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Why the Oxford vaccine is different It can be stored at normal temperatures and is cheap enough for the developing world

A poster in India. Photo: Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty

A poster in India. Photo: Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty


November 24, 2020   6 mins

Like you, every Monday, I wake up giddy with excitement to discover which vaccine candidate has announced interim results. Will it be Novavax this week? Imperial? Which door in my little vaccine-candidate calendar will I get to open? Will there be a little lipid nanoparticle full of lengths of mRNA behind it? Or a modified chimpanzee adenovirus? It’s so exciting!

This week, of course, it was the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, one week after Moderna announced their results and two weeks after Pfizer’s. 

The headline efficacy results of the Oxford trial are lower than for the other two vaccines. But it’s still great news, and it may be the case that the headline result is not the thing we ought to be looking at. And, most important, the Oxford vaccine, compared to the other two, can be made in far larger quantities far more quickly, can be stored and distributed much more easily, and will be available at a fraction of the cost.

The team is submitting its data to a journal probably around the time you read this, and it will be in the public domain in a week or so. At the moment we have no real data to look at — and, in fact, even the scientists who worked on it have not had access to all of it. So I thought it might be useful to try to collate what we can know, so far.

First, that headline result. The Oxford vaccine is, apparently, 70% effective (the announced result is 70.4%), compared to the 90% or higher for Moderna and Pfizer’s offerings. Except it’s simply not.

There were two groups in the vaccine study: one of about 9,000 people who were given a standard dose and then a booster shot of the same volume a month later; and a second group of about 3,000 people who were given a half-sized dose, and then a standard-sized booster. We should note at this point that the plan to divide the trial like this was in the original trial protocol, so we can be pretty confident that they haven’t just chopped the data up after the fact to make things look good. (EDIT: Although it is all quite complicated; see here.) 

The vaccine appears to have been 62% effective in the first lot, and 90% effective in the second. But if you’re given the vaccine, it will be either a full-dose/full-dose regimen or a half-dose/full-dose one, not some average of the two. So it’ll either be about 62% effective or about 90% effective, assuming those numbers are accurate.

Of course, “assuming those numbers are accurate” is the key phrase. We know there were 131 cases in total in the trial, and we know that there were 100 cases in the control group, and 31 among people who had the real vaccine. But only about 30 or so were in the half-dose group, and the smaller sample size means greater uncertainty.

Incidentally, it’s not completely clear why the smaller dose first is more effective. Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator, speculated in a Science Media Centre briefing on Monday morning that the smaller dose may have “primed” the immune response in some way. I’ve seen other scientists wondering whether it’s because the larger dose pushes the body to develop an immunity to the genetically modified virus that’s used to deliver the antigen. The immune system is complicated; I imagine we’ll find out more about what’s going on in the coming weeks.

There’s another point, which is that the headline figure also doesn’t tell us the impact on asymptomatic cases. The Pfizer and Moderna trials only looked at symptomatic cases: the  Oxford trial, on the other hand, asks all its subjects to swab themselves in the throat and nose every week (I’m on it, so I can vouch for this particular unpleasant duty), so it should catch anyone who’s got the virus, symptoms or no. The results don’t affect the headline figures — those only refer to symptomatic cases — but they are used to establish the effect of the vaccine on transmission. 

It is theoretically possible (but not very likely) that a vaccine could stomp heavily on the symptoms of a disease, so almost no one gets sick, but not stop people from actually getting the virus. By regularly swabbing asymptomatic people the study can see whether that’s the case. All we know so far is that there is an impact on transmission, but until all the data has been released, we won’t know how big that effect is; again, even Prof Ewer of Oxford hadn’t seen those numbers, and nor had Pollard, when he spoke to the SMC briefing.

There’s another level, as well, which is that no one who had had the actual vaccine — whether they got the half-dose or the full-dose regimen — got a “severe” case of Covid. Admittedly “severe” is defined as requiring hospitalisation, and obviously you can have quite a nasty case of Covid without ending up in hospital; but given how lethal this disease can be, it is nonetheless good news that no one ended up dying or in the ICU.

You may rightly say that all this sounds a bit woolly, and it kind of is. Here’s what we know: the vaccine, if administered correctly, probably works about 90% of the time on symptomatic cases, but we can’t be all that sure; it has some effect on asymptomatic cases, but we don’t know what; and no one who took it ended up in hospital, although we don’t know yet whether that means everyone just had a mild case of the sniffles or something more. It’s all good news, but very vague good news.

So here are some bits of good news that are not vague. First, several million doses of this vaccine — which, as we’ve seen, definitely works, by the targets set — have already been made, and there is lots and lots more on the way. According to Pam Cheng of AstraZeneca (again speaking on the SMC briefing), by the end of December there will be enough actual vaccine to make about 20 million doses for the UK alone, of which about 4 million will already be in vials, ready to go. She thinks there will be about 200 million doses’ worth of material ready worldwide by the same time.

By the end of the first quarter of next year — so the beginning of April — she says there will be enough material for about 700 million doses worldwide, and about 40 million doses ready to go in the UK. And by the end of the year, they expect to have made 3 billion doses. The Serum Institute in India, the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, has a licence to manufacture it, so that’s a plausible number. Ewer said that it is estimated that something like two-thirds of the world’s children have received a vaccine made by the Serum Institute: “They are manufacturing on an enormous scale,” she said. “This is exactly what they specialise in, and that’s why we worked so hard to get them on board, because they can do large-scale cheap manufacture.”

Better still, if the half-dose/full-dose regimen gets licensed, then that means it takes 25% less vaccine per patient. So your 40 million doses would vaccinate about 26 million Britons, instead of 20 million. Your 3 billion doses at the end of 2020 would vaccinate 2 billion people worldwide, not 1.5 billion.

That’s nowhere near enough for herd immunity, especially if the efficacy is on the lower end of the estimate, but it’s enough to vaccinate a huge chunk of at-risk groups and essential workers such as healthcare staff. And AstraZeneca and the manufacturers it has licensed the vaccine to will continue to churn out hundreds of millions more a month.

On top of this the Oxford vaccine, as has been widely reported, can be stored at normal fridge temperatures — between 2° and 8°C. It’s not that it would have been impossible to get huge amounts of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to, say, rural Malawi, with their -20°C and -80°C storage requirements, but it will be a damn sight easier with this one.

And, perhaps best of all, the Oxford vaccine looks as though it will sell at something like £2-3 a dose, according to Ewer. Pfizer is expected to sell its vaccine at about £15 and Moderna at more like £25. It is simply much more plausible that this can be bought and distributed in the large numbers required for use in the developing world. This is, says Ewer, partly because the viral vector vaccine technology is older – Johnson & Johnson has one for Ebola which is already being used — so “all the background work on deployment has been done”, while the mRNA vaccines are entirely novel (if exciting).

I don’t know what this will mean for Britain in the short term. I was speaking recently to a senior scientist who helps advise the government about the mass testing that’s been piloted in Liverpool, and he mentioned that one possibility is that people who test positive have to isolate for a week, but then get a six-month passport saying they’ve had the disease and are safe. He suggested that the same system could be used for vaccines; it sounds plausible to me, with caveats, but whether it actually happens is anyone’s guess.

But the takeaway is that this, like the Pfizer and Moderna announcements in previous weeks, is fantastic news. More vaccines will come, and may be better in various ways, but this is a mass-availability, cheap, effective, easily-stored candidate that does everything you want. It will form the backbone of Britain’s response, and the world’s, and I’m really excited by it.

Now, I just can’t wait to find out what we get next Vaccine Candidate Announcement Day. See you next Monday!

 


Tom Chivers is a science writer. His second book, How to Read Numbers, is out now.

TomChivers

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polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago

Wotever.
By the time we return to normal, we will discover that there is no normal left. Just mass unemployment, unmanageable debt, boarded-up pubs and dodgy geezers offering to sell us forged “passports”.
I don’t think the chattering classes realise what they have done. I’m not angry, well except with myself: For not realising sooner that the established political, media and cultural rulers of this country couldn’t organise a fart in a baked bean factory.

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
3 years ago

Ooh, where can I get one of those forged passports?…..

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

When I get mine I’ll let you know.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

It has been obvious to many of us, for many years, that the British state cannot ‘organise a fart in a baked bean factory’, as you so delicately put it. For me, the first true realisation came with the response to ‘Fut ‘n Mouf’ in 2001, and it’s been downhill ever since. Of course, the reviled and repulsive Neil Ferguson was involved with ‘Fut ‘n Mouf’.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Humanity does not seem to have advanced since the Romans were fiddling about in animal entrails to predict the future. Mystic Meg updated this with her crystal ball. Now we have mathematical modellers doing the equivalent of the Romans and we still believe the nonsense their models produce. Mathematical modelling is fine for systems we are building, but it is pointless for attempting to predict the future as every climate model proves. Our one failure throughout human history is the belief that we can control everything and eliminate all risk.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The difference is, the Roman’s produced the greatest Empire the world has ever seen, whilst we came a good second.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yeah with about 50% of the population slaves. I don’t call that a great civilisation. They also sentenced people to be torn apart by wild animals for entertainment.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Yeah, that’s right Tony.
Descended as I am from a race of serfs, I am in fact a racist slave owner.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Remember the sentence of ‘Damnatio ad bestias’ was performed at lunchtime, as a prelude to far more exciting stuff in the afternoon.

However I would gladly watch a human being been torn apart by a magnificent beast!

To take a contemporary example, the loathsome Albanian sub human piece of excrement known as Eltiona Shana, (30), who slit the throat of seven year old Emily Jones in Bolton a year ago, would be an absolutely perfect candidate. O, the joy of watching her ‘torn limb from limb’ in say the great arena at Nimes would be magic!

How such a revolting reptile was ever allowed to enter this country in 2014 is beyond me.

Have we forgotten those great words, “which serves it in the office of a wall or as a moat defensive to a house”? Yet daily such filth enters this ‘sceptred isle’ with absolutely terrifying consequences, yet the Home Office typically ignores the issue,
Truly pathetic !

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Every model comes with a set of assumptions that make it a tractable problem to solve with a computer. To know what a model can tell you, you need to know its simplifying assumptions.
I don’t think models (at least, peer-reviewed results from models) are nonsense per se – but journalists read way more into the results than their actual meaning.
That takes me back to the very first Uni Physics practical lesson, where we were taught how to interpolate – but never to extrapolate.
Credit to Tom Chivers for taking the former path!

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

The people whose lives have been saved by the lockdown will be protected by the vaccine. They’d be dead without the lockdown. That’s the reality.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

A rushed vaccine is not the answer, just as lockdowns aren’t the answer.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

The vaccines have been developed quickly but corner-cutting has been avoided.

Lockdowns have saved the lives of large numbers of people who will be protected by the vaccine.

Compare the knowledge and professionalism of the scientists at Oxford University, AstraZeneca, and the other organisations, and ask yourself whether you really know better than them. Or whether the data they will publish, which will be peer-reviewed, compares with anti-vax people recycling nonsense they have gleaned from websites. Seriously.

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“corner-cutting has been avoided”? How can you possibly make such a claim when, normally, vaccines require THREE YEARS testing on animals and humans before being released on the public?

John Finn
John Finn
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Lockdowns have saved the lives of large numbers of people who will be protected by the vaccine.

Peru introduced a strict, military imposed lockdown before they’d recorded a single death and when case numbers were below 100.

They now have the second highest per capita Covid fatality rate in the world – just behind Belgium (who also had a lockdown).

How many lives have been saved in Peru?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  John Finn

Clearly Peru hasn’t done it the right way.

Melbourne has essentially eliminated the disease after a 137-day lockdown with severe measures. Saving a lot of lives.

John Finn
John Finn
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I think you might be missing a key point here. There is clearly a significant difference in the infectiousness and lethality of the virus between continents.

Australia & New Zealand are not only separated from their nearest neighbours by several hundred miles of ocean, those neighbours have also experienced considerably lower infection rates than the Americas & Europe. It’s likely that SE Asia has some pre-existing to SARS-Cov-2.

India abandoned their lockdown back in June but their mortality rate from the virus is around 80% lower than South America. The same goes for Bangladesh & Pakistan.

Japan has carried on pretty much as normal but there death rate is less than a tenth of Germany’s.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-53188847

Belgium has been in and out of lockdown for months. They now have the highest mortality rate in the world – by far.

The UK introduced the first lockown on March 23rd. Deaths peaked on April 8th, The average time between symptoms onset and death is about 17 days. Factor in an incubation period of ~5 days means the period between initial infection and death is 3 weeks. That suggests peak infections occurred in Mid-March, i.e. BEFORE lockdown.

The most recent lockdown began on November 4th. Because of increased testing and surveillance (ONS & ZOE), we know that infections in several ‘hotspot’ regions were already in decline well before the end of October.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“The vaccines have been developed quickly but corner-cutting has been avoided.” Your logic is totally flawed and yet you still manage to amaze.

How could you possibly know there has been no corner cutting?

A big factor in all of this is the indemnity from prosecution these drug companies have been given to fast track a vaccine.

Plus, why if one is not in an at risk group, and even if one managed to catch the virus one would have a 99.7% likelihood of surviving, would they be advised to take a hastily developed vaccine. It is not as though problems with fully tested drugs don’t occur!

So, just like I don’t bother having a flu vaccine as there really is more risk that reward, I won’t be having any Covid vaccine either.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  David Schwartz

I’m with you David – no vaccine for me. I agree with your comments. You can clearly see who thinks for themselves vs those who join the rehearsed narrative. I have never had a flu vaccine. I am healthy and intend to stay that way.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

And obviously the fact that you “intend to stay that way” will make it so, won’t it? You don’t need medical science, you just need willpower!

What nonsense.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Well Chris, I don’t believe for a second that these vaccines are safe and there are thousands who agree. Lockdowns are killing people but just because you aren’t being bombarded with the numbers like you are about all the covid ‘cases’ doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. There are some scientists actually saying these vaccines are being rushed and that due diligence may not be adhered to. Afterall, the vaccines are being sold as the silver bullet. Look at all the money big Pharma will collect after this and knowing they can’t be sued for causing harm, pretty much makes it a win-win for them doesn’t it. Science is falling on the wayside with media. And actually I have researched vaccines for years. There are too many given and one can only see all the immune issues they cause vs help.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

So what is the answer then? Just let Covid run riot through the population?
Or are there some pearls of wisdom you possess that you have not shared with us?

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

We have an immune system Firebird. For those with compromised immune systems, take care and be prudent. For healthy people, get out and live life. Masks are useless. Wash your hands. Keep a distance. Keep the economy going. If not, there will be many more deaths that aren’t covid. Mainstream media has bombarded us with fear and now people are even wearing a mask out for a walk with their dog. Really? There is a bigger agenda going on.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

“For healthy people, get out and live life. ….. Wash your hands. Keep a distance.”

That’s what people were doing when the virus cases were mounting by the week, and the deaths were mounting 2-3 weeks later. Then lockdowns were introduced. People no longer caught covid from colleagues at work because they were working from home or furloughed. They no longer caught covid while shopping for clothes or non-essentials because non-essential shops were closed during the lockdown. They no long caught covid in a crowded bar with their mates because the bars were closed. And the exponential rise in infections was reversed into a decline, and the number of deaths a few weeks later fell as well. Those are the facts. Oh, but like Trump’s press secretary back at the beginning of his misrule, you have some “alternative facts” I’m sure.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Whose lives were saved by the lockdown? That’s a declaration with no evidence to support it. Meanwhile, there is empirical data on the lives harmed by the lockdown.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The people who haven’t caught it due to the lockdown and would have died if they did. For example, in the UK, the rate of infection is now beginning to fall after three weeks of lockdown whereas before lockdown it was rising rapidly. The difference between those two lines is the people who haven’t caught it but would have caught it without lockdown. A few percent of those people die.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The people who haven’t caught it due to the lockdown and would have died if they did.
Again, you have absolutely no evidence to support that. Infection does not equal death; it doesn’t even equal hospitalization for most people. In the states, the biggest group is the asymptomatic.

A few percent of those people die.
Maybe but these are people who in poor shape and will die of something. Lockdowns, meanwhile, have led to deaths that were absolutely preventable, not to mention the other consequences.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The people who haven’t caught it due to the lockdown and would have died if they did.
Again, you have absolutely no evidence to support that. Infection does not equal death; it doesn’t even equal hospitalization for most people. In the states, the biggest group is the asymptomatic.
–> Unless you are going to claim that no-one who gets infected with Covid dies as a result (clearly nonsense), you have to admit that some of the people who were saved from infection by lockdowns have been saved from dying as a result.

A few percent of those people die.
Maybe but these are people who in poor shape and will die of something. Lockdowns, meanwhile, have led to deaths that were absolutely preventable, not to mention the other consequences.
–> Amazing callousness.

A further point. Without a lockdown, there would be more people infected – you aren’t seriously questioning that, are you? Seriously? A few percent of those would be telephoned in to hospitals as “my wife/husband can’t breathe and is turning blue”. Your response would be what, exactly? “They were going to die anyway”? “The economy is more important”? “They should turn up at the hospital, we’ll kick out even more cancer and heart disease cases to free up space than we have already discharged, but that’s a price worth paying to avoid a lockdown because as right-wingers we have an ideological fetish against that”?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Unless you are going to claim that no-one who gets infected with Covid dies as a result (clearly nonsense), you have to admit that some of the people who were saved from infection by lockdowns have been saved from dying as a result.
So you have moved from begging the question outright to moving the goalposts. You cannot show any evidence that lock downs prevented a thing. Meanwhile, there is ample evidence of lives lost because of it.

Amazing callousness.
No, it’s called reality. No one gets out of here alive. Callousness is your persistent disregard of the damage done by the lockdowns. Another person here talked of a colleague whose cancer diagnosis came too late due to the Covid fetish. You hand wave such deaths as an unfortunate by-product.

Without a lockdown, there would be more people infected – you aren’t seriously questioning that, are you?
The only thing a lock down may accomplish is delaying the spread of the virus through the population. It does not ‘prevent’ anything. The rest of that paragraph is typical of the left – putting words in people’s mouths and assuming the worst because they do not agree with your opinion and you cannot defend it otherwise.

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Your last counter argument misses an important point. Many people are not reporting symptoms of heart attacks, for example, for fear of contacting COVID at the hospital. A poor choice and, sadly, one often made.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Hanke

I’m sure that’s true. And even more true for cancerous lumps, which people so commonly find an excuse to discount rather than take action on. But then, some people have caught covid in hospitals (while others already had it but didn’t realise, so are wrongly blaming the hospitals). I don’t see your argument. When 55,000 have died from the disease, there is no way of persuading people that some contexts such as hospitals are not more dangerous than others. The claims made by some on this thread that there isn’t really such a thing as covid, it is just a hoax, it’s no worse than flu, etc, have no credibility among the general public. Fortunately, in six months time that won’t be the case any more, as a result of vaccination. Meanwhile, it would be a good thing to persuade people that if they think it’s even possible that they have symptoms of a heart attack, or an unexplained lump, they are at more risk from ignoring it than the risk of going into a hospital to get it checked out.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The harangue is neither welcome or constructive. About 600k people die in the UK every year, average age 81.4 years. Those dying of Covid have an average of 82.5 and they have co-morbidities. In many cases it is hard to say whether Covid was a cause of death let alone a main cause. It doesn’t mean the deaths are a matter of indifference but it does offer a perspective. Perhaps more to the point in 30 years we closed down 60% of hospital beds, closed down the infectious disease hospitals, and we have neither the staff or the conditions. According magical properties to hurriedly developed biological may not be a substitute. The first thing we needed was the health infrastructure and we didn’t have it. Too few people working in appalling conditions and we can’t make up for it. There should have been major reorganisations in the summer, but it was said the NHS boss Simon Stevens vetoed them.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

They also closed convalescent homes in my area at least, so that was a cause of bed-blocking, which is forever being complained of. The worst thing about this pandemic, I think, has been the deaths of so many doctors and nurses.

Clare Webber
Clare Webber
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

It is in the interest of *everyone*, including those badly affected by covid, to protect the economy, so those who recover have something to come out of hospital to, and not a locked down shadow of what life was like before they became Ill.

Andrew McCoull
Andrew McCoull
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The infection rate seems to be following the expected curve for the secondary wave of a respiratory virus at this time of year, as it did for the first wave. It was already peaking when the lockdown was imposed. They’ve been very clever with their timing.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

What is your evidence for “he expected curve for the secondary wave of a respiratory virus at this time of year” ?

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I just want to say, check out Ivor Cummins on YouTube. There you find all the graphs , true science, and predictions of exactly as it is now, made as early as September. The graphs for all cause mortality throughout Europe follow the same curve as most autumns and 2018 was actually worse.
I’m sorry Chris, but you, and we have been scammed.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  John Ottaway

I saw that as well. As I said above the 2018 flu epidemic killed more people in the same bracket than Covid has. I don’t know anyone who has died of Covid personally but I read in the papers that it happens, but written in such a way as to inspire fear and panic.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

if you have not seen any evidence of this then you have closed your eyes to looking. Prof Michael Levitt was talking of this in March 2020.

Prof Isaac Ben-Israel was also explaining the trajectory of a respiratory disease back in March April. We have basically destroyed the country because a group of hysterics cannot come to terms with the fact that old sick people die! Rather than accept this they have conspired to try to save this group by sacrificing a less obvious group.

Not only have they decided it is OK to kill off those not effected by the virus but who don’t form a recognised demographic they have destroyed the economy to boot.

lindie.naughton
lindie.naughton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

Spot on. By the time all these miracle vaccines appear, the virus – like every other virus since the dawn of time – may well be history. And, as usual, we’ll have to rely on the natural immune systems every human being is equipped with to ward off the next one. That’s good news since a robust immune system, fostered by fresh air, good food and exercise, is remarkably capable of seeing off quite a lot of illnesses.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago

‘By the time all these miracle vaccines appear, the virus – like every other virus since the dawn of time – may well be history.’

This isn’t true. The bubonic plague which laid waste to whole populations from the Dark Ages up to the 17th century still breaks out in some parts of the world. The only reason it doesn’t spread further is due to advances in medical science – as is also the case with smallpox and polio.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

That is true but Covid is a flu thing where one can build up herd immunity. Smallpox and polio are serious diseases and thankfully a vaccine dealt with that.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Covid is not flu, it is a coronavirus which is a different thing entirely – and it leads to viral pneumonia in some of those who catch it.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Bubonic plague is bacterial, not a virus.

Charles Reed
Charles Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

So what’s the point?
Smallpox, bubonic plague, tuberculosis all killed a major part of the human race through history.
Of those only the first is by any stretch of imagination a virus.
But we vaccinate, in most advanced countries, against all three.
We’ll just have to add a coronavirus (or two?) to those.
Most probably, as one grim reaper is halted in its tracks, another will come along.
Probably too many humans around and, rather like battery hens, they’re prone to sudden culls, by one or another sickles.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

Reminds me. I need to get back to good exercise and fresh air.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

That’s what Ivor Cummings predicted.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

So you imply that the current (second) lockdown is unnecessary, but appears successful because “they’ve been very clever with their timing”.

Why would they want a lockdown, with economic damage which people will far from thank them for at the ballot box, if it’s unnecessary?

I think you are living in conspiracy land, unless you can explain.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Most people who have caught it have not died. Your reasoning makes no sense.

John Finn
John Finn
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Firstly, this is nonsense “A few percent of those people die“. The fatality rate is about 0.3%. Secondly, ….

The rate of infection was falling in several regions BEFORE the lockdown while the rate in other regions was increasing – but slowing. Trends in individual regions were masked by the national trend.

You also need to bear in mind that there is an incubation period of about 5 days between infection and symptoms.

ONS & Covid Symptom data confirm this trend – as does the government data. Read Professor Tim Spector’s article here.

https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/did-lockdown-2-0-work-heres-whats-going-on-with-covid-19-across-the-country

The good news is that our latest analysis for the whole of the UK shows that we are past the peak of new COVID-19 cases, which probably occurred before we went into Lockdown 2.0.

And this

Areas that were under relatively strict tier restrictions in October – including the North East and North West of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – are all seeing a continued drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases after peaking in the second half of October.

By contrast, the number of new cases in the Midlands has risen steadily since the beginning of October and continued during lockdown. Rates are now higher here than in the North of England, although hopefully showing signs of levelling off.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“The people who haven’t caught it due to the lockdown and would have died if they did.”

Go on then offer up the methodology of how you calculate this?

What about all the people who would have died at the end of 2019 early 2020 had it been a normal flu season in the UK? It may well be that many of those who died of Covid actually had 3 to 4 months more life than they would have been expected to have in August 2019.

As for your belief that lockdowns work your reasoning is utterly flawed.

,i.

John Finn
John Finn
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

For example, in the UK, the rate of infection is now beginning to fall after three weeks of lockdown whereas before lockdown it was rising rapidly.

This is nonsense. We know infections were falling before the lockdown was introduced. The waters are muddies by the fact that there were regions which were experiencing a decline in infections while some were increasing.

Lockdown didn’t change that. The North West continued to decline while the Midlands, for example. were still seeing an increase in infections.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The cold weather would have made the rate rise as with flu but it doesn’t rise forever hence the rate of increase falling. I don’t think it is clear that lockdown did this.

chris j
chris j
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Was dropping before (3 week lag) 2.0 lockdown started.
The 77th have sent their most stubborn keyboard warrior when they called on you to do your bit for Queen and Country

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  chris j

Again you write gibberish about “the 77th”. Clearly it means something to you.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Apparently the normal flu epidemic of 2018 claimed more lives than Covid in the same group of people.

stephen.collins
stephen.collins
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

And what about the people who are dead because of the lockdown? I know a 30 year old (2 kids), 34 year old and 45 year old (2 kids) who have all killed themselves in the last six months, and a +/- 50 year old in my team at work whose cancer has been detected far too late and has a week or two to live. On the other hand, I know one semi-retired chap who succumbed to COVID. Maybe not the typical 82 year old obese diabetic cancer patient COVID victim but the baby has well and truly gone out with the bathwater here.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Very sorry to hear that. But a regards your colleague with cancer, the more people with Covid are kept out of hospitals, the more space there is in them for other people. Without a lockdown, there would have been more people unable to breathe and needing admission to hospital otherwise they would have died on their sofas at home. Without lockdown, there would have been an even bigger impact on treatment of other diseases than there already has been.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Look again at the trial results presented here. Not one person was seriously ill, even those not receiving the vaccine.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

There in lies the problem This government have decided to act on the advice of the doom-monger scientist the ones who have been proved to be wrong on most of their previous prediction and yet they still get listened to.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  David Schwartz

Fishy isn’t it? I read how most of the contracts for covid equipment facemasks PPL etc. went to companies associated with tory connections. There was no bidding. A lot of MP’s were on the boards of those companies.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Did you also hear at the time that the Chinese had bought up the whole world’s supply and that Mrs May’s administration hadn’t stocked up enough because they were planning for a flu pandemic? It was a mad scramble the whole world over to get supplies. If HMG had gone through 6 weeks of due process we would not have had any PPE at all, and then you would have serious cause for complaint. Never mind, what you are peddling makes a good class hating story. Lady Harding is doing the job for nothing, by the way, out of patriotic duty, and she is married to a Conservative MP. Perhaps that is the connexion you are thinking of?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Rosie, it didn’t help that between 2014 and 2019 the NHS stockpile of PPE was reduced by 40% (in value) in order to release money to the NHS to cover the Tory spending limits. Or that when around 2017-2018 an NHS doctors and scientists taskgroup on infection control in the event of a pandemic advised that a droplet-spread disease (which would include both flu and corona, I suspect, unless anyone would like to correct me, so I don’t see the point of you distinguishing between flu PPE and corona PPE) would necessitate particular types of PPE (I think it was face masks but I’m saying that from memory), the Government didn’t buy a single item of some classes of PPE. Not a single one. Money was too short. This was, let’s remember, an NHS which had met the targets for A+E waiting times and time to start cancer treatment under Labour and the afterglow of that investment had lasted some time into Tory rule, but by 2019 both the A+E and the cancer treatment targets were being missed in each successive quarter. That was the result of the Tory rundown of the NHS.

As for Lady Dido Harding, when she appeared before MPs to explain the massive data leak at Talk Talk where she was CEO with the usual massive CEO salary, MPs (included Tories) recorded that she was embarrassingly unaware of what had gone on in her own company. Most people who preside over a screwup and are then due to appear in front of a Select Committee would be spending their evenings and weekends preparing for their appearance on the national stage in front of cameras, but not Lady Harding. It’s not a coincidence that the national Test and Trace system she runs is a failure, with very poor tracing rates, and the Government has tacitly admitted that by shifting from predicting it would be “world beating” (Boris Johnson in the spring) to admitting that it makes little change to the R value (Hancock, this autumn). If you are saying that she’s paid nothing, I think that proves that you get what you pay for!

Denouncing criticism of the screwups committed by people who have been appointed because they are Tory insiders and Boris Johnson cronies as “a good class hating story”, and glossing such people as doing their “patriotic duty” (lamentably poorly on any objective measure), may sound good in the Daily Telegraph, but it doesn’t impress anyone who looks at her performance in the job.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

But a regards your colleague with cancer, the more people with Covid are kept out of hospitals, the more space there is in them for other people.
did you even read Steve’s post? His colleague died for LACK OF care. The covid panic prevented a timely diagnosis from occurring, and that man is hardly the sole victim of this.

Hospitals had to furlough employees by the thousands because of the Covid fixation. That also means that thousands of people were effectively denied treatment.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I work in healthcare in UK – very few employees were furloughed. They were redeployed to different tasks to support the efforts of coping with Covid and/or providing care for non Covid patients. This applied to almost all clinical, admin and support staff.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Odd that so many hospitals had the time to devise, chorography practice and film Tik Tok videos, often while dressed in PPE!

I don’t think you understand the scale of how much the NHS has turned into a Covid Service. Try getting to see a GP for instance, they appear to be mostly in hiding.

Meanwhile relatives of mine who work in hospitals were being asked to take unpaid leave in the first lock down!

Many many more people will die as a result of what the government has done than would have died from the virus. Plus, given the average age of someone dying with Covid mentioned on their death certificate is above the average age of death in the UK, the deaths caused due to lock down will result in far more quality-adjusted life years being lost. In short, Covid is predominantly killing old people with comorbidities while the lock down is killing younger people! I am left unsure why you think this preferable?

This is just death, we also need to measure the level of depression and despondency which is growing. Then there is the really issue with the reduction of our civil liberties and the reaction of the over zealous police forces.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  David Schwartz

‘Covid is predominantly killing old people with comorbidities while the lock down is killing younger people!’

How many young people have died of lockdown as compared with those aged 65+ with or without comorbidities whose deaths are recorded as having been due to Covid? Since lockdown is not a recognised disease I assume you are referring to those who have taken their own lives? Or is there some other illness caused by lockdown which is killing off young people left right and centre.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago
Reply to  David Schwartz

Treatment with budesonide via nebulizer has been proved to get people well without tubes etc. It is also cheap, see http://www.budesonideworks.com – of course this is in America. I don’t suppose the NHS would let us have it!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  David Schwartz

Yes you are right. I was pointed to an online advice service run by a private company.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  David Schwartz

Odd that so many hospitals had the time to devise, chorography practice and film Tik Tok videos, often while dressed in PPE!

Is there some secret forum where you all share your talking points? I keep seeing the “Tik Tok videos” one all over the place, as if it proves anything very much. (Along with the “my mate’s mum’s neighbour who’s a nurse says it’s all made up” and “This bloke on Facebook tested apple juice and it came back positive”).

In any case, we’ll shortly see in the USA what happens when you let this thing go wild, I suspect. There are already hospitals getting close to breaking point there.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Like the 5 nurses who became suspicious of the amount of tests coming back positive. So they sent their own tests, and they all came back positive. Problem was all 5 tests were unused, they hadn’t been tested on anything. Just taken out of one bag, put in another and sent off.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Not so sure about that. In Sweden they had voluntary lockdown ie everyone made their own decision and it appears to have turned out well for them.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

There are no spaces for other people. They emptied the hospitals to cope with the deluge that never arrived from covid and most all services were suspended. All old age people were moved out of hospitals into care homes to make room. Thats why there seemed to be a high number of deaths in the care homes. Those old age people were originally in the hospital for a reason, they were near the end of life. All it did was transfer the dying from the hospitals to the care homes. My sister works in the care industry, so does 2 of my friends wives, so i know what is going on in the care homes, and you are all being duped.

chris j
chris j
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

You’re well aware that the strict religious observance of covidism has been practiced by the NHS since March? Hence all missed cancer dementia cardio deaths we’ve been building up as those brave ‘r’NHS nurses TikToked and demanded free food and queue jumping?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  chris j

When you return to reality, rather than spite and ignorance, your views will have more interest to others.

NHS nurses are being run ragged working shifts in PPE. Your comment that they “demanded free food and queue jumping” says nothing true about nurses but a great deal about you.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

I know of a group of young people in our local hospital dying of cancer because it was indentified too late because of Covid.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Name one person.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

That’s just it. He keeps tossing out “lockdowns saved lives” like an article of faith that completely ignores the empirical data regarding the lives lost because of lockdowns.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Pro lockdowners and hysterics can not begin to accept responsibility for the harm they have done – it would break them.

It’s the trolley problem. A horrible virus was heading towards an awful lot of older/sick people.

With the massive intervention we pulled the lever and sent the trolley sent it hurtling towards millions of others.

The hysteria itself has killed 10,000s, positvie patients tossed into care homes, residents denied treatment, people not wanting to ‘bother’ the NHS. 10,000s more than usual dying at home.

Simon Giora
Simon Giora
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Hello Chris,

You might want to read this peer reviewed paper. If not the full paper, here are the results (my italics):

“Results: Higher Covid death rates are observed in the
[25/65°] latitude and in the [ñˆ’35/ñˆ’125°] longitude ranges. The national
criteria most associated with death rate are life expectancy and its
slowdown, public health context (metabolic and non-communicable diseases (NCD) burden vs. infectious diseases prevalence), economy (growth national product, financial support), and environment (temperature,
ultra-violet index). Stringency of the measures settled to fight
pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death
rate.”

https://www.frontiersin.org

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Giora

Yes, I did read it.

It’s interesting, but it’s comparing societies with different cultures (does “a lockdown” mean locking down, or does it just mean giving a few coins to your friendly neighbourhood policeman followed by keeping on trading, for example?) and different healthcare systems. It makes more sense to look at a single society (UK) and see what happens when it switches from mild restrictions to lockdown.

Look at the graphs which are shown on the BBC news each day. Before the latest lockdown, infection cases and hospital admissions were rising each day. After three weeks of lockdown, infections are falling (despite the Liverpool mass testing presumably increasing the number of tests performed), and hospital admissions are falling. Are you going to claim that the reversal of those trends when lockdown stopped people mingling is just a coincidence?

Of course, for a highly infectious disease which spreads by person to person contact, suppression of infection numbers is exactly what you would expect from a lockdown. And it has happened.

onrootgreenhouse
onrootgreenhouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Chris, there is a list of studies showing the efficacy, or lack thereof, of lockdowns. Search for Ivor Cummins website “Published Papers and Data on Lockdown”

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I hate to upset you Chris, but 99% of us die, and we die of something.
The remaining 1% go to the House of Lords.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

We don’t have to die early as a result of refusing doctors’ advice.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

We are not dying early though are we.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

Maybe we should do something really radical and think about whether this whole “progressive” BS is actually the way to go. You can’t solve everything with science and politics. Sometimes, you just have to take it on the chin and take your chances. Like every generation of humans up to last Tuesday.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

I am hearing reports of possible after effects of a vaccine down the line. With this big race nobody has looked into the after effects properly.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Perhaps they’ll require in response to those after effects…oh, I don’t know…more of the same as we’ve been suffering this year? More government? More lockdowns? More “resets”?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

“Take it on the chin” like the 55,000 who have already died. And those who are suffering long-covid, with heart and lung problems being discovered.

Or, indeed, relax the restrictions so that we can get the deaths into six figures.

Or then again, we could minimise the number of people who get the disease over the next three months, vaccinate as many as are willing to be vaccinated by Easter, and then the disease will be under control and there will be either minimal restrictions or no restrictions.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago

I don’t want to pour cold water on this – I am not anti vaccination and I think the work that has been done to produce these vaccines in such a quick turnaround is impressive and the scientists are to be congratulated.

However, it is concerning that the thing that’s always missing from this vaccine adulation is an acknowledgement of the awful precedent that has been set for pandemic management with this particular event. The idea that humanity can be ‘locked up’ until a vaccine is ready is an appalling abuse of humanity – and the fact that so many are compliant with it shows how cheaply we have surrendered our core values and our compassion for those who have suffered.

The vaccines are terrific news – but the conversation about our mortality and our humanity still needs to be had and we can’t become addicted to hunkering down in our hovels every time a risk emerges until a deus ex machina emerges.

Case in point, the idea of a six month pass being given to people – permission to live your life (by who and on what authority?) was casually referred to in this article as if it was a natural occurrence and not a major affront to human agency; dignity and freedom – have we really allowed ourselves to become so desensitised to such indignities?

I feel a debate is badly needed, even while the vaccine does roll out and the scientist receive their due adulation (‘thanks, but we can’t do this again’)

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

But when you praise the scientific effort it must be acknowledged that our politicians were engaged in constructing this appalling narrative from the beginning and that we are being corralled to accept products which we will not know enough about for a long time to come. Indeed, the water will be muddied if people get to receive different products over the months, which is the most likely scenario – so we will never know. Also, of course, huge amounts of public money have been syphoned off by politicians who are apparently in corrupt relation to the producers of these products. And do we have the independent and objective agencies to monitor them? Yes, a debate is badly needed – and the most sinister thing is the government is trying to drive it underground or even criminalise it.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

The research gets peer-reviewed and then published.

Whereas conspiratorial internet nonsense just gets passed from one person who doesn’t know what they are talking about, to the next.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

It goes with the money – manifestly the science is half-finished at best and now the public are to be bullied and coerced. Thay may be how you think things should be done.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Evidence relating to the vaccine trials will, of course, be published and peer-reviewed.

Unfortunately, the ‘science’ and models upon which the government has based the enforcement of totally unreasonable and illiberal policies has not been peer reviewed and much of it has never been published.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“Peer review” that gold standard, bless!

It is as if you have never heard of the “Grievance studies affair”!

Stop swallowing all the MSM BS you keep regurgitating and try to apply some critical thought on what you are being told.

You are acting like one of the periodicals who fell for the Grievance Study hoax.

chris j
chris j
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Just like you lot at the 77th

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

(‘thanks, but we can’t do this again’)
I don’t know about that. The US may have elected a president who wants to do just that. We have several governors doing that very thing. We even have some who are happily enlisting citizens to rat out their neighbors for daring to host holiday gatherings. There is a Covid Panic Society with whom there is no reasoning.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I know this stuff is crazy. To rat out your neighbours and friends, is a new step past crazy. What does this remind you of? Are we doomed to repeat the past?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

I remember when we used to moralize and wag our fingers at societies that did this sort of thing.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Being US-based, maybe you have no folk memory of the sacrifices and restrictions of freedom which my parents’ and grandparents’ generation accepted to defeat another threat.

Imagine, they had to install blackout curtains, and wardens went round at night and hassled them if lights were showing. What a terrible infringement of their liberty! They should have stood up for freedom and insisted on their right to display lights to enemy aircraft, presumably?

But after a few years, the sacrifices had worked, the threat was defeated and the restrictions could be ended.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Being US-based, maybe you have no folk memory of the sacrifices and restrictions of freedom which my parents’ and grandparents’ generation accepted to defeat another threat.
Some of us have memory of the tens of thousands who left their lives to join the battle. And there were plenty of restrictions here as the nation went on war footing. That’s not even a good straw man.

But after a few years, the sacrifices had worked, the threat was defeated and the restrictions could be ended.
Are you actually comparing a war to a virus? Is the virus going to surrender at some point because we have sacrificed enough otherwise healthy people to it through over-reaction?

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

This is a false equivalency – we are not at war with a virus; and to commit to such a thing would only end up causing misery and death on a scale to be matched by the very thing we are supposedly against. This is a different kind of threat to the one posed by a series of conscious actors involved in a military action against us.

The virus is a natural phenomenon – much like those we have coexisted with since the dawn of time – it is not going any where and it will never sign a declaration of surrender, there will be no Nuremberg trial for Covid 19. You just need a better strategy for managing it.

chris j
chris j
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Conflating a real war with a pandemic. More emotive whataboutery

Teri Barbour
Teri Barbour
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Well said, you reflect my thoughts entirely

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

We definitely have survived as a species before through various things. Lockdowns are not humane and I really feel the government know exactly what they are doing. As for the vaccine, it isn’t about being anti – it is about choosing what is best for your body/life. I am not supporting a vaccine like this for a virus.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Do you accept vaccines for other diseases?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

The debate we need is surely to understand more about the flu vaccine. Thousands die with flu every year. Where is the data that tells us whether they had the flu vaccine? Every Covid vaccine trial only reports people having slight symptoms. We have no idea how many were exposed to the virus. We know that the ones suffering and needing hospitalisation and some dying are those with pre-exiting conditions. All the volunteers for the trail are presumably young and healthy and the first people the government plans to vaccinate are the elderly and most vulnerable. They will have to catch me and hold me down before they give any of these rushed out vaccines to me.

lindie.naughton
lindie.naughton
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Spot on. Far too many unanswered questions.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

My neighbour is taking part in the trials and he is 76

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

All the seniors in nursing homes and long-term care in this country had a flu vaccine and look how that helped. 🙁

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

Another crap article.

“It’s no where enough for herd immunity”

The assumption here, not stated is that the only way of getting herd immunity is a magic bullet from big Pharma, costing billions so big Pharma makes lots of money.

Deaths in the UK 52,000. Infection fatality rate, 0.1%. Do the maths. 52 million already infected, IF the death toll is accurate.

We already have herd immunity

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Since Tom said goodbye to evidence based science crap has been the only thing he produced but it pays better of course.

benjamin.mrsh
benjamin.mrsh
3 years ago

I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, when Tom first mentioned vaccinating the whole world. Why are we wasting money on trying to eradicate COVID? We should accept its here to stay, protect the vulnerable and that’s about it. Or am I missing something?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  benjamin.mrsh

How are you going to “protect the vulnerable”? With a vaccine, presumably. So the vaccines are good news anyway.

When vaccination is cheap enough (and this is), it’s going to be cheaper to vaccinate than to take precautions to restrict the spread of infection in other ways. Actually, I don’t think total wipeout of the virus – in the way that was achieved with smallpox – is envisaged at this point. But if those who are known to be vulnerable are close to 100% vaccinated, and the rest of us (who include a proportion who are vulnerable but not identified as such) are mostly vaccinated so that the virus doesn’t spread far, then we can all get on with our lives having spent only a few pounds per person. And that applies to the third world as well.

Of course, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘not vulnerable’ are not binary choices – there’s a spectrum. If you are 60 with heart problems which are controlled by drugs, which group are you in? Probably someone in the middle of the spectrum.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Thanks, Chris, for some sane posts on this subject. Maybe there is some iron law of websites that says that the more sensible the article, the more deranged the responses. It’s certainly the case that UnHerd has generally excellent, thoughtful columnists and a lot of unbalanced commenters.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Calculation is wrong.

Deaths in the UK, 55,000. Number of detected infections (admittedly against a changing backdrop of testing efficiency), around 1.53 million. Death rate around 3.6%. How on earth did you manage to calculate it as 0.1%?

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I think the important point here is – ‘detected infections’.
Since (until the Liverpool experiment) only those who present symptoms are tested, and since greater testing in other countries across everyone seems to suggest that for everyone who exhibits symptoms there may be 3 who asymptomatic, I don’t think your figures are correct.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

I was taking that into account by saying ‘detected’, insofar as it’s possible. Clearly the number of actual infections is higher than those detected, therefore the true UK death rate is lower than 3.6% of those infected. But bear in mind, that’s the death rate when ICUs are not swamped with cases. Some of the people on this site oppose lockdowns, which would have led to hospitals being swamped with cases and people dying on ordinary wards because there was no space for them in ICUs. The death rate in the absence of lockdowns would be higher than it is now, and might have reached or indeed exceeded 3.6%.

But since Aden hasn’t (yet) replied, are you able to work out why he asserts that the death rate is 0.1% ? I can’t.

support
support
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Imperial College London, the REACT (REal Time Assessment of Community Transmission) in august calculated the overall infection fatality ratio at 0.9% – https://www.imperial.nhs.uk

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  support

Interesting. With more testing picking up the infection cases which would previously have gone undetected, the infection fatality ratio is more accurately calculated (as Kathryn predicted above and suggested 0.6%). Note however that in August NHS ICUs were not under much pressure – that’s a best case calculation, not the IFR if the virus ripped and cases were being prioritised.

0.9% of the UK population is around 570,000 deaths from infecting the entire UK population of 64million by allowing the virus to rip without restraint, if of course those infected already are representative of the whole UK population. Since they may well be disproportionately old (not least due to the Government moving old people from hospital to care homes in March), maybe it would be much less than that. And herd immunity would eventually constrain transmission, even with this highly infectious virus, so that some people would never get it. So what are we saying? – 250,000 deaths in total? 150,000 in total? So another 100,000 or 200,000 deaths

But wait: by Easter, we can vaccinate everyone who is willing to be vaccinated, and people can be protected from developing the disease, and the NHS can return full time to treating cancer and heart patients etc. Except of course for those who court the disease by declining to be vaccinated, but then fall ill, are unlucky enough to get a bad case, and demand that the NHS treat them! But hopefully the most vulnerable will be most likely to get vaccinated, but we can get by without any drama, and 2021 can be a year of recovery.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

According to WHO 1.4million have so far died out of 58 million detected infected cases, that comes to 2.4% .
Since we know that some countries aren’t testing, and if you accept that for every one detected case there may be as many as 3 undetected. That equates to .6%.

The consequences of lockdown should not be underestimated. In terms of suicides, domestic violence, mental health, children losing out on early education and, of course the economic hit – which will inevitably fall mostly on the younger generations.

These are not decisions I would like to be making. On one side is a fire, on the other an abyss.
It must be wonderful to be so certain when you are not the one on the tightrope.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Kathryn, I’m happy to accept the decisions on medicine of medical experts, and the decisions on the compromise between medicine and economic impacts which are made by national leaders.

The people on this site who are dogmatic are the ones who think that something they read on the net about global conspiracies led by three-headed lizards seeking world domination and directed by the Illuminati (I am parodying them of course, but the nonsense they come out with is not much more credible than that) is more reliable than the decisions of scientists, doctors and responsible national leaders. Who unlike the internet scribblers, will be held responsible for their actions for evermore.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

‘I’m happy to accept the decisions on medicine of medical experts,’
But there’s the rub, Chris. Which medical experts?
Perhaps you would like to reply to the comment of mine above regarding the vaccine for Swine Flu in 2009.
That isn’t conspiracy theory, but fact. You can find the complete article in the Independent on 18th April this year.
Rushing out any form of medicine, even for the right reasons, has all too often in the past lead to disastrous consequences.
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

D G
D G
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

What do you think about the Great Barrington Declaration?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  D G

It’s the position of a small minority.

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“detected infections” using what a PCR test with a cycle of 45! Nobody has any idea what the true infection rate is. However we do know what these numbers are by using data from countries with minimal or zero lockdown and looking at ICU and deaths rates. Suprise suprise is no worse than a bad flu season which puts IFR at 0.1%. If you want some real science with real numbers proper analysis and decent comparisons counytry by country go to Ivor Cummins website. He also posts all the links to the referenced published peer reviewed documents. The truth hurts so don’t go there if you are happy being ignorant.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

“detected infections” using what a PCR test with a cycle of 45!

That’s not grammatical, so it’s not clear what you are saying and therefore it’s hard to respond. Please could you remove the typos?

Possibly the magic figure of 0.1% which Aden quoted is the proportion of the entire population which has died from Covid this year? (eg 55,000 in UK out of 64 million population). But that of course depends on the success of the restrictions in preventing the spread of the disease. Without any restrictions, we might have had ten times as many infections and maybe five times as many deaths, in which case the rate would be 0.5% not 0.1%.

Either way, 55,000 is 55,000.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

“detected infections” using what a PCR test with a cycle of 45

What’s your expertise on PCR testing? Have you ever done one? I recommend Ian M Mackay’s The “false-positive PCR” problem is not a problem article, as it was written by someone who has. I’d also like to see your evidence that any lab is taking a sample which only starts lighting up at 45 cycles as a positive with no further confirmation.

However we do know what these numbers are by using data from countries with minimal or zero lockdown and looking at ICU and deaths rates. Suprise suprise is no worse than a bad flu season which puts IFR at 0.1%.

The IFR depends on the age structure of a population. It is not 0.1 % the UK. What’s your source for that number?

If you want some real science with real numbers proper analysis and decent comparisons counytry by country go to Ivor Cummins website

Cummins not an expert. He’s an engineer (those guys are very susceptible to becoming cranks, for someone reason, we call it “Engineers Disease”) and a diet guru.

He said in September that “around 80% are already de facto immune through cross-immunity, T-cells, prior coronaviruses” (source: Youtube Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained!) 80% immunity would mean we had herd immunity already, which would mean rates of infected per day would only go down, not up. This is not what has happened.

Andrew M
Andrew M
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

GIGO on your maths though.

ian k
ian k
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

This is a complete misuse and misunderstanding of statistical data.
For example if 100 people have been infected and one has died, the CFR is 1%.
If you then have a separate population, and you are told 1 person has died, what you cannot conclude is therefore 100 people have been infected. It could have been many fewer or many more, and by chance has led to one death.

Your calculation is especially inaccurate when the CFR varies by over 1000 fold across individuals in the population. A large proportion of the deaths are from the over 80’s, and will be drawn from a much smaller population of cases than your calculation using an overall CFR.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

What we are learning from this is that The JCVI, Prof Pollard’s committee whether or not he has recused himself, is about to give a green light to a product which is manifestly in an experimental stage (ie they don’t even know what dose to give). Incidentally, in February 2016 meeting the JCVI enjoyed the hospitality of Prof Pollard’s research institution (the Martin School) and his college (St Cross). This can easily checked in the minutes. We know nothing of the long term effects of any of these products: auto-immunity, neurology, cancer, fertility, birth defects, mortality. Chivers is an enthusiast but he cannot tell us. People are telling us to have the vaccines who do not stand in any line of ethical responsibility.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

You’ve hit the nail on the head, John.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

Yes, there are uncertainties and there will no doubt be some side-effects. Look on the packaging of any medicine and you’ll see a long list of these in many cases. But the comparison with the vaccine is not whether it is absolutely safe – it can’t be. It’s whether it’s safer than the status quo by a sufficient margin, and whether delaying to find something that may be safer looks a better option. From what we have been told and can see before us, the answers are yes and no respectively. I hope most people will have the sense to appreciate this. Maybe you could say something positive about people like us who will take the vaccines, given that the risk we are taking will ultimately benefit the free riders who refuse to take a vaccine, but who will benefit when the virus is no longer endemic in the population.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

I don’t know that we have got good evidence about a risk benefit ratio – more certain is that if it does go wrong the government will gaslight you, and there is decades of evidence of that even before the Johnson hate campaign against “antivaxxers” meaning anyone with a critical point of view, and totally disregarding their personal experiences – not to mention Labour trying to criminalise such people. Not to mention your “freeloader” rhetoric either. There were as a matter of history rushed to the market vaccines in 1976 and 2009 and they did go wrong. Also, actually I would never advise anyone what to do, but whatever data we do see is likely to be patchy, if not deliberately selective, we see evidence of government corruption, and sensible people will think about all these things. It is everyone’s choice but what I want to see is better behaviour from politicians and journalists.

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
3 years ago

All it needs to do is vaccinate the brain against fear and the media against hysteria. I have a feeling that all the vaccines are going to be a raging success on this basis, even the 0.9% NaCl ones.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

All it needs to do is to stop 500 people dying every day.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

According to the government statistics there ,fortunately, hasn’t been a single day this autumn on which 500 people have died either of or with Covid-19. The daily rate now is running at 350 and falling.

We do not know how many a day are dying from the impact of the governments policies nor how many more will die in the future.

Back in July, Sage estimated something like 40,000 deaths would occur between April 2020 and March 2021 because of lockdown.

Also our economy has been wrecked totally unnecessarily.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

What we do know is that in April when the human testing of the Oxford vaccine began there was an article in the New York Times saying that the monkeys in the animal tests had not caught the virus, and then a month later it was admitted that they had. Presumably if this had been said in April human testing could not have gone ahead, but there was too much money involved. The problems are all there in the mainstream but people are being corralled:

Peter Doshi, ‘ Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren’t designed to tell us’, BMJ 2020; 371 (Published 21 October 2020)

William Haseltine, ‘ Covid-19 Vaccine Protocols Reveal That Trials Are Designed To Succeed’, Forbes 9 September 2020

Nor do we see responsible behaviour from government bodies, only hysterical and often rather corrupt behaviour.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

Yes, and now if you dare to listen to any news it is all about the vaccine and how it is going to save us. Too bad it won’t save us from our own ignorance and naivety to believe such a thing.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

You know better than the scientists – how?

Something you read on the net?

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

> You know better than the scientists – how?

Check the profile: she’s a “holistic practitioner”. Much more knowledgeable than those scientists and doctors.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

You check peoples profiles? Creepy

Also, if you have a problem with someones arguments address them properly; don’t just dismiss someone with a condescending inference about what they do for a living.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

We’re still waiting for an explanation from the holistic practitioner about how she knows better about vaccines than vaccine scientists whose work is going to be published.

Elsewhere on this thread, she claims that all we need is Vitamin A, C and zinc.

Credible? Or absurd?

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I was taking these from the outset. I caught Covid. Worst illness I have ever had. Wasn’t hospitalised so perhaps they helped a bit. Who knows?! Didn’t stop me catching it though – a nasty dose too. Still suffering effects 2 months later. Wish the vits were a miracle cure but sadly they didn’t work for me

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago

Not ever implied they are a miracle cure. Just can be very helpful.

D G
D G
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

How do you know that lockdowns save lives?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  D G

Cases, and later deaths, fall each time we have a sufficiently tough lockdown in the UK. As they did in Melbourne, which according to yesterday’s Times has had no cases or deaths for 24 days.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Alas, there was no argument as such in the comment from Elizabeth W which started this bit of the thread.

I check the profiles because there are several anti-vaxer holistic homeopathy types posting on here, as illustrated by Elizabeth W’s refusal to answer Chris C’s question on whether she would take any vaccine. If someone is against any vaccine, their problem is not the speed with which this one was developed, is it? Rather, they saw the “Homeopathic A&E” video by Mitchell and Webb during their extensive YouTube research, and thought it was a documentary.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Don’t assume you know all there is to know about me. As soon as you say you are in holistic health – then you must be watching You Tube. What a joke. Ignorance is bliss though isn’t it?

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

There is no scientific agreement, only a governmental heavy hand. The “big scientists” haven’t worked out the correct dosage – they think beginning with a smaller dose is better but it has no statistical base. The government have huge sums of money invested. The government has never looked an honest broker at any time during this episode. The FDA are very unlikely to license the Astra vaccine: you can say that’s politics but it is all politics and all the players are repulsive.

James Moss
James Moss
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

The AZ press release says “One dosing regimen (n=2,741) showed vaccine efficacy of 90% when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart, and another dosing regimen (n=8,895) showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens (n=11,636) resulted in an average efficacy of 70%. All results were statistically significant (p<=0.0001).” This appears to be a statistical base for the smaller start dose.

And then you say the FDA are very unlikely to license the Astra vaccine. What do you mean by that?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  James Moss

Claims that the FDA is unlikely to license the Astra vaccine are being spread by a hedge fund manager who has taken a short position on Astra shares. In other words, he has borrowed Astra shares and sold them in the hope that a fall in the Astra share price will allow him to buy the same number of Astra shares (to return them to the lender) for less than the amount he earlier sold them for, making a profit. If Astra shares go up in price rather than down, he will make a loss. This is standard stock market practice (whatever the rest of us think), but let’s be clear that the motivation for spreading the claim is financial, not medical.

Which doesn’t mean that the FDA will necessarily license the AZ vaccine – they will make their own decision (and who knows, with Trump in office until 20th January and at least one of the competing vaccines being American, there might even be some ‘America first’ influence – who knows).

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
3 years ago

Half dose more effective? Obviously the the first homeopathic vaccine then.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

Definitely will want a homeopathic one.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Half dose is not homeopathy.

bob alob
bob alob
3 years ago

The BBC news last evening reported that the side effects of the Oxford vaccine were “mostly mild”, I would want to know more before taking it.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  bob alob

Well those side effects can’t be as bad as the side effects I get whenever I watch a few seconds of BBC news. Fortunately I threw the TV out 20 years ago, so this doesn’t happen very often.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes, you don’t want to hear anything which might disagree with your views.

I also disagree with some of the stuff on the BBC, but I don’t hermetically seal myself away to avoid thinking about it.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  bob alob

I recall The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy entry on Earth: Mostly harmless.

Duncan Cleeve
Duncan Cleeve
3 years ago
Reply to  bob alob

I think they mean it in the same way as the BLM protests were mostly peaceful, save for a burnt down building or two.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Cleeve

Not really relevant to the good news about another vaccine, is it, Duncan?

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Good news Chris? May I suggest you do more research outside of mainstream news outlets.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  bob alob

Sore arm, headache, feeling a bit flu-y for a day, was what they said.

bob alob
bob alob
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

It was the 10 o’clock one I watched, but he definitely said mostly mild”.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  bob alob

And that is just after you get the vaccine – what about months later, a year or two later? That is when they will say “Oh that is something new you are experiencing – it can’t possibly be from the vaccine a year or two ago”. Just watch. This is about dumbing us down as people. Keeping us in fear so that we will beg for a vaccine. Crimes against humanity for sure.

James Moss
James Moss
3 years ago
Reply to  bob alob

Quite right to. This information will be published in great detail before the product is launched. Licensed vaccines have a comprehensive product information leaflet including such data.

Penny Walker
Penny Walker
3 years ago

I am very confused by the reported results of the three trials so far. Can you confirm how many people took part in the trial? How many were given the vaccine and how many were given a dummy vaccine? Out of the total number of people in the trial how many cases were there? From my reading of the reports of the three trials it seems that there were very few cases in either the dummy vaccine group or the real vaccine group, which begs the question of why we need the vaccine at all. Or am I misunderstanding the figures?

Andrew McCoull
Andrew McCoull
3 years ago
Reply to  Penny Walker

They also say no recipients needed to be hospitalised, presumably when they were infected with COVID to check if the vaccine is effective, but how many of those on the trial are in the at risk groups that, from analysis of those who have been hospitalised with COVID, were at risk of being hospitalised?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

They will have been randomly assigned to the two groups (vaccine or placebo) – or possibly, pseudo-randomised, so that the numbers of 70 year olds (etc etc) in the two groups are the same.

BTW, people on trials are not ‘infected with Covid to check off the vaccine is effective’ – no-one would volunteer for a trial if that were so. They just have the injection and then get on with their lives as normal. That’s why each trial involves tens of thousands of people but only a smallish number show symptoms.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Since you appear to be so knowledgeable about the whole thing can you answer a question for me?

These trials all seem to have a very low infection rate in both groups. We are constantly told how infectious covid is. Why are so few showing up with covid, especially in the placebo group?

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Hi Chris, You say that they ‘then get on with their lives as normal’. Er, there has been no ‘normal’ for most of us for months. So the trials for this vaccine are really rather difficult to asses, aren’t they?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

No, the trials for the vaccine are not difficult to assess (at least, not in the sense of determining how effective the vaccine is, which I suggest is the most important thing), because both the people with vaccine in their arm and the people with the placebo (saline) in their arm are exposed to the same conditions. They don’t know which treatment they have. The nurses delivering the injections don’t know either. When the envelope is eventually opened (metaphorically) and it is revealed which of the hundred or so people in the trial who have fallen ill were given the vaccine, and which were given saline, it turns out that there’s a big difference in the numbers – the vaccine is working.

Of course, you are right that everyone on the trial is living in a lockdown world (at least, in UK – the trial was done in Brazil as well, where Bolsonaro the Trump-endorsed Amazon-destroyer has followed his pal’s advice and obstructed regional governors’ attempts to control the vaccine). So the attempts by some people on this thread to claim that “only XX people on the trial got ill anyway, so what does it matter?” are misleading.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“people on trials are not ‘infected with Covid to check off the vaccine is effective’ – no-one would volunteer for a trial if that were so.”

“”

You obviously missed the reports in the media back in October about a trial in the U.K. which was/is intending to do just that. For example, the following article in Nature:

“Dozens to be deliberately infected with coronavirus in UK ‘human challenge’ trials”

Penny Walker
Penny Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

I don’t think they infected people on the trial with Covid. That would be far too risky. I don’t know what their success criteria were. There is so much we don’t know about the trials.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago

I will start by saying that I am no anti-vaxxer, I am however cautious, and here is one of the reasons why:
“One scientist told The Independent issues with vaccines may not be seen until they have been administered to 100,000 people, which would only be seen in controlled clinical trials after years of tests ““ time that the world cannot afford.”
“The last pandemic vaccine, against swine flu in 2009, was linked to hundreds of cases of the debilitating condition narcolepsy. The vaccine Pandemrix was rushed into use as an emergency but is no longer licensed for use, with GlaxoSmithKline and the UK government facing compensation claims worth millions from affected children and adults.”
“The then-Labour government had granted GSK an indemnity for using the vaccine and ordered enough doses for the whole population. The details of the indemnity deal have never been made public.”

“Vaccinations started in October 2009 even though, by that stage, the UK government knew the pandemic was not likely to be as deadly as first thought. Publicity failed to mention the indemnity or the unique approval of the vaccine.”

I wonder why we all know so little about this!
But either way, I am concerned that no vaccine will show any serious side effects until 100,000 have been vaccinated.
These vaccines are being rushed through, with only small trials to rely on.

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago

This vaccine sounds a bit iffy to be honest. I’m not anti vax, but they ‘accidentally’ gave out the wrong dose? Doesn’t say much for the controls and supervision.

James Moss
James Moss
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Not in this large scale trial – using 2 different doses was deliberate. The smaller starting dose had less side effects so they wanted to get some more data on that. It being more effective came as a surprise – it’s a bit unusual.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

The only conclusion I can come to from these trials is that very few people on any of the trials have been infected with the coronavirus and those infected have not suffered any symptoms that justify a vaccine. When we have trial that is designed to show that the vaccine can prevent hospitalisation and deaths, then there will be some good news. I don’t expect that to appear because the flu vaccine does not prevent hospitalisation and deaths.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I have already got Vaccine Calendars for the kids – a new vaccine every day in the approach to Xmas.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Like an advent calendar then. 🙂

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
3 years ago

Dear unhrad

YOU TUBE watch?v=hyDsjHZHsGc

From Ivor Cummins : “A must watch. I can say no more. You can support the corporate takeover of our society. Or you can support truth in science, and protect our future. The latter protect our society, over the actions of vandals. It is your choice. Make it wisely.”

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
3 years ago

I took your advice. The video makes numerous references to ‘narratives’ but none so far as I could determine to science. The video also promotes the doctrines of the stoic philosopher Epictetus (c. 50-135 AD) and Ivor Cummins (who he?) as opposed to the results of the clinical trials carried out by Andrew Pollard BSc MBBS PhD (Lond), DIC, MRCP (UK), FHEA, FIDSA, FRCPCH, MA, FMedSci and his team of 75 scientists of the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Since, as Epictetus himself points out, I am free to choose whom to believe in this matter, I choose the latter.

PS: The monotone monologue and dolorous cello accompaniment are almost as tiresome as the message – pardon me, narrative.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

I also watch these videos, the latest is about the wider humanitarian implications of locking down (this may be the one linked to, I couldn’t access the link) – I think you have missed the point of it.

A scientist with the alphabet after his name may be able to tell you some very interesting and credible things about viral suppression or the efficacy of vaccines but they can’t any more credibly contextualise the impact of the response or comment on the historical unprecedented nature of it, or ask whether it is healthy in the future for humanity to keep on acting in this way.

I am not convinced just waving some scientists impressive academic credentials is sufficient in making your point given the enormity of the issues involved – it seems more akin to referencing the proselytising of a priest in a theocracy in this context.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Well, you have a choice between believing the expert and informed, or nonsense from idiots who see a conspiracy behind every tree. Like David, I choose the former.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

There’s no need to invoke conspiracies – bad and damaging ideas become supported and then committed to for perfectly innocuous reasons; but they’re are still bad ideas and when they get doubled down on rather than reviewed in light of new arguments they become extremely damaging.

Our world seems particularly bad at handling uncertainty (unlike the generations that lived through the Spanish,Asian and Hong Kong Flu’s, for instance) and our technology has given those of us so privileged the dangerous delusion that we can all continue operating at a distance, where as in the past we would have had no choice but to face up to the risk we all need to face in order to live.

Having become so deluded, people with the ears of decision makers have become desensitised to the harm it causes (I have never – for instance – heard a single lockdown advocate address the harm caused by these measures – other than to offer the cognitive dissonance that ‘Its the virus wot done it; not lockdown’

As academic qualifications do not immunise you to group think – and often make it worse – this cold mechanistic approach to viral suppression devoid of all humanity and humility continues unabated, with just enough powerful people comfortable enough to be disinterested.

There you go, not a conspiracy in sight.

D G
D G
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Great Barrington Declaration

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago

I read elsewhere that there were 24000 people in the trial of which 12,000 (9000 full + 3000 half) were vaccinated leaving presumably 12000 on the placebo. Now if 100 people caught corona from the control group of 12000 surely that means 11900 didn’t catch the disease ?!?!? Which is quite simply 11900 / 12000 =99.16% natural human immune system effectiveness. I mean DUH why the need for the vaccine.

James Moss
James Moss
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

It was not a challenge trial (in which the participants are deliberately exposed to the virus) so this calculation is fallacious.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

Yep.
Same for Pfizer&Moderna.
Shows how unnecessary vacvination against this really is.
The pharmaceutic focus should be on the treatment instead, e.g. by Regeneron’s drug.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

If we had a pop-in-to-your-GP-for-a-prescription-and-you’d-be-right-as-rain-by-this-evening drug, then that would be quite sensible.

But the Regeneron drug doesn’t fall into that category. As I understand it, you end up in hospital for days, taking a very expensive drug which is only effective in some cases and not others.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

So, after all the hosing we’ve had from government and the scientific community over the last year, we now have a vaccine which may only “stomp heavily” on the symptoms of the virus without actually stopping people getting it? A bit like the human immune system, then. Curse nature for not providing humanity with any natural way to fight infections. Note that the Astra/Zenica vaccine has been developed from the HEK-293 cell line which was grown from the kidney tissue of a Dutch child aborted in 1972. Novavax, GSK, Sinovac and Sanofi Pasteur are all producing vaccines from other cell lines.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

There is a serious danger of not learning from experience. In 2009 the British government initially ordered 132m doses of Swine Flu vaccine but in fact only 6m rounds were taken up. How much worse could the fall out of narcolepsy have been if the public had not been cautious about the product. Oblivious of this Heidi Larson of the Vaccine Confidence Project and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote in the Financial Times in 2018:

“In 2009, during the swine flu pandemic of the H1N1 influenza virus, poor public co-operation and low acceptance of the vaccine was a wake-up call. The public might fall for faulty science, but the more worrying trend in 2009 was the lack of civic responsibility and co-operation. Governments should see in this an urgent need for a new social contract.”

According to Larson it was not the product which was faulty science, but the justified scepticism of people who failed in “civic responsibility”. Only they were right! Perhaps Larson was counting on people not remembering what had actually happened in 2009. The reality is that people should keep their eyes open and not allow themselves to be bullied.

At one level Larson, of course, could depend on the fact that no one would really recall what happened in 2009. Reports of narcolepsy emerged only half-heartedly months later, and the 10% uptake was probably never reported at all. But she might also have thought it was a lucky escape.

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago

Is this guy paid by the industry to write vaccine endorsements? How about some contrarian views Unherd? Maybe do one on “gene therapy for dummies” perhaps? 🙂

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Honda

James Moss is posting sense while most people on this thread are posting nonsense they have gleaned from fringe websites, or have a hidden agenda.

You guys do know that Andrew Wakefield was struck off the Medical Register for his lies over MMR, don’t you?

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

I must be missing something.
In the article Tom writes “and 31 among people who had the real vaccine. But only about 30 or so were in the half-dose group”.
If the half-dose group is somewhat better protected than full-dose, I’d expect there to be 5-7 cases in the half-dose group?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Since vaccines do not immunise, they wear off and require boosters, or have no ‘effect’ in a large minority, and the talk is not of one Covid vaccine but two or more, then surely to talk of Herd Immunity from a vaccine is ridiculous?

Quite why a virus which is NO THREAT to the majority of people requires a vaccine is the other question. Even Professor John Ioannadis, one of the world’s top epidemiologists, said 95% of people are at no risk from Covid and others have gone as high as 99.99% because the mortality risk is around, globally, .002%.

So why the obsession with yet another vaccine when our kids are like pincushions as it is, dealing with all sorts of genetically altered material, animal, human, bird, disease, and a cocktail of synthetic chemicals? We can quarantine the vulnerable, a small group, with a combination of old age and 2-3 co-morbidities and monitor their carers surely, instead of experimenting with humanity in this way?

The ridiculous thing is the average age of a Covid (called not proven) death is 82.4 in the UK and the average age of death is 81. I mean, pretty clearly Covid is not cutting a deadly swathe through any society. Remarkably, not even in Africa, where, if Covid were as dangerous as claimed the roads would be lined with the dead and dying and they are not.

It would be refreshing for so-called journalistic experts to provide some balance on this issue please.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

“Since vaccines do not immunise, they wear off and require boosters, or have no ‘effect’ in a large minority, and the talk is not of one Covid vaccine but two or more, then surely to talk of Herd Immunity from a vaccine is ridiculous?”

Several misconceptions here:

– Vaccines do immunise. Why do you think they don’t?

– Vaccines do not necessarily wear off – some are for life – others (tetanus?) are supposed to be renewed every 10 year or so. I can’t think of any vaccine boosters I have had in the last decade. I suspect some of the tropical disease ones do wear off eventually (rabies does). Virus mutation (like flu) is a bigger likelihood, but the CV is said to be less prone to do that than flu. But if we were vaccinated once or twice a year, with a vaccine which costs £3 a time, what’s the problem?

– the ‘large minority’ for whom the CV virus will not be effective 10% or less for all three vaccines announced so far (including the half dose then full dose pattern of dosing the Oxford/AZ one). That’s not only very good for the individual, but will stop the disease in its tracks within a few months, meaning that soon even the people who are in the 10% are unlikely to be exposed to the virus. That’s herd immunity.

– having different vaccines (even if they were scattered among the UK population, which seems unlikely since the NHS is buying a lot more of the Oxford one than the Pfizer one) would still give herd immunity. The fact that some of the people in a theoretical transmission chain are immune because of vaccine A, and some are immune due to vaccine B, does not alter the fact that the transmission chain is disrupted and the virus dies out rather than spreading.

– No, you can’t quarantine the vulnerable indefinitely. What are you going to do about the 70 year old heart patient whose 60 year old wife works in a shop, while their 35 year old children want to visit them with the grandchildren? Lock the 70 year old guy in an isolation hospital behind a glass plate? – forever?

– Your rhetoric about “our kids are like pincushions as it is, dealing with all sorts of genetically altered material, animal, human, bird, disease, and a cocktail of synthetic chemicals” shows where you are really coming from with the discredited arguments you use. It’s all about anxiety.

– “So why the obsession with yet another vaccine” – who’s obsessed? We now simply have a tool to suppress the disease, just as we have used vaccines to suppress smallpox and a variety of other diseases including hepatitis, meningitis and the human papillovirus. We have used the MMR vaccine to control measles and rubella, and the only reason that measles has started killing children again is the obsessions of the neurotic anti-vaxxers and their guru Andrew Wakefield, who has been struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council because he had falsified the research findings in order to promote his obsession with MMR. We don’t need a drama, we just need to get on and vaccinate people and then we can get back to normal.

Out of interest, do you think the GMC was right to strike Andrew Wakefield off the Medical Register for falsifying his research findings? Please let the rest of us know so that we know where you’re coming from on this.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Don’t get too excited, it’s not as good as the EU vaccine.

Oh, hang on a second ….

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

EU eggs. Better than UK eggs.

You won’t get pests from eating them since they are laden with pesticide.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What? Zyclon B?

Ian Standingford
Ian Standingford
3 years ago

The Anglo Saxon race saved the world twice in the last century; now it’s done so again in this.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago

Not bad at all. Rule Britannia!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

One in the eye for that festering nest of traitors, Cambridge. Hurrah!

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago

Oh, and do try to catchup on developments regarding asymptomatic spreaders.
They simply don’t exist, and the additional testing done by you and tbe other participants makes no difference at all.
As such the case for masks, lockdowns, quarantines for the asymptomatic has just collapsed.
https://www.aier.org/articl

David Radford
David Radford
3 years ago

Please emigrate then polidiris and don’t come back. If we are going to recover at all we don’t need defeatism like yours. You also show symptoms of being infected by chattering classism yourself.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Er….that would be a “No thanks”, because it’s still funded by Gates…..but feel free…if you want mine too, fill your boots Tom.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

If old Bill is that powerful and clever he is going to get you anyway, so you might as well take your vaccine

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

What does Bill Gates have to do with it, on health grounds?

You are just revealing that your agenda is nothing to do with health.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago

All very well, except the MHRA tender is quite clear that widespread adverse effects are expected. It is of course an offence under the Nuremberg code to perform medical experiments without consent.

I do not consent.

ADR = “Adverse reaction”.

“it is not possible to retrofit the MHRA’s legacy systems to handle the volume of ADRs that will be generated by a Covid-19 vaccine”

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?u

(Supplement to the official {tender} journal of the EU)

“Section IV: Procedure

IV.1)
Description
IV.1.1)
Type of procedure
Award of a contract without prior publication of a call for competition in the Official Journal of the European Union in the cases listed below
The procurement falls outside the scope of application of the directive
Explanation:
For reasons of extreme urgency under Regulation 32(2)(c) related to the release of a Covid-19 vaccine MHRA have accelerated the sourcing and implementation of a vaccine specific AI tool.

Strictly necessary ” it is not possible to retrofit the MHRA’s legacy systems to handle the volume of ADRs that will be generated by a Covid-19 vaccine. Therefore, if the MHRA does not implement the AI tool, it will be unable to process these ADRs effectively. This will hinder its ability to rapidly identify any potential safety issues with the Covid-19 vaccine and represents a direct threat to patient life and public health.

Reasons of extreme urgency ” the MHRA recognises that its planned procurement process for the SafetyConnect programme, including the AI tool, would not have concluded by vaccine launch. Leading to a inability to effectively monitor adverse reactions to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Events unforeseeable ” the Covid-19 crisis is novel and developments in the search of a Covid-19 vaccine have not followed any predictable pattern so far.”

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

What is the justification for making millions sick with a vaccine against a virus which makes very few sick? It is so oxymoronic that it beggars belief. Who is driving the vaccine fanaticism?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

making millions sick with a vaccine
Who on the trial became sick, and how did that compare with the number (among tens of thousands of volunteers on the trial) who would become ill of something anyway?

What did happen is that far fewer became ill with covid. You know, the disease which has killed tens of thousands in the UK and hundreds of thousands in the US, despite your statement that it “makes very few sick”.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The disease it is claimed killed tens of thousands in the UK and hundreds of thousands in the US.

In neither countries were autopsies carried out on every dead patient and categorical proof established that they died OF Covid.

Many of those listed as Covid deaths were not proven to be Covid deaths. That is common knowledge.

In other words the data is dodgy and has been from the start.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago

If anyone is interested enough to search out what they have put into Astrozeneca, I think they will not want to be vaccinated with it.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

What’s in it? And how can I source that info? Thank you.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Well, in colloquial terms, it contains ‘monkey snot.’

From the Oxford University Research page.

Quote:
The ChAdOx1 vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector. This is a harmless, weakened adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees.

And it gets better, the genetic meddlers have been at work –

Quote: It has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans.

I bet that makes everyone feel better. A bit of Frankenstein tweaking – she’ll be right mate. We know what we are doing.

Quote: The Oxford vaccine contains the genetic sequence of this surface spike protein. When the vaccine enters cells inside the body, it uses this genetic code to produce the surface spike protein of the coronavirus. This induces an immune response, priming the immune system to attack the coronavirus if it later infects the body.

So, there you go, genetic meddling from one monkey to a human. Nothing can go wrong with that.

Better still, your body will be fooled into reacting to a non-threat so making a total idiot of your immune function. Apparently it is possible to fool and confuse immune function constantly with no negative effects. Well, so they say.

And then there is the cocktail of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, etc., which are in vaccines in general.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

And those who are vaccinated live. And those who are not vaccinated die.

Smallpox was eradicated with vaccine. That’s because people who were vaccinated rarely or never caught it. Due to eradication, people don’t die of it any more. Are you glad about that? Or was it all a terrible crime? Do tell us.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I could suggest you spend time reading medical history in general and the history of infectious diseases in particular in order to learn that Smallpox was not eradicated with vaccines. Indeed, no diseases have been eradicated with vaccines.

But I fully understand this is a commonly and powerfully held misconception, or in more blunt language, lie. More so today than in decades past. For example, in times past, doctors did know their history in regard to vaccines in ways they no longer do.

On October 19, 1970, Harvard’s Dr. Edward H. Kass gave a speech to the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, of which he was President.

Dr. Kass took his infectious disease colleagues to task, warning them that drawing false conclusions about WHY mortality rates had declined so much could cause them to focus on the wrong things. As he explained:

“”Šwe had accepted some half truths and had stopped searching for the whole truths. The principal half truths were that medical research had stamped out the great killers of the past”Ć ”tuberculosis, diphtheria, pneumonia, puerperal sepsis, etc.”Ć ”and that medical research and our superior system of medical care were major factors extending life expectancy, thus providing the American people with the highest level of health available in the world. That these are half truths is known but is perhaps not as well known as it should be.”

And then there is, the McKinlay report which one suspects, few doc