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Want to Get to 70% Vaccine Coverage Mr. President? Here’s How You Do It
Last weekend my wife and I attended an Independence Day party with several dozen guests from all walks of life. It was exhilarating to finally experience some semblance of normality after 17 months of restrictions, fear and polarization. Restrictions and fear seem to be subsiding. I suppose two out of three ain’t bad…
Our hosts introduced us to a beautiful couple in their fifties and their teenage daughter. They were intelligent, curious, highly educated (the parents held doctorates from Ivy League universities) and equally happy to be out and about. I stepped away to fill my plate with traditional fixings and got sidetracked in conversations with other guests. Twenty minutes later my wife took me aside and said that we needed to leave. Her conversation with the couple and daughter took an abrupt turn in my absence. They directly asked if we had received a Covid-19 vaccine. We haven’t, and my wife responded truthfully. Although the young woman and her mother were genuinely curious about our reasoning, their attitude was not shared by her father who not only refused to listen to any argument supporting a vaccine cautionary posture, he was openly disdainful and visibly disgusted — so much so that my wife was uncomfortable in his presence. From his scowling and curt comments we can safely say the feeling was mutual.
Nonetheless my wife defended her position well. We are on Ivermectin, a medicine that has proven to be 80–85% effective in preventing Covid infection, something vaccine manufacturers cannot claim about their product yet. Neither was Ivermectin something that this family had even heard of. She also brought up the fact that two young men in our small town of 4,000 have been hospitalized with myocarditis following their second shot. This is, of course, just anecdotal at this point but is being reflected on a broader scale depending on how much you trust the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
I wanted to speak to this person, assuage his fears and perhaps engage his curiosity around the debate that our country is presently having. “Don’t go there”, my wife advised, “he’s completely shut down and won’t hear a word you say.” This is a pattern that seems to be unfolding quite often in my world. I want to talk about these issues with those who disagree. Those who disagree with me rarely wish to discuss the matter yet seem perfectly content remaining baffled as to why someone like me would ever disagree with them. Why is that and what does it mean?
At this point in time roughly 50–60% of Americans have been partially or fully vaccinated. These numbers are not likely to move much in the future. The vaccines are readily available but there is a significant swath of our population that remains hesitant about getting inoculated. I cannot speak for all of those who are vaccine cautionary, but I for one would be willing to reconsider my position if a few conditions are met. Here they are in no particular order:
#1 Show me the Data
We are running several trials right now. The manufacturers of the vaccines are watching their two main cohorts (vaccine and placebo) for incidence of Covid-19 and possible complications from their product. There is another trial that is about a hundred thousand times larger than all the clinical trials put together. This one involves the population of the world. Yes, that’s right. We are all part of a huge trial involving an experimental intervention called the Covid-19 vaccine. We still do not know how effective or safe these products are and we won’t hear back from the vaccine manufacturers until 2022–23. Until then we and our governing medical authorities should be hyper-vigilant about recording and investigating disease incidence and possible adverse events related to the vaccination. Hundreds of millions of people around the world have been vaccinated over the last seven months. We should know much more about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines now than we did last year when we only had preliminary data from Phase III trials conducted on tens of thousands of participants who were observed for a few weeks only. Why don’t we?
With regard to adverse events we have a reporting system that is generally regarded as incomplete. The largest system in this country, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), is based on self-reporting. Self-reporting results in under-representation of events because, well, it requires effort by the person involved. Moreover, the diligent, vaccine-compliant self-reporter may be discouraged by the automatic messages on the system that warn the vaccine recipient that they can be punished if they misrepresent information in any way. Let’s stop and consider that for a moment. The system exists to help us detect potential harm from vaccines, yet if someone suffers an untoward consequence they are threatened with legal action if they do not, unintentionally or otherwise, report the facts accurately?
For these two reasons alone we would expect that adverse events are substantially underreported just as the CDC’s commissioned study from 2010 concluded. Nevertheless just halfway through 2021 the VAERS system is presently reporting approximately 10 times more adverse events (and at least 30 times more deaths) with Covid vaccines than in years past. Even so, this potential signal is widely being construed as an exaggeration or a tool of “anti-vaxxers” intent on derailing the vaccine campaign because the data is self-reported and cannot be confirmed.
On the other hand, there is the very real possibility that the number of bad outcomes far exceeds what is being reported on the system and CDC investigators are falling behind. How are we to know what is really going on? We cannot know with any certainty. Investigating the VAERS reports should be at the top of the CDC’s “to do” list. Rather than touting the benefit of multibillion dollar campaigns to target the vaccine hesitant, how about throwing in a fraction of that sum to have a hundred independent investigators answer some basic questions about the half million or so reported events so far this year?
Putting adverse events aside, how do we know how well the vaccines are working? We, the public, receive daily broadcasts about infections and deaths. We also receive reports about the vaccination status of our country, state by state, county by county. The CDC has meticulous data about vaccine compliance. Why not put these two together and let the public know exactly how many vaccinated and unvaccinated people are succumbing to the disease? Is it any surprise that many would be skeptical because this information is being withheld from public view?
#2 Put proven prophylaxis and treatment alternatives in the guidelines
Just like the nice people at the party, many people are still unaware that there are a number of excellent alternatives to vaccines in preventing Covid-19 infection. The CDC has known about them for over 9 months but has refused to revise their guidelines for prevention and treatment to include them. Why would the Center for Disease Control and Prevention not acknowledge them? Is it because if they did, not a single vaccine could have been authorized for emergency use (the absence of an alternative is a requirement for Emergency Use Authorization)?
Hundreds of thousands of Covid deaths in this country may have been prevented if the CDC had approved the use of Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin early in the pandemic. I personally cannot excuse their negligence around this, but if they want to make some inroads into public hesitancy, put them on the table so we can decide.
There is that tiny problem that the regulations stipulate that if there is an alternative to vaccines, their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) would be revoked. Could this be the reason behind their inexplicable inertia around this? Could this also be the source of justifiable vaccine hesitancy in the public?
#3 Release documents requested under the FOIA without redaction
For those still not aware, thousands of emails exchanged between Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have been released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Many of them are inconsequential. A few are worthy of review by formal investigatory processes. These have to do with the suppression of the very real possibility of a “lab leak”, and perhaps more practically, the acknowledgement at the very top and from the very beginning that asymptomatic spread is very rare and that mask wearing does very little to protect us. These last two are the foundation upon which global lockdowns were deemed sensible despite their devastating effect on people’s psychology and ability to participate in society productively. One could argue that there were no smoking guns in these particular missives to and from the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), but what’s with all the redaction? We aren’t talking about national security, covert operations and bioweapon technology…or are we?
#4 Mainstream Media must present both sides of the argument before I will accept what they have to say at face value
I find it astonishing that the vaccine hesitant are routinely represented on mainstream media as “average joes” or the occasional health care worker that is worried about getting the jab because their neighbor or friend got sick after getting vaccinated. For those of you who are frustrated with the rampant vaccine hesitancy in this country, I can understand your position if you believe that this cherry-picked group of people are our spokespersons. They aren’t. They are part of a much larger, well-organized group of citizens, but they are not spearheading this movement.
Hey Rachel Maddow, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Wolf Blitzer, how about interviewing Dr. Pierre Kory, a well-published critical care physician and spokesperson for the Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance who has been imploring the CDC in Senate hearings to put alternative treatments in their guidelines? How about bringing on Nobel Prize winner Luc Montaignier or virologist and former senior program officer at Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Geert Vanden Bossche who both staunchly believe that deploying vaccines in the midst of the pandemic will most likely accelerate the mutation of the virus to more virulent strains? Do you believe they are misinformed because Snopes and “fact checkers” claim they are? The CDC are publicly bringing attention to the emergence of alpha, beta, gamma, delta and now lambda strains that have all emerged since the beginning of widespread vaccinations. At what point do you believe this will be an angle worth exploring? I suggest you hurry up before we run out of Greek letters.
Are you at all interested in the plight of Dr. Simone Gold, ER physician and Stanford trained attorney who was fired for prescribing, with great clinical success, Hydroxychloroquine to her patients that were suffering from Covid-19 and is now the head of America’s Frontline Doctors, a group that has filed a restraining order against the Department of Health and Human Services to halt the expansion of EUA to children under the age of 16?
As journalists, you should be. That is your job. Sadly in this country you haven’t been forced to present any balanced investigation on your massive platforms for decades. Since 1987 when the FCC eliminated their Fairness Doctrine, media platforms are no longer required to present both sides of controversial matters of public interest. Let us be very clear here. You folks aren’t obliged to be fair but what are we to conclude when you choose not to be? Are you afraid they will present arguments that make sense and cannot be refuted? Are you afraid that they will buck your narrative? Hold on a moment, why would you have a narrative to begin with? I thought you were reporting the facts.
If anyone wants to hear what these dedicated experts have to say they have to venture into the “spooky”, unknown and untrusted world of “alternative” media. This leads to the next request…
#5 Call off the censorship dogs and unqualified “fact checkers”
Threats to demonetize and deplatform independent voices based on spurious claims of inaccurate reporting or “missing context” have become rampant while mainstream media is given free rein to distort and occasionally fabricate information. For example a post on FB that expresses vaccine caution immediately gets labeled with this kind of advisory:
“COVID-19 vaccines go through many tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved.” True. Is it necessary to bring light to this fact on one of the biggest social media sites on the planet? That is debatable. The post is factual. This young woman died four days after receiving her second vaccination. Are we afraid that people will get the wrong idea? Who determines whether an idea is wrong or right?
The real issue here is in the implied meaning of such an advisory statement. What is the average person going to conclude from this stamp of disapproval from Facebook? That the vaccines our authorities are urging them to accept have been approved? I would say so. The problem is, they haven’t. They have not been approved because they have yet to “go through many tests for safety and effectiveness.” That is the main difference between approval and authorization for emergency use.
Many independent media platforms and podcasts have been forced to seek alternatives to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to get their message out. YouTube threatened Bret Weinstein’s Dark Horse podcast with account suspension because of his recent interviews with Dr. Pierre Kory and Robert Malone MD (one of the inventors of mRNA vaccine technology). Perhaps you have never heard of Dr. Malone because Wikipedia has scrubbed his profile from their site once he began to express concern about the authorization of these vaccines for adolescents.
Do you want people to accept your “suggestions”? Let us hear what the other side has to say. Otherwise your suggestions feel a lot more like coercions. In any case Bret Weinstein holds a PhD in evolutionary biology and Pierre Kory is a board certified critical care physician who has personally treated hundreds of patients with Covid-19. How would a discussion between these two people ever violate “community standards”? Whose community are we talking about here?
On the other hand, the Washington Post, widely considered an example of balanced and thorough reporting, published this article titled “The Unseen Covid-19 risk for unvaccinated people” in May, 2021. In it they present dozens of graphs that seem to demonstrate the growing difference in disease incidence, hospitalizations and deaths between the vaccinated and unvaccinated population. This is pure speculation based on the assumption that the vaccine is, and continues to be, 85% protective with regard to infection alone. This assumption is hidden in their “methodology” section at the end of the article. The diverging plots of the vaccinated and unvaccinated are purely the result of a mathematical artifact that grows as more people get vaccinated. They didn’t add up the number of people who were getting sick/hospitalized or dying based on vaccination status. They couldn’t. That data is not available (see request #1). Where are the fact checkers and advisory bots with warnings of “missing context” and “partly false information”?
Instead they drew their pretty graphs using terms like “rate adjusted for vaccinated” to imply that the unvaccinated are doing much worse. They further had the audacity to use this assumed efficacy for reducing infection rates and apply it to hospitalizations and deaths as well. This is pure prevarication. The casual reader will easily conclude that vaccines are having a phenomenal impact. We cannot make that conclusion. No one can, especially a publication like WaPo with a readership numbering in the millions…
#6 Vaccine manufacturers need to release interim data from their ongoing trials
The efficacy and safety of these vaccines are based on preliminary observations only. Seven months have passed since they were granted Emergency Use Authorization. How are the participants doing? Is it unreasonable to ask? Or is it better to assume that this revolutionary approach to jump-starting our immune systems will work safely and trust that 18 months from now the vaccine manufacturers will confirm that their own products will live up to their glowing previews? While we’re at it are we really expected to subject our adolescent children, the most robust demographic with the least to gain from vaccinations to the same experiment?
#7 MSM and their band of “experts” need to admit that they completely blew it with regard to lab origins
Let us first admit that there is no definitive proof that the virus came from a lab. Neither is there proof it jumped from a bat to a human to the rest of the world. However it is becoming quite clear that the lab origins hypothesis is quickly becoming the working theory thanks to the diligent efforts of independent researchers and journalists working outside of corporate influence and support.
The issue here is about how other experts who had been begging the world to listen were categorically vilified by the system that we are being asked to trust. If you cannot even admit that you were so horrifically wrong why should anyone believe you now or ever more?
#8 The CDC needs to explain why they are using a double standard with regard to cases
Our entire understanding of the severity of the pandemic and the efficacy of our response to it is based on a huge question: how accurate is our means of diagnosing the disease? The RT-PCR test is wonderful technology but it is not designed to diagnose an active infection. That means that the actual number of infections and deaths are uncertain. No test is 100% accurate, however we have little understanding of how inaccurate this test is. The sensitivity of the PCR test (its ability to not under diagnose the disease) and it’s specificity (its ability to not over diagnose the disease) both vary with the cycle threshold (the number of amplification cycles used). The more cycles used, less cases will be missed (increasing sensitivity) while raising the potential for overdiagnosis (decreasing specificity). Fewer cycles used will result in the opposite effect.
We do not know what the optimal cycle threshold is, however we should at least expect that our authorities on the matter would have standardized that number from the very beginning. They have recently done so but only with regard to breakthrough infections, i.e. after vaccinations became available. During the early months of the pandemic there were no limits placed on cycle thresholds. Some labs were using cycle threshold numbers of 30, 35 or even more. Now when considering infections in those that have been vaccinated a case is only a case if a PCR test returns a positive result using a cycle threshold of 28 or below and the person is hospitalized or dies. There are still no standards for the unvaccinated. This unquestionably will raise the incidence of the disease in the unvaccinated while lowering the incidence in those who receive the jab.
Let’s use an example to demonstrate how egregiously biased this double standard is. If you have been vaccinated and then come down with Covid and get hospitalized, you do not count as a breakthrough case if your PCR test was positive using a cycle threshold of 29. On the other hand, if you have not been vaccinated, have no symptoms and get tested in order to return to work or school after going on vacation and your PCR test comes back positive after 40 cycles you do count as a case (and shame on you for traveling as an unvaccinated person). The end result: the efficacy of the vaccine is being artificially enhanced while simultaneously the presumed risk of remaining unvaccinated gets amplified. Until the CDC explains itself, their edict to vaccinate should be considered disingenuous at best.
#9 Stop decrying natural immunity as an absurd hypothesis while insisting that I should trust “the science”
Our immune systems work extremely well in preventing us from succumbing to the same virus twice. We should all know this. Otherwise every winter we would be continuously debilitated because we would be catching the same cold over and over. There may be some unique situations where vaccine mediated immunity is better than natural immunity, but they are the exceptions to the rule. On what grounds can anyone say that a yet to be approved vaccine using a never broadly deployed technology against a novel coronavirus is better than natural immunity? There aren’t any. Nevertheless, Senator Rand Paul, MD has been attacked publicly for declining the Covid vaccine because he has already had Covid-19. He isn’t a maverick Libertarian making a political statement. He is a physician merely sticking to a basic tenet of immunology.
Is it possible that vaccine mediated immunity for SARS-COV2 is better than natural immunity? If it were we wouldn’t be seeing what we are seeing now. There are only a handful of documented reinfections with SARS-COV2 in the world yet thousands of “breakthrough” infections in the vaccinated populations of this country alone — so many that this likely compelled the CDC to come up with their double standard for diagnosing infections (see request #8).
If any of this is new to you I request that you devote a few minutes to watching this condensed clip of a much longer discussion between Bret Weinstein, PhD, Dr. Robert Malone and Steve Kirch, a serial entrepreneur and founder of the Covid-19 Early Treatment Fund. Malone and Kirch were both fully vaccinated (for different reasons) and are now risking their own reputation and resources to bring light to just how many corners were cut in bringing these vaccines to the public and what FDA insiders (who are in direct communication with Malone) are saying off the record. If you do not believe such an effort is worthwhile, why is that? The answer to this question could be the source of the deepening rift between us. If you did choose to avail yourself of what is explored in this interview, did it raise any concerns in your mind? If not, what then would it take for you to reconsider your position?
So, to the couple at the party who couldn’t understand our reasoning, I hope you know that we all want the same things: to live long and healthy lives, to enjoy the company of others, to exchange ideas openly without being attacked or dismissed. We aren’t completely closed to hearing your side. In fact we have been hearing your side loud and clear for a while now. Have you heard our side? Or are you only listening to what your side is saying about our side? Those are two entirely different things.
I cannot speak for every one of us but I certainly would be willing to discuss these matters so that we can understand each other better. If these requests seem flippant or poorly thought out to you I can understand why you would wish to exclude us from your lives or talk about us behind closed doors. You may think we are paranoid, intractable and irresponsible, but please don’t call us uninformed or easily seduced by false narratives. Those labels do not apply to us.