Friday, March 03, 2023

No jab, no transplant: Australia's Covid vaccine rules are heartless and senseless

Vicky Derderian is a fighter. For seven years her heart has struggled to pump blood around her body, stretching thinner and growing weaker, a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. In 2020, she was fitted biventricular assist devices, implantable pumps that help both sides of her heart function while she awaits a transplant.

There’s only one obstacle. The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne insists she get a Covid vaccine even though Vicky has a permanent exemption provided by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) because of the well-known risk that Covid vaccines can trigger heart inflammation.

Dr Peter McCullough, one of the most published cardiologists in the world, has been in Australia this month speaking at sold-out events about treating Covid. He says that under no circumstances should Vicky, or any heart transplant patient, get a Covid vaccine because of the damage it can do to the heart.

That’s what happened to Natalie Boyce. She was only 21 and a competitive netball player. Yet she died of heart failure at the Alfred in March 2022, six weeks after receiving a Moderna booster.

Natalie had been diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), an autoimmune disorder that can cause the body to make antibodies that attack the cells lining blood vessels causing blood clots. People with a history of autoimmune disorders were excluded from the Covid vaccine clinical trials because it was recognised the vaccine might trigger dangerous clotting. Sure enough, in March 2021, a 27-year-old woman with undiagnosed APS developed catastrophic clotting and kidney failure. She survived thanks to the expert care she received and her case was published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology on 7 December 2021.

Tragically, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) failed to warn Australians of the risk Covid vaccines pose to people with APS. Three months later Natalie died after the Moderna booster triggered catastrophic clotting causing kidney and heart failure.

The TGA has also refused to warn Australians that the Pfizer Covid vaccine triggered fatal myocarditis in Roberto Garin, a healthy 52-year-old father of two who died a week after his first jab. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) accepted that Roberto’s death was caused by a Covid vaccine. It lists a total of 15 deaths in this category. The TGA only lists 14. The ABS explains the difference by noting that it accepts expert reports while waiting for a coronial finding, which can take years. Despite repeated approaches, the TGA refuses to explain, on the record, why it has not accepted the findings of the expert forensic pathologist Bernard l’Ons.

L’Ons found that Roberto had an undiagnosed sarcoidosis, a benign inflammatory condition affecting his heart. The heart also showed a clear transition from cardiac sarcoidosis to fulminating myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle so rapid and severe that it is frequently fatal. Critically, l’Ons dates the time of transition to the time of Covid-19 vaccination.

So concerned was l’Ons that he suggested sarcoid patients receive an echocardiogram prior to a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination to check whether the sarcoidosis affected their heart so that if it did, alternative vaccination types could be considered.

In the context of a pandemic caused by a novel pathogen and the use of novel vaccines which have only provisional approval, why is the TGA sitting on this vital information? Dr l’Ons’ warning is acutely important to Vicky. She has already been diagnosed with ‘chronic heart inflammation suggestive of untreated myocarditis’ and ‘likely cardiac sarcoidosis’. Dr McCullough says if Vicky’s heart sustains any more damage it is almost certainly going to be lethal.

Desperate to get the authorities to respect Vicky’s vaccine exemption, her husband John asked Victorian Senator Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party to raise her case in the Senate, which he did. It led to national television coverage. On the Today program Dr Nick Coatsworth, Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer, told Vicky she should get a Covid vaccine because if she got Covid after her transplant not only might she die, her transplanted heart would die with her.

This makes no sense. Everybody from Bill Gates to Albert Bourla has admitted that Covid vaccines don’t stop infection. More importantly, vaccination is more dangerous for Vicky than infection. This is because the vaccine is injected into the body and circulates in the blood stream where it can enter the cells of any tissue or organ in the body – including her heart – and create spike proteins which are always inflammatory.

A respiratory infection, on the other hand, starts in the mucous membranes of the nose, giving Vicky a chance to fight it off with her innate immune system aided by nasal sprays, antivirals and anti-inflammatory drugs before it gets into her lungs and from there into her blood stream.

It has also now been admitted, in a study published in the Lancet on 16 February and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation no less, that vaccine immunity wanes far more rapidly than infection-acquired immunity. That is hardly surprising since it is true for every other infection yet this fact has been denied for most of the pandemic by US and Australian health authorities.

Not only does vaccine immunity wane rapidly, it isn’t triggered until the virus gets into the blood, whereas infection immunity kicks in in the nose. In addition, a study conducted in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg and published in the peer-reviewed journal Pathogens this month shows that in heart transplant recipients natural infection gives superior immunity compared to vaccination.

A last problem for Vicky is that there are studies in corneal and lung transplantation which show that vaccination in either the donor or the recipient can increase the risk of organ rejection or failure. There is no data yet on heart transplants but in an ideal world, says Dr McCullough, it would be better to receive a donated organ from an unvaccinated person.

Nobody knows better than Vicky that this is not an ideal world as she battles on in search of doctors and regulators with a heart and a brain.


Prominent Greek Scientists Urge the Need to Investigate Safety Risks Associated with COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

The influence of opinions depends on the talent, resources, and capacity behind the scientific-related endeavor. A group of high-powered scientists affiliated with various medical and biological-related institutes within National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece last year, while emphasizing the central prominence of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination program in response to the pandemic, raised serious concerns about adverse effects (AEs) likely associated with either proinflammatory action of constituent lipid nanoparticles used to deliver the products (vaccine formulation) developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, in addition, the impacts of the spike (S) protein and/or its subunits/peptide fragments in human tissue or organs.

Importantly, the Greek scientists’ opinions published in CellPress emphasize the criticality driving the need for more research probing the cellular/molecular basis of the mRNA vaccine-induced AEs as part of a broader endeavor to develop better safety profiles not to mention earn greater trust among the public.

Represented by corresponding author Ioannis P. Trougakos, a cellular and developmental biologist, the study authors emphasize that little is known about the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines other than they induce a robust immune response against SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, “their cellular/molecular mode of action and the etiology of the induced adverse events (AEs) remain elusive.”

What’s some key points from this prominent group of Greek scientists?

The delta between what government regulators, public health officials, and industry convey to the public and the actual truth may be considerably wide, unfortunately. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, an overwhelming formal consensus across most of the developed world. But how safe are they really?

According to Trougakos and colleagues, “Current knowledge on this topic originates mostly from cell-based assays or from model organisms.”

In this study, the collaborators affiliated with National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, an institution in continuous operation since 1837, now one of the largest universities in Europe as measured by enrollment, introduce possible mechanisms of action associated with COVID-19 mRNA vaccine adverse effects, which can lead to vaccine injury.

Key points include:

Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) probably have a broad distribution in human tissues/ organs

LNPs along with packaged mRNA may exert a proinflammatory action in the body

While the mRNA vaccines encode the Spike protein , potential shedding of antigen and/or related peptide fragments into the body’s circulation may in fact occur

Binding of circulating S protein to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) along with other possible actions involving “molecular mimicry with human proteins” may induce vaccination-related AEs

Bombshell revelations at the time during mid-2022, the authors still declared that the COVID-19 “benefit-risk profile remains” favoring the mRNA vaccines. With so little known about these mechanisms of action and any long-term effects of these products, the authors may be under pressure to reinforce the key vaccination point. But they make no mistake in declaring that a “public health priority” must be the ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 vaccinated recipients.


France Taking a Step Back from the COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines for Healthy Population—Acknowledge Low Uptake, Weak Durability

The French National Authority for Health (HAS) recently recommended that a bivalent omicron booster dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines be available this fall for persons deemed at risk, from the elderly to the immunocompromised, as this Western European nation moves to an annual paradigm similar to the influenza vaccine. Persons that French health authorities suggest should consider a booster include individuals aged 65 years and up, persons diagnosed with comorbidities, pregnant women, and immunocompromised as well as regulatory persons in constant contact with the latter, such as health professionals.

Importantly, the direct HAS recommendations are critical of the current COVID-19 mRNA bivalent omicron booster vaccines, acknowledging poor vaccine durability and incredibly low vaccination coverage. French society via HAS carefully expresses their growing critical view of these vaccines while at the same time recommending for the most at risk of society. The French press such as Le Monde minimizes the critical edge within the direct recommendations.

What’s driving these changes?

According to the report in France titled Vaccination strategy against COVID-19: Anticipation of vaccination campaigns in 2023 VACCINE RECOMMENDATION,” posted recently on Feb. 24, 2023, HAS emphasizes their unfolding decision-making is based on a dynamic, unfolding reality where they must balance the following elements:

First and foremost, an incredibly low vaccination rate (with booster) based on number of booster doses available and eligible population

Natural immunity—the French government now fully embraces the power of pre-infection-based natural immunity declaring, “The probably high, but unknown to date, proportion of the population benefiting from protection linked to natural or hybrid.”

The decrease in vaccine protection against infection and/or symptomatic forms after a few weeks, regardless of a person’s age.

The lack of the ability to predict high degree of protection based on residual protection beyond 9 months (they note decrease in protection due to durability challenges accelerates for persons 80 and above)—the very people that need it.

Importantly, HAS isn’t recommending extra doses for healthy persons, including children, as the pandemic-driven paradigm is now clearly transitioning to an endemic way of life. While independent, this influential body’s opinions are typically adhered to by the French government as they start to classify the COVID-19 shots much like the flu jabs.

Overall, French society is moving fully into endemic mode, away from a pandemic paradigm where boosters are recommended for everyone every six months or so. But interestingly, the critical, skeptical tone of the most recent formal recommendations are diluted in the mainstream press such as Le Monde.




Thursday, March 02, 2023

FBI director confirms COVID 'most likely' leaked from Wuhan lab and claims China is 'thwarting and obfuscating' U.S. investigations

It was always nonsense that the Wuhan lab could not be blamed. The first infections were just about outside its front door! Some coincidence! Its point of origin is not strict proof but it has to be the default conclusion in lieu of better evidence. And the fact that China did a big coverup of what happened in the lab is another indicator of where the virus originated.

The only reason why the role of the Wuhan lab was excluded was the Leftist elite's sympathy for Communist regimes. To this day they still speak well of Castro. And need I mention their constant apologies for the Soviet regime while it existed?

FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed the agency's conclusion that the COVID pandemic was probably the result of a lab leak in Wuhan, China.

Commenting for the first time on Tuesday about the FBI's judgment, Wray reiterated his agency's initial findings from 2021, adding that the Chinese government has allegedly worked to undermine the damning results.

'The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,' Wray told Fox News. 'Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.'

Wray's comments come as the White House continues to struggle to come to a 'consensus' on how the virus originated despite a Energy Department probe coming to the same conclusion as the FBI.

The FBI first came to the conclusion in 2021, saying it had 'moderate confidence' that the pandemic that gripped the world was a result of an accidental leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Wray said the work was conducted by top experts in the FBI and US government who specialize in monitoring potential outbreaks.

'The FBI has folks, agents, professionals, analysts, virologists, microbiologists, etc, who focus, specifically, on the dangers of biological threats, which includes things like novel viruses like COVID, and the concerns that in the wrong hands some bad guys, some hostile nation state, a terrorist, a criminal, the threats that that could pose,' Wray said.

'So here, you’re talking about a leak at a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans, and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for.'

Despite the FBI's conclusion, Wray added that Beijing has continuously tried to undercut the US government's work.

'I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we're doing, the work that our US government and close foreign partners are doing, and that's unfortunate for everybody,' he told Fox.

One such case occured earlier this week when China's foreign ministry pushed back at the Energy Department's analysis that the outbreak likely originated with a leak from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning accused unnamed parties of trying to smear or vilify China – even amid continued calls for China to provide full access to information from its Wuhan facility.

'Certain parties should stop rehashing the "lab leak" narrative, stop smearing China and stop politicizing origins-tracing,' she said during a press briefing Monday

She talked up Chinese cooperation with investigating agencies, although in 2021 China rejected a World Health Organization effort to hold a second phase of its investigation. The group has denied abandoning its inquiry amid China's obstacles.

On Sunday, the Energy Department, which maintains a group of national labs, joined the FBI in the possibility of a lab leak as the possible origin of the virus – although it reached the conclusion with 'low confidence' as numerous other agencies back a traditional spread originating in the environment.

The Energy Department's report revealed it reversed its previous position and has used new research to conclude that the COVID-19 virus most likely leaked from a Chinese research lab.

The new conclusion was issued in an update to a 2021 document prepared by the director of National Intelligence and was recently provided to White House lawmakers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While the Energy Department joined the FBI in saying the virus likely spread from a lab in Wuhan, four other agencies are still said to favor the 'natural spillover' theory that the virus escaped via an animal at a nearby meat market.

Two agencies, one of which is the CIA, are yet to declare a definitive position.

The Energy Department's change of tune is important because the agency is known for its expertise as it oversees various US laboratories, some of which carry out biological research.

With the mixed conclusions coming from US agencies, the White House on Monday was forced to admit the lack of a consensus.

'There is not a consensus right now in the U.S. government about exactly how it started. There's just not an intelligence community consensus,' said national security spokesman Adm. John Kirby.

Kirby got hit with a series of questions about the report, which pointed to the lab leak as a likely source – even as other agencies attributed the pandemic to a virus that mutated in the environment.

Kirby pointed to that lack of agreement, even as the White House defended infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci's blasts against conspiracy theories and refused to say how the US might act against China if the theory that its labs were responsible holds up.


The Greatest Cover-Up in Human History

First, it was supposedly a conspiracy theory. Then, it was banned. Finally, it was true.

The so-called "lab leak" theory of the origins of COVID-19 -- the theory that COVID-19 originated in at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and then was unintentionally loosed -- was always the most probable explanation for the outbreak of the deadly virus. After all, as Jon Stewart correctly joked in 2021, "'Oh, my God, there's a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do?' 'Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab.' The disease is the same name as the lab. That's just a little too weird, don't you think?"

But for well over a year, it was considered verboten to mention the lab leak theory. When Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., posited the possibility of a lab leak in February 2020, he was roundly mocked by the media. The New York Times headlined, "Senator Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins." Scientific American headlined -- in March 2022! -- "The Lab-Leak Hypothesis Made It Harder for Scientists to Seek the Truth." Facebook actively quashed attempts to disseminate the theory; Dr. Anthony Fauci went on national television and downplayed the theory.

Two reasons are obvious. The first: powerful institutions had a stake in downplaying the Chinese origins of the virus in order to shift blame to the rest of the world. Certainly, that was China's game: In all likelihood, COVID-19 was spreading in China as early as October 2019, and the government covered it up for months. But that was also the game of the World Health Organization. Members of the American government like Fauci also had a stake in smothering questions about American funding for gain-of-function research in Wuhan.

Then there's the second reason: all the wrong people were repeating the lab leak theory. As one of MSNBC's resident hacks, Mehdi Hasan, admitted on Twitter, "The simple reason why so many people weren't keen to discuss the 'lab leak' theory is because it was originally conflated by the right with 'Chinese bio weapon' conspiracies and continues to be conflated by the right with anti-Fauci conspiracies. Blame the conspiracy theorists." As Nate Silver correctly noted, "The Bad People thought the lab leak might be true, therefore as journalists we couldn't be expected to actually evaluate the evidence for it."

Herein lies a lesson: A huge number of people have decided that there are a cadre of people who are so vile that any opinion they touch is immediately toxified beyond investigation. Claims are not to be evaluated on their own merits; instead, we can simply determine whether a claim ought to be supported based on those who posit it. This helps to explain why political crossover has become nearly impossible: We're not judging the claims of our opponents; we're judging (SET ITAL) each (END ITAL) other. And this means that we can discard any argument simply by dint of the fact that we don't like the person offering it.

Among members of the general population, this is a problem, but not a fundamental one. But among those who pose as "experts" -- the people who are supposed to serve as guides for people who outsource their political information, from media to scientific institutions -- it's a fatal error. After all, experts are supposed to be impartial adjudicators of the evidence. That's their entire job. We can evaluate on our own who we don't like -- but we often need help to determine whether an argument has merit or not. When experts become "just like us," they undermine their raison d'etre.
And that's precisely what happened with COVID-19. Whether it was ignoring the actual evidence regarding masks and mask mandates, the evidence regarding post-vaccination transmissibility or the evidence regarding the lab leak theory, experts decided that the wrong people had to be ignored. But they were wrong. And now they have no credibility left.


Australian Premier has called for an end of Covid-19 vaccines mandates, saying the jab has no impact on transmission

The NSW Premier has dropped a bombshell on talkback radio telling listeners there is “no evidence” Covid vaccines stop transmission.

Dominic Perrottet, a month out from what polls are indicating could be a lineball state election, was fielding talkback calls on 2GB with Ben Fordham when he made the claim.

John a paramedic, told the Premier that both he and his wife, an emergency nurse, lost their jobs due to the vaccine mandates.

Both are still unemployed.

“We are down in Sydney at the industrial relations committee trying to get her job back,” John said.

Doesn’t it seem disingenuous you are offering $10,000 sign-on bonuses to nurses to get them back into the industry, and me and my wife can’t work, my job still hasn’t been replaced as a paramedic. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

The Premier told John he has repeatedly told the public and private sector to end vaccine mandates.

“I have made it very clear, and I couldn’t be clearer to the public service here in NSW to end vaccine mandates and the majority of the public service have done so,” a frustrated Premier said “I have also made it clear to the private sector.

“I have made it clear for the simple reason that there is no evidence that the vaccines stop transmission.”

Fordham said that employers – in both the private and public sector – were not listening, lamenting it was “crazy” the mandates were persisting despite the shortage of paramedics and nurses.

Mr Perrottet then reiterated there was “no evidence” the vaccine stops transmission. “It is based on the evidence, there is no evidence that in this current environment that vaccines stop transmission,” he said.

Mr Perrottet said health facilities imposed some vaccine requirements on workers before the pandemic, usually for influenza, and that was the point he wanted to get back to.
“In the areas of the public service that I can make that direction, I have it and it has been enacted,” he said.

The NSW Premier was known as the most liberal out of the state and territory leaders on masks and vaccine mandates during the pandemic.

In December 2021, during the Omicron wave, he backflipped on his “personal responsibility” approach to mask-wearing by reintroducing a mandate requiring them to be worn indoors while also reinstating social distancing measures in hospitality venues.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended that everyone over the age of 18 who has not been infected with Covid or received a vaccine within the last six months should get a fifth shot.
The fifth jab was previously only available for people who are severely immunocompromised.




Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Do masks work? Debunking the debunker: Pueyo's attempt to debunk Cochrane fails

It is acknowledged that Mr Pueyo is not a scientist and it shows. Cochrane reviews are respected as the best evidence summary in epidemiological research and their practices are clearly scientific.

Mr Puoyo appears to be unaware of the importance of effect sizes, but the Chochrane reviewers certainly were aware. If the effect was so small as to have possibly occurred by chance, the Cochrane reviewers did the normal thing and "accepted the nul hypothesis". In this case, if mask wearing could be shown to have only a very small benefit, the Cochrane reviewers rightly concluded that they had no demonstrable effect.

Mr Pueyo's comments are in a long twitter thread here. He gets a lot of things wrong but I will refer to just two of the matters he raises.

1.) About the Aieollo et al study, Mr Pueyo excitedly declares: "The study SUPPORTS masks! But somehow, this Cochrane meta-analysis turns it around"

He totally ignores that the effect concerned was not statistically significant. It was in other words likely a random effect. In science such small effects are accepted as meaning no effect

2.) He also declares of the Abaluck study that "This is the gold standard of mask studies". I agree that it was very good. But what does it show? Again an effect so tiny as not to be accepted as proof of anything: The RR was .87. An RR of 2.0 or more would have been required to be sure that anything real was going on.

I could go on but Mr Pueyo clearly is unfamiliar with normal scientific method. The Cochrane authors WERE following normal scientific procedures in concliuding that there was no evidence to show that masks have any effect. His critique of them fails

A major Covid study which came to the stunning conclusion that face masks were all but useless has been torn to shreds in a scathing take-down.

A recent Cochrane Review – considered the gold standard of evidence-based medicine – assessed 78 high-quality scientific studies, and found “wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference” when comparing masking with non-masking to prevent Covid-19.

What’s more, the review found, even for health care workers providing routine care, “there were no clear differences” between medical or surgical masks versus N95s.

The bombshell findings proved controversial, with mask critics seizing on the findings to slam government responses to the pandemic, while supporters argued a different conclusion might have been reached if more and better studies had been available.

But now, Tomas Pueyo – a Silicon Valley executive and writer who made headlines with his detailed modelling of Covid’s spread during the pandemic – has weighed in on the debate, poring over the details and claiming what he found was “so ridiculous it was funny”.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Pueyo – who is not a scientist, but a noted author who analyses “how the world works to shape the future” – said Oxford epidemiologist and the review’s lead author Tom Jefferson’s claim that “there is just no evidence that masks make any difference, full stop” was a “hardcore statement”.

He then broke down the review’s findings to argue his point, revealing there were three groups of studies included.

The first, which covered flu and Covid-like illnesses, found that masks probably work.

The second, which included lab-confirmed flu and Covid cases, found masks increase infections by +1 per cent, and the results for the third lab-confirmed non flu/Covid viruses were -42 per cent.

“But that’s not saying ‘masks don’t work’. That’s saying, ‘We don’t know if masks work.’ Quite a different statement!” he explained.

He then narrowed the findings down further, noting that some studies included in the review were from as far back as the noughties while others included alarmingly small sample sizes.

In one particularly problematic study included in the review, 7700 people out of millions making the Hajj annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca from 2013 to 2015 – well before Covid struck – were given free masks and told to wear them for four out of up to six days of the pilgrimage.

Unsurprisingly, that trial was “unable to provide conclusive evidence on face mask efficacy against viral respiratory infections most likely due to poor adherence to protocol”.

However, that clearly flawed study was used by the review to argue that masks increased infections by 40 per cent.

“I mean, they’re technically right on that 40 per cent. That’s what the study recorded. But they couldn’t claim [with] a straight face that masks did that pre-Covid, when nobody had a political opinion about it, or where 2nd order effects (‘mask-wearers are too confident!’) were very unlikely,” Mr Pueyo posted.

Meanwhile, he found that another study, which actually included data collected during the pandemic, found Covid infections were lower by 18 per cent among mask wearers.

He argued the “Cochrane magicians” mixed the studies to claim masks were ineffective by disregarding the original studies’ own conclusions, counting “implausible results”, such as in the Hajj example, and doubling the weight of “convenient” studies.

“If you just go to these primary studies, you realise NONE of them support the conclusion of the meta-analysis. Brutal. If you adjust the math accordingly, you find that there’s just two relevant studies … and both say: MASKS WORK,” he continued.

“In the meantime, it sounds like very flimsy data to make bombastic statements like the one from the lead author of the study … especially since … It’s not what his own study says!”

Mr Pueyo’s criticisms of the review echo those of Australian epidemiologist and biosecurity expert Professor Raina MacIntyre, who told recently there was “overwhelming evidence [masks] work”.

“The Cochrane review combined studies that were dissimilar – they were in different settings (healthcare and community) and measuring different outcomes (continuous use of N95 vs intermittent),” she said.

“This is like comparing apples with oranges.”

Burnet Institute director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb shared Prof MacIntyre’s views, arguing it would be a “big mistake, a risk to public health” to perpetuate a view that face masks are of little benefit in the battle against Covid-19.

“A randomised controlled trial is not the way to determine real-world effectiveness of these clearly spectacularly successful tools,” he said. Am amazing statement!


CDC Spreads False Information About COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

A top U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official gave false information about COVID-19 vaccine safety to the agency's vaccine advisory panel, and a spokesperson for the agency refused to correct the misinformation.

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, director of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, presented on COVID-19 vaccine safety to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Feb. 24.

Shimabukuro went over updates to the safety signal for ischemic stroke following Pfizer bivalent booster vaccination that CDC officials detected in one of the agency's monitoring systems.

After sharing the updates, he made a false statement.

"No safety signals were detected for ischemic stroke for the primary series or monovalent boosters for Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in U.S. and global monitoring," Shimabukuro said.

That's not true. The CDC identified ischemic stroke as a safety signal following Moderna and Pfizer vaccination after analyzing reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a different system, which the agency co-manages.

Asked for comment, Shimabukuro didn't respond. But a CDC spokesperson doubled down on the false claim.

"The statement from Dr. Shimabukuro's slides is correct. There have not been any safety signals detected at this time in the U.S. for ischemic stroke for the primary series or monovalent boosters," Katherina Grusich, the spokesperson, told The Epoch Times in an email.

The CDC has previously offered misinformation and refused to correct it.

Barbara Loe Fisher, president and co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, said what unfolded was concerning.

"Those of us who worked with Congress to secure vaccine safety informing, recording, and reporting provisions in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act-of which VAERS was one-are deeply concerned that federal health officials are deliberately ignoring signals in VAERS and that mRNA COVID shots are causing ischemic strokes and other potentially fatal complications," Fisher told The Epoch Times in an email.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology.

Bivalent boosters from both companies were authorized in the fall of 2022, but the primary series are still composed of the original vaccines, sometimes referred to as monovalent shots.

Shimabukuro's statement had an impact. After his presentation, while the slide with the false information was on the screen, a member of the panel highlighted it.

"I think it's important to note [the statement] for the public," Veronica McNally, president and CEO of the Fanny Strong Foundation, said before reading it in full.

Another False Statement

Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, a member of the advisory panel, also offered false information about the safety signal.

"Previous surveillance in . U.S. systems found no evidence of increased risk of ischemic stroke or TIA [transient ischemic attack] after the primary series or monovalent COVID-19 booster vaccination for either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna products," Keipp Talbot, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, said during the meeting.

Keipp Talbot didn't respond to a request for comment.

The CDC announced in January that it detected a statistical signal for ischemic stroke in the elderly following Pfizer bivalent vaccination, based on records from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a CDC-run system.

Dr. Evelyn Twentyman, also a CDC official, said in the meeting that a review of the signal uncovered no signal in any other system for the bivalent boosters and "when data for the two mRNA vaccine types are combined." She also said no ischemic stroke signal was found in other monitoring systems, including VAERS.

Twentyman referred a request for comment to Grusich, who said: "CDC has not detected a signal for ischemic stroke following bivalent Pfizer or Moderna vaccination in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System."

Shimabukuro said an analysis of 224 reports of ischemic stroke or TIA following mRNA bivalent vaccination, as of Feb. 6, verified 67 and that 130 others are under review. The number of reports wasn't above the background rates or the occurrence of stroke among the general elderly population.

Some 2,200 cases of ischemic stroke have been reported to VAERS after mRNA vaccination, including bivalent shots, as of Feb. 10. Millions of other adverse event reports have been lodged. According to previous research (pdf), adverse events are underreported to VAERS.

Signal Hidden From Public

The CDC identified hundreds of signals for the monovalent Pfizer and Moderna vaccines when it performed an analysis called proportional reporting ratio on VAERS data for the first time in 2022.

The CDC didn't alert the public to its findings. The Epoch Times released the results of the analysis after obtaining it through a Freedom of Information Act.

The analysis was conducted on adverse events reported after vaccination from Dec. 14, 2020, to July 29, 2022.

Brianne Dressen, who was injured by the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, helped start a group called React19 to advocate for the vaccine injured. She said U.S. authorities are ignoring people who suffered strokes from the vaccines.

"The CDC's own data certainly shows this is happening," Dressen told The Epoch Times via email. "Why deny this is happening? People know when they're being lied to. It erodes public trust and their ultimate goal to increase vaccine uptake. It also hurts those suffering with these disorders who are in need of adequate recognition and care."




Tuesday, February 28, 2023

U.S. senators are calling for President Joe Biden’s administration to declassify materials regarding the origins of COVID-19

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote on Twitter that documents described in a Wall Street Journal report “should be declassified.”

“President Biden needs to declassify everything we know today,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) added.

According to the report, the U.S. Energy Department is assessing that the pandemic likely started from a Wuhan laboratory leak.

The assessment was described in a document authored by the office of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, a Biden appointee, the Journal reported.

The Energy Department, the White House, and Haines’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Energy Department told news outlets in a statement that it “continues to support the thorough, careful, and objective work of our intelligence professionals in investigating the origins of COVID-19, as the President directed.”

Biden in 2021 said he had asked the intelligence community “to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion” on the origins of COVID-19.

In an assessment (pdf) declassified later that year, the intelligence community, which Haines oversees, was split as to the origins of COVID-19.

Four intelligence community elements assessed with low confidence that COVID-19 came from animals, while one element stated that the pandemic likely started with “a laboratory-associated incident” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to the declassified report.

Three other elements “remain unable to coalesce around either explanation,” the report stated. “All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident.”

The individual elements weren’t identified.

Intelligence community entities include the FBI, the Energy Department, and the CIA.

The State Department has assessed, in a document (pdf) made public in 2022, that a lab leak was the most likely origin of COVID-19.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Feb. 26 said he would introduce legislation that would make all U.S. intelligence reports on COVID-19 “open to the people.”

No Animal Host Found

The first COVID-19 cases were detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. The United States has funded experiments at the Wuhan lab there.

No animal host for the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified to date. Chinese Communist Party officials have repeatedly rebuffed attempts to probe the origins of the pandemic and have made various unsubstantiated claims, including that the illness stemmed from U.S. experiments.

The new reporting, top Republicans said, bolsters the position that the virus originated in the lab.

“This report affirms our belief that the substantial circumstantial evidence favors COVID-19 emerging from a research-related incident,” Rep. Cathy Rodgers (R-Wash.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), members of the panel, said in a joint statement.

“These revelations also further strengthen the need to uncover why high-ranking government officials, with help from Big Tech and the media, sought early on to silence any debate into a plausible theory of a lab incident while the Chinese Communist Party stonewalled investigations by the global scientific community,” they added.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top government officials worked to suppress talk of a possible lab leak.

Sullivan Responds

Asked about the new report, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on CNN on Feb. 26 that “there is a variety of views in the intelligence community.”

Sullivan said he wouldn’t confirm or deny the Journal’s reporting but confirmed that Biden had asked that the department “be brought into this assessment because he wants to put every tool at use to be able to figure out what happened here.”

“If we gain any further insight or information, we will share it with Congress and we will share it with the American people. But, right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question,” he added.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said on NBC on Feb. 26 that public hearings need to be held on the matter.

“I think we need to have public hearings on this and really dig into it,” he said. “Think about what just happened over the last three years: one of the biggest pandemics in a century. A lot of evidence that it’s coming from the Chinese, and when other countries even raise it, like Australia, the Chinese use their coercive economic activities to shut people up. So I think we need to do extensive hearings.”

The Republican-held House has launched probes of COVID-19, including the pandemic origins and COVID-19 vaccines.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), who chairs the new House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, told The Epoch Times’ sister media outlet NTD Television that investigating the origins is important.

“Specifically to the origins, we feel it’s important to understand the evolution of [it] … and the more we know—whether it’s lab or natural—the more we know about it, the greater ability we would have to protect ourselves in the future,” he said.

The House Oversight Committee told outlets that intelligence officials responded to a Feb. 13 letter from Wenstrup and Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) asking for information about the COVID-19 origins. The panel said that it “is reviewing the classified information provided.”


Censorship, PC agendas block fact-checking on Covid-19’s origins

Censorship and political posturing in the US has irreparably damaged our understanding of how the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Social media giants expunged content querying whether the virus escaped from a Wuhan laboratory.

Distinguished medical journals refused to publish scientific papers that examined whether the SARS-Cov2 virus may be a man-manipulated construct.

And purportedly trusted media outlets, such as the ABC in Australia, labelled the suggestion that a Wuhan laboratory might be responsible for the outbreak a conspiracy theory.

They did so as early as May 2020, misleading viewers, discouraging scientific debate and hosing down journalistic inquiry.

Media Watch host Paul Barry ridiculed our reporting at News Corp on the gain-of-function experiments scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were undertaking prior to the pandemic. “So, how likely is it that the virus escaped from that Chinese lab? Well, in short, it’s not,” he said authoritatively, on-air.

Yet now two US intelligence agencies have concluded that Covid-19 most likely leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They are the FBI and the Department of Energy.

Another two agencies, including the CIA, are undecided while four say it’s more likely that the virus arose naturally.

None of these agencies has a high degree of confidence in their position.

As the President’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, told CNN on Sunday the intelligence community was divided on the question of how the pandemic began.

We might be able to answer this question with more confidence had censorship and political correctness not stymied research on this topic three years ago.

It’s stunning to think there has still not been a thorough, bipartisan investigation in the style of the 9/11 Commission, which interviewed over 1200 people in 10 countries, reviewing half a million pages of documents.

This is an action US President Joe Biden could take immediately which could help us come to a definitive view about how the pandemic began.

The National Institutes of Health, which funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is still refusing to hand over documents. It is going to court rather than disclose information that could implicate it further in the dangerous research that was underway in Wuhan.

It’s nonsense to say there is no evidence to suggest the virus leaked from a laboratory.

The evidence is not definitive, it is not conclusive, but it is overwhelming.

Consider the research Wuhan scientists were undertaking to make bat coronaviruses more lethal and more transmissible, the concerns over safety protocols held by its own laboratory director, the cover-up at the laboratory itself in November 2019 and the way the CCP reacted when the virus began to spread.

There’s certainly more evidence linking the Wuhan Institute of Virology to the start of Covid-19 than there is evidence to support the theory that the most infectious virus in a century simply arose naturally.




Monday, February 27, 2023

There's NOT enough data to support multiple annual Covid vaccines, CDC advisers say

A leading Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expert panel says people with weakened immune systems do not need more than one annual Covid booster.

The Advisory Committee For Immunization Practices (ACIP) said Friday that there is no reason for the elderly or immunocompromised to receive multiple shots in one year.

This goes against current CDC guidance, which recommends people most vulnerable to the virus to receive shots more often than once a year.

They did recommend the group who are most at risk from the virus receive a dose each fall, just before the winter season where the virus generally surges.

It is yet another setback for America's leading public health agencies, whose trust from the public has fallen dramatically during the Covid pandemic.

In the spring of 2022, the CDC recommended immunocompromised and people over age 50 receive an additional shot if they had received their first booster at least four months earlier.

The CDC advisers did not vote on new recommendations for how the COVID-19 shots should be administered on Friday.

But ACIP advised showing flexibility in recommendations for those with compromised or weakened immune systems to allow more frequent doses for those most vulnerable to severe COVID.

Both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working on how to best update COVID vaccines to target circulating variants annually, similar to flu vaccine campaigns.

About 53.3million people in the United States - around 16 percent of the US population - have received a Covid booster shot since updated versions of the vaccines were authorized in September.

That compares with 230million people, around 70 percent of the population, that received an initial two-dose series of the Covid vaccines.

The CDC's guidance being shunned by its own panel of experts is another setback for the beleaguered agency.

A report in January led by Julie Gerberding, who served as the CDC's director from 2002 to 2009, said the agency needed a reset and was not fit for purpose.

'The big picture here is, we all see the need for a reset of the agency,' Julie Gerberding, who served at the CDC's director from 2002 to 2009 and now a CSIS member, told CNN.

'Some of the reset has to be structural, some of it needs to be activity that only Congress can really manage and that has to do with how the budget is structured, the size and scope of the budget and the flexibilities or lack thereof.'

Report: CDC is not fit for purpose, has lost public's trust and needs a complete overhaul

The embattled agency has faced a rocky few years marred by repeated troubles during the Covid pandemic.

Another hindrance the agency faces, according to the report is that it is based in Atlanta, more than 500 miles from the Nation's Capital.

While communication is simplified in the digital age, experts fear the proximity of CDC from the federal government hub adds unnecessary barriers.

An NBC poll last year found that only 44 percent of Americans, and just one-in-five Republicans - trusted the agency on Covid.

Many lost trust in the agency because of its support for school closures, letting mask orders on public transportation last too long, and for its slow reaction to changes in the pandemic landscape.

This is the second major call for an overhaul of America's leading public health agency.

In August, Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the agency, internally told her staff the agency must focus more on public health issues and less on the publishing of research.

She had taken her post in early 2021, mid-way through the pandemic.

Experts said the CDC was slow to recognize how much virus was entering the US from Europe, to recommend people wear masks, to say the virus can spread through the air, and to ramp up systematic testing for new variants.

The decision resulted from a review Walensky ordered in April after the CDC faced heavy criticism for its mixed messaging on the Covid pandemic.

The agency gave muddled and confusing recommendations on masking and other mitigation efforts.

The guidance during the pandemic has been 'confusing and overwhelming,' according to the CDC briefing document provided by the agency to the New York Times.

The review also found that the CDC often takes too long to publish data people needed to make decisions and that the agency should be more transparent about what it does and doesn't know, a CDC official told the Wall Street Journal.

There were staff shortages too with those tasked with leading the CDC's covid team rotating out after a few months.


Xylitol Nasal Spray Prevents SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH

The sophisticated American consumer has grown accustomed to the gold-standard for drug and health products—the prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (RCT).

Operation Warp Speed (OWS) was supposed to be a churning mill of large RCT’s to help the nation understand what conclusively is effective in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Unfortunately, after three years, has delivered failed products (remdesivir, baricitinib, molnupiravir, COVID-19 vaccines) and small inconclusive trials of products that doctors have found effective in practice including off-target generic antivirals and anticoagulants.

OWS did not test simple, affordable, available prevention strategies. Fortunately such RCTs where done outside of the US and have brought us important findings.

Balmforth et al, conducted a prospective double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a xylitol based nasal spray in the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in exposed healthcare workers in two hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Xylitol is known to have anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in XLEAR nasal spray and anti-infective chewing gum to prevent dental caries.

Balmforth found that SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by serology was 71 percent lower with xylitol compared to placebo [36 cases (13.1 percent) Vs 97 cases (34.5 percent); odds ratio [OR] 0.29 (95 percent CI; 0.18–0.45), p < 0.0001].

Fewer clinical symptoms were also seen in the test group [57 cases (17.6 percent) vs 112 cases (34.6 percent); OR 0.40, (95 percent CI; 0.27–0.59), p < 0.0001]. No harmful effects were associated with xylitol.

A smaller study of xylitol nasal spray in mild COVID-19 cases demonstrated that persistent loss of smell may be eliminated with xylitol nasal spray during the acute congestion phase.

I have been impressed with the RCTs of topical nasal sprays and gargles in COVID-19 far more than those with oral or intravenous drugs.

Xylitol available as XLEAR in US pharmacies is one of several choices for local nasopharyngeal protection and treatment of COVID-19.


Republicans React to Energy Department’s Reported Finding That COVID ‘Likely’ Leaked From Wuhan Lab

Republican lawmakers responded to a news report saying that the U.S. Energy Department had concluded the lab leak theory was “likely,” saying that the finding supports what many have long suspected.

A Wall Street Journal article on Feb. 26 reported that a classified intelligence report by the Energy Department said that the virus likely leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“So the government caught up to what Real America knew all along,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday.

The responses came as GOP lawmakers ramp up investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and allegations of government-big tech censorship of the debate.

The Energy Department was previously undecided on the issue but now joins the FBI in corroborating the lab leak hypothesis, according to the report. Several people who have read the report said the Department’s judgment was made with “low confidence,” the Journal reported.

Responding to the report on Sunday, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN that the intelligence community does not have a “definitive answer” on the matter at this point.

Republican lawmakers have been vocal about the theory that the virus leaked from the Wuhan laboratory soon after the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Initially, some health professionals and legacy media outlets dismissed the theory, labeling the theory’s proponents as racist and conspiracy theorists.


Some lawmakers also accused Anthony Fauci, former head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), of colluding with big tech companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, and censoring stories about the lab leak theory via what these companies describe as a crackdown on “misinformation.”

“Fauci knew this immediately but dismissed it because of funding for the Wuhan lab,” Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) wrote in another post. “We know what happened next — when Fauci spoke Big Tech censored. I exposed this collusion as AG and I’ll work to ensure this type of censorship never happens again.”

“Americans knew this from Day One,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Unfortunately, Big Tech and Big Government silenced them.”

Republicans and critics of Fauci have raised concerns about the NIAID’s funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology via the non-governmental organization EcoHealth Alliance, including for research described by experts as gain-of-function. The NIAID issued about 3.4 million in grants to EcoHealth.

Gain-of-function research makes the virus more deadly by enhancing its pathogenicity, its ability to cause disease and harm the host, or transmissibility, how easily it spreads.

The NIH has denied that the grants were for gain-of-function research, while Fauci has defended the decision to issue the grants to EcoHealth.

“More evidence continues to mount that COVID came from the Wuhan lab. We’ve uncovered emails showing Dr. Fauci was warned that the virus looked man-made & came from a lab, but he may have acted to cover it up. Why? We need answers & accountability,” wrote the official Twitter account of the House Oversight Republican Committee.

Republicans on the committee previously disclosed internal NIH emails that showed Fauci was informed by senior scientists early in the pandemic that the theory that COVID-19 had a natural origin was “highly unlikely,” even while Fauci was publicly promoting the natural origin theory.




Sunday, February 26, 2023

Finally a vaccine to banish Covid for good? Nasal spray reduces risk of infection 86% — nearly DOUBLE protection given by shot in arm

A nasal vaccine that could finally curb Covid infections is one step closer to a reality after promising early trial results.

The inhaled vaccine, made by researchers in Georgia, successfully reduced the risk of symptomatic Covid infections by 86 percent for three months in people who received it as a booster - almost double the protection the mRNA boosters provide.

While still in early stages, it is an exciting development that could prove more effective than the booster doses administered as injections.

The nasal, or ‘mucosal’ vaccines are appealing for their ability to prime immune cells in the mucous membranes that line the nostril cavities and the mouth where the coronavirus first enters the body, and stop the virus in its tracks.

Nasal vaccines such as the one currently in development at Georgia-based startup Blue Lake Biotechnology Inc. concentrate the immune protection in the upper airways, positioning powerful antibodies right on the frontlines.

In their phase 1 trial starting in August 2021, researchers at Blue Lake Biotechnology included 72 participants ages 18 to 55 who had already received two doses of an mRNA vaccine as well as unvaccinated healthy people. They plan to expand the sample size and will continue recruiting subjects through December.

The vaccine technology relies on a type of parainfluenza virus that has been encoded with Covid’s trademark spike protein to train the immune system to recognize and fight it off.

Once the vaccine contents are inhaled, little bits of the parainfluenza virus replicate inside the nasal cavity to such an extent that it triggers an immune response without actually getting the person sick.

Dr Biao He, founder and CEO of Blue Lake Biotechnology said: ‘We were pleasantly surprised to see indications of a protective effect in this Phase 1 trial.’

‘We are excited and encouraged with this result, and through our affiliate, CyanVac LLC, we have submitted a protocol to FDA for a randomized controlled phase 2 trial in which we look forward to more fully evaluating the immunogenicity of the vaccine and to better understanding its protective efficacy.’

The immune response launched by the nasal spray vaccine could potentially be significantly more robust than a vaccine administered via syringe.

In addition to prompting a strong immune response, nasal vaccine technology could ease pressure on health professionals giving vaccine injections, cut medical waste and provide better vaccine access to developing countries.

Booster shots currently in use across the US have been shown to reduce symptomatic infections by 43 percent in people 65 and younger over roughly the same amount of time that the spray is able to confer 86 percent protection.

People in the trials who received the nasal spray experienced fewer adverse reactions than those who received the injectable vaccine.

Nasal spray vaccines will appear to many a less invasive means of gaining protection against severe illness, potentially attracting the needle-phobic vaccine holdouts.

The finished product is still a ways off and this is the type of next generation Covid vaccines that public health officials have said are urgently needed in the event that a new variant that is able to circumvent vaccine protection arises.

Dr Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research within the Food and Drug Administration and fellow experts at Brown University said late last year: ‘Introduction of these bivalent boosters likely only represents a temporizing measure until variants emerge that necessitate additional booster vaccination or modification of the current generation of vaccines.

‘Serious consideration therefore needs to be given to the development of a distinctly improved generation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines offering longer protection with greater scope.’


Protection From New COVID-19 Vaccines Drops Sharply Within Months: CDC

The new COVID-19 vaccines provide a boost to protection against hospitalization but that shielding wanes within months, according to unpublished data presented on Feb. 24.

A bivalent Pfizer or Moderna booster increased protection against hospitalization initially by 52 percent, but that protection dropped to 36 percent beyond 59 days, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers said.

The researchers separately looked at the protection people who had received two or more monovalent doses, or doses of the original vaccines, and no bivalent booster. They found that people aged 18 to 64 had just 19 percent protection against COVID-19 associated hospitalization and those aged 65 and older had just 28 percent protection.

That means the protection after two months was around 60 percent in total for the elderly and goes below 50 percent for all other adults.

The data came from the CDC’s VISION network. Data from a different CDC-run network, called IVY, showed “minimal to no residual protection” against hospitalization from the original vaccine, Dr. Amadea Britton, a CDC official, said. Two or more monovalent doses provided just 17 percent protection, with uncertain confidence intervals.

A bivalent vaccine on top of a monovalent primary series brought the protection to just 55 percent at seven or more days after the booster.

Waning wasn’t measured in the IVY network.

The bivalent vaccines were authorized and recommended in the fall of 2022 despite no clinical trial data being available. Clinical efficacy data remains unavailable at present.

The COVID-19 vaccines are authorized in the United States to prevent COVID-19 disease but officials have increasingly described the goal of vaccination as preventing severe disease, because the vaccines have performed worse and worse against symptomatic infection as newer variants have emerged.

The effectiveness against severe disease may be higher than against hospitalization, according to Britton.

A third CDC network, Increasing Community Access to Testing, found that a new booster initially provided 65 percent protection against symptomatic infection for children aged 5 to 11, and 68 percent protection for children aged 12 to 17.

That protection waned to 54 percent by three months in the younger group and 53 percent by five months in the older group.

A bivalent booster worked much worse in adults, according to other unpublished data from the network presented for the first time during the meeting.

A bivalent increased protection against symptomatic infection by just 38 percent in the elderly, with protection dropping to 21 percent by five months. In people aged 50 to 64, protection started at 46 percent and waned to 28 percent; among adults aged 18 to 49, protection started at 51 percent and waned to 41 percent.

The protection estimates were relative, being measured against two to four doses of an original vaccine. Previous research has found that the original vaccine provides little protection against symptomatic Omicron infection, with some estimating the protection turning negative over time.

“The pattern of waning against symptomatic infection is very similar to what was observed after monovalent booster doses, with VE against symptomatic infection decreasing to minimal protection by around five to six months,” Britton said.

Change in Vaccine

The updated Pfizer and Moderna vaccines target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, in addition to the Wuhan strain. The original vaccines were aimed at only the latter. The updated vaccines are only available currently as booster shots.

U.S. authorities are preparing to replace all of the original Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with the bivalent. Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration backed the move in a recent meeting, and advisers to the CDC on Thursday largely agreed the move would be good.

They cited the improvement in protection the bivalents bestow, however minimal, and the hope that simplifying the vaccines would lead to more uptake.

Many Americans have declined to get any boosters, and even fewer have received one of the new bivalents. The overwhelming majority of parents have chosen not to get their children even a primary series, amid the drop in effectiveness and growing concerns about short- and long-term side effects like heart inflammation.


New Study Finds ‘No Evidence’ That City-Wide Vaccine Mandates Impacted the Spread of COVID-19

During the pandemic, a slew of left-wing cities established vaccine mandates that required employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who did not comply faced suspension and termination from their jobs. Many cities took this a step further and mandated all businesses to require patrons to present their vaccine papers in order to enter the business.

This week, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University unveiled a new study,“Indoor Vaccine Mandates in US Cities, Vaccination Behavior, and COVID-19 Outcomes.” The study questioned the efficacy of vaccine mandates in cities that implemented such mandates to visit indoor businesses, which included Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

“City vaccine mandates were arguably among the most restrictive and polarizing regulations ever enacted in the United States,” the study write-up said. “Millions of people were prevented from entering restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, sports arenas, and other public indoor areas without proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The mandates negatively affected unvaccinated individuals and businesses that were not allowed to serve unvaccinated customers.”

The write-up noted that supporters of the mandates said that it would uptick vaccination rates that the spread of COVID-19 would decrease. But, the study shows that this did not happen.

“We find no evidence that the announcement or implementation of indoor vaccine mandate in the cities listed had any significant effect on vaccine uptake, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19 deaths, and this is largely consistent for all US cities that implemented the mandate,” the study stated.

In New York City, specifically, more than 90 percent of restaurants reported having “customer-related” challenges over the vaccine mandate. And, over 1,400 city workers were fired for refusing to get vaccinated.

"COVID cases were not affected by the mandate, COVID deaths were not affected by it, and people were not more likely to get vaccinated at all in the first place," Vitor Melo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Mercatus Center and one of the authors of the study told Fox 5 DC.

"The idea behind the mandate is more people are gonna get vaccinated, therefore we’re gonna reduce the spread of COVID," Melo added. "That first step really didn’t happen."

One of the reasons why, Melo explained, is because people would travel to neighboring areas without vaccine mandates to go out to eat, etc. In the Washington, D.C. area, for example, people would go out to Arlington, Virginia.

The study pointed out that studies detailing country-wide mandates, like in Europe, were effective and resulted in more people getting a dose of the vaccine. City-wide mandates in America did not have this effect.

“The authors find that city-level mandates had smaller effect on vaccine uptake (and consequently on COVID-19 cases and deaths) than nationwide mandates— and thus failed to achieve their intended objectives,” it concluded.