Thursday, March 14, 2024

‘Laissez-Faire’ Sweden Had the Lowest COVID Mortality in Europe

Gore Vidal once said “I told you so” are the four most beautiful words in the English language.

Perhaps this is why it’s difficult to resist sharing new data that show how Sweden’s much-maligned pandemic response was right after all.

For those who’ve forgotten, Sweden was excoriated by corporate media and US politicians for its lighter-touch Covid-19 strategy. Many were downright hostile to the Swedes for refusing to shutter schools, lock down businesses, and ramp up police to enforce mandates.

Here’s a sample of headlines:

• “Why the Swedish Model for Fighting COVID-19 Is a Disaster” (Time, October 2020).

• “The Inside Story of How Sweden Botched Its Coronavirus Response” (Foreign Policy, December 2020).

• “Sweden Stayed Open and More People Died of Covid-19, but the Real Reason May Be Something Darker” (Forbes, 2020).

• “Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale” (New York Times, July 2020).

• “I Just Came Home to Sweden. I’m Horrified by the Coronavirus Response Here” (Slate, April 2020).

This is just a taste of the reactions against Sweden in 2020. By opting to allow its 10 million citizens to continue living relatively normal lives, Sweden was, in the words of The Guardian, leading not just Swedes but the entire world “to catastrophe.”

Even then-president Trump got in on the action of smacking Sweden around.

“Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown,” the tweeter-in-chief warned.

Despite the foreboding rhetoric, the worst-case predictions for Sweden never materialized. In fact, they were not even close.

In March 2021, it was apparent that Sweden had a lower mortality rate than most European nations. The following year, Sweden boasted one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe.

By March 2023, Sweden had the lowest excess death rate in all of Europe, according to some data sets. And though some weren’t ready to admit that Sweden had the lowest excess mortality in all of Europe, even the New York Times, which had mocked Sweden’s pandemic strategy, conceded that the nation’s laissez-faire approach was hardly the disaster many had predicted.

More recently, Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg shared a statistical analysis based on government data from all European countries from January 2020 to August 2022. The study demonstrated that Sweden had the lowest cumulative age-standardized mortality rate in all of Europe in that period.

“Across Europe, Sweden saw [the] lowest total death during and after Covid,” Lomborg said on X (formerly Twitter).

One Economic Fallacy to Rule Them All

Lomborg’s analysis provides yet more evidence that the Covid state was a disaster.

Some will say, How could we have known?

The harsh truth is that some of us did know. In March 2020, I warned that government “cures” for Covid-19 were likely to be worse than the disease itself. The following month, I argued that Sweden’s laissez-faire policy was likely to be a more effective policy than the hardline approach favored by other nations.

I wrote these things not because I’m a prophet, but because I’ve read a bit of history and understand basic economics.

History shows that collective responses during panics tend not to end well, and economist Antony Davies and political scientist James Harrigan explained why near the beginning of the pandemic.

“In times of crisis, people want someone to do something, and don’t want to hear about tradeoffs,” the authors noted. “This is the breeding ground for grand policies driven by the mantra, ‘if it saves just one life.’”

The thing is, tradeoffs are real. Indeed, economics is largely a study of them. When you choose one thing, you give up another; and we evaluate outcomes based on what we get versus what we gave up. We call this opportunity cost.

Throughout most of the pandemic, however, there were those who didn’t want to pay any attention to opportunity costs or the unintended consequences of government lockdowns—and they were legion.

This is the great economic fallacy Henry Hazlitt warned of decades ago.

Hazlitt, the author of Economics in One Lesson, claimed that overlooking the secondary consequences of policies accounted for “nine-tenths” of the economic fallacies in the world.

“[There is] a persistent tendency of men to see only the immediate effects of a given policy,” he wrote, “and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be.”

This was the fatal flaw—quite literally—of the Covid state. Its engineers didn’t realize they were not saving lives, but trading lives (to borrow a turn of phrase from Harrigan and Davies).

Lockdowns weren’t scientific and proved ineffective at slowing the spread of Covid, but even if they had worked, they came with severe collateral damage: cancer screenings plummeted, drug use surged, learning was lost, and global poverty exploded. Depression and unemployment skyrocketed, businesses went bankrupt, and high inflation arrived. Babies were denied heart surgery because of travel restrictions, youth suicides increased…the list goes on and on.

The dark truth is that lockdowns were not based on science and came with a rather unfortunate side effect: they killed people.

‘A Giant Experiment’

The secondary consequences of lockdowns and other non-pharmacological interventions (NPIs) did irreparable harm to humans that will be experienced for decades to come.

In the words of New York magazine, lockdowns were “a giant experiment” that failed.

Sweden’s top infectious disease expert, Anders Tegnell, was one of the few people to understand that lockdowns would probably not work. And though Tegnell is not a professional economist, he seemed to understand the lesson of secondary consequences better than many economists.

“The effects of different strategies, lockdowns, and other measures, are much more complex than we understand today,” he told Reuters in 2020, when his strategy was under fire.

By understanding this basic economic principle and having the courage to stand by his convictions, Tegnell was able to avoid the pernicious effects of lockdowns, a policy that seduced so many central planners.

Today, many more people in Sweden are alive because of it. And Anders Tegnell should not be shy in saying, “I told you so.”


Court Strikes Down $3,000 Fine for Person Trying to Leave City During Pandemic

The NSW Supreme Court has found that a $3,000 fine for leaving Greater Sydney without a permit in 2021 was unlawful, casting doubt on the validity of around 30,000 similar fines issued during the pandemic.

This is the second such ruling.

The state’s Revenue NSW, however, says it will not withdraw the fines and, will instead, treat each one on a “case-by-case basis,” likely meaning those fined will need to argue their case with the government and potentially take the matter to court.

The case centred on a $3,000 fine imposed on Angelika Kosciolek for leaving Greater Sydney in 2021. She was homeless and made plans to travel to South Australia after being offered accommodation there.

But Justice Desmond Fagan said fines issued during COVID-19 must pass the “bare minimum test,” established in a 2022 Supreme Court ruling. That ruling said that for a fine to be valid, the penalty notice must clearly state the relevant Act, and the provision related to the offence.

Ms. Kosciolek’s fine was found to have not passed that test, and the Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) said most COVID-19 fines also failed to precisely state which laws had been broken.

‘Withdraw and Repay’: Redfern Legal Centre

“If a COVID fine fails to state the specific offence, the fine is invalid,” Samantha Lee, senior solicitor at the Centre, said. “RLC considers that the judgment supports the conclusion that the remaining COVID fines are invalid and urges Revenue NSW to withdraw and repay the 29,000 remaining fines.”

Yet Commissioner of Fines Administration Scott Johnston, from Revenue NSW, told a Budget Estimates hearing that it would not be withdrawing any of the remaining fines, but will continue to “review and treat every matter on a case-by-case basis.”

However, Ms. Lee urged Mr. Johnston to “come to his senses.”

“The commissioner is refusing to honour a supreme court judgement and do the right thing and give people back their money and withdraw these fines that don’t meet the legal requirements,” she said. “We’re giving the commissioner time to come to his senses and make the right decision to withdraw these fines. If not, then watch this space.”

More than 33,000 COVID fines, worth millions of dollars, were cancelled after a NSW Supreme Court ruling in 2022 found that details of the offences were insufficient.

In that instance, Revenue NSW withdrew 33,121 fines, meaning roughly half of the 62,138 COVID-related infringement notices issued in the state during the pandemic were invalid. However, it emphasised that the decision to withdraw the fines did not mean the offences had not been committed.




Wednesday, March 13, 2024

New Zealand regulator ignored vaccine risks

The life of Ray Avery, a New Zealand-based scientist could come right out of a Hollywood screenplay. It is a rags to global influencer story. Known as “Sir Ray,” he heads the Sir Ray Foundation. The author of two books including the bestselling autobiography “Rebel with Cause", chronicling his life from orphaned and homeless street-kid in England to actual Kiwi Knighthood.

The scientist, social activist, inventor and much more, Sir Ray founded Medicine Mondial, an independent agency focused on improving the lives of impoverished people around the world via distribution of high quality healthcare technology. In 2011, Sir Ray was honored as a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand.

Recently TrialSite featured Sir Ray’s thoughts on the World Health Organization (WHO), and how it was never really possible to think the non-governmental organization funded by governments and wealthy donors could contain a global pandemic.

Now Sir Ray goes on the record, in the professional network LinkedIn to remind all that side effects linked to the COVID-19 vaccine are systematically ignored according to a response from the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Medsafe (New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority).

Reminding all about the role and importance of post marketing surveillance and ongoing monitoring of medicinal products once they reach the market after clinical trials. This includes the ongoing evaluation of vaccines for example, taken by individuals under a wide range of circumstances over an extended period of time.

According to Sir Ray, such surveillance “must be conducted in perpetuum by the vaccine manufacturer to determine any long term adverse clinical effects due to the medicine and above all to validate the long-term safety and efficacy of the medicine.”

It is an important topic given rare but real side effects such as the incident with 26-year-old male Rory Nairn who died after receiving the Pfizer mRNA-based BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine. This incident was reported in the Kiwi mainstream media such as 1 News.

In New Zealand, where Sir Ray resides, such tragic adverse event reports and records derive from The New Zealand Medsafe. The website states:

“Anyone living in New Zealand who thinks they may have experienced an adverse reaction due to a medicine or vaccine can report it. You do not need to be a healthcare professional to report an adverse reaction.”

According to Sir Ray, “Medsafe collects and processes suspected adverse reaction reports and the physicians at the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) medically assess non-routine reports.”

According to Medsafe’s website on the topic of Post-marketing surveillance:

“Post-marketing surveillance monitors the safety of medicines and medical devices in use. Products shown to be unsafe are removed from use, and prescribers are advised about new safety information for products. Post-marketing surveillance is achieved through activities such as:

monitoring adverse reactions to medicines used in New Zealand and monitoring the international literature and other information sources.

testing marketed medicines against product quality standards.
handling complaints and investigations; and
auditing and licensing medicine manufacturers.

Filing for OIA Request: Are they doing their job?

Under the Official Information Act (OIA) request, Sir Ray requested Medsafe to provide the number of adverse clinical events recorded for each Batch of Pfizer vaccine administered in NZ.

The New Zealand Government’s official response:

“Medsafe does not hold information on all recorded adverse events for medicines as these may be recorded in a patient’s notes but not reported to CARM, and the batch may not be recorded. Therefore, this part of your request is refused under section 18(g)(i) of the Act, as the information requested is not held by the Ministry and there are no grounds for believing it is held by another agency subject to the Act.


Sir Ray informs, “So, in plain English, no one in Medsafe or any medical related agency in NZ is monitoring and recording all serious adverse effects to individual Pfizer vaccine batches in NZ and many patient notes are not routinely reported to CARM – the Medsafe Adverse Drug reactions database.”

Truly Troubling if True Reality

It is a troubling finding to say the least if fully verified. Sir Ray learns that since adverse clinical reactions in the original Pfizer trial were only followed up for two months, and as a consequence of that fact, post marketing surveillance of any serious adverse reactions to the vaccine becomes absolutely vital to demonstrate the long-term clinical safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, BNT162b2, developed in partnership with BioNTech from Germany.

Yet what Sir Ray has learned is that the New Zealand Government is failing to follow decades of obligation to ensure patient safety, not systematically monitoring recording all Kiwi-related serious adverse effects to individual Pfizer vaccine batches, plus the many patient notes are not routinely reported to CARM – the Medsafe Adverse Drug reactions database.

According to Sir Ray, “If you don’t measure it, you don’t know it is safe.”

TrialSite has sent an email request to the Group Manager via multiple email contact addresses for clarification from the agency’s point of view.

A Message to New Zealand Ministry of Health

The health-related activist, philanthropist and entrepreneur has a serious message for the New Zealand government agencies responsible for this terrible gap in responsibility:

“I urge Medsafe and the MOH to put in place an effective post marketing surveillance system to record ALL batch related adverse clinical effects due to the Pfizer Covid Vaccination.”

Sir Ray’s request in actuality represents a mandatory requirement for a pharmaceutical companies to gain and maintain ISO 13485 Certification to ensure the safety of the products that they manufacture, but they can only act of the feedback from Medsafe and New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.

More on Medsafe

Medsafe is the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It is a business unit of the Ministry of Health and is the authority responsible for the regulation of therapeutic products in New Zealand.

With 60 operating staff and 2 offices according to the agency’s website, their mission is “To enhance the health of New Zealanders by regulating medicines and medical devices to maximise safety and benefit.”

It would appear the agency falls short of their responsibility and their mission based on Sir Ray’s investigational probing.

Who is running this agency?

Although the agency makes it very difficult to find what individuals actually fill the roles in the org chart below, TrialSite found that Christopher James runs Medsafe as Group Manager. A pediatric pharmacist by training, according to Mr. James’ own LinkedIn profile he has spent 17.5 years at the Ministry of Health New Zealand, serving as Group Manager for MedSafe Group Manager since 2015.

TrialSite reached out to Christopher James requesting that he respond and clarify on Sir Ray’s allegations. Any response will contribute to an updated article.


Does COVID-19 Vaccination Lower the Risk of Long-COVID?

The global healthcare system has faced numerous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with long COVID emerging as a major concern—the enduring, long-term effects of COVID-19 infection. Despite these challenges, Scientific American reported that the impact would have been more severe without vaccines. A consensus is emerging that individuals receiving higher doses of COVID-19 vaccines prior to infection experience a reduced risk of developing long COVID. This article will analyze this claim. TrialSite previously reported on the findings of a Nature article which purportedly provided evidence that COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of long-COVID in children and adolescents.

Long-COVID, also called post-COVID-19 conditions (PCC), is a condition in which individuals continue to experience a range of symptoms over an extended period after their initial COVID-19 infection. These can affect various parts of the body and can last for months and even years. Common symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, depression, and anxiety. According to an article by The Lancet, over 200 million people will develop the condition worldwide.

Vaccines may reduce the risk of long COVID

Studies highlighted by Scientific American shed light on the intricate interplay between vaccination and long COVID.

One was an observational cohort study published by JAMA in July 2022. The study included 2560 participants out of which 29% experienced COVID-19 and about 31% of those experienced long-COVID. Among unvaccinated individuals, the prevalence of long-COVID was 41.8%, while in vaccinated individuals, it was 30% with one dose, 17.4% with two doses, and 16% with three doses. Importantly limitations accompany this study, and the observational study cannot prove causation.

A systematic literature review published in Cambridge University Press in December 2022 concluded that receiving COVID-19 vaccination before or after getting an infection plays a major role in reducing post-COVID-19 conditions. This evaluation was based on ten studies with over 1.6M individuals. The vaccine efficacy in preventing long-COVID was 35.3% among individuals who received vaccination before infection and 27.4% among those who received vaccines after getting infected with SARS-CoV-2.

A meta-analysis published in the same journal in October 2023 was performed to investigate the long-term effects of vaccines on individuals. This analysis was based on 24 articles. The efficacy of vaccines against long-COVID was 36.9% among those individuals who received two doses before COVID-19 infection and 68.7% among those who received three doses before getting the infection. However, the analysis indicated that the vaccines did not protect from long-COVID symptoms for those who received vaccination after getting the infection. Ironically, some studies show that a combination of infection plus full vaccination (hybrid immunity) represents the strongest protection against future symptomatic COVID-19.

Another population-based cohort study was published in November 2023 by BMJ. This study was based on almost 600,000 individuals split into two approximately equal groups: one set that got vaccinated before getting an infection and the other that was unvaccinated at the time of infection. People who received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine were 21% less likely to develop long-COVID symptoms. Having two and three doses of vaccine reduced the risk by 59% and 73% respectively. Based on the study results which are associated with its own limitations, the involved researchers suggest the more vaccine doses an individual gets, the more protection from long-COVID symptoms is observed.

Mixed effects of vaccines on long COVID symptoms

In addition to the peer-reviewed articles and meta-analyses looking at the incidence of long COVID, several studies have examined the effect of vaccines on the symptoms experienced by patients.

A study published in 2021 in the journal Vaccines was based on a survey of 396 patients who received at least one dose of vaccine within a year of becoming infected with COVID-19. Persistent symptoms at the time of vaccination were reported in 380 patients. After vaccination, 201 patients reported a change in their symptoms: 21.8% experienced improvement while 31% experienced worsening of symptoms, regardless of the vaccine type used.

Another study, published in the Journal of Medical Virology in 2022, investigated the changes in long COVID symptoms in COVID-19 patients after getting vaccinated. It reported a different conclusion. They evaluated the symptoms of 42 patients before and 14–21 days after their first dose of the vaccine. Results showed that the symptoms in 61.9% of patients remained unchanged, improved in 16.7%, and worsened in 21.4%. Importantly, the group that experienced worsening symptoms had higher antibody levels. The authors suggested that the vaccine might trigger an overly strong immune response that leads to the worsening of symptoms in long-COVID patients. They concluded that there is a need for careful monitoring to handle the additional concerns that may arise.

An observational study published by JIM in July 2023 aimed to examine the COVID-19 vaccine's potential to change the clinical presentation of long COVID. This study involved 477 individuals, of whom 245 were vaccinated. The results indicated that vaccinated people experienced fewer symptoms compared to unvaccinated individuals. The symptoms reduced with vaccination included abdominal pain, anosmia (loss of sense of smell), parosmia (distorted sense of smell), chest pain, dyspnea (shortness of breath), numbness, dizziness, and weakness.




Tuesday, March 12, 2024

According to Documents, Amazon “Felt Pressured” by White House to Censor COVID-19 Vaccine Books During Pandemic

In the midst of the Covid Pandemic, there was no question the Biden White House was deeply involved with Big Pharma to the point where a “Covid Summit” was held in the president’s residence. The event included all the major players who pushed the Covid vaccines, including Dr. Ashish Jah, who was the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Dr. Anthony Fauci then director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Dr. Francis Collins the former head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Also in attendance were the representatives of pharmaceutical companies, including Moderna and Pfizer.

When Dr. Fauci addressed the summit, he pointed out that “vaccines have saved over 2 million lives and prevented 17 million hospitalizations,” and the emphasis on the summit was how vaccines will be developed and distributed. The summit extolled the virtues of the COVID-19 vaccine and was all in with Big Pharma, but how far did the Biden Administration go with their support of their Covid policy? Last month, it was revealed the White House may have ventured into censorship.

Email Trove

In early February, Congressman Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee obtained internal emails from the White House which indicated that in early 2021, the Biden Administration pressured Amazon to censor books related to the COVID-19 vaccines. The White House was concerned the books available on the shopping site contained “propaganda” and “misinformation.” Andrew Slavitt, a former White House senior advisor on COVID-19, wrote in an email, “Who can we talk to about the high levels of propaganda and misinformation and disinformation of [sic] Amazon? If you search for ‘vaccines’ under books, I see what comes up,” Slavitt wrote in a follow-up message the same day. “I haven’t looked beyond that but if that’s what’s on the surface, it’s concerning.”

Jordan has called the email trove “The Amazon Files” and said, "Never-before-released internal emails subpoenaed by [House Republicans] reveal that the Biden White House pressured Amazon to censor books that expressed views the White House did not approve of." On his X account, Jordan added, “Why was the Biden White House so upset with Amazon? Because Amazon believed retailers are different than social media communities and provided their customers with access to a variety of viewpoints.” “For the Biden Admin, letting Americans think for themselves was unacceptable.”

Amazon Resisted, At First

In an email between Amazon executives, the White House idea of censorship was initially rebuffed. "We will not be doing a manual intervention today," one email said. "The team/PR feels very strongly that it is too visible and will further compound the Harry/Sally narrative (which is getting the Fox News treatment today apparently) and won’t fix the problem long-term … because of customer behavior associates." The company sought not to attract attention regarding the government’s concern but later met with officials because Amazon was “feeling pressure from the White House” and finally agreed to meet with administration officials. Later, Amazon instituted a "Do Not Promote" policy for books that were skeptical of vaccines.

TrialSite has experienced censorship during the COVID-19 pandemic firsthand, and this is why among other things the media company agreed to file a lawsuit along with presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy Jr against the Trusted News Initiative. See the link.

While TrialSite is an independent platform, censorship occurred when we shared information on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. In all cases, TrialSite shared factual information that was censored, nonetheless. The situation has worsened. Now, on YouTube, if the World Health Organization hasn’t blessed the topic, then YouTube will censor it, even if the news story is factual!

An example is the mass litigation against the HPV vaccine Gardasil manufactured by Merck. A TrialSite News story about the lawsuit was censored on YouTube, even though it was a 100% factual story. Why the censorship? Because the WHO hasn’t addressed the Gardasil lawsuit topic, and that means it's labeled as “Mal-information!” Anyone using their critical thinking skills can see it’s a slippery slope toward fascism.

Back to the nationwide censorship during the pandemic, in a statement, the Biden Administration defended its actions, saying, "When confronted with a deadly pandemic, this Administration encouraged responsible actions to protect public health and safety. But our position has been clear and consistent: Although we believe tech companies and other private actors should take account of the effects their actions are having on the American people; they make independent choices about the information they promote."

But apparently, there are First Amendment questions. Jim Jordan is the chairperson of the House Judiciary Committee and Weaponization subcommittee and said he will hold investigations into how the White House dealt with Amazon.

And, this isn’t the first time the Biden Administration has had issues regarding online content about the Covid Pandemic. In Missouri v. Biden three doctors, a news website, a healthcare activist, and two states, had posts and stories removed or downgraded by platforms. The plaintiffs’ content touched on a host of divisive topics like the COVID-19 lab leak theory. They claim the government stifled their free speech, so they sued government officials for violations of their First Amendment rights. The case implicates the executive and other branches of the government’s ability to impose policies and opinions, not through legislation but through verbal persuasion and “jawboning”. The Supreme Court has already started hearing cases regarding the First Amendment and whether or not online content can be edited.

But the question here remains, regardless of motivation, did the Biden Administration cross the First Amendment line with their “concern” for the American public? Based on information coming out of discovery from trials such as Missouri and our own experience, we’d have to say, unfortunately, our own government is, in some cases, spreading misinformation in a bid to disrupt the expression of accurate information. That’s not to say that there is not a whole lot of garbage mis- and disinformation on X, formerly Twitter, for example. There is that as well. It’s ugly out there


Court Finds Emergency Doctor Guilty of Misconduct for Questioning COVID Vaccine

Must not mention clinical experience?

A junior emergency room doctor in Western Australia has been found guilty of professional misconduct after giving a series of speeches and interviews critical of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and questioning the safety of the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr. Mitch Sambell, who has not practiced medicine since April 2023, has had his registration suspended for three months, and will be subject to a 12-month mentorship by another doctor.

Further, he has been ordered to pay a contribution of $2,500 toward the costs of the Medical Board of Australia, which sought review by the State Administrative Tribunal.

In a schedule of agreed facts, Dr. Sambell admitted to telling an interviewer that administering the vaccine to the wider populations was “at best manslaughter, and at worst, like, outright murder.”

He also described the director-general of the World Health Organisation as a “communist.” That interview was published on a video platform, Rumble, titled “Medical Cover-Up in Australia—Albany Doctor Speaks Out.”

ED was ‘Flooded’

When asked by the interviewer, “Could you confidently say that people died in Australia from the vax jab?'’

Dr Samball responded, “Oh, a 100 percent. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in ED. I saw so many people die in the hospital, so many people. I’ve got people who are 40 that have heart failure after taking this vaccine ...”

“When it started getting rolled out I started seeing ED just got flooded; our hospital was at 117 percent pretty much all the time. And people say, ‘Oh it’s just a lack of staff, it’s flu season,’ but it wasn’t. We rolled out an experimental therapy to supposedly 95 percent of the population, and then our healthcare system couldn’t cope.”

He noted that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has threatened disciplinary action against medical professionals who spoke out against the vaccine and said: “The truth always come out. And you can hide, and you can use your money, and you can manipulate things, but when people find out, you’re in big trouble.”

Dr. Samball repeated similar views at a public meeting in the Shire of Denmark in Western Australia in March 2022, saying, “If you are injected you can still acquire and spread the disease, so why are we allowing this issue to tear apart families, destroy businesses, and ultimately remove people’s ability to choose a medical intervention without coercion, and therefore consent? ... I’m disgusted that the career I love has been used to destroy people’s lives, and honestly I’m ashamed to be called a doctor.”

The State Administrative Tribunal found these remarks “legitimised anti-vaccination sentiments and/or were contrary to accepted medical practice and/or were untrue or misleading,” they were also “designed to, or had the potential to, undermine public trust in the medical profession” and were inconsistent with the Code of Practice with which doctors are expected to abide.

In setting the penalty, the Tribunal noted that Dr. Samball had no previous disciplinary history, has made no public comment on the issue since 2022, and had “shown insight and remorse.”

The ruling has been criticised by newly appointed One Nation member and former Liberal Party MP, Craig Kelly, who said on social media it was “Medical Fascism in Action” and that “Australia is officially a medical fascist state.”


Monday, March 11, 2024

Colchicine saved lives among people with Acute COVID-19 -- a 32% Reduction in Mortality

Colchicine is normally used for the treatment and prevention of gout. It reduces inflammation which causes pain, swelling and other symptoms of gout. From the early days of the pandemic, some doctors have prescribed it to help with Covid

Umbrella reviews (sometimes called ‘overview of systematic reviews’, ‘overview’, ‘review of reviews’, etc) are a new type of meta-evidence synthesis that has emerged in recent years to provide a bird’s eye summary on a wide body of evidence on a determinate topic.5 6 Overall, umbrella reviews provide a single document that synthesizes an extensive body of information that could not be generated within a single publication for feasibility reasons and that direct readers to the current best evidence.

Danjuma et al performed an umbrella review of the meta-analyses summarizing the oral colchicine trials in acute COVID-19. Colchicine has been in the McCullough Protocol since 2020. The authors main findings were:

We included eighteen meta-analyses (n = 199,932 participants) in this umbrella review. Colchicine exposure was associated with an overall reduction of about 32% in the risk of mortality (odds ratio 0.68, confidence interval [CI] 0.58-0.78; I2 = 94%, p = 0.001). Further examination of pooled estimates of mortality outcomes by the quality effects model (corrected for the methodological quality and risk of bias of the constituent reviews) reported similar point estimates (OR 0.73; CI 0.59 to 0.91; I2 = 94%).

This is great news for those who were prescribed and took colchicine during the acute phase particularly early in the pandemic. The drug reduces inflammation in the chest an is commonly used now for myopericarditis, long-COVID, and other vaccine injury syndromes. Colchicine has a well-characterized safety profile.


Hearing Delayed Again for BC Doctor Accused by College of COVID Vaccine Misinformation

WHITE ROCK, B.C.—The B.C. regulatory body for doctors has again postponed a disciplinary hearing for a member accused of spreading “misleading, incorrect, or inflammatory” information in 2021 about COVID-19 vaccines and the government’s pandemic response.

After having his earlier Feb. 13, 2023, hearing postponed, Dr. Charles Hoffe was rescheduled to appear on March 4–15 before the Discipline Committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

However, on Feb. 16, nine businesses days before the hearing, the college submitted “a 189-page application, referencing 43 case authorities and over 40 new documents, totaling in excess of a thousand pages,” Dr. Hoffe’s lawyer, Lee Turner, told The Epoch Times in an email.

Because he wouldn’t have proper time to review the materials, Mr. Turner asked for an adjournment, and the college agreed.

The college has posted a notification of the adjournment on its website, but no new hearing date was provided.
Mr. Turner said he was subsequently informed that the college had applied for judicial notice—a rule surrounding evidence where, if some information is deemed commonly understood as fact, a judge can acknowledge it as such without requiring evidence to be provided and proven in court.

‘Entirely Inappropriate’: BC Government’s Proposed Changes to Oversight of Regulated Health Professions Draws Criticism
“The College alleges that the facts they seek judicial notice of are so notoriously known and well accepted that no reasonable person would dispute them,” Mr. Turner wrote, adding, “The importance of such an application is obvious, as Dr. Hoffe disputes the facts alleged by the College.”

Dr. Hoffe told The Epoch Times that if the request is granted, he would have no defence, as “the fact that they’re applying for judicial notice means they are trying to block me from being able to defend myself.”

“If the disciplinary panel grants judicial notice, they are saying that all of the facts stated by the College are indisputable and there’s no debate,” he said, and thus, effectively, “there’s no trial, because I can’t give any defence.”

In an email to The Epoch Times, the college confirmed that it hasn’t rescheduled the hearing and that it would not comment on the proceedings as they remain unsettled.

‘We’re Not Scientists’

Barry Bussey, a partner with law firm Bussey Ainsworth and president of the not-for-profit First Freedoms Foundation, said the rule of judicial notice has merit but its implementation should have a much higher standard than what he’s seen in recent years, especially regarding information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In Canada, we have yet to have a court that challenges the public health narrative that the government has been using,” he said.

Mr. Bussey said what’s most frustrating for him is that tribunals or courts “give a path to who they’ve determined are the experts” concerning COVID.

“We give deference to the experts they have, and what the courts have often said under the COVID regime is ‘We’re not scientists. We’re not physicians. We’re not public health. We are judges, and therefore, who are we to question the experts?’ And yet, judges do it all the time.”

One recent case is that of Dr. Mark Trozzi, an Ontario physician who had expressed concerns about the safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccination and in January had his medical licence revoked. This came after the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal ruled in October 2023 that he “engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct” and “failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession.”

In its ruling, the tribunal said it “relies on Health Canada regulatory approval of the COVID-19 vaccines as evidence of their safety and effectiveness,” adding that “judicial notice should be taken of regulatory approval, and regulatory approval is a strong indicator of safety and effectiveness.”

The tribunal also cited an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in February 2023 on a different case related to COVID vaccination, which said, “It is not the subject of dispute among reasonable people that Health Canada has, in the area of safety and efficacy of medical treatment, ‘special knowledge … going beyond that of the trier of fact.’”

The Court of Appeal ruling attributed the “special knowledge” quotation to an even earlier ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, from 1993, and added: “Requiring that opinion to be tendered viva voce in every case via live, human experts would be— especially in family court—unnecessarily burdensome.”

‘A Serious Issue’

However, in another COVID-19 vaccination case decided by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in August 2022, the judge said he was not comfortable accepting government information and opinion on COVID vaccines as safe and effective for children, and therefore, judicial notice could not be used.
As part of his decision, Justice Corkery outlined how judicial notice regarding COVID vaccine safety had been taken in several court cases to date but refused in others.

“The issue before the court in taking judicial notice of scientific facts is not assessing whether the science is ‘fake science,’ but whether scientific facts that would normally require expert opinion to be admitted, may be judicially noticed without proof,” he wrote.

“The science relating to COVID-19 is developing. The ‘facts’ are changing,” he added, saying, “I am not prepared to take judicial notice of any government information with respect to COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccines.”

Balancing whether a court or tribunal takes judicial notice amid a contested set of facts demands an even higher level of scrutiny, particularly when someone’s career is at stake, says Marty Moore, litigation director with Charter Advocates Canada.

“I would expect that judicial notice needs to be applied robustly in either sense, especially when you’re prosecuting a doctor,” Mr. Moore told The Epoch Times.

“The potential consequence of removing a licence—a serious issue—needs to be dealt with requiring fairness to the individual. And if you’re going to say you can only challenge the facts that we allow you to challenge, that’s obviously not a fair process.”

‘Decisions Based Upon Ideology or Partisanship’

Leighton Grey, senior partner with Grey Wowk Spencer LLP, says he believes judicial notice has been overused in cases related to vaccines and government measures applied to the public.
In emails to The Epoch Times, he described how he feels judicial notice has been misused and how Dr. Hoffe’s hearing may be challenging for the doctor.

“Judicial notice is where the court regards as proven a fact that could not possibly be disputed,” Mr. Grey wrote.

“Courts did this throughout the pandemic in relation to the government and mass media COVID narratives such as ‘vaccines are safe and effective.’ I am speaking of how courts repeatedly accepted the government narrative about COVID-19 and ‘vaccines,’ and that they continue to do so. Rather than being a Constitutional check upon government overreach, they became a branch of the administrative state.”

Noting that Dr. Hoffe has to first defend himself at an administrative tribunal, Mr. Grey said winning the battle against judicial notice is only his first hurdle.

“The other problem with administrative tribunals is that they are populated by persons appointed by government for their politics, so that they will render decisions based upon ideology or partisanship,” Mr. Grey said.

“It may very well be that Dr. Hoffe is dealing with just such a situation,” he added.

Dr. Hoffe says he began noticing patients experiencing severe adverse events from the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine injections at his practice in the rural town of Lytton, B.C., in early 2021, shortly after the vaccine rollout. He reported these reactions to other medical personnel in his community, but was quickly rebuked by Interior Health, the provincial health authority that oversees his area, and asked not to direct his concerns to his colleagues.

After Interior Health ignored his repeated requests to address his concerns, he went public with an open letter to B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry in April 2021. Interior Health responded by removing his hospital privileges.
Then in February 2022, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. issued a citation against him.

The college alleged that he “contravened standards imposed under the Health Professions Act, including but not limited to the Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics and Professionalism by publishing statements on social media and other digital platforms that were misleading, incorrect or inflammatory about vaccinations, treatments, and public measures relating to COVID-19.”




Sunday, March 10, 2024

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate in Place Without Evidence

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

“The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

“By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

“This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”


BMI, Inflammation and Cognitive Damage in Long-COVID: Findings from Vortioxetine Trial

A new study suggests that the antidepressant Vortioxetine may improve cognitive function in long COVID patients, especially those with elevated BMI. The findings underscore the interconnected impact of inflammation, metabolism, and obesity on cognitive health in post-COVID syndrome.

Up to 20% of COVID-19 cases may develop post-COVID-19 syndrome (PCC), otherwise known as long-COVID. PCC is characterized by persistent symptoms for at least two months following infection, with cognitive impairment being among the most common. This includes difficulty focusing and memory and is often described as “brain fog.”

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes cognitive impairment in PCC, but it’s suggested that disruptions in inflammation–the body’s natural defense system–may lead to immune cells attacking and damaging neural circuits. Dysfunction in metabolism, energy production, may also play a role. 

With obesity being a major risk factor in long COVID, a recent study sought to characterize the relationship between body mass index (BMI), metabolic disruption, inflammation, and cognitive impairment in long COVID patients. 

The patients were part of a randomized control trial investigating the usefulness of Vortioxetine, an antidepressant, to treat long COVID-related cognitive impairment. The research team was based at the University of Toronto, and led by Professor Roger McIntyre from the University’s Psychiatry and Pharmacology unit. 

Half of the 149 Canadian patients were treated with Vortioxetine and the other half with a placebo over the course of eight weeks. The researchers explained that “vortioxetine has immunomodulatory and antioxidative properties that are relevant to the neurobiology of PCC.” As well as cognitive symptoms, studies show vortioxetine could also help mood and physical symptoms of long COVID, including sleep problems, depression, and anxiety, though it’s not an approved treatment. 

By the end of the treatment, there was an overall improvement in cognitive function but little difference between the groups. However, if vortioxetine-treated participants had high levels of inflammation, metabolic disruption, and elevated BMI, their cognition improved more significantly than the placebo group.

“We hypothesize that individuals with these factors may positively respond to vortioxetine treatment, potentially showing a distinct treatment response profile. Larger studies with predefined variables are required to validate these hypotheses,” the authors wrote. 

The researchers also showed that those with high levels of inflammation and insulin resistance had higher levels of cognitive impairment. Insulin resistance is a defining feature of diabetes and is when cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin, leading to impaired glucose uptake and potential disruptions in metabolic health.

 “Our data are consistent with a compelling body of evidence showing that disruptions in inflammation, metabolic function and obesity hazardously affect brain health, increasing susceptibility to central nervous system and psychiatric disorders,” they wrote. 

However, they noted there were several limitations to their study. For instance, they only used one measure for inflammation,  the production of C-reactive protein (CRP) which increases in the liver as part of an inflammatory response. They wrote, “We only used one variable (e.g., TGHDL) as a proxy measure for metabolism and CRP for inflammation, which is a nonspecific marker that can be elevated for reasons unrelated to disease.”

In line with the findings, several studies show that inflammation and metabolic disruption alter nerve pathways and processes in the brain associated with cognition. For instance, one animal experiment showed that over-inflammation could inhibit neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is essential for learning and memory. Moreover, insulin resistance and impaired energy production in nerve cells is thought to explain why those with type 2 diabetes often experience cognitive difficulties.

Based on this science, a research team from the University of Glasgow is currently investigating whether a weight loss management program could improve symptoms in long COVID patients. The research team will work closely with overweight people who are experiencing long COVID to adapt and evaluate the weight management program, which can be followed remotely from home. 

“This package of research will provide much needed hope to people with long-term health problems after COVID-19, accelerating development of new ways to diagnose and treat long COVID, as well as how to configure healthcare services to provide the absolute best care,” described Professor Nick Lemoine, Chair of NIHR’s long COVID funding committee and study contributor in a press release.

Going forward, the authors of the current study recommend that further studies should validate their findings on the interrelationship between inflammation, metabolism, BMI, and long COVID. “If confirmed, these results could open promising avenues for therapeutic interventions targeting inflammation and metabolism, aiming to alleviate symptoms and reduce the overall disease burden,” they wrote. 

They also suggested clinicians supporting long COVID patients should be cautious about and monitor the patients’ metabolic functions.