Wednesday, February 08, 2023

California ‘Quietly’ Drops Student COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

While California’s government is celebrated by some for its commitment to contain and combat COVID-19, many critics have suggested the various governmental and public units, from state offices to universities and school districts, went too far during the COVID-19 response, representing an overreach of constitutional norms and mores. While Gavin Newsom, the Governor of the state, announced a universal COVID-19 vaccination policy by October 2021 (it would eventually apply to 6.7 million public and private school children), the Golden State became one of the first states where school districts proactively pushed universal COVID-19 mandates for children as soon as the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 was formally approved (albeit there was nothing usual about how the controversial vaccine was approved).

Now with the science clearly pointing to the reality that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not only non-sterilizing but also lack breadth in response to various mutations and durability, the Los Angeles Times and other media report that the state has quietly dropped the student COVID-19 vaccine mandate as the state emergency is planned to end February 28. The national public health emergency is scheduled to end by May 11.

Apparently, the mandate was put on hold in April 2022 by the Governor, as was a bill that was to eliminate any exemptions for personal beliefs, writes Howard Blume for the Los Angeles Times.

A confluence of forces converges to make such mandates not even practical anymore, admits the mainstream media.

Most notable is the fact, writes Blume, that SARS-CoV-2 “has evolved to a less deadly, more manageable, and treatable stage. Although COVID-19 remains widespread — and people continue to die from it — the availability of vaccines and antiviral treatments has lessened the effects — offering relief to what had been an overwhelmed public health system.”

In California, Newsom plans to end the state of emergency on Feb. 28, ending a three-year period of history for the Golden State.

It's still taboo to express any critical views of the COVID-19 vaccine products in the mainstream press. On the topic of these products, Blume and contributing writers Adam Beam and Times staff writer Taryn Luna reassure the reader that the move to cease any mandates doesn’t mean that the state rejects the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, the state’s health department declared:

“COVID-19 immunization is an important tool for keeping our kids healthy and schools open,” the department statement said. “Health officials strongly recommend immunization of students and staff against COVID-19 to prevent hospitalization and other serious complications, including death. Widespread vaccination has contributed to keeping California children in school to learn and to strengthen social connections. Turnkey mobile vaccination services remain available for any K-12 school within the state.”

The Reality

The truth is that the current COVID-19 vaccines, softening the sharp, deadly edges of the COVID-19 pandemic, most definitely exhibited attributes of early state or “Version 1.0” products.

Because the world found out the COVID-19 vaccines were not preventing the contagion from spreading, a movement grew against inoculation mandates by the spring of 2021. It didn’t make much sense if the products didn’t halt the infection in the first place and, thereby stop the transmission of the virus.

That aside, the positioning for the benefits shifted at the time to a reduction in the probability of serious infection and hospitalization, even death. In fact, across many different real-world studies evaluated by TrialSite over the past couple of years, the evidence suggests that the COVID-19 vaccines did serve to induce surges of immune protection during surges of the pandemic, slowing down hospitalization and saving lives.

But two other elements further weakened the prospect of these COVID-19 vaccine products as permanent fixtures on the vaccination schedule in addition to the fact that they were not sterilizing in impact. First, is their lack of breadth, in that as the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutated from Delta into Omicron and various subvariants, increasingly, the pathogen evaded the vaccine’s neutralizing impact, while also and in relation to a mutating RNA virus the durability of the vaccine was questionable. This is why boosters were required, and since the release of the first COVID-19 vaccines to the market in mid-December 2020, up to five doses have been administered, two in the primary series and up to three boosters including the most recent bivalent Omicron BA.4/BA.5 booster does.

The market has resoundingly rejected this product despite intense and ongoing promotional edicts from the government, echoed by health systems. As of this writing, only about 15% of all persons eligible have opted to take the shot.

The whole strategy in response to COVID-19 should be evaluated carefully. For example, early treatment (now emphasized once pharmaceutical products were approved) was de-emphasized when front-line providers produced various approaches in the clinics during the pandemic.

One such approach was the ICAM protocol, which was purportedly saving hundreds of lives out of one Florida-based health system. Involving the use of blood thinners and certain steroids, (both later shown to help) TrialSite learned that once the CEO became aware of the protocol it was canceled. TrialSite brought significant attention to the effort worldwide. Sources conveyed that a contract between Pfizer and the health system precluded the latter from its employees developing any regimen for SARS-CoV-2, even though it was in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

Assuming these declarations are authentic, Pfizer leveraged its position in the pandemic quite ruthlessly to lock in behaviors it deemed appropriate. The message to health systems: If you want access to the COVID-19 vaccines via clinical trials, sign this adhesion-style contract. Of course, there is evidence that Pfizer enforced this approach worldwide via all sorts of unorthodox contracts with draconian clauses. See “Pfizer’s Power in the COVID-19 Vaccine Space.”

Moving forward, state agencies, school districts, and other units of government will likely back out of any hardline COVID-19 vaccine stances now, including relevant mandates, as the science irrefutably reveals the limitations of the current batch of COVID-19 vaccines.

Importantly, this is not to minimize intention for and even the protective results, albeit short-lived, at the time, and in many cases, their influence as a medical tool, along with other approaches during the pandemic, only expresses what the reality is on the ground.


Study finds way to help children overcome peanut allergy

This is rather old hat. Systematic desensitization has been known to psychologists for decades and its application to peanut allergy also goes back at least a decade. Good that someone is still working on it though

Consuming small, sequential doses of boiled peanuts help overcome children’s allergic reactions, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy, found that 80 per cent of children with peanut allergy become desensitised to eating peanuts following the trial.

Since up to three per cent of children in Western countries are grappling with peanut allergies, scientists, including those from Flinders University in the US, say the new clinical trial can help develop a novel treatment to reduce the risk of accidental peanut exposure and improve quality of life for peanut-allergic children.

Their new study is based on previous findings that heat affects the protein structure and allergic properties of peanuts, making them potentially less likely to cause severe allergic reactions.

Scientists tested whether a therapy delivering small, increasing doses of boiled peanuts, followed by roasted peanuts, may help children overcome their peanut allergies.

“Small and increasing doses of boiled nuts were first given to children to partially desensitise them, and when they showed no signs of an allergic reaction, increasing doses of roasted peanuts were then provided to increase their tolerance in the next stage of treatment,” study co-author Tim Chataway said in a statement.

Researchers asked 70 peanut-allergic children of ages six to 18 to consume peanuts boiled for 12 hours for 12 weeks, 2 hour boiled peanuts for 20 weeks, and roasted peanuts for 20 weeks.

Scientists found that 56 of the 70 (80 per cent) participants became desensitized to a daily target dose of consuming 12 roasted peanuts without allergic reactions.

While treatment-related adverse events were reported in over 60 per cent of the participants, only 3 withdrew from the trial as a result, the study noted.

“Our clinical trial shows promising early signs in demonstrating that boiling peanuts may provide a safe and effective method for treating peanut-allergic children with sequential doses of boiled and roasted peanuts over an extended period of time,” says Luke Grzeskowiak, another author of the study, said.

However, scientists caution that this method of therapy may not work for everyone, but add that they are in the process of better understanding what factors can influence how people respond to treatment.

While these findings hold “great promise”, researchers add that the results also require confirmation in a larger definitive clinical trial.




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