As most of you know, America and the world is on the cusp of yet another deadly surge in COVID infections, this time being driven by the highly contagious Delta Variant, which is also more deadly than the previous infections. All the computer models (the same ones that were very accurate over this last year) predict a much bigger surge by November. Also, this time the wave of infections is entirely avoidable and that breaks my heart.
I have found myself engaged in many conversations of late, with friends and family, who refuse to get the vaccine because of “reading and studying a lot about its dangers.”
First, I want to be explicitly clear why I have engaged in this conversation to start with and why we were involved with the vaccination program in our area. I know that I’ve made some friends mad simply because I have promoted the vaccine and challenged them when they refuse to get vaccinated. I do this for the same reason that I tell my friends and family not to become intoxicated and then drive … because I sincerely care about them. My defense of this vaccine in this setting is my act of love. I don’t take it personally when friends disagree any more than taking it personally when friends choose to drive drunk, but I am sincerely concerned about their safety and the people they could kill in the process. Neither driving drunk or not getting vaccinated is a “personal choice.” Getting COVID is more dangerous than drunk driving to the individual and the people they are in contact with. But please understand, I’m not in this just to win an argument. I hope I am wrong (about COVID getting much worse by the fall).
We can argue if it is good for the country to run monetary deficits. We can argue about how many immigrants should be allowed into the country each year. These topics are on a spectrum and are debatable, with valid points on both sides. But the vaccine debate is because I’m concerned about my friends and family and the overwhelming evidence from real science is that getting a vaccine is overwhelmingly safer than getting COVID itself.
I will not try to address the entire argument here. I am trying to end my discussion and to, “let this go.” However, this means that there is a chance that some of my friends and family will not be here in a year. I realize I may not be here in a year, but that would be because of cancer, (unless some of my friends or family give me COVID).
I will address one issue that I hear from most of my friends, when they support their anti-vaccination views. They usually quote from the Children’s Health Defense organization (CHD). It is a political organization, whom I agree with on many of their environmental concerns and children’s health. You can correct me if I am wrong, but they have always been against vaccines, all vaccines and thus have a profound political bias. Their charter is to oppose vaccines. Now they are promoting conspiracy theories about censorship.
The number they quote, is that there have been 10,991 deaths and 48,385 serious injuries from the COVID vaccine that the CDC is not reporting. Mark Twain said something to the effect of, “There are lies, damn lies … and statistics.” Real math never lies. Statistics are always correct, when collected correctly and presented honestly. However, statistics are often abused, especially in political environments.
First of all, this would mean that the CDC is profoundly corrupt and willingly causing the deaths and injuries of Americans and hiding it. It would also mean that the 1 million + scientists who have worked on the vaccine or have endorsed it, are all criminals and out to hurt or kill you. But for what purpose? The CHD and others always point to “Big Pharma” as the evil nemesis behind the scenes, as if was an organization from a Spiderman movie. Is that consistent with reality? Are conspiracy theories of any type, the best way to find truth?
I am not saying that the CDC is perfect. I’m certainly not saying that “Big Pharma” is perfect. The CDC can have political influences and “Big Pharma” can have financial interests. I’ve seen the former, in the past year, where the CDC made some politically-influenced decisions. I’ve witnessed, first hand, “Big Pharma” being misleading for the sake of profit, but never on a wholesale level. But the scientists in both systems are trained in the scientific method, which is profoundly accurate in finding truth most of the time. I’ve worked with them. I have two sons who are research scientists who could not imagine faking data just to hurt you. The vast majority are in the pursuit of truth at all costs.
I am very disappointed in the Children’s Health Defense organization (and I’ve read most of their information) because they have deliberately misrepresented the data to support their political position. They give their subscribers the feeling that they are the good guys with secret inside information . . . something like a political Erin Brockovich. I will try to explain the truth in this specific data set.
They draw from a tool called VAERS ( https://vaers.hhs.gov/data.html ). This tool is not a scientific data collection system that we would use in studies. It is an informal online, self-reporting system, established in 1990 as a tool where health care providers or patients report perceived adverse reactions to a vaccine, including death. Anyone can log on this information and there is no way to verify the data or to show if there is a causal relationship to the vaccine. But, if enough of the same side effect is reported, it catches the eye of the CDC to do real research into that vaccine. That is what happened with blood clots and the J & J vaccine.
I worked in research for four years, managing more than 20 drug studies. We collected all side effect information. However, those studies were double blinded, meaning that neither the patient or I knew who was on a drug or who was on a cornstarch tablet. If 10 people reported cold sores in the real drug group and none in the placebo group, then you can reasonably suspect a relationship between the drug and the cold sores. However, if 10 reported cold sores in each group, then you can be pretty sure there was no relationship between the drug and the cold sores.
In the VARES system, it is NOT double blinded. Everyone knows they had the vaccine. Most people who get the vaccine get some side effects. But other “side effects” may have nothing to do with the vaccine and the patient still goes online and reports it because of what we call the nocebo effect (where you sense the side effects that you were worried about having). This is what the CDC says about this data:
Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 334 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 12, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,079 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths.
Regarding the deaths, you have to remember that the vaccination program started in December in the most vulnerable population, such as nursing home residents. By logging online and reporting a death of a family member who is 90 years old, in poor health anyway, does not mean that their death was related to the vaccine. Now, if a lot of people died in that group, more than average, it would raise suspicion. But that did not happen. You have to understand that the number of people getting vaccinated during the time period is a huge number, 334 million. So even if the numbers that the CHD are reporting were true and really related to the vaccine, that means that the death rate for the vaccine is about .0018%. The death rate with the original COVID was .5% when spread out for all groups. The long term side effects from getting the infection may be as high as 30%.The new COVID is higher, but the exact numbers are not in yet. So, even if the CHD was being honest, still the vaccine is far safer, many times over, than getting COVID.
I am a lover of truth. Emotional reasoning is always a poor way to find truth. I am disappointed when groups use information falsely for a political purpose to stir emotional reasoning. I believe that the CHD is doing that. Most of the “news outlets” mislead the public all the time, especially Fox News, but CNN does so about other issues.
I will not argue my point any longer. But understand, I care about you, your family, the country, and the world. I also care about truth. Lastly, I care about my own life. Per doctors’ orders, based on my co-morbidities, I cannot associate with unvaccinated people, unless both are masked and outside. I am at high risk of death from COVID, maybe even 100% chance. There is also evidence that my vaccine is not effective because of my risk factors (bone marrow transplant, renal failure, on chemo, on steroids, etc.) so don’t be offended if I can’t hang out with you if you are not vaccinated.
If you have honest concerns and have data that you would like for me to review, I would be willing to do that. But I will try not to post things here or anywhere else about the vaccine anymore as I must let this go. I will pray for my unvaccinated friends and family, hoping for their safety. Likewise, if you think you have convincing data to prove the vaccines are riskier than getting COVID, I would be willing to look at that. If you convince me, I will change my mind. I’ve reviewed many articles and videos on the topic from the anti-vaccine perspective and so far, all have been wanting for good data. I can’t even get my head around the fact that some people won’t get a vaccine because they are Republicans or Evangelicals so I won’t discuss that here.
Please get vaccinated.