Vaccine Segregation Continues: Is A "Fourth Wave" Set To Be Blamed On The "Anti-Vaxxers"?
Update Aug 26th 2021: Updates made to VAERS numbers to include potential unreliability in injury reporting. Further reporting added to discuss vaccine adverse event risk. Increased clarity on COVID risks added as well.
Is a fourth wave of COVID-19 upon us? Virus outbreaks have long been blamed on people who choose not to vaccinate, or on children who are not vaccinated.
The push to have every single person vaccinated has never been so strong. The messaging is everywhere and campaigns to coerce people who remain hesitant are apparent. Right now there are certain rights and freedoms, that existed prior to the pandemic, that may be removed for people who do not take the jab. People wonder if they will lose their ability to travel, work, go to school, and/or participate in certain recreational activities, like going to a hockey game.
But how far can people be pushed? Is it possible those who believe in mass vaccination could, en masse, support the loss of rights and freedoms for those who choose not to vaccinate?
We have to come to understand one another, and to do so, we have to listen. There are many legitimate reasons for why millions people remain hesitant about COVID vaccines. For people who decide it's the right move for them, that's great, but who is speaking up for the other group? Isn't freedom of choice something for all of us, on both sides of any issue?
Despite the concerns that have been, and are being raised about COVID vaccines (outlined in the link above), many scientists are not being heard. Dr. Sunetra Gupta, considered by many to be the world’s preeminent infectious disease expert, explained that the way COVID vaccines are being promoted, and the idea that everybody needs to be vaccinated, is unscientific and suspicious.
Here's a statement from a renowned group of experts and "pro" vaccine scientists in the field who penned an open letter as far back as May explaining,
Covid-19 will take its place among the 30 or so respiratory viral diseases with which humans have historically co-existed. This has been explicitly accepted in a number of recent statements by the Chief Medical Officer. For most vaccinated and other low-risk people, Covid-19 is now a mild endemic infection, likely to recur in seasonal waves which renew immunity without significantly stressing the NHS.
Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit. Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge. The DfE recommendations on face covering and social distancing in schools should never have been extended beyond Easter and should cease no later than 17 May. Mandatory face coverings, physical distancing and mass community testing should cease no later than 21 June along with other controls and impositions. All consideration of immunity documentation should cease.
One of the biggest challenges with the COVID narrative right now is with regards to unbalanced discussion from experts. We have seen one perspective shared widely, while others are censored or pushed aside.
An opinion piece in Scientific American outlines The Science Wars taking place right now, and how both 'sides' make great points yet it's very hard to find meaningful clarity. The authors end their discussion on these COVID science wars by stating
"It is critical that Biden’s task force avoid creating a majoritarian echo chamber and instead continues the approach pursued by the experts who convened for the Johns Hopkins debate. Only by entertaining a broader, scientifically informed view of what might work will the next phase of COVID-19 control be acceptable to a deeply divided public."
We need a complete picture. Not just what the CDC says, but a complete picture. And we must rely on discussion from multiple experts.
In Canada, censorship happened to a Professor and Viral Immunologist at the University of Guelph, Dr. Byram Bridle. In the United States it happened to Professor of Medicine at Harvard University Dr. Martin Kulldorff. In March Kulldorff was subjected to censorship by Twitter for sharing his opinion that not everybody needed to take the COVID vaccine.
These are just a couple of several dozens of examples, and it hasn't just happened with vaccines. Science, data, and expert opinions shared by those who question the narrative on virtually any intervention to stop the pandemic, whether it be vaccines, masks, lockdowns or other medications, have experienced the same thing. The censorship of science during this pandemic has been unprecedented, making it so only one side has been presented to the masses.
Even the strong scientific evidence that's been accumulating showing the power and robust protection natural immunity can provide from COVID infection, and potential variants, seems to have been pushed under the rug. It's also heavily questioned within the mainstream.
It's also important to reiterate that a "positive case" does not mean one is infectious. In a letter to the editor published in the Journal of Infection, researchers explain that more than half of all "positive" PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not even infectious.
Talks of a 4th wave, relating specifically the "Delta variant" are upon us. Government health authorities are stressing the idea that we need to vaccinate as many people as possible to avoid a 4th wave. This means that if a fourth wave does arise, "anti vaxers" will likely be blamed.
Although the CDC takes the position that the unvaccinated are causing variants, it's not impossible for vaccinated people to cause variants as well. First, a statement from the CDC,
"Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: Although breakthrough infections happen much less often than infections in unvaccinated people, individuals infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit it to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit. However, the greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to contract, and therefore transmit the virus."
The goal of the vaccine is to reduce serious infection and slow the spread of the virus. The more the spread is slowed down, the less chance the evolutionary process the virus goes through to mutate occurs. The key indicator here is how much virus a person carries. If a person carries a high viral load, they are more infectious.
Thus far, we have seen that vaccinated people can be just as infectious as unvaccinated people based on the emergence of new variants, which the CDC is claiming is as a result of unvaccinated people.
While the focus is on unvaccinated people at the moment, can the vaccine cause variants? Some scientists think so, but they have not been allowed to have their day debating this with the world as they have been 'debunked' and labelled 'anti-vaxxers,' even though they still recommend vaccines, just not the same kind. Are they wrong? Perhaps we will find out in time.
With things being so volatile and evolving quickly, humans have been forced to assess risk for themselves. What is my risk of death? What is my risk of infection?
In the US, car accident mortality is 1 in 106, just under 1% according to The National Safety Council. But do we have a deep level of fear getting into a car everyday? Not really, yet our chances of dying from a car crash is similar to that of dying of COVID, yet public sentiment around COVID mortality has risen a great deal of fear that we've lost sense of relative risk.
With Pfizer data showing severe adverse events occurring in about 1.2% of people who are vaccinated, perhaps those who are young, who's chance of COVID death is extremely low, are assessing risk and saying "why take a vaccine that is more risky than COVID itself? To explore more closely, in the US, the CASE MORTALITY rate is 1.7% according to John's Hopkins University, which means, if you get COVID, the observed chance of dying across all age groups combined is 1.7%. This includes 80+ year olds who have a 600X greater chance of death compared to 18 - 29 year olds for example.
Crude mortality rate would be much lower than 1.7% of course, as this rate also includes your risk of infection, which we don't have clear numbers on but we know is not that high based on case numbers.
Now I realize I'm comparing risk of death to severe injury, which isn't entirely fair, but since crude mortality is so low for young people when it comes to COVID, the chances of severe injury combined with death from the vaccine are a reasonable comparison based on the data available. (Explored more below.) This is important as what humans are doing right now in making vaccine choices is assessing there risk.
Now, a person would also have to consider how their choice affects others in their community, which is a fair statement to make. However, at the same time, others have to be able to respect that a person is putting themselves at risk when taking medical interventions, and thus people should have the right to assess that risk for themselves.
When we lose sense of relative risk we lose a clear understanding of how to mitigate our risk, a basic human tendency that we use everyday. Risk mitigation is subjective. Not all of us are going to assess risk the same way, but that's where autonomy of choice comes in.
Right now, people who choose not to vaccinate are commonly being made out to be people who do not care about the good of the whole. They are being labelled as "anti vaccine," and any scientist or doctor who presents information and evidence as to why vaccine hesitancy is a result of legit information, and not baseless conspiracy theories, is heavily vilified.
Beyond the Pfizer data, can we know how safe the vaccine is? As of July 7th, according to the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), a self reporting vaccine injury system, there may have been approximately 7000 deaths, 6000 permanent disabilities, 23,000 hospitalizations, 55,000 emergency room visits & 400,000 other adverse reactions recorded as a result of the shot (U.S.). The reason why I say 'may' is because VAERS reports are not verified, and therefore are often not taken as fact. While this is reasonable, the fact that a robust reporting system for vaccine injury does not exist is a bit concerning.
While there is no accurate way of telling how often deaths or injuries caused by vaccines go unreported, experts who have attempted to study this data point have suggesting the US does not have reliable reporting systems.
In a grant final report titled “Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS)” from 2011, the authors Ross Lazarus, Michael Klompas, and Steve Bernstein report that:
Preliminary data were collected from June 2006 through October 2009 on 715,000 patients, and 1.4 million doses (of 45 different vaccines) were given to 376,452 individuals. Of these doses, 35,570 possible reactions (2.6 percent of vaccinations) were identified. This is an average of 890 possible events, an average of 1.3 events per clinician, per month. These data were presented at the 2009 AMIA conference.
In addition, ESP:VAERS investigators participated on a panel to explore the perspective of clinicians, electronic health record (EHR) vendors, the pharmaceutical industry, and the FDA
towards systems that use proactive, automated adverse event reporting.
Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events
and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of “problem” drugs and vaccines that endanger public health. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed.
The Pulse has reached out to these authors for further clarification around their conclusions.
Since this report was finalized in 2011, the US government has known they have no reliable reporting system for vaccine injury, yet they have done nothing to improve the system or create a new one. Why?
As a side, and to reiterate, the only meaningful data returned so far from accurate vaccine reporting comes from Pfizer's most recent interim report, where records show the Pfizer vaccine causes 'severe adverse events' in about 1.2% of those who received the vaccine. The issue is, the study makes no mention of what a 'severe reaction' is. All the study states is that the severe event was "assessed by the investigator as related to investigational product," meaning the investigators claim the vaccine cause the event.
Given these data points, no one can say with any form of certainty how common severe reactions are, making it a difficult topic to report on and discuss. To say vaccine events are 'extremely rare' would be inaccurate and disingenuous - because it can't be known.
It has also been long discussed that people who are healthy and not symptomatic, also known as asymptomatic carriers, are extremely unlikely to spread the virus? Why is it not OK to ask why asymptomatic people are being treated as if they are sick?
Asymptomatic individuals are an order of magnitude less likely to infect others than symptomatic individuals, even in intimate settings such as people living in the same household where people are much less likely to follow social distancing and masking practices that they follow outside the household. Spread of the disease in less intimate settings by asymptomatic individuals – including religious services, in-person restaurant visits, gyms, and other public settings – are likely to be even less likely than in the household.
-Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University School of Medicine
The belief that things are black and white when it comes to the safety of vaccines, and that "the science is settled," continues to be legitimately challenged in many ways, yet pro-vaccine advocates continually use ridicule and labels like "antivax conspiracy theory" in order to paint the perception that there are no issues. What is causing us to be so divided? Have we lost our sense of connection with one another?
For me, if the COVID vaccine was completely safe, effective & necessary to protect other people for the good of the planet, I'd be the first one in line. My heart is in the right place and so are the hearts of many others. So if anyone is going to entice me or others who are hesitant to take the shot, they're going to have to provide good information, and not stick to ridicule.
Make an attempt to listen to myself and others, acknowledge the points we bring forth, and counter the science presented. You're going to have to convince people that informed consent and freedom of choice is not warranted. We're going to have to agree that COVID is truly as dangerous and unique to what we've seen multiple times over, and you're going to have to show me that the vaccine is indeed safe and effective for everybody.
In my opinion, the most important freedom to protect right now is freedom of choice and informed consent. Always.