June 18th, 2024

There is much more to the vaccine story than we’re told


By Lethbridge Herald on December 2, 2022.

Editor:

Approximately one year after the initial outbreak of COVID-19, a lengthy editorial appeared in this paper signed by 40 area doctors, some of great distinction. The editorial expressed concern “…about rising numbers of COVID cases” claiming that “with the vaccine rollout progressing the end is in sight” and “vaccines are safe and the best path back to normalcy.” The latter statement was a stretch of faith and they said so saying “…there is still not enough data to know how well they prevent transmission.” Later an Alberta Dept of Health document talking about safety, risks, side-effects, ingredients, who approved vaccines and so on landed in Albertan’s mailboxes. That document made bold claims that “COVID-19 vaccines have met strict standards for safety, quality and effectiveness”. We know now that that statement was not true. I suspected something amiss when an immunologist/virologist of 35 years experience I’d been following on YouTube was “de-platformed,” when, among other topics related, he open a discussion speaking to the dangers he saw in long term masking. Boom gone! COVID-19 vaccines were illegal and immoral on a number of fronts notwithstanding the fact at roll-out doctors could not have possibly provided patients with “informed consent” as not one, not one, of them anywhere knew anything about these vaccines, the efficacy, long term affects etc etc! The companies producing them didn’t know what they were selling either, they couldn’t have, those medicines had not gone through any meaningful process to ensure they were safe and as a result today more people who’ve had vaccines administered are coming up with COVID-19, than those who refused the experiment. 

Recently when Romanian member of the European Parliament, Christian Terhes, held up for the world to see Pfizer’s fully redacted documents and later the CEO of Pfizer refused to stand in front of the EP to answer questions, it confirmed in me that billions of people around the world had been very badly fooled and lied to. Doctors, pharmacists, clinicians, politicians, scientists, and billions of everyday trusting people, many like me, who submitted to untested vaccines/boosters, had all been part of an experimental scam unparalleled in human history. There’s much more to the story, but in the end it seems to me the hardest job a citizen had then and has now is to separate the best wealthy liar from the worst wealthy liar, and the political science from the stuff of hard research. 

A.W. Shier

Lethbridge

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grinandbearit

You sure can uncover some amazing things by doing your research on google and YouTube. I prefer the reptilian overlord theory over the anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. (https://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1860871_1860876_1861029,00.html)

buckwheat

Your comment shows the attitude of the mob. Disagree with you and will we cancel you, berate you, and not refute you. The writer provided some information that requires critical thinking. It is telling that Pfizer fought in court to keep their research and vaccine contents sealed for 75 years. Good thing they lost.

grinandbearit

In terms of critical thinking, I was inclined to use Hitchen’s razor what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” 

Andrew Blair

This comment really doesn’t make much sense in light of the point that Shier is making that Youtube has become unreliable as a source of information and evidence about Covid-19 vaccines because of censorship. As you would agree, you need to look elsewhere. 

If you know where to look you will find much intelligent argument and evidence that calls into question the “safe and effective” line we’ve all been told. Here’s an example: https://brownstone.org/articles/plausibility-but-not-science-has-dominated-public-discussions-of-the-covid-pandemic/. Perhaps you would like to provide your assessment.

Andrew Blair

To add to this, I quote the final paragraph of the article at Brownstone that I cited:

Massive censorship by the traditional media and much of social media has blocked most public discussion of this bad and fake science. Censorship is the tool of the undefendable, since valid science inherently defends itself. Until the public begins to understand the difference between plausibility and science and how large the effort has been to mass-produce science “product” that looks like science but is not, the process will continue and leaders seeking authoritarian power will continue to rely on it for fake justification.”

How do you, grinandbearit, contribute to helping the public distinguish between real science and what looks like science, but is not? Your reference to that Time article on The Reptilian Elite does not do it.

Ben Matlock

Mr. Blair, thanks so very much for your contributions. We often read them out for after-dinner entertainment over port and custard with pears. Our guests were finding buckwheat and that johnny guy a little boring. That said, I must say that you have become a little too predicable and I’ve been asked that you find a new windmill or two to tilt at. Your cooperation in this regard will be much appreciated. Otherwise, I may be forced to break out the old stereo system and dust off a few LPs for our next dinner party.

biff

did you and your privileged group read the article that was presented here by andrew? i suspect not, as it would be too long, what with all the references included, and perhaps too difficult to follow, as goes well beyond the official narrative that has now been boned down to a handful of official soundbites.
so, rather than present anything at all meaningful, ben resorts to insult rather than bringing intelligent thought to the dinner table. perhaps, the article may indeed be too difficult to digest for ben and crew, what with being so fatted by hubris and glibness. the good news is in a free society ben and crew get to enjoy covid vaxes as much as they are told they need them, while others may decide otherwise.

grinandbearit

The article that AB links to makes some solid points and some others are off the mark. The author has characterized some aspects of the public use of science accurately. The public debates are not part of science. Scientific evidence is both used and abused in such debates. Scientific work can, for example, assess whether risk of, say, cardiovascular problems associated with COVID vaccines is higher, the same, or lower than being infected with specific strains of coronavirus, but it cannot so easily unequivocally say whether with any particular risk ratio in a particular political context, recommending vaccination is preferable to COVID infection. Within the domain of public discourse we also deal with the problem of claims by “experts” and “authorities” which are anathema in science, but which are the stock in trade in the political and private enterprise domains that use science for their own purposes. 
The author is off base by suggesting that we cannot identify better or worse sources of scientific evidence and for such a vociferous attack on RCTs. First, we should all know by now that some kinds of evidence carry more weight in deciding on scientific issues than others. In science, testimonials, anecdotes, and statements by experts/authorities are the worst. There are a variety of observations, systematic observations, increasingly precise observations, observations that reduce the role (and potential bias) from individual human observers, etc that are better than the aforementioned. In respect to human health, animal or tissue culture experiments and observations have some value as evidence, especially on biological mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic/side effects. Open label, non-blinded clinical trials can be quite valuable, as can certain correlational, epidemiological studies. The more often that similar outcomes of these sources of evidence can be repeated independently, the better. So yes, some evidence is better than others. The author makes a valid point that there is no single “best” bit of evidence, or perfect method. In science, we look for converging evidence. Evidence from different methods and sources that seems to converge on the same conclusion or justification for belief is what we look for, and if there is a best approach, converging evidence like this is the “best”.
So what’s the deal about randomized controlled trials? The author of the article points out that experiments and studies can have confounding variables and gives examples. With some study/experiment designs you can use statistical procedures to estimate the magnitude of confounders. But I think he makes two blunders here. The effect of confounders can be precisely eliminated or reduced to negligible by increasing sample sizes, the number of people participating in a study. Similarly, he knocks RCTs which have a low number of outcome cases because it makes impossible his preferred method for estimating confounding. Let me illustrate his error by examining an extreme case. Imagine we take all of the people living in Canada and randomly assign them to one of two conditions: no COVID vaccination or complete boosted COVID vaccination regimen, with the collectors of the data on COVID symptom severity being blind to vaccination status. Confounding factors are almost certainly equally distributed, or nearly so, in the two groups. Imagine that no one in the vaccinated group died from COVID and many hundreds of thousands in the other group died from COVID. The author would actually have us believe that we cannot count this as strong evidence for the protective effect of vaccination against COVID, because with the low death rate in the vaccinated we cannot estimate the effect of confounding. But note that there is almost certainly no significant confounding just because of randomization across such a complete sample of Canadians and because the effect size is large.
My guess is that this author has his shorts in a knot because most experiments/studies  and meta-analyses on hydroxychloroquine efficacy in treating/preventing COVID failed to confirm his claim.

biff

i appreciate your input here, but i am not ready to agree with your last line. at this juncture, it does not appear we have come to much in the way of definitive science with regard to the covid vaxes. there is, however, much science that suggests that the vast majority of people were extremely low risk to succumbing to covid. nonetheless, i continue to examine points of view as best as i can. regardless of whether the vaxes prove to be excellent or less so, i remain entirely in favour allowing the individual to choose for their body and conscience without sanction.

Andrew Blair

Thanks so much for this response. Your argument against Risch’s argument that the low count in one of the treatment arms undermines its credibility interval has, for now anyway, pretty much got me convinced. However, I’d like to think it over for a while.

I’m still left with a puzzle, however. As I explained to John the Pfizer RCT looks to me like it’s at odds with the reality that vaccination increases susceptibility to infection. Do you think that the data does not support this view of the reality? If so, what is the evidence/argument that the data I cite is wrong or that I am misinterpreting it? And if my view of the reality is right, then what is the explanation for why the Pfizer RCT is at odds with reality?

Andrew Blair

A week has gone by since my last reply to you grinandbearit, so I’m not sure that you, or anyone else, will still be reading these pages. However, I’ve had second thoughts about your thought experiment, and so I’m recording them here.

At first I was persuaded by your thought experiment, but I was struck by how obvious was the point that you were making, and I wondered, “How can a person, like Risch, who has worked so long in epidemiology, make such a glaringly obvious mistake? Might it be that it’s me who is not understanding this properly?” So I reread his article, and your reply, and now I think that you did not read his argument about RCTs with sufficient care, and that you did not provide a counter-argument at all.

Here’s how I am beginning to see it, though I’m not sure yet that I’ve got a good grasp of how RCTs work in practice: there is always a selection process for who is to get included in a trial, and that process may introduce confounding factors without those who conduct the trial being aware of it. Risch is pointing out this possibility and claiming that in order to be sure that an RCT has not introduced such confounding factors there must be a sufficient number of instances of outcomes in both arms of the trial. 

The issue is not whether an RCT shows evidence that favours some medical intervention, but the degree to which we can be confident that it does so. Your thought experiment focuses on the former, but not the latter. In your thought experiment, I accept that the (hypothetical) contrast in outcomes between the unvaccinated and the boosted provides clear evidence in favour of vaccination. But the question is how much confidence can we place in this evidence, or must it be supplemented with still more evidence in order to be sure? 

Your thought experiment may actually be a good example for illustrating Risch’s point. In your experiment there are two groups, the unvaccinated, and the boosted. This leaves out the partially vaccinated. What if having received one dose is a confounding factor? Suppose that twice as many people per 100,000 die from one injection as compared to the unvaccinated. Suppose the single injection removes those susceptible to the harm caused by the vaccine from the boosted group. Then, despite the blinded randomization across both arms, and despite the result that no one in the boosted arm dies, the confidence we might otherwise place in this RCT would be misplaced.

Perhaps you have a good answer to that, I don’t know, but if you do you might also say something about how the total sample for an RCT gets selected without introducing unknown confounders. In your thought experiment you take the whole of the population of Canada, but how do you do that in practice? Find everybody in the whitepages? What if leaving out those not in the whitepages introduces a confounder? Go knocking on every door? What about those not home? Or those who do not have a home? Might these selection procedures introduce confounders?

Ben Matlock

Oh biff, it’s okay if you don’t take the bait every time.

John P Nightingale

An interesting article. Some of it I found difficult to comprehend, but overall a well written opinion piece. The assertion that because there was such a low number of effects or “outcomes” (8 I think), despite a large number in the trial influenced the confounding factor is difficult to understand . It was certainly used to negate what in my view was evidence of cause and effect and yet the relative risk was downplayed . He acknowledged that the other effect (outcome) was large enough. Studies this large of over 43,000 , by virtue of the sample size accept that confounding factors do play a role but those factors are evenly distributed. Be that as it may, the trial’s results play out in reality.
PHAC (info – base) confirm decreasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths correlated with no vaccine ( over 45%) down to at least 4 shots (less than 3%).
Numbers can of course be manipulated or interpreted differently depending on the desired outcome.
My question to the writer: Provide your evidence used to infer that “ … today more people who’ve had vaccines administered are coming up with COVID-19, than those who refused the experiment.”

Andrew Blair

So often in these online exchanges the original writer of the letter that appears in the printed paper never shows up. They are probably unaware that their letter is being discussed online, which is kind of too bad.

You ask the writer for evidence for the claim that “ … today more people who’ve had vaccines administered are coming up with COVID-19, than those who refused the experiment.” I interpret the writer to mean that the vaccinated are getting infected more frequently than the unvaccinated, and I have seen plenty of evidence that this is true, though I no longer recall where all I’ve seen it. Around Christmas time last year I noticed that the Ontario data was displaying a greater case rate for the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated, but they stopped showing that, and I’ve begun to pay less attention because I don’t trust the case data anyway, owing to the unreliability of the PCR test. 

Nevertheless here’s one place you can see evidence for the claim, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1061532/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_11.pdf. If you scroll to table 13 you will see comparisons of persons with 3 injections against unvaccinated persons, by age group. In addition to hospitalization and death rates it compares the infection case rate per 100,000 of the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Focussing just on cases, you will see that except for those under 18 the number of cases is much fewer for the unvaccinated than for the vaccinated. For example, in the age group 60-69 1,622.2 out of 100,000 of the triple vaccinated got Covid, while only 382.2 out of 100,000 of the unvaccinated got it. That means, doesn’t it, that the vaccinated in that age group are more than 4 times as susceptible to getting infected as the unvaccinated?

Just a couple of months after producing that report the UK stopped publishing the comparisons of case rates between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

It shouldn’t be surprising, though, that the infection rate is higher in the vaccinated, given how the emphasis in the media has changed from infection to hospitalization and death. They say “We never said that you wouldn’t get infected, just that you’ll be less likely to get hospitalized or die.” But the mainstream media most definitely did say, initially, that the vaccines would stop infection.

Here’s a substack article that shows that the more doses you get the more likely you are to get infected, and that this may be related to the evolution of variants: https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/covid-is-becoming-increasingly-vaccine.

Your raising this issue is exactly on point with respect to the Harvey Risch article that I cited in response to grinandbearit. Risch calls attention to the first published efficacy RCT result for the Pfizer BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. That trial shows a high relative efficacy of 95% for not getting infected with a 95% credibility interval. I take it that you don’t find this result puzzling because, from your point of view, “the trial’s results play out in reality.” For me, however, I do find the result puzzling because I think that the reality is that the vaccinated are getting infected more. I don’t find it puzzling that Pfizer would be pulling the wool over our eyes, but I wonder exactly how they do it. For me it’s like watching the magician saw the assistant in half, and not believing that he is really doing it, but wondering how he makes it appear as if he is. So Risch’s explanation, that the low number of cases in the treatment arm of the RCT undermines its credibility interval claim, seems like it might be right to me, but it’s an arcane point, and I don’t have enough experience with statistics to be at all sure about it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Blair
biff

andrew, thanks for the link – it is an excellent contribution to the discussion. if there is a downside, it is likely too contrary to the mind-made-up-official-narrative-only-regurgitate-soundbite folks, and, therefore, too “long.” however, it is possible one or two may be able to read it, and perhaps provide something that might counter points presented in the piece.