Sunday, October 16, 2022

Yes, they claimed the vaccines would prevent transmission

One of the most bizarre lies being told this week in response to Pfizer executive Janine Small’s testimony to EU Parliament is that, actually, the Covid vaccines were never supposed to stop the spread of the virus.

Asked by Dutch MEP Rob Roos whether the company had tested its vaccine on “stopping the transmission of the virus” before it rolled out globally, Ms Small said “no” because “we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market”.

“And from that point of view we had to do everything at risk,” she said.

In a viral Twitter video which has now been viewed more than 12 million times, Mr Roos described the response as “scandalous”, arguing “millions of people worldwide felt compelled to get vaccinated because of the myth that ‘you do it for others’”.

Mr Roos said the admission removed the entire basis for vaccine mandates and passports which “led to massive institutional discrimination as people lost access to essential parts of society”. “I find this to be shocking, even criminal,” he said.

Of course, fact checkers were not happy.

This is not the bombshell it is being presented as, they argue, because it was public knowledge that the primary outcome measured in Pfizer’s clinical trials was reducing risk of disease, but not transmission.

Moreover, as the Therapeutic Goods Administration stressed, “transmission effects” are “not an approved indication of any Covid-19 vaccine” currently available in Australia.

That might be technically true, but it feels like just that — a technicality.

And this is why Mr Roos’ video, while not strictly being new information, struck such a nerve.

Because setting aside what it says in the fine print, the public was told repeatedly, for months, both explicitly and implicitly, that the vaccines would prevent transmission.

They’re all on tape saying it.

US President Joe Biden, for example, said in July 2021 that “you’re not going to get Covid if you have these vaccinations”.

White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said in May 2021 that vaccinated people become “dead ends” for the virus.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in March 2021 that “vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick”.

In Australia, politicians and health officials held millions of people hostage for months, lecturing and threatening them to get vaccinated to regain their “freedoms”.

The vaccines were the “way out” of the pandemic, they were not to just to protect ourselves but to “protect others”, they would “stop the spread”, and not getting vaccinated was “selfish”.

Vaccine passports, the “vaccinated economy”, were necessary so people who “did the right thing” would feel “safe” knowing they weren’t “mixing” with the unvaccinated, who were a “risk to the community”.

By late 2021 and early 2022, as Omicron became dominant and it was clear vaccinated people were still catching and spreading the virus, the messaging changed.

“Stopping the spread? What are you talking about? It’s about reducing hospitalisation and death. We have always been at war with hospitalisation and death.”

That’s all well and good — but it’s an entirely different moral calculation.

Vaccine mandates, like other Covid restrictions, were always a balancing act between personal choice and public health. But with the vaccine no longer stopping the spread of the virus, mandates are effectively like the police kicking down your door and forcing you to eat your vegetables at gunpoint.

Or like protecting immunocompromised people by simply welding them inside their homes.

This is not a new argument. In January this year, Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier and constitutional scholar Jed Rubenfeld argued in The Wall Street Journal that, in the face of the Omicron variant, the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates were obsolete.

“It would be irrational, legally indefensible and contrary to the public interest for government to mandate vaccines absent any evidence that the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the pathogen they target,” they wrote.

“Mandating a vaccine to stop the spread of a disease requires evidence that the vaccines will prevent infection or transmission (rather than efficacy against severe outcomes like hospitalisation or death).”

Even the World Health Organisation, as far back as April 2021, cautioned that “if mandatory vaccination is considered necessary to interrupt transmission chains and prevent harm to others, there should be sufficient evidence that the vaccine is efficacious in preventing serious infection and/or transmission”.

At that time, evidence was still emerging about the vaccines’ ability to stop transmission of the original strain of the virus — and besides, as everyone now tells us, that was never the primary goal, but merely a nice added bonus.

And yet mandates were introduced anyway.

Yes, politicians and health officials have changed their tune and no longer talk about vaccines stopping transmission. Yes, newer strains of the virus changed the situation. But it’s insane to claim, as many now try to, that they never did in the first place.

A simple “sorry, we were wrong” would go a long way.


Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly downplayed long COVID while justifying end of isolation requirements, medical specialist says

A leading medical specialist and long COVID patients say the chief medical officer (CMO) downplayed the state of long COVID in Australia while justifying the end of national isolation requirements.

Steven Faux, who heads up a long COVID clinic at a Sydney hospital, called the comments "unusual" and akin to "pulling the sheet over your head".

During a press conference last month, when the October 14 mandatory isolation end date was announced, Paul Kelly said health authorities were still assessing the extent of long COVID in Australia. "We're not seeing a major picture of long COVID," he said.

"For the majority of Australians, we were not exposed to COVID before we had at least two vaccines.

"We know that the major risk factors for long COVID are having had infection before vaccination, being unvaccinated, having severe illness and having other types of COVID that were not Omicron."

Professor Faux, who co-directs the long COVID clinic at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, said Professor Kelly's comments did not accurately represent the patients who were presenting at his practice.

"Mostly we're seeing people who got [COVID-19] in December and that's the Omicron wave … and the majority we are seeing are vaccinated," Professor Faux said.

Long COVID still a risk

The rehabilitation and pain physician pointed to international research that showed those who were triple vaccinated and infected with Omicron had a long COVID rate of 5 per cent.

"That's not a major problem, unless you consider that over 10 million Australians have had COVID," he said.

"That's not insubstantial when you consider that the public health services are at maximum capacity."

The St Vincent's clinic has been inundated with hundreds of people seeking help, with some specialists booked out until the middle of next year.

"We've been getting phone calls from Victoria, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland about people wanting to come down and we've been sending them back," Professor Faux said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Aged Care told the ABC that Professor Kelly's comments were based on research conducted overseas and stressed that people who were vaccinated were less likely to develop symptoms of long COVID.

"In addition, studies have shown that infection with the Omicron variant is less likely to lead to symptoms of long COVID than infection with the Delta variant."

Comments not based on data, say advocates

The CMO's comments have been met with sadness and anger by long COVID advocates, who say patients like them are not being seen or heard. "He has no data on which to base those claims," academic Pippa Yeoman said.

"He's making a political statement about how clever they were to close the borders and get everybody vaccinated and saying that means we will be different [to other countries]. If you make a claim, you need to be able to back it up."

Dr Yeoman is a member of the Australia Long Covid Community Facebook group, which has about 2,600 members.

The group has been collecting survey data on its members in a bid to present the information to an approaching parliamentary Inquiry into Long COVID and Repeated COVID Infections.

Members said their preliminary data analysis of almost 300 survey respondents showed that the vast majority were double vaccinated before developing long COVID and were infected during the Omicron wave.

There is no official national data on the number of people with long COVID in Australia and not every state has a dedicated long COVID clinic, making it difficult to quantify the number of people with the condition or the impact it has on their lives.

The Department of Health and Aged Care said analysis of health data had begun in order to help develop a national response to long COVID.

"The Department is also working with states and territories to better understand the prevalence of long COVID in Australia," it said.




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