safety. The trial end-point was manipulated by the very design of the protocol, which removed people who came down with Covid-19 (or possibly adverse effects that could be perceived as Covid-19) within 14 days of the shot. They did not prove much about the vaccine at all. In fact, the most interesting result they proved was our contention above about the negligible risk posed by Covid-19 to the healthy. There were more all-cause deaths in the vaccine arm of the trial than in the placebo, though not by a statistically significant amount. The same was true for Moderna.
For this reason, people seeking to support the contention that the vaccines are saving lives have tended to refer to data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS). These appeared to show that vaccinated people enjoyed lower mortality. However, PANDA members have uncovered serious anomalies in the UK aggregate mortality data. Correcting for these leads the authors to conclude there is no reliable evidence that the vaccines reduce all-cause mortality.
The temporal and classification problems giving rise to such false signals of efficacy also show up in real-world reports from hospitals. We pointed this out when Groote Schuur Hospital released a dodgy two-category pictogram, occasioning a livid response from the pharma shills at GroundUp, which completely failed to address the salient issue. PANDA responded here.
None of this means there isn’t a group of people for whom the vaccines present a net benefit, but it is not warranted to assume anything, and these observations are a strong reason to support a minimalist approach.
Safety and efficacy among recovered people
When it comes to recovered people, it is virtually impossible to attribute any efficacy to the vaccines. The most comprehensive study of the immune status of recovered people came from Qatar. Among several hundred thousand vaccine-free Covid-19-recovered people, just 0.4% were reinfected over a period of a year. The severe disease rate was around 1/100,000 and there were zero deaths. A similar but smaller study [link] among UK healthcare workers yielded the same conclusion.
Furthermore, it has repeatedly been shown that the invention of ‘hybrid immunity’ is a total fabrication. Vaccination of the recovered brings no qualitative changes to immune responses, just a transient increase in antibody responses. No improvement in the memory compartment or in neutralising breadth is recorded. But it is pointless even to go into the science of this because the above figures prove there is nothing to improve upon when it comes to recovered immunity. Vaccination is entirely pointless and necessarily a net harm for such people, no matter how low the adverse event rate is.
Meanwhile, vaccine adverse events run four times as high for recovered individuals. Any measurable rate makes vaccination a strictly negative benefit story for recovered people. Hence we contend that vaccination should be contra-indicated for such people. There is no greater-good argument to be made in this case because the vast majority of recovered individuals possess medium-term sterilising immunity, which cannot be conferred, let alone improved upon, by vaccination.
This presents a huge problem for mandate fundamentalists, especially in a country like South Africa where most people have recovered from Covid-19. On this point, Ivo takes issue with my citing an actuary from Discovery who opined that 80% of the South African population had already had Covid-19. I understand his reticence to credit the source, given how Discovery has fawningly egged on every last bit of lunacy rolled out by our government under its Covid-19 response. However, given that blood bank seroprevalence tests were indicating levels of around 60% back in January and that many cases in healthy people are too mild to trigger seroconversion (which does not mean they have no immunity!), we found this estimate entirely credible, even if it wasn’t arrived at by the most sound of scientific methods. It could be that the real figure is lower or higher but we can’t be sure, because in a manner concordant with all the other elements of the Covid-19 response, even cheap basic research has not been done, in favour of expenditure on all sorts of paraphernalia like sanitising and temperature stations relating to a transmission mechanism that doesn’t exist for this virus.
The bottom line is that this is an empty criticism. Ivo suggests no alternative value or method. He merely doesn’t like the conclusion that not everyone needs a vaccine because most of the population is already robustly immune to Covid-19 in a way that vaccination cannot possibly improve upon. The decision by a recovered person to remain vaccine-free is, given the evidence before us, a rational and wise personal health choice that has no negative impact on the greater-good.
Safety and efficacy among young people
Healthy children have fewer ACE2 receptors in the nasopharynx. This, combined with robust innate immunity, is what drives the virtual absence of Covid-19 deaths among them. “Lower viral load in children is suggested by the fact that, when they do occasionally infect their parents, they are less symptomatic, and that risk of adult mortality goes down as the number of children in the household rises.”
The safety conundrum
If we aren’t meant to look at the national post-marketing adverse event databases, as Ivo claims, what exactly are we going to look at? That is literally the only possibility we have of spotting relatively rare but concerning side effects and it is what we have been looking at to judge the safety of vaccines for the last 30 years. A crucial point that Ivo misses is that these adverse event systems are signalling systems, not counting systems, and weak signalling is, in fact, what they are designed for. That Ivo attempts to use their values to calculate risk rates is a reflection of naked bias. A pre-Covid-19 Harvard study found that under-reporting rates meant that actual adverse events and deaths ran at 100x to 10x the signal for VAERS. That signal is so important that, pre-Covid-19, regulators regularly ran campaigns asking for doctors to file more reports, as they realised there was substantial under-reporting going on.
In a move that was barely noticed, much less reported upon, the CDC, without providing reasons, altered the threshold trigger methodology; the measure for determining when to pull the emergency brake on a vaccination campaign. It did this on 29 January 2021, just after the Covid-19 vaccines had been launched. The move they made was quite staggering because it meant that the threshold became invariant to the level of adverse events being reported.
US–Domestic death reports in VAERS as of December 2021
Noting the considerable design and procedural flaws in the Pfizer trials, organisations like PANDA and others have been petitioning Pfizer and the FDA to release the underlying data upon which the licensing of the Pfizer-Biontech was based. When this request went ignored for months, lawyers filed a freedom of information request. In a move of quite breathtaking cynicism, the FDA argued it should be allowed to release the data, which it purportedly reviewed in just 108 days, over 55 years, by which time all the Pfizer executives and FDA bureaucrats would be long dead. No reasonable person would reach any conclusion other than that the FDA is hiding something, probably at the behest of Pfizer. The FDA lost this bid and the papers are being released on a shorter timetable. The first release of this data revealed the FDA was indeed fully sighted on the extraordinary level of adverse events that would come:
Ivo makes out that having safety concerns makes PANDA some kind of fringe outfit. Yet, the Moderna vaccine – which uses the same mRNA technology as Pfizer and was once declared safe and effective – has been suspended for use in children and young people in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Germany and France. These regulators are obviously seeing things differently from Ivo.
Ivo cites a review of adverse events data in the UK, but the UK regulator has been a constant laggard. They were the very last of the major nations to acknowledge the significant problem of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). They were also the last to spot myocarditis. They seem to have the view that provided an adverse event could have occurred absent the vaccine, it is not the fault of the vaccine. Yet, the extent of the readiness by governments and their agencies to assign Covid-19 as a cause of death is remarkably the polar opposite approach. This has led to the bizarre situation where significant increases in cardiac arrests among young people have been ignored on the basis that very occasionally 30-year-olds do indeed have cardiac arrests. Here’s the detail for Scotland, showing clearly the effect of the booster roll-out:
Stranger yet, health authorities are now paying for advertising to normalise the occurrence of cardiac arrest and strokes in young people and to explain away an approximately four-fold increase in deaths among athletes, many of whom have to be vaccinated to play. We also see the fabrication of an entirely new condition called post-Covid-19 stress disorder or post-pandemic stress disorder in an attempt to attribute vaccine adverse events to Covid-19. The cynicism is breathtaking, coming as this does from the same people who rejected the idea that lockdowns might cause bad public health outcomes.
It is not merely in the rise in the level of events among young people that there is a strong sign of a problem. The temporal association, a key test of whether reported adverse events are caused by the vaccine or random (and thus not associated with the vaccine), is vivid. More than half of the adverse events happen within 48 hours.
Having accused me of a casual lack of concern about Covid-19, Ivo blithely waves away myocarditis as rare and easily treatable. The rarity claim has been obliterated by a Hong Kong study that demonstrated a 1 in 2,700 rate of occurrence of myocarditis. Ivo is underplaying the problem by orders of magnitude, and that’s just for one category of adverse event. As noted above, the combined adverse events appear to be big enough at least to offset any mortality benefits from the vaccines. Though public health authorities, for no good reason, make it very difficult for us to access the data that would answer our questions, we see worrying signs where there is data of sufficient granularity. Scotland has exhibited rising excess mortality temporally associated with its sharply age-based vaccination campaign. We are clearly not dealing with events of the rarity Ivo proposes.
Similarly, Ivo’s “easily treatable” contention has no basis. Whether myocarditis does long-term damage and is treatable depends crucially on its cause, as explained here by cardiologist Dr Peter McCullough.
A study from Hong Kong contained the kind of research that should have been done before approval. Mice injected intravenously with the Pfizer injection exhibited calcification of the heart and T-cells attacking the heart.
Not all of the cardiac problems being seen are necessarily due to the vaccine itself, but also to the vaccination protocol. WHO standards recently changed to remove aspiration from vaccination protocols. Some have opined that accidental intravenous injection could explain at least some of the events we’re seeing in athletes. Autopsies should be performed in such cases, but are not being done.
Ivo states baldly that “[a]ll Covid-19 vaccines have been through a full complement of trials, prior to approval”. This is simply untrue. A new class of gene-based therapies – which these mRNA injections are based on the FDA’s own taxonomy – would normally be submitted to a full suite of biodistribution, toxicology, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic tests. None of these have been performed for any of these injections. This is by dint of their having been classified as vaccines and smuggled in under past studies for conventional vaccines, which have a completely different mechanism of action. Indeed, manufacturers assured everyone that the vaccine would not go beyond the deltoid muscle in the shoulder (the injection site). Yet, in the only biodistribution study available to us, a study in mice that was exposed because someone in Japan was doing their job and asked for it, it was revealed that distribution of lipid nano-particles and therefore mRNA was found to be exhaustive, crossing even the blood-brain barrier.
Shenanigans with definitions
In addition to the shifting trigger point for adverse events and the classification of the injections by the FDA as vaccines in order to avoid key tests having to be performed, we have seen some gobsmacking examples of other revisions. In the last few months Merriam-Webster has changed the definition of a vaccine, so as to include products that don’t bestow immunity, and changed the definition of an ‘antivaxxer’ to include anyone who opposes mandatory vaccination for anyone. The WHO has attempted to delete recovered immunity from its definition of herd immunity and significantly softened the basis for determining whether a pandemic has arisen. The CDC also changed its definition of a vaccine.
In light of all of this, scepticism about vaunted data and unfettered enthusiasm is surely warranted.
Gossip lanka Reduction of infection and transmission
The question of whether the vaccines reduce transmission of the virus is contentious. As mentioned above, a US district court found that the Biden administration had not advanced evidence to support a contention that they do.
A thorough exploration of the issue needs to start with the products themselves. The injections, by their very mechanism of action, cannot prevent infection. They are injectables, and not nasal sprays, so while they may provoke a systemic response, there was never any reason to believe they would provoke the medium-term mucosal immune response necessary to prevent infection and transmission. A systemic response only works upon infection.
A CDC-sponsored study found that fully vaccinated individuals with infections have peak viral load similar to vaccine-free cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. Another found no difference in duration of culture positivity. A Lancet paper found that transmission likelihoods were similar for vaccine-free and vaccinated index cases. This recent Lancet letter pointed out rising epidemiological relevance of the vaccinated population.
Ivo bases his transmission reduction assertions on three pre-print studies of real world statistics. All are deeply problematic. The Israeli study, for example:
- The study is based on a model, and an unreliable one at that—it is not a prospective cohort study, for example.
- The unvaccinated are, in practice, forced to go through much much more testing, including rapid antigen tests that are not included in any statistics. No paper that ignores this factor can be trusted.
- At the time interval within which the data was collected, most young people were unvaccinated. These, typically, have many more social contacts than the vaccinated who were, on average, much older. Every result that pretends to calculate transmission, but does not account for age or variance in number of contacts, should not be trusted.
- Most importantly, the data is mainly from April and May where most vaccinated were at peak antibody levels. Dozens of studies, including Israeli ones, have shown that any effectiveness against infection or transmission decays rapidly.
Similarly, the UK study Ivo cites provides a modelled vaccine efficacy using case counts defined as ‘SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive individuals’ which has no relevance to the points being made in the paper, which is about effects on mortality.
Cross-sectional studies – comparing regions or states with different vaccination prevalence – have all failed to detect any benefits from vaccination in cases or deaths.
There is reason to believe that brief reduction in transmission for a two- to three-month period is possible, but it is far from clear whether this would overcome higher transmission immediately after the first dose or after this period.
At the very least, Ivo might have acknowledged that transmission reduction is very tenuously asserted. This is crucial because the entire greater-good argument for mandating vaccines rests upon it, although to be clear, it is not our view that it alone would be adequate justification. Vaccinating the young has no potential for significant reduction in hospital pressure, safety and efficacy claims are not about the greater good, and vaccinating recovered people is entirely pointless. The burden of evidence for those promoting the significant curtailments of rights entailed for those who choose to remain vaccine-free under mandates should be extremely high. Even ignoring matters of principle, one would hope that those who promote mandates would feel it was incumbent upon them to make an extremely strong case for profound transmission reduction. No such case is even remotely in evidence.
Two courts of appeal in the United States have already ruled the Biden vaccine mandates unconstitutional, effectively terminating the cause of mandates in the United States. These were principle-based rulings, paying no heed to the utilitarian arguments presented here. Adding these into the mix serves a knock-out blow to mandates.
The Pfizer Manufacturing and Supply Agreement is, without a doubt, the most onerous agreement you will ever read. Not only does Pfizer give no warranties whatsoever in respect of a product we are led to believe has brilliant efficacy, but it has no liability for any harm that may be caused by what we are led to believe is a perfectly safe product. In addition, governments are required to waive sovereign immunity over their assets wherever in the world they are located and to warrant that they will, at all times, have such statutory and regulatory authority and adequate funding in place to fulfil their indemnification obligations. In some of the contracts, countries have granted Pfizer precautionary seizure rights over their assets. The extent of the funding requirements is at Pfizer’s sole discretion. “It’s almost as if the company would ask the United States to put the Grand Canyon as collateral,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of public health law at Georgetown University. “The contracts consistently place Pfizer’s interests before public health imperatives,” said Zain Rizvi, a researcher at Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group that wrote a report about the contracts. Pfizer has been accused of holding Brazil hostage over vaccines.
So unreasonable are Pfizer’s requests for legal protection over any side-effects that the Indian Government has refused to buy them and there are reports that South Africa was unhappy with the terms proposed.
If the vaccines are safe and effective, why does Pfizer not stand behind them legally? And why is there such a veil of secrecy around the contracts and the vaccines themselves?
Dangers of vaxxing during an epidemic
The Covid-19 vaccines’ inefficacy against transmission – also referred to as ‘leakiness’– means they will place evolutionary pressure on the virus. Both the mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer-BionTech and the adenoviral vector vaccines such as J&J, confer very narrow immunity, based only on the spike protein, which represents just a small fraction of the virus. These conjunct circumstances have caused many researchers to be concerned about the potential for immune escape or for more cataclysmic outcomes such as antibody-dependent enhancement or original antigenic sin. The prevalence of mutations on the spike protein is suggestive of this being a factor already. The veterinary maxim of ‘never vaccinate mid-epidemic’ is salutary. The most important part is that this illustrates the baselessness of the idea that unvaccinated people drive variants.
Constant unthinking retorts of ‘discredited’, ‘misinformation’, ‘Covid-19 denier’, ‘antivaxxer’ are signs of frail logic. An army of Ivos employs such terms to intimidate. They use these slurs to erect an electric fence around this debate, prohibiting people with sincere concerns and honest questions from entering in and earnestly seeking the truth. It is time to regard the use of terms like ‘antivaxxer’ as fundamentally unserious and unhinged. It is time to tear down this fence and re-enable open enquiry into matters that affect us all so profoundly.
The policy response to this epidemic has done great harm to ordinary people while deepening the reach, influence and power of oligarchs, politicians and sheltered academics. Ivo parrots the voices of this ‘elite’. Fearful, wholly taken in by manipulative propaganda, and hopelessly biased.
This sort of discourse is terribly tedious. I’m sure even reading through it all is a hard slog. Still, the broader cause feels to me like the most important fight of all time, certainly of our own lifetime.
But I think, despite nearly two years of this madness, the people still have what it takes to fight back. PANDA stands in their corner.
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