Sunday, June 12, 2022

Vaccines are worse than the disease

I recently received a communication from my GP’s surgery:

‘Influenza is spiking early. Our GPs report that those with 2022 flu have a rapid onset of illness with high fevers, dry cough, body aches, and headache. They are generally more unwell than those with a Covid infection. We recommend everyone receive a flu vaccine.’

This was followed by the same advice on a second Covid booster (that is, fourth vaccine). ‘They are generally more unwell than those with a Covid infection.’

When will the penny drop? Perhaps more pertinently, what – if anything – will make the penny drop?

Some of us have been arguing for some time that we must learn to live with the virus as we live with the flu, including (maybe) an annual vaccine, provided it has better efficacy and less concerning safety signals. Lo and behold, in an editorial on May 30, The Economist turned this around and suggested that maybe governments should begin to treat flu like Covid, with active monitoring, surveillance, home testing, working from home, and vaccines – of course.

Describing this as a ‘thought experiment’, the magazine noted:

‘Epidemiologists worry that two years of low exposure to flu may have caused immunity to wane to low levels. That may result in an extraordinary number of cases this winter, at a point when huge waiting lists will still clog up the National Health Service (NHS).’

An alternative twofold conclusion from this is that it proves the NHS is no longer fit for purpose, should be abandoned and a new system built from scratch; and that prolonged lockdowns that drastically reduce mass exposure to the perennially circulating pathogens to interfere with the build-up of natural immunity are perhaps not such a good idea? Yet in the US, Jeffrey Tucker warns, the CDC wants to make the Covid regime permanent.

Reduced immunity may be one explanation, along with the collateral harms from widely predicted warnings that lockdowns would lead to increased deaths down the line from preventable diseases that were no longer caught in time because of cancelled screenings, etc. Studies are now confirming a rise in all-cause excess mortality.

According to a study published this month from the National Bureau of Economic Research, for example, between April 2020 and December 2021, ‘Americans died from non-Covid causes at an average annual rate 97,000 in excess of previous trends’, including 32,000 from hypertension and heart disease, and 12,000-15,000 each from diabetes, obesity, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.

Meanwhile, a Swedish study published in The Lancet on February 4 based on 1.69 million individuals, divided equally between vaccinated and unvaccinated ‘found progressively waning vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection of any severity across all subgroups’. This, of course, is the question I had raised in my last Flat White article on May 26.

In a little over five months in 2022 until June 7, with very high vaccination coverage, Australia has recorded more than almost three times the total number of deaths with and from Covid compared to the previous 22 months. The figure is more than twenty times higher for New Zealand. Thorsteinn Siglausson notes that deaths in Iceland jumped by 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, coinciding with the rollout of booster vaccines. And Alex Berenson highlights how all-cause death rates in Europe are soaring again three months after booster mRNA shots.

The one thing I had neglected to do is to put the Australian and New Zealand experience in global context. Figures 1 and 2 rectify that neglect. For the last two months, Australasian Covid cases per million people have been dramatically higher than African, Asian, European, North and South American, and world averages (Figure 1) at any time throughout the pandemic. While the last part is not true of Covid mortality rates, the current rates in Australasia are nonetheless higher than in any of these averaged death rates by continent (Figure 2).

I ask again: if this is vaccine success, what would vaccine failure look like?

This takes us back to the question: are vaccinations contributing to the upsurge in Covid cases and deaths, (i) by a combination of reduced efficacy over time, with the rate of reduction accelerating with each successive dose as cautioned by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and (ii) owing to harmful side-effects?

As a policy analyst, not a doctor, epidemiologist or virologist, I am in no position to answer that. But I was very interested to read a recent (June 5) letter to Virology Journal by Kenji Yamamoto, a cardiovascular surgeon at Okamura Memorial Hospital in Shizuoka, Japan. He suggests several possible pathways for the decrease in immunity following vaccination, understanding which is beyond my pay grade.

Two of his observations struck me with particular force. First, he remarks: ‘The media have so far concealed the adverse events of vaccine administration, such as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), owing to biased propaganda.’ His institute ‘encounters many cases in which this cause is recognised’.

Second, because, ‘Covid vaccination is a major risk factor for infections in critically ill patients,’ he recommends: ‘As a safety measure, further booster vaccinations should be discontinued.’

‘Besides the risk of infections owing to lowered immune functions, there is a possible risk of unknown organ damage caused by the vaccine that has remained hidden without apparent clinical presentations, mainly in the circulatory system.’


WHO Now Agrees "˜Lab Leak' Theory Needs Investigation

A team of scientists convened by the World Health Organization to better understand the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and possible future outbreaks has said a theory that the virus could have escaped from a laboratory needs "further investigations."

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However, in a report released Thursday, the WHO-backed team said it had not received any new data that would allow it to better evaluate that theory.

Members of the group from Brazil, China and Russia objected to the calls for further investigation into the "lab leak" theory.

The report also said that available data suggests SARS-CoV-2 had a zoonotic origin, which means it spread between animals in a natural setting, but that neither the animal that infected humans nor the place where this infection occurred could be identified.

"At this point, the strongest evidence is still around zoonotic transmission," Marietjie Venter, chair of the WHO team and a virologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, said in a Zoom call with reporters before the report was published. "However, the precursor viruses that have been identified in bats are definitely not close enough to be the virus that spilled over into humans."

The report was written by the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), a body made up of experts from the United States, China and 25 other nations that first came together last year after widespread criticism of a joint WHO-China investigation into the coronavirus's origins.

WHO officials emphasized that the report contains only the preliminary findings of the group, which was created to advise the global health body's secretariat. SAGO did not undertake its own studies, but instead reviewed existing research.

The team is designed not only to help investigate the origins of the coronavirus but also to set up a framework for understanding the origins of future outbreaks. Its work is expected to last for years, WHO officials said.

"It is just the start," Maria Van Kerkhove, a World Health Organization epidemiologist, told reporters. "They've made some good progress. They've clearly outlined that there's more work to be done."

Even so, the report may breathe life into a debate that has never come to a firm conclusion: Where did the coronavirus pandemic come from? While many scientists have favored a theory of zoonotic spread, the lab-leak theory has gained prominent support from some experts, including some U.S. officials.

The Wuhan lab-leak theory is getting more attention. That's because key evidence is still missing.

Beijing has fiercely rejected the idea that the coronavirus could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another research institute studying coronaviruses in the Chinese city where covid-19 was first recorded in late 2019.

In its place, Chinese officials promoted wild theories without scientific backing, including that the virus originated in the United States or was imported to China on frozen fish.

The SAGO report aimed to evaluate pandemic origins from a scientific stance, Van Kerkhove said. "We are under no illusions that we can keep all of the politics out, but we will do our damnedest to keep focused on what needs to be done here."

The preliminary SAGO report was released more than a year after the joint WHO-China team traveled to Wuhan and released its own report that ruled out the lab-leak theory as "extremely unlikely," while suggesting that the idea the virus was carried by frozen food needed further investigation.

The WHO-China report concluded that zoonotic spread was the likeliest scenario for the origin of the virus, but failed to find evidence for how it was spread to humans.

That report was widely criticized after being released in March 2021, with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus suggesting that the report did not conduct an "extensive enough" assessment of the lab-leak theory and voicing frustration with the low level of access given to the mission by Chinese officials.

How Chinese pressure on coronavirus origins probe shocked the WHO "” and led its director to push back

One of the researchers on the joint team, Danish food scientist Peter Ben Embarek, later told interviewers that Chinese researchers on the team had pushed back against including the lab-leak theory in the report at all.

While SAGO was convened to address some of the criticism of the WHO-China report, it also was able to evaluate some new evidence, including data on blood samples from 40,000 Chinese donors in Wuhan between September and December 2019.

According to the report, more than 200 of these samples initially tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, but these were later found to be false positives. SAGO requested further information on the data and methods used to analyze the samples.

The new report suffers from some of the same limitations as the joint WHO-China report, including that Chinese officials cannot be compelled to cooperate with any investigation.

According to the SAGO report, Tedros sent letters to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Health Minister Ma Xiaowei on Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, respectively, requesting information on a variety of factors, including the "laboratory hypotheses."

It is not clear whether Tedros received a reply. Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson for the WHO, said the body doesn't share correspondence it has with member states.

Venter, the SAGO chair, said Chinese officials had cooperated with the team, sending experts to present and discuss new findings.

"We recognize that they've done a huge amount of work and they have addressed several of the questions" raised in the initial WHO-China report, Venter said.

However, SAGO found that much had not been addressed. Venter identified the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan as one location that needed more study. "We recognize that the market ... may have been an amplification event of the early outbreak, but it's not clear where all those animals came from. We need to follow up on that," she said.




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