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Get Ready for False Side Effects

We’re in the beginning of the vaccine endgame now: regulatory approval and actual distribution/rollout into the population. The data for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines continue to look good (here’s a new report on the longevity of immune response after the Moderna one), with the J&J and Novavax efforts still to report. The AZ/Oxford candidate is more of a puzzle, thanks to some very poor communication about their clinical work (which suffered from some fundamental problems itself).

Now we have to get people to take them. Surveys continue to show a good number of people who are (at the very least) in the “why don’t you take it first” category. I tend to think that as vaccine dosing becomes reality that more people will get in line for a shot, but that remains to be seen. I wanted to highlight something that we’ll all need to keep in mind, though.

Bob Wachter of UCSF had a very good thread on Twitter about vaccine rollouts the other day, and one of the good points he made was this one. We’re talking about treating very, very large populations, which means that you’re going to see the usual run of mortality and morbidity that you see across large samples. Specifically, if you take 10 million people and just wave your hand back and forth over their upper arms, in the next two months you would expect to see about 4,000 heart attacks. About 4,000 strokes. Over 9,000 new diagnoses of cancer. And about 14,000 of that ten million will die, out of usual all-causes mortality. No one would notice. That’s how many people die and get sick anyway.

But if you took those ten million people and gave them a new vaccine instead, there’s a real danger that those heart attacks, cancer diagnoses, and deaths will be attributed to the vaccine. I mean, if you reach a large enough population, you are literally going to have cases where someone gets the vaccine and drops dead the next day (just as they would have if they *didn’t* get the vaccine). It could prove difficult to convince that person’s friends and relatives of that lack of connection, though. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is one of the most powerful fallacies of human logic, and we’re not going to get rid of it any time soon. Especially when it comes to vaccines. The best we can do, I think, is to try to get the word out in advance. Let people know that such things are going to happen, because people get sick and die constantly in this world. The key will be whether they are getting sick or dying at a noticeably higher rate once they have been vaccinated.

No such safety signals have appeared for the first vaccines to roll out (Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech). In fact, we should be seeing the exact opposite effects on mortality and morbidity as more and more people get vaccinated. The excess-death figures so far in the coronavirus pandemic have been appalling (well over 300,000 in the US), and I certainly think mass vaccination is the most powerful method we have to knock that back down to normal.

That’s going to be harder to do, though, if we get screaming headlines about people falling over due to heart attacks after getting their vaccine shots. Be braced.

291 comments on “Get Ready for False Side Effects”

  1. Owen Swift says:

    For the COVID vaccine specifically, is there not a disincentive for public health officials to report side effects to the public media? The public health goal is for everyone to get vaccinated, even if the cost is hundreds or a few thousand serious side effects. Reporting any serious side effects could lead to the amplification you postulate. While I agree that amplification would be bad for public health, how can accurate data be collected on the comparative safety of the various vaccines if adverse event reporting is either self-suppressed by well-meaning local physicians, or suppressed in aggregate by authorities?

    1. Peter S. Shenkin says:

      Not if they’re doing their job. If you feel they will have an inclination to suppress evidence, that assertion requires evidence.

      Even so, the appropriate evidence required to make a judgement is the cause of death shown on the death certificates. I have no reason to believe that someone filling out a death certificate saying that someone died of a stroke or heart attack – or anything else – would suppress that fact.

      Not that all causes of death listed on death certificates are necessarily correct, or that autopsies are performed in all cases. In fact, increased autopsies to make sure of the cause of death might even lead to an overstatement of side effects, because many of those autopsies would not have been done and in some of those cases, a rather vanilla cause of death, like heart failure, might well have been given.

      1. Timothy Denton says:

        If you feel that public health officials will scrupulously report side-effects to the media than does that assertion require no evidence?

        1. Patrick says:

          You’re starting with the assumption they’re acting in bad faith and lying to people; I would say that that is the assertion that requires evidence, yes.

          1. theasdgamer says:

            Here are some examples of bad faith on the part of the media and health authorities:

            1. Pushing panic in order to make the public more malleable.

            2. Smearing hydroxychloroquine as dangerous.

            3. Saying that studies of hydroxychloroquine where it was used to treat covid late means hydroxychloroquine is worthless for early treatment of covid.

            The evidence is conclusive that the media and public health authorities acted in bad faith.

          2. Elena says:

            The British government seems to be considering to offer 120.000.-GBP, in compensation for severe side effects. That might inspire a hustler or two, but of course, they will have to get vaccinated, first.

          3. Silverlake Bodhisattva says:

            #Theasdgamer: you say “conclusive evidence”.

            “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

          4. theasdgamer says:


            There’s always some fool who will argue that water isn’t wet.

          5. David Eugene Young says:

            Replying to Theasgamer:

            The whole Hydroxychloroquine treatment began because Didier Raoult claimed that it worked for late stage Covid19. If it wasn’t for Raoult, HCQ might not be in the news at all. Now you are telling me that the guy started it all was wrong all along. Go figure.

          6. theasdgamer says:

            Dr. Young,

            The HCQ/zinc thing started with the Chinese, then the South Koreans, then Raoult. Zelenko combined Raoult’s zpak with HCQ and zinc that the Chinese and South Koreans were using.

            I found Zelenko first, then Raoult. Zelenko was advocating early treatment back in early March.

            Raoult seemed to shift from using HCQ for all phases of covid to emphasizing early treatment in his May 5 paper.

            Zelenko’s numbers are much better than Raoult’s numbers. Hospitalization for the 60-69 y.o. cohort runs about 16% and Zelenko beat that solidly at 3% hospitalizations for that age group. (It may simply be that zinc deficiency allows progression of covid. I haven’t looked at any zinc-only studies.)

          7. theasdgamer says:

            Sorry, Raoult never advocated using zinc, to my knowledge,

    2. Matt says:

      If the cost is hundreds or thousands lives, while it also saves >100,000 lives, I’d say it’s a clear win.

      1. Jeremy says:

        Medical ethics don’t typically allow for this.

        1. Jim Ancona says:

          Yes, that’s what’s wrong with medical ethics. Two thousand people per day are dying of Covid. Every week the FDA spends dotting I’s and crossing T’s costs 14,000 or more lives. If “medical ethics” didn’t preclude challenge trials, hundred of thousands of people might have been saved.

          1. Patrick says:

            I would suggest you go back to Derek’s earlier posts on the fairly marginal utility of challenge trials. It’s very hard to get them to replicate the real world and they don’t give you much you need. Phase 3 is for huge population studies and checking for real world effects. We already spent longer than the time required to show efficacy, gathering safety data.

            I’d also suggest thinking about how far vaccination could *actually* be moved forward if the vaccines had been approved several months earlier. (Only phase 3 trials would be challenge trials, after all. Phase 1 & 2 are a sort of challenge trial already, it’s just the challenge is the vaccine and how you react to it.)

            So if that had happened, how many people could’ve been vaccinated and how much earlier? Bear in mind that production is more or less unchanged in this scenario; they did it largely at risk anyway.

            You could *move up in time* the point a few million people are vaccinated, but you just subtract them from those vaccinated later in our current scenario. So you’ve got, say, 5-10 million people vaccinated for one extra month of time, and that’s *it*. That’s all you get – you’re still production limited so the numbers of vaccinated people aren’t different later in the two scenarios. That’s certainly not nothing, but it’s not nearly as much as I think people think it is.

          2. CET says:

            “Yes, that’s what’s wrong with medical ethics.”

            Wrong answer.

            A utilitarian medical ethic only looks good on paper when we assume that the decisions are being made by infallible people with complete data. In practice, there are two problems that are pretty much guaranteed. The first is that ‘less valuable’ people will get the privilege of being the sacrificial pawns (see Tuskegee, for example). The second is that the amount of paranoia (and compliance issues) we have around medicine right now are nothing compared to what you get when ‘let god sort them out’ becomes an explicit policy rationale.

      2. Nick says:

        Even if that is thousands of young lives lost in order to save (prolonging by months) the lives of ill octogenarians?

      3. Craig says:

        Thanks Mr Hancock. I see your point.

      4. Rebecca says:

        The question is, who gets to decide if it is mandatory? The state, or the individual?

        1. DataWatcher says:

          I predict that at some point, proof of vaccination will start being required for admission/entrance/participation in quite a lot of private venues and events; airlines are definitely considering some kind of “immunity passport;” most public schools already require students to have been vaccinated for polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and others. Won’t surprise me if COVID eventually gets added to the list.

    3. Shazbot says:

      There are multiple vaccines that have been completed, and they will have varying side effect profiles.. we’ve already seen this, and there could well be some new ones showing up as no study covers the millions of people being dosed.

      Accurate reporting is the only way we can really know how well they work, and which ones have problems. If you care about saving lives, the only thing you can do is to report what happens completely and accurately.

      You can always come up with excuses for doing wrong, but the payoff for being honest and truthful here is that you know you are making the right decision for yourself and everyone else, in particular because there is more than one possible treatment option… you want one that works, and you want it for as many people as possible. Not reporting means you won’t get the best treatment possible.

      1. Charles H. says:

        The problem is “Who gets what payoff?”. In the current situation the number dying is so high that each death is bound to get a rather minimal scrutiny, unless someone does something to avoid that…and that gets expensive.

        When corpses end up getting stuffed in freezer trailers, don’t expect a careful analysis of the cause of death. (Actually, that “careful analysis” is dropped long before that point.) Yes, ideally each death would be subjected to careful analysis…but that takes time, effort and other resources, which are needed for other things.

        Now once the vaccine gets the pandemic under control (next summer?) people can start being carefully analytic again, but where the pandemic is running wild, that’s not going to happen. To expect otherwise is unreasonable.

    4. Donna Pendergrass says:

      The numbers of the death toll are not accurate since governments give money to hospitals for covid deaths. They’re attributed many to covid that should not have been.

        1. theasdgamer says:

          Wow, going to a liberal fact check site for scientific facts! Powerful argument!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Hey, numbnuts, the PCR Ct is set to max false positives out the wazoo at all the labs. Ka-ching!

          1. Iver Juster says:

            According to, hospitals get paid (by Medicare – I don’t know about Commercially-insured patients) about 20% more (generally this is less than $2000 more – though might be more than that for very complicated long-stay patients) *if* (1) the diagnosis is pneumonia and (2) patient is positive for COVID-19. I suspect hospitals lose money on this as Covid patients often are very complex. As far as I know, doctors aren’t paid more simply because the diagnosis is Covid. Re: false pos rate for PCR test – if you mean “what is the probability that a positive test means patient has Covid?” it depends on the accuracy of the test (correctly done swab, etc) and–critically–on the pre-test likelihood that the patient actually has Covid. That’s why screening tests (where you already know most people don’t have the disease) have to be extremely accurate in differentiating cases from non-cases. I would imagine that a pos PRR on a patient hospitalized with pneumonia that looks like Covid pneumonia is VERY likely to be correct.

    5. Craig says:

      If there is a significantly higher mortality amongst the vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated then this will become apparent

  2. Moses says:

    One of the first cohorts to have the vaccine will be the very aged and those with co-morbidities. Many of them would be expected to die from other causes anyway, but there is certainly a likelihood that their deaths will be ascribed to the vaccine.
    There is a possibility that a death rate of vaccinated people will seem to exceed that of the unprotected population if the figures aren’t controlled for age.

    1. Jane says:

      Not just age but pre-existing health status. After healthcare workers, the next group is nursing home residents. Although some nursing home residents live for years, the majority die within 6-months. Plus most nursing home residents have a do not resuscitate request in place. If the entire nursing home population is vaccinated it is near certain that some will die immediately after the shot.

      1. Wzrd1 says:

        Nursing home will attempt to resuscitate a patient, as not doing so is medical abandonment, which is a serious crime. A patient or patient family member has to authorize any DNI/DNR orders.

        That said, we know the general morbidity and mortality rate at specific types of facilities and trend data can be gleaned my monitoring for increases or decreases. We also can still use VAERS, albeit guardedly, given some notorious reports in the database (or believe that one child became the Incredible Hulk and another is now Wonder Woman).

  3. e nhv says:

    Does EUA affect the enrollment of Phase 4 studies? When you’re talking about vaccinating 340M people there will obviously be plenty of time for epidemiological studies but Phase 4 studies following the highest morbidity risk people would give us the quickest readout on the morbidity rates. The timeline of a Phase 4 readout is much longer than the timeline of a sensationalist news piece but I don’t see a way around it. It’s the job of scientists to calmly point to the data and not make statements in the absence of data (leave that to politicians).

    1. Wzrd1 says:

      We have VAERS, which is shaky in reliable data, but we already track morbidity and mortality numbers by type of facility, so trends can be detected and investigated.

  4. James says:

    It is thoughts like this that bring out the misanthrope in me…
    While your suggestion to start sharing this info to “inoculate” against the post-hoc fallacy does make sense, we can all anticipate the “counter messaging” from the anti-vaxxer crowd about some sort of “big pharma coverup” about how these vaccines are going to kill us all…
    My only hope (beyond the dark ones about “these people” being hoist on their own petard…) is that enough people are sufficiently rational (and self-interested) to take the vaccine and we achieve sufficient herd immunity to lower the R0…

  5. Tony says:

    I cannot control what other people choose to do to protect themselves. I can control what I do and I can influence those close to me and in my family. We will all get vaccinated as soon as it is possible to do so. I hate to say it, but if someone else chooses to be foolish and believe in fairy tails against all better evidence, then it’s their funeral and not mine.

    1. cynical1 says:

      I agree with your sentiment up to a point. My stepson has chronic lymphocytic leukemia in remission. Because of the disease and chemotherapy regimen, immunocompromised patients typically respond to vaccines poorly so their lives are literally at risk through no fault of their own due to the ignorance and selfishness of a substantial portion of our population. Stupid should hurt but I don’t want it to take out the innocent in the process. There is literally a substantial portion of society that would argue that stop lights impinge on their inalienable rights to be a dumbass.

    2. Sam Weller says:

      Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. If a large portion of the population refuses to get vaccinated we will keep seeing high infections and death rates, which means lockdowns will have to continue, recovery will be further delayed, and the healthcare system will continue to be over-burdened. So health-wise, you may be protected by the vaccine, but you remain exposed to herd-stupidity.

      1. Adrian says:

        There is a certain tendency, especially among the left elites in the US, to insult everyone who has a different opinion as “stupid”.

        It is not helpful to build an “anti-vaxxer” strawman and then hurl insults at everyone who is not queuing for a vaccine shot as if it was a new Apple product.

        The reasonable approach that works in other countries is to listen to the other side, and have a civilized discussion exchanging arguments.

        An example from a public discussion here in Finland, where people treat each other with respect and as rational humans even when opinions differ:

        Finland’s largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat writes that some people, particularly healthy middle-aged and young people, are asking what the risks of the Covid vaccine may be, and if they are greater than the benefits of vaccination.

        It notes a tweet (in Finnish) by economist Tuomas Malinen: “As an economist, I think about it this way. Mortality in my age group from the disease is non-existent. I’m 44 so with any luck, I’ll still have the same wonderful lifespan ahead. Dare I put my health at risk with an experimental vaccine because of a non-life-threatening illness? Of course not.”

        Mika Rämet, who is Director of the Vaccine Research Centre at the University of Tampere and a Professor of Paediatrics and Experimental Immunology, says that this “sounds reasonable”, adding that people naturally wonder what the pros and cons of vaccination might be.

        As Rämet told the paper, the median age of those who have died from coronavirus infections in Finland is 84. The virus is clearly most dangerous for the elderly. Still, mortality is not zero among those under 50 years of age.

        Even young people have severe symptoms and long-term consequences of the disease, such as severe fatigue syndrome and neurological symptoms.

        Vaccines, on the other hand, have not shown serious harm in extensive human trials. Some 30,000 subjects participated in the third phase Pfizer vaccine trial and more than 40,000 in Biontech trials.

        The risk of side effects is less is than one in ten thousand.

        If healthy middle-aged and young people are still concerned about taking the vaccine, they don’t have to stress about their decision, unless they are caring for people who are at risk from the virus, Professor Rämet tells HS.

        “They wouldn’t be among the first to get vaccinated anyway,” Rämet points out.

        1. AVS-600 says:

          I think this is overall a good way to approach things, and we in the US are… certainly not very good at civilized discourse, to put it mildly.

          As pertains to that economist’s tweet though, I think a more honest-but-not-literal translation would probably be “As an economist, I know exactly what positive externalities are. However, I’m going to choose to ignore that knowledge so that I can make this reasonable-sounding but actually somewhat irresponsible tweet.”

        2. Druid says:

          Please tell economist Tuomas Malinen that he should have the ambition to live for at least another 40 years, when he will arrive at the median age of mortality from covid-19, so unless somebody does something his chances are currently much less than 50:50 because of the additional risk. Because of the brave people that went before him he can live in a country free from smallpox, polio, typhoid and TB. If they had taken his view, he might not have reached 44 because of many such infectious diseases. I would hope an economist could look a bit further than today.

          1. Adrian says:

            As of today we do not even have the data to know for sure whether the vaccines actually reduce infections and transmissions, or whether they only reduce the severity for infected people.

          2. Patrick says:

            You’re right, Adrian.

            It would be more or less completely unheard of for a vaccine which induces the antibody levels characteristic of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and has the level of efficacy they’ve shown in preventing disease to *not* hugely reduce infection rates. It would be literally something we’ve never seen before.

            But it could be true!

            COVID is quite dangerous and has long term effects in *many* people. The willfulness of the assumption that the vaccine will somehow have some deeply awful long term effect and COVID definitely won’t (even though we know it does for many people, both blatant (lung scarring) and subtle – somewhat confusing apparent brain and cardiovascular damage?)… it’s just, frankly, kind of stupid. I understand how some people arrive at this conclusion, but it is not rooted in evidence.

          3. Adrian says:

            Patrick, your arrogance when spreading opinions that are not based on evidence is not helpful.

            In any kind of scientific or technical discussion it is essential to have a clear understanding what is actually evidence, and what are just assumptions/theories that are plausible but not yet proven.

            Regarding infections, I agree that there is a good chance that vaccines reduce them.
            But we do not yet have evidence to prove either way.

            Regarding transmissions, it is even less clear.
            With people no longer treating symptomatic COVID-19 as “just a cold” and contact tracing for presymptomatic transmissions, my main worry are asymptomatic mild infections.
            There is not yet any evidence whether vaccines increase or decrease the amount of asymptomatic carriers.
            We know vaccines decrease symptomatic infections by 95%, but if half of these now have asymptomatic mild infections we might be in bigger trouble than before regarding transmissions.
            It is fair enough if you are more optimistic regarding that, but as of today there is no hard evidence on the actual vaccines in humans on that.

            Reducing symptoms alone is already a huge benefit of vaccines, but some of decisions regarding who and when should receive them depend on data regarding infections and transmissions of vaccinated people that is not yet available.

          4. JS says:


            Inactivated polio vaccine basically has those properties. Extremely good at reducing severe disease (paralysis and death) but poor in terms of reducing transmission.

        3. Barry says:

          Malinen evaluates his risk of death will ignoring his role as a vector infecting others. That’s an irresponsible simplification.

        4. Tom A says:

          Adrian: You’ve obviously never heard of right wingers using the term “libtard”. The acrimony in the U.S. cuts in both directions.
          And no, I don’t believe you’re arguments about rational discourse in beautiful Finland. The sick, blatant racism of the right wing Finn Party is well known outside of you’re country.

          1. Kaleberg says:

            I’m more worried by the people who want to gas me or hang me from a lamp post.

        5. Jenna says:

          Thank you for sharing this from a different perspective. I agree, it is all about respect and listening.

      2. Lockdowns dont work says:

        Lockdowns don’t have to continue, even now. Just look at Florida, which is completely open, and CA and NY, which are severely locked down and have a much higher hospitalization rate. Or look at South Dakota, which is completely open yet having the same infection curve as it’s much more locked down neighbors.

        I also am looking forward to the overall all-cause mortality figures, which will factor in all of the deaths of despair cause by the lockdowns. If I’m a grandma killer for being against lockdowns, you all are responsible for the suicides, overdoses, etc that have plagued younger people this year.

        1. The Almighty Cornholio says:

          Are we talking about the same South Dakota that recently had the 3rd highest mortality rate in the world? That’s all even though they have a low population density…Compare it to Vermont which is also rural, but adopted shutdowns/masks and it has done much better.

          Are we talking about the same FL that has nearly the same number of cases as CA despite having about half the population?

          Look at Australia or New Zealand, Lockdowns can work. Sure they are islands, but saying that is the only reason they were able to drop their case loads so low is shortsighted.

          1. Lockdowns still dont work says:

            South Dakota is currently 9th in the US in Covid mortality rate. Lockdown heavy states like NY and NJ did much worse. And if you want to compare population density, NM is right next to SD on the rankings and is hot on SD’s heels in death rate despite lockdowns and mask mandates. And even if they end up slightly behind SD, living isn’t just having a heartbeat and starring at a screen. And even the elderly residents at a CO nursing home were protesting lockdowns saying that they would rather die of Covid than loneliness.

            On FL vs. CA, who has the higher hospitalization rate currently? And FL has a much older population than CA, who’s elderly typically flee the minute they retire to a lower tax sunbelt state.

            “Look at Australia or New Zealand, Lockdowns can work. Sure they are islands, but” Ya who cares about that. It’s not like the border counties is CA, AZ, and TX had the highest death rates over the summer or anything. And let’s let the people know what those lockdowns in Australia and NZ were like. You couldn’t even leave the house to walk your dog! They lasted over 100 days in some instances, and to ignore the mental health toll on that is insane. So those type of lockdowns are much more severe than an indoor dining ban and mask mandate.

          2. Riah says:

            Peru had the strictest lockdown in the world. Japan didnt have one. People can go on quoting examples but at the end of the day all populations differ in susceptibility and you can only really tell by looking at a graph of Covid deaths and seeing if you see any difference roughly 3 weeks after (to allow average time from infection to death) introduction or lifting of any lockdown anywhere in the world. I have a feeling that would be a challenge to find!! I think it is fairy clear than lockdowns do very little once the virus is endemic as it is aerosolised and ubiquitous. It can only have an effect very early on in a new pandemic when you are trying to contain it and it has not already spread.


          3. Stu says:

            Replying to lockdowns-don’t work…

            “Look at Australia or New Zealand, Lockdowns can work. Sure they are islands, but” Ya who cares about that. It’s not like the border counties is CA, AZ, and TX had the highest death rates over the summer or anything. And let’s let the people know what those lockdowns in Australia and NZ were like. You couldn’t even leave the house to walk your dog! They lasted over 100 days in some instances, and to ignore the mental health toll on that is insane. So those type of lockdowns are much more severe than an indoor dining ban and mask mandate.”

            I live in New Zealand and can comfortably state that the lockdown was not particularly arduous (to the extent I barely noticed it). You absolutely could leave your house to walk your dog – you just couldn’t go out in your car to a dog walking spot — it needed to be direct from home. It was really easy and the lack of mental stress that came from essentially having no COVID ever since made up for a few weeks of inconvenience.

          4. Victorian says:

            And another reply to “lockdowns don’t work” from Australia’s ground zero. Usual overblown bs. We were locked in, as the government attempt at half measures failed to stop the spread. All non-essential workers to work from home, or not work at all. No travel beyond 5km. Can leave the house for an hour a day, later two.
            Much hand wringing from the various corporate media about the mental health cost, mainly to advance their own agenda and send us down the overflowing morgue path chosen by the US. But when you run the numbers there is no change in observed suicide rate. Lockdown has ended, virus more or less gone, economic damage largely recovered other than a rise in unemployment (probably more due to closed borders in a tourism dependent economy than lockdown, but killing 0.1% of your population isn’t an economically neutral option either)

          5. Kaleberg says:

            Lock downs worked in NY. Even before the lock downs, people started shutting things down and wearing masks. The first area was Main Street in Queens which has a huge Chinese immigrant population that took the stories out of Wuhan seriously. They did relatively well in the early stages of the epidemic while the government was still screwing up. Once the official lock down was imposed in full force, the case and death rate started dropping and have stayed relatively low. NY was hit hard up front, but it could have endured much worse if there hadn’t been a lock down.

          6. WST says:

            “lockdown ” is a very badly defined term, it really means and has different effect in different countries and circumstances.
            Example, Greece, Israel, Slovakia had very early and tight LD this spring, it worked very well and infection and deaths counted in 1-2 hundreds. Similar size county, Sweden, no LD, late with everything , 5,000 deaths. Other Nordic countries had very successful LD.
            Apart timing, very important thing seems to be all other rules and restrictions, testing and tracing. In Island, LD of an enterprise or school was conditioned upone satisfying strict hygienic conditions. They stopped for a week, and then restarted if possible or LD the business with a help package. France locked down two-three weeks too late, just like UK, after a massive community spread so, effects had to wait until virus ran through all infected and their closest contacts. Its interesting what happens in Sweden now, authorities have no longer an idea what is happening and don’t understand the second wave, and politicians start taking over from “experts” and we see a very modest creep towards some form of an “LD light”.
            So, when somebody, like our propaganda troll friend, says “lockdowns don’t work” i just don’t know what it means.
            The world is too complex and conditions too diversified to have a simple superficial idea about it.

        2. Arpic says:

          To Lockdowns Don’t Work –

          At least in the UK, you can track weekly excess deaths throughout the year. If you think that these were significantly caused by overdoses and suicides during the lockdown months there is at least one major observation that goes against your theory. Excess deaths started high at the beginning of lockdown and fell the longer it went on, instead of rising as your model would predict.

      3. Peter S. Shenkin says:

        Actually, if a large portion of the population does not get vaccinated, it would probably make it easier to determine whether there unusual side effects, because then we could compare incidence of various conditions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated group. This would have to be done on an age-stratified basis, of course.

        1. Riah says:

          Excellent point! There will be no way of knowing if everyone or nearly everyone is vaccinated but maybe that’s precisely why some forces are pushing to vaccinate all when that is not even neccessary. Not a good way to build trust.

          Also why can’t people who really don’t want to be vaccinated be offerred a test for B/T cell immunity which they pay for if necessary. We are supposed to be living in a reasonable rational civilised society, not in the medieval dark ages where people are driven by fear, superstition and coercive forces. Or are we regressing?

        2. fajensen says:

          Don’t worry too much about that. Others have volunteered to be the reference population:

          The brainiacs in FHM, Sweden decided in March 2021 that “vaccines take 5 years to be ready” so “heard immunity it shall be” and “we shall have a plan for the vaccination programme at the end of 2022”.

      4. Waiting for vaccine says:

        If people refuse to get vaccinated and they dont have an underlying condition that makes it risky for them they dont deserve to be protected by the rest of us being locked down. Sorry but thats the truth. Now for those who have underlying conditions that make it risky there needs tone some way to protect them-but not a lockdown.

        1. DataWatcher says:

          There are also some people whose immune systems are extremely intolerant of vaccines. Just yesterday I was speaking with a friend who told me that she tried the flu vaccine two years in a row, and it laid her out with extremely uncomfortable symptoms — very high fever, chills, debilitating body aches — for about ten days each time. She wants to take the COVID vaccine, but she’s very worried. I can’t blame her. I suggested she talk with her doctor about it.

          1. Charles H. says:

            Talking to her doctor is the right move, because this may well depend on why she had that reaction. A wild guess might be that she should take one of the RNA based vaccines, because that would have a much different reaction than the ones based around a adenovirus…but that really depends on why she had the bad reaction to the flu vaccine.

            OTOH, a strong reaction to the COVID vaccine is not unexpected. Many people report being quite sick for a day or two. But it’s a lot better than dying or long COVID.

    3. AndyB says:

      Totally agree with your sentiment regarding the vaccine. If you choose to get vaccinated while I choose not to, if I die, that is on me and not on you, so no worries on your part. Likewise, if you suffer from some bad adverse effect that you attributed to conspiracy theorists, while I remain healthy, that is on you and not me, so no worries on my part. And as long as people are given the freedom that we as Americans have all taken for granted for the past two-hundred plus years to make our own choices such as whether or not to take the vaccine and accept the benefits/consequences of said choices, I am all for it.

  6. Wilhelm Cody says:

    It is very likely that many people in nursing homes are on the edge of death and that the 10% of so that have fever, headache, and malaise from vaccination might be pushed over a few hours or a day than otherwise. This will be the hardest situation to argue against.

    Also some people who are vaccinated will already be in an eclipse period where they are infected with SARS-CoV-2 but are not yet shedding virus or who will be exposed in the week or so after vaccination when they have not built up any resistance. Some these will claim they got the virus after the vaccination. The ultimate case of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  7. ab says:

    On some level, I don’t care what the conspiracy theorists have to say. The nice thing about these mRNA vaccines (at least from the data we have right now) is that they’re REALLY efficacious. So I don’t need to count on others getting the vaccine in order to protect myself via heard immunity. I just need to get the vaccine myself, at which point I’m protected. Of course I want life to go back to normal, but more than that I want to not get sick and die. And that latter goal seems to be achievable, regardless of others’ vaccine theories.

  8. Marko says:

    Steve Bannon : “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”

    That’s what we’ve been seeing. His operatives and useful idiots are literally everywhere , including this blog’s comment section. They’re easy enough to spot , and anyone with half a brain can sort thru the tripe , but the misinfo is indeed effective on large numbers , unfortunately.

    It’s the “new abnormal” , and we’re stuck with it. The sad thing is that the MSM is , to a large extent , garbage , as Bannon suggests , but “flooding the zone with shit” is no way to fix it.

    1. THE SCIENCE! says:

      It also didn’t help Fauci didn’t flip flop every 10 seconds on everything from masks to school openings. And don’t tell me Fauci changes becaus the “THE SCIENCE” changed. There was plenty of evidence this summer from Europe that schools were not a significant vector of transmission.

      And Osterholm, one of Biden’s chief Covid advisors, went on a 20 minute rant on Joe Rogan in the Spring arguing that wearing masks is pointless.

      And don’t forget good ol’ Zeke Emmanuel, another Biden Advisor. He thinks humans are useless after 75 because they aren’t making major scientific discoveries, and wants to lock us down for another 1-2 years.

      The truth is the “listen to THE SCIENCE” is bunk. The is no iron clad THE SCIENCE on lockdowns or masks.

      1. Rtah100 says:

        Schools are a significant vector. The “science” from Europe was cherry-picked data and unrealistic modelling of classroom environments, to justify school resumption in September.

        In the real world secondary school pupils hang out in corridors between lessons, hug, snog, share drinks and smokes etc. We have kept schools open in the UK this autumn term and watched attendance plummet to 80-odd percent because of rolling isolation orders on year group bubbles with detected cases. So, schools are a locus if transmission.

        Moreover, it is settled science (from years of flu studies) that schools are a major mixing vector between age groups. If you read the joint biosecurity committee report, there are nice age banded heatmaps over time, showing infection spiking in 11-19 year olds and then diffusing out into their parents’ and (bye, grandma) grandparents’ age brackets.

        Primary schools ppear different, the young obesvseem less susceptible, less likely to be symptomatic and possibly less likely to transmit. The positivity in 0-4 and 5-11 age bands is much lower. These schools should stay open and the children are much more difficult to teach online and much more in need of socialisation.

        Secondary schools should go online until further notice.

  9. Paramus says:

    I have heard from a number of people on both the Pfizer and Moderna trials that although SEs are mild. Some people have real flu-like symptoms for a couple of days. This could be an issue in the elderly with co-morbidity.

  10. Anon says:

    If I am not in the high risk group why would I take it? Nobody knows long term effects yet. Serious question.

    1. Marko says:

      You shouldn’t take it. You would just be denying a high-risk person the opportunity to be vaccinated , since doses will be limited for some time.

      Within the next several months , millions of people will have been vaccinated , including, hopefully, all in the high-risk groups. There will be a lot more data to base your decision on then.

    2. ScientistSailor says:

      Don’t take it. Just make sure you move to a place like S. Dakota or Iowa to be with your own kind.

      1. Adrian says:

        ScientistSailor, what do you think is the effect when you are insulting someone with serious concerns? You will never convince anyone with this attitude.

        Marko already did the civilized thing showing the rational way to mitigate the concern.

        1. Anon says:

          Thank you Adrian. These people campaigned hard against masks initially when the narrative was “masks or face coverings won’t work unless it’s an N95 mask”. Then they became the most aggressive advocates of masks when it’s understood that anything you cover your mouth with is better than nothing. There’s a reason people don’t trust science and scientists because the most vocal ones do have agendas.

          1. ScientistSailor says:

            It’s not an insult, those people have just chosen not to be part of civilized society, so they need to go somewhere else.

            Same for all the other anti-vaxxers. Nobody should force them to get vaccines. But then their measle-spreading children can’t go to public schools with the rest of us…

        2. ScientistSailor says:

          Religious beliefs are never changed with data. I’m not actually trying to change a mind, since that’s nearly impossible.

          1. Adrian says:

            ScientistSailor, the problem is that your world is divided in good and evil.
            This is not reality.

            Dehumanizing other people with expressions like “those people have just chosen not to be part of civilized society” means you don’t consider people with differing opinions as human beings like yourself.

            And your “so they need to go somewhere else” sounds a lot like the people who built gas chambers for other people they didn’t consider part of their civilized society.

            The civilized way to interact with other human beings would be if you would start by trying to understand their concerns.

            Your “Religious beliefs are never changed with data. I’m not actually trying to change a mind, since that’s nearly impossible.” only shows your ignorance.

            It is not irrational to be worried about the safety of vaccines based on mechanisms that have never been used in approved vaccines for humans before, and that have been approved at breakneck speed.

            If everyone who is not queuing for a vaccine as if it was a new Apple product is an “anti-vaxxers” for you, then I am also one of these people.

            My personal rational conclusion for myself was the same that Marko gave as a civilized rational answer:
            I am so low priority that the question is anyway not relevant for me soon, and at the point in the future when I will have the option of getting the shots a lot more data will be available for an informed decision.

          2. DataWatcher says:

            There is certainly a hard core of non-rational “anti-vaxxers” who’d still be demonstrating against the measles vaccine if COVID hadn’t come along to swell their ranks. They are most likely unreachable, as ScientistSailor suggests. Most “vaccine-hesitant” people, however, have legitimate concerns about what they see as (and/or have been told is) a “rushed” vaccine; many are also African-American people with legitimate historical reasons for distrusting the American medical care system. It will take aggressive, well-designed, and culturally astute outreach, but a significant number of these people CAN be reasoned with, and many, we hope, will eventually come to the conclusion that the benefits of being vaccinated will outweigh any risks they may be afraid of.

          3. ppjm says:

            “Progress is made one funeral at a time.”

            Each time an anti-vaxxer or other anti-science loon falls out of their cuckoo’s nest, the day comes closer when we won’t have to listen to their idiotic foaming. Sadly, we also know that those susceptible to this sort of anti-social mental derangement will always find another cause to focus their broken brains upon.

    3. Arpic says:

      I don’t know how old you are but for almost any adult age-group you are statistically safer taking the vaccine than catching Covid. The fatality rate for the vaccine is less than one in 20000 and probably much less. The Covid-19 case fatality rate even for 20-year olds is something like one in 10000, and that’s before you start counting serious after-effects.

      That’s why I don’t buy the argument that refusing the vaccine is selfish. It’s not, because smart selfish people would still take it. It’s just stupid, and it happens because too many people still think it can’t happen to them.

      1. Marko says:

        It’s not at all stupid for a 20-yr-old to think twice about getting a vaccine – especially one based on a never-before-approved platform – for a disease that poses that person such little risk and for which the vaccine’s long-term safety data has yet to materialize.

        A fairly low rate of vaccine-enhanced fatal disease among those young people , say 1 in 1000 among those who are vaccinated but nonetheless contract disease , could make their current hesitancy seem quite rational , and we simply don’t have enough data to say that such a risk doesn’t exist.

        1. Chris Phoenix says:

          Little risk of death, maybe. What about heart disease, mental illness (20% chance), erectile dysfunction, and so on? I’d take that vaccine at 20. Especially since most 20 year olds won’t be eligible for it for months, and we’ll know a lot more about side effects by then.

      2. DH says:

        “The fatality rate for the vaccine is less than one in 20000 and probably much less. The Covid-19 case fatality rate even for 20-year olds is something like one in 10000, and that’s before you start counting serious after-effects.”

        This is a faulty analysis. In order to fairly compare the risks, the 1 in 10000 CFR needs to be multiplied by the probability of becoming a “case” (which currently seems to be defined as a positive test). I don’t know what the latter number is, but it appears to be substantially less than 1.

        (I plan to get the vaccine myself as soon as it’s available, but I am considerably older than 20, so the risk tradeoff in my case strongly favors the vaccine.)

        1. Arpic says:

          Reply to DH:

          “Cases” here are estimated from scaling up positives found in random population surveys. In many places this could be a lot smaller than 100% thanks to early intervention and lockdowns, but the way some countries are going about it the chances are pretty high that everyone will be exposed sooner or later.

  11. Curious says:

    So base on your reasoning of so many people of certain types are going to die from a myriad of causes if you sample a big enough population and we need to explain that to people. Wouldn’t the same be true for the big sample that we have now who supposedly died from covid and not any of the other reasons? I see this as interesting because in one case it is used to support a position but in the other folks are labeled as crazy conspiracy theorists. How do you reconcile that?

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      You missed the part about “excess deaths”. After taking all those normal causes of death into account, we have also had between 300,000 and 400,000 extra deaths this year, above and beyond. That’s how you reconcile it.

      1. Lockdowns kill says:

        I’m curious to see what that number is once we remove the large increase in homicides, suicides, overdoses, Alzheimer’s deaths of isolation, etc. And that doesn’t even begin to approach the long-term non-fatal psychological damage caused by the lockdowns, as well as the avoidable cancer deaths that will occur over the next few years due to decreased screenings.

        1. waiting for vaccine says:

          The Associated Press found 40,000 excess deaths in nursing homes due to neglect this year so far-the eis a lengthy article about their findings.

        2. Jane says:

          It’s not just cancer screenings but delayed healthcare of all kinds. I have a family member, whom I suspect delayed health care contributed to her death and she was one of many. One of the major failures last spring was to shutdown “non-essential” healthcare in locations that were not COVID hotspots. In those places, the excess deaths would by definition be shutdown driven since COVID deaths in those locations were low or zero at that time. One of the painful lessons is that “non-essential” healthcare is not non-essential.

      2. Geff says:

        Is that excess deaths compared to the latest five year average or excess deaths compared with a bad flu year pre flu vaccine? I think its a fair point you shouldn’t brush away.

        At the end of the day how this plays out is all down to how it rolls out. Vaccinate at risk individuals and who wants it? Fine. Mandatory vaccination, especially in children. A pointless battle.

        Personally its pretty astonishing RNA vaccine work and are safe. Amazing new technology glad to see it approved.

      3. Bill says:

        From Derek: “we have also had between 300,000 and 400,000 extra deaths this year, above and beyond.:”

        I’ve heard that number before, but when I checked CDC Data today it gave me 266,000 extra deaths. Is there another source that says 300k to 400k? I wonder why the discrepancy?

        1. Marko says:

          CDC had estimated excess deaths at ~300k on Oct 15 , with only 2/3 ( ~200k ) of them officially attributed to Covid-19.

          With 285k deaths to date , and assuming another 1/4 to 1/3 to get to the excess death total , it’s easy to see that we’re probably in the 350-400k range today.

          It takes quite a while for the excess death estimates to catch up in many countries , and the US is one of the worst , so you have to guess today’s values based on past trends in percentage excess over reported Covid deaths , which tends to be a fairly stable fraction.

          1. Marko says:

            Sorry , that CDC estimate was as of Oct 3 , not Oct 15.

          2. Bill says:

            I think I resolved the discrepancy. My number 266k is the number of excess deaths over the upper bound of the baseline average. The number 368k is the number of excess deaths over the baseline average. I assume “upper bound” is a statistical feature. Also of interest, these two numbers do not represent Covid designated deaths. Of the 266k to 368k total excess deaths there were 37k to 124k non-Covid deaths (among the excess).

            So I guess the difference of those sets is what would be attributed to Covid 19.
            And I further guess the non-Covid deaths are related to Covid, but maybe things like suicides and premature deaths due to non-treatment of other serious conditions.

      4. Curious says:

        Yes I did miss the extra deaths point above, but you offer no clear source for that information, then in you rebuttle you say 300,000 to 400000, so I really have a hard time feeling confident in data that is constantly being estimated to fit the narrative. I can certainly estimate that those numbers are too high just like you can say they are too low and we can go round and round. I don’t really put too much faith in estimates as a scientist, I prefer real data so as not to look like a fool when someone questions me at a later point and things don’t match up. I’ve seen that one too many times.

        What scares me the most is when a bunch of scientists start propagating estimates instead of being the real leaders of critical thinking they should be. If we can’t give real data and sound reason, why would we think that general populace would ever believe us? The cdc has changed how they report numbers at least 3 times since this began, why? Is that scientific?

        Some one asked me the other day if I knew of anyone who was killed in 911, then they asked me if I knew anyone who has died of covid. An interesting question as I knew several people that died in 911, but I have yet to know anyone, friends relatives aquaintances that have died of covid. It’s not scientific, I know but for the average person they go by what they see and not some numbers on website or news broadcast.

        I would feel better if as scientists we asked more questions instead of giving speculative answers.

        1. Bob says:

          It’s very odd when you insist that people should use fully backed up, sourced, exact numbers… then use the ‘know people who died in 9/11’ example.

          I mean, I know no one who died in 9/11, but two people who’ve died of Covid, and about ten more who’ve had it (symptomatically). Using your logic, does that mean 9/11 wasn’t as bad as people thought?

          (Btw, the answer is ‘no, it doesn’t mean that at all’)

          1. Curious says:

            I don’t know why you are getting so agitated, I know the 911 example is not scientific, it’s anecdotal and I stated that. It was to illustrate the point that people know what they see and for a great deal of people in this country they se nothing more than the flu, so convincing them of something more is not going to be an easy task.

            the point I was trying to make is that there is too much manipulation of the data such that mixed messages are cropping up all over the place from all different view points and as scientists should we be questioning the information to make sure what we are being told is meaningful and reliable information and preaching about how people should trust it?

            I have seen the link that Derek send from the CDC, I read through the details and there is so much manipulation of the data and information being arbitrarily included and excluded that it reminds me of a phrase uttered by someone in upper management that made me cringe and never trust this person again, “It doesn’t matter what the data says, all that matters is what you want the data to say” That is eerily what appears to me what is happening here. I am afraid the impacts of these things is going to be way more impactful on peoples lives than the virus.

            It’s easier to fool someone that it is to convince them they are being fooled.

          1. DH says:

            I prefer to look at the raw mortality data at and do my own analysis. When I last ran the numbers, I came up with about 300K excess deaths at a time the COVID death count was at about 230K. My hypothesis is that ~70K of the excess deaths came from the reaction to COVID (e.g., delayed treatments for other ailments) rather than the disease itself. To test this hypothesis we’d need to see more granular data, including cause of death, for this year and previous years.

    2. JDK says:

      One way is excess death analysis, compare expected to actual deaths observed. According to the Financial Times covid page, the USA is running at about 24% more deaths than expected.

  12. Lane Simonian says:

    The more focused concern is whether there is an increase in neurological conditions and diseases as a result of the vaccines. The efficacy and safety of these vaccines appears to be sky high. Would an erosion in these figures in a larger population (should they occur) have any significant affect on who choses to get the vaccine?

    There are some remaining questions that need to be answered in short order. Should those who already have had the novel coronavirus get the vaccine? If not the number of doses of the vaccine needed drops substantially. One estimate is that 8 times as many people have had the virus as has been detected (through early Fall so those numbers may have gone done substantially over the last two months). It is possible that around 100 million people have already had the novel coronavirus.

    Another unanswered question is whether getting the vaccine prevents a person from spreading it. It seems like most public health experts wisely advise to keep wearing masks even when a vaccine becomes widely available (at least until a definite answer is avaliable for this question).

    The news is still cheery, but nothing is ever perfect.

    1. WST says:

      “neurological conditions and diseases as a result of the vaccines”

      I tried recently to understand the narcolepsy, presumed H1N1 vaccine side effect..and a very strong hypothesis is that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease, and the antibody responsible for disruption of the sleep cycle was created as an reaction to the vaccine or the actual infection, a Stanford study found higher prevalence of narcolepsy in Chinese children that had H1N1.
      Prof D. Raoult in his book about epidemics says the same about another autoimmune condition that was documented as an extremely rare side effect of the H1N1 vaccine, the Guillain-Barré syndrome.

      So, any long term vaccine side effects should be checked against the covid side effects, especially suspicions of autoimmune conditions.

  13. BDBinc says:

    What the hell is a false side effect!?
    You either have side effects or you don’t, there are no such things as “false effects” when it comes to drug trials . That is a example of biased researcher$ with cognitive dissonance, when you don’t want side effects so you rename them ( false) and blindly ignore them as you don’t want to include them.
    I’m still waiting for the evidence and scientific proof of the isolation of a ” new deadly virus” Sars CoV2 ( not Sars Cov 2002 or the corona virus found up the navel cavity of healthy people) and the studies that prove if you take said live transmissible virus and aerosol it to healthy people they get ” covid” (a “new deadly disease”).

    1. Wilhelm Cody says:

      In trials, any event after treatment is marked as a potential side effect, even if the event was likely due to other causes. Comparison of events in the control and treated groups can suggest those that are are not really due to the treatment. However, depending on statistical variation, some events may still be more numerous in the treated than in the control groups even if not statistically so. In effect, they amount to false side effects: we had to count them but they would have been there regardless of treatment.

      1. BDBinc says:

        You cannot prove the side effects would have been there without fist having an injection of foreign toxins into the blood triggering an immune response.

        1. ScienceAdvocate says:

          You clearly ignored the parts of the post that you didn’t like, and trotted out your usual rant about SARS-CoV-2 not existing. Begone ignorant troll.

    2. Waiting for vaccine says:

      A fable side effect is one that would have happened anyways (did you even read the article?)-like an elderly person with a history of minor strokes having a major stroke a month after receiving the vaccine and people saying it was caused by the vaccine. or its a psychosomatic response.

      Of course there also also valid side effects-which so far have been minimal.

  14. Sc says:

    I have been having some difficulty in my social circles with people who insist they’re not anti-vaxxers but are urging people to be cautious about taking a new vaccine when long-term safety isn’t established. This has been hard to deal with since on its surface it looks rational. I think it’s pretty irrational to let worry about the chance of an unknown future effect we’ve never seen outweigh protection from the gigantic, known risks of covid (both to immediate and possibly long-term health), but it’s hard to put a number on an unknown risk even if all circumstantial evidence suggests the risk is very small.
    Anyway, while arguing doesn’t seem to get anywhere with that I hope that once vaccines have been rolled out to the first few million people that they will calm down a bit. The last few years might just be amping up people’s pessimism.

    1. Alia says:

      They won’t calm down. They will talk about possible future side effect extended over years, like autoimmune disease, cancers and mental disorders. I’m not making this stuff up, that’s what I’m currently arguing with some very vocal covid denialists on a forum I frequent.

    2. Adrian says:

      Perception of risk is subjective, worries about unknown future effects will become less as time passes.

      There is also an objective element that the risk of a COVID-19 infection depends on the amount of exposure and risk factors. Your claim there were “gigantic, known risks of covid” is irrational for an average college student for whom the objective personal benefits of a vaccine might be quite small. Even the common short-term side effects of the vaccine shots might be worse than an actual COVID-19 infection for young healthy people.

      We do not yet have data for definite statements whether the vaccines actually reduce COVID-19 transmissions or only lower symptoms, when the data for that is available and if it shows that they do reduce transmission there would also be a “it benefits other people” effect of getting the vaccine. This means taking risks for something that might only benefit other people, and many people might for rational reasons not be willing to do that.

      1. Irene says:

        If I were 22 I would be happy to take the shots when appropriate, so that I could be relieved of the fear of spreading a sometimes deadly, sometimes disabling disease. I would also be happy that I would have one less possible unpleasant flu-like illness in my future (because 22-year-olds do occasionally get unpleasantly ill with COVID-19).

        1. Adrian says:

          Were you getting the flu vaccine every year when you were 22?

          The flu shot would also have made you happy that you would have one less possible unpleasant flu-like illness in your future.

          For a healthy 22 old mortality from COVID-19 is not that much different compared to mortality from flu, both are close to zero.

          1. DataWatcher says:

            If I was 22, and taking a vaccine would allow me to hug my grandmother again, I’d take it in a minute.

          2. Adrian says:

            Based on the currently available data it is not clear whether taking the vaccine would actually reduce the risk that you might transmit COVID-19 to your grandmother.

            You wouldn’t hug your grandmother with symptoms, and we do not yet have data whether asymptomatic cases decrease or increase among people who got a vaccine.

            Your grandmother is the one who really needs the vaccine, not the 22 year old grandchild.

            You would be able to hug your grandmother again 1 month after she got the vaccine, which is long before the 22 year old even has the option to get the shots.

          3. Irene says:

            When I was 22, only the elderly and those at risk of complications were advised to get flu vaccines. Immunizations for the general public came later. (In fact I got flu for the first time the year I turned 22, now that I think about it. It was very unpleasant and I would much rather have had a shot, but that wasn’t something that would even have occurred to me as a possibility. I was a pretty docile kid about medical recommendations, and I know I did get a rubella booster in college when it was recommended for some reason.) My kids have grown up getting flu shots every year.

  15. Nigel Dennis says:

    Please don’t laugh . I’m in the UK , I’m a retired anaeasthetist (a physician , so what you would call an anaesthesiologist / intensivist) . I’m a huge vaccine enthusiast . I’m on chemo for thrombocythaemia , so I think I’m quite high on the list for the vaccine. So suddenly I’m very nervous .
    Any words of wisdom would be appreciated !

    1. Marko says:

      You’re trusting your doctors to treat you with chemo , which only works BECAUSE it’s toxic , and you don’t trust them to advise you on whether to take a vaccine ?

      Something doesn’t compute here….

      1. Really? says:

        His chemo drugs took somewhere around 10 years to get to approval. This vaccine took less than a year. It’s perfectly rational to be nervous about that, even if you think the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks.

      2. Nigel Dennis says:

        Hydroxycarbamide has been around since the sixties . Even so I’m far from happy to be taking it . I’ve been looking forward to the vaccine , but now that it’s almost here I’m , perhaps irrationally , scared. I was just looking for a little positivity to help me out .

        1. Adrian says:

          It is human to be scared of side effects, but since you are old and on chemo you should be even more scared of catching COVID-19.

          Not sure this counts as positivity, but in your situation it looks pretty clear that any potential risks of the vaccine are a less bad option compared to the risks of a COVID-19 infection.

    2. SALEH says:

      Nigel Dennis says:
      4 DecI am a 73 years old gérontologiste MD , I have a lot of comorbidities icluding MGUS. I still work in an old peaple home.
      I will get vaccinated hopefully the Pfize one Why , even without considerin efficacy, serious side effects based on all the icluded treatment arm in the trial (huge numbers) are inexistant.
      Morbidity and death if we get the virus is hugely more probable compared with the quasi inexitance of side effects in the trials (of course if your blood condition permits vaccination)
      Unless some new bad news appears with vaccination, i think am ready for it

  16. luysii says:

    Then there are the real side effects which haven’t shown up yet (because they are rare and not enough people have received the treatment for them to show up). An example:

    Neurologists treat epilepsy. There was a period of 17 years when I was in practice when not a single new drug against epilepsy (anticonvulsant) was introduced in the USA. Each new drug would seem to be the answer for a small group of patients that nothing had helped before.

    Felbamate (Felbatol) was one such anticonvulsant. It helped people that nothing else touched. In the year after introduction some 150,000 people were taking it. I had several very happy patients using Felbatol in the 90s. 1 year later the bomb dropped. Ten cases of total bone marrow failure (aplastic anemia) had developed in patients taking the drug, a lethal complication. Every neurologist (and probably every physician) got an urgent letter from the FDA.

    Normally, unless there is an allergic reaction, anticonvulsants are never stopped suddenly. They are tapered over a week or two. Why? Basically all anticonvulsants are sedating. People adapt to this, and it’s like driving a car with one foot on the brake. Remove the brake and the car shoots forward. So neurologists all over the country brought patients into the hospital as the drug was immediately stopped. We were quite worried that the previously uncontrolled seizures would flare.

    I had one such patient. Her family was quite worried about the possible side effects of suddenly stopping Felbamate. I managed to control myself (hopefully) as I told them there was no side effect worse than death. As risky as it is, there are still about 12,000 people taking Felbamate (after being carefully told about the risks) according to Wikipedia (when this was written in 2012). That’s how good a drug it is.

    For more please see

    1. Marko says:

      “I had one such patient. Her family was quite worried about the possible side effects of suddenly stopping Felbamate. I managed to control myself (hopefully) as I told them there was no side effect worse than death.”

      Maybe you’ve provided incomplete info here , but based on your comment , I’d side with your patient. It sounds like the risk of death from continuing Felbamate was ~ one in 15,000. I’d place the risks of an uncontrolled seizure in at least the same ballpark , if not worse.

      1. luysii says:

        Marko: Not really. With a patient in hospital under close observation and the whole artillery of anticonvulsants (including general anesthesia) available, the risk of dying from uncontrolled status epilepticus is low. Also other anticonvulsants were always started on admission to protect the patient.

        I thought it was right thing to do even without the threat of malpractice should the patient have developed aplastic anemia while we waited.

        There is something called SUDEP (sudden death in epilepsy) but this usually occurs outside of hospital. Over the decades I did see one definite case and possibly another. One had known seizures and was on meds. The other was a very ill diabetic with severe infection already a DNR who had 10 grand mal seizures in 12 hours with bradycardia and circulatory collapse after the last one — so this probably due to uncontrolled status epilepticus rather than SUDEP.

        It’s good to be retired and not see that stuff any more

  17. BDBinc says:

    … there are no excess deaths from “covID”( covid is yet to be proved scientifically its still just a “flat earth” who-china -media theory ) .
    Any increases in previous years (in flu season) deaths can easily explained and seen as the causes the media induced fear and stress shuts down people’s immune systems , Hopkins findings medical errors arethe 3rd cause of death in USA( seen in the experimental and aggressive untested medical treatments- inc VAP) the increased numbers of Americans that were in hospitalized in medical care.

    1. Marko says:

      Flooding the zone.

      1. Some idiot says:

        Yep… serious weapons-grade fertiliser in that one…

      2. Ian Chalmers says:


    2. Riah says:

      I think it really depends on where you are. In the UK we have an unhealthy population with high level of obesity and vitamin D deficiency and large numbers of older folk in care homes so I think we did have real excess deaths from Covid although probably not anywhere as many as generally supposed. Which is due to many deaths being allocated to Covid (including without testing – many examples) when the cause was actually something else. In some countries like Germany there are no excess deaths and in countries like S Africa (as at a while ago – I havent looked lately) they bizziarely had a reduction in deaths due to Covid as the most common causes of death, by drinking, drugs, homicide were actually prevented by lockdown!
      Anyway, if anyone bothers to look at the oficial ONS data for the UK and dissect it (deaths rather than cases as cases are inflated in various ways by PCR, no question, so meanigless) , it is clear than no region which was hit hard in the March/April wave was hit in the so called 2nd wave. For example, London was badly hit in the first wave but only the Hastings area of it which had been previously untouched in spring was hit in the so called 2nd wave. This analysis works for each separate area within larger towns/cities (eg. regions around Manchester which got hit in spring were spared in Autumn and vice versa etc) indicating than there was no real 2nd wave. ie. for the people that got hit in October/Nov it was actually their 1 st wave. The 1st “wave” spread was merely interrupted by the summer. Has anyone done this sort of analysis in the USA? It is clear then that population or herd immunity (which has somehow become a term that attracts derision and expressions of horror ! ) is either established or well on its way to being established in the UK.

      This fits in with the known immunology, and even Peter Offit, (a huge fan of vaccines and on the FDA committee overseeing and evaluating Covid vaccines as the US contingent will know, in a podcast) agreed that natural immunity is likely to last (except rare cases) for many years. SARS-Cov-2 is not like flu which mutates rapidly and is more like SARS-CoV-1 to which immunity (B and T memory cells ) last for a good decade. I therefore do not see any real reason for anyone who has had Covid naturally to have a vaccine. Also it is very interesting that he also said he will not take a Covid vaccine until a few million have been vaccinated and until he has waited for a while as he does not think the trials were suficiently powered to rule out ADE. Anyone attending the 2 day BSI Immunology Conference earlier this week will also be aware, as Clive Dix, Deputy Chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce kept repeating it and Paul Offitt also intimated, that these vaccines are not the ideal type against respiratory viruses – we should aim in future for vaccines that can somehow elicit a mucosal immune response (rather than be injected intra-muscularly) in order to better mimic the natural response. Which all makes me think why take the risk, however small, if you have had Covid?

      I thought that Paul Offit also intimated something else which until then I had dismissed as a conspiracy theory! Can anyone please help out with this as it is real concern. It was not entirely clear but the definite implication (spoken very quickly) was that the self amplifying RNA vaccines keep producing the spike protein repeatedly which is why a far smaller dose is needed and it does this by integrating into our DNA. Please tell me that’s not right!!! That does not sound good. The adenovirus vectored ones only produce one lot of spike protein so need a huge dose. At least that’s what I gathered but might have misunderstood so if anyone defintely knows the right answer I would be grateful.

      1. Marko says:

        “…self amplifying RNA vaccines keep producing the spike protein repeatedly which is why a far smaller dose is needed and it does this by integrating into our DNA. Please tell me that’s not right!!! ”

        That’s not right.

      2. Michael says:

        Riah, read this thread from Prof. Shane Crotty, a vaccine scientist. It should help address your concerns.

        1. Riah says:

          Thanks. But Crotty does not address the self amplification aspect. Offitt was definitely distinguising between those vaccines that make one copy of the S protein and those that make several copies. And talking about dose implications arising from that difference. So how is that difference in number of spike proteins made achieved? I will try to find the recording and link it.

          What then does self amplification mean? I am not a vaccine design expert but I am ok with biochemistry/immunology if you/someone can explain.

          Here’s another question. I have been wondering about all the glycosylation on the S protein. It is heavily glycosylated. Well, in the vaccines where the RNA codes for the S antigen, is that slightly different in terms of 3-D shape and because it does not get glycosylated in the same way. Also I wonder if the conformation can vary slightly because it is no longer attached to the rest of the virus ????

          1. Marko says:

            I would assume Crotty must be talking about vaccine candidates that use a replication-competent vector to deliver the RNA payload. The problem I see with his statement about integration is that it would require a reverse transcription step before there would be any possibility of incorporating an RNA strand into DNA , and neither human cells, COV2, nor the vectors used would provide that reverse transcriptase activity.

          2. Marko says:

            Sorry , I meant Offit , not Crotty.

          3. A Nonny Mouse says:

            Go to the Imperial college site and read up on the self replication, which is the basis of their approach. My daughter has had it

          4. Marko says:

            Yes , the Imperial College platform does appear to be the one Offitt was talking about. I can’t believe he would have mentioned “integration into DNA” in that context , because he certainly knows better. I hope so , anyway.

      3. Mariner says:

        Erm, Hastings part of London?

        It’s 70 miles away and about as far from being a heaving metropolis as you can get. I’m afraid that I’m immediately suspicious of the intentions of somebody claiming they are anything like the same place.

        In my small coastal town, somewhat further north than Hastings and also somewhat larger, we’ve also had a much more severe second wave after some of the lowest infection rates in the country during the first wave.

        I don’t doubt that there is some hidden immunity due to previously unknown infections, but the theory that we’re somehow close to herd immunity seems rather unlikely.

        1. Riah says:

          T A Nonny Mouse re “Go to the Imperial college site and read up on the self replication, which is the basis of their approach. My daughter has had it”
          Do you mean the Imperial Vaccine?

          Just looking through my notes, Offit was at the time talking about Pfizer, Moderna and natural infection. He then went on to discuss the Ad virus and purified protein the inactivated. He never even mentioned the Imperial one so I am rather confused. Isn’t the Pfizer just the RNA coding for the antigen in a lipid casing or does it also include the ORF coding the RNA dependent RNA polymerase? I assume the self amplifying RNA vaccines must include that ORF or they can’t self replicate

        2. Riah says:

          Mariner – you might like to see this if you havent already

          Based on ONS and official source data. Makes complete sense to me as at least 8 studies have now found pre-existing immunity (both T and B cells) which in UK seems to be around 50% of people so you would not need that many more to form resistance to spreading in an area. There might still be pockets that are susceptible. Amongst wider family and friends there were at least 5 cases of pretty bad illness near us (no hospitalisations and the rest of their families had mild symptoms or no symptoms) in spring but none since September. (But we do know two who had it recently who don’t live near us). Funny thing is that 3 out of 5 of the ones who got it badly in spring were middle aged very fit lean male runners (the other two were more what you’d expect – overweight middle age men)and I wonder why the runners were hit badly. I do have a theory. Anyway, so our observation fits the rest of the narrative.

          Things seem very bad in some parts of the US now though. We know a few people in Baltimore with Covid now.

      4. WST says:

        ” it is clear than no region which was hit hard in the March/April wave was hit in the so called 2nd wave. ”

        Stockholm and Gothenburg, two Swedish cities are a counter example, both hit hard in second wave, Paris, Lyon and maybe Lille/Strasbourg are also hit both times.

        All this “population immunity” trough infection is a pure nonsense, its low and age/geo stratified. There are still many viruses ecological niches left all over the place.

        1. Riah says:

          I take it you have the data to support what you are saying, having broken it down to separate areas within the cities you mention – which is what I was talking about. Where is it?

          Here is the data to support what I was saying.

          1. WST says:

            You can lookup standard Swedish statistics but the data was collected in a very different way (diagnostic testing only) in the beginning so one needs to adjust it. But there is a nice daily report that shows hospital occupancy in different parts of Sweden.
            Gothenburg is Västra Götaland.
            The link name changes daily (take away spaces in w w w )
            w w

          2. wst says:

            Best possible data , Bergamo, city and province, with estimated 40-50% population with anybodies. Second wave 20% lower.
            Even after the first wave, there are enough possible virus ecosystems left. As has been seen in other serological studies, disease spreads in strata not randomly as the widely used and unverified epidemiological models would like to claim. And both waves hit different layers.

        2. theasdgamer says:

          What is the Ct for covid in the PCR tests used in Sweden? And what is the Ct for flu in the PCR tests used in Sweden?

          1. WST says:

            There was en article in Sep in Läkartidningen that warned that tests about 38 iterations could be unreliable, but 20 would require an immediate phone call to the clinic that ordered the test. The lab at Sahlgrenska Hospital indicated number of CT used and the article suggested other labs do the same.
            There does not seem to be a standard but I heard figures like 35 and a recent recommendation of 30. So, I don’t have the first hand information.

            There was an recent article from Karolinska institute about tracing virus in a hospital ventilation systems, they found virus fragments (never managed to grow any) in the first two floors, then not in the last two, even if they used up to 46 CT cycles. So the irreducible false positive frequency and “you find anything just crank it up” theories don’t seem to find support in these experiments.

          2. Riah says:

            I have had email confirmation dated 14 Oct from the Head of the Unit for laboratory surveillance of viral pathogens and vaccine preventable diseases at the Public Health Agency of Sweden, that they did at the time go up to 35-40 Ct which is very high, but some laboraratories (by implication not all) double test all samples above 35/37. They use several genomic sequences rather than just one (as in some PCR tests) with a human gene sequence as a control.
            Multiplex assays for influenza, RSV but they were only just starting to test for these at that time.

          3. WST says:

            Thanks Riah, very interesting.
            There doesn’t seem to exist any CT cycles recommendation at the FHM web site, even if some documents discuss what needs to be done with a tests with low or high number of cycles without specifying any.
            On the other hand, they warn that commercial PCR test equipment must be EU approved and that changing the manufacturers settings (CT ) invalidates results, such results can”t be used within defined public health process (“you are on your own”).

  18. Albert says:

    Is it fair for people who are very disciplined, always wear a mask and don’t even go out often? They will be perfect fine without the vaccine but dying the next day taking one?

    1. Matthew says:

      Something tells me that you’ve misunderstood the initial post, here.

  19. anon says:

    This reminds me that one there was a very effective drug for morning sickness. For a time, most pregant women took it. But… birth defects happen. The drug, statistically, did not cause any birth defects above the normal, baseline rate. Yet, post hoc, ergo propter hoc is is a powerful force. Lawsuit after lawsuit was filed. Lawsuit after lawsuit was WON by the drug manufacturer, becuase the science wa clear. It was safe. Yet the lawsuits kept being filed. At some point the lawsuits were just too much of a public relations and financial nightmare to justify selling the drug. It was withdrawn. No company will work on such meds, ever again.

    1. Anon says:

      How can people keep filing the same lawsuit that has been defeated multiple times? Do they just keep coming up with a new, never before sued for, birth defect? Isn’t there some sort of legal roadblock to prevent this?

      Any lawyers in the audience?

      1. Marko says:

        Why don’t you read up a bit on the thalidomide scandal ? There’s no legal conundrum here , the multiple lawsuits never made it to a jury because the companies repeatedly settled out of court. The companies ( and government agencies ) involved continue to this day to pay settlements as monthly stipends to the injured parties , and the CEO of Grünenthal apologized for the injuries and cover-up.

        1. Riah says:

          I thought that was the case too. There is no doubt the drug was responsible – why else did all those limbless babies stop being born after it was withdrawn. But I didnt know the CEO apologised. Is that certain? I was under the impression they never admitted liability.

          1. Marko says:

            They never admitted liability in court , but the repeated out-of-court settlements amount to a tacit admission.

            The apology , in 2012 :


    2. Shandyman says:

      If you do further reading you’ll also find that thalidomide is still prescribed for multiple myeloma and leprosy. In addition, a close analog is one of the biggest selling pharmaceuticals in the world.

      1. Marko says:

        Aside from its teratogenic effects , it’s a relatively safe drug. If you’re not pregnant or about to become so , no worries.

      2. Riah says:

        Thanks. And thanks for the link Marko – that is so good to see! Restores faith in humanity a little, especially in these times

    3. The drug @anon was talking about was Bendectin® (a combo of pyridoxine and doxylamine). It has nothing to do with thalidomide. The thalidomide story (in the US) is a story of triumphant drug regulation and ill-functioning tort law, but the Bendectin story is a story of dysfunctional tort law run amok.

      @Anon’s account of Bendectin is correct. Bendectin was fairly effective for morning sickness, and it was being taken by a nontrivial fraction of all pregnant women in the US. There were good data to show that it was not associated with birth defects, but it was withdrawn by Merrell-Dow for the reason @Anon stated.

      After it was withdrawn, there was no change in the incidence of birth defects, but there was a substantial increase in the rate of hospitalization for hyperemesis gravidarum.

      1. Marko says:

        Ah, my bad , I just assumed it was about thalidomide.

        I guess the previous episode with thalidomide served to prime the lawyers to pounce on any new drugs for morning sickness. An ugly story , all around.

        1. The lawyers didn’t need thalidomide; they’ve always loved birth defects. Once you are willing to build your business on the idea that where there is injury there must be liability, you can’t wish for anything better than birth defects.

          o There are lots of them (a few percent of all births, depending on what you count).
          o There is always someone with relatively deep pockets nearby (the obstetrician).
          o With luck, there’s someone with VERY deep pockets nearby (a pharma company).

          What’s not to like?

    4. ADifferentAnon says:

      You are quite wrong that no company would ever touch that drug again. In fact, its derivative is one of the top-selling drugs by revenue on the market : Revlimid

      The issue with birth defects was not solved and there is no question that this drug is responsible for it. For a few years now, we even know the mechanism of action behind that effect. However, Revlimid is a good drug against certain types of cancer. And birth defects can be avoided by not getting pregnant while on this drug. It’s a dangerous drug, but the people who take it are in a desperate situation.

      1. anon says:

        Adifferent Anon, My post was NOT referring to thalidomide, but to Bendectin

  20. DataWatcher says:

    Thus far, we haven’t seen a coordinated effort to direct an aggressive advocacy/education campaign to African-Americans and other minority communities. This is troubling. Biden’s COVID Task Force should include some media-savvy people who know how to do this, and it should start immediately. And given the way African-American popular culture “crosses over” into the white “mainstream,” especially among the young, it would no doubt have a positive effect on uptake in general.

  21. theasdgamer says:

    Science is no longer about theory and data. Now science is about controlling the narrative and smearing alternative treatments.

    Science is now about lies and deception.

    1. Jane says:

      This is unfortunately true enough that large segments of the population will be more likely to get the vaccine if Kanye is vaccinated live on TV than if Fauci is. Honestly, anyone who gets the vaccine because Fauci gets it on live TV, would probably have gotten it anyway.

  22. Bacillus says:

    Remember that we have quite a few compulsory pediatric vaccines which is a good thing. However, most kids getting these vaccines are unlikely to get infected regardless. It’s called public health and is performed for the public good, and has been the primary basis for mass vaccination throughout history. I know public anything doesn’t sit well with many Americans, though I’ve never really understood the rationale beyond plain orneriness. We all indulge in far riskier behaviours an a daily basis compared to having a few mgs of RNA or ugs of protein injected into an arm muscle. Driving, crossing the road, climbing a ladder, waking on ice etc if far more likely to put you in the ICU.

    1. Geff says:

      Not sure its wise to do something for the ‘public good‘ when those at risk and those that choose to do so are free to get the vaccine. Anything more than that i think is an utterly pointless and dangerous battle.

    2. Riah says:

      I cannot agree. I think and know from experience and from what I know of immunology that for some families and some groups of people vaccines are more risky than for others, esecially families with asthma and allergies as these tend to have a stronger and sometimes over-reactive immune responses which can result in auto-immunity. Black people can be more susceptible too and I wonder if that can be related to vitamin D deficiency as vitamin D acts as an immune modulator. Such families should not be coerced – i think that would be inhuman and abhorrent

      1. Irene says:

        I have always been told that people with asthma almost always SHOULD get influenza vaccines, because the flu is more dangerous for them than for other people. And their families should be more careful to get them as well.

  23. Oudeis says:

    Surveys continue to show a good number of people who are (at the very least) in the “why don’t you take it first” category.

    Why don’t I take it first? Would that I could.

  24. johnnyboy says:

    One thing for sure, I wouldn’t want to be a Pfizer, BioNTec or Moderna executive. They may get the cheers and thanks now, but as soon as a few of these false side effects crop up, the class actions are going to pile up sky high, even as Covid fades away. No good deed goes unpunished, especially in a country packed with idle lawyers.

    1. Barry says:

      I’m sure Pfizer and others are pressing to have their vaccine covered by the NCVIA of 1986. But that’s only possible if vaccination is mandated by our federal government.

      The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34) was signed into law by United States President Ronald Reagan as part of a larger health bill on November 14, 1986. NCVIA’s purpose was to eliminate the potential financial liability of vaccine manufacturers due to vaccine injury claims[1] to ensure a stable market supply of vaccines, and to provide cost-effective arbitration for vaccine injury claims.[2] Under the NCVIA, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) was created to provide a federal no-fault system for compensating vaccine-related injuries or death by establishing a claim procedure involving the United States Court of Federal Claims and special masters

      1. Barry says:

        Pfizer’s argument just got harder. Now that Joe Biden is on record that vaccination should not be mandatory, he’ll be reluctant to reverse course. And if vaccination is not mandatory, then the federal government will not indemnify the maker against claims (sound, or false) of damage.

        1. Jane says:

          Congress could amend the law to include emergency vaccines authorized during a pandemic.

  25. BDBinc says:

    Can one of you please answer the simple laymen question.
    1) Does having antibodies mean you are infected or immune?

    Its rhetorical as that very basic understanding of a very complex human immune system should be known before suggesting mrna to hijack cells to create antigens .
    2) Why do you think a rushed no liability vaccine, a year later when everyone’s been exposed is a good idea?
    3rd Point there is no referenced test for “covid” .The rt PCR cannot even detect 1 whole transmissible virus let alone diagnose a disease.
    How do you feel as scientists developing a vaccine without even having a referenced test first.

    1. Riah says:

      re questions
      1. Could mean you are infected and if past the infection successfully, almost certainly inducates you are immune as you would then have B and T memory cells. Even mild cases have been shown to elicit robust immune memory. The memory cells will undergo a process like a mini Darwinian evolution to become even more specific and effective and that process carries on for months after the infection is over. All very clever.
      2. I don’t
      3. Agree that it is not good enough to base efficacy on the basis of a positive PCR test without stating Ct or standardising (the 3 Dec C Heneghan paper on culturing of test samples demonstrates that very well). Why can’t we do better than that (eg whole genomic sequencing) when there are so few infections – only in low 100’s?

      1. BDBinc says:

        OK so you say having antibodies doesn’t mean you are immune.
        So why are they testing for antibodies after vaccine?
        And how can they make any sound claims of immunity? ( effective)
        Then if having antibodies means you’ve had it why did people who tested “positive” not have antibodies? You will not admit that it is not known if having antibodies means you had an infection or have an infection. And it certainly doesn’t prove you are immune .
        Most infections are fought off by the innate immune system without producing antibodies( which takes time). This is a case of forgetting the basics that we have an intelligent immune system .

        Those masks( some just comical with 1/4 inch gaps ) without eye protection don’t stop transmission of anything .“Infectious viral respiratory diseases primarily spread via very fine aerosol particles that are in suspension in the air. Any mask that allows you to breathe therefore allows for transmission of aerosolized viruses.”Dr. Denis Rancourt, PhD who examined the issue on behalf of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. In end of 2020 everyones been exposed to anything transmissible in the air from 2019.Its ignorant to think otherwise.
        Clearly a year later everyone been exposed(* if as you claim you have personally isolated and aerosol the Sar sCov2 molecule into healthy people’s lungs and caused a new set of symptoms -disease)).
        Sorry but the CDC, media and you are wrong.
        The( reference-less) RT PCR test cannot and should not be used to create “cases”. PCR does not determine viral load, it cannot even detect 1 whole transmissible virus.
        Its cannot determine infection!

    2. david says:

      1) Does having antibodies mean you are infected or immune?
      No. It means you were exposed, either recently or in the past. Thus, the antibody test is useful for seeing how many infections there have been in the population, cummulatively. It’s also useful to give a clue as to whether some suspect past infection may have been coronavirus.

      You can be infected without antibodies, if the infection is very recent (antibodies take days to develop), and you can have antbodies and not be infected (if you recovered). Similarly, antibodies may or may not confer immunity (depending on which antibodies you have, and how many), and immunity can also come from mechanisms other than antibodies (such as t-cells).

      Its rhetorical as that very basic understanding of a very complex human immune system should be known before suggesting mrna to hijack cells to create antigens .

      The level of understanding, among experts, of the immune system, is more than sufficient to justify use of mRNA to make a vaccine. Proof of this is that 2 separate mRNA vaccines have evidence of working very well (~95% protection), with no important adverse reactions in tens of thousands of recipients. The proof is in the pudding.

      2) Why do you think a rushed no liability vaccine, a year later when everyone’s been exposed is a good idea?
      “Everybody’s been exposed” is clearly very wrong. In the US, CDC estimates around 20% exposure. If we let the virus run through the country, the death toll may reach 1 million. Stalin said “1 death is a tragedy, 1 million is a statistic” – I am not a monster and can’t accept that approach.
      Note: In the Princess Cruise ship, about 1/5 of exposed people were symptomatic. This is still the best, most concrete evidence for estimating the total number of exposed in the population. In the US, there have been 13M cases. That is an upper limit, as many of those aren’t symptomatic. You can do the math yourself, from there.

      3rd Point there is no referenced test for “covid” .The rt PCR cannot even detect 1 whole transmissible virus let alone diagnose a disease.

      This is a confused interpretation of the PCR test. The test doesn’t need to detect a single virus particle, nor is it intended to diagnose a disease. It’s job is to indicate whether a person is infected. Infected people shed many viral particles, and the test is sufficiently sensitive to detect this. You might benefit from reading this:

      1. theasdgamer says:

        13 million cases? lol, the CDC estimates 53 million, and that’s based on old numbers. Likely up to 100 million by now. In two weeks up to 200 million and then the daily new case rate starts declining.

        It will take a LOT of propaganda to get the public to buy into vaccinations.

        1. Adrian says:

          Your numbers seem to be pulled out of thin air.

          The rule of thumb is that between 0.5% and 1% of all infected people die.

          The US is slightly below 300k deaths so far, an 53M infections estimate is approximately a 0.5% case fatality rate.

          200M infections in the US imply more than 1M deaths in the US.
          Even with current infection levels the US is still nearly a year away from 1 million COVID-19 deaths.

          1. theasdgamer says:

            The CDC estimates 7 unknown infections for every confirmed infection. That ratio drops the IFR through the floor and covid is just a bad flu.

          2. Marko says:

            “The CDC estimates 7 unknown infections for every confirmed infection. That ratio drops the IFR through the floor and covid is just a bad flu.”

            Haha. You’re too much. One minute you’re saying all the PCR results are false-positives , the next you’re saying there are 7x more positives than the official numbers indicate.
            I hope your supervisor doesn’t read this…..

          3. theasdgamer says:

            There are infections with symptoms that aren’t reported and infections without symptoms that aren’t reported (duh). And there are many people who also don’t have enough of a viral load to cause disease, but it’s enough to test positive for weeks.

      2. BDBinc says:

        There would have been 100% exposure at least a year later.
        Rushed genetic modification( medical experimentation)Vaccines are insane at this time.
        Those masks( some just comical with 1/4 inch gaps ) without eye protection don’t stop transmission of anything .“Infectious viral respiratory diseases primarily spread via very fine aerosol particles that are in suspension in the air. Any mask that allows you to breathe therefore allows for transmission of aerosolized viruses.”Dr. Denis Rancourt, PhD who examined the issue on behalf of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. In end of 2020 everyones been exposed to anything transmissible in the air from 2019.Its ignorant to think otherwise.
        Clearly a year later everyone been exposed(* if as you claim you have personally isolated and aerosol the Sar sCov2 molecule into healthy people’s lungs and caused a new set of symptoms -disease)).
        Sorry but the CDC, media and you are wrong.
        The( reference-less) RT PCR test cannot and should not be used to create “cases”. PCR does not determine viral load, it cannot even detect 1 whole transmissible virus.
        Its cannot determine infection!

        1. Arpic says:

          Surprising then that exponential increases in PCR positives does seem to be remarkably good at predicting exponential increases in hospitalization and deaths a few weeks later.

          1. theasdgamer says:


            Covid hospitalizations and deaths seem to be independent in my county. There was a big spike in deaths before hospitalizations started increasing, then deaths were flat as hospitalizations increased.

            The BIG problem that no one is discussing is that hospitals are financially strapped and have laid off staff so they can’t handle a normal flu season. Three hospitals closed this year in my relatively wealthy county. Hospital bed census in my county is under 60% and hospitals need a bed census around 90% to be financially viable.

  26. Bill says:

    I’m not sure vax hesitancy will have much of an effect. Initially there will be pitifully few doses available when you compare to percentage of the population. I’ll bet it takes longer than people would think to vaccinate just 25%. And the longer it stretches out due to availability, the more demand there will be. Opinions will change. And those who stubbornly refuse will likely join the herd through infection. Didn’t CDC say we already have an estimated 100 million infected? Sounds like a pretty good start.

  27. Craken says:

    If 35% have been infected by the time vaccinations are well underway, and 70% infection/vaccination is necessary for herd immunity–then, we need to vaccinate 35/65 of the uninfected, about 54%. Assuming vaccine acceptance is roughly equal among the infected and uninfected populations, we need to vaccinate 54%+ of the undifferentiated population. Barring further media sabotage–which I certainly wouldn’t rule out–a 54% buy-in should be feasible. But, if immunity in the population is heterogeneous after everyone has had the opportunity to vaccinate, flare-ups of Covid will recur indefinitely in less completely immunized demographics.
    I disfavor vaccination of children at this stage, excepting only those at particular risk due to underlying health conditions (eg, cystic fibrosis). The risk of sparing them vaccination is mainly to be borne by those adults who choose not to vaccinate. This is better than subjecting them to unknown long term vaccination risks.

    1. Bill says:

      Don’t fail to factor in ongoing infection rate. We’re pushing a quarter million a day already and the holiday effect hasn’t fully hit. If CDC is right about actual infection is 8X the proven rate that means we’re looking at up to 2 million into the herd each day. 60 million a month, and potentially more if the doom sayers are correct.

    2. Riah says:

      Absolutely agree with the last sentence!

      But why not prioritise those who have not had Covid to get to herd immunity faster?

      1. Bill says:

        I wasn’t suggesting otherwise.

        But I do think the early doses would go further if they make the effort to bypass those with antibodies already. Sounds like it’s already 1/3 of the country, so not a minor factor.

        Not saying they shouldn’t be vaccinated…just maybe not first tier. And putting “essential” workers ahead of elderly and comorbidity seems wrong. The local guy running a smoke shop is an essential worker because they sell chips and candy bars. There’s no logic or discipline.

    1. Riah says:

      Thank you for this. Great work by Carl Heneghan etc. Just a shame that dates of the samples successfully cultured isn’t readily available – would need to go into each study individually to get the dates. It would be very interesting to see if the later samples were successfully cultured. Even more of a shame our (UK) govt isn’t listening. Innapropriate use of PCR is leading to a still ongoing pseudo epidemic here.

      1. Marko says:

        ~2000 deaths per day in the US and the same in the UK if adjusted for population. Nothing “pseudo” about these epidemics.

        1. Maximilien Robespierre says:

          Without having a referenced test and using the RT PCR to diagnose disease/infection “cases” are pseudoscience at best. Thats the big crazy part .
          Then we use these ” cases” to justify medical experimentation and for all these major flawed decisions global govts are making.

          Efficacy is the measurement of the body’s immune system, not of the vaccine.
          At the end of the day all the so called efficacy is the effectiveness of a human body’s immune system and its ability to neutralize pathogens that are injected directly into the blood.
          So they use the injection and it gets credit for the immune system.
          An effective immune system not an effective vaccine.

          “Wow I never though of it like that”

          1. David says:

            Max Robespierre: “Without having a referenced test and using the RT PCR to diagnose disease/infection “cases” are pseudoscience at best.”

            PCR is a highly specific test (~95%) for the presence of coronavirus RNA. So a diagnosis based on presence of symptoms combined with a positive PCR is highly accruate. On the other hand, the sensitivity is ~70%, so it will miss some. See the Br Med Journal:

            “Efficacy is the measurement of the body’s immune system, not of the vaccine…”

            Both Pfizer and Moderna conducted the proper study to crush that statement: about 40,000 people in each study, half injected and half not. The difference in clinical infections between vaccinated and not vaccinated (over 90% difference for each) clearly shows that the immunity is due to the vaccine.

          2. Osmond says:

            Yes Max its becoming widely known that the PCR testing fraud.
            Funny how so many thought it could be used to diagnose disease when as you say it can’t even detect even one whole transmissible virus/ infection or determine viral load, no reference at all for the test . 100% false in its use creating cases.
            And there is no reference! PCR used to create cases is not science at all its just snake oil consensus -earth is flat- mis -science at its 2020 peak .
            Its will be good when the court findings become mainstream.

          3. theasdgamer says:


            Since flu and covid are both flu like illnesses, a positive covid PCR result isn’t helpful for distinguishing the two when 97% of results may be false positives. If the flu PCR result is positive, that is a lot stronger result because labs do fewer cycles for flu PCR testing, resulting in many fewer flu false positives.

        2. theasdgamer says:

          “A very small proportion of people re-testing positive after hospital discharge or with high Ct are likely to be infectious.”

          This “covid epidemic” is very specious. Very likely many “covid” cases are actually flu.

          1. Marko says:

            You’re an embarrassment to yourself.

          2. David says:

            theasdgamer: “Since flu and covid are both flu like illnesses, a positive covid PCR result isn’t helpful for distinguishing the two”

            WRONG. The covid PCR tests for RNA sequences that are unique to coronavirus. These have been tested & proven to be not sensitive to other related viruses. Test specificity is >90%.

            see this:


          3. theasdgamer says:


            I think you misread what I said. I said nothing about cross-reactivity.

  28. PastTense says:

    The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has massive numbers of side effects:

    “The most frequent adverse reactions in participants 16 years of age and older were pain at the injection site (> 80%), fatigue (> 60%), headache (> 50%), myalgia (> 30%), chills (> 30%), arthralgia (> 20%) and pyrexia (> 10%) and were usually mild or moderate in intensity and resolved within a few days after vaccination. If required, symptomatic treatment with analgesic and/or anti-pyretic medicinal products (e.g. paracetamol-containing products) may be used.”

    PS. This is an excellent summary of information for healthcare professionals, published by the UK government.

    1. Time Limit Exhausted, Please Reload Captcha says:

      I had some of those the day after the 2nd Pfizer trial shot. Headache, fatigue, arm pain. The next day (2 days post-shot) I felt fine. Compared to peers that caught COVID, that beats getting immunity the old-fashioned way. Of course its possible I got the placebo…

    2. Arpic says:

      Is it even a side-effect if it’s just a sign of the vaccine working the way it’s supposed to and triggering an immune response? The most frequent and long-term side-effect seems to be that it will stop you dying of Covid-19.

      1. Harry McNaugh says:

        No ones died of ” covID” Arpic covID its all very much just a collective mental virus with still no actual evidence ,ie no referenced test for it and no new set of symptoms, it looks like the flu been rebranded.

        1. theasdgamer says:

          No, actually stage 2 covid has a condition called “invisible hypoxemia.” Also, check out this paper to get more specifics on covid specifics:

    3. Irene says:

      Influenza actually has a longer list of possible side effects, but most I think are less common (barring a sore arm, which I suspect most people get). This sounds pretty similar to Shingrix.

  29. exGlaxoid says:

    But compare those side effects to the people taking a placebo, and they are not that differerent. In an average day, most older people have aches and pains, fatigue, headaches, and more. I know because I have had the exact same aches and pains like that before and after doing a vaccine test. People are asked to report any issues, and given the focus on older people, most of them already have them before and still after the shot…

  30. theasdgamer says:

    As I suspected, covid is cytopathic. Another nail in the coffin of the asymptomatic superspreader myth.

    “Our results reveal at the whole cell level profound cytopathic effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection, exemplified by a large amount of heterogeneous vesicles in the cytoplasm for RNA synthesis and virus assembly, formation of membrane tunnels through which viruses exit, and drastic cytoplasm invasion into nucleus.”

    I kept asking for info about egress and now we have it.

    1. Riah says:

      Thanks for this – fascinating paper!

      I’ve always been amazed that people actually thought asymptomatic spread was a “thing”. A biological/immunological explanation was never forthcoming for this idea. So now we also have 2 other papers including the recent Wuhan one which traced all contacts of 300 people and found not one tested PCR positive (though it does also seem unbelievable they managed to actually PCR test 9 million people, and using PCR properly with rigour – which they must have done to get the results they did. In contrast we (UK) can’t even test a tiny fraction of that without shocking levels of contamination and poor practice as exposed on TV and by whisteblowers.)

      Asymptomatic spread is what is informing much of UK policy, however nonsensical it is – depressing.

      1. Adrian says:

        In spring the Swedish policy was based on the opposite assumption that asymptomatic spread would not be relevant for COVID-19 transmission.

        That assumption was deadly wrong.

    2. Arpic says:

      I don’t see how a paper that studies how the virus gets out of a cell tells anyone anything much about asymptomatic spread one way or the other. But then I’m probably just not enough of a true believer.

  31. Bill says:

    Are vax side effects just the luck of the draw with nothing to be done about it?

    Or might they be something like Covid response where outcome seems to be somewhat controllable — in this case Vitamin C, D, Zn and various other things within a person’s ability to influence.

    IE, we have prophylaxis cocktails for Covid. Might there be something similar for Vax side effects?

    1. Time Limit Exhausted, Please Reload Captcha says:

      Yes. From the Brits– “If required, symptomatic treatment with analgesic and/or anti-pyretic medicinal products (e.g. paracetamol-containing products) may be used”

      That’s “Tylenol” for the layman.

  32. Chris Phillips says:

    I suppose the downside of effective vaccines being developed is exponential growth in the amount of rubbish being spouted by “anti-vaxxers”. Very sad.

  33. M Welinder says:

    Oh, boy! The crazies and out in force today.

    1. Moses says:

      Yeadon may be wrong on this (and I sincerely hope that he is) but he’s not crazy. He had a decent reputation at Pfizer and managed to sell a biotech to Novartis.
      Can someone explain why he’s wrong?

    2. Ken says:

      It always amazes me that the crazies just happen to stumble across Derek’s blog.

      1. Marko says:

        Most likely it’s only a couple or a few posters who’ve been around for a while , but post under multiple nicks to bolster their loony-tune takes. The similarity of posting style is evident in many cases. It’s pretty pathetic , actually.

      2. Derek Lowe says:

        As the pandemic wanes in the coming months, so will they. . .right?

        1. Ken says:

          I’m hoping that as the pandemic wanes you can get back to your regular topics, like “Things I Won’t Work With”.

  34. theasdgamer says:

    The crazies are pretending that you don’t have to culture the dam virus in order to know the upper and lower ranges of infectious cases. PCR-cultism is running amok.

  35. Marko says:

    Another hero of the Covid denialists – this time a country – bites the dust. Sweden cries “Uncle! You win , Covid-19 ! ” :

    Long a Holdout From Covid-19 Restrictions, Sweden Ends Its Pandemic Experiment

    1. fajensen says:

      I predict that “Folkhälsmyndigheten”, FHM, will not actually change their current line of thinking. The culture in Sweden is such that an expert who changes opinions based on ephemeral stuff like evidence, experience, expert advice or perhaps new research – is not a real expert. Because A Real Expert knows Everything to begin with, before everyone else does!

      FHM might well shut up for a while but they will still work in the shadows on the plans they made in March 2021. They can rely on the vaccine distribution getting screwed up like the testing was and still is, to some degree.

      We are seeing the beginning of a systemic failure here. All those systems that were supposed to help people or protect people are failing under the added strain of Covid-19, it is becoming obvious to more and more people.

      For example. It takes months to get unemployment insurances paid out, the nursing homes were using palliative treatment for everyone with Covid-19, including a few “strays” such as people waiting for a handicap-friendly flat (nobody now knows who ordered that), the FHM decided that instead of protecting the health of people, they should get them infected to test out a unique “herd immunity” concept. At the same time, the only consistent advice out of FHM is that “Masks are BAD” and the latest FHM Wisdom for Anders Tegnell was: “It’s all because of immigrants not understanding instructions” kinda puts The Cherry right on top of the cake by taking this idea from the domain of the swivel eyed and into An Official Opinion.

      This article sums up pretty much what everyone else “in science” experience:

  36. jason says:

    Transverse myelitis. We all know it because as soon as it showed up in someone who was vaccinated, the world payed attention. If something truly bad happens to someone as a result of the vaccine, we will all hear about it.

    1. Barry says:

      That we’ll hear about anything truly bad that happens because of the vaccine is not newsworthy. The concern is that we’ll hear about truly bad things that happen after inoculation that are *not* caused by the vaccine, but which are misattributed “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacies.

  37. Spi Ko says:

    Where is the official peer-reviewed publication?

    1. David says:

      Spi Ko: “Where is the official peer-reviewed publication?”


      Easy to find, with a minute on google. Pubmed identified >700 articles.

  38. Nick says:

    “ I mean, if you reach a large enough population, you are literally going to have cases where someone gets the vaccine and drops dead the next day (just as they would have if they *didn’t* get the vaccine).”

    Substitute “vaccine” for “positive PCR test” and therein lies the problem with a prominent pillar of data that is being pummelled into a fearful populace.

    As a scientist I can’t help but feel uneasy about the way standards are being selectively applied.

    1. theasdgamer says:

      Indeed. The covidiots can’t even see the PCR uncertainty. Covid PCR is being run anywhere from 37-42 cycles and flu PCR is being run from 27-8 cycles. Gee, I wonder why covid cases are running high and flu cases low?

      Lots of people are being infected by very small viral loads which their innate baseline immunity handles asymptomatically. They have a low level of covid RNA in their nose/saliva.
      Then they get an ILI and the viral panel rings up covid and another ILI. Another covid infection!!!!!!

      Of course, there are some real covid infections also occurring, but they are likely the minority of ILIs in places that were already hit hard previously.

      Invisible hypoxemia is a unique symptom of covid and indicates an actual covid case. However, that symptom occurs in the third and moderate stage of covid and can rapidly progress to severe covid. If we only had some way to tell covid from flu earlier…

      “It has been recently shown with clinical studies that COVID-19 pathogenesis is associated with coagulopathy, however it differs from sepsis associated disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) with relatively normal levels of PT, fibrinogen and platelets, despite markedly elevated d-dimer levels [1–3]. l”

      You have scientists and sausage makers pretending to be scientists.

      1. Chris Phillips says:

        Of course, this is sheer nonsense.

        If these were people who died of other things, there would be no excess mortality compared to other years. In the UK, total excess mortality is actually something like twice the number of deaths within a month of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. (And you’d have to be breathtakingly innumerate to think that – again on the UK figures – 3.5% of the people who tested positive would have died anyway within the month after their test month. What on earth do you think life expectancy would be if that were true?)

        So far from the official number of deaths being an artefact of false positive tests, it’s a substantial underestimate of the real number of COVID-19 deaths.

        I just wish someone could explain to me what enjoyment people get from talking such rubbish about a tragic situation in which large numbers of real people are dying.

    2. Barry says:

      Comparing total deaths (or deaths from infectious disease) in 2020 to total deaths (or deaths from infectious disease) in 2019 (or in another reference year, or in an average of years) show nearly 0.3 million in the U.S. (>1.3 million world wide). If those aren’t due to SARSCoV2, scientists must find another etiology.

      1. Nick says:

        I do not dispute that SARS-cov-2 has caused a tragic number of deaths in 2019. On U.K. figures for example, it is clear that there was an exceptional spike in excess deaths from March to June.

        And there is no doubt that people were/are still being killed by the virus from June onwards. The question is are an exceptional number of people still being killed by the virus such that the hugely damaging restrictions being placed on the population are worthwhile in a cost benefit analysis.

        Excess deaths in the U.K. from the summer onwards are significantly up on the five year average but are not exceptional if you look back on 5 year averages over the last 10-25 years.

        The way that SARS-cov-2 “cases” and deaths are being counted using PCR is highly unscientific for a myriad of reasons, of which the one I mentioned in my OP is just one.

        The wider issue for me is that most scientists do not seem to be acknowledging the obvious issues with the way the PCR data is being generated, presented and used.

  39. xray says:

    “And there is no doubt that people were/are still being killed by the virus from June onwards. The question is are an exceptional number of people still being killed by the virus such that the hugely damaging restrictions being placed on the population are worthwhile in a cost benefit analysis.”

    My biggest (non-ethical) issue with these types of statements is, how do you know what the pandemic would look like without any of the restrictions in place? What kind of model are you using to estimate spread of infection/death rate with no restrictions in place? Assuming these are needed for your cost benefit analysis.

    1. Nick says:

      Given that the restrictions have been shown to cause loss of life, livelihood and quality of life in themselves I suggest the burden of proof lies in the other direction.

      What happened to “first, do no harm”?

      1. xray says:

        Let’s say that is true (very well could be). How many lives have been lost (according to you) because of the restrictions.

        I will then repeat my question to you, what would the pandemic would look like without any of the restrictions in place?

        Let’s deal with “facts” here and not baseless conjecture.

        1. Marko says:

          Sweden would have been your model for a “lite-touch” coronavirus response , and it cost them in multiples of lives lost per capita compared to their peers of Finland, Norway, and Denmark, with no beneficial economic effects. This in spite of the fact that Sweden has a built-in social distancing advantage – the highest rate of single-person households in the world.

          Sweden is in the process of ramping-up restrictions right now , as it seems they’ve belatedly caught up their thinking to that of the more civilized world. Nonetheless , it’s too late. The egg will remain on their face , and they will close out the pandemic with one of the highest per capita death rates in the world , along with the countries the Swedes have chosen to emulate , the US and UK.

          1. Marko says:

            My reply was meant to be to Nick , not Xray.

          2. Riah says:

            you should stop getting info from mainstream propaganda sources and look a these for Sweden instead which is proper critical analysis, logical and fair comparison (rather than the opposite – journalists are next to useless):



          3. Riah says:

            have replied but its in moderation.
            (I found the Paul Offit podcast re saRNA by the way but need to go through the tedious process of finding the relevant Q in the previous post to link it. I think he might have got mixed up. He also says he is concerned re ADE with ALL the vaccines)

          4. Matthew says:

            Dr. Paul Offit’s concerns about ADE in the vaccine candidates was stated in earlier articles, prior to the release of trial data. In a more recent interview, following the lack of evidence of it in the trials / plasma treatments etc, he states ‘I don’t think that’s going to be a problem with this’ and ‘there’s nothing about this virus that makes me think this is going to happen’:

          5. Matthew says:

            I believe the podcast to which Riah was referring was this one, which indeed predates any of the vaccine results, having been recorded on November 5th.

      2. theasdgamer says:

        The fat emperor blog tracks the effects of lockdowns. Ivor Cummins.

        In the US, lockdowns vary between states. It’s a mess to compare them.

        Last I looked (quite a while ago): Generally, divorces are up 34%, foreclosures are up 50%, drug Od’s are up 13%, and suicides are up 70%.

        The biggest problem is deferred medical care. Much of that will occur years from now. Probably quite a lot has happened recently, but I don’t have a source for exact figures. Still, it’s good to establish certainty and uncertainty.

        1. xray says:

          While I do appreciate your points about non-viral related health effects from lockdowns (divorce excluded), you are missing the point I am trying to make.

          How many people in the US would have died if there were no government (state or federal) imposed restrictions (aka we all went about our lives as normal)? You can’t do any kind of cost/benefit analysis without answering that first, right?

          1. Marko says:

            It’s easy enough to do a back-of-the-envelope calculation of what an unmitigated epidemic in the US would’ve looked like. Say we have ~300k dead now , with ~ 30% of the population having been infected. Assume that ~75% would have been infected at the end of the epidemic , similar to what was seen in Manaus, Brazil. That gives you 750k dead. However , this assumes the fall in IFR that we’ve seen in the mitigated epidemic , which would not be expected to occur , since hospitals would be overwhelmed , doctors and nurses falling ill and becoming unavailable , drug and equipment shortages , etc. , so that the IFR expected would be double or triple that assumed in the above calculation , giving you 1.5 – 2.25 million dead. And that’s probably an underestimate.

            But , hey , at least the bars would be open…..

          2. Doc Meldreugh says:

            Talking of back of the envelope… IF as you say, Marko, ~30% US population infected… And IF say another ~40% have pre-existing immunity due to being blessed with prime T cells from fighting off past related “common cold” coronaviruses…


            …And IF after spring peak, for example in New York, now seeing autumn/winter peak working its way around rest of US, then come next spring – Kerching! 70% Community Immunity. Cause indeed to head for an open bar.

            Will of course get ascribed to 100 million vaccinations in first 100 days if Gentleman Joe’s promise comes off, but as ever will be multiple histories going on in background.

          3. theasdgamer says:

            Say we have 70k dead now FROM covid (most in the northeast, with 16,000 of that number dead because Cuomo sent infected patients back into nursing homes and another 5,000 dead because of VILI response to covid) with 30% of the population having been infected (12% were asymptomatic, basing on 40% having T-cell immunity), then we have 58% with some level of immunity. In another week, we likely will know that we have already hit that 70% end goal.

            If the government response only delayed the inevitable, I don’t see additional deaths that would have occurred if there had been no delay. In fact, there would possibly have been less exposure for the most vulnerable.

  40. debinski says:

    The FDA released their briefing document this morning on the Pfizer vaccine. Lots of analyses to dig through:

    1. debinski says:

      After skimming through the SAE analysis, what jumps out as notable to me is an excess of SAEs in the active vaccine group. I’d be interested to see what others think of the excess of overall SAEs (124 vs 101). This looks like it could possibly be statistically significant but no stats were done. Among non-serious AEs, lymphadenopathy appears to be associated with the active vaccine and possibly Bell’s palsy, although the numbers are pretty low on that one.

  41. Barry says:

    It looks like the Pfizer app does not disaggregate by age. Participants range from 16 yo to >75 yo. Will the FDA approve for this span, but not for pediatrics? Will it extrapolate to children?

    Table 4. Demographic Characteristics, Participants With or Without Evidence of Infection Prior to
    7 Days After Dose 2, Evaluable Efficacy (7 Days) Population
    Nb (%)
    Nb (%)
    Nb (%)
    Sex: Female 9794 (48.9) 10107 (49.9) 19901 (49.4)
    Sex: Male 10239 (51.1) 10137 (50.1) 20376 (50.6)
    Age at Vaccination: Mean years (SD) 50.3 (15.73) 50.1 (15.78) 50.2 (15.76)
    Age at Vaccination: Median (years) 51.0 51.0 51.0
    Age at Vaccination: Min, max (years) (12, 89) (12, 91) (12, 91)
    Age Group: 16 to 55 years 8396 (41.9) 8454 (41.8) 16850 (41.8)
    Age Group: ≥65 years 4294 (21.4) 4319 (21.3) 8613 (21.38)
    Age Group: ≥75 years 860 (4.3) 852 (4.2) 1712 (4.3)
    Race: American Indian or Alaska Native 131 (0.7) 122 (0.6) 253 (0.6)
    Race: Asian 880 (4.4) 883 (4.4) 1763 (4.4)
    Race: Black or African American 1957 (9.8) 1972 (9.7) 3929 (9.8)
    Race: Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific
    54 (0.3) 29 (0.1) 83 (0.2)
    Race: White 16387 (81.8) 16619 (82.1) 33006 (81.9)
    Race: Multiracial 523 (2.6) 493 (2.4) 1016 (2.5)
    Race: Not reported 101 (0.5) 126 (0.6) 227 (0.6)
    Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino 5272 (26.3) 5281 (26.1) 10553 (26.2)
    Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino 14652 (73.1) 14847 (73.3) 29499 (73.2)
    Ethnicity: Not reported 109 (0.5) 116 (0.6) 225 (0.6)
    Comorbiditiesc: Yes 9278 (46.3) 9314 (46.0) 18592 (46.2)
    Comorbidities: No 10755 (53.7) 10930 (54.0) 21685 (53.8)
    Comorbidity: Obesity 6934 (34.6) 7093 (35.0) 14027 (34.8)

  42. Michael says:

    This was somewhat reassuring about the one severe case among the vaccinated cohort (p. 20 of the FDA document):

    “The vaccine recipient who had severe COVID-19 disease met the severe case definition because oxygen saturation at the COVID-19 illness visit was 93% on room air. The subject was not hospitalized, did not seek further medical care, and did not have risk factors for severe disease.”

    1. Michael says:

      Sorry, p. 30 of the document.

  43. anon says:

    Some of the communities which are being hit hardest by Covid are also the communities which possess the most doubt about being the first to take the vaccine. Their hesitations and doubts are warranted because they are sadly based in historical reality. We cannot go back and erase some of the things that have been done which result in this lack of trust. It would be great if everyone took the vaccine but I understand why some will not, or certainly won’t be the first ones to do it.

  44. Marko says:

    More evidence that the “dark matter” herd immunity crowd have their heads up their asses :

    Three-quarters attack rate of SARS-CoV-2 in the Brazilian Amazon during a largely unmitigated epidemic

    Never fear , though , they’ll have a comeback : ” They’re measuring flu , not Covid-19 ! Faulty PCR tests , high Ct values , something something….”

    1. Oceanus Phogg says:

      Dear Marko,

      Enjoy hubris while it lasts. Sao Paulo 29% and Manaus 75% attack rates consistent with ~40% pre-existing T cell immunity in cosmopolitan Sao Paolo and minimal pre-existing immunity in isolated Manaus 4+ hours up Amazon by air from Macapa:

      …So inevitably different stats profile between Sao Paolo and Manaus for reaching Community Immunity (differences in living conditions also put forward as factor). Paper you kindly linked, Marko, tells by 1 October 2020:

      Manaus City (pop ~ 2 million): 6431 deaths (0.28% population, IFR 0.45%)
      Sao Paolo City (pop ~ 12 million): 33051 deaths (0.27% population, IFR 1.18%)

      (By way of benchmark(o), US deaths 0.06% head population, presumably reflecting better US living conditions. Difference in IFR plausibly accounted for by older population in Sao Paolo than Manaus)

      Wikipedia tells Sao Paolo province peaked at ~400 deaths per day in August, by 12 November down to ~ 50 on average:

      …Graph familiar to Gods and Godesses down the ages for populace largely left to own devices in face of moderately threatening viral respiratory contagion.

      As well known, if Gods and Godesses in bad mood, after hubris tends to come Nemesis. Am told Gods used to reckon Godess Nemesis a pretty nifty women’s footballer in her day. Big match player, always went out into stadium with head held high and trusty right foot primed to kick opponent’s ass.

      As for dark matter, had thought Physicist jury still out on that. Also seem to recall in late 1800s seemed some physicists thought physics all pretty much settled by Newton and Maxwell, apart from annoying inability to detect the aether.

      Three landmark papers in same year of 1905 from a little known solo author soon put paid to aether nonsense and set scene for great physics to come over next 2-3 decades. The Cosmic always did move in mysterious ways…

      Yours ever, Oceanus

  45. An Old Chemist says:

    The agency noted that four people in the vaccinated group experienced a form of facial paralysis called Bell’s palsy, with no cases in the placebo group. The difference between the two groups wasn’t meaningful, and the rate in the vaccinated group was not significantly higher than in the general population.

    New York Times, 12-08-2020:

    1. Marko says:

      Still , it’s a red flag that requires monitoring. If four cases vs zero cases becomes ten vs zero , you’ve got an issue. This AE has happened with flu vaccines :

      “…Conclusions: This study suggests a strong association between the inactivated intranasal influenza vaccine used in Switzerland and Bell’s palsy. This vaccine is no longer in clinical use.”

    2. DataWatcher says:

      Let’s hope reports like this don’t make people think it’s fine to take only one of the two doses, though. Fifty-two percent efficacy is acceptable but hardly sufficient to bring about mass immunity. And the worst-case scenario would be that if that estimate is high, partial immunity across many people could spur the development of vaccine-resistant mutations (e.g.

      “False confidence” could be almost as problematic as “false positives”.

  46. Marko says:

    The denialist gurus claimed , many weeks ago , that the pandemic in London and the UK is “all but over”. Instead , we see that any attempt to loosen restrictions in London is met with rising test positivity rates and hospitalizations , followed by increasing death rates , of course. This is not the dynamic you’d expect to see in a pandemic that is “all but over”. :

    “Put London in tier 3 Covid restrictions within 48 hours, expert says : Call for rapid action comes as data reveals case numbers on the rise across much of capital”

    1. Lets get this strait. When people who tested positive for Covid died, they were recorded as ‘died with covid’ even if they no longer had the virus or died of other causes like car crashes, and these deaths were taken into account when lockdowns and restrictions were put in place. But now they inject a vaccine, it cannot be viewed in the same vein? Yea right.

    2. Riah says:

      very funny. You actually believe the Guardian Lockdown lunatics? This is all nonsense. Cases being misallocated by PCR. We know 100’s of people in London and this is not their experience.
      It is the same in LA where we know people who know between them 1000’s and not one hospitalised with Covid. Go and look at some proper stats from data analysts and decent statisticians like Joe Smalley

      1. Marko says:

        “Go and look at some proper stats from data analysts and decent statisticians like Joe Smalley”

        Oh , I see you found a new guru. Remember ? , I told you it would be easy to do so :

      2. Marko says:

        ” We know 100’s of people in London….. the same in LA where we know people who know between…

        There’s that “we” again. Boy , you sound exactly like “theasdgamer”.

        Very interesting…..

      3. theasdgamer says:

        Marko is a covidiot. Just ignore him.

        1. Riah says:

          from the language used and lack of logic he certainly does not sound like a bona fide scientist/medic type

  47. Bob Fox says:

    The public confidence aspects will not be so much of an issue when a swat team breaks down your door with a battering-ram and forcibly holds you down at gunpoint and injects you. Oh look here is the legislation to do it:

  48. theasdgamer says:

    Some people might not know that everyone entering a hospital gets tested for covid. Someone could be entering for childbirth, lab work, ct scan, gunshot, drug Od, etc. and test positive for covid and become a hospitalized covid patient–even though they might not have any active covid infection. The hospitalized covid numbers will increase.

    I don’t see deaths rising with hospitalizations in my county–in fact, deaths initially LED hospitalizations, which steadily increase although deaths have now flattened.

    What do others see in their counties in the US?

    1. theasdgamer says:

      Look at LA. There is no connection between cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

      1. xray says:

        You’re kidding right? Look at hospitalizations by date, roughly 2 weeks after the spike in positive cases started (11/2), the hospitalizations started increasing (11/13).

        You’ve moved on from disinformation to just lying now?

        1. theasdgamer says:

          What, are you blind? Hospitalizations show a steady increase and the seven day moving average for deaths shows a sudden move down.

          1. Xray says:

            Compare the positive testing rate with hospitalizations.

          2. theasdgamer says:


            “Compare the positive testing rate with hospitalizations.” Well, duh. Almost everyone getting surgeries and procedures in the hospital gets tested for covid and almost all of them have a smidgeon of viral RNA that gets magnified and results in a positive test.

            When deaths no longer track hospitalizations, that’s a problem for the covidiot theory.

      2. Riah says:

        Exactly the same breakdown in the relationship between hospitalisations, cases and deaths happened in the so called 2nd wave in the UK. Whereas the relationship was logical in the 1st wave. That’s because it wasnt a real 2nd wave but driven by PCR cross reactivity and picking up of fragments – which even Paul Offit confirms people have for months after infection. Once the virus is endemic RNA fragments will be everywhere.
        And you presumably know about the demand for retraction of the original PCR Drosden paper by a number of highly qualified scientists on the basis it has a long list of flaws and the PCR is not fit for purpose?

    2. RonW says:

      Actually, they don’t. I had a CT scan a couple weeks ago in a hospital. Besides the usual temperature check and 20-questions quiz, no other testing was done.

      1. theasdgamer says:

        And you were admitted to the hospital? What hospital was that? I want to be sure to avoid it,

        1. RonW says:

          Good luck with that. It was at the second-largest hospital chain in the US. I just pitched the wristband. They are not sticking a swab up the nose of everyone that enters the hospital for CT scans or lab work.

          1. theasdgamer says:

            Yeah, outpatients don’t get that treatment. Funny that. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

  49. exGlaxoid says:

    Has Pfizer, Moderna, or Oxford looked at the vaccinated people that DID get the real vaccine and then still got Covid to see if there are any observable factors as to why those people still got Covid? It seems like knowing which people got the least protection would be helpful. Don;t get me wrong, I think any real level of protection (>50%, less serious disease) is great, but if onlY few people got sick, it would be worth looking to see if they share any variables.

    1. Marko says:

      Most of the estimates I’ve seen suggest that ~90-95% of those naturally infected develop a detectable antibody response , so perhaps the same thing is happening with the vaccines , in similar proportions. Without an antibody response , you may be susceptible to infection while still having significant protection vs. severe disease due to cellular immunity.

  50. Eric H. Schindler, says:

    Let’s take the authors reasoning and apply it to COVID-19. “But if you took those ten million people and gave them a new vaccine instead, there’s a real danger that those heart attacks, cancer diagnoses, and deaths will be attributed to the vaccine.” And if you take the same folks and introduce a new virus, those who were going to die anyway will now be attributed to the new virus. The increase in deaths that are seen in 2020 is right in line with an upsloping curve that began in 2013. It appears the virus changed little. And so we can presume the vaccine will also change little if we follow the concept that the past can predict the future. So many factors involved. Just the single factor of an aging population suggests the death rate will rise. Let’s watch and see.

  51. wst says:

    and no impact on life expectancy, right, just a normal year ?

  52. Barry says:

    something that looked like an allergic reaction was reported following the Pfizer Covid vaccine:

    causality unproven, of course

  53. Sam Weller says:

    As reported by Moderna in its FDA briefing: a 72 year-old participant from the vaccine arm of the trial got struck by lightning 28 days after the vaccination. This is a nasty side-effect, that should concern all of us!

  54. john doe says:

    I don’t know if it was intended or not but the person described why the covid virus is not all that serious when he mentioned thousands dying from other conditions after taking the vaccine. Same as the virus people are dying of other thinks after getting the virus and being counted as a covid death

  55. I write to advocate some reasonable caution especially if one has long term health conditions. I do not write as a scientist though the success rate of scientific modelers in the UK has been abysmal in the recent past eg mad cow disease, bird flu, among others. No, I write about my own personal experience. And I do know the difference between post hoc and proctor hoc. Ten hours after getting my second vaccine, I, feeling ill, attempted to walk across the room. After taking several steps, i fell heavily to the floor, all my muscles gave way, severely weakened. I lay there for an hour unable to move. Finally help came. Towards dawn this scenario was repeated. I have been in bed since then despite my best efforts. I am only improving very slowly. I know that my experience is anecdotal, but at least as anecdotal, it cannot be distorted as such. As a doctor friend of mine said, a “rare side effect is one that you do not have.”

  56. ricky marvin says:

    Hypothesis: Covid-19 mRNA vaccines are associated with unusually high adverse reactions.

    CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), US data 2015-2021

    covid-19 vaccine has these temporally associated events in its database on 02/23/21:
    deaths/life-threatening/hospitalizations = 799/610/1851
    65 000 000 doses administered, assume undereporting by 2x (low) and 10x (high),
    probability of dose/event becomes
    deaths/life-threatening/hospitalizations (1 in) 2x (low) 40676/53279/17558 and 10x (high) 8135/10656/3512

    ie high estimates could be 1 in 8135 doses is temporally associated with death
    deaths per 100 million US population = 12292
    deaths per 330 million US population = 40565

    ie 40565 US deaths temporally associated with vaccination of entire population per year

    compare to 6 years of seasonal influenza vaccine administrations at 1965000000 US total population at 0.59 coverage = 1159350000 doses
    as above, probability of dose/event becomes = 1091/2745/15158

    rate covid-19/flu vaccine = 13x deaths/4x life threatening/2.2x hospitalization

    SARS-Cov-2 deaths in US total = 536566
    SARS-Cov-2 deaths in US not associated with comorbidities = 536566 * 0.06 = 32193

    rate of vaccine deaths (high) / SARS-Cov-2 deaths (single cause) = 40565/32193 = 1.26

    1. Marko says:

      Even if your numbers are accurate, the vast bulk of vaccine deaths are not happening among strapping, healthy 30-yr-olds, they’re happening among the frail elderly and those with comorbidities, just as for Covid-19, so your final comparison is not remotely fair or valid.

      The question about getting vaccinated is the same for a healthy young person as for an elderly frail person: Am I more likely to die from Covid-19, which I will almost certainly contract eventually if not vaccinated, or am I more likely to die from the vaccine? If you want to argue that for some the latter is the case, you’ll have to present a much better analysis than the one above.

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