The evidence is overwhelming. Covid 19 vaccines are generally effective and safe, protecting the fully vaccinated from the most severe consequences of Covid infection. Unvaccinated individuals—even those counting on natural immunity after recovering from Covid—are far more likely to become severely sick, require hospitalization and die from infection with the Delta variant than the vaccinated. However, that hasn’t stopped the anti-vaxxers and political opportunists from spreading misinformation and outright lies that are a real danger to America’s health.
While I doubt any “facts” will change an adamant anti-vaxxer’s mind or an opportunist politician’s agenda, I am hopeful the FDA’s recent final approval of the Pfizer vaccine will enable employers and other private business to mandate vaccination as a condition of employment. Perhaps that will push more of the unvaccinated off the fence.
The Previously Infected
There is now an abundance of information available about reinfection by the Delta variant in individuals who have recovered from Covid and remained unvaccinated. For example, a recent Kentucky study found that unvaccinated survivors were more than twice as likely to get reinfected than those who were subsequently vaccinated. For that reason, the CDC now recommends that Covid 19 survivors get vaccinated.
In that respect, I’d like to offer some advice attributed to Ben Franklin. In the early years of his marriage, Franklin’s four-year-old son, Francis, died of smallpox during the epidemic. Because he was a strong advocate of inoculation, rumors circulated that Francis had been inoculated and that Ben was trying to hide that he died from the vaccine. To put the rumors to rest he offered this explanation. “I intended to have my Child inoculated as soon as he should have recovered sufficient Strength from a Flux [diarrhea] with which he had been long afflicted.”
However, he revealed something different in his auto biography, issued posthumously. “In 1736 I lost one of my Sons, a fine Boy of 4 Years old, taken by the Small Pox in the common way. I long regretted that I had not given it to him by Inoculation, which I mention for the Sake of Parents, who omit that Operation on the Supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a Child died under it; my Example showing that the Regret may be the same either way, and that therefore the safer should be chosen.”
It seems clear that vaccination is far safer than the disease.
Nothing New About Vaccines
I’m afraid I just don’t understand why the anti-vaxxer movement is so vehemently opposed to vaccinations since the practice has been traced back to smallpox outbreaks in the sixth century in China. As I noted above, in the United States, vaccinations were used against smallpox outbreaks in the early American colonies. George Washington was known to order all soldiers in the Continental Army to be inoculated. In my lifetime, children have been required to be vaccinated before they could enroll in school. I have seen vaccines eradicate the diseases of smallpox and polio. They didn’t just magically disappear. So, it puzzles me why the data for vaccination is so positive, yet anti-vaxxer sentiment so strong.
The Risk of Death From the Vaccines
At the end of July 2021, there were 6340 reported (but unverified) deaths attributable to the vaccines in the United States. Of course anyone can submit a report of an adverse reaction to the CDC, which records all such reactions in its VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). A review of these cases has, thus far, not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. In other words there are no verified deaths attributable to receiving a vaccination.
To put it differently, even including those reported but unverified deaths, at the end of July, approximately 198 million people had received at least one dose, which means that 99.968 % of those individuals did not die of the vaccine. The dramatic rise in cases and overstretched hospitals now packed with patients, of whom at least 80% are unvaccinated, demonstrates the efficacy of the vaccines.
Though other side effects of the vaccine have been reported, none have, as yet, been considered significant enough to halt distribution of the vaccine. On the other hand, consider the potential long-term effects of the Covid virus and the number of individuals that are now seeking treatment as “long-haulers.”
Overall Vaccine Safety
No vaccine or medicine is 100% safe. For example, polyethylene glycol, an ingredient used in the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, can be a toxic substance if used in very high doses or for prolonged periods. However, that is not the case for this vaccine. In fact, a wide variety of products across the food, drug, cosmetic and manufacturing industries currently contain polyethylene glycol, considered a very low-toxicity substance.
As for the vaccines, the data shows the risk of receiving it is exceedingly lower than that of experiencing the disease. These numbers also confirm the safety of the vaccines as demonstrated in all the drug protocols completed before approval by the FDA. There is a false accusation on social media that Covid protocols have not gone through the same protocols as other vaccines, but to my knowledge there is no such evidence, nor is there any evidence of corruption in the difficult and lengthy approval process.
And keep in mind, the FDA under Trump managed development of the vaccines . The same FDA that revoked the emergency use for hydroxychloroquine to treat certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19. That revocation was based on an ongoing analysis of emerging scientific data and the FDA’s determination that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19. Consequently, and in light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other potential serious side effects, the FDA considered the potential benefits of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine no longer outweighed the known and potential risks for its authorized use.
Skipping Safety Protocols
It seems inconsistent to decry the perceived but unsupported absence of adequate safety protocols for the Covid vaccines, yet call for acceptance of ivermectin, a drug for which those protocols are totally absent. The NIH and WHO do not approve its use for treatment of Covid-19, and not because of a conspiracy with “Big Pharma.” Indeed, the drug’s manufacturer in the United States, Merck could earn millions in profits if the FDA approved the drug for Covid. Nevertheless, in February 2021, Merck issued a statement, noting it did not believe the data available support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information.
The FLCCC (Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care) Alliance,organized in March 2020 by a group of Critical Care physicians is in the forefront of promoting the use of ivermectin. Unlike the group known as America’s Frontline Doctors, who have little to no experience treating Covid patients and spew nothing but nonsense about the vaccines, the FLCCC is a serious group with clinicians who have experience dealing with Covid-19. They believe in evidence-based medicine, but do not agree that randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) are necessary to advance the use of a drug, an approach at variance with currently accepted scientific and medical practice.
The drug Ivermectin is a case in point. It is approved for use in humans in the U.S. in tablets for treatment of some parasitic worms and in topical formulations for the treatment of some external parasites. The drug is also approved for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and certain internal and external parasites in various animal species. It is not approved for the treatment of Covid 19.
However, physicians in FLCCC have used it to treat Covid 19 and claim positive results. They also cite the case of Delhi, India where they said Covid cases dropped by 97%, which they attributed to the wide distribution of Ivermectin. Conversely, one analyst pointed out that the FLCCC paid little attention to the difference between causation and correlation. Additionally, a critical study of these results offered a different conclusion:
India experienced a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases in May 2021. However, no data available supports the claim that this is causally associated with the recommendation to use Ivermectin. The reduced spread of the disease began before India released official recommendations to use that drug. In spite of several clinical studies, no reliable evidence is available to suggest that hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin are effective against COVID-19. At the moment, international health agencies and scientific societies discourage using these drugs to treat COVID-19, except in clinical trials designed to assess their efficacy.
The FLCCC Disclaimer
Note also that the FLCCC makes this disclaimer at the bottom of every page in its website along with an extended list of other disclaimers in a separate section.
DISCLAIMER ©2020–2021 All Rights Reserved FLCCC Alliance. The information contained or presented on this website is for educational purposes only. Information on this site is NOT intended to serve as a substitute for diagnosis, treatment, or advice from a qualified, licensed medical professional. The facts presented are offered as information only in order to empower you – our protocol is not medical advice – and in no way should anyone infer that we, even though we are physicians, or anyone appearing in any content on this website are practicing medicine, it is for educational purposes only. Any treatment protocol you undertake should be discussed with your physician or other licensed medical professional. Seek the advice of a medical professional for proper application of ANY material on this site or our program to your specific situation. NEVER stop or change your medications without consulting your physician. If you are having an emergency contact your emergency services: in the USA that’s 911. Please read our Complete disclaimers.”
Ivermectin Clinical Trials
There have been many clinical studies and trials, but they have not been designed to provide evidence to support its use in the general population. Most of them were of small sample sizes and weak designs. Those that were rigorously designed, randomized controlled trials didn’t show a significant benefit from Ivermectin. There are 66 trials of Ivermectin registered, with 60,000 participants, so perhaps there will be definitive results in the future. In the meantime, the question to ask yourself is whether you want to take a chance of dying by taking an expensive unproven drug or protect yourself with a free vaccine.
The Vaccine Exception
Like children under twelve who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, there is one valid reason for adults to remain unvaccinated. If an individual has a medical condition that makes the risk of adverse reaction to the vaccine a real possibility, he or she should remain unvaccinated. But they must take extra care in light of the spread of the deadly Delta variant.
One more reason to remain unvaccinated has now disappeared with the FDA’s issuance of full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older. Hopefully this will motivate more businesses and levels of government to mandate vaccinations for employment and entrance to facilities and services. We must cease to allow a minority of unvaccinated anti-vaxxers, political opportunists and uninformed individuals to hold the rest of us hostage to their fears, and misinformation. This includes those who mistakenly assert they have a Constitutional right to choose whether to be vaccinated and/or wear a mask in the face of a public health emergency. For a brief discussion of this issue, I refer you to my last blog, Constitutional Freedoms, Restraints and Responsibilities.
Though I have family and good friends among the groups described above, those threatening the health of this country can no longer be left to terrorize the rest of us. It’s time to set the rules.