The most recent twist in the covid-19 saga is forcing hard-working New Zealanders to believe in the story of the ‘deadly virus’ and ‘saviour’ vaccine. This will inevitably mean many will now be forced to choose between their jobs and their sense of autonomy over their own body and health. The death of the elimination strategy has meant that the accelerator has been applied to the vaccine pedal. Hang on a minute, where is the evidence to back this up such a policy?
Most recently, leading scientists advising the government have put their irrationality on show. They argue that we simply cannot live with endemic covid-19 and that we will all get SARS-CoV-2 under the reign of delta. The march to stamp out the virus “must” continue as there is no other way. Professor Rod Jackson has stated “”I’m freaking out in a major way… Auckland, we just have to suppress it until we all get vaccinated… I mean we need everyone vaccinated before December, and if we got 95 per cent of the population vaccinated by [then]… yeah, then you can have a holiday.”
According to Professor Jackson, the virus is extremely deadly and the only way out is vaccination and mandates which are all logical responses to the threat. First teachers, then doctors, nurses, and everyone else with a chance of spreading the virus. Where will it end? One could be forgiven for advocating such a strategy if we hadn’t been able to observe what is happening in other countries. But we have: the experience of Israel, Iceland and others show the virus will continue despite vaccination. Singapore is the most extreme example, now with 85% vaccination, yet their covid-19 cases are higher than ever. Vaccines are clearly not the end of covid-19 and mandates will not change this.
A recent between-country epidemiological study has confirmed this. The epidemiologists found no relationship between the percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days. Counter-intuitively, the trend suggests that countries with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated have higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people.
Politicians and most of the public are clinging to the hope of vaccinations. I conclude it is based entirely on unsubstantiated fear. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the idea that Covid-19 is deadly has taken even stronger hold. No questioning of this is allowed. The protagonists argue that on average sixteen years of life are lost from the virus.
A couple of pieces of information sum up the lack of real threat from Covid.
- Covid-19 deaths in New Zealand occur at about the same age (red line) as background (black line: figure 1). In fact, the two age distributions are statistically indistinguishable (P = 0.998). This could be a freak of the low covid-19 numbers in New Zealand, except that it is found again in almost every other country you care to look, no matter how many cases they’ve had. A German researcher found a very similar pattern in a country with 4.3 million cases and 94,000 deaths. It is very difficult, even, impossible to reconcile the 16 years of life lost per covid-19 death with age-at-death comparison. Doing so would mean that covid-19 is selectively targeting people who would otherwise live to the age of 98 years. This is simply implausible. It is hard to see how scientists could be so pessimistic, when the data on covid-19 deaths are shouting for optimism.
Figure 1. Background death in New Zealand 2019 to September (black) and national covid-19 deaths March to September 2020.
- No one is discussing is the downsides of the vaccine. In the following figure (not made by an official source) we see a summary of the highest level of evidence known about the Pfizer vaccine which is currently on offer in New Zealand. It summarizes the participants, covid-19 cases and overall deaths. I didn’t make this diagram, but I wish I had. When reading the Pfizer 6-month update, we see that 21 people died in the group vaccinated or eventually vaccinated, compared to 15 in the placebo group. This result does not fill me with confidence, even though the reduction in covid-19 cases was so dramatic in the vaccinated group compared to placebo.
Why do the excess fatalities in the treated group sap my confidence in the vaccine? Well, most of us who are thinking clearly, want to live longer, not just avoid Covid-19. This trial clearly signals that you are better off with the placebo if your objective is long life. The end-point of overall death is an important outcome in epidemiology, since it is easy to measure, and weighs both benefits of the intervention along with risks. Another author has tallied serious medical events in all covid-19 vaccine trials used in the United States, and all such analyses question vaccine use.
Figure 2. Study flow for the 6 month Pfizer trial follow-up.
Another concern is not being addressed is the 100-fold increase in reported deaths after covid-19 vaccine in the United States, indicating poorer safety than initially indicated in the trial. To support this interpretation, case-series of myocarditis, unusual clotting and haematological abnormalities have been reported in close proximity to having received the vaccine.
Children are at almost zero risk of death from covid-19 and so the risk-benefit in this group is severely questionable.
To sum up, when assessing the point of a vaccine, especially mandated ones, it is vital to;
- Realistically appraise the threat, and the threat of Covid-19 is negligible.
- Consider the overall benefit and harm associated with the vaccine, and even on Pfizer’s own trial results, the harm is at least equal to the benefit (deaths vs much reduced illness).
There is a heavy price for mandating vaccines. We put lives directly at risk from the medical intervention. We embed a culture of fear and intense community discord. We give up hard-won human rights and autonomy.
The time for slogans, gut reactions and freaking out is over. We are traveling a dangerous and hysterical path.
A sober look at facts is our only hope for a return to reasoned assessment of the best path forward. The Nordic countries are leading the way and are now abandoning almost all covid-19 restrictions. It can be done; it hasn’t led to catastrophe. We can live with the virus. All it takes is a little courage and clarity of thought.