Tuesday, September 21, 2021

COVID Vaccines: Something SEEMS Terribly Off

Before I go further, I am a supporter of vaccines, including the COVID vaccines. I have been vaccinated three times against the disease. (More advice at the end of this piece.)

That said, day by day, something increasingly seems wrong with the COVID vaccines. Notice the emphasis on the word, "seems." I am not a physician and I don't know how seriously to take the information below. But, I do have a number of questions. 
Monday, Sept 27

Tuesday, Sept 28
I personally know two nurses who refuse the get vaccinated. Why are health care workers -- the very people who should want the vaccine most -- refusing the jab?

Late Monday morning [Sept 20], I had to go to a local emergency room due to a reaction to a new medicine. The place was packed. I had an exceptionally long wait. While chatting with the ER physician who treated me, he told me that he was "in the process of admitting six COVID patients who are really sick. And, they are all fully vaccinated." What??

Dr. Fauci told us this was impossible. 

The physician told me he was glad that I and the others were fully vaccinated. "They would be a lot sicker if they weren't," he added. But, I got to thinking, "What is the evidence for that?" He seemed impatient and was extraordinarily busy according to the nurses so I didn't want to take his time. 

After arriving home, I started to do some online research on the question, What Evidence Is There The COVID Vaccines Reduce the Severity of the Disease? 

I searched on Google and DuckDuckGo, search engines which use differing techniques. All I could find are two press releases from the CDC (here and here). If there are recent peer-reviewed studies, independent of the CDC, I cannot find them. There is nothing in either release that indicates their internal studies have been submitted for peer-review.

Having read both carefully, I am not impressed, even though I wanted to be. 

In the California (only) study, the (red link) key finding is:

Lower percentages of fully vaccinated persons were hospitalized (3.2%), were admitted to an intensive care unit (0.5%), and required mechanical ventilation (0.2%) compared with partially vaccinated persons (6.2%, 1.0%, and 0.3%, respectively) and unvaccinated persons (7.6%, 1.5%, and 0.5%, respectively) (p<0.001)

I am not a medical or epidemiological statistician, so I do not know the correct statistical methods to determine whether the above findings are statistically significant. CDC says they are. But, let's break the data out another way:

                              Not Vaccinated     Partial      Fully 
Hospitalized?                  7.6%             6.2%       3.2%
Ventilator?                      0.5%             0.3*%       0.2%
The 0.3 is a correction. Thank you, reader Bill.

The second study's (purple link) key findings are:

The findings come from four weeks of additional data collected in CDC’s HEROES-RECOVER study of health care workers, first responders, frontline workers, and other essential workers. These groups are more likely to be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 because of their occupations. Preliminary results from this study were first announced in March 2021.

In the new analysis, 3,975 participants completed weekly SARS-CoV-2 testing for 17 consecutive weeks (from December 13, 2020 to April 10, 2021) in eight U.S. locations. Participants self-collected nasal swabs that were laboratory tested for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. If the tests came back positive, the specimens were further tested to determine the amount of detectable virus in the nose (i.e., viral load) and the number of days that participants tested positive (i.e., viral shedding). Participants were followed over time and the data were analyzed according to vaccination status. To evaluate vaccine benefits, the study investigators accounted for the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in the area and how consistently participants used personal protective equipment (PPE) at work and in the community. Once fully vaccinated, participants’ risk of infection was reduced by 91 percent. After partial vaccination, participants’ risk of infection was reduced by 81 percent. These estimates included symptomatic and asymptomatic infections.

To determine whether COVID-19 illness was milder, study participants who became infected with SARS-CoV-2 were combined into a single group and compared to unvaccinated, infected participants. Several findings indicated that those who became infected after being fully or partially vaccinated were more likely to have a milder and shorter illness compared to those who were unvaccinated. For example, fully or partially vaccinated people who developed COVID-19 spent on average six fewer total days sick and two fewer days sick in bed. They also had about a 60 percent lower risk of developing symptoms, like fever or chills, compared to those who were unvaccinated. Some study participants infected with SARS-CoV-2 did not develop symptoms.

My concerns with the study are stated, in order, 
  • Essential workers are younger, and possibly healthier, than the population as a whole.
  • COVID tests were self-collected rather than by a neutral third party.
  • I have never understood why "asymptomatic" results are considered an "illness." This was also true before the vaccines. 
  • By combining the cases, it means asymptomatic cases were considered "positives." I have a good friend who tested positive for COVID early in the epidemic who had no real symptoms. As this is constructed, he would be considered a vaccine "success." That doesn't seem right, especially given the small numbers,
  • Of the 3,975 first responders in the study, if the infection was prevented in 91% of the participants, then the remaining infected participants = 44. That seems a very small population from which to develop these conclusions. 
Speaking of small populations, Project Veritas dropped a video with a woman who is a federal hospital registered nurse. There is also undercover video. While we never know how video might be edited, there is enough there to indicate that health care workers at that facility had a number of concerns, some serious, about the vaccines, including the allegation a vaccine caused the death of a healthy colleague. The video and transcript are here

Usually, I would discount the PV report. But, consider this:
These are health care workers who resigned -- in large numbers -- presumably the people with the most experience with the vaccines and their results. If the vaccines are as promoted, why would they resign?

They are not the only ones.
It is curious to me that the reporter discounts the experiences of front-line health care workers. I don't understand why the MSM (perhaps the narrative?) interview Fauci and other 'experts' who do not see patients -- and insult the people ("misinformation") who do. 

I do know there are numerous reports that at least some physicians feel pressured to "go along" with federal guidance and/or feel the White House's advice to get a third shot is invalid.
President Biden's plan was rejected by an FDA panel Friday by a vote of 16-2. There will not be a recommendation the general population receive a third shot. 

Finally, independent reporter Sharyl Attkisson has compiled a list of concerns about the vaccine that are backed by evidence. It is here. As you'll see, it is long list. 

I'll be the very first to concede I don't know whether there are significant or serious issues with the vaccine(s). But when there is smoke, it seems reasonable to check for fire. At this point, I'm not taking advice from either side at face value.  As usual, the mainstream media seems to get the vast majority of their information from government or academics along I-95 from D.C. to Boston which have a uniform point of view*. 

For now my advice remains mostly unchanged: Speak to your physician. If you are young and have heart problems, I would probably speak to both my cardiologist and my general physician (GP). If you are pregnant I'd speak to your GP and OB-GYN before. 

If your personal medical experts say to get the vaccine, it is probably best to do so. Either way, do it quickly in order to protect yourself.

I'm happy I've had the recommended three boosters. However, the side effects from shot #3 (Pfizer) were significantly worse than #1 and #2. If you have bad side effects with the first two shots, let your physician(s) know. I'm glad the FDA nixed President Biden's plan for the general population. 

Addition: 9/21, A Story on this same topic from the Los Angeles Times. I find it interesting that the story originates far from the groupthink on the East Coast. Their conclusion is the vaccines, especially Pfizer's, have problems. 

*IMPORTANT. These days, if a reporter asks to interview you, make sure you record at least the audio of the entire interview. The stakes are high on this topic and reporters will almost never give you their raw notes and/or video. You will want to be protected against misquote with your own copy. If the reporter will not allow the interview to be recorded, cancel the interview. 

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