Category Archives: Vaccines

Vaccination – silencing doctors in the UK

27th February 2022

My last blog discussed the possibility that mRNA COVID19 vaccines significantly increase the risk of myocarditis. Following this, a fellow doctor reached out to tell me about what has happened to them. They too, had questioned some aspects of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

As a result, they have been sent two threatening letters, which are both of the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ variety. I asked their permission to reproduce them here. One is from the General Medical Council (GMC). The other from their responsible officer – I shall explain what this title means a bit further on.

Below is the letter from the GMC:

Dear Dr….

The GMC have received several complaints regarding your recent social media posts.

All doctors have a right to express their personal opinion regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, and while the GMC in no way supports this opinion, we don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.

However, we are referring this matter to your Responsible Office for your reflection through the appraisal process.

We ask that you consider what implications this complaint might have for your practise when you are discussing this with your appraiser. We would also like to remind you of GMC guidance, in particular ‘Doctors’ use of social media, and of the requirement of doctors to act with honesty and integrity to justify the public’s trust in them

What we will do now

We will share the complaint with your responsible officer for them to consider in the wider context of your practice and revalidation.

‘The wider context of your practice and revalidation.’ Which means what, exactly? I sometimes wonder if there a special training scheme where you learn to write creepy and threatening phrases that can later be denied as being creepy and threatening? ‘I was only trying to be nice. They just took it the wrong way.

‘Your children look charming. However, you may want to consider their continued existence on the planet in the wider context of your practice.’

The GMC, as mentioned before, have the powers to investigate complaints made against doctors in the UK, and impose various punishments (they call them sanctions, which sounds far prettier). Ranging from nothing very much to permanent erasure from the medical performers list.

The latter means that you cannot work as a doctor ever again. Anywhere in the world. The GMC will communicate your erasure to other national statutory bodies, upon request. They do it gladly… and speedily.

On the face of it, in this case, the GMC have decided to do nothing. ‘We don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.’

Jolly good.Nothing to see here, move along. Although they add the rider … ‘at this stage.’ Well, what other stages are left, after deciding to take no action? The … I have changed my mind and I am going to have you guillotined, stage?

However, in reality they have not done nothing – have they dear reader? The GMC have decided to refer the complaint to this doctor’s responsible officer. A responsible officer is a doctor who is ‘responsible’ for ensuring that other doctors working in their area have met the necessary requirement for revalidation.

Revalidation is a five-year cycle whereby a doctor has to meet various requirements. A few hundred hours of medical education, keeping up do date with mandatory training. Carrying out an audit, and a patient satisfaction questionnaire, getting sufficient colleague feedback, and suchlike.

There is also a need to have a yearly appraisal. Which is a meeting with an allocated appraiser, to discuss how things have gone. A look through any complaints about you, work you have done, audits that have been completed, actions to take in the next year to improve your practice – a personal development plan. Release of thumbscrews – or a tightening.

If all this is done successfully, over a five-year period, the responsible officer ‘signs you off’ and you are now able to continue work. If not, you are removed from the performers list, and you cannot work as a doctor until you are successfully re-validated. No-one has ever explained to me how you actually do get revalidated. In fact, there is no system in place for this to happen.

If you manage to fulfil the re-validation cycle, and attend appraisals, in theory there can be no grounds for removal. You cannot actually ‘fail’ an appraisal. You simply have to turn up, and ‘reflect’ on your practice. I have never heard of a responsible officer stepping in to remove a doctor from the performers list any time they so wish.

Bearing all that in mind, here is the follow up letter from the responsible officer.

Dear Dr….

I have today received a communication from the GMC regarding an ‘incident that occurred on social media.’ The GMC have advised that they have reviewed the complaint and that it does not meet the threshold for investigation.

However, I understand that you have been asked to consider what implications this complaint may have for your practise and there is a requirement for you to reflect on this matter at your next appraisal meeting.

As your Responsible Officer I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.

I would be grateful if you could let me have your views on this issue, by completing the attached form and returning it as a matter of urgency.

Can you also complete the attached Monitoring of Clinical Practise for your file, please.

Your co-operation with this process is vital in order for us to come to an acceptable resolution as soon as possible, minimising impact to your practice and cost in time and money.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please to contact me to discuss further.

Kind regards

Dr X

Responsible Officer for X region.

I love the ‘Kind regards’ sign off. For this is a letter dripping with unspoken menace. Just to highlight one phrase ‘An incident that occurred on social media…’ An ‘incident’. You mean, someone wrote something that someone didn’t like, they then complained about it. This was not an incident, in the sense that anyone would normally choose to use this word.

[I also note that the GMC spells practice, practice. The responsible officer spells it practise – maybe they need to reflect on their spelling between them].

If you look up the word ‘incident’ on the Cambridge Dictionary it gives an example of its use:

‘A youth was seriously injured in a shooting incident on Saturday night.’1

It does not say. ‘Someone wrote a blog post that upset someone, somewhere, for a bit. But it’s alright now, they are looking at pictures of kittens to recover.’

Words. Words, words, words. They can be used in so many different ways. Their true meaning hidden behind layers of sophistry. But we all know what the word ‘incident’ means in this case. Someone was badly damaged by your actions on that day – do not attempt to deny it, comrade.

Then we move onto the real threat. The responsible officer wants to ensure an acceptable resolution, thus … ‘minimising impact to your practise and cost in time and money.’

What the responsible officer here is saying is that I have the powers to stop you practising medicine in the UK. If I find that your answer to this complaint – which was not strong enough to open a fitness to practice investigation by the GMC – does not satisfy me. Indeed (subtext), I do not actually care what answer you give, I may remove you anyway. This will certainly maximise the impact on this doctor’s ‘practise and cost in time and money’.

If you think this is not what is being threatened. Then ask yourself what else it could mean? There is nothing that needs to be ‘resolved’. A complaint has been made, but the GMC didn’t think it was serious enough to take forward. No patient was harmed, no laws broken … no wrecks and nobody drowned, in fact nothing to laugh at, at all. (small prize for who knows where that came from).

At this point you may have begun to allow the thought to enter your mind that the GMC have quite deliberately handed this complaint down to the responsible officer to carry out the required sentence and execution. Whatever the accused doctor says, the responsible officer can simply respond. ‘Sorry, not satisfied with your answer. I am now going to stop you working – for as long as I wish.’ No hearing, no possibility of review, no accountability. Bosh.

In truth I have always known that responsible officers possess this amazing and unrestrained power. I tried, and failed, to stop this happening years ago – when I was on various British Medical Association (BMA) committees. I found it incredible that the legislation in this area was going to hand over, to one individual, the ability to destroy someone’s career, with no regard to anyone else, or anything else.

Yes, we live in a democracy that has created a form of local tyranny.

Tyranny (noun) def: government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power of the people in their country or state and use it unfairly, and cruelly.

You could say that this situation suits the GMC very well … Very well indeed. Because, you see, the GMC has tried to remove other doctors from the medical register for criticising vaccination. [The medical register is not quite the same thing as the performer’s list, but you need to be on both of them to work as a doctor in the UK].

These punishments were quashed in the High Court. Here from a legal firm that works in this area:

‘On Friday, the High Court handed down a judgment quashing the GMC interim order of conditions previously imposed on a GP, Dr Samuel White, as a result of his actions arising from the pandemic.  Dr White came to the GMC’s attention as a result of “spreading misinformation and inaccurate details about the Coronavirus and how it is diagnosed and treated”.  His comments have included assertions that the COVID-19 vaccine “inserts a code”, masks do “absolutely nothing” and hydroxychloroquine, budesonide inhalers and ivermectin are “safe and proven treatments”.  

The interesting point arising from Dr White’s High Court appeal is the technical point on which he won. The High Court found that the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS – the adjudication wing of the GMC) panel made an error of law in not properly considering the test required by section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998 when deciding whether to impose an interim order.2

As this company also says:

As time goes on, we’re seeing more fitness to practise cases arising from COVID-19-related activities.  We’ve previously posted about the Irish GP interim suspended after describing COVID-19 as a hoax and the first UK nurse struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a result of COVID-19 denial activities.

‘COVID denial activities’ – what a deliciously Soviet phrase.

I have to say that I very much enjoyed the lawyers’ assertion that the GMC interim order was quashed on a ‘technical point’. Namely that the GMC had failed to consider the small matter of the Human Rights Act 1998. Riding roughshod over someone’s human rights is now a technical point of law. How quaint.

However, undeterred, the GMC have not been deterred from their vital work in punishing COVID-19 vaccine deniers – to ensure that they can never work again. They have just found another, simpler, far cheaper, and far quicker route to obliterate a doctor’s career. Call the responsible officer. No-one expects the responsible officer.

Who needs time consuming and costly hearings, where you might have to bear in mind the Human Rights act 1998 – and other such woolly liberal nonsense? When you can alert the local ‘tyrant’ to a doctor’s non-comradely Soviet ‘denial’ activities. Sorry, COVID19 ‘denial’ activities.

They will know precisely what to do, and they have the powers to do it. Why on earth did the GMC not think of this of this before? I could have told them about the ridiculous, frightening, and untrammelled powers of a responsible officer, but they never asked me.

Of course, you could argue the following. If the local responsible officer does obliterate someone’s medical career and does this without paying any heed to such things as well, the law, for example, then their actions will be over-turned in court. Well, I certainly hope so, in fact I would expect so. This may act as a deterrent … maybe.

However, during the months, or years, that it takes to get such a case to court, the doctor will be out of work and unable to earn. They will almost certainly end up bankrupt, and their reputation (have been struck off the performers’ list) will lie shattered in the gutter.

As for the responsible officer. Their punishment ‘please don’t do it again,’ would just about cover it. This is very much asymmetric warfare. I can punish you, terribly, but you can do absolutely nothing to me in return.

In the financial world they call this moral hazard. A banker can bankrupt you, and your family, and half the country, making stupid and risky decisions – that will earn them huge short-term bonuses. If, as a result, their bank goes bust, the Government simply bails them out and they keep their job, and their bonus. All gain, no pain.

As a sign off, the responsible officer (washing his hands of any personal responsibility of course) wrote this ‘I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.’ Kind regards … Pontius.

However, one thing that has not happened, so far, is to actually take the time and effort to forward a copy of the complaints to the doctor concerned. Still, they must be guilty of something or other. So, it is clearly critical that they respond to these unknown complaints, of some sort or another, in some-way or other. ‘Here is a bottle of whisky, and a revolver…. You know what you must do.’

What a world this has become. I had hoped I would not live to see such a time in this country, but I have.

1: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/incident

2: https://www.brabners.com/blogs/high-court-quashes-doctors-gmc-interim-order-arising-covid-19-activities

A few thoughts on COVID19 vaccination

23rd February 2022

The first thing I want to say here is that there should be nothing in science that is beyond analysis and potential criticism. Because, once this happens, we can find ourselves in a very dangerous situation indeed. A place of unquestioned acceptance of the accepted narrative, with criticism enforced by the authorities.

Unfortunately, I believe this is the place we have reached with COVID19 vaccination. Here is just one example from the UK.

‘GPs have been warned that criticising the Covid vaccine or other pandemic measures via social media could leave them ‘vulnerable’ to GMC* investigation.’1

*GMC = General Medical Council. This is the body that can strike doctors from the medical register so they cannot work as a doctor.

‘Vulnerable to GMC investigation’. What a deliciously creepy phrase that is, dripping with unspoken menace, whilst pretending to be helpful. It sounds like something the Mafia would come up with.

‘I would keep quiet about this, if I were you.’ Baseball bat tapping gently on the floor. ‘No, this is not a threat, think of it as advice from a friend. We don’t like to see anybody making themselves, or their family, vulnerable, and getting seriously injured now, would we?’

It seems that, unless you prostrate yourself before the mighty vaccine, and intone ‘Our vaccine, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…’ and suchlike, you will be attacked from all sides … simultaneously. Indeed, to suggest that vaccines are not perfect in every way is the twenty first century’s equivalent of blasphemy.

he said Jehovah. Stone him.’

This does make any discussion on vaccines somewhat tricky. To criticize any individual vaccine, indeed any aspect of any individual vaccine, is also to be instantly defined as an anti-vaxxer. Then you will be furiously fact-checked by someone with a fine arts degree, or suchlike, who will decree that you are ‘wrong’.

At which point you will be unceremoniously booted off various internet platforms – amongst other sanctions open to the ‘vulnerable’. This includes, for example, finding yourself struck off the medical register, and unable to earn any money:

            ‘Hell, we ain’t like that around here. We don’t just string people up, son. First, we have a trial to find ‘em guilty, only then do we string ‘em up. Yeeee Ha!’

Spit … ding!

Yes, it seems you must support the position that all vaccines are equally wonderful, no exceptions. Try this with any other pharmaceutical product. ‘He doesn’t think statins are that great, so he obviously believes that antibiotics are useless.’ Would this sound utterly ridiculous?

But with vaccines… All are the same, all are great, not a problem in sight? I said, NOT! a problem in sight. However, I genuinely believe there are some questions which still have not been answered and simply because of the different types of vaccines that are available, no, not all vaccines are the same.

Just for starters, vaccines come in many different forms. Live, dead, those only containing specific bits of the virus, and suchlike. Now we have the brand new, never used on humans before, messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. So no, all vaccines are not alike. Not even remotely.

In addition to the major difference between vaccines, the diseases we vaccinate against vary hugely. Some are viruses, others bacteria, others somewhere in between, TB for example.

Some, like influenza, mutate madly in all directions. Others, such as measles, do not. Some viruses are DNA viruses – which tend to remain unchanged over the years. Others, e.g. influenza, are single strand RNA viruses, and they mutate each year.

Adding to this variety, some of those viruses which mutate very little, also have no other host species to hide in. Smallpox, for example. Which means that the virus was unable to run away and hide in, say, a chicken, or a bat. Others are fully capable of flitting from animal species to animal species. Bird flu and Ebola spring to mind.

Some vaccines just haven’t worked at all. For over thirty years, people have tried to develop an HIV vaccine, and have thus far failed. Early trials on animal coronavirus vaccines also showed some concerning results. Here from the paper ‘Early death after feline infectious peritonitis virus challenge due to recombinant vaccinia virus immunization.’

The gene encoding the fusogenic spike protein of the coronavirus causing feline infectious peritonitis was recombined into the genome of vaccinia virus. The recombinant induced spike-protein-specific, in vitro neutralizing antibodies in mice. When kittens were immunized with the recombinant, low titers of neutralizing antibodies were obtained. After challenge with feline infectious peritonitis virus, these animals succumbed earlier than did the control group immunized with wild-type vaccinia virus (early death syndrome).’2  

Yet, despite all this massive variety flying in all directions, with some spike protein vaccines found to increase the risk of death (in a few animal studies), attach the word vaccine to any substance, and it suddenly has miraculous properties that transcend all critical thought. Vaccines move in mysterious ways, their wonders to perform.

Yes, of course, some have worked extremely well. The polio vaccine, for example, although I have seen some valid criticisms. Smallpox… I am less certain about. Even though it is held up as the greatest vaccine success story of all. Maybe it was. Smallpox has certainly gone, for which we should be truly thankful. It was a truly terrible disease.

My doubts about the unmatched efficacy of smallpox vaccine simply arise from the fact that diseases come, and diseases go. The plague, for example. This was the scourge of mankind at one time. It tore round and round the world and leaving millions of dead in its wake, over a period of hundreds of years.

We do not vaccinate against the plague, yet it is virtually unknown today. Cholera killed millions and millions, thousands each year in the UK alone. Now … gone. In the UK at least. This had nothing to do with vaccination either. Measles. There seems little doubt that the measles vaccine is effective. But vaccination cannot explain the fact that measles deaths fell off a cliff and were bumping along the bottom for years and long before we started vaccination programmes.

In the US vaccination did not begin until 1963. So, what happened here? The virus did not mutate, so far as we know. It did not mutate because apparently it cannot. Or, if it did, it would no longer be able to be infective. At least not to humans:

‘While the influenza virus mutates constantly and requires a yearly shot that offers a certain percentage of protection, old reliable measles needs only a two-dose vaccine during childhood for lifelong immunity. A new study publishing May 21 in Cell Reports has an explanation: The surface proteins that the measles virus uses to enter cells are ineffective if they suffer any mutation, meaning that any changes to the virus come at a major cost.’3

So, measles didn’t change, but it did become far less damaging. From around ten deaths per one hundred thousand in the first two decades of the twentieth century, down to much less than one.

Why? What I believe happened with measles is primarily that the ‘terrain’ changed. Nutrition greatly improved. Vitamins, perhaps most importantly vitamin D, were discovered and added to the food supply. Rickets and other manifestation of vitamin D deficiency were rife in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Virtually gone by 1940.

Of course treatments improved as well, although antibiotics (to treat secondary bacteria pneumonia following measles), did not come into play until the late 1940s, at the earliest.

What we see with measles is simply the fact that infectious diseases have far less impact when they hit a healthy, well nourished person (healthy terrain), than when they hit an impoverished and undernourished child caught in the war in the Yemen, for example.

So, yes, vaccines have played a role in improving human health and wellbeing, but we shouldn’t inflate their impact to the point where they have become the unmatched saviours of humankind. They have certainly not been the only thing that reduced the impact of infectious diseases. They were probably not even the most important thing. ‘Yes … how dare you say this… string up the unbeliever, I know, I know.

Moving on, and and I think this is even more pertinant to the disucssion that follows. If we cannot accept the possiblility that, at least some vaccines, may have significant adverse effects, if we will not permit anyone to look into this, in any meaningful way. Then we can never improve them. Criticism is good, not bad.

Speaking personally, I do not criticize things that I do not care about. Primarily, because I don’t care if they improve, or not. I only criticize things when I want them to be as good as they possibly can be. It is a character trait of mine to hunt for flaws, and potential problems. Both real and imagined.

Some criticism is, of course, close to bonkers. Suggesting that COVID19 vaccines contain transhuman nanotechnology and microchips of some kind that will become activated by 5G phones … to what end? ‘World domination Mr Bond. Mwahahahahaha etc.’ Quantum dots? Yes, these do exist. But they would be pretty useless at collecting informaiton, and suchlike. Give it fifty years and … maybe.

The problem here is that wild conspiracy theories are simply gathered together with reasonable science-based criticism, to be dismissed as a package of equally mad, unscientific woo-woo tin-foil hat wearing, conspiracy theorist, gibberish.

Which means that, when people (such as me) suggested that COVID19 mRNA vaccination could, potentially, lead to an increased risk of blood clots – this was treated with utter scathing dismissal. I did not understand ‘the science’ apparently. Fact check number one. ‘Oh, look… clots.’

When people questioned the ‘fact’ that the safety phases of the normal clincial trial pathway had been seriously truncated, and that some parts were just non-existent, they were told that they knew nothing of ‘the science’ either.

I looked on the BBC website to find out the ‘official’ party line on vaccine safety information, sanctioned and approved by HM Govt, and SAGE I presume. It was an article entitled ‘How do I know if the vaccine is safe?’ The information rapidly contradicts reality. They say:

  • There are different approved types and brands available and all have undergone rigorous testing and safety checks
  • Safety trials begin in the lab, with tests and research on cells and animals, before moving on to human studies
  • The principle is to start small and only move to the next stage of testing if there are no outstanding safety concerns

The article then looks at fast track approval for vaccines against new variants

  • The UK’s drug regulator says new vaccines can be fast tracked for approval if needed.
  • No corners will be cut, with safety paramount.
  • But lengthy clinical trials with thousands of volunteers will not be needed4

What is wrong here? Well, ‘if the principle is to start small and only move to the next stage of testing if there are no outstanding safety concerns,’ then this principle was not followed. After pre-clinical and animal testing, we move onto trials in humans. Phase I, then II and then III.

Phase I may include as few as twenty people to check that humans don’t simply drop dead on contact with the new agent (it has happened).

Phase II may include a couple of hundred individuals, and usually lasts a few months… a bit more safety, and an attempt to establish the potential size of any health benefit.

Phase III may have up to thirty or forty thousand participants. This phase often lasts for several years.

Well, with the Pfizer Biontech vaccine, the concept of waiting to move to the next stage of testing did not truly occur. Because phase II and III were combined… and the phase III trials have now been, effectively abandoned. They were not supposed to finish until May 2022 at the earliest, and now apparently, they are not going to finish at all. At least not as a double-blind placebo controlled trial.

Yet, we are still informed by the BBC, in all seriousness, that no corners were cut, or will be cut. The fact is that corners were absolutely one hundred per cent cut. Slashed to the bone would perhaps be more accurate. To pretend otherwise is simply to deny reality.

It normally takes around ten years for any drug, or vaccine, to move through the clinical trials process, with each step done in series. COVID19 vaccines took around six months from start to finish, with critical steps done in parallel, and the animal testing was rushed – to say the least. To claim that no corners were cut is nonsense. Nonsense that we are virtually forced to believe?

It is possible/quite likely/probable that vaccine development can be shortened, but please do not tell us that all the normal processes were followed.  No-one is that easily fooled.

‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four[NK1] . If that is granted, all else follows.’ That freedom disappeared pretty early on in the COVID19 pandemic. I enjoyed the slant that ‘Important quotes explained’ had on the quote from Orwell’s 1984.

By weakening the independence and strength of individuals’ minds and forcing them to live in a constant state of propaganda-induced fear, the Party is able to force its subjects to accept anything it decrees, even if it is entirely illogical.

Of course, it could be that despite the speed with which these vaccines were pushed through nothing important was missed. It is almost certainly true that the standard ten years from start to finish in vaccine and drug development can be compressed, if everyone really wished. Bureaucracy expands to fill the space available.

But in general we are talking about a ten-year process, cut down to six months, or thereabouts. An additional concern is that this happened using mRNA vaccines, which represent a completely new form of technology. One that has never been used on humans before at all, ever.

We are not talking about the sixth drug in a long line of very similar drugs e.g. the statins.

  1. Lovastatin
  2. Fluvastatin
  3. Simvastatin
  4. Pravastatin
  5. Atorvastatin
  6. Cerivastatin
  7. Rosuvastatin etc.

Statins all do pretty much the exact same thing thing, in exactly the same way. Yet, each one fo them still had to go through the entire laborious clincial trial process. Years and years.

‘Can we not just skip this phase….please?’

‘No.’

‘Please?’

‘No.’

Hold on one moment, just step back, what was that at number six on this list, I hear you say… cerivastatin. You mean you’ve never heard of it. Well, it got through all the pre-clinical trials, then the animal trials. It then sailed through the human Phase II and III trials without a murmur. It was then was launched to wild acclaim. In truth that may be over-egging its real impact, which was a bit more ‘who cares, do we really need another one?

Here from a 1998 paper: ‘Clinical efficacy and safety of cerivastatin: summary of pivotal phase IIb/III studies.’

‘In conclusion, these studies indicate that cerivastatin is a safe and effective long-term treatment for patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and also suggest that higher doses should be investigated.’ 5

Here from 2001, and an article entitled: ‘Withdrawal of cerivastatin from the world market.’

‘Rhabdomyolysis was 10 times more common with cerivastatin than the other five approved statins. We address three important questions raised by this withdrawal. Should we continue to approve drugs on surrogate efficacy? Are all statins interchangeable? Do the benefits outweigh the risks of statins? We conclude that decisions regarding the use of drugs should be based on direct evidence from long-term clinical outcome trials.’ 6  

Yes, as it turns out, cerivastatin caused far more cases of severe muscle breakdown, and death, in a significant number of people. Which meant that it was hoiked from the market.

The moral of this particular story is that, even if you DO do all the clinical studies, fully and completely, one step at a time, over many years, in a widely used class of drug, your particular drug may still be found in the long term, not to be safe. Not even if it is the sixth of its class to launch.

The cerivastatin withdrawal is not an isolated event. You can, if you wish, read this paper ‘Post-marketing withdrawal of 462 medicinal products because of adverse drug reactions: a systematic review of the world literature.’7. So, what happens if you try to compress the entire ten year clinical trial process into around six months, on a completely new type of agent?

… Well then, it may be time to cross your fingers and hope for the best. But please do not insult my intelligence, or the intelligence of anyone else, by trying to tell me that vaccines have undergone: Rigorous testing and safety checks. Compared to what, exactly? Certainly not any other drug or vaccine launched in the last fifty years. ‘We rushed them through, and launched two years before the phase III clinical trials were due to finish.’ would be considerably more accurate.

Two plus two does not equal five, it never has, and it never will. However much you try to browbeat me, and everyone else, into accepting that it does. Indeed, as I write this, the simple fact is that not a single phase III clinical trial has yet ever been completed, on any mRNA COVID19 vaccine, and possibly not ever will be, in truth.

To repeat, this does not mean that mRNA vaccines may not be entirely safe. However, it has become impossible to to claim that we have not seen significant adverse effects from the mRNA vaccines. Effects that were not picked up in any phase of the clincial trials. Here, from the Journal of the American Medical Association in February. One of the most highly cited medical journals in the world:

‘Based on passive surveillance reporting in the US, the risk of myocarditis after receiving mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines was increased across multiple age and sex strata and was highest after the second vaccination dose in adolescent males and young men.8

I highlighted the first bit here. Namely, the words ‘based on passive surveillance reporting in the US.’ Whilst this adverse effect was not seen, or reported in the clinical trials it was picked up by the passive surveillance reporting system a.k.a. spontaneous reporting systems.

Drug adverse event reporting systems

Frankly, it is surprising that anything at all is ever seen using passive surviellance. In the UK we have the passive/spontaneous reporting system, known as the ‘Yellow Card system.’ In this US (specifically for vaccines) there is ‘VAERS’ (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System).

When I use the term ‘spontaneous reporting’, I mean a system whereby someone may (or more likely may not) report an adverse effect to a healthcare professional. They may (or more likely may not) fill in a form, whereupon it goes through to VAERS, who then look at it and can decide whether or not the adverse effect may (or more likely may not) be due to the vaccine. Same basic principle in the UK.

How good are these types of spontaneous reporting system in picking up adverse effects?

Well, as far as I am aware, only one serious attempt has been made to look at how many drug and vaccine-related events were actually reported in the US. Here, from a study by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

‘Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but under-reported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.’ 9

Fewer than one per cent of vaccine adverse events are reported. Their words, not mine. Even though, in the US, unlike the UK, there is a legal responsibility to report adverse events – I believe.

When the authors of this report tried to follow up with the CDC and perform further assessment of the system, with testing and evaluation, the doors quietly, but firmly, shut:

‘Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation.’

This study was done over ten years ago, but nothing about the VAERS system has changed since, as far as I know, or can find out.

In the UK the Yellow Card system may be better, or it may not be. No-one has carried out the sort of detailed analysis that was attempted in the US. However it has been accepted that:

…all spontaneous reporting schemes have a problem with numbers: the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) itself says that only 10% of serious reactions and 2 – 4% of all reactions are reported using the Yellow Card Scheme. This means that most iatrogenic* morbidity goes unreported.’ 10

*Iatrogenic means – damage/disease caused by the treatment itself.

Frankly, I see no reason why the Yellow Card system would be any better than VAERS. The barriers to reporting are exactly the same. As the US report states:

‘Barriers to reporting include a lack of clinician awareness, uncertainty about when and what to report, as well as the burdens of reporting: reporting is not part of clinicians’ usual workflow, takes time, and is duplicative.’9

In other words, reporting an adverse event takes an enormous amount of time and effort. You don’t get paid for doing it, you certainly don’t get thanked for it, and you have no idea if anyone paid any attention to it. All made worse if you are not sure if the adverse event was due to the vaccine, or not.

I have filled in yellow cards three times, and several hours of work followed each one. As directed, I searched though patient notes for all previous drugs prescribed, the patient’s medical conditions, a review of the consultations and on, and on. Back and forth from the pharmaceutical company the questions went. Until the will to live was very nearly lost.

If you wanted to devise a system to ensure that adverse effects were under-reported, you could not devise anything better. Yes, doctor, please do report adverse effects to us. The result will be endless hours of work, with no attempt to report back that what you did had the slightest effect, on anything. Thank you for your continued and future co-operation. And yet this, ladies and gentlemen, is the system we have in place to monitor and review all drug and vaccine-related adverse effects.

Which becomes even more worrying because, as mentioned before a couple of times so far, nothing else of much use is going to come out of the clinical trials. With the Pfizer BioNTech trial, crossover occurred in Oct 2020. By crossover I mean the point at which they started giving the vaccine to those in the placebo group as well. End of randomisation, end of useful data. End of … well of anything of any use.

mRNA vaccines and myocarditis

Anyway, getting back to the JAMA study. Even with all the formidable barriers in place to reporting adverse events, JAMA reported an increase in the rate of myocarditis of around thirty-two-fold, as reported via the VAERS system.

I should make it clear that this was the increase seen in the most highly affected population. Males aged eighteen to twenty-four. [Myocarditis = inflammation and damage to heart muscle]. The risk was lower in females, and also in other age groups, although still high. But, to keep things simple, I am going to focus on this, the highest risk group, as far as possible.

The first thing to say is that a thirty-two-fold increase probably does sound enormous. Another way to report this would be, a three thousand one hundred per cent increase, which may sound even more dramatic?

However, myocarditis is not exactly common. In this age group, over a seven-day period, you would expect to see around one and three-quarter cases per million of the population. Multiplying this by thirty-two still only gets you to fifty-six cases per million.

Which is not exactly the end of the world. In addition, most cases may fully recover. Although, having just said this, I have no long-term data to support that statement. The closest condition we have to go on as a comparator, is post-viral infectious myocarditis. And this has a mortality rate of 20% after one year and 50% after five years.11

Which means that myocarditis is certainly not a benign condition of little concern.

Anyway, at this point, you could argue that if around only one in twenty thousand men, in the highest risk population, suffer from myocarditis post-vaccination, then this does not represent a major problem.

It could indeed be worse to allow them to catch COVID19, where the risk of myocarditis is even higher than with vaccination. In reality, we may be protecting them from myocarditis through vaccination. This certainly seems to be the current party line. I might even agree with it…. maybe. So, as is my wont, I looked deeper.

I looked for the highest rate of (reported) post-viral infection myocarditis, in younger people. I believe it can be found here. ‘Risk of Myocarditis from COVID-19 Infection in People Under Age 20: A Population-Based Analysis’ 12

Here, the reported rate was around four-hundred-and-fifty cases per million. On the face of it, this is much higher than the fifty-six cases per million post-vaccination. Approximately ten times as high. But … there are, as always, several very important buts here. There were two key factors that alter the equation.

First, in the JAMA post-vaccine study, the time period for reporting myocarditis was limited to seven days after vaccination. Any case appearing after that was not considered to be anything to do with the vaccine and was thus ‘censored’. In the study above, the time period was far longer. Anything up to ninety days post-infection was counted. A period thirteen times as long.

In addition, although it is difficult to work out exactly what was done from the details provided, the four-hundred-and fifty study only looked at young people who attended outpatients at hospital. These would have been the most severely affected by COVID19, or who had other underlying medical conditions. So, they represent a small proportion, of a small proportion …. of everyone who was actually infected. The vast majority of whom would only have suffered very mild symptoms, or none at all.

In short, we are not remotely comparing like with like here. I find that we very rarely are. We are not only going to vaccinate a small proportion, of a small proportion, of the population who are at high risk of myocarditis. We are going to vaccinate virtually everybody. So, the two populations are completely different.

Leaving that to one side, where else can we look for a comparison between the risk of post-vaccine myocarditis vs post-infection myocarditis. The CDC published this statement.

‘During March 2020–January 2021, patients with COVID-19 had nearly 16 times the risk for myocarditis compared with patients who did not have COVID-19, and risk varied by sex and age.’ 13 

Their figure appears to have been entirely derived from a paper published in the British Medical Journal: ‘Risk of clinical sequelae after the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection: retrospective cohort study’ 14. Different age groups were studied here which, again, makes any direct comparison tricky.

This study found a sixteen-fold increased risk, rather than a four hundred and fifty-times risk. A sixteen times risk is around half of the post-vaccination myocarditis risk reported in JAMA, in the eighteen-to twenty-four-year-old group.

Again, though, there were major differences. In the BMJ paper the observation period for inclusion of myocarditis considered to be ‘caused by’ COVID19, was one hundred- and forty-days post infection, not seven days. Twenty times as long for cases to build up.

Equally, after looking at nine million patients records over a year, slightly over two hundred thousand were diagnosed as having had COVID19. Of these, only fourteen thousand had post-infection problems, known as clinical sequelae. In this sub-group, which represents, one point two per-cent of one per-cent of the total, population there were so few cases of myocarditis that they didn’t even appear in the chart published in the main paper. You had to go to supplemental tables and figures 15

To be frank, there are far too many unknowns and uncontrolled variables kicking around here to make any accurate comparisons. However, I do not think it would be unreasonable to suggest that the risk of myocarditis post-vaccination, from these studies, is roughly the same as if you are infected with COVID19.

Once again though, we need to take a further step back. All of our figures here only make sense if all – or the majority of cases of myocarditis – are actually being picked up. What if they are not?

Worst case scenario

SAGE – the UK Governments scientific advisory group for emergencies – have been accused of scaremongering, and only presenting worst case scenarios for COVID19 hospital admissions and deaths. They are not the only ones. This is a worldwide phenomenon.

However, as Sir Patrick Vallance – one of the key members of (SAGE) – has stated, in response to such criticism.

‘It’s not my job to be an optimist’: Sir Patrick Vallance takes swipe at critics accusing scientists of scaremongering over Covid saying ministers need to ‘hear the information whether uncomfortable or encouraging.’ 16

SAGE believe it is their role to highlight the worst possible scenarios, the highest possible death tolls, and such like. So, let us now do the same, and focus on the worst-case scenario regarding mRNA vaccines and myocarditis. Whether ‘uncomfortable or encouraging’.

The worst-case scenario starts like this. If the VAERS system only picks up one per cent of vaccine related adverse effects, this means that we can start by multiplying the JAMA figures by one hundred.

Thus, instead of fifty-six cases per million, the reality is that we could be looking at five thousand six hundred cases per million, post-vaccination. Or very nearly one in two hundred.

If, in this model, we then include the possibility that post-vaccination myocarditis is as damaging as post-viral infection myocarditis, it means that one in four hundred eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds could be dead five years after vaccination.

Do I think that this is likely? I have to say that no, I don’t, really. Although this is where the figures, such as they can be relied upon, inevitably take you. Just to run you through the process a bit more slowly.

  • Relying on the VAERS system, JAMA reported a thirty-three-fold increase in myocarditis post COVID19 vaccination. An increase from 1.76, to 56.31 cases per million (in the seven-day period post vaccination)
  • It has been established that VAERS may pick up only one per cent of all vaccine related adverse effects
  • Therefore, the actual number could be as high as five-thousand six-hundred cases per million ~ 1 in 200.
  • Myocarditis (post viral infection) has a mortality rate of 50% over 5 years. So, we need to consider the possibility that post-vaccination myocarditis will carry the same mortality.
  • Therefore, the rate of death after five years could be one in four hundred (males aged 18-24)

There are approximately sixteen million men aged between eighteen and twenty-four in the US.

Total number of deaths within five years (men aged eighteen to twenty-four in the US)

16,000,000 ÷ 400                 = 40,000

(Divide by five for the UK) = 8,000.

Now, if I were in charge of anything, which I am not, which is probably a good thing, I would hope to have been made aware of these worst-case scenario figures. I would then immediately have begun to do everything I possibly could to verify them.

For starters I would want to know two critical things:

1: Is the VAERS system truly only picking up one per cent of vaccine related adverse effects?

2: Does vaccine related myocarditis lead to the same mortality and morbidity as caused by a viral infection?

If the answer to both of these questions were, yes, then I would have to decide what to do. And that could not possibly, be nothing. At least I would hope not. Yet, nothing appears to be exactly what is currently happening.

As you can tell, I still cling to the concept of ‘first do no harm.’ Today, with COVID19, it seems this this idea has become hopelessly naïve. The current attitude seems to be. ‘We are at war; you must expect casualties’ ‘Also, careless talk costs lives.So, my friend, I advise you to keep your ‘vulnerable’ mouth shut, if you know what is good for you.’

Well then, I just hope for everyone’s sake, that these figures are completely wrong. They are, after all, only a model. A worst-case scenario created using the most accurate information available at this time. However, as per the SAGE underlying philosophy, I believe it is important to present the information whether uncomfortable or encouraging.

The thing that most concerns me the most is that we have a worrying signal emerging about the mRNA vaccines. A signal surrounded by a lot of noise, admittedly. Yet, the ‘official’ response continues to be to sweep the entire thing under the carpet. ‘Nothing to see here, move along.’

Postscript

As with regard to the GMC, and the threat of sanctions, as you can see, I am only following their guidance

‘Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested. They must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest, and not stop someone from raising concerns.’ 17

What do you do if it is the GMC itself that may be stopping someone from raising concerns. Should I report the GMC to the GMC? I imagine they will find themselves innocent of any wrongdoing. Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes?

1: https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/breaking-news/gps-who-criticise-covid-vaccine-on-social-media-vulnerable-to-gmc-investigation/

2: https://europepmc.org/article/MED/2154621

3: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150521133628.htm

4: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55056016

5: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9737644/#:~:text=In%20conclusion%2C%20these%20studies%20indicate,higher%20doses%20should%20be%20investigated.

6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC59524/

7: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740994/

8: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2788346

9: https://digital.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/publication/r18hs017045-lazarus-final-report-2011.pdf

10: https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/psb.1789

11: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459259/#:~:text=Immediate%20complications%20of%20myocarditis%20include,and%2050%25%20at%205%20years.

12: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34341797/

13: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7035e5.htm

14: https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1098  

15: https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/suppl/2021/05/19/bmj.n1098.DC1/daus063716.wt.pdf

16: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10341547/Sir-Patrick-Vallance-takes-swipe-critics-accusing-scientists-scaremongering-Covid.html

17: https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/candour—openness-and-honesty-when-things-go-wrong/the-professional-duty-of-candour


COVID19 – the spike protein and blood clotting

3rd June 2021

When COVID19 came along I was in the midst of writing my latest book on heart disease. What causes it – and what does not.

One section I was working on covers the wide range of conditions known as the vasculitis(es). I could immediately see a whole series of connections between COVID19, spike proteins, the immune system and blood clots. Some of which are deeply concerning, for reasons that should become apparent.

Before getting started, you can see an immediate problem here is there does not seem to be a plural form of vasculitis. A bit like octopus. You can have one octopus, but what happens then… two octupuses… or is it two octopi? Wars have been fought over less.

Anyway, a vasculitis is a condition whereby a factor, of some sort, causes damage to the vascular system. The vascular system being, essentially, the blood vessels and the heart. The suffix itis simplymeans inflammation. As in appendicitis, or tonsillitis. Or, in this case vasculitis.

There are many different vasculitis(es) or vasculiti? They range from Kawasaki’s disease to antiphospholipid syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s disease and suchlike. They are many, and varied, and quite fascinating. At least they are, to me.

In all of them you have two things in common… that are most relevant to this discussion. First, with any form of vasculitis, the body decides to attack the lining of the blood vessels – causing inflammation and damage. Second, the rate of death from cardiovascular disease goes up dramatically. In some cases, a fifty-fold increase. This was seen in young women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) with additional antiphospholipid syndrome1.

Why does the body decide to attack itself? This is a good question that I cannot really answer. If I could, I would be claiming my Nobel prize, right now. However, I can say that, for various reasons, the immune system makes the decision that it doesn’t like something about the lining of the blood vessels and believes it to have become ‘alien’ in some way. It then proceeds to attack. Which does not answer the question as to exactly why the attack happens? But it does tell you a bit about what happens.

Another major problem with vasculitis is that blood clots spring to life throughout the vascular system. This is because the blood is always ready to clot, at any time, and if you take away some of vital the anti-clotting mechanisms, the balance will be tilted firmly towards coagulation.

One of the most powerful anti-clotting mechanisms/systems is the protective layer that lines your entire vascular system, known as the glycocalyx. This is made up of glycoproteins (glucose and proteins stuck together). Under an electron microscope the glycocalyx looks like a tiny forest, or a badly mown lawn.

Many fish are covered with glycocalyx, which makes them very slippery, and difficult to get hold of. The glycocalyx also stops bacteria and viruses from gaining entry, in both fish and humans.

In your blood vessels, the glycocalyx protrudes out from endothelial cells, the cells that line all your blood vessels, and into the bloodstream. The layer of glycocalyx contains many, many, anticoagulant factors. Below is a short list of all the things the glycocalyx does:

The glycocalyx:

  • Forms the interface between the vessel wall and moving blood.
  • Acts as the exclusion zone between blood cells and the endothelium.
  • Acts as a barrier against leakage of fluid, proteins and lipids across the vascular wall.
  • Interacts dynamically with blood constituents.
  • Acts as the “molecular sieve” for plasma proteins.
  • Modulates adhesion of inflammatory cells and platelets to the endothelial surface.
  • Functions as a sensor and mechano-transducer of the fluid shear forces to which the endothelium is exposed; thus, the glycocalyx mediates shear-stress-dependent nitric oxide production.
  • Retains protective enzymes (e.g., superoxide dismutase).
  • Retains anticoagulation factors, e.g.: Tissue factor inhibitor, Protein C, Nitric Oxide (NO), Antithrombin.

Complicated stuff – that hardly anyone has ever heard of.

Anyway, if you damage the glycocalyx, or damage the underlying endothelial cells that synthesizes the glycocalyx layer, you will tip the balance very strongly towards the creation of blood clots. These can then then stick to the artery, or vein, wall. Sometimes they will fully block a blood vessel, leading to such things as a stroke or heart attack.

The interaction between vasculitis and thrombosis has been a relatively unexplored area of medicine. But it remains critically important in many diseases:

‘The relationship between inflammation and thrombosis is not a recent concept, but it has been largely investigated only in recent years. Nowadays inflammation-induced thrombosis is considered to be a feature of systemic autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), or Sjogren’s Syndrome (SS)2.

In super-short version. If you damage the lining of blood vessel walls, blood clots are far more likely to form. Very often, the damage is caused by the immune system going on the attack, damaging blood vessel walls, and removing several of the anti-clotting mechanisms.

Sepsis

Moving sideways for a moment. There are other things that can damage the blood vessel wall, leading to widespread blood clot formation. One of them is the condition known as sepsis. Which used to be called blood poisoning.

In sepsis, bacteria gain entry to the bloodstream through such things as a cut, an insect bite, a severe urine infection, and suchlike. When bacteria get into the blood, and start multiplying, they release exotoxins. Which are, effectively, the waste products of the bacteria.

These exotoxins then attack blood vessel walls, damaging the glycocalyx and endothelial cells. This drives the formation of blood clots throughout the body. The medical term for this is disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) = widespread blood clots in the vascular system.

The attacks not only cause clots, they can also cause the smaller blood vessels to weaken and burst. Which is why one sign of an infection with the meningococcal bacteria (the one that causes meningitis), is a rash. The rash is made up of dark, almost black, bruises. Once these start to appear, things are very bad. Potentially fatal, it means blood vessels are under severe attack and are breaking apart. Creating both bleeding and clots.

In truth, the ‘rash’ in meningitis is not really a rash at all. It is a sign of underlying, severe, vasculitis. The individual small bruises can also be called petechiae. Just to be scientific.

Another sign of widespread blood vessel damage, with the formation of multiple blood clots, is that the level of platelets in the bloodstream falls dramatically. For those who have never heard of such things, platelets are small cells that float about in the bloodstream. Their primary role is to co-ordinate the blood clotting system. If a red blood cell was the size of the Earth, a platelet would be about this size of the Moon.

If there is damage to blood vessels, platelets fling themselves at the area, and stick together to form a solid plug. They also release chemicals and enzymes that cause fibrin to be formed. Fibrin is the long sticky strand of protein that binds clots tightly together. Platelets also drag in red blood cells, and suchlike to make bigger and tougher clots. They have been called the conductors of the clotting orchestra.

In the process of doing all of these things, the number of platelets starts to fall. This is not surprising, as they are being used up to make blood clots/thrombi. Which means that one sign of widespread clot formation is a fall in the level of platelets (thrombocytopenia). This reliable sign of widespread coagulation, or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

Time for a quick re-cap.

What do we know?

What we now know, on the journey towards COVID19, are three important things.

  • If you damage the endothelial cells/glycocalyx, blood clots will form and stick to the side of blood vessels.
  • Damage is often caused by immune system attack.
  • Falling platelet levels are a sign of widespread blood clotting.

COVID19

What do we know about COVID19? First, it can only enter cells that have a receptor known as the angiotensin II receptor (ACE2 receptor). Cells with these receptors are mainly found in the lining of the lungs, and endothelial cells that line all blood vessels. Also, the epithelial /endothelial cells than line the intestines. If a cell does not have an ACE2 receptor, COVID19 simply cannot gain entry.

This was known years ago, when SARS-CoV was identified, the precursor of SARS-Cov2. Here from a paper in 2004:

‘The most remarkable finding was the surface expression of ACE2 protein on lung alveolar epithelial cells and enterocytes of the small intestine. Furthermore, ACE2 was present in arterial and venous endothelial cells and arterial smooth muscle cells in all organs studied. In conclusion, ACE2 is abundantly present in humans in the epithelia of the lung and small intestine, which might provide possible routes of entry for the SARS-CoV. This epithelial expression, together with the presence of ACE2 in vascular endothelium, also provides a first step in understanding the pathogenesis of the main SARS disease manifestations3.’

So, SARS-CoV gets into the body through the lungs and bowels. These are the places where the virus can gain access because it is where ACE2 receptors can mainly be found. Of course, SARS-Cov2 gets into the body in exactly the same way.

What happens once SARS-Cov2 gets into cells? Well, it does what all viruses do. It takes over various cellular mechanisms and forces the cell to produce more SARS-CoV2 viruses. This then kills, or severely damages those cells. This mainly occurs when ‘virions’ start to escape from within the cell. This damages the cell membrane, and in some cases can cause the cell to burst apart.

Essentially, SARS-Cov2 starts by damaging endothelial cells in the lungs, because it usually arrives here first. Fluid is released, and there is the breakdown of small blood vessels in the lungs, and the small airways. In this situation, the lungs begin to fail, and oxygen levels in the blood can fall dramatically.

Infection can also cause diarrhoea, as the epithelial cells in the intestines are damaged. To quote from ‘the COVID19 symptoms’ study:

‘We think COVID-19 causes diarrhoea because the virus can invade cells in the gut and disrupt its normal function 4.’

As far as I know, no-one has died of COVID19 diarrhoea. However, COVID19 can create such severe lung damage that people have died from respiratory failure or lung damage… call this form of disruption what you will. However, many/most people survive this phase.

It is what happens next that that kills the majority of people who become severely infected.

What happens next is that SARS-Cov2 gets into the bloodstream. It then invades endothelial cells, also pericytes and myocytes in the heart.  Both of which have a high level of ACE2 receptors. Both of which are kind of vital for heart function 5,6.

Then…

What we now have is a major widespread vasculitis on our hands, with severe endothelial cell damage and disruption and damage to the glycocalyx. Blood clots, blood clots, blood clots, everywhere.

‘Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes a spectrum of disease; some patients develop a severe proinflammatory state which can be associated with a unique coagulopathy and procoagulant endothelial phenotype. Initially, COVID-19 infection produces a prominent elevation of fibrinogen and D-dimer/fibrin(ogen) degradation products. This is associated with systemic hypercoagulability and frequent venous thromboembolic events. The degree of D-dimer elevation positively correlates with mortality in COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 also leads to arterial thrombotic events (including strokes and ischemic limbs) as well as microvascular thrombotic disorders (as frequently documented at autopsy in the pulmonary vascular beds). COVID-19 patients often have mild thrombocytopenia* and appear to have increased platelet consumption, together with a corresponding increase in platelet production.7

*a low level of platelets

The spike protein

Then, of course, we have the spike protein to consider. If this is the thing that the immune system recognises and attacks – which it almost certainly is – then cells which are growing SARS-Cov2 inside them, which then express the spike protein on their surface as the virions escape, will be identified as ‘the enemy’.

At which point, the immune system will start to attack the endothelium (and glycocalyx) in an attempt to wipe out the virus. This will tend to happen two or three weeks after the initial infection (sometimes sooner). This is after the immune system has had a real chance to identify the spike protein, then properly wind itself up to produce antibodies against it. This is the time of maximum attack on the endothelium.

This moment is often referred to as a cytokine storm. A point where every system in the immune system gets revved up and charges into action. At one point I wasn’t sure if I really believed in the cytokine storm. But I do now think it is a real thing. It is almost certainly why steroids (which very powerfully reduce the immune response) have been found to reduce mortality in severely ill patients.

All of which means it may well be the body’s own infectious disease defence system that creates much of the damage to the cardiovascular system. Not necessarily the virus itself.

Alternatively, it may be that the spike protein itself creates most of the blood clots. Here from the paper ‘SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 subunit induces hypercoagulability.’

‘When whole blood was exposed to spike protein even at low concentrations, the erythrocytes (red blood cells) showed agglutination, hyperactivated platelets were seen, with membrane spreading and the formation of platelet-derived microparticles8.’

Translation. Introduce SARS-CoV2 spike proteins into bloodstream, and it makes it clot – fast. Which is a worry.

Vaccines

It is a worry because the entire purpose of vaccination against SARS-Cov2 is to force cells to manufacture the spike protein(s) and then send them out into the bloodstream.

So, quick recap again, what do we know?

We know that a very high percentage of the people who die following a COVID19 infection, die as result of blood clots. We also know that they can also suffer severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), and suchlike.

We know that the spike protein can stimulate blood clots all by itself.

We know that the immune system attack on ‘alien’ proteins, such as the spike protein, can cause vasculitis.

We know that vaccines are designed to drive the rapid production of spike proteins that will enter the blood stream specifically to encounter immune cells, in order to create a powerful response that will lead to ‘immunity’ against future SARS-CoV2 infection.

We know that a number of people have died from blood clots following vaccination. To quote from the European Medicines Agency website report on the AZ COVID19 vaccine:

‘The PRAC (pharmacovigilance risk assessment committee) noted that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding 9.’

This was all pretty much predictable, if you understood what was going with SARS-CoV – nearly seventeen years ago.

My concern at this point is that, yes, we have identified very rare manifestations of blood clotting: cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and splanchnic (relating to the internal organs or viscera) vein thrombosis (SVT). These are so rare that it is unlikely that anything else – other than a novel vaccine – could have caused them. I have never seen a case and I had never even heard of them before COVID19 came along. And I have spent years studying the blood coagulation system, and vasculitis, and suchlike.

So, if someone is vaccinated, then has a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or a splanchnic vein thrombosis, this is almost certainly going to be noted and recorded – and associated with the vaccination. Fine.

However, if there is an increase in vanishingly rare blood clots, could there also be an increase in other, far more common blood clots at the same time. If this was the case, then it would be far more difficult to spot this happening.

Millions and millions of people suffer strokes and heart attacks every year. Millions more suffer deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. In fact, around the world, tens of millions die each and every year as a result of a blood clots forming somewhere in the body.

That is a hell of a lot of background blood clotting noise. Which means that it could be extremely difficult to disentangle cause and effect, especially if you are not looking. If an elderly person is vaccinated, then dies of a stroke a couple of weeks later. What caused the blood clot that led to the stroke? It is unlikely that any doctor would record this as a post-vaccine adverse event.

To give you one example of the difficulty of disentangling cause and effect, when you are looking at very common events, a few years ago Merck launched a drug called Vioxx (an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, or naproxen but not exactly the same class of drug).  It didn’t go well. Here from the article ‘Merck Manipulated the Science about the Drug Vioxx.’

‘To increase the likelihood of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval for its anti-inflammatory and arthritis drug Vioxx, the pharmaceutical giant Merck used flawed methodologies biased toward predetermined results to exaggerate the drug’s positive effects. Internal documents made public in litigation revealed that a Merck marketing team had developed a strategy called ADVANTAGE (Assessment of Differences between Vioxx And Naproxen To Ascertain Gastrointestinal tolerability and Effectiveness) to skew the results of clinical trials in the drug’s favor.

As part of the strategy, scientists manipulated the trial design by comparing the drug to naproxen, a pain reliever sold under brand names such as Aleve, rather than to a placebo.’

The scientists highlighted the results that naproxen decreased the risk of heart attack by 80 percent, and downplayed results showing that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack by 400 percent. This misleading presentation of the evidence made it look like naproxen was protecting patients from heart attacks, and that Vioxx only looked risky by comparison. In fact, Vioxx has since been found to significantly increase cardiovascular risk, leading Merck to withdraw the product from the market in 2004.

Tragically, Merck’s manipulation of its data—and the FDA’s resulting approval of Vioxx in 1999—led to thousands of avoidable premature deaths and 100,000 heart attacks.’ https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/merck-manipulated-science-about-drug-vioxx

Yes, not exactly their finest hour. However, the point that I want to highlight from this sorry tale is that it is estimated that Vioxx caused 100,000 additional heart attacks, in the US alone, and nobody noticed. This figure was only worked out when researchers analysed the figures on increased risk, that had been seen in the clinical trials – at least the figures that were finally seen when Merck were forced to release the data.

You may think. How could one hundred thousand heart attacks simply be missed? Well, there are very nearly one million physicians in the US. If the heart attacks caused by Vioxx were evenly distributed, only one in five physicians would have seen anyone suffer because of taking Vioxx. In those physicians that did see one, or two, would they have made the connection? No, they would not. Not in a million years. There would not even be a record of any possible connection made.

Elderly person has a stroke, or heart attack. Elderly person took Vioxx. And…?

All of which means I am not gigantically concerned about CVST and SVT. Blood clots in these veins are rare, and remain rare, even after vaccination – and will never be missed, particularly when they happen in younger people. Because when younger people die, great efforts are made to establish the cause of death.

However, I can see no reason why these specific blood vessels would be targeted by blood clots. Perhaps there is some reason why clots only occur in the central venous sinus vein, or splanchnic vein following vaccination. If so, I have been unable to find out. I am more than willing to be educated on this.

Time to move on to the other worrying observation, that can be found within the report by the pharmacovigilance risk assessment committee (PRAC) – as mentioned above:

‘The PRAC noted that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding.

One blood clot, in one relatively small vein, is not going to cause a low platelet level. Nor will it cause bleeding – a sign of very low platelet levels. Which means that those unfortunate people who developed CVST and SVT almost certainly had widespread problems with other clots as well. Then, for reasons unknown, they triggered these forms of, vanishingly rare blood clot. The ones that killed them. The ones that were recognised – because they are so rare.

I shall finish here. You can join the dots yourself. Or not.

1: https://www.intechopen.com/books/pregnancy-thrombophilia-the-unsuspected-risk/thrombophilia-in-systemic-lupus-erythematosus-a-review-of-multiple-mechanisms-and-resultant-clinical

2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399148/

3: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15141377/

4: https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/covid-symptoms-diarrhoea

5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2614534/ 

6: https://academic.oup.com/cardiovascres/article/116/6/1097/5813131

7: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/512007

8: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210310/SARS-CoV-2-spike-S1-subunit-induces-hypercoagulability.aspx

9: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine-ema-finds-possible-link-very-rare-cases-unusual-blood-clots-low-blood


 

What is an Anti-Vaxxer?

13th March 2021

I am particularly interested in the whole concept of being ‘anti-‘ or a ‘denier’, or a sceptic. I think in great part this is due to constant attacks I have had to put up with because of my views of cholesterol and statins. I am often called a statin ‘denier’. I have also been referred to as a professional contrarian, a sceptic, a zealot and suchlike. The best general insult was from Steven Nissen, perhaps the world’s most influential cardiologist:

‘A leading cardiologist has unleashed a blistering attack on “statin denial,” which he calls “an internet-driven cult with deadly consequences 1.”’

What a result! I am now, officially, a cult member. That is, in addition to all my other, myriad flaws. Or maybe it is my cult he was referring to, and other people have joined it. Who knows? The truth is that if I did actually manage to join a cult, or start a cult, I wasn’t aware of it. But then, that’s how they do it, they sneakily pull you in these invisible people with no obvious organisation.

‘It is the very fact that they don’t even exist that makes them so dangerous, my friend. Yes, they truly are that sneaky.’

A closely related insult is that I am part of a ‘sect’. People who read my blog are sometimes insultingly referred to as my ‘acolytes’, or ‘followers’, and so on and so forth. In truth, one thing I don’t think I have ever been called is ‘anti-statinator’, but it could have slipped by without me noticing.

I am often, though, called a cholesterol sceptic. Which is fair enough. I did join a loose alliance of doctors and researchers called The International Network of Cholesterol Sceptics (THINCS), so I can hardly object to being called one.

However, I am not actually a cholesterol sceptic, nor a denier. I am not denying cholesterol exists. I just happen to believe it is not harmful – probably beneficial. To be accurate, it is the other side who attack cholesterol and who should be called cholesterol sceptics. I am really an anti-anti-cholesterol sceptic. This must make me twice as bad. I am not just anti. I am anti-anti.

Do I object to all these attacks? Well, you know, to be perfectly honest, if you can’t take the heat you should stay out of the kitchen. In addition, I don’t think I would be doing things right if people were not hurling insults at me on a regular basis.

It also encourages me to carry on. Because, as Gandhi once said:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’

You may prefer Schopenhauer’s take:

‘First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.’

Once you have reached the violent, ridiculing, insulting, stage you know you are pretty much directly over the target:

‘Bombs away! We will crack that bloody dam one way or another chaps – just don’t refer to my bloody dog by name, or we will never fly another mission.

Anyway, because of my personal history I have taken a particular interest in the matter of personal insults used as a debating technique. Rather than relying on the use of terribly boring tactics like facts, and data. Why debate when you can achieve the same result with a pinpoint laser guided insult?

It is something that has been around for a long time. Schopenhauer in his essay ‘The art of being right’ discussed thirty-eight ways to win an argument. It includes a few techniques that I see used regularly. ‘Appeal to authority rather than reason’ and ‘bewilder your opponent by mere bombast’. At number thirty-eight ‘Become personal, insulting, rude…argumentum ad personam.’

The sad fact is that number thirty-eight works brilliantly. Always has, and it seems that it always will. Find something, anything, a person has said at some point in the past. Use that to relentlessly attack them. Once you have destroyed their character and motivations that is, pretty much, that. It is not really an argument, of course, it is simply a way of stating, about someone else, that ‘you are a disgusting person, and no-one should listen to anything you say, ever again.’

This has echoes with the argument that Wagner was a Nazi (before there were Nazis), so no-one should ever listen to his music. I rather like his stuff, actually. Maybe a bit right wing in parts, a bit loud and brash, but there you go. Clearly not as acceptably left-wing as Debussy. Light and fluffy, wanders about, never really gets anywhere.

Nowadays, things have become far worse. You can spend your entire life building up a spotless reputation. Never do a single thing wrong, ever. But, if you dare to make one mistake, that can be the end of you, forever. This, the obliteration by personal insult, seems to have become more and more popular since the internet took over the world.

I recently read the book ‘So you’ve been publicly shamed’ by John Ronson. It describes people who, in some instances, said one thing, and one thing only, and their entire lives were shredded on-line – then off-line too. In several cases they hadn’t really said anything ‘wrong’. Although they had been rather clumsy in their use of words.

However, someone else had decided to interpret what they said in a certain way and then decided to become insulted. There was no judge, no jury, at work here. They were guilty – and gone. Dragged off by the baying mob for a metaphorical lynching.

The medical and scientific world are, sadly, no different, and never have been. If you hold views that the mainstream finds… finds… I am not sure what the exact word here is. Wrong, misguided, unacceptable, dangerous? Perhaps a combination of all four, and more, you are attacked with exactly the same level of implacable hatred.

A hero of mine is Dr Bernard Lown. Many decades ago, he and his mentor decided to stand against a piece of universally accepted medical dogma. Which was strict bedrest following a heart attack. These two dangerous fools, instead of forcing patients to lie virtually motionless in bed for six weeks, allowed them to sit up in a chair at the end of the bed. Shock, horror.

‘Although I knew that the project would be a chore, I didn’t expect it to be an act of martyrdom. Little did I realize that violating firmly held traditions can raise a tsunami of opposition. The idea of moving critically ill patients into a chair was regarded as off‑the‑wall. Initially the house staff refused to cooperate and strenuously resisted getting patients out of bed. They accused me of planning to commit crimes not unlike those of the heinous Nazi experimentations in concentration camps. Arriving on the medical ward one morning I was greeted by interns and residents lined up with hands stretched out in a Nazi salute and a “Heil Hitler!” shouted in unison.’ 2

It is now well recognised that strict bed rest is deadly, was deadly. An action that killed tens of million world-wide. However, those daring to question it were treated with Nazi salutes. A particularly galling insult for a Jew, I would imagine. And somewhat ironic, as strict bed rest probably wiped out more people than the Nazi’s ever managed.

Moving track to another hero of mine. I used to communicate with Thomas Gold now, sadly, dead. Although he did make it to eighty-four. He was a professor of astronomy at Cornell University. He also had many other broad scientific interests, which included Geology.

In the 1950s he was a great supporter of Alfred Wegener’s theory of tectonic plate movement – to explain the structure of the Earth’s surface. Gold, and anyone else who dared to support this ridiculous and idiotic idea, were flung out of any meetings of the American Geological Society. They were attacked and insulted and disbarred by the great and the good. He was denied tenure at Harvard but was hired by Carl Sagan instead. A good result, I would say. By the way, all geologists now fully support the tectonic plate movement hypothesis, and would viciously attack anyone who question it!

Gold was attacked again, decades later, for putting forward his ideas on the ‘abiogenic theory’ of petroleum generation. Basically, he believed that there is a lot of life deep down in the Earth’s crust, and it creates petroleum as a waste product, which seeps to the Earth’s surface, which then gets trapped in certain places.

‘Gold has been derided by geologists, such as Harmon Craig and John Hunt, who are strongly opposed to Gold’s abiogenic petroleum theory. Others had even started campaigns to prevent Gold from publishing his findings.3

Twice attacked and derided by the establishment. Attempts to prevent his work even being published. I am deeply envious. If you do enjoy a hypothesis that is widely considered ridiculous, then have a read around ‘The Deep Hot Biosphere’. If you are the sort who welcome ideas that seem whacky, you’ll love it. If you prefer to accept scientific consensus without challenge, I’d give it a miss.

So, where was I. Yes, the tried and tested use of derision and personal insults to destroy someone’s credibility. ‘Climate change denier…’ is another example. In this case you will not merely be a denier. ‘You’ are almost certainly being paid by the oil industry … in some way. Find any connection, no matter how tenuous, and pump it for all it is worth. Sorry, I have a pension fund that includes BP and Shell. I think …’burn the unbeliever.’

Now we have the deadliest insult of all. ‘Anti-vaxxer.’ Two relatively short words, but if you dare to touch them, they explode into maelstrom of poison that spreads far and wide, destroying anyone and everyone in range. Today, to mix my metaphors, there is probably no deeper abyss to be dropped into, than the abyss of being labelled an ‘anti-vaxxer.’

Of course, the term has no definition. It doesn’t even have any discernible boundaries. You can be wandering about quite innocently and suddenly find you have become an ‘anti-vaxxer.’ I mentioned that the phase III clinical trials on AstraZeneca’s COVID19 vaccine will not be completed until 2023.

This, it seems, to some people on a medical website called doctors.net makes me an anti-vaxxer. Highly suspicious at the very least ‘And vhy, Dr Kendrick do you find it necessary to point out such matters. Have no doubt my friend that ve shall be vatching you very closely in future.’ I think I am channelling Raiders of the Lost Ark here.

We have now reached the position where, to state an incontrovertible fact about a clinical trial, makes you an anti-vaxxer. Which means that there truly are no longer any places to go. If, that is, you want to discuss vaccines in any way.

The only approved position to take, particularly if you are a doctor, is the following… ‘All vaccines are entirely safe. They have no adverse effects, and they are one hundred per cent effective in all cases. Anyone who questions vaccines in any way does not understand anything about science and they are putting millions of lives at risk. In fact, they should probably be treated as criminals.’

Here is the view of one doctor, from the BMJ

‘….criminalising people who intentionally hurt others through false information should also be considered. The freedom to debate, and to allow the public to raise legitimate vaccine concerns to fill the knowledge void, should not extend to causing malicious harm 4.’

And who, exactly, is to decide what constitutes malicious harm? I feel that this would be a rather large step – backwards – for mankind. This moves well beyond obliterating someone’s reputation. We should be flinging anti-vaxxers in jail.

That will certainly help to silence the bastards. A little ‘anti-vaxx’ symbol to be delicately pinned onto clothing whilst outdoors, perhaps. Otherwise, they could be walking amongst you, killing your children and elderly relatives, and you wouldn’t even know. Maybe we should build special camps to house them in at the same time.

Goodbye age of enlightenment. So long scientific debate. Finally killed by COVID19. You will be missed. I hope some small groups may manage to keep the flame alive. Right now, it seems to have been stamped out.

1: http://www.cardiobrief.org/2017/07/24/nissen-calls-statin-denialism-a-deadly-internet-driven-cult/

2: https://bernardlown.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/a-chair-to-the-rescue/

3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gold

4: https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n272?utm_source=etoc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tbmj&utm_content=weekly&utm_term=20210219

Stamping on the ‘anti-vaxxers’ – a very stupid idea

17th November 2020

The COVID19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the concerns that a number of people have about vaccination. However, such is the eagerness to develop a vaccine, and get everyone to take it, that authorities are now looking to ban anyone who raises doubts. For example, the Labour Party in the UK is now calling for emergency ‘anti-vaccine’ laws:

‘Emergency laws to “stamp out dangerous” anti-vaccine content online should be introduced, Labour has said. The party is calling for financial and criminal penalties for social media firms that do not remove false scare stories about vaccines.

It follows news of progress on the first effective coronavirus vaccine. The government said it took the issue “extremely seriously” with “a major commitment” from Facebook, Twitter and Google to tackle anti-vaccine content.’ 1

There are so many things that could be said about this, that it is difficult to know where to start. Or to finish. I think in this blog I am just going to stick to focussing on a single issue. Which is that, if the intention of such laws is to ensure more people are keen to be vaccinated then I have news for the Labour party.

It will almost certainly backfire.

This is because state censorship does not change minds, never has. Whilst debate, at least superficially, has been silenced, the concerns do not disappear. Instead, the doubts are often redoubled. Once you start banning and censoring and fining and arresting, people start to wonder if you are just afraid to make your case. As Wendell Phillips said, and many people think:

‘He who stifles free discussion, secretly doubts whether what he professes to believe is really true.’

Once censorship starts, people are also reminded of the worst, most dreadful periods in history the world has even seen. It has always been one of the primary tools of totalitarian regimes:- Nazi Germany, Russia under Stalin, North Korea, China and Iran today.

One of the greatest books of the twentieth century is George Orwell’s 1984. It is a book mainly concerned with how facts, and truth, are tightly controlled by the party.

‘And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.’

Of course, Orwell was not the first to notice the critical importance of freedom of speech

‘Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence.’ Frederick Douglass

‘Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.’ Benjamin Franklin.

Deep down we all know this. We know that this essential freedom – to say what you really believe to be true – is the essential pillar of any free society. It carries a cost, of course it carries a cost. People say stupid things, people say wrong and misguided things. They can be damaging things, but the alternative will always be much worse in the end.

I say this because people also say things that, whilst angrily dismissed at the time as dangerous foolishness, are later found to have been correct all along. I have spent many years looking at the history of medical science (if that is not, at times, an oxymoron). I have seen many activities considered to be of inarguable benefit, turn out to be indefensible malpractice.

Bernard Lown is, I think, my number one medical hero. His motto ‘Do as much as possible for the patient, and as little as possible to the patient.’

As he also said:

‘From my earliest days in medicine, I have struggled against the prevailing model of health care. My opposition in part was provoked by the growing prevalence of overtreatment. Resorting to excessive interventions seemed to be the illegitimate child of technology in the age of market medicine.’ 2

He tells a tale from the 1950s where the orthodoxy of the time was to ensure strict bed rest following a heart attack. In the face of considerable hostility, he and his mentor, Dr Samuel Levine allowed patients to sit up in a comfortable chair at the end of the bed. Shock horror. In his own words:

‘The idea of moving critically ill patients into a chair was regarded as off‑the‑wall. Initially the house staff refused to cooperate and strenuously resisted getting patients out of bed. They accused me of planning to commit crimes not unlike those of the heinous Nazi experimentations in concentration camps. Arriving on the medical ward one morning I was greeted by interns and residents lined up with hands stretched out in a Nazi salute and a “Heil Hitler!” shouted in unison.’  3

Heil Hitler indeed. An almost perfect irony, I suppose.

It turns out that strict bed rest was absolutely and completely and totally the worst possible single thing you could do. I estimated, some years ago, that this action resulted in the premature death of around one hundred million people, worldwide. It could well have been more.

I imagine the ‘Heil Hitler’ shouting interns and residents would have happily endorsed censorship of any criticism of strict bed rest … for the good of society, no doubt.

Of course, had this happened, we would probably still be enforcing strict bed rest to this very day. Once a treatment becomes ‘standard practice’, there is no longer anything else against which to compare it, so you have no idea if it is beneficial, or harmful. That is what happens when you ban freedom of thought, and speech.

Leaving aside the principle that freedom of speech is our single most important freedom and must be handled with exquisite care. If we crush dissent, we also crush progress. Stupid ideas will, in the end, be shown to be stupid. Nonsense will be exposed as nonsense. However, if no criticism allowed, stupid ideas that are widely believed to be true, cannot be challenged and we will be stuck – forever.

I think most people recognise this truth. I also think most people, when they see things being banned and censored … wonder why. You immediately raise doubts. Why are they doing this, are they attempting to hide something? You will not convince anyone, ever, by censoring them, or shutting them up. You will, instead, make them more certain that you are hiding something, and that they are right.

Censorship always hardens attitudes; it does not change minds. Anti-vaxxers (whatever that stupid deliberately demeaning term means) will become more anti-vaxx. Discussion will be driven underground. Heroes and martyrs will be created. You will have done the exact oppositive of what you hoped to achieve.

You don’t win arguments by clubbing people into submission. All you do is silence them and redouble their determination.

1: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54947661

2: https://myheartsisters.org/2019/11/17/bed-rest-overtreatment-dr-bernard-lown/ 3: https://bernardlown.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/a-chair-to-the-rescue/

3: https://bernardlown.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/a-chair-to-the-rescue/

Ninety per cent

10th November 2020

‘Ladies and gentlemen, roll-up, roll-up, roll-up. My new product, just brought to the market this very day, prevents ninety per-cent, yes ninety per-cent of all known things happening to you. Yes, a remarkable ninety per cent. Not sixty per cent, not seventy per cent, no…not even eighty per cent. But ninety of your finest American per cent – of things’.

‘What is a thing, madam? What a very good question, and by the way your child is a most beautiful young girl, is she not. And your hair, someone did a most fantastic job on that. You must have paid a fortune for such magnificent styling… you sir.’

‘You are asking how much it costs. Cost sir, now cost doesn’t come into it. I can promise that I will never make a penny from selling this product, this year…. Not a penny, as I promise on my mother’s grave sir, my mother’s grave.’

‘Lady at the back there what was that …you say that my mother is still alive, you met her for coffee last week. Gracious, she does get about doesn’t she.’

‘Back to you sir. Cost, this product .. it does have to be kept at a very low temperature, so valuable is it sir. The cost of the refrigeration unit. Now, that is pricey sir very pricey.  Pricey indeed.

‘How pricey sir. I can tell you are a very clever man, there is no way I could fool you, is there. But pricey sir…made by top scientists, and they do not come cheap, no they do not. I wish with all my heart it were otherwise, but you cannot buy the product without the refrigeration. It would not make sense otherwise, would it sir. But you know, my good fellow, how can anyone quibble about the costs of keeping this remarkable product cold, when it will prevent ninety per cent….of things.’

‘But do not simply take my word for it. No. Here is a young lady who was injected with this product just the other day. Yes, just the other day. And do you know what… Well, don’t listen to me. Here she is…. big round of applause for this very brave young lady. Now Miss Fauci, for that is your name is it not… yes it is. You were injected with this very product seven days ago and what has happened to you?’

Miss Fauci: ‘Nothing.’

‘Yes, absolutely nothing happened to young Miss Fauci. Nothing at all. When you think of all the things that could have happened, and yet none of them did, did they. Well, this is remarkable, truly remarkable. No fevers, no loss of smell, no cough….?’

Miss Fauci: ‘Yes, nothing at all.’

‘Ladies and gentlemen, can you believe it. Nothing happened to this young lady at all after seven whole days.’

‘What was that madam, nothing happened to you either. Goodness me, you have been lucky haven’t you. You must be one of the lucky ten per cent. Here, have a free PCR swab to celebrate. Yes, keep it madam, its yours. Your day just got even better. Yes, have two, one could be positive, the other negative, we never really know do we. Ha, ha… my little joke.’

‘You sir, you still want to know what a thing is. Goodness me, you’re not one of those anti-product protestors are you. Our products undergo the most rigorous testing for safety, the most rigorous. How many, why, at least thirty people sir. We are not one of those fly-by-night organisations.’

‘You still want more information on things? Have I not just told you everything you could possibly need to know sir? Our product can prevent ninety per cent of things. If that is not enough to convince you sir, then I have not idea what else I can say.

‘Roll up, roll up. Only twenty billion for you, Mr Johnson – you know a bargain when you see one, don’t you. You’re certainly no mug, are you.’

Promoting the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination

13th October 2020

‘I would rather have questions that cannot be answered, than answers that cannot be questioned’ Richard Feynman.

As the impact of COVID19 rampages around the world, there is going to be a massive push to get vaccines launched, and immense pressure applied to people to be vaccinated. Therefore, this seems like a perfect time to have a conference on informed consent in Vaccination.

So, I am helping to publicise the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination on-line conference*. Information on this can be found here:

https://app.glueup.com/event/protecting-health-and-autonomy-in-the-21st-century-20563/home.htmlhttps://www.nvic.org/about/conference.aspx

I am acutely aware of the fact that even the mildest caution about vaccines leads to you being instantly labelled as an anti-vaxxer, and thus dismissed as some kind of anti-science lunatic.

However, I think we have an immensely important issue rising to the surface today, with many countries lining up to make any vaccine for COVID19 as close to mandatory as can be achieved, without using force.

This is distinctly worrying. As I pointed out in a previous blog, the Phase III trials for any Sars-Cov2 are not due to report for years. Which means that vaccines are about to be rushed onto the market with very sparse data on safety and efficacy. I think that people have a right to be concerned, and a right to refuse to be vaccinated without massive pressure brought to bear.

I strongly believe that this, and other issues on informed consent, desperately need to be debated – out in the open – and the National Vaccine Information Center is trying to do this. The people involved seem to be as far from being zealots as can be imagined. They just want an open and reasoned discussion.

Here is their statement on the issues of informed consent.

Informed Consent: An Ethical Principle

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has not advocated for the abolishment of vaccination laws as other groups have proposed. However, we have always endorsed the right to informed consent as an overarching ethical principle in the practice of medicine for which vaccination should be no exception. We maintain this is a responsible and ethically justifiable position to take in light of the fact that vaccination is a medical intervention performed on a healthy person that has the inherent ability to result in the injury or death of that healthy person.

In consideration of:

  • the fact that there can be no guarantee that the deliberate introduction of killed or live microorganisms into the body of a healthy person will not compromise the health or cause the death of that person either immediately or in the future; and
  • with very few predictors having been identified by medical science to give advance warning that injury or death may occur; and
  • with no guarantee that the vaccine will indeed protect the person from contracting a disease; and
  • in the absence of adequate scientific knowledge of the way vaccines singly or in combination act in the human body at the cellular and molecular level
  • vaccination is a medical procedure that could reasonably be termed as experimental each time it is performed on a healthy individual

Further, the FDA, CDC and vaccine makers openly state that often the number of human subjects used in pre-licensing studies are too small to detect rarer adverse events, making post-marketing surveillance of new vaccines a de facto scientific experiment. In this regard, the ethical principle of informed consent to vaccination attains even greater importance

I would urge people to have a look at this conference, sign in, and make up their own minds about what is going on.

*Disclosure of interest: I was asked to give a lecture at this conference for which I will be paid. The title of my talk is ‘Manipulating Science to Endorse Policy, and Market Products.

A second look at vaccination – answers that cannot be questioned

29th July 2019

 ‘No man can be forced to be healthful, whether he will or not. In a free society, individuals must judge for themselves what information they choose to heed and what they ignore.’ John Locke. ‘A letter concerning Toleration’

Here, I am going have another look at vaccination, before scurrying away from the subject for a bit, and getting back to the safe ground of cardiovascular disease. Much to the relief of some of the regular readers of this blog, no doubt.

I have to say that I thought long and hard about blogging on vaccination. It is the most brutal area for discussion that I have ever seen, and a reputation shredder. If you even dare to hint that there may just be the slightest issue with any vaccine, people come down upon you like a ton of bricks.

I also know that by daring to write on this subject, there will inevitably be people moving behind the scenes to have my blog taken down. I cannot imagine WordPress management going to the wire to protect my right to free speech. A little flick of a switch, and I will be gone from the airwaves.

However, as we move towards a world where it seems that all Governments around the world are going to pass laws mandating vaccination for everyone, and people are fined, or lose their jobs, for speaking out, or refusing to be vaccinated, then I feel that some attempt to discuss the area is essential.

Because, once something becomes mandatory, and any research into possible harms moves strictly off limits, we really need to be absolutely one hundred per-cent certain that there is no possibility that we may be doing harm. Or, that we are reducing any potential harm to the lowest level possible.

Can vaccines do harm?

‘Prof Martin Gore, 67, one of the UK’s leading cancer scientists, has died, the Royal Marsden NHS foundation trust has said. His death was following a yellow fever vaccination.’ 1

A tragedy for a brilliant medical researcher and his family. It was brought to my attention by my wife, who knew him quite well.

However, even here, we can see any criticism of vaccines being toned down and deflected. The words ‘caused by’ were carefully avoided. It was reported that he died following a yellow fever vaccination – which could mean he was vaccinated, then got hit by a bus. In fact, if you read a little more deeply, it becomes inarguable that the yellow fever vaccine was the direct cause of his death.

Yes, such an event is rare, but such events do occur. People can die following vaccinations, as a direct cause of that vaccination, although the information can be very difficult to find. In Germany, the Paul-Erlich Institute [PEI] is the organisation responsible for the reporting of vaccine security/safety.

‘Between 1978 and 1993 approximately 13,500 cases of undesired effects resulting from medications for vaccinations was reported to the Paul Erlich Institute (PEI) which is the institute which is responsible for vaccine security; the majority was reported by the pharmaceutical industry. In 40% of cases the complications were severe, 10% pertained to fatalities on account of the effects.’ 2

Yes, the numbers are relatively small – although by no means vanishingly small. In a fifteen-year period that is 1,350 deaths. If the Germans are preventing tens of thousands of deaths a year through vaccination, then a thousand severe complications and a hundred deaths or so, per year, may be a price worth paying? Discuss.

Primum non nocere

My own view is that you should never compel people to undergo a medical procedure that could result in severe damage – or death. But my philosophy is very much on the radical libertarian end of the spectrum. Others feel that personal liberties should be restricted for the overall good of society. A central philosophical divide, I suppose.

One of the other interesting facts from the Paul-Erlich Institute is that ‘severe cases’ of vaccine damage, that occur, that must be reported, include:

  • Encephalopathia: Encephalopathia is frequently overlooked as it does not always entail severe symptoms. However, there can later be developmental retardation. Encephalopathia can also trigger cri encéphalique
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Sleeping sickness 2

These are not my words; these are the words of the PEI.

This list obviously raises the issue of potential brain damage following vaccination. Something that was seen with Pandemrix, used to protect against Swine Flu (HIN1).

‘An increased risk of narcolepsy was found following vaccination with Pandemrix, a monovalent 2009 HIN1 influenza vaccine that was used in several European countries during the HIN1 influenza pandemic. Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological caused by the brain’s inability to regulate the sleep-wake cycles normally. This risk was initially found in Finland, and then some other European countries also detected an association. Most recently, scientists at the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) have found evidence of an association between Pandemrix and narcolepsy in children in England. The findings are consistent with studies from Finland and other countries.’ 2

[A finding not seen in any safety testing carried out prior to the launch of Pandemrix]

Thus, not only can vaccines cause severe reactions up to, and including, death. They can also lead to neurological damage such as narcolepsy. Is this all specifically to do with the vaccine itself, or the preservative it is carried in, or something else? Who knows?

Yet, and yet, despite the apparently indisputable evidence that vaccines can, and do, cause neurological damage we can find articles such as this below. Chosen pretty much at random, but it sums up the current mainstream thinking.

The “urban myth” of the association between neurological disorders and vaccinations

‘In modern society, a potentially serious adverse event attributed to a vaccination is likely to be snapped up by the media, particularly newspapers and television, as it appeals to the emotions of the public. The widespread news of the alleged adverse events of vaccination has helped to create the “urban myth” that vaccines cause serious neurological disorders and has boosted antivaccination associations. This speculation is linked to the fact that the true causes of many neurological diseases are largely unknown. The relationship between vaccinations and the onset of serious neuropsychiatric diseases is certainly one of coincidence rather than causality. This claim results from controlled studies that have excluded the association between vaccines and severe neurological diseases, therefore it can be said, with little risk of error, that the association between modern vaccinations and serious neurological disorders is a true “urban myth”. 3

What is being stated here, very forcefully indeed, is that there is no causal relationship between vaccination and neurological damage. It is simply a myth. I find the two bodies of evidence here impossible to reconcile.

Just to give two examples, the Paul Erlich Institute records encephalopathia, seizures, epilepsy, deaths and suchlike, following vaccination. The Pandemrix vaccine, in turn, has been proven to cause narcolepsy. Even the manufacturers, GSK, admitted that it did.

‘The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic left a troubling legacy in Europe: More than 1300 people who received a vaccine to prevent the flu developed narcolepsy, an incurable, debilitating condition that causes overpowering daytime sleepiness, sometimes accompanied by a sudden muscle weakness in response to strong emotions such as laughter or anger. The manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has acknowledged the link, and some patients and their families have already been awarded compensation. But how the vaccine might have triggered the condition has been unclear.4

This is… I am not sure what it is. The evidence clearly says one thing, yet we are told we must believe that this evidence is simply an ‘urban myth.’ I feel as though I have been transported to Wonderland, or some scary totalitarian state, where the truth cannot be spoken.

Even when it comes to the most contentious area of all, vaccines and autism, it appears to have been accepted – at least in one case in the US – that vaccination lead to autism, with a girl called Hannah Polling.

‘Officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services investigating Hannah’s medical history said that vaccine had ‘significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in energy metabolism’, causing damage ‘with features of autism spectrum disorder’. 2

The final part of the statement was very difficult to understand. ‘The officials said that the vaccine didn’t cause her autism, but ‘resulted’ in it.’ The vaccine resulted in her autism. Or, her autism resulted in her vaccination?

I have tried that statement a few different ways around, and I have no idea what that means. A lead to B, but A did not cause B. Because B resulted in A…

“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

I do, “ Alice hastily replied; “at least I mean what I say, that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “Why, you might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see!”  Alice in Wonderland.

However, the Polling case does raise a further potentially important issue. Namely, that it seems possible that some people have underlying ‘mitochondrial dysfunction,’ and that vaccination may aggravate this problem, with potentially serious consequences.

Narcolepsy, for example, is believed by some researchers to be a problem with energy production in the mitochondria. Others feel that ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) could be the result of a mitochondrial dysfunction triggered by various viral infections and, therefore, possibly vaccination?

All of which means that the possibility exists that vaccination could trigger, or exacerbate, significant mitochondrial dysfunction in susceptible individuals. This may or may not be true, but it must surely be an area for research?

To my mind it would be extremely important to establish if mitochondrial dysfunction represents a ‘risk’ for vaccination. We could then identify, using some genetic/epigenetic test, those individuals who are more likely to be damaged by vaccination. At which point we could look at ways to prevent the risk of damage – however small that risk may – be in a susceptible population.

For example, it could be possible to space out the vaccines, or only give separate vaccinations to these individuals. Maybe we could avoid vaccinating against relatively mild conditions e.g. chicken pox, or rubella (in boys) in these individuals. To me, these things seem eminently sensible areas for study.

However, it seems that we are trapped within a paradigm where it is impossible to suggest that any vaccine, for any disease, may be associated with/cause any degree of harm. In such an environment, objective scientific research becomes impossible. ‘As vaccine can harm no-one, we cannot try to find out who may be harmed. Thank you, comrade.’

As you can probably tell, I find this all very worrying and deeply, deeply, disturbing. If science has any purpose it is to seek the truth – however much that upsets the current status quo. When I see, what I believe to be important and valid questioning being crushed, I find it almost physically painful.

If that questioning results in the finding that vaccines truly do not cause any adverse effects, then that is fine. I would be more than happy with that outcome, although it currently seems inarguable that vaccines do cause adverse effects. However, as I see it, we currently have a situation whereby:

  • Pharmaceutical companies do their own safety testing on vaccines (somewhat like Boeing did on the 737 Max 8). The regulatory authorities have been, effectively, side-lined.
  • Many safety studies have only lasted days, with little or no research on any long-term effects. In fact, as far as I can establish, there has been no long-term safety research [see under Pandemrix]
  • Some vaccines have been proven to cause neurological damage
  • The preservatives and adjuvants in vaccines have not been studied for safety
  • There has never been a randomised controlled clinical study on the efficacy of any vaccine – beyond looking for a raised level of antibodies
  • Some/many people can suffer from the diseases they have been vaccinated against – and this is not monitored in any way.

Any of these things should be a very large red flag.

Looking specifically at efficacy, on that list, it is usually stated that vaccines are rigorously tested for efficacy. Here is what the University of Oxford has to say in its site ‘Vaccine Knowledge Project.’

‘Phase III trials gather statistically significant data on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy (how well it works). This means looking at whether the vaccine generates a level of immunity that would prevent disease, and provides evidence that the vaccine can actually reduce the number of cases.5

However, this does not actually test whether a vaccine really does reduce the number of cases of a disease. As I wrote in the previous blog, even in population with a 98% vaccination rate against measles, a school population still suffered a measles outbreak, and many of those previously vaccinated suffered from measles.

Which means that the statement from the Vaccine Knowledge Project…. and provides evidence that the vaccine can actually reduce the number of cases’ needs to be read very carefully. It could be taken to mean ‘provides all the evidence needed.’ Which is what it has been crafted to imply. However, it actually means ‘provides evidence regarding a ‘surrogate end-point’ which suggests that vaccines may reduce the number of cases.

If you want to know if a vaccine really works, vaccinate a hundred thousand people against a disease. Do not vaccinate another hundred thousand people (matched and randomised) – and then see what happens. Then you will know how well your vaccine works.

This is a requirement of all other forms of medical intervention (with provisos), but it is not a requirement for vaccines. A true efficacy study does not simply look at a ‘surrogate’ marker. It needs to study hard endpoints e.g. how many people are truly protected against the disease. Also, what the rate of adverse events may be.

Of course, there are those who think that such a trial would be ridiculous and unethical. Here, I quote from a website KevinMD:

‘….as some have actually demanded, we must have a randomized controlled trial (RCT), the gold standard of clinical research. RCTs use random assignment of subjects to one group or the other, in this case vaccine or a placebo (fake vaccine), and ensure both the subjects and evaluation team be blinded to who got what.

Think about this for a minute. They are demanding parents agree to subject their child to a trial in which they have a 50/50 chance of getting a fake vaccine. All this to satisfy the concerns of vaccine deniers.

It would be incredibly unethical to do such a study, and no institutional review board (aka human studies committee) would ever approve such a thing. For such trials, there must be reasonable uncertainty about which group is getting the better treatment, and in this case, there is none. The bottom line is any vaccine skeptic who demands proof like this is being massively disingenuous. It’s akin to demanding a randomized controlled trial of parachutes.’ 6

What is being said here is that there is no uncertainty that vaccines work, so there is no need for a randomised controlled trial. The counter argument to this is simply to turn the argument inside out. Without an RCT, how do you know that vaccines work? Where is your evidence? Or does ‘just knowing that it works’, count?

Medicine is littered with examples of interventions that were considered so inarguably beneficial that no trials were ever done. Strict bed rest following an MI, the radical mastectomy, x-ray screening for lung cancer, PCI in the non-acute setting.

Bernard Lown was a man who dared challenge the ‘unquestionable’ benefits of coronary artery bypass surgery. He had a long and arduous battle to publish his evidence that CABG may cause more harm than benefit. His blog on this, ‘A Maverick’s Lonely Path in Cardiology (Essay 28)’, is well worth a read. As he concludes:

‘A new treatment, whether involving drugs or procedures, is improper without indubitable supporting evidence of benefit. The patients’ well-being must not be compromised by imagined good when countervailing interests are at the same time being served. Our forty-year struggle essentially concerned medicine’s first and inviolate principle, primum non nocere. “First do no harm” is the litmus test sanctioning the privilege to practice medicine.’ 7

Bernard Lown is one hundred per cent correct, and I find it difficult to conceive that anyone who has the slightest understanding of science could write the words ‘The bottom line is any vaccine skeptic who demands proof like this [an RCT] is being massively disingenuous.’

Disingenuous… Personally, I demand proof like this for all medical interventions, wherever possible, and so should everyone else. The reason why, is because evidence from controlled clinical trials (with all their inherent flaws) is the only tool that we possess to properly assess benefit vs. harm. Without such evidence we are simply hoping and praying that benefits truly outweigh any downsides.

For example, with the Pandemrix vaccine. Had an RCT been done, it is possible, even probable, that the adverse impact on Narcolepsy would have been picked up. Therefore, it would not have been used, therefore many thousands of people would not have been harmed – above and beyond narcolepsy. Some of the key issues around Pandemrix were discussed in the BMJ article ‘Pandermix vaccine: why was the public not told of early warning signs?’

‘Eight years after the pandemic influenza outbreak, a lawsuit alleging that GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine caused narcolepsy has unearthed internal reports suggesting problems with the vaccine’s safety.

‘…the raw numbers of adverse events were not small. Although it is often said that perhaps only up to 10% of adverse events are reported to national reporting systems, by late November, GSK had received 1138 serious adverse event reports for Pandemrix—a rate of 76 per million doses administered. By mid-December, there had been 3280 serious adverse event reports (68/million doses). The last report seen by the BMJ, dated 31 March 2010, shows 5069 serious adverse events for Pandemrix (72/million doses).8

As the article goes on to say:

“What is the purpose of pharmacovigilance if nobody is acting on the information? This information took eight years to come to light through academic work and litigation. Is this acceptable? If the information at our disposal is partial, that is the direct consequence of secrecy, which should not surround any public health intervention.”

Pandemrix and Arepanrix were designed for a pandemic and were removed from global markets after the pandemic. Whatever adverse events they may have caused, they are vaccines of the past. But the events of 2009-10 raise fundamental questions about the transparency of information. When do public health officials have a duty to warn the public over possible harms of vaccines detected through pharmacovigilance? How much detail should the public be provided with, who should provide it, and should the provision of such information be proactive or passive?’

All good questions.

Had Pandemrix not caused narcolepsy in large numbers, litigation against GSK would not have taken place – in Ireland. Had this not happened, data about the high rate of other adverse effect would never have seen the light of day. It seems that the European Medicines Agency had little interest in the matter.

‘What EMA knew—or could have known—about the comparative safety of GSK’s pandemic vaccines is hard to discern. It told The BMJ that “EMA does not perform comparative benefit and risk evaluations between products approved in the EU, or between EU products and products approved or used outside the EU.”

So, if monitoring product safety is not of interest to them, what exactly do the EMA do? Central here, however, is the fact that we had a vaccine causing a high number of serious adverse events and no-one did, or said, anything. Had there not been a lawsuit, we would still have been unaware of any problems. At least that is my understanding of what happened here.

Does anyone care? Well, in many countries you cannot even sue the manufacturer if a vaccine damages you – as also mentioned in the BMJ article.

‘Another element, adopted by countries such as Canada, the US, UK, France, and Germany, was to provide vaccine manufacturers indemnity from liability for wrongdoing, thereby reducing the risk of a lawsuit stemming from vaccine related injury.’ Quite extraordinary. In my view, beyond extraordinary.

A manufacturer makes a product that you believe may have damaged or killed a loved one, and you cannot do anything about it. Or, those who made the product cannot be sued. In banking they have a phrase for this. They call it moral hazard.

‘lack of incentive to guard against risk where one is protected from its consequences, e.g. by insurance.’ In this case no insurance is required. Governments have given pharmaceutical companies a free pass. Depending on your belief in the inherent ethical standards of pharmaceutical companies you may – or may not – find this reassuring.

Personally, I find it extremely worrying that people, and the entire medical profession, appear willing to accept that all vaccines, for all conditions, are entirely effective and have no adverse effects…. Even when it has been demonstrated, beyond doubt, that they do.

Anyway, I feel I should probably stop here. Others have gone much further than me, others have been braver. But there should be nothing ‘brave’ about asking legitimate scientific questions. As Richard Feynman said. ‘I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.’

 

1: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jan/11/top-cancer-scientist-prof-martin-gore-dies-after-rare-reaction-to-yellow-fever-vaccination

2: Doctoring Data pp 228 – 9 ISBN 978-1-907797-46-0

3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718347/

4: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/07/why-pandemic-flu-shot-caused-narcolepsy

5: http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/vaccine-development

6: https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2018/11/why-demanding-a-randomized-controlled-trial-for-vaccines-is-disingenuous.html

7: https://bernardlown.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/mavericks-lonely-path-in-cardiology/

8: https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k3948

My feelings about the vaccine debate

9th July 2019

As readers of this blog will know, my primary area of interest is cardiovascular disease, which a big and complex subject, where anyone questioning the ‘conventional’ ideas gets ruthlessly attacked. However, in comparison to the area of vaccination, the battles in cardiovascular disease pale into insignificance. Mere squabbles in the nursery.

I am a member of an on-line doctors’ community in the UK called Doctors Net. Not open to the public. Whenever any story about vaccination emerges, the vitriol, anger and naked rage is quite scary to observe.

Whenever the issue of MMR raises its head on Doctors Net, doctors have stated that Andrew Wakefield should be thrown in jail, and never allowed to earn any money ever again, that he is a crook and a criminal – and those are the nicer comments.

It is clear that, in the medical profession, there is an unquestioned faith in vaccination. That is, all vaccinations, for all diseases, everywhere – for everyone. Anyone who dares to hint that, ahem, there could be some negative issues associated with vaccination is subjected to withering contempt. ‘You will be responsible for killing millions of children.’ You don’t understand science.’ And suchlike.

When it comes to the science, it does amuse me that vaccination began before anyone understood any of the science – of anything to do with microbes and the immune system. It all began, so it is recorded, with the observation that milkmaids were much less likely to get smallpox.

This led to the idea that you should deliberately infect people with a bit of cowpox, to prevent them getting smallpox. Bold.

‘The terms vaccine and vaccination are derived from Variolae vaccinae (smallpox of the cow), the term devised by Jenner to denote cowpox. He used it in 1796 in the long title of his Inquiry into the Variolae vaccinae known as the Cow Pox, in which he described the protective effect of cowpox against smallpox.’ [from the website that cannot be named… Wikipedia actually]

This was suggested at a time when all doctors thought infections were spread by Miasma. Basically, a nasty smell. No-one had the faintest idea that there were bacteria, or viruses. Somewhat ironically, vaccination – giving a small amount of a substance to cure/prevent a nasty disease – became the underlying principle of homeopathy – which most doctors now angrily dismiss as ‘woo woo medicine.’

Clearly, vaccination did not start as science. It basically started as a hunch, based on no comprehension of the science at all. Of course, that doesn’t make it wrong, but you can hardly suggest it was founded on a thorough understanding of the human immune system. Edward Jenner did not know that such a thing existed, and nor did anyone else. It was just a good guess.

The science of vaccination then became, what I call, backwards rationalisation. ‘It works, now let us work out how the hell it actually works.’ Again, nothing wrong with this. The best science often starts with observation, not a hypothesis. Graphene is a recent example. Two scientists larking about in the lab with Sellotape and pencils.

Just in case you are wondering. Yes, I do believe that vaccination works. Or, to be more accurate I believe that some vaccination works. Most vaccination, all vaccinations?

However, I do speak as one who has had seven hepatitis B inoculations and, once, just about managed to provide a blood test to show that I had made enough antibodies – to allow me to work as a doctor. A friend, who worked as a surgeon, had twenty-two hep B inoculations, and never managed to raise an antibody. He did explain to me how he continued to work as a surgeon, but I have forgotten how he managed.

Which means that I have personal – and slightly painful – experience that vaccination is not equally effective for everyone. Why not? Does anyone care about such things? It seems not. Just close your eyes and vaccinate away. No-one can question anything. Such as, why do inoculations produce antibodies in some people, and not others? Kind of interesting you would think – but no. Question not, the mighty vaccination.

This is strange, because it has been clearly established that vaccination does not work in many people:

‘An outbreak of measles occurred in a high school with a documented vaccination level of 98 per cent. Nineteen (70 per cent) of the cases were students who had histories of measles vaccination at 12 months of age or older and are therefore considered vaccine failures. Persons who were unimmunized or immunized at less than 12 months of age had substantially higher attack rates compared to those immunized on or after 12 months of age.

Vaccine failures among apparently adequately vaccinated individuals were sources of infection for at least 48 per cent of the cases in the outbreak. There was no evidence to suggest that waning immunity was a contributing factor among the vaccine failures. Close contact with cases of measles in the high school, source or provider of vaccine, sharing common activities or classes with cases, and verification of the vaccination history were not significant risk factors in the outbreak.

The outbreak subsided spontaneously after four generations of illness in the school and demonstrates that when measles is introduced in a highly vaccinated population, vaccine failures may play some role in transmission but that such transmission is not usually sustained.’1  

We are told that if you reach a measles vaccination rate of 95%, in a population, you cannot get an outbreak. Seems that is wrong. You can get an outbreak in a 98% vaccinated population. Wouldn’t it be nice to know why?

It does seem weird that measles is the chosen battleground for the vaccine furies. I am not entirely sure why. You would think the highly vocal pro-vaccinators would point to smallpox, or polio – or suchlike. Although, to be frank, I look at smallpox and wonder. I wonder how the hell we managed to eradicate this disease so quickly and simply. The entire world successfully vaccinated in a few years – with a perfect 100% record. No vaccine failures, all populations in the entire world vaccinated? Quite some feat.

An alternative explanation is that some diseases naturally come and go. Measles, for example, was an absolute killer three hundred years ago. Captain Cook introduced it to South Seas islands. The mortality rate was enormously high in native populations that had never been exposed to it before. Gradually the death rate attenuated. In most of the Western World measles was becoming a ‘relatively’ benign disease by the time vaccination came along.

If we look back in history, the black death wiped out half the population of Europe. What was it? It was almost certainly not the plague, although many people claim that it was. From the descriptions of those who died from it, it seems it was possibly a form of Ebola (haemorrhagic fever).

‘The Black Death of the 1300s was probably not the modern disease known as bubonic plague, according to a team of anthropologists studying these 14th century epidemics. “The symptoms of the Black Death included high fevers, fetid breath, coughing, vomiting of blood and foul body odor,” says Rebecca Ferrell, graduate student in anthropology. “Other symptoms were red bruising or hemorrhaging of skin and swollen lymph nodes. Many of these symptoms do appear in bubonic plague, but they can appear in many other diseases as well.”

Modern bubonic plague typically needs to reach a high frequency in the rat population before it spills over into the human community via the flea vector. Historically, epidemics of bubonic plague have been associated with enormous die-offs of rats. “There are no reports of dead rats in the streets in the 1300s of the sort common in more recent epidemics when we know bubonic plague was the causative agent,” says Wood.’ 2

Of course, we cannot be sure what the Black Death was. We do know that it came, it killed, it went. It also appeared to leave a legacy of people with CCR5 Delta32 mutations. People with this mutation cannot, it seems, be infected by the Ebola virus (or, indeed HIV). Ebola and HIV both gain entry to cells using the CCR5 protein, and if it is missing, the virus cannot get in. [Yes, you can cure HIV by giving bone marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR5 Delta 32 mutation – little known fact].

Why would we have this mutation far more commonly in areas of Europe than, in say, Africa – where the Black Death did not occur? Unless it provided a survival advantage at some point, against a virus that was (or was very like), Ebola.

Looking back at smallpox, did vaccination get rid of it? Or did vaccination simply apply the final push to see off a weakened opponent?

The plague itself – where has it gone?

Yes, I do look at the official history of vaccination with a jaundiced eye. The greatest successes… Well, it seems inarguable that vaccination has created enormous health benefits. Polio and smallpox – gone. But has this been entirely due to vaccination – possibly? I am yet to be convinced.

In truth, I find the entire area of vaccination quite fascinating. But the problem, the great problem, is that even by writing this blog I will have said several things that cannot be said.

  • Vaccination does not always work – burn the unbeliever.
  • Vaccination may not have been entirely responsible for ridding the world of smallpox – burn the unbeliever.
  • Measles is not the killer disease that it once was – burn the unbeliever.
  • You can have measles vaccination and still get measles – burn the unbeliever.

To me, these are just facts, and to state them is simply part of valid scientific questioning. For some reason, I am not entirely sure why, to question any ‘fact’ about vaccination is to be flung into the outer darkness. People get very, very, angry. They close their minds and they get polarised. Parts of this blog will almost certainly be taken out of context and used to attack me.

I don’t really know how to open the debate out into something sensible. Something scientific, something questioning and positive. Screeching at people that they simply don’t understand ‘science’ is not a good approach. In addition, yelling that they are ‘killing thousands of children’ is not a way to conduct a debate.

I feel that I do understand ‘science’, whatever that means exactly. Or at least I understand the scientific method. Which primarily consists of questioning everything – and feeling free do to so. One thing I do know is that anyone who states that the science is settled, and inarguable, and all the experts agree, and must therefore be right – clearly does not understand anything about science. At all.

1: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1646939/

2: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020415073417.htm