A tipping in the COVID vaccines narrative? COVID crimes – Part 3

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, lockdown restrictions and COVID vaccines, the existing standard metric in 2020 for allocating finite health resources was cost-benefit analysis using quality adjusted life years (QALY) for measuring health outcomes. In Part 3 of the COVID crimes series by Professor Ramesh Thakur, he makes the excellent point that, as  governments rarely shy away from promoting an analysis that supports their official line, it’s a safe assumption that they knew that the obsession with Covid health outcomes as the single measure of success was a gross distortion of public policy priorities. Thakur looks at the signs that some pivotal countries might be at tipping points in the dominant narrative of safe and effective vaccines. This article first appeared on Brownstone Institute. – Nadya Swart

State Power and Covid Crimes: Part 3

By Ramesh Thakur*

Last June, a paper by a team that included the British Medical Journal editor Peter Doshi concluded that data from the Pfizer and Moderna trials indicated their vaccines are more likely to put people in hospital from adverse effects than keep them out by protecting against Covid, by 2.4 and 6.4 people per 10,000, respectively. They concluded:

The excess risk of serious adverse events found in our study points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses, particularly those that are stratified according to risk of serious Covid-19 outcomes such as hospitalisation or death.

Another peer-reviewed study, published in the BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics on 5 December, looked at the net benefit-harm ratio of a third vaccine for 18–29 year olds (that is, university students). According to its findings, for every one Covid hospitalisation prevented in this group by an mRNA booster shot over a six-month period, 18.5 serious adverse events would occur, including 1.5-4.6 booster-associated myopericarditis cases in males (typically requiring hospitalisation). 

Because the net harm to healthy young adults is not outweighed by public health benefits ‘given modest and transient’ vaccine effectiveness against transmission, ‘university booster mandates are unethical.’

The existing standard metric in 2020 for allocating finite health resources was cost-benefit analysis using quality adjusted life years (QALY) for measuring health outcomes. Yet hardly any government seems to have performed such analyses or, if they did, bothered to publish them. As governments rarely shy away from promoting an analysis that supports their official line, it’s a safe assumption that they knew that the obsession with Covid health outcomes as the single measure of success was a gross distortion of public policy priorities. 

It led many into the blind alley of an eradication strategy and Zero Covid policy – an ambition that even China has been compelled to abandon under the force of circumstances. The abandonment of QALY was necessary to reject the reality – let’s call it data or evidence denialism – that the disease burden of Covid-19 had an extremely steep age gradient.

In an article in Spectator Australia on 24 October 2020, I wrote:

The biggest tragedy will be across the developing world over the next decade, with over 100 million more people pushed into extreme poverty, tens of millions of additional dead from increased infant and maternal mortality, hunger and starvation with more poverty and disrupted crop production and food distribution networks, sharp cutbacks in immunisation and schooling, and destruction of the informal sectors of the economy in which daily wage earners earn a pitiful living. Most countries will also need to prepare for potential spikes in mental health problems and suicides from the fear generated by exaggerated alarmism as well as the loneliness, isolation, financial ruin and despair caused by the lockdowns.

One of the most contagious but almost completely preventable serious viral diseases through timely childhood vaccination is measles. As a consequence of the serially prolonged shutdowns, around 33 million children missed out on either the first or the second dose of the vaccine compared to 2019. 

This was the first fall in the number of measle vaccines given since 2014. According to an article in The Lancet in January 2022, 24 measles vaccination campaigns in 23 countries were postponed in 2020. This increased the risk of the disease for over 93 million people, mostly of course among poor people in poor countries. Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Brazil were among the worst affected.

According to a report in The Telegraph (UK) on 27 December, measles is all set to be an imminent global threat next year, thanks both to the lockdown-induced disruptions to existing immunisation campaigns and to the rise in vaccine hesitancy spreading from scepticism about Covid vaccines to older established vaccines – another consequence that was also predicted. 

Vaccine scepticism is showing up in public opinion polls in the US. A Rasmussen poll published on 7 December found 32 percent were not vaccinated, 7 percent had suffered a major side effect but a massive 57 percent were concerned about major side effects. People believed vaccines are effective at stopping infection by a 56-38 majority, which is quite a sizable cohort of doubters, especially among Republicans.

Michael Gunner, Chief Minister of Australia’s Northern Territory, went into an anti-vaxxer meltdown on 22 November 2021: ‘If you’re out there in any way, shape or form campaigning against the mandate, then you are absolutely anti-vax.’ 

In other words, even though I warned that lockdowns would seriously damage existing critical immunisation efforts and coercion to improve Covid vaccine take-up would increase cross-vaccine hesitancy, I was an anti-vaxxer. Got it.

There are suspicions of possible spikes in miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths (from birth to 29 days) in Israel in 2021 that coincide with vaccines for pregnant women. Ditto a decline in Sweden’s birth rate. Dr James Thorp, an obstetrician-gynaecologist who spoke at Senator Ron Johnson’s Roundtable on Covid vaccines on 7 December 2022, said that he had observed ‘a substantial increase’ in infertility, miscarriage, fetal death and fetal malformation since vaccination. Similar anecdotal claims of substantially elevated miscarriages following vaccination were made by Dr Luke McLindon in Brisbane, drawing on experience in his own fertility clinic. 

However, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reiterated there was no evidence of negative impact on fertility or increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or other adverse pregnancy outcomes from the Covid vaccines and the risks arising from Covid infection were greater.

Yet, now even the New York Times is reporting that vaccines have a significant effect on menstrual cycles. But, being the Times, the report is slanted towards erratic cycles in ‘gender-diverse people.’ The two most revealing parts of the article are the highly critical comments from a swarm of angry readers, and this statement: ‘The increased transparency around menstrual changes or other side effects of vaccination could also have another benefit: reducing people’s vaccine hesitancy.’ 

Who knew? 

Little wonder Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is seeking a grand jury investigation into ‘any and all wrongdoing’ with respect to Covid vaccines. It could be a manoeuvre to pry loose more information from pharmaceutical companies about the vaccines’ trial results and their potential side effects.

Empirical population-wide data – distinct from individual-level benefits for limited periods in the high-risk groups – have hinted for some time that multiple doses of Covid vaccines have fallen far short of expectations in real-world effectiveness. Far too many countries have shown a positive correlation between uptake of boosters and infections. 

A recent peer-reviewed study in Science Immunology by a group of German scientists indicates that the third and subsequent doses of mRNA vaccines could be weakening the immune system, increasing the risk of infection and of prolonging and making the illness more serious. This could help to explain the rolling waves of infection in the highly vaccinated countries.

A familiar hypothetical moral dilemma poses the question: is it morally permissible to save one million lives by killing and harvesting the cells of one infant? By 17 December 2022, 19 children had died in the UK from Strep A disease: a higher child death toll than from Covid (8) in 2020. Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency, said the surge in scarlet fever caused by Strep A infection was three times higher than normal for the season and was creating panic among parents. 

This was likely caused by the immunity debt resulting from not exposing preschool kids to circulating pathogens owing to lockdown-induced isolation from other children. Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, commented: ‘At some point the immune deficit brought about by lockdowns has to be repaid.’

In addition, by December 2022 around one quarter of British teenagers were suffering from mental health problems. The same phenomenon is the most likely explanation for the 25 percent rate of respiratory infection among German children.

Sweden, the lonely outlier as governments embraced toughening lockdowns in a panicked cascade from early 2020, has been the standout OECD performer over the past three years on most data sets on excess mortality. 

A pity then that the Swedes did not award the Nobel Prize for medicine to one of their own, chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, as much for the courage of his scientific convictions in standing against the herd as for providing the world with the most instructive control group of all against the anti-scientific idiocy of lockdowns. Alternatively, the Norwegian committee could have awarded him the Peace Prize for the refusal to mandate massive human rights violations.

Insurance data from Germany showed an upsurge in sudden, unexpected deaths from 6,000 to 14,000 per quarter since the vaccines began to be administered on 27 December 2020. Meanwhile Australia’s raw numbers put excess deaths at 16 percent compared to historical averages, according to official figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics from 1 January to 30 September 2022. Of the 19,986 excess deaths, 8,160 were with Covid, meaning 59 percent of the excess deaths have non-Covid causes. 

The Actuaries Institute, Australia’s peak actuarial body, added its voice for an urgent investigation of the ‘incredibly high’ 2022 excess death rate. In the US, CDC data show Americans’ life expectancy had fallen from 78.8 years in 2019 to 76.4 in 2021. Since the average age of a Covid death is higher than the average life expectancy – 81.5 according to one calculation – this suggests a significant rate of non-Covid mortality among younger cohorts. 

An educated guess would point a finger of causation at lockdowns and vaccines as among the factors to be investigated.

Michael Tomlinson makes another interesting observation by looking at the big-picture ‘wood’ of all-cause mortality over the last few years. The long-term curve shows ‘a trend of five declining peaks and progressively flattening curves, so the overall picture is one of gradual subsidence, which is only to be expected as immunity builds up.’ The post-vaccination mortality decline was almost identical with the pre-vaccination decline, again showing the interventions-invariant characteristic of the virus. His conclusion after looking at ‘the greatest surge in the research literature in living memory?’

In the rearview mirror, the effect of government interventions on excess mortality should hit us in the face ––but it doesn’t.

Tipping Points in Vaccine Narrative?

There are signs that some pivotal countries might be at tipping points in the dominant narrative of safe and effective vaccines. Eminent British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, an early promoter of Covid vaccines, now describes this as ‘perhaps the greatest miscarriage of medical science we will witness in our lifetime.’ 

The equation just doesn’t compute for healthy non-elderly people when the numbers needed to vaccinate in order to prevent one death are weighed against the numbers who suffer serious adverse effects. In a twopart peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance on 26 September, Malhotra concluded: ‘There is a strong scientific, ethical and moral case to be made that the current Covid vaccine administration must stop until all the raw data’ has been released and ‘subjected to fully independent scrutiny.’ He called on the medical and public health professions to ‘recognise these failings and eschew the tainted dollar of the medical-industrial complex.’ On 12 December a group of British doctors joined him in calling for an official investigation of mRNA vaccines.

On 28 December Dr John Campbell, whose YouTube channel has 2.6 million subscribers, issued a call for a pause in the vaccination campaign ‘until a full, population scale risk/benefit analysis is carried out, and published for free and open peer review.’ He also called on the health authorities to review the intramuscular injection technique used in the delivery of mRNA vaccines, specifically, to check if aspiration was being carried out to ensure the tip of the syringe needle doesn’t go into a blood vessel. As a sad comment on the madness gripping the world, he made the call on his Rumble channel rather than risk his lucrative YouTube account being suspended.

Andrew Bridgen, MP delivered a comprehensive indictment of the vaccine narrative in the UK Parliament on 13 December. Referencing Malhotra, he noted that despite many criticisms, ‘there has so far not been a single rebuttal of Dr. Malhotra’s findings in the scientific literature.’ He pointed to the nearly half-million yellow card reports of adverse effects, ‘more than all the yellow card reports of the past 40 years combined.’ As indeed has been the experience in the US. Yet in the past, he pointed out, vaccines had been ‘completely withdrawn from use for a much lower incidence of serious harm.’

In Australia a similar tipping point came with the submission to a parliamentary inquiry from Dr Kerryn Phelps, a former president of the Australian Medical Association and a high profile former MP, about vaccine injuries suffered by her wife and, less seriously, herself. It was great to have someone of her stature and visibility state: ‘Regulators of the medical profession have censored public discussion about adverse events following immunisation, with threats to doctors not to make any public statements about anything that “might undermine the government’s vaccine rollout’ or risk suspension or loss of their registration.”’

Phelps reiterated the old-fashioned consensus that the burden of proof has been shifted to the vaccine-injured ‘rather than the neutral scientific position of placing suspicion on the vaccine in the absence of any other cause and the temporal correlation with the administration of the vaccine.’ 

Her elevated public persona means her ‘coming out’ has given voice to countless others who have suffered vaccine injuries in silence and provides cover to others to speak publicly, thereby breaking what Dr Christopher Neil rightly calls ‘AHPRA’s culture of fear,’ referring to the medical regulator the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Neil, a cardiologist, himself lost his job in a Melbourne hospital for refusing the jab.

Australian doctors have also called on governments to stop silencing doctors, let them help their patients make decisions based on informed consent and conduct investigations into mRNA vaccines. In fact, in Victoria, 500 health professionals had come together in the Australian Covid Medical Network to sign an open letter back in October 2020 calling on the state government to end lockdowns.

  • Ramesh Thakur, a Brownstone Institute Senior Scholar, is a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and emeritus professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University. 

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