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Yes, the vaccine is really on its way It looks like the Pfizer breakthrough is the real deal

Believe the hype. Allan Carvalho/NurPhoto via Getty

Believe the hype. Allan Carvalho/NurPhoto via Getty


November 10, 2020   10 mins

The last few months have been grim. Not just the fear of the virus itself, but the various miserable intrusions we’ve all had to endure as a result — the lockdowns, the restrictions, the masks and the handwashing. The purpose of all these measure has been not just to stop the spread, but to buy time — to keep the virus down while we prepare our response.

The big response, of course, is vaccines. All the rest of it, all the rapid testing, track and trace stuff, can help control the virus with fewer restrictions on our daily lives. Only vaccines hold out the realistic possibility of getting rid of it altogether, and (eventually) returning to normal.

So it is potentially extremely good news that Pfizer-BioNTech have announced that early results from their trial show that their vaccine candidate, an mRNA vaccine, is around 90% effective. How close, then, is that return to normal?

Boris Johnson says that we have awaited “the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill” and that now “that toot of the bugle is louder”, but that it is still some way off. The turn of phrase may be tooth-grindingly irritating, but he is basically right.

In short: this is very exciting; the vaccine almost certainly works, although it would be nice to have a bit more clarity about what “works” means; and it’s worth remembering that, beyond just proving that it works, producing it in large quantities and getting it to where it’s needed are real challenges as well. But, mainly, it is completely okay to be excited, as long as you realise that it’s still a few months to wait. 

I think, though, we can be pretty confident that the vaccine actually works. It would be understandable to be sceptical because there has, as yet, been no scientific paper released, or even very much data, beyond one simple number: 94. 

That figure is the total number of cases in both arms of the trial. There were 43,538 people on the trial; according to the study protocol, half of them were given the real vaccine, and half a placebo. Three weeks later, all but 4,000 or so received a booster shot, of the same jab (either the vaccine or the placebo) they had before.

According to the Pfizer press release, there were 94 cases in total, and “the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received the placebo indicates a vaccine efficacy rate above 90%”.

What that means is that the vaccine prevented at least 90% of cases, so there were 10 times as many in the placebo group as the real vaccine group. Say there were 100 cases in the placebo group and 50 in the other: that would mean that it was 50% effective; if there were 100 in the placebo and ten in the real vaccine group, that would mean it was 90% effective.

In this case, if there are 94 cases in total, there can’t have been more than eight cases in the real-vaccine group, and 86 in the placebo group, for it to be “above 90% effective”. And we also know that the vaccine is astonishingly safe, given no major adverse events in the 20,000 people who were given it.

Again, we have no further data, and it’s always sensible to be wary when ‘pharma company puts out press release saying pharma company’s product is great’. But the results weren’t released by Pfizer — they were put out by an independent monitor, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), so it would be pretty astonishing if they have just made this up.

What might seem more worth worrying about is whether this could be a fluke result. This isn’t, after all, the final analysis, and if you release data from a trial before it’s finished, it’s reasonable to be worried that it’s wrong. 

Let me explain, with this excellent analogy from Tim Harford’s new book How to Make the World Add Up. Imagine that two basketball teams are playing a game, and you want to determine which team is the best. You could just say “whoever wins is best” but it might just be a fluke. So you say beforehand: let’s draw an arbitrary line. If one team wins by a given number of points — let’s say 20 — we’ll say they’re the best. Otherwise we’ll say the results are “not statistically significant”. The higher that number, the more certain you can be when someone does reach it, but also the more times you’ll have to say “we don’t know” because they don’t.

That’s pretty much how scientific studies work. They say: “If the vaccine does better than the placebo, that could be fluke. So we’ll draw an arbitrary line and say if it does this much better, then it works well enough and we’ll use it.” The arbitrary line was 50% — so if there were 50% fewer cases in the real arm than in the placebo, they’d say it worked well enough.

But if, in the basketball game, one team was 20 points ahead in the second quarter, and then that team’s manager said: “Okay, let’s end the game there”, you wouldn’t think that was a fair assessment. Showing results from the trial early could be doing the same as that.

However, that’s not quite what has gone on here. The plan was always to release data after 32 cases were detected, then again after 62 and 92. (See Table 5.) For reasons that they don’t make clear, but which were “after discussion with the FDA”, Pfizer decided not to release its findings after 32 cases; by the time those discussions were complete, they’d already reached 94 cases. The study will continue until they reach 164 cases, but releasing early data was always part of the plan — so I don’t think it being released now should undermine our confidence at all. 

The other possibility would be that this result is a freak of some kind, that more people happened to get the virus in the placebo group than in the vaccine group. But that’s probably not a serious concern, and we can pretty much rule out the possibility that the vaccine does nothing. If it did, then seeing an 86-8 split would be as unlikely as tossing at least 86 heads in 94 coin-tosses, which is so unlikely that it’s essentially impossible. A one-in-some-number-of-quadrillions chance. 

The real number could be slightly more or slightly less than 90%, but realistically, not very much more. We’re talking no worse than 80%, at the outside. So I think it’s fair to say that the vaccine probably works, and is very effective. The next question is: what exactly does it do?

That might sound stupid — it stops Covid, of course. But what’s not completely clear to me is whether it stops Covid from infecting you or it stops Covid from making you ill. 

In the trial I’m on, of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, I have to do a nasal and throat swab every week to see if I have the virus. So it’s very unlikely that I’d get infected and not know about it.

That’s not what happens in the Pfizer-BioNTech one. They seem to only swab people when they come in for follow-up appointments every few weeks or months, or when people get symptoms.

Robin Shattock, who runs Imperial College London’s own vaccine programme, describes it as “a symptom-directed endpoint that requires virological confirmation”. Nilay Shah, a professor of chemical engineering at Imperial, agreed: “My understanding is that the 94 cases must be both symptomatic and RNA-positive to be counted.”

What that could mean is that lots of people in the vaccine group are becoming infected — as in, some detectable amount of virus has entered their bodies and started replicating — but that they are not getting ill, so they’re not getting tested. Shattock told me that even people with mild symptoms, “runny nose, headache, fatigue etc”, would be tested, but still, it could easily miss some infected people.

Obviously it would be better if people were definitely being protected against infection as well as disease, since asymptomatic people can spread the virus. But even if the vaccine has literally no impact on infection rates at all, stopping 90% of symptoms is a big deal. What’s more, asymptomatic people probably spread the disease much less, and besides, it’s very unlikely that the vaccine will have no effect on infection. 

I spoke briefly to Vishal Gulati, a biotech investor and former virologist, and he said that even if the vaccine only protects against disease, it would be “nice to have”, but that he thinks it’s amazingly unlikely that it doesn’t have an effect on the viral load itself. “It’s just not possible that someone who is not sick is producing the same amount of virus over a significant period as someone who’s getting sick,” he said.

It may be that the vaccine is a really good one to give to older and more vulnerable people, to keep them safe, and that later vaccines that are more effective against infection should be given to younger people to stop the spread. According to the protocol, the study is doing antibody tests, so hopefully when the full data is released we’ll know more about the impact on infection as well as disease.

So it probably works well, and most likely reduces the effects of the disease as well as infection. The next problem is going to be making enough of it.

RNA vaccines like the Pfizer one, although completely untried, do have some big advantages. 

One is that making RNA is quite easy. If you have the ingredients – a big soup of nucleotide bases – you can get your length of RNA that you want, and it will essentially replicate itself. You can do it with relatively low-tech materials and at small scale, and each time you need a new length of RNA (for a different vaccine, perhaps), you can reuse the same facilities. Also, the doses are quite small, so you can make more doses per litre in your bioreactor. 

But you still need a lot of doses. Let’s be optimistic and say that it does protect against infection, and that you need to vaccinate 60% of the population to get herd immunity. (For a discussion of what “herd immunity” is, see here, but essentially, it’s the percentage of the population you need to vaccinate to get the R below 1. So if the R is 2, you need to vaccinate 50% of the population, so it’s twice as difficult for the virus to spread.)

In the UK, you’d need to vaccinate about 42 million people. But we’d need two doses per person, so that’s 84 million doses. And, remember, the vaccine is probably only around 90% effective, so about 10% of them won’t work. You’ll end up needing about 94 million doses to vaccinate the whole country to a herd immunity level. If we actually need 70% coverage, then that number is 110 million.

The UK government has ordered 40 million doses from Pfizer. That’s a big deal – it should be enough to vaccinate about 18 million people successfully. If we concentrated that on healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, then it would significantly reduce the number of deaths. But it won’t stop the spread of the disease itself. 

Of course, when the AstraZeneca vaccine is licensed, we’ll end up with another 30 million in short order and 100 million eventually. So UK herd immunity will probably happen. But even so, it is only a temporary reprieve if the virus is still endemic in the rest of the world. To immunise the entire world to herd immunity levels, you’d need about 10.5 billion doses.

Pfizer thinks it can make about 1.3 billion doses next year. Moderna, who are making another RNA vaccine, say a similar sort of figure. But what’s not clear is whether those two estimates take into account the fact that both companies will need the same raw materials; if both companies are ringing the same suppliers and trying to buy all their nucleotides, then one of them is going to be disappointed. I go into a bit more detail about the problems here.

This is why we simply cannot make do with just the Pfizer vaccine. The Oxford one, for instance, is a viral vector vaccine, and won’t need quite the same chemical components as the Moderna and Pfizer ones, so their supply chains won’t interfere with each other so much.

There’s another problem which is that RNA vaccines such as Pfizer’s need to be kept at -80°C for all but the last day or so before they’re administered; Moderna’s needs -20°C. Other types of vaccine just need to be kept at normal fridge temperature, between 2°C and 8°C. This isn’t an insurmountable difficulty, especially in the UK, but it does mean that you couldn’t, say, bring a batch to a GP’s surgery on Friday and administer it on Monday, unless the surgery had a really high-tech freezer.

In the developing world, that will be an even greater challenge, but it is worth noting that the novel Ebola vaccine developed during the 2014-15 outbreak required a -60°C cold chain, and it was rolled out rapidly to hundreds of thousands of people in the middle of a war zone. These cold chains can be established fast.

There’s one more thing that’s worth mentioning. Donald Trump Jr, among others, is floating the possibility that the vaccine announcement has been delayed in order to help Joe Biden get elected. And you might be tempted to believe him – remember that, earlier on, we mentioned that Pfizer were going to release some preliminary results after 32 cases, and again after 62. But they didn’t end up releasing anything until they’d reached 94 – which, as it happened, was just a few days after Donald Trump Sr had lost the US election.

You can understand people’s suspicions. But it’s worth noting that Pfizer couldn’t have known that the results were positive, because they wouldn’t have had access to them. The only people to have access to the unblinded data – that is, the only people who knew which test subjects had the real vaccine and which the placebo – was the DSMB, the independent body supervising the study. And it’s not Pfizer or BioNTech who decided to release the data: it’s the DSMB.

It’s not that it’s impossible that this panel of independent scientists were conspiring to help Joe Biden win the election, it just seems unlikely. Gulati thinks the most likely explanation is simply that the DSMB decided that releasing the data early, when the statistical power was still very low, would have reduced public trust in the vaccine. Also, it might have made recruitment for the trial more complicated, if it was obvious that the vaccine outperformed placebo — telling people there’s a 50% chance they’ll be in the placebo arm would not be hugely popular.

To sum up, then: this is a really big deal. It looks like the first vaccine will arrive soon, and that it will work – much better than expected, although with slight question marks over how well it “works” on infection as well as symptoms. And it’s really reassuring that vaccines work at all.

What it doesn’t mean is that we’ll all have the vaccine tomorrow, or even this year, or perhaps even next year. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can stop developing and producing the other vaccines, because each kind of vaccine will have different strengths and weaknesses — some will be easier to manufacture, some will work better in different groups. (There’s a useful Twitter thread on this topic from the CEO of the biotech company GreenLight.)

The best-guess timeline, that most people will probably not see a vaccine until late next year, is still reasonable. And, of course, it would be really nice to see the data from this Pfizer study, rather than just a few bullet-points and self-satisfied quotes in a press release.

Nonetheless, it’s exciting. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And finally, it gives a nice straightforward answer to what it is that lockdown is supposed to be buying time for.


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

TomChivers

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Sarah Wallington
Sarah Wallington
3 years ago

Whatever your opinion on vaccines, it is my view that before we start vaccinating people en masse, the government and mainstream media must recognise that their handling of this crisis has undermined public trust in them and in all those institutions that we should be able to trust in an open, functioning democracy. Government should be devoting their energy to rebuilding that trust, to communicating information clearly and honestly, to removing those individuals responsible for misleading the public, and to helping the country get back on its feet before they even think about starting a vaccination programme. Unless they are prepared to do that, they should not be surprised that people are reluctant to accept a vaccine.

And, for what it’s worth, dismissing those who are reluctant to be vaccinated at this stage as ‘anti-vaxxers’ is profoundly unhelpful. We have all had a dreadful year. We have been bombarded with information that we don’t always understand, and which very often proves to be inaccurate, misleading, or completely false. A lot of people haven’t got a clue what’s going on. They are scared. Rushing to give scared people an experimental vaccine is, to my mind, extremely irresponsible.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

I largely agree, but though I’ve used the term myself I wouldn’t call the vaccine experimental, but we do need a correct term for it. If it’s been through rigerous testing and and is peer reviewed etc in the normal way then it’s arguably as safe as any medical treatment/vaccine gets. It will be under a lot of scrutiny, probably more than anything I can think of. There’s still the missing long term data, but I believe it’s effectively just prodding the immune system with some limited RNA (by just I don’t mean it’s not cutting edge science) – it’s not like dousing the body with a poorly understood chemical as has happened in the past. This precise area is something I expect only tiny fractions of a % of people can make informed opinions on, certainly not me. Vaccine teams are competative, if there’s big safety concerns I’m confident that rival teams will be pouring over the data and would make them public.

This absolutely does not affect the publics right to have opinions of the wide Sars-Cov-2 response. Public policy has to (or at least should) weigh up dozens of factors, not just specialist knowledge of one area. We have a government packed with PPE graduates, surely this is PPE 101 for them?

You are 100% right about the great damage the government and some scientists have done with their political response. They are rightly scathing of some Covid Deniers, but deem purposeful misinformation by Ministers and Officials as ‘honest mistakes’ or fffing ‘scenarios’.

Sarah Wallington
Sarah Wallington
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I used the term ‘experimental’ because that’s what I’ve seen media outlets – including New Scientist, NPR, and the Washington Post – call it that, but I accept your points.

It’s a very complicated situation and, personally, I would feel much more comfortable if vaccines were being developed at a steadier pace, and if the public were told explicitly that they would never be forced or coerced into accepting one. As I think I made clear in my original post, my primary concern is the complete lack of trust in our democratic institutions. Restoring that trust should be a priority. Vaccines etc can come later.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

Like I say I used the term myself, I suppose once it’s passed trials and regulations it’s just ‘new’?

Of course the lockdown is also experimental, and one with no parameters or evalution and massive side effects.

Agree on the trust issue, but a vaccine is the only face saving way out of this. Anything else would cause political problems, so ain’t going to happen. It’s raw dirty politics.

Sarah Wallington
Sarah Wallington
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Agreed.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

It’s all semantic hair-splitting, but it seems reasonable to me to call it experimental until it’s been rolled out on a mass scale and we’ve had a year or two to evaluate it. RNA vaccines are a new thing.
Which in no way means I’m against it. On the contrary, this 90% effectiveness looks absolutely brilliant to me, better than anyone was hoping or expecting. Pity about the required storage temperatures, though.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

I don’t think calling it experimental would help people’s confidence. It has passed experiments – considered good enough. I wouldn’t want to drive a car with an Experimental braking system, maybe ‘new and improved’ as opposed to ‘tried and tested’.

I don’t understand the tech, vaguely hopeful that it could possibly be used for other viruses that prompt good immune responses? Presumably the other Coronaviruses would be fair game, which I believe cause some common colds. This would presumably still keep the immune system healthy.

I know other diseases affect us differently, and I’m speculating massively based on enough virus knowledge to say RNA, and ‘they don’t respond to AntiBiotics’.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Guess you’re right about how people would perceive the word ‘experimental’.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

An excellent summary of the rationalist approach.
How about we vaccinate the government / politicians, their advisers and consultants first?
If it works (albeit knowing what “it works” means exactly at this stage is not at all settled or clear), then great.
If it doesn’t and the hype and rush to accelerate through Phase 3 trials (corner cutting) results in severe negative side-effects, well….

Sarah Wallington
Sarah Wallington
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Thank you, and I completely agree. Vaccinating members of the government and the opposition, SAGE members, and their families first would be an important ‘visual’ from a government that has squandered its political capital. Reminiscent of John Gummer feeding his daughter during the BSE crisis, of course, but it was necessary then and I would argue that it’s necessary now.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago

They need wisdom to rebuild trust!

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago

Yes, it’s all terribly exciting. A vaccine against a virus that passed its epidemic peak in May, is now endemic, 99.5% of us (+/-) survive, and 80% of us don’t even know we have.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I share a good deal of your cynicism (is it ok to say that?) We have a virus that is endemic and behaving with seasonality. We know that test and trace is a fools errand with an endemic virus and the harms from lockdown are eye wateringly scary. I remain at a loss as to how any self respecting public health expert can continue to espouse lockdowns. I’m also rather cynically wondering how the virus will be deployed to the elderly and infirm. Will there be a cost benefit assessment done as NICE do with new drugs? If so it’s hard to see how anyone of average age of death will be given it as they are beyond UK life expectancy.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

In the UK and Sweden, the virus was deployed to the elderly in care homes, with impressive results. Both governments deny this was the result of any cost-benefit analysis of the value of this demographic.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Yes indeed, a great pity that policy was not pursued in earnest from the beginning.

Instead we are now facing a “winter of discontent”, not seen at least 1931. Perhaps that is the master plan, civil unrest leading to civil war?

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

A cynical answer!? I don’t think any major European country would say they made a good fist of this. USA weren’t special either. In Finland and Norway they tend to have quite small care homes with small numbers of patients whereas Sweden tend to have much larger care homes with many more patients so much more exposed.
In the UK there are a few groups that need to have a look in the mirror and the goalkeepers that should be the clinicians are not excluded from this.
I remain a little surprised at how easily the care home companies seem to have stepped aside from criticism throughout. The first responsibility and duty of care surely lies with them? I don’t limit this to covid positive transfers by the way.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

My guess is that in the UK someone ‘cleared the decks’ for the overwhelming influx of Covid patients that never arrived. It’s possible there was a brutal cost benefit analysis don. The logic doesn’t quite add up though:
1. We’re scared to death of Covid, it’ll kill 100,000s of older and frail people, it’s really infectious.

2. We’re going to put Covid positive people into care homes, full of older and frail people.
3. Oh.

I thought that in Sweden their honest assessment was that they have large care homes, so lots of eggs in one basket. And that carers who don’t get sick pay were effectively encourage to work.

I’ve also read that New York state forced positive old people into care homes.

I don’t think any of this polices was designed to wipe out the elderly but show a cold hearted logic (flawed I believe) that was based on excessive modelling and lack of flexible thinking.

ddwieland
ddwieland
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

What Anders Tegnell was reported to have said (in Swedish) is that he expected care homes to take more precautions, knowing the greater risk to their residents.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

The MoD has thousands of full Nuclear Chemical and Bacteriological (NBC) suits and gas masks in storage somewhere.

If this whole panic is half as dangerous as it is cracked up to be, these NBC suits and masks, should issued on demand, and free of charge, to the over 70’s forthwith.

Geoff Rankin
Geoff Rankin
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

Test and trace is a political exercise to show the government cares for us. It is maintained by so called public health experts to perpetuate the myths ordained by their political masters. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find whether those who died had multiple comorbidities or had a coincidental infection of covid. death rates are falling and we now know what demographic are most susceptible.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

I have followed this theater of hygiene paranoia since day one and spent an inordinate amount of time researching this farce. My respect for both science and academia has suffered greatly as a result of the disingenuous manipulation of the data and the absolute abandonment of the scientific process. It has been replaced by group-think and censoring of constructive dissent. Of course, the criminal neglect of the media in presenting a balanced view… under the guise of health security…combined with the rapid spread format of social media has brought our citizens into a brainwashed
state of fear. That leaves us with this most appropriate sentiment for the times:

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”
Charles MacKay

A cogent summation of the entire affair is here:

https://imprimis.hillsdale….

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Golly gosh, what a relief!

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago

Let’s do a different analysis. 43538 in the trial, half receiving the placebo and half receiving the vaccine. 94 people in total developed one or more symptoms (i have read elsewhere 93 but we will go with 94). 9 from the vaccine arm and therefore 85 from the placebo arm. That means that out of 21769 participants who did not receive the vaccine 21684 avoided infection. And out of 21769 participants who did receive the vaccine, 21760 avoided infection. Put like that it doesn’t look particularly impressive. But maybe I’m missing something here? I would be interested in anyone else’s “take” on this.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

>> i have read elsewhere 93

Could be 95 tomorrow!

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

I reckon that the absolutely rampant R number is about 5 to 10.

Reducing infections by about 90% would be quite a win.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Why do you think the ‘R number’ is 5-10?

And if it were 5-10, why would state intervention and a vaccine be necessary? If it were infecting that many people but killing as few as it is doing, it must be a very benign disease.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

A heretic! Get him!

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

It’s a fair cop guv. You got me bang to rights.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

R is dependant on four factors. One factor, opportunities for transmission, really depends on where you live and how many people have already caught it.

So R tends to fall pretty fast during a chain of transmission, but a vaccine would be aiming at getting R below 1 even when say a planeload of people full of COVID arrive at Heathrow airport two years from now.

At the start of the pandemic, in somewhere like London we were seeing roughly 4. So for absolutely rampant (more packed in than London, start of pandemic, etc.) 10 might be on the low side.

My preferred strategy is to let kids get the real thing, so that when they get old they won’t die of COVID the year the virus mutates beyond what the vaccination strategy can keep up with.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

I’m still confused. Perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes.

I am not interested in the factors on which the R number is dependent. I am wondering why you think the R number is 5 to 10. Even the government’s own data (which will be have been selected to be as terrifying as possible) does not claim that the R number is over 2.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

R is the reproduction rate.

Some people have one baby, some people have 10 babies.

In some parts of the world and at certain times the reproduction rate of people is very different. There is no one reproduction rate.

With the virus, the R number will be very different when no-one has been sick for a while, or in the case of a brand new virus. For New Zealand it’s still a brand new virus. it’s different in the city than it is in the country.

Look at the graphs of deaths, and specifically the slope of the graph in the UK during the 2 waves. R might have hit 2 in the UK as a whole during the second wave, but both locally now, and at the start of pandemic more generally it was clearly much higher.

For a back of a fag packet calculation, it can be good to look at both high and low ball figures. 5 to 10 would be a high estimate of how bad it could get in a previously unnaffected area, at the height of winter, with everyone singing down the pub. A 90% effective vaccine would reduce this to less than one if everyone took it. For a lower estimate, say 3 (which is about as bad was say a month and a half ago in parts of Manchester), then roughly two thirds of the population having the vaccine would get us down to 1.

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

By my fag-packet-maths, it works out that for every 22,250 people vaccinated, 78 will not get symptoms who otherwise would have.

As lights at the end of tunnels go, this is not exactly dazzling.

Or am I missing something?

Iliya Kuryakin
Iliya Kuryakin
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

It could be worse than that. Symptoms are not really the problem, it’s deaths that matter. How many of the 94 infected people have died? If there is no difference in death rates then this vaccine is not worth the amount of money it costs.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
3 years ago
Reply to  Iliya Kuryakin

The volunteers accepted for this trial are probably young and healthy. It’s highly unlikely that any of them died – doubtless it would have been mentioned somewhere if they had. It’s even unlikely that any of them became seriously ill.

It will take much larger trials, or experience with vulnerable groups, to give an indication of whether the vaccine reduces the severity of illness in those who get it. But as I understand it, a vaccine that usually prevents a disease, usually also reduces its severity in those who still get it.

Fernando Gatti
Fernando Gatti
3 years ago
Reply to  Iliya Kuryakin

None have died because the study was on healthy individuals

nrdejong
nrdejong
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

You’re missing the fact that the vaccine continues to work in a situation where covid restrictions are not reducing the R-value of covid (ie. normal life). In the 100 or so days this trial has been running, only 85 cases were detected out of 20000 unvaccinated individuals. In a world with no covid restrictions, that number would be higher… by my math it would be somewhere closer to 1000 cases. If the vaccine is truly 90% effective, the vaccine arm would then see approximately 100 cases. Or to use your calculations, 19000 would have avoided covid in the control arm, and 19900 in the vaccinated arm. Looks more impressive to me…

This hypothetical world with no restrictions would be great for the trial’s statistical power, but bad for pretty much everyone else.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  nrdejong

I think you’ve nailed it. Readers saying “Oh, what a tiny number of cases” forget that nearly the entire world is taking at least some precautions, even those who’d rather not and only benefit from precautions imposed on them or which others are taking.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

One thing is certain, neither the media nor Hancock are likely to do this calculation and tell us what is going on with these test results. They make no sense. I also imagine that the volunteers were healthy people. How do we know how the more vulnerable with serious health conditions will react and they are the first in line to have the vaccine?

Fernando Gatti
Fernando Gatti
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

It was on healthy individual indeed, it is on the title of the study.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere. There is also the known issue that as age increases vaccine effectiveness decreases.

Tim Diggle
Tim Diggle
3 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

Or as I put it –

” Perhaps a scientist can correct me if I am wrong. Pfizer test uses 44k people so roughly 22k in each of active and placebo recipient groups. 90% effective in the 94 people who tested positive. So this means positivity detected in 9 people in the vaccination group and 85 in the placebo group.

So without vaccination – 85 people out of 22,000 contracted the virus (0.4%) and none has been hospitalised or died (I assume death or hospitalisation would have paused the trial and been mentioned in the press).

Does that seem like a highly contagious and deadly disease to you … ?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

‘lockdown buying time for’. Lockdown isn’t buying time, it’s destroying lives, health and the economic future of the western world. A Risk Management Professor at Bristol worked out the cost of lockdown as everyone losing 1/3 year in average life expectancy (because of the economic loss, which has massive correlation). Even vs worse case 250,000 Covid deaths at 7.5 years lost each it produced a figure well over 10 times worse at 22million+ lost years of life.

This doesn’t take into account either the misery of Covid or the fact that a 67million have already lost 8+ months of quality of life.

Covid is serious but full lockdown is immoral. It’s the trolley problem, and we choose to intervene (thus taking responsibility) and sent it hurtling at the politically easier group of 67 million people.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Average age of Covid death in UK: 82.4
Life expectancy in the UK: 81.1

Is there a crisis? How can there be? The whole charade, to put it mildly, is bonkers!
Is it not, or have I missed something?

Mike Ferro
Mike Ferro
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Well, yes, you are missing something. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the fact that the average life expectancy is 81 doesn’t mean that everyone dies when they reach 81. Some live on into their eighties and nineties, but they may well not do so if they catch Covid 19

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Ferro

Thank you. My point is Covid is a killer of the elderly, who are nearly at the end anyway. I happen to be one of them, and have been happily trotting along in the Valley of Death (VOD) for some years now.

I’m frankly astonished that the entire economy is being tanked for those of us in the VOD. How much more can we want? What happened to stoicism and moderation?
It seems the culture of ME has triumphed, along with such mantras as “because I’m worth it ” and other such drivel.

Perhaps the Dawkins’s Selfish Gene is now impossible to control. However I know many in the VOD who would rather say “not in my name ” to this hysterical nonsense.

Everything seems to be predicated on squeezing just a few more years of life, out someone who has already, no doubt benefited enormously, from one of the most benign epochs in history. Enough is enough.
,

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

COVID is also a killer of health workers.
You could, of course, ban COVID cases from doctors and hospitals, leaving them to die at home or wherever, thereby keeping health workers safer. Is this what we want?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

A trivial number of health workers.

***DISCLAIMER*** Every death is a tragedy, etc etc.

But seriously, it’s not exactly bubonic plague is it?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

“One death is a tragedy, a million a statistic” ((Comrade Jo).

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Really, I would never have guessed it.

Presumably it kills about 0.5% of NHS workers and 80% of them don’t even know they have had it?. (as mentioned by Nick Wade Esq above).

What, if I may ask is average age of death, for those unfortunate NHS workers slain by C-19?

Incidentally I would rather die at home than in some NHS facility, would you not also, given the chance?

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

1000 people a week currently agree with you, according to the ONS.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Really? Thank you.

I make that just under 10% of the weekly cull rate, things are looking up!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Is my figure of a death rate of 0.5% for NHS staff correct, or am I wildly out?
Apologies if I have missed your reply.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

For the second time of asking, is my figure of a death rate of 0.5% for NHS staff correct, or am I wildly out? Or don’t you know?

Apologies if I have missed your replay

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

As you obviously have no idea what you are talking about, I have asked my Adjutant to find the figures.

It seems that NHS fatalities linked to C-19 are about 700. Out of a workforce of 1.4 million that is infinitesimal, is it not ?

So what were you bleating about when you shrieked “Covid is also a killer of health workers”? Do you perhaps have some personal interest in the matter, or are you just grandstanding, as they say?

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Ferro

You got 5 dislikes for stating basic maths?
And one of those from a guy with a Rubik’s cube logo?
Very sad.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Well based on the article from the Bristol Prof, he calculated 79.5 was the average Covid death, and that they lost 7.5 years on average including existing illnesses. Remember every year you live your life expectancy goes up for 2 reasons.
1. You’re not dead. I think once you get to 80 on average you’ll live to 90, but once you’re at 89 it might be 95 etc.

2. Life expectancy keeps growing, because of improvements in lifestyle, environment, safety, science and healthcare. These are backed up by a strong economy, something we’ve just tanked.

Now the ‘life expectancy’ deaths are mere statistics, complex and not politically ‘important’ now. Given the choice I’d sacrifice 1/3 of a year of my life for my > 70 yr old parents to live 7.5 years longer, but that’s not what’s happened, my parents too have lost 1/3 of a year on average. Roughly 22 million live years have been sacrificed to save less than 2 million. It’s all rough, but he’d have to be off by a factor of 10 before it was even close.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Hi Luke…Are you able to share the article? I know links are difficult but if you could point me in the right direction?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

It’s on the Spectator. Professor Philip J Thomas is the writer. It’s quite rough working but to my view seems at least plausible.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Thanks!
I’ve had a read and as someone with some experience of risk management it makes sense to me.

David Dreebin
David Dreebin
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yes, indeed. The only person I have actually personally *known* who’s died of Covid is a family friend aged 87 and he caught it in hospital and had co-morbidities. I have known 3 or 4 people who have caught the virus but none was ill enough to be admitted to hospital. One says he has ‘Long Covid’ but I think he’s recovering now.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago

The COVID ‘nightmare’ ended in May. Everything after that has been a tyrannous, corrupt, face-saving scam, including this garbage.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
3 years ago

I truly feel sorry for you – to live in a world where you believe that virtually everyone is conspiring against you must be a horrible feeling. I hope your future is more blessed than your past.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

to live in a world where you believe that virtually everyone is conspiring against you

– that is very much the state of the world right now. The media propaganda machine mindlessly backs every government policy that further intrudes into our lives, while loudly denouncing anyone who resists.

Personally, I have reservations about being vaccinated by a medical establishment that has been subverted by ideological dogma against a virus I wouldn’t know existed if the media didn’t mention it a hundred times a day.

No doubt those who refuse to take it will be fined, arrested and accused of putting personal beliefs above public safety.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

I’m pretty unworried about the vaccine, I’m 99.9%+ confident it’ll be safe.

I’m much more worried about the hysteria around Covid 19 and about the easy slip into authoritarianism. We’ve had censoring, propaganda, denounciations, rule by decree, police handing out £10,000 fines to dissenters. Anyone who thinks this is a healthy state of affairs is either in the grip of hysteria or dangerous.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I’m only 90% confident that any particular vaccine will be safe. It’ll take a few years before my confidence grows, especially in this febrile atmosphere.

Luckily I’ll be at the back of the queue, and because COVID is pretty much over already, by the end of next year there is unlikely to be a witchhunt for those 40% who haven’t taken the vaccine.

Still, our society has disappointed me so far, so who knows.

Joy Afif
Joy Afif
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

I agree with you. And my worry is will we be allowed to travel if we haven’t been vaccinated?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Pretty much over already?
We now know people can be re-infected, and the second time can be worse than the first. As time goes by, we’ll most likely see more and more cases of re-infection.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

I thought that two cases of reinfection were proved. One had it worse than the first tie, the other wouldn’t have noticed, had he not been swabbed at an airport.

If the second wave of infections has 25 people in it I’m not cowering.

And yes, pretty much over all ready. According to the latest ONS stats, in places like London, which have been there, seen it, done it and bought the T-shirt, people are actually coming back to life.

I suspect the winter death figures won’t eb nearly as bad as they think, because the people who died last year won’t be dying again next year.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

My gut feel is that if re-infection was happening on scale we’d be told about it, because it’s bang on narrative. Now this might not be the case, there may be plenty of re-infections but the I’ve not heard of it in the UK or anywhere else? I could believe our lot are just useless (excel anyone), but every country?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Like you, Luke, I’m confident about this vaccine – in fact, far more confident than I expected to be.
Yes, COVID has been used as an excuse to further the surveillance state and so on. So has everything that’s happened in at least the last twenty years. SARS-CoV-2 has little to do with it really. If it hadn’t come along, some other excuse would have been found or manufactured.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

You are not responding to a misanthropic crank. The beliefs he states are reasonable to hold.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

I feel sorry for you to live in such unthinking ignorance… and for us all to have to live with the consequences of it.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

Pure condescension. People like Mike do not feel sorry for anyone, they just want to look more intelligent and more holy than everyone else.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

You could be right about Mike, or maybe he’s some kind of Christian who wants everyone to be blessed and so on.
Personally, I’m downright baffled by how anyone can still think COVID is some kind of hoax, or that it’s gone away or passed its peak. Baffled, and at times infuriated, to be honest. Those who don’t take it seriously are the very ones who make it serious.
Look at Taiwan, China, Singapore, South Korea, and other east Asian countries. they’ve taken it seriously from the beginning, and still do. Compare their statistics with those for Europe and the USA.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

I don’t think the East Asians are necessarily more serious than Europe any more than South America is any more frivolous than Europe.

The reason some people, like me, think COVID has passed it’s peak is because we obsess about the stats rather than the theory, or the stories.

In May, the virus was being spread by people selfishly spread out on the beach apparently. Yet the numbers were going down. Finally the science and then the stories caught up with what was obvious to anyone who could read a graph. Newspaper stories about who to blame only sell if they are good stories.

In March I saw my whole office come down with COVID, and people dying of it in my street. Then it stopped where I live. I’m sure it’ll be back, but I can’t believe a second wave of a brand new virus is going to be bigger than the first. It doesn’t wash. We might count more cases, just like they did back in 1918, in fact we are counting more cases. But basing our expectation of COVID on one set of seriously censored statistics is not rigorous at all.

San Marino’s last death was on May 23rd. How comes the worst hit country in the world hasn’t had a single death since May 23rd? That sort of statistic gives me a strong gut feeling about where we are in this pandemic.

A similar pattern is playing out across the UK. The worst hit places during the first wave are suffering the least during the second wave. Why is a second wave affecting the worst hit places the least? That doesn’t make sense if we are only 10% of the way there.

I know a lot of doctors on TV are issuing stern warnings. It’s their job. So your average TV watching person will agree that this is all very, very serious. All the doctors I talk to in private feel very differently. They know that not doing cancer surgery just doesn’t feel right.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins
Carl Ewing
Carl Ewing
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

Mike – I haven’t trusted mass media or Western governments since the Iraq War. Even if you tolerated that particular mass lie and corruption – that resulted in the deaths of 100s of thousands, not sure how you made it through the 2008 financial crises, which destroyed the lives of 10s of millions and was swept under the rug. And the exposing of mass surveillance via Snowden. Or exposure of mass war crimes via Wikileaks. Or exposure of mass tax / financial fraud by corporations and the wealthy via Panama Papers / Fincen. These are enormous stories that proved mass corruption in media, corporations and government throughout the West. When do you say “enough – I don’t believe you anymore”.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Ewing

And you shouldn’t… it’s called cognitive dissonance. It helps keep these types of troublesome numbers(see below) tucked away so moral grandstanding and virtual shaming can continue over a virus that has a fatality rate of probably .15%. yes, every life matters…well except for:

According to the ghouls at the Council on Foreign Relations, since WWII, the United Snakes military has murdered at least 20-million people,overthrown 36 foreign governments, interfered in 82 foreign elections,attempted the assassination of over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on innocent people in more than 30 countries.

These are the actions of psychopaths

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

Perhaps, instead of your patronising comment, you should take some time to consider why some people are so angry. My own family has been hit hard by this pandemic: my husband was stood down in March, my elder son’s career is in tatters and my earnings do not even cover our mortgage. While a vaccine is good news, it won’t come soon enough to prevent financial ruin for many.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

There is an encroaching noose of data truths suffocating the
Covid Pandemic narrative, but as long as the media is doing their
master’s bidding, the rest of us our left to an infuriating echo
chamber.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

You evidently don’t have any doctor or nurse friends or relatives working in hospitals right now.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
3 years ago

So the vaccine is “announced” the day after Trump’s defeat is confirmed?

Even though deaths were low, the media kept torturing us with the “horrors” of covid.

Now Trump loses and automatically all is “hope”.

I think we have been victims of the biggest and dirtiest electoral campaign of all times …

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Yep.

A coincidence this is not, particularly as this was billed as a referendum on Trump’s handling of covid and it was generally recognised that he would have likely won had it not happened.

It’s a moot point but, personally, I don’t think that the election was stolen at the ballot box in terms of the overall count per se, but by manipulation of the events leading up to it as evidenced by the timing of this announcement.

To imagine that the election result might have been somewhat different had this happened at the beginning of November doesn’t seem that fanciful to me.

Shocking, quite frankly.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

“Worse things happen at sea”.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Not in terms of respecting democracy they don’t.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

No, good point, I stand corrected!

David Dreebin
David Dreebin
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

You have a point, actually. But let’s hope the vaccine is worth it in the UK once it gets rolled out to the elderly and vulnerable first and then the less so.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

So can we all agree to never, ever handle something like this exactly this way ever again?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

If we are to intervene like this again we do need absolutely clear rules based on outbreaks in other countries real data, not fantasy models.

Then we ask the great question – is 20,000 annual deaths from influenza acceptable? If so why? Is it the number (20,000 is a lot of human beings) or is it the fact it’s not novel?

So presuming we’ve not panicked just because it’s novel (media hysteria), it must be the potential number of deaths that’s important.

Will we shut the country next time the flu vaccine ‘fails’ and 10,000s will die, NHS overwhelmed, relatively common? Morally I still struggle to see why we shouldn’t – well apart from the huge costs of lockdown.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

And it cannot be done ever again with an impact analysis

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Because if we reduce the number of flu deaths in any given year the mortality rate simply increases the following year. When you get to a certain age it simply becomes a question of which competing virus or infection is going get you.
While to family and friends each individual death is a loss, statistically it seems that, on average, the lives of those that have ‘died’ of covid have been reduced by about 3 months.
Also, it is not a simple moral choice. The lockdown has a very real cost in terms of lives lost and also destroyed. The young, and in particular those that left university this year, and those that will leave next year, have had their life chances significantly and permanently reduced.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

I morally struggle to see the difference in the reaciton to Covid vs other known big killers, why one involves the nuclear lockdown option, and others aren’t even news worthy.

*I believe the average Covid death loss of life is 7.5 years (rough estimate from others), these people weren’t all at deaths door. Doesn’t change the arguments against the impacts of lockdown, from the human rights through to actual deaths caused by it.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

We need to consider that it’s not a choice between X number deaths one way, and no deaths the other way. It’s a choice between X deaths from a disease, and X deaths from economic strife, suicides and murders, other ailments that go undiagnosed for too long, plus the psychological impact of hibernation while not being bears. All of these consequences are harder to factor because of their indirectness, but that doesn’t mean they can’t easily eclipse the toll of a disease with a 1 or 2 percent mortality rate.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Quality of live over quantity. My parents are both in the high risk age group and would rather get on with their last few years of life, and see their grandchildren. If you don’t have an economy there will be no NHS to save.

The WHO have pointed out that the one thing that is certain about lockdown is that they make the poor poorer. Peru has had a ridiculously long lockdown yet still have the second highest number of deaths in the world, so little evidence that they make a difference.

There is nothing moral about the lockdown response, it’s political virtue signalling.

Look at this video of a “hugging station” and tell me it’s the sort of world you want to live in. https://twitter.com/TheSun/

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

We really need to make sure this never happens again. It made sense in the beginning when hospitals looked like they would be overwhelmed and the virus was thought to be a lot more deadly than it actually was. Now the goalposts keep changing and it seems to be some sort of competition for who can “save the most lives” taking nothing else into consideration.

I have already seen people suggesting this for flu seasons. These people are a danger to our liberty.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin K

Speaking of flu season and new rounds of lockdown: didn’t we know at the start of all of this that infection rates were going to dip in the summer, and spike again in the fall? I remember discussions about that in February (ah, remember February? Were we ever so young?)

How, then, did this spike in the fall catch the politicians and media by surprise? For that matter, how did resistance to extreme measures catch them by surprise. How did city-sized pockets of chaos and anarchy catch them by surprise? All of this was predicted by reasonable people from the start. Of course all this was going to happen this way, it was blindingly obvious!

So why is anyone surprised? Is it because they don’t know what they’re doing?

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
3 years ago

44,538 people, 94 cases.

Says it all really.

This is the level of risk that society has been destroyed to protect us against.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

Likely to be 450 cases if 90 cases were symptomatic.

nrdejong
nrdejong
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

No, it isn’t. 94 cases would be significantly higher without any covid restrictions. This paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go… estimates R to be between 2.0-3.4 in an unrestricted population. Over 3 months, with no restrictions, in a subset of 40000 individuals, I estimate you’d see ~1000 cases over 3 months. But as the maths are exponential, that changes quickly.

Regardless of the math, you can’t use numbers which have been dramatically reduced by lockdown measures as evidence that those lockdown measures are unnecessary.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  nrdejong

Sweden didn’t get out of control without a lockdown. Peru has the second highest number of deaths per capita despite a very long lockdown. I see little evidence to suggest they make a difference.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

And no deaths

Anna Lloyd
Anna Lloyd
3 years ago

Optimists are dangerous, almost as dangerous as the billionaire-class that have been ruling over the West for quite some time. No way I am going near that vaccine for one reason: zero trust in anything that comes out of the mouths of the billionaire-class who control, it seems, almost everything now.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago

The vaccine has allegedly reduced the symptoms in most of those 94 still infected people- how did they assess that though?!
It didn’t prevent their infection.
My, and most people’s waiting for that vaccine, idea of a 90% efficient vaccine would be that of 22.000 people vaccinated, only 2000 got infected, while all the unvaccinated were infected.
The fact that we are celebrating this on the basis of minimal data on just 94 people out of 44.000, or 0.2%, having been infected sofar, should anyone who is still being able to calculate make question the sheer necessity of those vaccines, as well as the prevalence of the pandemic.
The longterm side effects will be unknown for decades, thanks to their rushed development.
For young people, and in particular their offspring, the risk/reward is terrible: they are not at risk of the pathogen and disease, and we and they have zero idea about the longterm side effects for decades.
And as we don’t know anything about them, the chances are an equal 33% that they are positive, neutral or negative.
And any degree of seriousness of those, from everyone producing Supermen to everyone producing stillborn, is currently imaginable and possible.
Vaccinating the elderly, for whom the risk reward profile as such is more beneficial, makes more sense, but they are still Guinea pigs then.
Vaccinating all key workers quickly could turn out be extremely reckless, if the vaccine results in cytokine storms or other damages on a massive scale down the road.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

Shhhh!!!! No heretical thinking allowed. Do it in your bedroom with the light out if you must.

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago

“It’s not that it’s impossible that this panel of independent scientists were conspiring to help Joe Biden win the election, it just seems unlikely.”

I take a very skeptical view toward conspiracy theories that rely on elaborate collaboration, but I’m also attuned to incentives and groupthink. I don’t know enough about the details of this timeline and how DSMB’s operate to do more than raise an eyebrow, but let’s just say that I’m left wondering if they were really pushing hard to get this information out in public by October 30 or November 2.

As for how unlikely it is, I obviously hope such behavior doesn’t happen and want to believe that to be the case. The possibility of it seems more likely, however, in a world where the editors of several prestigious scientific and medical journals have decided that their publications should make endorsements in presidential elections.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Tagge

It would not be unnatural for a group of half a dozen scientists on a Zoom call to say

“Let’s wait until the election is over, we wouldn’t want anyone to think that WE were influencing the result”

I know that’s what I would have said in their position, because you don’t really need your career ended by the people around you.

This is the difference between a conspiracy theory and a confederacy theory.
In a confederacy theory you can put yourself in everybody’s shoes and think “Yeah, I might have done that in that situation”.

Steve Bouchard
Steve Bouchard
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Perhaps the Pharma industry was not happy with Trump’s most favored nation drug pricing actions. Therefore, don’t announce until after the election.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Tagge

“At that time, the companies decided to stop having their lab confirm cases of Covid-19 in the study, instead leaving samples in storage(1)”

Pfizer were most certainly not at the mercy of DSMB. They actively choose to slow things down until immediately after the election. I’m struggling to see an explanation other than straightforward politicisation of science.

(1) https://www.statnews.com/20

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago

I am always curious how old the vaccinated persons are in those trials. It’s common knowledge that most people above 70 years produce less antibodies and above 80 usually not enough to survive, no matter what you inject. It’s the same with the flu-vaccine. And since the average age of Covid-death is 80….

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago

Worth noting that our best guess for the survival rate for people over 90 with Covid is just over 96%.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

“The new results also don’t tell us whether older people will get strong protection from the vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech’s clinical trial includes people over age 65, so it will eventually provide this crucial information. Early clinical studies have suggested that older people produce a weaker immune response to coronavirus vaccines. But with such strong preliminary evidence, it’s possible that they will still get strong protection from a vaccine.”
https://www.nytimes.com/liv
Does sound like most trial participants were well under 80, but we’ll have to wait to find out exact numbers.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago

I read somewhere that participants are no older than 55.

jmskennedy9
jmskennedy9
3 years ago

If you don’t believe that there is some political motivation to the announcement, why did Cuomo say. “its too bad that this vaccine will be made while Trump is still President’? That could be the most selfish brazen comment ever by a politician.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  jmskennedy9

Cuomo was talking about how it will be distributed and to whom, which is a political question, so it seems entirely appropriate for a politician to be commenting on it.

‘Cuomo pointed to the scale of the distribution project, which he estimated would involve as many as 330 million vaccinations — which could require two doses — compared to 120 million coronavirus tests performed in the U.S. in seven months. “And the Trump administration is rolling out the vaccination plan and I believe it’s flawed,” Cuomo continued. “I believe it learns nothing from the past. They’re basically going to have the private providers do it, and that’s going to leave out all sorts of communities that were left out the first time when COVID ravaged them.”‘
(Fox News, “Cuomo says it’s ‘bad news’ …”)
That said, I’m waiting to see how President Harris or Biden will approach it. Still USA first, and still the rich before the poor, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Anakei greencloudnz
Anakei greencloudnz
3 years ago

You only need to vaccinate the old and the sick. There is no need to vaccinate the rest of the population as they are at virtually no risk of serious harm from the virus

Robert G
Robert G
3 years ago

The purpose of vaccinating those who aren’t vulnerable would be to achieve herd immunity. Despite many objectiona to the “herd immunity strategy,” it’s the textbook method of protecting populations. That being said, young healthy people may face greater risk from the vaccine than the virus. I certainly have no intentions of getting it myself.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert G

‘herd immunity is immoral and doesn’t work, no disese is controlled like that’ Matt Hancock.

On as serious note if hopefully a vacine is 90% effective, who is it effective for? Did the groups largely consist of elderly people, or young healthy people? If the effectiveness of the vaccine drops off in those most at risk from developing Covid-19 then it’s less exciting.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert G

Herd immunity is a myth, a theoretical computer model invented by computer Modelers, aka epidimiologists, not based upon any medical evidence, invented to justify vaccinating people not at risk of a pathogen and disease- see Profs Gatti, Montana RI and RKjrs CHD.
Various immunities are a fact and medical evidence.
When Hancock&co are critical about herd immunity, they still think it exists/the model is clrrect/people not at risk should also be vaccinated, but that it can ethically only be reached via a vaccine.
Gatti, Montanari and CHD on the other hand differ with Gupta&co on the sheer existence of herd immunity, but are very much in favour of the same approach, of letting the various natural and individual immunities develop by facing the pathogen whilst protecting the most vulnerable, and for those at risk and when available, safe and effective, a vaccine.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

Herd immunity is not a myth. Every vaccine relies on it to an extent. Not 100% of children can take measles vaccine, so we rely on having enough of the population vaccinated that it doesn’t spread to those who can’t take the vaccine.

Colin Macdonald
Colin Macdonald
3 years ago

I would want to know if this has been tested on the old and sick, novel vaccines can have risks, and it’s likely that physically frail people are more vulnerable to these risks.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

Some over-65s, but no hard data yet on how many or what ages exactly.
The elderly may be at more risk of side-effects from the vaccine, though one thing these Pfizer trials have said is this vaccine seems very safe for everyone. On the other hand, the elderly are definitely at high risk from COVID itself.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago

You don’t need to vaccinate at all. I have not had any infection, not even “common cold”, for more than 20 years, and that’s certainly not due to a stress-free life. But rather due to building immunity with vitamin c and d and zinc. The failure to mention this science shows these people to be evil charlatans.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago

“And finally, it gives a nice straightforward answer to what it is that lockdown is supposed to be buying time for.”

Really? The lockdown is in place to protect the NHS yet again. It is not in place to buy time for a vaccine. I’m not getting into the downsides and harms of lockdowns as its been discussed at great length elsewhere. The comment elsewhere on the risk analysis is interesting however.

Carl Ewing
Carl Ewing
3 years ago

24 months minimum clinical trials. Anything short of that, nobody but the absolutely most vulnerable should touch it with a 10-foot pole. Utter madness to give 10s of millions of people a medicine that has been rushed through trials.No scientists on planet earth can say, with any certainty, that they are confident there are no long term side effects. And that should scare the hell out of everyone. And this is from someone who has no problems with vaccines, have taken dozens of vaccines for a lifetime of world travel, but what they are attempting to do here is very concerning.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Ewing

We can be fairly confident there are long term side effects from this virus though, including an infection fatality rate of around 1% in high-income countries (from the Imperial College London COVID-19 Response Team). For people over 50 say, the IFR is a lot higher.

Carl Ewing
Carl Ewing
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

You would have to prove that the long term side effects of the vaccine are less severe that the virus, at least in the general population. That’s the whole point of multi-year clinical trials, and why vaccines always take many years to develop…and often reveal unforseen side effects that were not seen in early trials. If we’re okay with rushing this vaccine, then we might as well reduce clinical trials for all potentially life saving drugs to under a year. Rushing this vaccine is insane. This is the kind of shit that, if anything goes wrong, will permanently erode public trust in medicine (especially vaccines). This is not a road anyone wants to go down.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Long-term side-effects from the vaccine, not the virus. The human condition is exposed to thousands of viral entities every day and has evolved to deal with them. Every now and again a more powerful one comes around but that also eventually succumbs to Herd Immunity if given a chance.

Protect the vulnerable and let others get on with life.

steve jones
steve jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I believe the generally agreed infection fatality rate is 0.24% and not 1%, which puts it on a level of flu/severe flu.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  steve jones

You can look up the ICLCRT IFR estimate for high-income countries (which have more old people and higher rates of comorbidities).
It’s generally agreed that the IFR is far higher (10x-20x higher) for this SARS-CoV-2 than for seasonal flu.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Ewing

I could not agree more as someone who has had a lifetime of world travel and lived in India and four African countries without resorting to vaccines and without ever becoming ill.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Why have a vaccine at all? What does it achieve? A population that has developed it’s own anti-bodies to the virus is the best possible outcome, and that means exposing as many people as possible to the virus (a-la Sweden) We see that the average age of death from this virus is 82.2 years old, but the national life expectancy is actually a year lower than this at 81. What’s causing the biggest problem with this virus (and I would contend, it’s deliberate) is the lack of treatment in the initial stage of the virus. We have seen from countless studies across the globe, that early treatment with HCQ and Zinc (the key element), in conjunction with an antibiotic for 5 days prevents hospitalization in 99.98 of all cases. The real problem is that patients are told (wrongly) to go home and isolate for ten days, but are not given any treatment, and it’s that bad advice which is causing the problem, because it allows the virus to replicate, and leads to the cytokine storm (which is what really kills the patient.) Every patient should be advised (at that early stage) to double their intake of vitamin D, C, and Zinc, as this determines how the C proteins react to the virus. A deficiency in vitamin D will cause the triggering of T helper 1 cells, which are pro-inflammatory, whereas a healthy immune system, which is not vit D deficient, will trigger T-helper 2 cells, (Non inflammatory) which in turn prevents the cytokine storm. What concerns me, is that most Doctors must know this, so why are they going along with the this CDC bad advice?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Hallelujah!

The greatest event since Caesar won at Munda or the Resurrection, take your pick.

However have we not forgotten what Desiderius Erasmus may have said five centuries ago, “prevention is better than cure”?

This recent Plague emanated from China, as have most others, and yet there is hardly a whisper of criticism. Why not?

Additionally are “we” ready for the next one, which should be more virulent than the first?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Hardly a whisper of criticism? Where have you been the last few months? There’s this guy called President Trump in the USA who regularly calls it the China virus, and Australia’s been quite vocal in demanding inquiries into how it started and how China first responded. China itself has been rethinking its wildlife trade and markets. Someone I know was talking about “the dirty f’ing Chinese” back in January.
If you ask me, there’s been too much criticism of China. Given how ineptly various Western nations have handled it, my guess is many of them would have made a much worse job of things had it broken out in their country.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Well, I certainly agree with you about the ineptitude of many Western nations. In fact one can only describe it as truly pathetic, to ‘our’ eternal shame.

I have heard Mr Trump voice his obvious displeasure with China, and also heard the platitudes emanating from Botany Bay.

You acquaintance who voiced that expletive concerning China probably displays the lack of education offered by our lamentable Comprehensive system, poor chap. Otherwise he would have chosen more nuanced adjective, however I agree with his sentiment entirely.

It will come as no surprise that I completely disagree with you that there has been “too much criticism of China”.

I would have thought by now that it would be abundantly clear to all, that China is a global menace, and must be disciplined. If not, we face a limited Nuclear War, within the decade. A war incidentally that China will not survive.

A bit gloomy perhaps, but as Dawkins said, we are but a species of (insatiably greedy/my addition) African ape.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

You might want to look at the high correlation between countries where bats are eaten, and therefore handled regularly in markets and “handling” of the coronavirus. Do you really think piss poor nations in Africa are equipped to handle this pandemic better than most of Europe or the US? Or do you think there may be some existing immunity by previous exposure to the other coronaviruses out there?

https://www.ijidonline.com/

https://twitter.com/gummibe

X Y
X Y
3 years ago

How does the government persuade people to take a vaccine like this? There are fundamental questions of whether it prevents infection, how effective it is for different age cohorts in preventing serious illness and death (rather than, for example, preventing mild cold like symptoms which people have been putting up with their whole lives), how long it’s benefits last, risks associated with repeat vaccinations.

Without answers to these it is impossible for freely informed consent to be given. It is disappointing that this journalist is not asking any of these questions nor recognising that they are important. The “hooray we have a solution feeling” will wi5er over time as different vaccines come forwards with different characteristics.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  X Y

“How does the government persuade people to take a vaccine like this?”
In the first few months, the problem’s likely to be the exact opposite – not enough vaccine for everyone who wants it.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago

The “desperate need for a vaccine” has been created, manufactured, brought into existence, by the government’s actions to covid. This was the intention from the start, to create “the desperate need” in the population. A FABULOUS money spinner. An invisible enemy; the perfect tool to control the fear-ridden populous. This vaccine is TOTALLY unnecessary. Those nearing the end of their body’s life will die of an infection brought on by a virus or bacteria, that is the natural end of life. This vaccine may HASTEN the process, by reducing a person’s natural immune response. There is plenty of evidence, from Italy for example, of those that succumbed to covid had recently been given a “new” flu vaccine. People may be clamoring for the covid vaccine, but that is only the result by being psychologically damaged by the incessant propaganda and daily barrage of fear-mongering from the media that the vaccine is the only solution to this torment. The actual solution is ensuring good health in the population and the government hasn’t given one scrap of advice in that direction e.g. vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, sunlight and fresh air.
Just think of this: the “All-causes Death rate” for the UK this year is slightly BELOW the 5-year average. So what is the panic about?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

Many see it as you do, even doctors and scientists, but they are quickly silenced. If Covid were the threat as claimed we would have seen it wipe out millions in Third World countries which are always more vulnerable. It didn’t happen. For some Bizarre reason Covid seems to be more of a First World problem where lockdowns were put in place.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago

Thank you for an interesting article, and my apologies that what follows is a bit of a rant – but with the vaccine hopefully representing the beginnings of a long and drawn out end, here seemed as good a place as any for the following.

Once this is over (allowed to be over?) I feel humanity will be in the same position as rescued survivors from a ship wreck who had resorted to cannibalism; now having to come to terms with what they have done and wrestle with their compromised humanity. The only difference is, to make the analogy with Covid complete, the survivors would need to have had a plot of arable and fertile farm land on the island they were marooned on, if they’d only bothered to look.

To give just a few most hard hitting examples (globally and nationally); in the name of suppressing this virus, we have:

– Shut down the worlds economy; plunging 130m people back in to extreme poverty and the risk of starvation.
– Brutalised liberal democracies the world over until they resemble repressive dystopia’s – and many have cheered on as this happened and only protested that this didn’t go far enough.
– Ruined the education of our young and deprived them of human contact; placing significant proportions of them at risk of undetected abuse in the process
– At the other end of the generational divide; emptied hospitals out in to care homes putting at risk the very people we were supposed to be protecting
– Complied with a set of dictates under the guise of non pharmaceutical interventions that have encouraged us to think of ourselves and others as contaminated, and treat those who didn’t comply or objected accordingly

This is a few examples – this post would be a shopping list of horrors if i were to list them all.

Its worth remembering that this new dark age we have been plunged in to – in which the above has been seen as necessary and, indeed, righteous in the face of disease – has been initiated and justified in the name of ‘following the science’ and virtue signalling. Will humanity learn anything from this tragic irony? I am not hopeful.

I suspect that 21st century post modernist humans – having failed the test of preserving their humanity against a pandemic – will fail to learn the correct lessons. In years to come, children in school (or over Zoom), will learn this was the right thing to do and those who protested it were irresponsible (‘boo-hiss the lockdown sceptics!’).

Finally (rant almost over and back on topic), I don’t think we need worry about people not taking the vaccine – the psychologically terrified people I have just described will trample their first born in order to get a whiff of the vaccine.

The rest of us will be left wishing we were Swedish!

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

The best explanation of absence of restrictions in Sweden is that they’re already the most cashless society.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Sweden’s response isn’t a success story, and the two main people behind it have admitted months ago they should have done it differently.

Sweden compared to its closest neighbours:

5x the death rate of Denmark
11.5x the death rate of Norway
9x the death rate of Finland
5x the death rate of Germany

Their economy hasn’t done better than their neighbours either, and on some measures, it’s done worse.

Sweden did put a few measures in place, including:
– banning gatherings of more than 50 early on and stuck with it for longer than most
– setting specific rules for bars and restaurants to limit their intake of customers, and forcing folks to sit down
– closing down universities and high schools early on
– encouraging working from home

They’ve been voluntarily restricting their movements too, as can be measured by activity at transit stations, retail/restaurants, parks and workplaces (check the google covid19 mobility figures)

Somehow, a lot of people seem to think that Sweden took no action, and have been doing really well as a result though. Ă°ĆžÂ€â€

As Dr Tegnell, the man behind their policy, said “There is quite obviously a potential for improvement in what we have done.”

Things aren’t looking great in Sweden right now either. I can’t post a link, but there’s a Bloomberg article from 3rd November with the headline “Sweden Fights ‘Very Serious’ Covid Resurgence With New Curbs”.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

12 times less deaths than Neil Ferguson’s model predicted and no Covid Police state. Still wishing I was Swedish!

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

So, Sweden did not do quite as well as some of its neighbours but it did vastly better than the UK with strict lockdown.

also, look at the other factors such as higher urban living rates in
Sweden than other Scandinavian nations. and Germany tends to outperform everyone so hardly a fair comparison.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Ah but the Swedes do social distancing as a norm.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Let all adults who want to be vaccinated do so. Leave the children alone and let all those who do not want to be vaccinated have that right respected.

At least that way if they stuff it up we will have enough adults to care for those who need care and we will not have sacrificed our future generations, well, anymore than we already do with vaccines, in the name of fear, greed and hysteria.

Katy Randle
Katy Randle
3 years ago

I welcome such a clear explanation of what this vaccine might mean; thank you. (I would also be grateful for an article clarifying why they are confident that there won’t be any longer-term negative effects, as I had always believed that checking for those was why drug trials took so long.)

Even if it’s 90% efficient, though, I worry that there are those (including many in charge of the decisions) who are now so risk-averse that they’ll push to keep restrictions in place on the “better safe than sorry” principle.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Katy Randle

Those are valid issues.
And thanks to the rushed development and to the governments, media’s, scientists non-engagement, diffamation and censorship of any criticism and alternative viewpoints, many if not most people simply don’t have any or only very low trust in those very same people, when they promote these magic vaccine bullets.

steve jones
steve jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Katy Randle

The restrictions are nothing to do with ‘better safe than sorry’. Instead it is about power and control and a government which is reluctant to give up these things.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  Katy Randle

“The UK drugs regulator has awarded a £1.5 million tender to a
software company for an artificial intelligence tool that will be used
to process “the expected high volume of COVID-19 vaccine adverse drug
reactions (ADRs)
.”

https://pharmaphorum.com/ne

Jules jules
Jules jules
3 years ago

Very optimistic article, to a fault.
So what we are learning:
– This new vaccine does not prevent infection (therefore does not prevent contagion), reduces common cold symptoms (the symptoms 99,8% of the population already recover from naturally), does not protect the fraction of the population that indeed dies from the virus (the actual target that justify the race toward vaccination).
– This vaccine uses brand new technology that alter the human’s immune system at the RNA/DNA level. We have no data on the long term effects of such alteration. This is uncharted territory and they are already waving any responsibility in case of casualties.
– Despite the fact that the virus is now waning around the globe, we are told we won’t be back to normal until everybody (or at least 50%) gets vaccinated. Do those leaders and health experts have some kind of a crystal ball and know for a fact we still will need the vaccination a year from now?
Something to think about: What’s the real goal here? Getting immunity for a virus 99.8% of the population recovers from or trying out a new type of human RNA/DNA experiment on a mass scale, that comes in a neat package with authoritarian surveillance policies?
Do you still buy it?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Arriving literally just days after Trump’s defeat over what was billed by many as a referendum on his handling of the coronavirus in the US, the timing of this long awaited miracle, especially from an American pharma giant, must be rather ‘galling’ for him.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago

I’m not sure why anyone thinks this gets us out of jail. Are people who are inoculated going to receive badges allowing them special privileges. If they are not then we are still banged up until everyone has been injected with the vaccine and what happens if the take up is low. Are we still going to be dressed for a bank robbery in 2030. Covid-19 is not going anywhere and neither are we until we collectively decide to live dangerously and live again.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

Give me liberty and give me Covid!

Viva la Liberta!

peter.azlac
peter.azlac
3 years ago

A point that is missing from this article is that whilst the vaccine may be very effective it can be too effective in vulnerable persons with an immune deficiency and result in an enhanced adverse cytokine response that is at the heart of most current fatalities. So how many of these 62 cases involved vulnerable participants. If none, it is not exciting news unless it stops the spread of the virus as the majority of the population do not need protection. Of particular concern with corona type vaccines is the risk of Antibody Dependent Enhancement of immune response shown in studies with MERS etc.
7 PLOS Pathogens 2017 Aug; 13(8): e1006565
8, 9 Swiss Medical Weekly April 16, 2020; 150:w20249
10 Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications August 22, 2014; 451(2): 208-214

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  peter.azlac

Big Pharma “science” has a long history of massively corrupted “research”, as detailed in the book Experts Catastrophe which you can find at amazon if you search for that title (which ironically pre-dated the Covid catastrophe).

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

In an age of fear-donkeys and modelling monkeys one thing is certain, none of those making or pushing any vaccine can be trusted.

Having spent decades living across Africa, my question would be, if Covid is such a threat, why has it barely touched Africa where, generally, with poor living conditions and nutrition the streets should be lined with the dead and dying and the morgues tossing the bodies in the street? Well, the morgues often toss bodies in the street in Africa, but more so.

Infection is infection. Risk is risk. Why is Covid seemingly a First World problem?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Well I can think of 7 reasons off the top of my head and in no particular order :

1. Only about 3 per cent of Africans are over the age of 65. Exceptions are S Africa and Algeria which have both had a rocky time.
2. Their Public Health people are probably some of the best in the world because they have had experience with lots of other crippling epidemics including the plague, cholera, malaria, sleeping sickness, Ebola, HIV and TB
3. Under reporting because they don’t have the infrastructure to accuarately map what is going on
4. Testing in some African countries indicates that up to 80% of cases may be asymptomatic

5. Overall, reduced population density + outdoor lifestyle
6. Less people movement because of poor road network and limited international travel.
7. Different innate immunity

I would put my money on 1 and 2 as being the most important.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

There is no “public health” or “infrastructure” in sub-Saharan Africa as those terms are understood in West. There is no concept of a public realm as is taken for granted in Europe/West: it’s pretty much every man for himself. Charitable enterprises are European or UN, NGO etc. The indigenous social security is generally the extended family. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t some excellent medical facilities. I’ve been treated in the NP Shah Hospital in Nairobi myself, where even a blood test cost 3 or 4 times what most earn in a month.

And nowhere on earth are humans more concentrated than in urban slums in Africa where the stench of open sewers at first makes you heave, though it’s remarkable how quickly you become acclimatised. People are far more social in Africa than Europe. Even in places that are relatively sparsely populated people typically gather in close physical proximity night and day. That there are places where one could travel for days and hardly encounter another person doesn’t alter that. South Africa might be an exception in some respects. It should be borne in mind that even if most Africans are materially poor by European standards they generally appear more content than Europeans especially children. We’re supposed to pity children without shoes but that overlooks the feelings of the children themselves. After all Europeans pay good money to ‘get away from it all’, in effect to emulate the nomadic lifestyle institutionalised as the camping holiday or some such.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago

Call me a cynic, but quite frankly we could claim a vaccine has been developed and then just roll out injections of saline solution in January to March.

The seasonal drop off in cases and deaths would allow governments (and vaccine developers) to claim success, getting themselves out of the huge hole that they dug.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

There were over 35,000 UK deaths in April and May this year, despite the lockdown (much higher if you look at excess mortality figures). We could easily see similar numbers or worse again for April and May next year with no vaccine, so call me a cynic, but I don’t think your plan’s very realistic, and it certainly wouldn’t be working too well by next September and October.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Actually there were over 146,500 deaths in England and Wales in April and May 2020. This compares to the average of the previous 5 years of 89,500. So we had had 57,000 excess deaths – just under 45,000 of these mention Covid on the death certificate (whole debate there) – source ONS. BTW, 45,000 is about 0.07% of the England and Wales population. So there were also 12,000 excess deaths that did not mention covid (ties in with how quite my partner’s A&E department was)

This is typical for a new virus – it runs through the highly susceptible. Then it finds killing harder. This winter, we are not seeing any excess deaths – the total is about average. That is because Covid is now a normal, seasonal endemic virus. It will peak in Q1 2021 (as these viruses do) and then decline into the summer.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

We are seeing excess deaths though. Latest ONS figures:

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 30 October 2020 (Week 44) was 10,887; this was 148 more deaths than in Week 43.
In Week 44, the number of deaths registered was 10.1% above the five-year average (996 deaths higher).
Of the deaths registered in Week 44, 1,379 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, accounting for 12.7% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is an increase of 401 deaths compared with Week 43 (when there were 978 deaths involving COVID-19, accounting for 9.1% of all deaths).

Using the Worldometers covid figures, deaths in the last 7 days were 58% higher than for the week ending 30-Oct-20, and there’s a clear trend upwards. There were also 28.6% more covid patients in UK hospitals on 9th November, than on 30th October, and 24.6% more covid patients in mechanical ventilation beds on 10th November, than on 30th October.

Those increases are despite the local lockdowns, tiers, and now national lockdown. Without those, the figures would be a lot worse.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago

Crikey, did Pfizer pay for this advertorial? What a disappointment ‘UnHerd’ is turning out to be…

Tim Coote
Tim Coote
3 years ago

The data do not yet tell us the age stratification of the effectiveness. Unless it works well for the 70+ group, it’s quite dangerous. That’s because that group is the source of nearly all the bad outcomes.

It’s also worth noting that we’ve only managed to eliminate one disease by vaccination (smallpox), that took 200 years, and was partially reliant on features of the virus responsible.

Dalla Jenney
Dalla Jenney
3 years ago

I understand 89 of those infected were from the placebo group, and 5 from the vaccinated arm of the trial. That’s pretty impressive.

However I also understand that whilst neutralising antibodies were induced, there was very little T cell immunity provoked. As antibodies appear to diminish rapidly, this might be a vaccine that gets us through the short term of a few months. We can then hope for an adenovirus “viral vector” vaccine to have completed trials, and those types of vaccine almost always provoke good T cell immunity. T cell immunity is still detectable 17 years later on people who caught SARS-1 so we could hope for a much more long lasting immunity from a viral vector jab.
Lastly, we need to swerve to a vaccine aimed at one of the other structural proteins of the coronavirus as the spike protein is the least highly conserved and the most pro inflammatory. Witness the cluster 5 mink variation seemingly untroubled by antibodies that neutralise the current strain of coronavirus.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Dalla Jenney

“There was very little T cell immunity provoked”?

‘A new study published on the preprint server medRxiv by a research group from the U.S. and Germany indicates that a novel BNT162b1 RNA-based vaccine [this Pfizer one] against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) induces functional and proinflammatory T cell responses in almost all participants ““ marking another landmark achievement for this promising vaccine candidate.’
news-medical.net, “Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine elicits both neutralizing antibodies and T cell response” July 2020

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Dalla Jenney

>> Lastly, we need to swerve to a vaccine aimed at one of the other structural proteins…

You said what I was thinking, only better than I could have said it.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Pfizer, the company that gave millions of old men erections, but only one an election.

George Herman
George Herman
3 years ago

Re the timing of the announcement (although I’m not pro-Trump, to be transparent), it’s hard to conclude that there was no manipulation afoot. A pre-election announcement WOULD have changed the vote totals and probably the result. Which is sad, since the widespread availability of one or more vaccines has consistently been forecast, even by Fauci, as most likely the spring, and possibly by the end of this year on an emergency approval basis. This announcement changes nothing in that regard”or in the calculations voters should have been making all along, whether on Trump’s handling of Covid or his handling of anything else.

There is some irony, though, in what I see as the process by which the vote would have changed. As most posters in this thread have opined, this vaccine, even with its purported 94% efficacy, is not exactly the miracle that will lift the specter of mass death from a pestilent world. But that’s exactly how it would have been touted by Trump, with his usual reliance on hyperbole and disdain for any semblance of veracity. I can’t say I’m unhappy to be spared that onslaught.

True, if Trump had had his way there would have been no lockdowns at all, but the hows and whys of that process would take this thread wholly into the realm of politics. Suffice it to say that neither the scientific community nor the White House can be proud of 2020. If the difference in the election was in fact Trump’s handling of Covid, is it so improper that an announcement which made not a whit of difference in that record–nor the outlook–was not plunked down in the middle of the pre-vote frenzy? It provided nothing of any informative value, but could be spun as providing plenty. So couldn’t an argument be made that releasing it BEFORE the election would simply confuse the issue by appearing to add credence without basis to a particular storyline? And thereby be manipulative as well? Not for the goose, but for the gander.

On this theme, I still haven’t seen a satisfactory explanation for Comey’s dumping of the Abedin/Clinton emails during the same period four years ago. Arguably, that changed the vote in Trump’s favour. You might say what goes around comes around.

Four years ago I was pro-Trump, but I nonetheless regarded Comey’s intervention as highly out of line.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

As I recall this is not the first ‘wonder drug’ the Fatherland has invented.

Many moons ago they produced Thalidomide, with very unfortunate results.
I trust we are not going to see history repeat itself, as Mr Hancock rushes to have it ready by Christmas?

Fernando Gatti
Fernando Gatti
3 years ago

The vaccine is being tried on healthy individuals. We know this virus behaves extremely different on old and frail or people with comorbidities, the same may be true with the vaccine, therefore it should not be use on high risk people without further studies.
We’ll face the moral conflict; we will ask the young and healthy to take a small unknown risk (vaccination) to prevent a very small known risk for them (getting Covid-19) so the old get protection from herd immunity.
I’m living in New Zealand where this is the only exit strategy, I’m a father of four, young and healthy adults in their twenties and thirties. I find the idea that my children may get sick from an inadequately tested vaccine to protect me utterly repulsive, immoral and perverse.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Fernando Gatti

Many do. The insanity of a vaccine for Covid is that the virus is not a risk to the majority of people and for children and the young, virtually no risk at all.

The risk group is very sick, 2-3 co-morbidities and also very old and for that group the common cold is a risk, of which Covid is supposedly a variation.

Most older people do NOT want young people and children used as labrats in an experiment to possibly protect them when the risk group can easily be quarantined until the virus disappears, as they usually do.

Any crunching of the numbers shows that it is at worst, depending on country, equal to almost a bad Flu season and the hysterical response to it is not sourced in any real threat.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

1) Most people under 50, and very few children will be getting a covid vaccine though.
2) The IFR for SARS-CoV-2 is 10-20x higher than that for seasonal flu.
3) How can you look at the recent mortality figures and say there’s no real threat? There were 1,478 deaths in the US today and 595 in the UK, we’re not half-way into November, and this is clearly a seasonal virus. How many people have to die and how full do the hospitals have to be before people take this seriously?

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Fernando Gatti

1) The Phase 3 trials have lots of old people (eg the Novavax trial is 25% aged 65-84) and people with comorbidities.
2) If the NZ rollout is similar to the UK rollout, most people under 50 won’t be offered the vaccine unless they’re high-risk or health workers (which also increases their risk). You’ll probably be offered the vaccine for free, but your children won’t get it unless they’re at risk or they pay for it.
3) No-one will have to take any covid vaccine.

etax.tmglobalrecruitment
etax.tmglobalrecruitment
3 years ago

what a load of panicked bedwetting drivel – i expect better

Mulvya Chand
Mulvya Chand
3 years ago

For reasons that they don’t make clear, but which were “after discussion with the FDA”, Pfizer decided not to release its findings after 32 cases; by the time those discussions were complete, they’d already reached 94 cases.

doesn’t square with

And it’s not Pfizer or BioNTech who decided to release the data: it’s the DSMB.

There’s no point for Pfizer to ‘have discussions’ with the FDA if the DSMB decides the time for interim analysis. In fact, Pfizer decides the trigger for interim analyses and tells DSMB to proceed. So, the timing is up to Pfizer. Remember, that Pfizer’s CEO published an open letter in mid-Oct to maintain confidence in the trial process. Not unreasonable to think political optics was a concern for them.

What that could mean is that lots of people in the vaccine group are becoming infected

10 months into this pandemic and I’ve yet to see a quantified definition of what constitutes an infection of SARS-CoV2.

So if the R is 2, you need to vaccinate 50% of the population

Does this take into account those already infected? Since they are expected to have existing humoral and memory immunity.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Mulvya Chand

10 months into this pandemic and I’ve yet to see a quantified definition of what constitutes an infection of SARS-CoV2.

You think too much….. BANG.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Mulvya Chand

“At that time, the companies decided to stop having their lab confirm cases of Covid-19 in the study, instead leaving samples in storage”

They actively choose to slow things down until immediately after the election. I’m struggling to see an explanation other than straightforward politicisation of science.

https://www.statnews.com/20

Andrew M
Andrew M
3 years ago

It’s just a press release. It leaves a number of questions unanswered, some as reflected by various of the comments so far:

– What is the effect on numbers of people asymtomatically infected versus placebo? Is there a similar reduction or none at all?
– What about the safety data?
– How does the effectiveness look when stratified by age and by risk group?
– What is the longer term profile of its effectiveness (after 3 months, 6 months, 1 year etc).

There is really little doubt from a scientific perspective that it is possible to produce a safe and effective SARS-Cov-2 vaccine; it’s all about the timing. Thus, subject to the above caveats, this announcement of a possible early success looks like very good news

Carlo Dallapiccola
Carlo Dallapiccola
3 years ago

Nice to see someone go into many details, with an overall optimistic outlook (much needed!). However, the article gets way too tangled in various unnecessary caveats and qualifiers. The analogy with the basketball game is not useful: whether you stop the game (or any vaccine trial) at one arbitrary point (20 points for the game, X total infections for the trial) or a different arbitrary point (when the buzzer sounds for the game, Y > X total infections for the trial) makes no fundamental difference. In both cases it is arbitrary – but in both cases also firmly planted within the laws of statistics. The Pfizer vaccine has a well-defined measure of efficacy both now and at its final endpoint. And in both cases there is a well-defined uncertainty (confidence interval) for the efficacy – this encapsulates what is colloquially referred to in this article as chance of a “fluke” result. And in both cases the “true” efficacy won’t be known – just measured with ever better precision.

An efficacy of 90%, measured from 94 total cases means that there is an exceedingly slim chance that the true efficacy will be < 50%, for instance. There is also some small chance that the efficacy is 95%, as eventually acknowledge in the article (buried within those mounds of caveats intended to make the reader not get too optimistic).

Finally, yes this is a very big deal. Yes, herd immunity threshold will be attained in e.g. the UK and the US, likely by mid-2021. Yes, that means going back to the old normal. There will be other vaccines being deployed in early to mid 2021, and the success of the Pfizer vaccine, targeting a spike protein, bodes well for nearly all of them. So, my message? No need to drown your optimistic message in qualifiers and caveats! That bugle sound is CLOSE!

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago

We dont have to vaccinate everyone. Healthy people below say 30 or 40 are not at risk. So far the cases of reinfection are staggering small. They may actually be near zero. If we assume the vaccine provides similar protection as catching the virus. Then surely we really only need to protect the vulnerable and let the rest (lets assume fit people under 40) vaccinate naturally by catching the virus.

A similar approach is taken with pneumonia in Australia. You can only be vaccinated for free if you are over a certain age or have a specific risk. The logic being that anyone of any age can catch pneumonia but its the elderly who are most at risk.

Of course there will be some edge cases and there is the supposed ” long covid” possibility. However, when weighed against the massive financial and health costs of these stupid lockdowns, then that would be a very small price to pay.

Sadly I think the appaling scaremongering may make that difficult to implement but not impossible.

Tracy Clark
Tracy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

Actually , thats not the case, the idea is to improve herd immunity so that the upper classes don’t catch something carried by the dirty lower class. Vaccines for you but not for them .. well until the population death & injury rates are known

Julia McMaster
Julia McMaster
3 years ago

@Nick Wade. I fully agree. It’s going to be wonderful- especially for the vaccine makers! They are going to make a killing. Possibly with double meaning, in South Korea 83 people have already died after the normal flu vaccine (there is the suspicion that the vaccine wasn’t kept properly chilled). But don’t expect any changes in government control of the population, after all, this is the “new normal” that’s here to stay.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

As long as it is optional they can do what they want although please leave the children out of it they get injected with so much these days the last thing they need is another vaccine, rushed through, experimental with even more genetic meddling.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago

Mr Chivers says: “And we also know that the vaccine is astonishingly safe, given no major adverse events in the 20,000 people who were given it.”

I am far from being anti-vaccine. However, there is a good reason that new vaccines and drugs are tested over several years. Some may be safe at one or two doses, but then can cause side effects after several years of use.

I am very concerned that normal safety testing is being reduced and we have absolutely no evidence that this vaccine is safe for prolonged usage.

I am pretty sure (I will look when the data is published) that I would advise my parents to take it (They are in their 80’s and short term benefit probably outweighs long term risks). That I would advise my children not to take it until further tests done (teens / 20’s where long term risks outweigh short term gains). Personally, I think I will err towards no (early 50’s and in reasonable health).

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

1) we don’t know yet if more than two doses will be required, and it seems likely that there will be at least 6-12 months of immunity after two doses, and maybe a lot longer.
2) we don’t know much yet about the long-term side-effects of having had the virus either, but we do know there’s an infection fatality rate of around 1% in high-income countries (that figure is from the Imperial College London COVID-19 Response Team), and it looks like around 5% of people who were hospitalised are being left with some level of long-term side effects.
3) If you’re in the UK, then your children probably won’t even be offered the vaccine unless they’re health workers, teachers or at risk.
4) If you’re in your early 50s and in good health, then the risks of the virus may well be less than the potential risks of the vaccine. That’s why you’ll be at the back of the queue, and it would be perfectly reasonable to decide you don’t want to take it. You’ll have a lot more information by then to make your choice.

Kan Ye
Kan Ye
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

If they tested tobacco use in the same time frame they would also conclude that it was safe.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

Completely absurd to take a vaccine for an ailment the age of whose victims exceeds the average lifespan. I wouldn’t take it for a million quid. If it weren’t for computer models and psychopathic plutocrats with any number of journalists and politicians in their pockets we’d be none the wiser about this season’s respiratory viruses than that of any other. I’m old enough to remember ‘Hong Kong Flu’ in 1968 which garnered a few headlines, where the deaths far exceeded this year’s and included youngsters. No one batted an eyelid about 80,000 “deaths” or whatever it was. The summer of love unabated.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

1) The average years of life lost is 11 for women and 13 for men.
2) You won’t have to take a covid vaccine, and most people under 50 won’t even be offered it.
3) It would be glaringly obvious that this year is very different from other season’s respiratory viruses.
4) The UK death toll from the 1968 flu was around 30,000. The official death so far from this new virus is over 50,000 (a lot higher if you look at excess mortality figures, which were used to calculate the 1968 figure), and there were another 595 today. That’s despite the lockdowns, furloughs, social distancing etc, and would have been far worse without all those extra measures.
5) If you don’t want to take a covid vaccine, then don’t take it, but since you’re probably over 60, I think you’d be making a mistake.
You’d probably still want a hospital bed if you got sick, with covid or with anything else. There were over 14,000 covid patients in UK hospitals two days ago already, with the numbers getting worse. There are only about 164,000 hospital beds in the UK, and there’s a real chance the NHS could be overrun. It creaks every winter anyway, and we haven’t even reached flu season yet.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

“1) The average years of life lost is 11 for women and 13 for men.”

Your source please.

Average age of covid victims is 82. life expectancy of an 82 year old man is 8 years, or 9 years for a woman – souce ONS

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peop

Those numbers are for the whole population. Most deaths from Covid suffered at least one serious co-morbidity, which would reduce those numbers substantially.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

The obsession with prolonging life for its own sake even among the aged; with other people’s lives as if my death is your affair; what Ivan Ilich has called the ‘medicalisation of death’ is more pathological than any virus. The security guard lecturing the queue outside Aldi not so long ago on the virtues of “social distancing” or anyone else pronouncing on “deaths” is no more concerned with other lives now than any at other time. It’s quite grotesque.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

How on earth can you know what someone else is thinking ?

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

Eyes and ears principally. At the same time poor personal hygiene or other aromas around a person can easily prove a more reliable guide to character than mere words alone. How else can one know *anything*?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

I agree. Modern medicine is profit-driven and quality of life is worthless, unless they can find a vaccine or drug to make them some money which might improve quality of life in the robotic, mechanised, drugged, last years of life as we now see.

To have a few more years where your health is seriously poor and you are dropping a dozen drugs down your throat every day, is not living.

We have lost our way being led by materialist reductionist mechanistic modern science which is devoid of soul and integrity.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

“The official death”

Yes but if you have had COVID and die of something else, you are an “official COVID death”. Sorry, the figures are wildly inflated.

Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe
3 years ago

If you ignore the logistics problems in storing it due to the extremely low temperature it must be kept as and the side effects, it could be the answer to the problem, a vaccine that is effective on 90% of us – the 90% I guess that are not susceptible to this particular virus?

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Thorpe

Quite. I’m 69, have never suffered as a result of any of the preceding Respiratory Syndromes that have occurred throughout my life, have never had ‘flu, have never had a ‘flu vaccine, very very rarely get a real cold (can’t recall the last one) so I sure I have a natural immunity to such as Covid-19. Add to that I am very fit, eat well, get huge doses of Vit D from gardening, and dog-walking, lead an active life, and supplement Zinc. I shall pass on the vaccine. Worth noting that it must be definition be experimental at this stage and when first used – and the Nuremberg Code prohibits medical experimentation without the patient’s consent (thanks, Dr. Mengele).

I do not consent.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

My situation also and I completely agree. Do not sacrifice the children in my name. I have also lived for decades in India and four African countries without vaccines, or malarial medication for that matter. They are just not necessary. There are other non-toxic ways to maintain health.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

I’ve had two respiratory infections since December, one relatively mild, the second more severe but neither half as bad as real flu when for at least a few hours you feel close to death. I’ve had flu twice in my life, first in 1989 when I was half the age I am now. No comparison with this year’s virus in terms of severity. As many have pointed out COVID has zero infant mortality whereas flu routinely sees off children. COVID is an almighty racket – iPhone automatically capitalising the deadly contagion Ă°ĆžËœÂ·

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago

Pass.

Letter to Hopeless Hancock.

“Former vice-president of Pfizer, Dr. Michael Yeardon, raises serious concerns.”

https://www.iceagenow.info/

” have read the consultation document. I’ve rarely been as shocked & upset.

All vaccines against the SARS-COV-2 virus are by definition novel. No candidate vaccine has been in development for more than a few months.

If any such vaccine is approved for use under any circumstances that are not EXPLICITLY experimental, I believe that recipients are being misled to a criminal extent.”

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Very interesting, indeed. I don’t understand why Tom is skeptical of Trump’s claim that the test results were delayed to hurt his chances of re-election? They blew right past both the 32 cases and the 62 cases mark without announcing any results. Why would they do that? An earlier announcement would have been a shot in the arm, not just for the American economy, but for the world economy. Are they all Democrats on the DSMB?

malcolm.rose
malcolm.rose
3 years ago

Vaccines are dangerous. One made me blind at 5 years old, and may also have contributed to my autism. There is no solid scientific proof that any vaccine has contributed to the elimination of any infection. Even Pasteur cheated for fame, apparently. Meanwhile they have caused uncounted disease and destroyed much human capital, like mine, while hugely augmenting the financial capital of Big Pharma.

(I’m not unhappy with my autism. It brought me clarity of vision and thought which has saved me in many crises.)

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  malcolm.rose

Most people are ignorant of the history of disease, the history of vaccines, how vaccines are made and what they contain. If they gained knowledge they would be astonished at the magnitude of this almost theological ‘scam,’ and horrified at what is being injected into their bodies.

Jenner killed more than were ever helped and even in the 19th century people were marching in the streets against vaccination. In the 1890’s Smallpox epidemic the city of Leicester refused vaccines and had the best outcome for the UK – lower infection (they improved sanitation and quarantined the sick) and much lower mortality. That was pushed under the carpet as the druglords took charge of the medical system and the Polio Epidemic of the Fifties, an anomaly, was their moment to terrify the public even more.

Astonishingly, even as vaccinating children increased their chances of Severe Paralytic Polio, paralysis often beginning at the injection site – the alarm raised by an Australian doctor, then an English one and written up in the Lancet. But they buried that as well with warnings generally ignored so as not to diminish public faith in vaccines. After all, what were a few dead or paralysed children when the goal was to maintain religious faith in vaccines at any cost?

Doctors today are taught nothing much about vaccines but schedules. Most would never read the warning literature in a vaccine packet. Most could not or would not recognise vaccine injury if it stared them in the face, as it does, because they are brainwashed and have too much to lose – look at Andrew Wakefield – if they challenge the Gods of pharmacopia.

so, here we are. Nothing will change until enough people force change or so many are maimed or killed it cannot be ignored. Strangely I doubt the latter would make much difference. Vaccines are to the medical industry and the general public, a bit like guns to the Americans where even the horrors of Sandy Hook changed nothing.

The harm done by the rushed-through Swine Flu vaccine was ignored. Even after Thalidomide they vaccinate pregnant women and their foetus, with a goodly dose of fabricated disease and a cocktail of synthetic chemicals, including neurotoxins. How do you prove the vaccine has done any harm? Well, first you must be prepared to believe it could and most will not.

Let’s hope any Covid vaccine does not do too much harm and that they do not vaccinate children.

malcolm.rose
malcolm.rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

The salient fact for me is that the “Useful Idiots” (Stalin’s terminology) in bowing to the lobbyists are annuling product liability for the makers of vaccines.

thomaspelham
thomaspelham
3 years ago

“since asymptomatic people can spread the virus” – evidence this please, as far as I am aware, it’s rare (possibly very rare) to the point of being virtually unknown

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go

Steve Sailer
Steve Sailer
3 years ago

Pfizer’s protocol called for interim analyses at 32 cases, 62, 92, and 120, with a final analysis after 164 cases.

https://pfe-pfizercom-d8-pr

Instead, for unexplained reasons, the 32 and 62 case analyses were skipped and processing of samples in the labs was shut down from later October until the day after the election, when lab work was allowed to begin again.

Matthew Herper in StatNews reports:

“It also means that if Pfizer had held to the original plan, the data would likely have been available in October, as its CEO, Albert Bourla, had initially predicted.”

https://www.statnews.com/20

Skipping not just the first but the second interim analysis and shutting down processing of samples in the labs until after the election are pretty close to smoking guns that powerful people didn’t want this vaccine to be Trump’s October Surprise.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago

It’s a really mundane and basic misunderstanding of humanity to exalt a fear of ‘loss of lives’ over loss of life itself.

Mulvya Chand
Mulvya Chand
3 years ago

There’s one aspect about the efficacy that I haven’t seen mentioned.

Don’t know about other viruses, but antibody tests for COVID are readily available here, without prescription, and fairly cheap. Trial participants can get one a few weeks after dosing and effectively* unblind their status. Would that affect their behavioural risk threshold? Is this checked for?

*they can get tested for antibodies against both spike and nucleocapsid proteins. The latter will help distinguish between vaccine-induced vs infection-induced immunity.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago

OK, there are some unanswered questions and issues to address, as Tom points out, but the responses on this site – completely predictably – are amazingly unbalanced. The usual mish-mash of anti-vaccines, anti-big pharma, conspiracy theories, questioning if the epidemic is really all that serious (yes, it’s not as serious as the government’s actions would suggest, but it’s not the flu) and general miserableness. There are very few posters on this site that I’d like to meet in person.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

If the vaccine works, great. But stop with the panic over a virus that has done what any sane person expected it to do: prey on the most vulnerable – the old, the sick, and the immuno-suppressed. It’s why the CDC reports than 94% of victims had multiple other health issues plus they were old.

Keep in mind, too, that no less than Kamala Harris is firmly on record as saying she’d be skeptical about a vaccine developed while Orange McBadman was in office. Well, he’s still in office and here is the vaccine. I wonder if the same media will follow up with Ms Harris to see if her attitude has changed, and if so, to ask whether she was lying then or lying now.