How the “Unvaccinated” Got It Right
Scott Adams is the creator of the famous cartoon strip, Dilbert. It is a strip whose brilliance derives from close observation and understanding of human behavior. Some time ago, Scott turned those skills to commenting insightfully and with notable intellectual humility on the politics and culture of our country.
Like many other commentators, and based on his own analysis of evidence available to him, he opted to take the Covid “vaccine.”
Recently, however, he posted a video on the topic that has been circulating on social media. It was a mea culpa in which he declared, “The unvaccinated were the winners,” and, to his great credit, “I want to find out how so many of [my viewers] got the right answer about the “vaccine” and I didn’t.”
“Winners” was perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek: he seemingly means that the “unvaccinated” do not have to worry about the long-term consequences of having the “vaccine” in their bodies since enough data concerning the lack of safety of the “vaccines” have now appeared to demonstrate that, on the balance of risks, the choice not to be “vaccinated” has been vindicated for individuals without comorbidities.
What follows is a personal response to Scott, which explains how consideration of the information that was available at the time led one person – me – to decline the “vaccine.” It is not meant to imply that all who accepted the “vaccine” made the wrong decision or, indeed, that everyone who declined it did so for good reasons.
- Some people have said that the “vaccine” was created in a hurry. That may or may not be true. Much of the research for mRNA “vaccines” had already been done over many years, and corona-viruses as a class are well understood so it was at least feasible that only a small fraction of the “vaccine” development had been hurried.The much more important point was that the “vaccine” was rolled out without long-term testing. Therefore one of two conditions applied. Either no claim could be made with confidence about the long-term safety of the “vaccine” or there was some amazing scientific argument for a once-in-a-lifetime theoretical certainty concerning the long-term safety of this “vaccine.” The latter would be so extraordinary that it might (for all I know) even be a first in the history of medicine. If that were the case, it would have been all that was being talked about by the scientists; it was not. Therefore, the more obvious, first state of affairs, obtained: nothing could be claimed with confidence about the long-term safety of the “vaccine.”Given, then, that the long-term safety of the “vaccine” was a theoretical crapshoot, the unquantifiable long-term risk of taking it could only be justified by an extremely high certain risk of not taking it. Accordingly, a moral and scientific argument could only be made for its use by those at high risk of severe illness if exposed to COVID. Even the very earliest data immediately showed that I (and the overwhelming majority of the population) was not in the group.
The continued insistence on rolling out the “vaccine” to the entire population when the data revealed that those with no comorbidities were at low risk of severe illness or death from COVID was therefore immoral and ascientific on its face. The argument that reduced transmission from the non-vulnerable to the vulnerable as a result of mass “vaccination” could only stand if the long-term safety of the “vaccine” had been established, which it had not. Given the lack of proof of long-term safety, the mass-“vaccination” policy was clearly putting at risk young or healthy lives to save old and unhealthy ones. The policy makers did not even acknowledge this, express any concern about the grave responsibility they were taking on for knowingly putting people at risk, or indicate how they had weighed the risks before reaching their policy positions. Altogether, this was a very strong reason not to trust the policy or the people setting it.
At the very least, if the gamble with people’s health and lives represented by the coercive “vaccination” policy had been taken following an adequate cost-benefit benefit, that decision would have been a tough judgment call. Any honest presentation of it would have involved the equivocal language of risk-balancing and the public availability of information about how the risks were weighed and the decision was made. In fact, the language of policy-makers was dishonestly unequivocal and the advice they offered suggested no risk whatsoever of taking the “vaccine.” This advice was simply false (or if you prefer, misleading,) on the evidence of the time inasmuch as it was unqualified.
- Data that did not support COVID policies were actively and massively suppressed. This raised the bar of sufficient evidence for certainty that the “vaccine” was safe and efficacious. Per the foregoing, the bar was not met.
- Simple analyses of even the early available data showed that the establishment was prepared to do much more harm in terms of human rights and spending public resources to prevent a COVID death than any other kind of death. Why this disproportionality? An explanation of this overreaction was required. The kindest guess as to what was driving it was “good-old, honest panic.” But if a policy is being driven by panic, then the bar for going along with it moves up even higher. A less kind guess is that there were undeclared reasons for the policy, in which case, obviously, the “vaccine” could not be trusted.
- Fear had clearly generated a health panic and a moral panic, or mass formation psychosis. That brought into play many very strong cognitive biases and natural human tendencies against rationality and proportionality. Evidence of those biases was everywhere; it included the severing of close kin and kith relationships, the ill-treatment of people by others who used to be perfectly decent, the willingness of parents to cause developmental harm to their children, calls for large-scale rights violations that were made by large numbers of citizens of previously free countries without any apparent concern for the horrific implications of those calls, and the straight-faced, even anxious, compliance with policies that should have warranted responses of laughter from psychologically healthy individuals (even if they had been necessary or just helpful). In the grip of such panic or mass formation psychosis the evidential bar for extreme claims (such as the safety and moral necessity of injecting oneself with a form of gene therapy that has not undergone long-term testing) rises yet further.
- The companies responsible for manufacturing and ultimately profiting from the “vaccination” were given legal immunity. Why would a government do that if it really believed that the “vaccine” was safe and wanted to instill confidence in it? And why would I put something in my body that the government has decided can harm me without my having any legal redress?
- If the “vaccine”-sceptical were wrong, there would still have been two good reasons not to suppress their data or views. First, we are a liberal democracy that values free speech as a fundamental right and second, their data and arguments could be shown to be fallacious. The fact that the powers-that-be decided to violate our fundamental values and suppress discussion invites the question of “Why?” That was not satisfactorily answered beyond, “It’s easier for them to impose their mandates in a world where people do not dissent:” but that is an argument against compliance, rather than for it. Suppressing information a priori suggests that the information has persuasive force. I distrust anyone who distrusts me to determine which information and arguments are good and which are bad when it is my health that is at stake – especially when the people who are promoting censorship are hypocritically acting against their declared beliefs in informed consent and bodily autonomy.
- The PCR test was held up as the “gold standard” diagnostic test for COVID. A moment’s reading about how the PCR test works indicates that it is no such thing. Its use for diagnostic purposes is more of an art than a science, to put it kindly. Kary Mullis, who in 1993 won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing the PCR technique risked his career to say as much when people tried to use it as a diagnostic test for HIV to justify a mass program of pushing experimental anti-retroviral drugs on early AIDS patients, which ultimately killed tens of thousands of people. This raises the question, “How do the people who are generating the data that we saw on the news every night and were being used to justify the mass “vaccination” policy handle the uncertainty around PCR-based diagnoses?” If you don’t have a satisfactory answer to this question, your bar for taking the risk of “vaccination” should once again go up. (On a personal note, to get the answer before making my decision about whether to undergo “vaccination,” I sent exactly this question, via a friend, to an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins. That epidemiologist, who was personally involved in generating the up-to-date data on the spread of pandemic globally, replied merely that s/he works with the data s/he’s given and does not question its accuracy or means of generation. In other words, the pandemic response was largely based on data generated by processes that were not understood or even questioned by the generators of that data.)
- To generalize the last point, a supposedly conclusive claim by someone who demonstrably cannot justify their claim should be discounted. In the case of the COVID pandemic, almost all people who acted as if the “vaccine” was safe and effective had no physical or informational evidence for the claims of safety and efficacy beyond the supposed authority of other people who made them. This includes many medical professionals – a problem that was being raised by some of their number (who, in many cases, were censored on social media and even lost their jobs or licenses). Anyone could read the CDC infographics on mRNA “vaccines” and, without being a scientist, generate obvious “But what if..?” questions that could be asked of experts to check for themselves whether the pushers of the “vaccines” would personally vouch for their safety. For example, the CDC put out an infographic that stated the following.“How does the vaccine work?The mRNA in the vaccine teaches your cells how to make copies of the spike protein. If you are exposed to the real virus later, your body will recognize it and know how to fight it off. After the mRNA delivers the instructions, your cells break it down and get rid of it.”
All right. Here are some obvious questions to ask, then. “What happens if the instructions delivered to cells to generate the spike protein are not eliminated from the body as intended? How can we be sure that such a situation will never arise?” If someone cannot answer those questions, and he is in a position of political or medical authority, then he shows himself to be willing to push potentially harmful policies without considering the risks involved.
- Given all of the above, a serious person at least had to keep an eye out for published safety and efficacy data as the pandemic proceeded. Pfizer’s Six-month Safety and Efficacy Study was notable. The very large number of its authors was remarkable and their summary claim was that the tested vaccine was effective and safe. The data in the paper showed more deaths per head in the “vaccinated” group than “unvaccinated” group.
While this difference does not statistically establish that the shot is dangerous or ineffective, the generated data were clearly compatible with (let us put it kindly) the incomplete safety of the “vaccine” – at odds with the front-page summary. (It’s almost as if even professional scientists and clinicians exhibit bias and motivated reasoning when their work becomes politicized.) At the very least, a lay reader could see that the “summary findings” stretched, or at least showed a remarkable lack of curiosity about, the data – especially given what was at stake and the awesome responsibility of getting someone to put something untested inside their body.
- As time went on, it became very clear that some of the informational claims that had been made to convince people to get “vaccinated,” especially by politicians and media commentators, were false. If those policies had been genuinely justified by the previously claimed “facts,” then determination of the falsity of those “facts” should have resulted in a change in policy or, at the very least, expressions of clarification and regret by people who had previously made those incorrect but pivotal claims. Basic moral and scientific standards demand that individuals put clearly on the record the requisite corrections and retractions of statements that might influence decisions that affect health. If they don’t, they should not be trusted – especially given the huge potential consequences of their informational errors for an increasingly “vaccinated” population. That, however, never happened. If the “vaccine”-pushers had acted in good faith, then in the wake of the publication of new data throughout the pandemic, we would have been hearing (and perhaps even accepting) multiple mea culpas. We heard no such thing from political officials, revealing an almost across-the-board lack of integrity, moral seriousness, or concern with accuracy. The consequently necessary discounting of the claims previously made by officials left no trustworthy case on the pro-lockdown, pro-“vaccine” side at all.To offer some examples of statements that were proven false by data but not explicitly walked back:“You’re not going to get COVID if you get these vaccinations… We are in a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” – Joe Biden;
“The vaccines are safe. I promise you…” – Joe Biden;
“The vaccines are safe and effective.” – Anthony Fauci.
“Our data from the CDC suggest that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, do not get sick – and it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real world data.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in… in serious condition and many on ventilators.” – Justice Sotomayer (during a case to determine legality of Federal “vaccine” mandates)…
… and so on and so on.
The last one is particularly interesting because it was made by a judge in a Supreme Court case to determine the legality of the federal mandates. Subsequently, the aforementioned Dr. Walensky, head of the CDC, who had previously made a false statement about the efficacy of the “vaccine,” confirmed under questioning that the number of children in hospital was only 3,500 – not 100,000.
To make more strongly the point about prior claims and policies’ being contradicted by subsequent findings but not, as a result, being reversed, the same Dr. Walensky, head of the CDC, said, “the overwhelming number of deaths – over 75% – occurred in people that had at least four comorbidities. So really these were people who were unwell to begin with.” That statement so completely undermined the entire justification for the policies of mass-“vaccination” and lockdowns that any intellectually honest person who supported them would at that point have to reassess their position. Whereas the average Joe might well have missed that piece of information from the CDC, it was the government’s own information so the presidential Joe (and his agents) certainly could not have missed it. Where was the sea change in policy to match the sea change in our understanding of the risks associated with COVID, and therefore the cost-benefit balance of the untested (long-term) “vaccine” vs. the risk associated with being infected with COVID? It never came. Clearly, neither the policy positions nor their supposed factual basis could be trusted.
- What was the new science that explained why, for the first time in history, a “vaccine” would be more effective than natural exposure and consequent immunity? Why the urgency to get a person who has had COVID and now has some immunity to get “vaccinated” after the fact?
- The overall political and cultural context in which the entire discourse on “vaccination” was being conducted was such that the evidential bar for the safety and efficacy of the “vaccine” was raised yet further while our ability to determine whether that bar had been met was reduced. Any conversation with an “unvaccinated” person (and as an educator and teacher, I was involved in very many), always involved the “unvaccinated” person being put into a defensive posture of having to justify himself to the “vaccine”-supporter as if his position was de facto more harmful than the contrary one. In such a context, accurate determination of facts is almost impossible: moral judgment always inhibits objective empirical analysis. When dispassionate discussion of an issue is impossible because judgment has saturated discourse, drawing conclusions of sufficient accuracy and with sufficient certainty to promote rights violations and the coercion of medical treatment, is next to impossible.
- Regarding analytics (and Scott’s point about “our” heuristics beating “their” analytics), precision is not accuracy. Indeed, in contexts of great uncertainty and complexity, precision is negatively correlated with accuracy. (A more precise claim is less likely to be correct.) Much of the COVID panic began with modeling. Modeling is dangerous inasmuch as it puts numbers on things; numbers are precise; and precision gives an illusion of accuracy – but under great uncertainty and complexity, model outputs are dominated by the uncertainties on the input variables that have very wide (and unknown) ranges and the multiple assumptions that themselves warrant only low confidence. Therefore, any claimed precision of a model’s output is bogus and the apparent accuracy is only and entirely that – apparent.
We saw the same thing with HIV in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Models at that time determined that up to one-third of the heterosexual population could contract HIV. Oprah Winfrey offered that statistic on one of her shows, alarming a nation. The first industry to know that this was absurdly wide of the mark was the insurance industry when all of the bankruptcies that they were expecting on account of payouts on life insurance policies did not happen. When the reality did not match the outputs of their models, they knew that the assumptions on which those models were based were false – and that the pattern of the disease was very different from what had been declared.
For reasons beyond the scope of this article, the falseness of those assumptions could have been determined at the time. Of relevance to us today, however, is the fact that those models helped to create an entire AIDS industry, which pushed experimental antiretroviral drugs on people with HIV no doubt in the sincere belief that the drugs might help them. Those drugs killed hundreds of thousands of people.
(By the way, the man who announced the “discovery” of HIV from the White House – not in a peer-reviewed journal – and then pioneered the huge and deadly reaction to it was the very same Anthony Fauci who has been gracing our television screens over the last few years.)
- An honest approach to data on COVID and policy development would have driven the urgent development of a system to collect accurate data on COVID infections and the outcomes of COVID patients. Instead, the powers that be did the very opposite, making policy decisions that knowingly reduced the accuracy of collected data in a way that would serve their political purposes. Specifically, they 1) stopped distinguishing between dying of COVID and dying with COVID and 2) incentivized medical institutions to identify deaths as caused by COVID when there was no clinical data to support that conclusion. (This also happened during the aforementioned HIV panic three decades ago.)
- The dishonesty of the pro-“vaccine” side was revealed by the repeated changes of official definitions of clinical terms like “vaccine” whose (scientific) definitions have been fixed for generations (as they must be if science is to do its work accurately: definitions of scientific terms can change, but only when our understanding of their referents changes). Why was the government changing the meanings of words rather than simply telling the truth using the same words they had been using from the beginning? Their actions in this regard were entirely disingenuous and anti-science. The evidential bar moves up again and our ability to trust the evidence slides down.
In his video (which I mentioned at the top of this article), Scott Adams asked, “How could I have determined that the data that [“vaccine”-sceptics] sent me was the good data?” He did not have to. Those of us who got it right or “won” (to use his word) needed only to accept the data of those who were pushing the “vaccination” mandates. Since they had the greatest interest in the data pointing their way, we could put an upper bound of confidence in their claims by testing those claims against their own data. For someone without comorbidities, that upper bound was still too low to take the risk of “vaccination” given the very low risk of severe harm from contracting COVID-19.
In this relation, it is also worth mentioning that under the right contextual conditions, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Those conditions definitely applied in the pandemic: there was a massive incentive for all of the outlets who were pushing the “vaccine” to provide sufficient evidence to support their unequivocal claims for the vaccine and lockdown policies and to denigrate, as they did, those who disagreed. They simply did not provide that evidence, obviously because it did not exist. Given that they would have provided it if it had existed, the lack of evidence presented was evidence of its absence.
For all of the above reasons, I moved from initially considering enrolling in a vaccine trial to doing some open-minded due diligence to becoming COVID-“vaccine”-sceptical. I generally believe in never saying “never” so I was waiting until such time as the questions and issues raised above were answered and resolved. Then, I would be potentially willing to get “vaccinated,” at least in principle. Fortunately, not subjecting oneself to a treatment leaves one with the option to do so in the future. (Since the reverse is not the case, by the way, the option value of “not acting yet” weighs somewhat in favor of the cautious approach.)
However, I remember the day when my decision not to take the “vaccine” became a firm one. A conclusive point brought me to deciding that I would not be taking the “vaccine” under prevailing conditions. A few days later, I told my mother on a phone call, “They will have to strap me to a table.”
- Whatever the risks associated with a COVID infection on the one hand, and the “vaccine” on the other, the “vaccination” policy enabled massive human rights violations. Those who were “vaccinated” were happy to see the “unvaccinated” have basic freedoms removed (the freedom to speak freely, work, travel, be with loved ones at important moments such as births, deaths, funerals etc.) because their status as “vaccinated” allowed them to accept back as privileges-for-the-“vaccinated” the rights that had been removed from everyone else. Indeed, many people grudgingly admitted that they got “vaccinated” for that very reason, e.g. to keep their job or go out with their friends. For me, that would have been to be complicit in the destruction, by precedent and participation, of the most basic rights on which our peaceful society depends.People have died to secure those rights for me and my compatriots. As a teenager, my Austrian grandfather fled to England from Vienna and promptly joined Churchill’s army to defeat Hitler. Hitler was the man who murdered his father, my great-grandfather, in Dachau for being a Jew. The camps began as a way to quarantine the Jews who were regarded as vectors of disease that had to have their rights removed for the protection of the wider population. In 2020, all I had to do in defense of such rights was to put up with limited travel and being barred from my favorite restaurants, etc., for a few months.
Even if I were some weird statistical outlier such that COVID might hospitalize me despite my age and good health, then so be it: if it were going to take me, I would not let it take my principles and rights in the meanwhile.
And what if I were wrong? What if the massive abrogation of rights that was the response of governments around the world to a pandemic with a tiny fatality rate among those who were not “unwell to begin with” (to use the expression of the Director of the CDC) was not going to end in a few months?
What if it were going to go on forever? In that case, the risk to my life from COVID would be nothing next to the risk to all of our lives as we take to the streets in the last, desperate hope of wresting back the most basic freedoms of all from a State that has long forgotten that it legitimately exists only to protect them and, instead, sees them now as inconvenient obstacles to be worked around or even destroyed.
Curious: Angela Merkel’s September 2019 Visit to Wuhan
From the Brownstone Institute
In a much-tweeted soundbite from the recent Congressional hearing on the origins of Covid-19, former CDC director Robert Redfield noted that three unusual events occurred in Wuhan in September 2019 suggesting a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
But another, in retrospect, highly curious event also occurred in Wuhan in September 2019: namely, none other than then German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to the city and, more specifically, to the Tongji Hospital on the left bank of the Yangtze River. The hospital is also known as the German-Chinese Friendship Hospital.
The below photo from Germany’s Deutsche Presse Agentur shows Chancellor Merkel being greeted by nurses at the hospital reception on September 7, 2019. (Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung.)
A 2021 House Foreign Affairs Committee Minority Report, referring in greater detail to the same events as Redfield, concludes that a lab leak took place at the WIV sometime prior to September 12, when, notably, the WIV’s virus and sample database was mysteriously taken offline in the middle of the night (p. 5 and passim).
What an incredible coincidence that the German Chancellor was visiting Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital at almost precisely the time when, according to Redfield’s speculations, a potentially catastrophic event was taking place across the river at the Wuhan Institute of Virology! This was, moreover, merely three months before the first officially acknowledged cases of Covid-19 began to turn up in the city.
But the coincidence is in fact even more incredible. For when those first cases did begin to turn up in Wuhan in early December 2019, they did not in fact turn up in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology on the right bank of the Yangtze, but rather in the direct vicinity of Tongji Hospital on the left bank!
The below mapping of the initial cluster of cases from Science magazine makes this clear. The black dot is the epicenter of the cluster. Cross #5 marks the location of Tongji Hospital.
And that is not all. As discussed in my earlier article on “The Other Lab in Wuhan,”although the WIV was relatively far removed from the outbreak – say around 10 kilometers from the epicenter as the crow flies — there is in fact another virus research lab in Wuhan that is located right in the area of the initial cluster.
The lab in question is the German-Chinese Joint Laboratory of Infection and Immunity – or, as its German co-director Ulf Dittmer has also called it, the “Essen-Wuhan Laboratory for Virus Research” – and the Chinese host institution of the German-Chinese Joint Lab is none other than the Tongji-Hospital-affiliated Tongji Medical College.
Per Google maps, Tongji Medical College is located around one kilometer due north of the hospital. Have another look at the above map keeping in mind the indicated scale. This would put it nearly right at the epicenter of the outbreak!
According to German and Chinese sources, however, the lab is in fact located at another hospital affiliated with Tongji Medical College: Wuhan Union Hospital. The location of Union Hospital is marked by cross #6 on the Science map: still in the cluster, but a bit further away from the epicenter.
A press release on the website of the University of Duisburg-Essen, the German co-sponsor of the lab, notes that:
The Joint Lab is fully equipped for virus research. It is a BSL2 safety laboratory with access to BSL3 conditions. German and Chinese members of the lab have access to a large sample collection form [sic.] patients of the Department of Infectious Diseases for their research.
BSL stands for “biosafety level.”
The below photo from a German article on the Essen-Wuhan collaboration shows the virologist Xin Zheng of Union Hospital, Tongji Medical School, at work in the joint lab. Per the cited source, Xin did her doctorate at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Could SARS-CoV-2 have leaked from the joint lab?
And, while we’re at it, was gain-of-function research being conducted at the lab? We do not know, but we do know that the German members of the lab will, at any rate, have been in contact with a nearby lab where it was being conducted. For the Wuhan Institute of Virology lists the University of Duisburg-Essen as one of its partner institutions.
Furthermore, in addition to its own partnership with the University of Duisburg-Essen, Tongji Medical College also has a longstanding academic exchange program with the Charité research and teaching hospital in Berlin of none other than Christian Drosten: the German virologist whose controversial and ultrasensitive PCR protocol, in effect, guaranteed that the Covid-19 outbreak would acquire the status of a “pandemic.”
As discussed in “The Other Lab in Wuhan,” Drosten appears as one of the scientists participating in the so-called “Fauci emails,” and of all the participants, he is the most vehement denier of the possibility of a lab leak.
In remarks in the German press, Drosten has admitted that he began working on his Covid-19 testing protocol before any Covid-19 cases had even officially been reported to the WHO! He says he did so based on information he had from unnamed virologist colleagues working in Wuhan. (Source: Die Berliner Zeitung.)
Speaking of which, Drosten can be seen below in the company of none other than Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the scientist whose research on bat coronaviruses is suspected of being at the origin of a Covid-19 lab leak.
The picture comes from a “Sino-German Symposium on Infectious Diseases” that took place in Berlin in 2015 and that was organized by Ulf Dittmer of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Dittmer, as noted above, is the co-director of the Essen-Wuhan lab, which would be founded two years later. The symposium was funded by the German Ministry of Health.
Dittmer is the bald man with the striped shirt in the full group picture of symposium participants below. (Source: University of Duisburg-Essen.) The jovial bearded man with the bowtie in the next row is none other than Thomas Mertens, the current chair of the “Standing Committee on Vaccination” of the German health authority, the Robert Koch Institute.
The Berlin symposium was held one year after the US government declared a moratorium on gain-of-function research.
As it so happens, Drosten himself has been involved in gain-of-function research, as the below screen shot from the webpage of the German RAPID project makes clear.
RAPID stands for “Risk Assessment in Prepandemic Respiratory Infectious Diseases.” Further information from the German Ministry of Education and Research expressly states that Drosten’s Charité hospital does not merely oversee, but is directly involved (beteiligt) in RAPID sub-project 2: i.e. “identification of host factors by loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments.”
Imagine for a moment that then President Donald Trump paid a visit to Wuhan in September 2019, at the very time that a lab leak is suspected to have occurred in the city.
And imagine that, while there, he made a stop at a hospital that is affiliated with a medical school located in the very epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak that would officially occur three months later.
Imagine that this medical school, furthermore, runs a joint, BSL-3 capable, virus research lab with an American university – let’s say, for example, Ralph Baric’s University of North Carolina – and that Baric and his colleagues were themselves conducting research right in Wuhan!
And imagine that the American university in question is also a partner institution of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (Baric’s University of North Carolina is not in fact) and that the local Wuhan medical school also has a partnership with, say, the NIH.
And imagine that there is even a photo of none other than Anthony Fauci of the NIH with none other than Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology at a joint “Sino-American Symposium on Infectious Diseases” in Washington that was organized by Baric and funded by the US Department of Health four years before the Covid-19 outbreak. And imagine, for good measure, that, say, Rochelle Walensky was also present at the event.
Imagine, finally, that Fauci had not just (allegedly) provided funding for gain-of-function research, but was himself directly involved in it.
The above concatenation of circumstances would undoubtedly be regarded as what some members of the US intelligence community might call “slam-dunk” proof of US complicity in any lab leak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that may have occurred in Wuhan.
Why does the ample evidence of manifold German connections to and indeed involvement in virus research in Wuhan not merit at least the same degree of scrutiny, if not to say of certainty?
The Vaccine Was “95% Effective” How?
From the Brownstone Institute
The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Maori chiefs was a landmark event in the history of New Zealand. Drafted in English, a Maori translation was prepared, ostensibly to ensure that Maori could have an accurate understanding of the terms. In retrospect, it is less clear that a meeting of the minds was intended:
The English and Māori texts differ. As some words in the English treaty did not translate directly into the written Māori language of the time, the Māori text is not a literal translation of the English text. It has been claimed that Henry Williams, the missionary entrusted with translating the treaty from English, was fluent in Māori and that far from being a poor translator he had in fact carefully crafted both versions to make each palatable to both parties without either noticing inherent contradictions.
“The covid vaccine is 95% effective” is a contemporary Treaty of Waitangi. The original is in the language of clinical trials. It was never translated. The public interpreted this phrase in their native language, normal English. What Pfizer said and what the public heard were quite different. The public would have been far more skeptical of these products had the clinical trial results been translated into normal English.
What we need is a proper translation and an explanation of how miscommunication happened.
The Injections Did Not Stop Infection
By now, everyone knows that the Pfizer and Moderna products did not stop people from getting Covid. Covid disease has mowed a wide strip through the double and triple-masked talking heads who told everyone that the shots would make them immune.
What is less well known is that:
- The products were never expected to stop infection or transmission.
- The clinical trials did not test for their ability to do so.
A clinical trial is designed to test a drug for effectiveness, which is strictly defined by one or more endpoints. An endpoint is a measurable outcome that can be assessed for each participant. With that in mind, prevention of infection was not an endpoint of the BioNTech/Pfizer injection clinical trials. And, this was known in 2020 before the products were approved for emergency use and distributed to the public starting in 2021.
In this New England Journal of Medicine research summary, Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine, under Limitations and Remaining Questions, we find that “whether the vaccine protects against asymptomatic infection and transmission to unvaccinated persons” remains unanswered by the clinical trial.
What did the clinical trial test for, if not the ability of the mRNA vaccine to stop transmission and/or infection? The trial was designed to test the ability of the injections to prevent “symptomatic Covid 19 cases” defined as one or more of a number symptoms and a positive test (see page 7 of the supplementary appendix for details).
@pfizer tweeted in Jan 2021 that stopping transmission was their “highest priority”. Their product does not do that, nor did the tweet make a claim that it did so. But it was their highest priority nonetheless. That, and getting as many people injected as possible.
Failure to Prevent Infection Was Known Before the Rollout
In October 2022, a Pfizer executive testified to an EU body that Pfizer had not tested the ability of the vaccine to stop transmission. This story was shocking to some and generated accusations that Pfizer had lied about the capabilities of the shots. But this information had been available since the trial results were released early in 2021. Pfizer had already been criticized for this.
Dr William A Haseltine PhD, wrote in Forbes in September 2020:
What would a normal vaccine trial look like?
One of the more immediate questions a trial needs to answer is whether a vaccine prevents infection. If someone takes this vaccine, are they far less likely to become infected with the virus? These trials all clearly focus on eliminating symptoms of Covid-19, and not infections themselves. Asymptomatic infection is listed as a secondary objective in these trials when they should be of critical importance.
On October 21, 2020 the editor of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) Peter Doshi asked:
Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren’t designed to tell us
Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said, “Ideally, you want an antiviral vaccine to do two things . . . first, reduce the likelihood you will get severely ill and go to the hospital, and two, prevent infection and therefore interrupt disease transmission.”
Yet the current phase III trials are not actually set up to prove either. None of the trials currently underway are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus….
Is It Even a Vaccine?
A vaccine that prevents infection is known as “neutralizing” or “sterilizing”. I am a software engineer with no training in medicine, pharmacology or clinical trials. I consider myself a good barometer of what the average untrained person would think about such things. Prior to 2021 I had thought that immunity was a necessary condition for a drug to earn the title of “vaccine”. If anyone had asked me, I would have told them that the Covid injections were a treatment, not a vaccine.
The Wikipedia article about vaccines (Mar 5 2023) aligns with my untrained understanding:
A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious or malignant disease. … A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and to further recognize and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with that agent that it may encounter in the future.
Cornell Law provides the following legal definition of vaccine, sourcing 26 USC § 4132(a)(2), which is consistent with the above:
The term “vaccine” means any substance designed to be administered to a human being for the prevention of 1 or more diseases.
The definition published by the CDC prior to 2021 said much the same. But the CDC website changed the definition on or after August 2021. The older version found on the internet archive is here (emphasis added):
Immunity: Protection from an infectious disease. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.
Vaccine: A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.
Here is the new version (emphasis added):
Vaccine: A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.
The earlier pair of definitions is quite easy to understand. The latter, much more difficult. What exactly is a “preparation”? Does a vaccine stimulate the body or only prepare the body? What is or is not a vaccine according to the new definition?
While the CDC may think that they can change the meanings of words whenever they like, public memory retains the original meaning. The assumption of immunity permeates almost all non-expert level discussion of vaccines. A web search for “why are vaccines good” shows results that assume or imply immunity.
Even the CDC did not finish the job of memory-holing the old language. On the very same CDC website, under 5 Reasons It Is Important for Adults to Get Vaccinated, we read “By getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself and also avoid spreading preventable diseases to other people in your community.” And then, “Vaccines Can Prevent Serious Illness”.
The timing of the CDC’s edit suggests to me that prior to 2021, the CDC had the same understanding of vaccines as I do. I believe that they wanted a new definition because they knew that the products being developed at warp speed were not vaccines in the original sense of the word. And it was important that those products be called “vaccines” for reasons that I will explain later. This incident brings to mind a meme that I no longer have a link to. captioned: “We changed what ‘definition’ means so you can’t say that we redefined anything.”
What Does “95% Effective” Mean?
The “95% effective” message was repeated in nearly all reporting on the clinical trials. But the question, “effective at doing what?” was rarely asked. To answer this requires walking down the links of a chain of terminology from the world of clinical trials.
The first link in the chain is “risk”. Risk is the probability of a bad outcome. These are assumed to happen randomly within a group. A clinical trial must define in advance the bad outcomes that the drug intends to avoid. The next link is “endpoint”. Each distinct bad outcome is an “endpoint”. The trial compares the endpoints between a control group who did not take the drug and a test group, who did.
The purpose of a clinical trial is to determine the ability of a drug to reduce risk. A drug that reduces risk is “effective”. There are two ways of quantifying risk reduction. From the NIH glossary:
Absolute risk reduction (ARR) or risk difference
the difference in the incidence of poor outcomes between the intervention group of a study and the control group. For example, if 20 per cent of people die in the intervention group and 30 per cent in the control group, the ARR is 10 per cent (30–20 per cent).
Relative risk (RR)
the rate (risk) of poor outcomes in the intervention group divided by the rate of poor outcomes in the control group. For example, if the rate of poor outcomes is 20 per cent in the intervention group and 30 per cent in the control group, the relative risk is 0.67 (20 per cent divided by 30 per cent).
The difference between the ARR and RR (also known as “RRR”, to align with ARR) is in the denominator. The ARR divides by the number of participants in one of the groups. The RRR divides by the number of people with bad outcomes in the control group – a necessarily much smaller number.
The ARR is the number most relevant for a drug – such as the Pfizer injections – that was to be given to everyone. But the RRR is the preferred method of presentation for pharma when they want to exaggerate the effectiveness of a drug because it will always be a much larger number. Would you take a drug that could reduce the incidence of a rare disease by 50%? From 10 per 1 million to 5 per 1 million is an 50% RRR and an 0.0005% ARR.
The 95% figure cited for the covid injections is the relative risk. The absolute risk reduction was 0.84%. In a slide deck from the Canadian Covid Care Alliance(CCCA), slide 11 shows how the 91% was achieved (it is 91%, not 95%, because the it refers to an earlier version of the study):
The research paper COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness—the elephant (not) in the room puts the ARR in the 1% range. The CCCA slide deck gives an ARR of 0.84%, though it is not clear how they reached this number, based on the other numbers in their slides.
A clinical trial finding of a 1% ARR means that 99% of the people who take the drug either did not experience the condition that the drug treats, or they did experience it, but were not helped by the drug. The 1% both had the condition and were helped by the drug. Another way of saying this is the Number Needed to Treat (NNT). NNT is the reciprocal of the ARR and is the number of people who must take the drug to help one person reach the endpoint. An ARR of 1% corresponds to an NNT of 100 people.
We can now answer the question of the meaning of vaccine effectiveness. The endpoint of the trial was a severe confirmed case of covid at least 7 days after the second dose. This endpoint requires the participant in the trial to have covid symptoms and a positive covid test. “95% effective” means that 95% of the patients who had Covid symptoms and a positive test were in the control group. Five percent were in the test group.
Here’s what “95% effective” did not mean: if you take the shots, then you will have a 95% lower chance of getting covid. But that is how most people understood it because that is what the words mean in normal English.
Then the Lying Started
Once the public had their hopes raised by the false translation of the “95% effective” message, the pandemic-industrial-complex went into high gear to amplify it. They stated the incorrect message loudly, frequently, and as if it were fact. The injections would – with 100% certainty (perhaps 200%) – protect you from infection. Many of the people who said this were doctors or scientific researchers who must have understood how to interpret clinical trials.
Here are some choice quotes that did not age well:
- “You’re not going to get Covid if you have these vaccinations.” Joe Biden, CNN Town Hall July 2021
- “Now we know that the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person. A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them, the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else,” she added with a shrug. “It cannot use a vaccinated person as a host to go get more people. [Vaccines] will get us to the end of this.” – Rachel Maddow, March 2021
- “When people are vaccinated they can feel safe that they won’t get infected, whether they’re outdoors or indoors.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci, May 2021(outdoors: seriously?)
- “Vaccination against COVID-19 prevents breakthrough infections, Stanford researchers find.” – Stanford Medicine, July 2021
- Vaccinated people become “dead ends” for the virus – Anthony Fauci, May 2021
Demonizing the Unvaxxed
The public has consistently over-estimated the infection fatality rate of Covid. Some even believed the fatality rate to be above 10%. They believed that we were in great danger. They also believed that the “95% effective” vaccine would bring the pandemic to a quick end, once everyone had taken it. Anyone who refused to do so was therefore risking not only their own life, but everybody else’s as well.
Dr Anthony Fauci estimated herd immunity would emerge when around 60% of the population had taken the vaccine … or perhaps 70, 80, no wait … 85%. Or maybe 100% (which would include large numbers who already had natural immunity). Bill Gates extended that to everyone on earth.
The narrative then turned to demonization of those who refused to submit to vaccine coercion. The selfish anti-social behavior of the anti-vaxxers with their stubborn attachment to “free dumb” that was keeping everyone locked indoors and forcing us all to wear diapers on our faces. Yale University behavioral researchers tested messaging strategies to determine whether shame, embarrassment or fear was most effective.
President Biden said that we the nation was experiencing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Later, Biden ominoulsy warned the unvaccinated that he had been waiting a long time for them to get injected, but “our patience is wearing thin”. In December of 2021 the White House issued a cheery year end greeting to the vaccinated. The unvaccinated, on the other hand, were “looking at a winter of severe illness and death.” Merry Christmas.
Even South Park, which I consider a reliable source of contrarian political opinion, ran a storyline set in the year 2050 in which every single character had to be vaccinated for the 30-year pandemic to end. This episode featured one lone holdout who would not get vaccinated due to a crustacean allergy i.e. for “shellfish reasons”. This gag took aim at people who considered the vaccine to be a violation of body autonomy, and those who objected to components used in its development for religious reasons, thereby scoring a “two for one”.
Volumes can, and will, be written about the intense onslaught of propaganda aimed at getting two needles in every deltoid. I will provide one more example that represents no more than the median level of insanity; plenty of people called for the same or worse. @ClayTravis, in February 2023, tweeted the results of a Rasmussen poll from 2022:
Last January 60% of Democrats wanted to lock everyone who didn’t get the covid shot in their houses. Over 40% of Democrats wanted those who rejected the covid shot sent to quarantine camps. Over 40% also wanted anyone who criticized the covid shot fined & imprisoned. Over a quarter wanted those who didn’t get the covid shot to have their kids seized.
While there were many agendas driving the madness, the Treaty of Waitangi effect was a critical part in carrying it out. If the message had been that “everyone is going to get exposed to covid – injected or not”, then it could not have happened. The misunderstanding convinced the public that mass vaccination would stop the pandemic; and that the holdouts were prolonging it. Without this belief, none of the coercion made any sense: employment mandates, school mandates, quarantine camps, or vaccine passports. As the hysteria fades, the last remaining mandates are being dropped as the reality sinks in that the shots do not stop the spread.
Welcome to Waitangi World. I hope that you have a pleasant stay.
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