The MSM dam is starting to show more and more cracks, despite all the mop-up talk and tweets from science editors (today underlined once again by Maarten Keulemans). If an authoritative American newspaper like The Wall Street Journal dares to write twice 'Pfizer and Moderna's claims are misleading', then we are going in the right direction, especially in the country where it is easy to sue. It is 'only' opinion of a science editor, but also in the Netherlands voices of even columnists such as Leon de Winter, Ronald Plasterk and Marianne Zwagerman seem to be getting more and more attention. The article below has been translated from wall street journal, an internationally leading magazine from the country where medicines are advertised heavily. I think it's special!
The data is on the table, the problem now is: how do we get it integrated into decision-making? Keep pushing then, of which note.
You may have heard a radio commercial warning that if you've had Covid, you may get it again and experience even worse symptoms. The post, sponsored by the Health and Human Services Department, claims that updated bivalent vaccines will improve your protection. This is misleading advertising. But the public health agencies' praise for the bivalent vaccines should come as no surprise. Federal agencies took the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine manufacturers to produce those vaccines and then touting them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.
The idea of updating mRNA Covid shots every season originally seemed promising. An advantage of the mRNA technology would be that manufacturers could modify the genetic sequence and quickly produce new vaccines for new variants. Hence the bivalent boosters aimed at the variants BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron and the original Wuhan strain.
But three scientific problems have arisen. First, the virus is evolving much faster than the vaccines can be updated. Second, the vaccines have strengthened our immune system against the original Wuhan strain, so we produce fewer antibodies that neutralize the variants of the updated vaccines. Thirdly, antibodies decrease rapidly after a few months.
Recent NEJM studies
Two studies in this month's New England Journal of Medicine showed that bivalent boosters increase neutralizing antibodies to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but not significantly more than the original boosters. In one study, antibody levels after the bivalent boosters were 11 times higher against the Wuhan variant than against BA.5.
The authors state that immune imprinting "may pose a greater challenge than currently believed to be for inducing robust immunity to SARS-CoV-2 variants". This is not unique to Covid or mRNA vaccines, although boosters may enhance the effect. Our first exposure to the flu as a child – through infection or vaccination – affects our future response to different strains.
The original Covid vaccines and boosters trained our memory B cells to make antibodies against the Wuhan variant. As Paul Offit of the University of Pennsylvania explains in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, previously vaccinated people who received the bivalent booster were "pre-programmed" to respond to the Wuhan strain and received an inferior antibody response to other variants. (and possibly more far-reaching immune problems that can lead to infections, disease and development of cancer. Ed.)
Vaccine propaganda turns out to be incorrect
The findings of the studies contradict press releases from Pfizer and Moderna from November, which claims that their bivalents produce a response to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants that is four to six times larger than that of the original boosters. These claims are misleading. Neither vaccine manufacturer conducted a randomized trial. They tested the original boosters last winter, long before the BA.5 wave and 41/2 to months after the trial participants received their third jab. The bivalents, on the other hand, were tested after BA.5 began to rise, 91/2 to 11 months after the recipients received their third jab.
A longer interval between injections would increase antibody elevation against the BA.5 variant. The same applies to a previous infection with the BA.5 variant. In other words, people who received the bivalent boosters in August would have been primed to produce more antibodies in response to BA.5.
The vaccine makers designed their studies to get the results they wanted. Public health authorities didn't raise eyebrows – why should they? They have a vested interest in promoting the bivalents.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered vaccine manufacturers in June to update the boosters against BA.4 and BA.5 and rushed to approve the bivalents in late August before clinical data were available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pushed the bivalents toward all adults without any evidence that they were effective or necessary.
Vaccine manufacturers could have conducted small randomized trials last summer and early fall comparing the bivalent agents to the original boosters and a placebo group. The results could have been available by the end of September. But the public health authorities didn't want to wait and now we know why.
CDC and FDA are still trying
The CDC published in November a study who estimated that the bivalents were only 22% to 43% effective against infection during the BA.5 wave – their peak effectiveness. When the antibodies decreased and new variants took over later in the fall, their protection against infection likely dropped to zero. Another CDC Study, in December, reported that seniors who received bivalents were 84% less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people, and 73% less likely than those who received two or more doses of the original vaccine.
Neither study took into account any major confounding factors – for example, that the small minority who received bivalents were also more likely than those who were not given bivalents to follow other precautions for Covid or seek treatments such as Paxlovid.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf tweeted on Jan. 11 that "COVID-19 vaccines have been linked with a significant reduction in the number of hospitalizations and deaths" (my emphasis). He should know that correlation does not prove causation. For example, one study found that unvaccinated people had a significantly greater chance of car accidents, but that doesn't mean vaccines prevent accidents.
Many of the same experts who trashed observational studies supporting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are now fluttering with intrinsically flawed studies on bivalent boosters.
After diligently promoting the bivalents, they may be looking for justification. But science is not about justification.
Covid vaccines reduced serious illnesses while most Americans also gained immunity from natural infection, which significantly increases protection. (This can be read as : Growing herd immunity was wrongly attributed to the vaccines. WSJ maybe went a little too far, Ed.). There is a growing consensus that we need better vaccines and treatments to protect those who are still at risk. But we also need honest public health leaders.
So much for WSJ. That all kinds of doctors and specialists do not yet understand it is - with a lot of effort - perhaps still understandable. They have just as much been deceived. But EMA, Health Council of the Netherlands, rivm, that system really needs to be overhauled. And actually the politicians involved too – but yes, democracy is controlled by the media and they bow and cut for the government, especially in a small linguistic area like ours, where a qualitative independent press is simply no longer viable.
The government, in turn, is responsible for the rumblings of the health institutes and therefore does not want a subversive tone in the media, with which the watchdog is on the capo's leash. The health institutions exist partly thanks to the payments they receive from the pharmaceutical mafia and our politicians are panting behind the EU, with which pharma also maintains close ties. The pharmaceutical companies thus keep a gigantic sales channel open while they also have the means to make the population more docile with doomsday scenarios and so one hand washes the other. The circle is therefore more than complete. How are we ever going to get out of this?
N.B.: Wikipedia still states that the Wall Street Journal is 'an influential international daily newspaper'. That description will be adjusted... "You see: WSJ can't be trusted, just look at Wikipedia."