Thursday, March 07, 2024

Excess Deaths Since 2022 Primarily in Vaccinated, Official Data Suggest

Excess deaths since 2022 were primarily in the vaccinated, official data suggest, fuelling fears that the Covid vaccines may be playing a significant role in the high excess deaths in recent years.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that the proportion of total deaths in England among unvaccinated people dropped sharply in early 2022, even as excess deaths soared. The proportion then remained low throughout the following two years, indicating that the additional deaths during this period were concentrated in the vaccinated.

Is this why the authorities continue to resist releasing the full data on deaths by vaccination status? A cross-party group of 21 MPs and peers are the latest to write to request the data be released. Are the authorities refusing because they know the data show excess deaths predominantly in the vaccinated?

The striking effect was seen in every age group. The charts showing these results can be seen below (find the data here, table 5). The blue lines show the total deaths by month in the age group (left-hand axis) while the red lines show the proportion of deaths in the unvaccinated in the age group (right-hand axis; unvaccinated here means receiving no doses). The most striking feature on each chart is the steep drop in the red line in early 2022, which denotes a sharp and sustained drop in the proportion of deaths in the unvaccinated and a corresponding rise in the proportion in the vaccinated.

Note this is not because more people got vaccinated at that time, as the number getting their first dose in these age groups was almost zero by this point (see chart below, taken from here, data here). People getting their first dose may affect the trends seen in 2021, particularly in the first part of the year, though the over-60s were largely done with first doses by June 2021.

It’s worth pointing out that by using only death data they avoid the problems with the ONS population estimates highlighted by Professor Norman Fenton and others that have tended to exaggerate the death rate in the unvaccinated.

Note that the red lines during 2022 and 2023 are mostly flat, particularly for those in their 60s, 70s and 80s, even during many of the peaks in total deaths. This is particularly noticeable during winter 2022-23, where despite a large peak in deaths the red lines stay largely flat. This suggests that vaccine efficacy against death, at least from the Omicron variants, is very low, since if the virus was disproportionately killing the unvaccinated (i.e., the vaccines were protecting the vaccinated) the proportion of deaths in the unvaccinated should spike during waves. That it usually does not suggests low vaccine efficacy.

These charts include no comparison with death rates before the vaccination period so don’t allow us to say very much about the pre-Omicron period as there is little to compare it to. However, there are notable spikes in the red lines for those over 70 during the Delta wave of late 2021. On first sight this would seem to indicate vaccine efficacy against the Delta variant during that winter. Things may not be so straightforward, however. Notice that the other largish spike for those over 80 is in summer 2022. Importantly, this was not associated with a Covid wave; instead it was associated with a heatwave – that was when the heat dome was sitting over Europe causing record temperatures. This is significant because the vaccine obviously does not protect against heatwaves. This means the reason for the summer 2022 spike is not vaccine efficacy. What is it then?

It seems likely it is related to the ‘healthy vaccinee effect’ i.e., the fact that people who take vaccines tend to be people with better background health outcomes than those who don’t take vaccines. A number of studies indicate that vaccinated people have a background death rate around half that of unvaccinated people (this is a background death rate not related to vaccine efficacy or safety).

The poorer background health of the unvaccinated group means that any general cause of death that disproportionately affects the frail or those with comorbidities, such as a virus epidemic or a heatwave, will naturally, other things being equal, disproportionately affect the unvaccinated group, for reasons unrelated to the vaccine. This would explain the summer 2022 spike in the red lines and it may also explain some or much of the spike during the Delta wave as well. Assuming this is right, it makes the lack of spikes during other waves, such as winter 2022-23, even more striking, as one would normally expect the unvaccinated group to be disproportionately affected by a virus wave or a winter, yet instead the lines remain flat. These flat red lines during waves of deaths are therefore also potentially indicative of a concentration of excess deaths in the vaccinated.

The headline finding from these charts is the striking concentration of excess deaths in the vaccinated after early 2022, just as Omicron appeared. This worrying observation may be why the authorities are keeping the full data, which would confirm or rule out such a finding, firmly under wraps.


Lockdowns Are a “Failed Experiment”, Welsh First Minister Tells Covid Inquiry

The BBC reports that Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford has told the Covid Inquiry that local Covid lockdowns were a “failed experiment”.

He could have said it was a failed policy or intervention, but Drakeford chose to say lockdowns were an “experiment”.

An experiment is a scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery and test a hypothesis.

However, at the time, lockdowns were a policy enforced by law.

Mark Drakeford announced in May 2020 that the maximum fine for repeated breaches of the lockdown rules in Wales rose from £120 to £1,920. Up to June 8th, 2,282 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued for – as it seems now – failing to participate in an experiment. People in Wales were twice as likely as English to be fined for breaking lockdown rules. Some experiment.

We are at a loss to explain how the people who set the laws can do so based on experiments. As for experiments, where was the consent procedure, where was the control group and where was the evaluation?

The Welsh Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser for Health, Rob Orford, read from the evidence Drakeford provided to the inquiry that “in hindsight perhaps they weren’t the best idea”.

Yet again, we learned that policy wasn’t based on any evidence. “I’m not sure where the origin of the idea around local interventions came from, whether that was the U.K. Government or Welsh Government.”

We utterly reject the “hindsight” argument, which Sir John Edmunds also used as an excuse for some of his most extreme advice.

We reject it because we pointed out the obvious on April 8th 2020: you cannot affect the circulation of an endemic respiratory virus with any of the interventions known to us, including vaccines, which were not on the table then.

We pointed out that wrecking society and the economy to chase an evidence fallacy was the stuff of nightmares. We and the rest of society have paid a heavy price for this temerity.

Policy must be based on expertise and evidence. If there is no evidence, you either generate it or sit on your hands as the precautionary principle suggests, until such time as the costs and benefits of alternative actions are clear.


Airline Fined $250,000 For Standing Down Worker Concerned With COVID-19

Australian national carrier Qantas has been fined $250,000 after standing down a worker—who was an elected health and safety representative—after he raised concerns about the risk of COVID-19 to staff cleaning aircraft that had arrived from China—an action the judge described as “shameful.”

Lift truck driver Theo Seremetidis was employed by subsidiary Qantas Ground Services (QGS) at Sydney International Airport, and was sidelined in early 2020, before which he had worked for Qantas for nearly seven years as a ground crew fleet member.

Last year, NSW District Court Judge David Russell found the airline engaged in discriminatory conduct, ruling that Mr. Seremetidis was unfairly cut off from other staff who were seeking his help.

“The conduct against Mr Seremetidis was quite shameful,” the judge said. “Even when he was stood down and under investigation, QGS attempted to manufacture additional reasons for its actions.”

Last week Qantas agreed to pay Mr. Seremetidis $21,000 for economic and non-economic loss.

On March 6, Judge Russell ordered that QGS be convicted and fined $250,000, finding that the company’s conduct involved significant culpability and was deliberate, rather than inadvertent and that QGS had “deliberately ignored” the consultation and other provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act. He said there was a “gross power imbalance” between Mr. Seremetidis and senior managers at QGS.

Mr. Seremetidis was “most conscientious” in carrying out his role as a health and safety representative, the judge found, staying up-to-date with official announcements about the pandemic and even doing research on his day off.

Judge Russell found QGS saw Mr. Seremetidis’s directions to cease unsafe work as a “threat” to the conduct of the business, in particular to its ability to clean and service aircraft and get them back in the air, and pointed out that the role of health and safety representatives was “vital” to the protection of workers and the running of any business.

During the hearing last year, Qantas said it had taken the action because Mr. Seremetidis had been “creating anxiety amongst the workforce.”

It was revealed the airline had told concerned workers that the risk of them contracting COVID-19 from their work was “negligible,” and they could not “be reasonably concerned about contracting the virus.”

Prosecutor Matthew Moir said Qantas gave priority to its commercial interests over the health and safety of its workers. But Qantas lawyer Bruce Hodgkinson argued the airline had been doing its best to deal with the fast-unfolding pandemic.

Qantas Apologises

A Qantas spokesperson said the airline accepted the penalties. “We agreed to compensation for Theo Seremetidis and the court has today made orders for that compensation to be paid,” the spokesperson said.

“We acknowledged in court the impact that this incident had on Mr. Seremetidis and apologised to him. Safety has always been our number one priority and we continue to encourage our employees to report all safety-related matters.”




Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Large Real World-Evidence Study Finds COVID-19 Vax + Paxlovid Benefit Against Hospitalization

Nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) developed by Pfizer, is an antiviral medication that is indicated for individuals with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at risk of progression to severe COVID-19. While initially studied on unvaccinated persons, a growing number of observational investigations provide evidence of the potential for significant protection by Paxlovid against hospitalization among vaccinated individuals at elevated risk for severe COVID-19.

Not a lot of data avails scientists seeking to assess the risk reduction from antivirals together with vaccination. Here, the study team led by researchers from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the U.S. market’s leading electronic health record (EHR) vendor Epic to estimate the stepwise benefit of monovalent vaccination and Paxlovid against COVID-19 hospitalization in the United States. Overall, the findings complement previous research indicating Paxlovid affords additional protection in high-risk individuals, even if vaccinated.

The findings here, according to the joint CDC and Epic team, complement previous research pointing to the protective overlay afforded by Paxlovid in high-risk individuals, even if vaccinated.

This line of research had not yet examined the protection of treatment and vaccination combined. Treatment with Paxlovid without vaccination does not reduce risk of hospitalization to levels seen in treated individuals with three or more vaccinations.

While the burden and impact of COVID-19 in future respiratory seasons are uncertain, the authors of this study suggest the combination of vaccination and oral antiviral treatment for eligible patients remains an important tool against COVID-19 hospitalization and death. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently recommended the 2023-2024 (monovalent, XBB-containing) COVID-19 vaccines in persons ≥ 6 months of age. The CDC-led study paper suggests clinicians should consider treatment with Paxlovid among all adults who are at high-risk of severe COVID-19 disease, including vaccinated persons.

Important Caveat

Importantly, this study was limited to adults infected with COVID-19 during the period April and August 2022, and may not be applicable in the current landscape of population hybrid immunity and SARS-CoV-2 strain evolution. The authors acknowledge that more updated estimates over time are necessary to better understand the impact of vaccination and antiviral treatment. The risk-benefit analyses for COVID-19 vaccination have likely changed. Plus, the medical establishment to date has yet to accept the dozens of peer reviewed manuscripts showing risk with the mRNA induced spike protein, capable of distribution in tissue and organs throughout the body, albeit in rare to relatively rare cases.

There are risks associated with COVID-19 vaccination that are not openly talked about in mainstream media, or even to this day in the trade press; but they are discussed in TrialSite, an independent, objective unbiased (as humanly possible) media platform tracking the world of biomedical research. Additionally, the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen has become milder during the Omicron stage, with a case fatality rate similar to influenza. Of course, the risk increases with age as well as co-morbidities and immunocompromised status.

The Study

The CDC and Epic research team conducted the retrospective analysis of patient records in Cosmos, a real world-evidence dataset that, at the time of this study, included EHR information from >160 million individual users of U.S health systems covered by Epic. Inclusion criteria and definitions were described previously in a prior study of real-world effectiveness of nirmatrelvir-ritonavir in this population. Non-pregnant adults were eligible for inclusion if aged ≥50 years or if aged ≥18 years with an underlying health condition associated with progression to severe COVID-19 disease documented in their medical record. All included patients had a COVID-19 diagnosis (defined as a diagnostic code or positive SARS-CoV-2 test result) associated with an outpatient encounter during April 1–August 31, 2022, indicating mild-to-moderate COVID-19.

The investigational team considered patients to have received nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) if verified it was prescribed during the five days after their COVID-19 diagnosis. Vaccination status was categorized on the date of COVID19 diagnosis using data available in the Cosmos system. As reported in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, vaccination categories included 1) unvaccinated if no COVID-19 vaccine had been received; 2) 2 mRNA vaccine-dose recipients if ≥14 days had elapsed since receipt of the second dose and no subsequent doses had been received or <7 days receipt of third dose; 3) ≥3 mRNA vaccine-dose recipients if ≥7 days had elapsed since receipt of the third dose; and 4) other vaccine recipient if any Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, other vaccine, or only 1 mRNA vaccine dose had been received any time before COVID19 diagnosis.

The primary outcome was COVID-19 hospitalization within 30 days after diagnosis. A COVID-19 hospitalization was defined as having a COVID-19 specific diagnosis associated with the admission.

The group estimated protection against hospitalization by the Paxlovid combination combined with COVID19 mRNA vaccination based on statistics generated from Cox regression. Presenting adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for hospitalization adjusting for age group, sex, race and ethnicity, social vulnerability index of the address of residence, number of underlying health conditions, region of residence, and previous infection defined as having a COVID-19 diagnosis code or positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (nucleic acid amplification or antigen) >90 days prior to the included COVID-19 diagnosis.

The reference group comprised unvaccinated individuals who had not received Paxlovid.


Among the unvaccinated, 35,826/141,931 (20.2%) received Paxlovid compared to 42,355/157011 (27.0%) of patients who received 2 mRNA doses, and 130,778/330,448 (33.0%) of those who had received 3 or more mRNA vaccine doses.

During April–September 2022, 5,296 of 731,349 patients (0.72%) with COVID-19 were hospitalized within 30 days after their initial diagnosis.

Hospitalization Rates

After receipt of nirmatrelvir-ritonavir and 3 or more mRNA vaccine doses, there were an estimated 16.9 fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 person-days compared to those who were unvaccinated and untreated.

According to the group of authors:

“Compared with patients who were unvaccinated and had not received a COVID-19 treatment, the rate of COVID-19 hospitalization was lower among both those who were vaccinated but did not receive nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (two mRNA doses, aHR 0.74, 95%CI: 0.67–0.80; three or more mRNA doses, aHR 0.51, 95%CI: 0.47–0.55) and those who were unvaccinated but after receipt of nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (0.47, 95%CI: 0.40–0.55).

After receipt of both treatment and vaccination, the hospitalization rate was reduced further (two mRNA doses and nirmatrelvir-ritonavir aHR 0.33, 95%CI: 0.29–0.39) with the lowest rate of COVID-19 hospitalization among those after receiving three or more mRNA vaccine doses and nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (aHR 0.22, 95%CI: 0.19– 0.24).”


How low can Covid catastrophists go?

Who’d have guessed that there would be two startling revelations about the great Covid over-reach in the space of about a week, upholding claims previously dismissed as conspiracy theories and misinformation?

First came a peer-reviewed scientific study which linked Covid vaccines to a range of serious health disorders. It was soon followed by the Queensland Supreme Court ruling that vaccine mandates imposed on police and ambulance workers in the state were unlawful.

Both provided a welcome dose of reality after the worst days of lockdowns and vaccine roll-outs when we were bombarded with the message that the jabs were ‘safe and effective’. Years later, we know for certain that they do not prevent contraction or transmission of the virus and there’s an acknowledged chance they could cause serious harm and even death.

Some of us have been aware of this for a long time, but vaccine promoters, including Big Pharma and government bureaucrats, insist that the risk is ‘very low’, the acknowledged disorders are ‘rare’, and that vaccines provide the best means of protection against Covid.

But how low is ‘very low’ and how ‘rare’ is rare? Let’s look at the latest findings from the largest vaccine safety study to date conducted by the Global Vaccine Data Network. A research division of the World Health Organisation, it reportedly looked at 99 million vaccinated individuals across six continents.

The study confirmed connections between Covid vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca to several serious but ‘rare conditions’.

According to a report in Forbes:

While the side effects are serious, the chance of experiencing them is low. Some highlighted increases include a 6.1-fold increase in myocarditis from the second dose of the Moderna mRNA vaccine. Cases of pericarditis had a 6.9-fold increase as a result of the third dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. There is a 2.5-times greater risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome from the AstraZeneca vaccine along with a 3.2-times greater risk of developing blood clots from the same vaccine. There is a 3.8-times greater risk of getting acute disseminated encephalomyelitis from the Moderna vaccine, and a 2.2-fold increase in the AstraZeneca vaccine.

When choosing to get vaccinated, it is important to weigh the benefits and risks of the vaccine. Information like this makes it easier to make the right choice…

Well thanks, but my wife and I made that choice a few years ago and we remain very glad we did, given there are some still trying to pedal the message that a six to seven times chance of contracting a serious heart condition is ‘low’.

I’m reminded of the old Chubby Checker hit Limbo Rock, ‘How low can you go’? Much lower than that, if you want to convince people the vaccines are safe – let alone effective.

My own long-term scepticism possibly has links back to my first job after leaving high school many moons ago, when I undertook a pharmacy apprenticeship in a very busy regional pharmacy.

Maybe it didn’t help when I was questioned by a detective when a patient died after taking a sleeping mixture I had dispensed, even though I was later cleared after forensic tests showed the medicine contained the correct level of ingredients and the poor bloke had swallowed an overdose. But possibly the last straw had something to do with a drug I had dispensed many times to pregnant young women suffering morning sickness. Finally, the authorities woke up to the fact that the ‘cure’ – thalidomide – was causing horrific birth defects. Sound familiar?

Fast forward to February 2021, when the novel Covid vaccines were rolled out in Australia after being developed and approved in record time without long-term human trials. Manufacturers were granted immunity from liability for subsequent mishaps despite some of these companies having records of huge fines for past problems.

There were also experts, including highly qualified epidemiologists, sounding warning bells, particularly in Europe and America. Some adverse events might only become apparent months or even years after the jabs were administered, but that was dismissed as ratbag conspiracy theory, disinformation, and misinformation.

Well not any more, and hopefully the Queensland Supreme court ruling that some of these vaccine mandates were unlawful will lead to justifiable and wide-ranging compensations.

As Rowan Dean wrote in The Spectator Australia, ‘The news, of course, is to be welcomed. It is the first crack in the dam wall and will hopefully be followed by significant class actions and further court cases…’

Here, here! And let’s hope that the issue does not become bogged down in appeals courts by a government with a guilty conscience and deep pockets.

Finally, my short-lived dispensing career was never a waste of time and it actually saved one of our young son’s lives when a pharmacist dispensed the wrong medication which I recognised as a potent heart drug that could have stopped his from beating!

Again, that’s another story.




Tuesday, March 05, 2024

COVID-19 Vaccines Can Affect Menstrual Cycle, Researchers Find

Researchers confirmed that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to changes in the menstrual cycle, according to a study published in March.

Published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal on March 1, Oregon Health & Science University researchers found that women who received a COVID-19 shot in the first half of their menstrual cycle are more likely to receive cycle length changes than those who received the vaccine in the second half.

Those researchers used data from 20,000 users of a birth control app that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine what effects the vaccine has on the cycle. Most of the women whose data was analyzed were under the age of 35, while 28 percent were from North America, 33 percent were from Europe, and another 32 percent were from the United Kingdom, they said.

Some were vaccinated and some were not. For those who were vaccinated, 63 percent received an mRNA vaccine, the paper said.

“Individuals vaccinated in the follicular phase experienced an average 1-day longer adjusted cycle length with a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine compared with their pre-vaccination average,” the authors of the paper said, referring to women who got a dose of the vaccine during the first half of their cycle.

Those who got the vaccine in the second half or those who were not vaccinated experienced no changes, they found.

The authors added that there is now “a body of evidence demonstrating that the ... vaccine is associated with temporary menstrual cycle disturbances at the population level,” adding that “the underlying mechanism for a vaccine-related cycle length disturbance is still under investigation.”

“The leading hypothesis is that these disturbances are due to the immune response that vaccines are designed to produce,” the study said, adding that “the immune and reproductive systems interact closely with one another.” Cytokines, which are small proteins that control the immune system’s activity and are produced “as an early event in the vaccine response,” can impact that process, they added.

Little research has been conducted in the past on how vaccines—whether for COVID-19 or others—could influence the menstrual cycle, the study’s authors further noted.

Responding to the study’s findings, Dr. Alison Edelman, the lead author of the paper with the Oregon university, said that “we do know the immune and reproductive systems interact closely with one another,” adding that with vaccinations, “it is certainly plausible that individuals may see temporary changes in their menstrual cycle due to the immune response.”
Their findings also suggested that there may be changes in the length of the cycle, although they appear to be short-lived. But they added that women who notice significant changes should contact a healthcare provider.

And earlier in 2022, another set of researchers wrote that for women who received one of the COVID-19 vaccines, around 42 percent of respondents said they experienced increased menstrual bleeding. A majority of those who weren’t menstruating reported breakthrough bleeding after getting the shot, including two-thirds of women who were post-menopausal and slightly less than two-thirds of women who were using hormone treatments.

Most respondents received an mRNA vaccine made by either Moderna or Pfizer. But some also received Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca shots, according to the paper.

“We focused our analysis on those who regularly menstruate and those who do not currently menstruate but have in the past. The latter group included postmenopausal individuals and those on hormonal therapies that suppress menstruation, for whom bleeding is especially surprising,” Kathryn Clancy, a professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement about the study’s findings at the time.

And it is not the first time that the same Oregon Health & Science University researchers found COVID-19 vaccines are associated with a change in the cycle. In 2022, they found that the change was pegged at under one day, and no change in menses length was detected.

While the study did not find vaccination associated with changes in menses length, “questions remain about other possible changes in menstrual cycles, such as menstrual symptoms, unscheduled bleeding, and changes in the quality and quantity of menstrual bleeding,” they wrote.

Pfizer Official’s Concerns

About a year ago, a Pfizer employee was seen in an undercover video telling a reporter with Project Veritas that he was concerned about the mRNA shot’s possible side-effects relating to menstrual cycles.

“There is something irregular about the menstrual cycles. So people will have to investigate that down the line because that is a little concerning,” the Pfizer official said in the video, adding that it “shouldn’t be interfering” with the cycles.

“I hope we don’t discover something really bad down the line,” he later added.


COVID-19 Shot Hesitancy Driven by Knowledge of Adverse Events

People who did not comply with COVID-19 vaccine requirements were hesitant because they knew someone who had experienced a health problem after getting the injection, according to recent research.

“Knowing someone who experienced a health problem following COVID-19 injection reduced the likelihood of injection, the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research reported.

Such people “were more likely to oppose injection mandates and passports.

Conversely, “knowing someone who had health problems following the COVID-19 illness increased the likelihood of injection,” the journal said.

Among those who were aware of at least one individual who experienced COVID-19 injection adverse events, they said they knew about 57 deaths following vaccination.

“The health issues reported ranged from serious problems such as cardiac arrests and other heart-related problems, blood clots and other circulatory problems, to neurological issues, as well as milder effects such as feeling sick, headache, fever, etc.”

The study, published on Feb. 16, investigated the factors that made people support or protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and passports. Researchers collected information from an online survey completed by 2,840 individuals in December 2021.
It found that 22 percent of the respondents knew at least one person who experienced a health issue after getting vaccinated.

The authors cited other studies on vaccine hesitancy in the context of influenza to point out that “vaccination status [in these studies] is influenced by beliefs regarding vaccine safety, effectiveness in infection prevention, and the gravity of the illness that might be prevented.”

They cited a survey published by Rasmussen Reports in March last year which found that “nearly as many Americans believe someone close to them died from side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine as died from the disease itself.”
This survey combined with the results of the present study “affirms that opposition to COVID-19 injection mandates and passports has increased over time,” the researchers wrote.

Moreover, the findings of the study suggest that policymakers may find it difficult to “engender a consensus” when it comes to pushing for vaccine mandates and passports, the researchers stated.

The study found that having COVID-19 illness was not associated with preferences for injection mandates. However, those who were injected were found to be “much less likely to oppose injection mandates than are those that did not receive the injection.”

Race was a “strong predictor” of injection mandates, with minority populations like African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians being “less inclined” to oppose such regulations than Caucasians.

“Political identity is also important: Compared to Democrats, those who self-identify as Republicans are more likely to oppose mandates. Those who identify as Independent also tend to oppose injection mandates.”

One of the authors of the study is Mark Skidmore, a professor and Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance and Policy at Michigan State University (MSU). He has previously published research in several journals like Economic Inquiry, Economics Letters, and the Journal of Urban Economics. The second author, Fernanda Alfaro, is a Ph.D. student at MSU.
Regarding funding and conflicts of interest, researchers said they received funds from an individual donor.

Safety Concerns and Vaccine Hesitancy

In a recent post at the International Center for Law and Economics, health economist Roger Bate points out that the COVID-19 vaccines “were not as effective as originally claimed, and were effectively forced onto many people in order for them to work, attend school, or travel.”
“There is early evidence that these and other factors may currently be contributing to heightened vaccine hesitancy, with potentially serious consequences for public health.”

A July 2022 analysis published in BMJ Global Health also raised similar concerns. It argued that mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies were “scientifically questionable” and were more likely to result in harm than good.

“Restricting people’s access to work, education, public transport, and social life based on COVID-19 vaccination status impinges on human rights, promotes stigma and social polarisation, and adversely affects health and well-being,” it said.

The restrictive COVID-19 policies “may lead to a widening of health and economic inequalities, detrimental long-term impacts on trust in government and scientific institutions, and reduce the uptake of future public health measures, including COVID-19 vaccines as well as routine immunizations.”

In an interview with Fox News last year, Dr. Robert Redfield, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that federal officials pushed a “false perception” that the COVID-19 vaccines provided “complete” immunization.
“There was such an attempt to not let anybody get any hint that maybe vaccines weren’t foolproof, which, of course, we now know they have significant limitations,” he stated.

“I always said … my position was just tell the American public the truth: There are side effects to vaccines. Tell them the truth, and don’t try to package it.”

Commenting on the Feb. 16 study, cardiologist Peter A. McCullough said in a Substack post that vaccine hesitancy would be higher in 2024 “as more injuries, disabilities, and deaths have been reported as a result of the novel genetic products” since the 2021 survey.

“When it comes to COVID-19 vaccination, hesitancy is a good thing demonstrating the population is concerned about consumer product safety of the mRNA and adenoviral DNA technology,” he wrote. Dr. McCullough also criticized the American Medical Association’s (AMA) view on vaccine hesitancy.

The AMA website has this statement: “While the AMA is a strong advocate for the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, we recognize that some members of the public may have historical, cultural, or religious reasons to distrust the vaccination process.”

The AMA’s views on the factors driving vaccine hesitancy are inapplicable, Dr. McCullough said. “Attempts to overcome vaccine hesitancy are likely to be harmful.”

Some experts have also raised concerns about vaccine hesitancy triggered during COVID-19 extending to other vaccines as well.




Monday, March 04, 2024

CDC drops 5-day isolation guidance for COVID-19 cases

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control on Friday rolled back its longstanding five-day isolation guidance for people who come down with COVID-19.

Under the updated guidelines, the CDC says those infected with the coronavirus can return to work or the public just one full day after their fever subsides.

“Today’s announcement reflects the progress we have made in protecting against severe illness from COVID-19,” agency Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement.

“However, we still must use the commonsense solutions we know work to protect ourselves and others from serious illness from respiratory viruses—this includes vaccination, treatment, and staying home when we get sick.”

The guidelines for isolation have not been updated since Dec. 2021, when CDC had shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days.

The announcement follows reports last month that the policy change was in the works due to a decrease in infections.

The US has seen an overall decline in COVID-19 cases — 17,300 people were hospitalized and 510 people died from the virus during the week of Feb. 17, the most recent CDC data available.

The updated guidelines, however, do not affect workers at nursing homes and other health care facilities. Medical personnel should follow recommendations to stay home at least seven days after symptoms first appear, and that they test negative within two days of returning to work, according to the CDC.

While the guidelines have been significantly scaled back, health officials are still urging sick persons to take extra precautions in the first five days following an infection.

Those with COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home until 24 hours after a fever, stay up to date with vaccinations, wearing a mask and social distancing — all of which reflects guidelines similar to other highly contagious viruses.

“While every respiratory virus does not act the same, adopting a unified approach to limiting disease spread makes recommendations easier to follow and thus more likely to be adopted and does not rely on individuals to test for illness, a practice that data indicates is uneven,” the CDC said in the announcement.


Covid pandemic could have been avoided and contained to Wuhan, professor claims

The Covid pandemic could have been avoided and contained to Wuhan, a professor has claimed in a damning book that lifts the lid on Chinese blunders that allowed the virus to spread across the globe and kill millions of people.

'Wuhan: How the Covid-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control', by leading author Professor Dali Yang was published on Friday and explores the pandemic in forensic detail.

Prof Yang draws a devastating conclusion that the pandemic, which started with the first known patients in the eastern Chinese city in late December 2019, was not inevitable.

The book explores key events that came before a lockdown was imposed on Wuhan, including how a mass banquet was held on January 18 that saw more than 100,000 people come together despite health officials knowing the virus was spreading.

Prof Yang offers a deep analysis of who knew what and when about the virus, but barely touches on the origins of Covid-19, The Telegraph reports.

It instead looks at the individual heroism seen during the pandemic as well as the flawed decision-making and lack of clarity as officials tried to deal with a mysterious 'pneumonia of unknown etiology'.

Prof Yang concludes that the global pandemic, which led to the deaths of an estimated 13.3 to 16.6million people worldwide, could have been prevented.

'I do think there was a meaningful chance that the pandemic could have been avoided,' Prof Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, told The Telegraph.

The professor believes that Chinese health authorities were dealt a 'remarkably strong hand of cards' in the early days of the virus breaking out.

'China is a country with significant capabilities, which could have advanced the knowledge and response more rapidly at the end of December 2019,' he added.

But he says any advantage was destroyed by a authoritarian political system that was not prepared for the emergency.

The pandemic dates back to when several of Wuhan's doctors at some of China's best hospitals discovered that a 'pneumonia of unknown etiology' in the city was showing sign of 'human-to-human' transmission.

Experts had feared that the virus was linked to the SARS coronavirus that plagued East Asia between 2002 and 2004. On doctor told the local Centre for Disease Control (CDC): 'It's a disease we've never encountered before, it's also a family [cluster of] infections. Something is definitely wrong!'

Coronavirus was confirmed by Vision Medicals, a lab based in Guangzhou, who tested 'Patient A' - a 65-year-old man with severe pneumonia and 'multiple scattered patchy faint opacities in both lungs'.

'Due to the sensitivity of the diagnostic results', the lab only confirmed the positive test result for a SARS-like coronavirus to the hospital over the phone and not in writing.

Doctors found it was 81 per cent similar to the first SARS coronavirus outbreak. And screenshots that appeared online showed the virus was instantly recognised as something that 'should be treated in the same class as the plague' in order to contain it.

Despite growing evidence pointing towards a possible pandemic, the local CDC was slow in its response.

Gao Fu, the director general of the national CDC, only head about the Wuhan outbreak via social media on December 30.

And while he acted swiftly with emergency responses, the next few weeks were marred by mistakes, censorship and political interests which failed to stop the virus spreading rampantly.

'The first week in January became a pivotal turning point for handling the outbreak. Just the wrong kind,' the book states. 'The failure to act before January 20 was monumental.'

One of the biggest mistakes was failing to respond to several cases in Wuhan that were not linked to the Huanan Seafood Market - the location of the first clusters.

Prof Yang suggests that when the market was therefore closed, people believed the virus was under control and the virus was able to spread amid a false sense of security.

Other factors that contributed to working against containing the virus was China's political tradition of suppressing information to maintain social stability.

'Clearly many [doctors] are heroes but, if you read between the lines, they also operated within constraints,' Prof Yang said.

'It's clearly not a black and white picture but shades of grey. Some of the most heroic doctors happened to be also ones who might not have spoken up like they could have. It's a very complicated picture.'

Doctors who did speak out were reprimanded by police and infections among hospital staff were covered up .

Even as Wuhan moved closer towards a lockdown, high-profile events such as Chinese New Year celebrations were still showcased to try and prove everything was under control.

It was Taiwan’s Dr Chuang Yin-ching who said the outbreak was much worse than feared on January 13 2020. When he returned, Taiwan issued a travel alert for Wuhan and tightened border controls.

But back in Wuhan, the severity of the virus continued to be downplayed and it was left to Dr Zhong Nanshan, 83, a trusted veteran of the first SARS epidemic, to warn that Covid was 'certainly transmissible from human to human'.

He confirmed that cases were being seen in Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, and Zhejiang and even abroad in Japan, South Korea and Thailand. At this point, China was put on alert and citizens were advised to wear face masks.

However, New Year celebrations still took place in the Wuhan and Hubei province, with residents invited to apply for 200,000 free passes to visit landmark sites. Local media praised performers for continuing despite being sick.

By the time Wuhan was sealed off from the rest of the world on January 23, some 500,000 people had left the country for the holidays.


Lockdowns may be GOOD for you

Strange findings

Lockdowns during the Covid pandemic led to two 'fascinating' changes in babies bodies that may have protected them against disease and allergies, a study has found.

Researchers from University College Cork in Ireland found that children born while the world was locked down during Covid had an altered gut microbiome - the ecosystem of 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in the gut that aid in digestion, destroys harmful bacteria and helps control the immune system.

The biome was found to be more beneficial in the infants.

Researchers believe this led 'Covid babies' to have lower than expected rates of allergic conditions, such as food allergies, compared to pre-pandemic babies, the scientists found.

They also required fewer antibiotics to treat illnesses.

Researchers analyzed fecal samples from 351 Irish babies born in the first three months of the pandemic, between March and May 2020, and compared them to samples from babies born before the pandemic.

Online questionnaires were used to collect information on diet, home environment and health to account for variables.

Stool samples were collected at six, 12 and 24 months and allergy testing was performed at 12 and 24 months.

The Covid newborns were found to have more of the beneficial microbes gained from their mother after birth, which could act as a defense against allergic diseases.

If individuals have a disrupted gut microbiome, this may lead to the development of food allergies.

Babies born in the pandemic had lower allergy rates: About five percent of the Covid babies had developed a food allergy at age one, compared to 22.8 percent in the pre-Covid babies.

Researchers said that mothers had passed on the beneficial microbes to their babies while pregnant, and they gained additional ones from the environment after they were born.

The study also found that babies born during lockdowns had fewer infections because they were not exposed to germs and bacteria.

This meant they needed fewer antibiotics - which kill good bacteria - leading to a better microbiome.

The lockdown babies were also breastfed for longer, which provided additional benefits.

Of the Covid babies, only 17 percent of infants required an antibiotic by one year of age.

In the pre-pandemic cohort, meanwhile, 80 percent of babies had taken antibiotics by 12 months.

This was 'fascinating outcome,' joint senior author Liam O'Mahony, professor of immunology at the University College Cork, said, and 'correlated with higher levels of beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria.'

Professor Jonathan Hourihane, consultant pediatrician at Children's Health Ireland Temple Street and joint senior author of the study, said: 'This study offers a new perspective on the impact of social isolation in early life on the gut microbiome.

'Notably, the lower allergy rates among newborns during the lockdown could highlight the impact of lifestyle and environmental factors, such as frequent antibiotic use, on the rise of allergic diseases.'

The researchers hope to re-examine the children when they are five years old to see if there are any long-term impacts of the early changes in gut microbiome.

The study was published in the journal Allergy.




Sunday, March 03, 2024

CDC Tracking BA.2.87.1, New Omicron Subvariant With Potential to Evade Immunity

Experts detected a strain of SARS-CoV-2 with more than 30 changes in its spike protein compared with Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced. The newer Omicron subvariant, known as BA.2.87.1, has infected at least 9 people in South Africa since September 2023. No cases have been reported in the US or outside South Africa, the CDC noted in its update.

The large number of changes in spike proteins raises the possibility that the new strain could escape the immunity people have acquired from vaccines or infection. Still, the relatively few cases suggest the variant is not highly transmissible right now.

Although the CDC is carefully monitoring the new strain, the agency expects that current vaccines and treatments will continue to be effective.


Scientist claims ‘smoking gun’ evidence COVID-19 intentionally created by researchers in Chinese lab

COVID-19 may have been created in a Chinese lab, a British professor told the UN Wednesday, with another expert claiming that evidence of the likelihood has reached “the level of a smoking gun.”

Richard H. Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, was quoted saying in a new Wall Street Journal article that the virus that killed millions around the world may actually have been manmade in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

He cited evidence found in a 2018 document from the lab that talked of making such a virus.

“[The document] elevates the evidence provided by the genome sequence from the level of noteworthy to the level of a smoking gun,” Ebright said in the piece by former New York Times editor Nicholas Wade.

The papers from the lab cited by Ebright contained drafts and notes regarding a grant proposal called Project DEFUSE, which sought to test engineering bat coronaviruses in a way that would make them more easily transmissible to humans.

The proposal was ultimately rejected and denied funding by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, but Wade suggested that their work could have been carried out by researchers in Wuhan who had secured Chinese government funding.

“Viruses made according to the DEFUSE protocol could have been available by the time Covid-19 broke out, sometime between August and November 2019,” wrote Wade, a former science editor of the New York Times.

“This would account for the otherwise unexplained timing of the pandemic along with its place of origin.”

Along with the research notes, Wade claimed the specific genetic structure of the coronavirus that allowed it to infect humans served as another strong indication of “the virus’s laboratory birth.”

“Whereas most viruses require repeated tries to switch from an animal host to people, SARS-CoV-2 infected humans out of the box, as if it had been preadapted while growing in the humanized mice called for in the DEFUSE protocol,” Wade wrote.

While scientists continue to debate whether the coronavirus pandemic was a natural occurrence or manmade, Ebright believed there was credibility that the work proposed by the now-controversial EcoHealth Alliance led to the development COVID-19.

Following the release of the 2018 documents — which were published by US Right to Know through a Freedom of Information Act request — Ebright said there was clearer evidence that the virus was manufactured in a lab, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The 2018 documents contained drafts and notes regarding Project DEFUSE and how to synthesize bat coronaviruses to make them more transmissible.

The researchers proposed introducing “appropriate human-specific cleavage sites” to the spike proteins of SARS-related viruses in the lab, the same method several biologists have said could have been used to synthesize the coronavirus that led to the pandemic.

According to the documents, the researchers had planned to conduct a portion of the research at the Wuhan lab where they noted that safety conditions were not up to US standards, to the point where they claimed American scientists would “likely freak out.”

While COVID-19’s origins remain a mystery, Dr. Filippa Lentzos, an associate professor of science and international security at King’s College London, said the world needed to acknowledge that the possibility exists that the virus was synthesized.

Speaking before the UN in New York on Wednesday, Lentzos presented the work of the Independent Task Force on Research with Pandemic Risks, which calls on scientists the world over to follow stricter regulations lest another worldwide breakout occur, the Telegraph reports.

“We have to acknowledge the fact that the pandemic could have started from some research-related incident,” Lentzos said.

“Are we going to find that out? In my view, I think it’s very unlikely that we will. We need to do better in the future,” she added. “We are going to see more ambiguous events.”


Angry nurses rally at Gold Coast University Hospital, demand jobs back

A vindictive bureaucracy at work. They don't like admitting that they were wrong

Dozens of placard-waving nurses and other healthcare workers took part in the rally outside Gold Coast University Hospital on Saturday.

It followed fury this week after The Courier-Mail revealed leaked Queensland Health emails telling a veteran nurse that “we are unable to re-employ any staff who were officially terminated” for refusing the jab.

Queensland Health boss Michael Walsh said the edict was incorrect and wrote to all hospital and health services in the state on Friday telling them there was no directive not to reinstate sacked workers.

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman this week repeatedly denied there were any barriers to hundreds of workers who refused to comply with the vaccination mandate from returning to work.

But nurses protesting on the Gold Coast said they were still struggling to get their jobs back.

They included 23-year veteran intensive care nurse Michelle Williams, who said she tried to reapply at the major hospital she was sacked from in 2021 but was told there were no vacancies - only to see a job ad for a position.

“It’s frustrating, it’s really frustrating,” she said. “Patients are suffering and they’ve got very junior staff looking after them. “There’s so many of us with so much experience and our experience is just going to waste.”

Ms Williams said Ms Fentiman needed to “stop lying to us”.

“We want to come back to work, we’ve done nothing wrong except not follow this one (vaccine) direction,” she said. “We’re not criminals. We’re people who love our jobs, we love looking after patients and we just want to help people. “We just want to come back to work and do what we love doing, and that’s helping people get better.”

Ella Leach, secretary of the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, said Ms Fentiman had not responded to an invitation to attend or at least endorse the rally.

Ms Leach said the minister had been sent the names and experience of 350 sacked health care workers who wanted to return and “Shannon should be reaching out to them directly” instead of making them reapply.

“There’s just zero excuse … we want her to take some actual action,” she said.

“These people were born to be nurses and health professionals - they want to work. It doesn’t make them happy hearing that the system’s crumbling, it makes them desperately angry and upset. “All they want to do is work.”

Ms Leach was herself sacked from Queensland Children’s Hospital for refusing the vaccine - in January this year, four months after the mandate was lifted, and despite being seven months’ pregnant. She launched unfair dismissal action against Queensland Health.

Ms Leach said many sacked healthcare workers who had reapplied for jobs with Queensland Health were still being rejected because of their “disciplinary action history” in refusing the vaccine.

“These people have decades of experience and they are desperately needed,” she said.

Ms Leach said 6000 nurses were predicted to retire in 2024 but Queensland Health was hiring nurses from interstate or overseas, with incentives of up to $70,000.