by Tom Chivers
Thursday, 12
November 2020
Explainer
14:43

Are we overly worried about anti-vaxxers?

Misinformation about the new vaccine won't be a barrier to success
by Tom Chivers
Having a jab at it: an antivaxxer demonstration in London

Earlier this week I wrote about whether we should be excited about the apparent success of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as seen in preliminary data. (The answer is yes, by the way.) But something I didn’t talk about was whether people would be willing to take it or not.

Ever since 1998 and the benighted, fraudulent Andrew Wakefield paper which purported to link autism to measles virus in the gut — and therefore to the MMR vaccine — we’ve been worried about the problem of anti-vax conspiracy theories and a public afraid of vaccine injury.

For the record, the MMR scare has almost certainly cost lives. While the WHO estimates that while measles vaccinations probably saved 23 million lives between 2000 and 2018, there were still more than 82,000 cases and 72 deaths in 2018 in Europe alone, and the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on vaccines say that “vaccine hesitancy” is on the rise in various places and among various groups.

The question is whether this hesitancy will significantly affect take-up of the various Covid vaccines. I think that, in the UK at least, it probably won’t be the limiting factor. I may be wrong, but here are my reasons.

First, a study from last year found that vaccine uptake in England, which went down after Wakefield, actually rose again and peaked in 2012-13; it has declined somewhat again since then, but by much less, and does not seem to be associated with “anti-vaccination sentiment”.

Second, a paper out today from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine finds that about 90% of parents either definitely would or lean towards taking a Covid vaccine, and a similar but slightly lower number would give them to their children.

(Another paper from the LSHTM did something really interesting: a randomised controlled trial exposing some people to misinformation and seeing whether it changed their willingness to take a vaccine. It did; I’m somewhat unsure about how seriously to take it, because people’s susceptibility to misinformation given to them by a scientist in laboratory settings might be different to their susceptibility when exposed in the wild. Regardless, it’s reassuring to see RCTs on this stuff.)

Third, the threshold for herd immunity with Covid seems much lower than with measles: you need to get about 95% of the population vaccinated to stop measles spreading, but that figure may be as low as 60% for Covid. So if vaccine hesitancy knocks that 90% figure down to 80%, that’s bad, but not fatal.

Finally, the limiting factor in the short term at least is unlikely to be how many people are willing to take it but how many doses you actually have. There will be enough to vaccinate about 20 million people by the spring. There won’t be enough to go around, so the problem will not be forcing unwilling people to have it, at least until the end of the year.

None of this is to say we should be complacent. Vaccine hesitancy is greatest among some at-risk groups — non-white people and lower-income people. And I am only talking about the UK; the problem will likely be greater in parts of the developing world where there is much greater concern around vaccines. Covid isn’t dealt with anywhere until it’s dealt with everywhere, so that’s not something we can ignore. And idiotic nonsense is definitely being shared by people who should know better.

But I don’t think UK antivaxxers spreading misinformation online will be the difference between success and failure, or even a major contributing factor. For one thing, the mainstream media seems quite capable of spreading the misinformation all by itself, and I really wish they’d stop.

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Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
2 years ago

Tom,
I don’t know if you were hoping this article was meant to be reassuring, but it was not reassuring.
You do not reassure people by telling them that their opinion is “idiotic nonsense”; it merely confirms to many people that you are pushing a line that you cannot guarantee, or explain.
Why should we trust SAGE, with anything when there are other experts pointing out their error? Why do we not have a comparison to other causes of death on a daily basis, but just highlight one cause? Why do we only have comparisons with the last five years, when a comparison with earlier years would show deaths are still below those?
The whole episode reeks of panic and fearmongering, and now you think that I should trust a new vaccine that has not had time to be properly tested?

Just out of interest, what is the normal timescale & size of testing a completely new vaccine?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
2 years ago

This is the gist of it. Covid is serious but the country faces lots of serious issues, including other diseases.
The government reaction to Covid is new, extreme, damaging, dangerous and ineffective.
And you’ve absolutely nailed it about SAGE, it’s hard to trust people with a track record of dishonesty.

I suspect the vaccines will be very safe, they go through established trial procedures, with constant regulatory checks and peer review. The difference between this and ‘following the science’ mantra is huge. As someone else said (ish) ‘if lockdown were a clinical trial it would have been suspended due to its severe side effects’.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

My only comment here is do your research on the vaccine and not use google as your main source. Really dig beneath the dirt.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
2 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Correct, don’t use google, use a vpn and an alternative search engine, and at least you will get pre-covid “existing” science, which blows a hole right through the crud we are currently being fed.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
2 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

I don’t have enough training and knowledge in vaccines to meaningfully research them. It would take me years of work really understand the actual vaccine, immune systems etc. I’m happy in this area to rely on peer review and regulators.

I am sceptical of the disproportionate response to Sars-Cov-2, the damage to our quality of life, health, civil rights, economy and thus life expectancy. We also knew those at high risk, and did the opposite of protecting them.

My understanding is that in historical terms Sars-Cov-2 would be seen as a blip, it’s something like the 12th highest killer in the UK this year.

Julia McMaster
Julia McMaster
2 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I have done a bit of research on the new vaccine. It is a Mrna-vaccines(modified RNA), which means that the virus RNA will enter your cells and modify their genetic information. Dr Madej has been talking about these types of vaccines (https://youtu.be/LNviYmlMc4I). Basically you will have genetically modified humans as a result. The volunteers in the trials are not allowed to have intercourse, as nobody knows what effect this modification will have. Medical doctors fear it might be autoimmune disorders, cancer or mutant genes. The EU has changed their legislation on genetic modification to allow for the vaccine. In the past trials with mRNA vaccines on animals have shown great promise when it came to antibodies, but once the vaccinated animals were “challenged” with real bacteria or viruses, they had massive cytokine responses and often died. In this case animal trials are skipped, and as it is seen as unethical, human participants are not challenged. You can make up your own mind whether you want a vaccine for a disease with a mortality rate of approximately 0.4% and thses kinds of risks attached….

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
2 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

So spot on about google. I suggest remove it from your devices and download a search engine that does not hide alternative arguments. Try Firefox or Opera.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago

I fully agree Nick. As for you Tom, it is quite clear from your writing that you applaud the vaccine and oppose those who are cautious about taking a vaccine that can and will most likely cause harm. People are vaccinated way too often now. We forget we actually have an immune system and when one questions the validity and safety of a vaccine, you are called an anti-vaxxer. I am also very cautious about medications and will do everything I can to stay clear of them too. We have forgotten our way to health. Today it is not a healtcare system but a disease management system that is sorely in need of a major overall.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago

Nick Whitehouse – thank you.

Mr Chivers seems to think that insulting people who have doubts is a fabulous way of convincing them that they are mistaken. He finds one psychology PhD student on Twatter who gets her maths wrong, and assumes that all queries about the various vaccinations’ schedules/efficacy/side-effects/necessity can all just be rolled up under the heading “idiotic nonsense”. Well I don’t know about you guys on unherd, but I’M CONVINCED 😀 Cheers Tom!

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
2 years ago

It isn’t unreasonable to be cautious about a new vaccine, the development of which has been accelerated, even for perfectly valid reasons. I have no hesitation in having routine vaccinations but will probably want to wait a year or two before taking the covid vaccine just to be sure that there are no nasty unforeseen side effects.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago

Oh Warren, don’t you know? Your ‘caution’ is just idiotic nonsense – see artice above to be convinced.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
2 years ago

It is not the vaccine any reasonable person fears (even with its Gates nano-chips). It is the coming health passport Will the passport be required for everything? domestic travel, jobs, entering some place or event, trains, airplanes, schools, work… It is the genie being let out of the bottle. Next step: Social Credit and Health Score. I am a NO_Phone person, and find it is almost becoming illegal to not have one! I had to pass on a government job as recruiting was 100% by phone calls during the day when I am at work and not by my home phone. I tried to get a new doctor and his office will not schedule me without me texting info to them. When I said I cannot text they declined my becoming a patient. This goes on all the time! Banks want to text to your cell phone if locked out, and on and on it goes. You phone sheep do not realise how it is going to us non-phoners, and with the health code required on your phone showing vaccines it will just get crazier!

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
2 years ago

This is the very first RNA vaccine is it not? Therefore it is experimental . AS far as I know informed consent by any person is necessary before it is given.
If I refuse consent it is my absolute right. The Nuremburg Code is specific on this. We know where forced medical treatment leads.
If the state uses force or other sanctions such as depriving a citizen of the rights that have been enjoyed for centuries unless taking the vaccine then that state is on dangerous ground.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

That is the scary part Dave. And yes it is the first RNA vaccine.

blanes
blanes
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

I agree with you sentiment but people are mistakenly using the Nuremberg Code as a defence. The Nuremberg Code was never made law by ANY country. It is what it states, a code of conduct basically. People raise their eyebrows when the code is broken, but nothing is done. Bill Gates’s various exploits in India and Africa with unregulated drug trials causing death and debilitating side effects is testament to that.

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  blanes

True but after the war there has been an unspoken agreement in Western nations to behave according to a civilised standard that rejects the excesses of the war . Not always adhered to of course., There is no real need to use it as a defence. That should not be necessary.

Andrew M
Andrew M
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

It is not the first mRNA vaccine – these have been around a year or two. Trials are being conducted in certain cancers for example. It will, however, probably be the first mRNA vaccine to be approved for general use.

The difference here is that it is not as if these things are totally new and unknown – there is considerable experience of them and a considerable amount of data. But to be fair, there is not long term safety data on large numbers of people, as there is with older vaccine technologies.

Nonetheless, it does seem reasonable that you should not be forced to receive it.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
2 years ago

Since when are very legitimate concerns ‘misinformation’?!
Everyone knows and is concerned about the rushed development of these vaccines.
Most people know that the manufacturers offloaded their liability, which doesn’t raise confidence in their safety profile.
The despicable, undemocratic and unscientific treatment of any dissent since March by all the authorities has lowered the confidence in those authorities further and most enormously for millions, where and when those vaccines are concerned too.
You/they have only your/themself to blame for that!
Many people know that those vaccines are very novel and that their medium and longterm risks are completely unknowable for decades.
Parents are particularly concerned for their children here, so are people who still plan to reproduce themselves.
Noone is doing anything to alleviate these concerns credibly, because they simply can’t.
Add to that their murky efficiency, which is not equal to what peopled expected, namely non-infection, and that most people under 70 have a higher risk of vaccine damage than damage through Covid, and you should understand what’s really going on in millions of ‘currently towards these vaccines very critically disposed’ rational people.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

I couldn’t say it better Joerg!

James Moss
James Moss
2 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

“Everyone knows and is concerned about the rushed development of these vaccines”

Well maybe I don’t count, but I’m not actually – I totally understand why there has been a “rush”. And if the fatality rate were 10%, I expect we would have rushed even more.

shinybeast1
shinybeast1
2 years ago

I have faith in my immune system thank you

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  shinybeast1

vitamin D is no better than a placebo

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Prove it.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

right back at you sport

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

You made the allegation . Not me.

shinybeast1
shinybeast1
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Why does vitamin d deficiency show up time and again in people who have been hit hardest by Covid. It is a common thread. Do you really not think our immune systems are marvellous things to be nurtured?

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  shinybeast1

I agree with you Charlotte. People have lost their way to health matters and rely far to heavily on the ‘medical’ expertise of those passing out prescriptions only.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  shinybeast1

“Why does vitamin d deficiency show up time and again in people who have been hit hardest by Covid?”

it doesn’t

onrootgreenhouse
onrootgreenhouse
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness
John Ottaway
John Ottaway
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

What tree have you been hiding under.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  John Ottaway

that’s it?

Julia McMaster
Julia McMaster
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Some people just like to annoy…

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Julia McMaster

as you so ably demonstrate

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

In Spain a recent “study demonstrated that administration of a high dose of Calcifediol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a main metabolite of vitamin D endocrine system, significantly reduced the need for ICU treatment of patients requiring hospitalization due to proven COVID-19. Calcifediol seems to be able to reduce severity of the disease, but larger trials with groups properly matched will be required to show a definitive answer”.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

ah yes…the unsourced “recent study”

steve eaton
steve eaton
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Yet, it is much better than YOUR source…

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Try sciencedirect.com and then use your brain and their search engine. Plenty of studies form around the world

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Not unsourced – it is in quotes so that you could easily get to it by cut, paste & Google. I did not put in a link because responses with links tend to get quarantined by Unherd. Perhaps you should make it Yerbizness to research more.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

observational studies are not scientific double blind with placebo studies….

according to Dr. Frank McGeorge There’s good reason to believe vitamin D plays an important role in our immune response to viral infection, but these observational studies don’t prove that vitamin D deficiencies increase susceptibility to COVID-19 infections.

A newly published study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism looked back at the vitamin D levels of 216 COVID-19 patients admitted to a hospital in Spain.

It turns out over 80% of those patients were deficient in vitamin D. That compares to about 47% of vitamin D deficiency the general population they had data on.

The higher percentage of vitamin D deficiencies among hospitalized patients suggests an association; however, they didn’t find a relationship between vitamin D levels and the severity of their COVID-19 infections.

Another study supporting the value of correcting vitamin D deficiency, published recently in JAMA, looked at 489 patients from the University of Chicago. These patients all had vitamin D levels measured prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They found the risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 was 77% higher amount vitamin D deficient patients compared to those with normal levels.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

It was a randomized, controlled clinical trial where 50% of patients in the control group ended up in the ICU and two died; only 2% of patients receiving Calcifediol (Vitamin D) required ICU admission and none died. Larger trials are required, but in the meantime what is the harm in offering Calcifediol to Covid patients?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

Researchers randomly allocated 76 cases of Covid-19 into oral calcifediol (50 patients) or no-calcifediol control (26 patients) groups on the day of the hospital admission. Oral calcifediol was given at high doses at 0.532 mg on the first day and then at 0.266 mg on the third and seventh day, and then weekly until discharge or admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).

numbers too small to be conclusive in any meaningful way

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Nun, I am happy to disagree with you. Again, do your research. Today many doctors do not know the benefit of particular vitamins. Vitamin D is so important!

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

and NOT a prophylactic for SARS-CoV-2

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Absolute rubbish. I want you to school me on how vitamin D works on the immune system. Give me the science behind that claim you just made.

Julia Moore
Julia Moore
2 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Although your request a little ungracious Russ, I’m happy to help. Below is an article in the BMJ. It’s common knowledge that Vitamin D supports the immune system. Zinc is very helpful too and of course vitamin C plus a decent diet with plenty of fruit and veg plus a supportive circle of friends and family. This is common sense that many people can attest to having tried it in their every day lives.
The positive social engagement part is very important as it supports the vagal nerve tone. The vagus nerve activate our immune system and digestion, cleansing and repair processes in the body. That’s why it’s so important to spend time in the company of people who are kind and supportive.
https://www.bmj.com/content

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

I’ve no time or interest in schooling you…I’ve got to get my 20 minutes of morning sunshine.

Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

You and Chivers are obviously fellow members of The Church of Scienceology cult Russ. The beneficial effects of vitamin D to the good health have been well documented for around 100 years although understanding of how it works to improve immunity has grown immensely in recent decades. Our understanding of the role of zinc is more recent but equally well documented.
On the other hand the long term effects of vaccines that, by design, alter human DNA are completely unknown but the possibilities are horrific.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
2 years ago

It’s funny how we need herd immunity now. I distinctly remember one Matt Hancock mocking the very notion.

It is depressing that the author and others are so obsessed with Covid, ‘eradication from the world’.
1. It comes from other animals, transmits to and from other animals, with mutations. Eradication would seem very difficult, without constant worldwide testing.
2. Covid is neither the worst of the world’s health problems or the easiest to fix, by a country mile. For a fraction of the lockdown cost to the UK alone we could make longterm safe drinking water for the millions worldwide without it, and help provide decent sewage systems. With this we would save millions & millions of lives annually. But no, spend our limited resources on a disease which appears luckily be an end of life affair, not something that kills children.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

the only thing funny about herd immunity is that it will never be achieved with SARS-CoV-2 as it is a moving target that is reinfecting those who were treated and declared “recovered.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Yes, it’s almost like the standards just suddenly change when politically expedient. See: face masks – wear or don’t wear?, see: Eat Out to Help Out, see: schools closed or open, see: max no of people in a home, 2/4/6/8/32/ 50 oh wait now its 6 again. Whatever.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
2 years ago

It would help a lot if people who have any questions about vaccinations weren’t all labelled “anti-vaxxers”. I don’t believe they call themselves this. So it is used in a derogatory way and shows “pro-vaxxers” are not wanting to listen to them. If it is important to those who are sure vaccination is, without exception, a good thing, and never causes harm to convince others of the same, they need to talk to them and listen to them, not deride them. Show some curiosity. Maybe there is something they can learn, just as this is true the other way around. Seems so obvious to me. Otherwise it really looks like an ideology, where you assume you are coming from an absolute truth so those who see it differently are inconvenient and need to be swept out of the way somehow.

James Moss
James Moss
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

I agree. I reserve this term for people with irrational and unscientific objections to vaccines. Except the Bill Gates wants to micro-chip you 5G brigade, for whom I use worse language.

Of course vaccination is not a universal good. You could be vaccinated with cyanide – this wouldn’t do you any good at all.

Looking at vaccines which achieve the required efficacy/safety hurdles to be approved for use on the general population – these tend to be good for people.

I wouldn’t advocate extra vaccinations for the sake of it. That would be my definition of a “pro-vaxxer”. Like I’ve had my smallpox jab, but I really should have a couple more. That would be just as irrational.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago

In my lifetime, the number of required vaccinations has gone from something like a half-dozen to nearly 40. That’s a huge leap and something I did not know until looking it up.

There won’t be enough to go around, so the problem will not be forcing unwilling people to have it, at least until the end of the year.
So reading between the lines, there might eventually be enough in order to force the unwilling to have it. And how is that a good thing? In parts of the US, one can knowingly transmit the AIDS virus to another person without penalty, but we’re going to use brute force and coercion over a vaccine for Covid?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It is strange that as our societal health gets better, the more and more vaccines are thrust in our direction. “But guyz! good helth iz becoz of vakseens! doncha get it!”. Erm, no.

May of these diseases were relatively rare before, and those that weren’t were in massive decline anyway due to clean water, good sanitiation, warm high quality housing, antibiotics, good hospital cleanliness, and of course, good nutrition.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Absolutely Aaron. If people would only read unbiased texts, they would be so much better informed and enlightened and also full of dismay over what is going on.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

FAKE NEWS WARNING

“In parts of the US, one can knowingly transmit the AIDS virus to another person without penalty…”

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

No, I’m afraid it’s true:

https://lawshelf.com/blogen

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

your link is specious as was the claim…

steve eaton
steve eaton
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

…Yawn…

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

You are a liar, It’ not fake news:

https://www.latimes.com/pol

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

All these vaccinations overstimulate your immune system. I truly believe that this has led to so many people with compromised immune systems and having conditions as young people that were unheard of before. We need not be forced or punished because we value our immune systems over a vaccine. Thanks Alex for your awareness.

steve eaton
steve eaton
2 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

Well, Elizabeth…I would argue that vaccines are a very necessary follow up treatment for people who have let big Pharma devastate their own immune systems with tons and tons of expensive and exotic antibiotics. So much so that they are now a part of most public water supplies.

So… sure, why wouldn’t you trust the same people to provide the solution here? After all it’s the same people who gave us the Opioid addiction crisis, water systems full of antibiotics,
and who we know would rather find a drug that cleans up the symptoms of disease than a cure because a cured patient is less profitable than a patient who needs your drug for a lifetime of “managing” a disease.

fridge352.jg
fridge352.jg
2 years ago

The ‘anti-vaxxer’ label is the new NIMBY. A label designed by govs/pharma to make you feel uncomfortable and selfish, and it is designed to be used by your peers to put pressure on you because you don’t want to be seen as that person outside of the group. Resist it at every opportunity.

Julia Moore
Julia Moore
2 years ago

No mention of the fact that our right to vaccine compensation has now been withdrawn. I think that’s quite an important piece that might cause people to think twice. Great to see the readers are critical thinkers, if not the author.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
2 years ago
Reply to  Julia Moore

I understand that there is vaccine injury compensation – it’s just not paid by the vaccine producers – it’s paid by the taxpayer!
(In the USA it runs into billions of dollars)
But your worry still holds.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
2 years ago

“antivaxxers” is immediately pejorative. Chivers used to write cobblers at the telegraph, I see it’s a trait.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

Where does Unherd get these people? Are they just paid to knock out articles when their main publication can’t be bothered with them?

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
2 years ago

“…the problem will likely be greater in parts of the developing world where there is much greater concern around vaccines”.

Or perhaps it will be greater because they have much more serious problems to worry about. Also, in many less developed countries the IFR from Covid-19 seems to be significantly lower than in the West. Why should they take an experimental vaccine to protect us? I trust Tom Chivers has had his Ebola vaccination.

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
2 years ago

I was very interested to read that some Pziser executives offloaded up to 50% of their shares on the day of their press release. And with their results not yet peer reviewed, selling your shares does not show overwhelming confidence in your product.

God gave you an immune system for a reason. Look after it and it will look after you.

James Moss
James Moss
2 years ago
Reply to  John Ottaway

I thought rejecting vaccines was possibly irrational, but trusting to the great sky fairy instead – that’s a stage beyond…..

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
2 years ago

Are we overly worried about anti-natural healthers?
No, I think they are a dangerous majority who use fear and censorship to close down debate.
Wakefield is predictably brought out to debunk any worry about vaccine safety. He is a blip in 100+ years of vaccine risk and is only a ‘straw man’ chosen for that purpose.
As for ‘herd immunity’, it doesn’t work when you want a lockdown but strangely comes back into fashion when there is a vaccine to foist on everyone.
Hooray! I say and thank you to all the ‘anti-natural healthers’ who will willingly vax enough to tick the herd immunity box and leave the rest of us in peace.

Julia McMaster
Julia McMaster
2 years ago

If I wanted unqualified repetition of government propaganda, I would follow the mainstream media…

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Julia McMaster

spoken like a dogmatic antivaxxer.

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
2 years ago

Dear Tome 6:42am

Write your MP a short sweet email.

“If you continue to vote through jobs destroying lockdown I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR YOU OR YOUR PARTY AGAIN”

writetothem dot com

(Don’t try and persuade them with facts. The only facts the care about tis THEIR jobs)

Keep writing – it’s free – don’t worry if you don’t get a reply)

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago

I’m not antivaxx. I’m antiuntestedvaxx, and I’m anti-anti-science. The author’s tremulous and untutored protests notwithstanding, it is not “spreading misinformation” to note the world’s leading immunologists concerns that:

1. Vaccine is only justified when the prevalence of infection is known. The current measure of infection prevalence is a test which is incapable of distinguishing between infection, infection eliminated sometime in the preceding 3 months, and molecules that look like infection but aren’t. Prevalence measures are meaningless, the current rate of infection is unknown and significantly lower than claimed, and the case for mass immunisation is not proven.

2. Vaccine is only justified when infection regularly leads to severe illness. In the extremely unlikely event of you becoming infected, the survivability of this virus exceeds 99.7%. The case for mass immunisation is not proven.

3. Vaccine is justified when a large fraction of the population is not already sufficiently protected. The protection level of the population is already sufficient, as demonstrated by the small number of deaths now relative to the epidemic phase, and the case for mass immunisation is not proven.

4. Vaccine is justified when safety protocols have been complete. All four vaccine strategies (inactivated whole virus vaccine, protein vaccine, viral vector based vaccine, and gene vaccine) carry significant attendant risk of severe side effect including intensification of symptoms, insertional mutagenesis, systemic inflammation, and delayed autoimmune system attack, which have to be tested for prior to certification in an inherently lengthy testing protocol. Safety protocols have not been completed, and the case for mass immunisation is immoral.

It’s worth noting that some of these side effects include the introduction of hereditary morbidity – the passage of altered genetic information from mother to child – which is truly nightmarish in its implications, and completely beyond the capacity of current tests to provide assurance of.

Far from censoring those who are literate, and able to understand the relevant scientific literature and evaluate the credentials of the world’s leading immunologists voicing their concern about untested mass vaccination programs, it is the bovine opinion of columnists who lack the courtesy to their readers to acquaint themselves with even the rudiments of the relevant subject that should be rejected.

angelalangat
angelalangat
2 years ago

I think that part of the hesitancy among non-white groups both in the UK and globally could be a legacy of past injustices e.g. the Tuskegee experiment, HIV/AIDS treatments, forced sterilization etc. There should probably be targeted campaigns to allay those fears.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago
Reply to  angelalangat

Yes, don’t be afraid guys. Remember, if there any problems with the vaccine the manufacturers will take full responsiblity… oh wait. Well I mean it’s not like the main pushers of this vaccine internationally also regard human life as a out-of-control infestation of planet Earth…oh dang it. Well, it’s not like the usual regulations and checks have been rushed through for positive political soundbites…right? We all know the answer.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

“…the vaccine the manufacturers will take full responsiblity…” and the CEO will [has sold] sell off $5 million worth of stock the day he announced the successful trials…

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Nun, exactly the CEO has already made oodles of $

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth W

it is what CEOs do

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Yes, and they can’t be held accountable if something goes wrong. And they stand to make billions of dollars. We have been snowed. 🙁

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
2 years ago

The whole issue with anti-vaxxers is a financial one and has of nothing to do with public health. The people at risk have an average age of 80 and in that cohort the chances of survival when infected, that means being clinically sick, is around 80%. Btw 80 is also the average age that people just die anyway. So once more: public health can be left out of the equation when it comes to the vaccine.
As long as the influence of anti-vaxxers remains small and as long as the total world population, young and old, will inject themselves like germans drink beer in october no big fuzz will made by big pharma.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
2 years ago

Oh yeah, did I also mention that the IFR of Covid-19 is on average 0,23% and 0,05% for everybody younger then 70….? It becomes harder and harder to believe that Tom is an independent journalist…

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago

The people at risk have an average age of 80
our overlords treat this as heresy, and prefer seeing the virus as a modern day plague that does not discriminate. It’s madness.

Julia McMaster
Julia McMaster
2 years ago

There was a vaccine congress in October, one in the US and one in Europe, where plans were laid out. Initially, the vaccine will be voluntary, but later, as our friend Tom Chivers indicates above, they are plannning to punish people who resist. Here in Ireland Prof Luke o’Neill advocates a travel ban on the unvaccinated, unwashed few. That’ll teach them!!

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago

reinfection from and mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 are two very real monkey wrenches in as yet proven vaccines.

Debbie Mellor
Debbie Mellor
2 years ago

Thanks Tom. As long as my family and friends are able to benefit from amazing medical advances such as this new Covid19 vaccine, I’ll continue to give thanks that I wasn’t born a hundred years earlier. And I’ll be particularly grateful that my, highly independent 93 year old Mum will be able to take advantage of it in the first tranche of recipients. Here’s hoping her clogs won’t be popped for a good few years yet. 😊

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago

the only thing funny”in a “bring out your dead, bring out your dead” kind of funny”about herd immunity is that it will never be achieved with SARS-CoV-2 as it is a moving target that is reinfecting those who were treated and declared “recovered.’

Rickard Gardell
Rickard Gardell
2 years ago

If everyone has opportunity to get a vaccine, I don’t really care about the percentage uptake. It is up to the individual to decide if they want to get rid of the covid risk by taking on the side effect risk of a new vaccine. The vast majority of population under 60 have almost nil risk of dying from covid. The hospital system can handle the pressure of these people that choose not to take the vaccine and the people that chose to take it are protected. Why would I care what the percentage is? It is up to each individual to decide.

D G
D G
2 years ago

Can the announcement of a covid19 vaccine that is 90% effective be disappointing? Yes, it is disappointing.

Introduction.

The
announcement of a 90% efficacy in the first results of the covid19
vaccine developed by Pfizer (United States) and BioNTech (Germany) has
had a worldwide impact. It’s the BNT162b2 vaccine.

Relative risk and absolute risk.

The
relative risk expresses a comparison, the probability of acquiring the
disease in the vaccinated compared with the unvaccinated. In medicine,
and in science, what matters is the absolute risk, which expresses the
personal probability of disease in those who are vaccinated (1,2).

Number needed to treat, for benefit and for harm.

Any
well-applied health intervention offers more benefits than harm and it
is important to be sure that this balance is fulfilled in practice. To
find out, the “number of patients to be treated” is studied to obtain
benefit (NNT) and to cause an adverse effect (NNH). These values “‹”‹are
obtained from the data that allow calculating the relative and absolute
risk, and from safety studies (3).

An example of the number needed to vaccinate, for benefit and harm.

The
efficacy of the flu vaccine in preventing flu admissions was studied in
Australian children aged six months to four years. It was shown that
1,852 children had to be vaccinated to avoid an admission due to
influenza (not a death). That is, so that a child does not enter,
another 1851 have to be vaccinated without obtaining any benefit, if any
harm.

It was
also calculated that for each avoided admission due to influenza, the
vaccine caused the admission of three children due to febrile seizures
due to the adverse effect of the vaccine itself (4).

That is, the NNH was three times the NNT (three times more harm than benefit).

The Pfizer and BioNTech Vaccine.

In the
study by Prizar and BioNTech, 43,528 healthy people with no history of
infection by the new coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) are followed.

Half have
been vaccinated (vaccinated group) and the other half have received a
placebo, not the vaccine, and serve as a control (placebo group).

The news of the first analysis gives an efficacy of 90% in the prevention of the disease (5,6).

The news
also gives the information that there have been 94 cases of covid19. If
the relative risk is 90% and the total number of patients is 94, it
means that there have been 86 cases of covid19 among the unvaccinated
and 8 cases among those vaccinated. We don’t know more. Are they
spectacular results, as they have presented? Let’s look at the set of
questions used to evaluate the vaccine (7-9).

How to evaluate the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine?

When
developing and testing a vaccine, in this case that of Pfizer and
BioNTech against covid19, to have an idea of “‹”‹its possible success you
need to know some data. What do we know and what do we not know about
this vaccine?

1.-
Relative risk reduction: 90% (Placebo group, of 21,764 people, with 86
cases of covid19. Vaccinated group, of 21,764 people, with 8 cases of
covid19)

2.- Absolute risk reduction: 0.35%
(the absolute risk among those vaccinated was approximately 0.04% and in
the placebo group 0.39%).

3.- The
number needed to treat for benefit (NNT): 279 (For 1 person who does not
have the disease when vaccinated, another 278 vaccinated people do not
obtain any benefit from the vaccine, the benefit measured in not having
mild disease, not in avoiding severe disease, complications or death)

4.- The number needed to treat for damage: Not known

5.- Does the vaccine prevent deaths? Not known

6.- Do you avoid serious forms of the disease, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions? Not known

7.- Does the vaccine prevent mild disease? In 1 case out of every 279 vaccinated

8.- How long does the immunity caused by the vaccine last? Not known

9.- Do we
know about the efficacy of the vaccine in different groups, by age,
comorbidity, professions, social class, ethnicity, etc? Not known

10.- Does it produce group immunity (population or herd)? Not known

11.- Do
we have any idea of “‹”‹the adverse effects of the vaccine in the short
and long term? It is not known but in the short term there do not appear
to be serious adverse effects

12.- Can those who are vaccinated become transmitters (healthy carriers) of the virus? Not known

13.- Do we have practical data on price, distribution, conservation, etc?

We know that it needs to be transported at minus 80ºC.

More details on the prophylactic BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech in these references (10-12).

Synthesis.

We do not know almost everything about the covid19 BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.

The
triumphant presentation of its first results is absurd, the «90%
efficacy» data being misleading because it hides a very high number of
patients to be vaccinated to avoid mild disease, without relevance to
serious disease, hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and death.

Juan Gérvas, Doctor of Medicine, retired rural general practitioner, CESCA Team, Madrid, Spain. NoGracias´ member.

[email protected] equipocesca.org @JuanGrvas

Bibliography.

1.- Relative risk and absolute risk.

https://www.actasanitaria.c

2.- False presentation of the “triumphant success of the papilloma virus vaccine”. Emotional and statistical manipulation.

http://www.nogracias.org/20

3.- Necessary number of patients to treat to reduce an event.

https://www.fisterra.com/mb

4.-
Quantifying benefits and risks of vaccinating Australian children aged
six months to four years with trivalent inactivated seasonal influenza
vaccine in 2010.

https://www.eurosurveillanc

5.-
Pfizer and BioNTech Announce Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19 Achieved
Success in First Interim Analysis from Phase 3 Study

https://www.pfizer.com/news

6.- Pfizer vaccine trial success signals breakthrough in pandemic battle.

https://www.reuters.com/art

7.- Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren’t designed to tell us.

https://www.bmj.com/content

8.- Understanding COVID-19 vaccine efficacy.

https://science.sciencemag….

9.- #covid19 #vaccine @pfizer

https://threadreaderapp.com

10.- A
PHASE 1/2/3, PLACEBO-CONTROLLED, RANDOMIZED, OBSERVER-BLIND,
DOSE-FINDING STUDY TO EVALUATE THE SAFETY, TOLERABILITY, IMMUNOGENICITY,
AND EFFICACY OF SARS-COV-2RNA VACCINE CANDIDATES AGAINST COVID-19 IN
HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS.

https://pfe-pfizercom-d8-pr

11.- Pfizer, Moderna’s coronavirus shot rollouts could freeze up, experts say, citing cold-storage needs.

https://www.fiercepharma.co

12.- Update: Albert Bourla discusses covid-19 vaccine efficacy results.

https://www.pfizer.com/news

shayne.wilhite
shayne.wilhite
2 years ago

For the benifet of all humnatiy. I hope the vaccines and all Antibodies work. To get back to normal or close to normal. A vaccine will be required. Do I want the first dose no. Do I want the world to be free again by the middle 2021. YES. Don’t be on the wrong side of history. Stay postive and learn something new with your time. Spread love it’s free and stay optimistic

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
2 years ago

There is obviously risk with a new vaccine developed in unprecedented timescales using fairly new technology. However there is a greater risk of not using it and I understand over 85s are top of the list to get it, which is great news because if they start dropping like flies as a result, they were not all that far off popping their clogs anyway.

Why aren’t we applying the same philosophy to lockdowns?

There is a risk to not locking down – more old and vulnerable people who are not that far off popping their clogs anyway will pop their clogs. And there is a huge risk to the futures of younger generations by locking down.

Why not protect the vulnerable as best we can. Ok it will never be 100% effective, but the striking thing about Sweden’s surge in cases (currently ahead of UK on a per capita basis) is their deaths per capita are falling where everywhere else, including the saintly Germany that also has a decent healthcare system, deaths are a proportionate lagging indicator of cases. So what is Sweden doing right that nobody else is? Lets do that and let the rest of society get it, get over it and get on with their lives. We would not need a mass vaccination programme then but there would probably be a good reason to have a few 100k doses used and we could get that done relatively easily.

Debbie Mellor
Debbie Mellor
2 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Sweden’s just recorded its highest daily death rate yet

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
2 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Mellor

OMG REALLY??!! Did they break into double or even TRIPLE digits out of a population of 10 million? This is what they get for denying the science, arrogant scandinavians.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Mellor

10 deaths on 13 Nov. At its peak it was recording well over 100 so I am bemused as to where you are getting your misinformation from. Sweden is one of the few European countries going down the world league table of deaths per capita – Europe is going up as South America goes down – pure seasonal effect. Belgium yet again tops the world by a considerable margin, having raced past Peru which topped the world in our summer their winter.

Sweden is seeing more cases and therefore more hospitalisations, but their system is coping with them. The big problem in UK is the NHS gets close to or does overload every year between Nov and Feb. The real reason behind the lockdown is the politicians can’t handle the political fallout of the NHS collapsing, as it has several times in the past, and that being blamed on them not further destroying our children’s futures with another lockdown. The sanctimonious p***k that replaced comrade Corbyn is just praying for it to happen and it probably will regardless of the destruction being wrought on our economy, lives and future.

What we should have done, is what I said right back in May which was to protect the vulnerable, release the lockdown much more quickly when infection rates were still quite high so the young and health could develop herd immunity whilst resourcing and using the Nightingales whilst there were extra staff who had come back and during the time when there is less seasonal pressure on the NHS. Instead exactly what I feared would happen has happened.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago

“Are We Overly Worried About Anti-Vaxxers?”

Are we overly worried about an outcome from the SARS-CoV-2 rivaling that of the 14th century?

Time for one and all to re-read [read] A Distant Mirror.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago

Are we to assume that by the repeated use of the illustration with the message “f**k your vaccine” the publisher of The Unherd is promoting anti-vaxxer orthodoxy?

blanes
blanes
2 years ago

If the Vaccine will be so safe, why have the government put out a tender for someone to create an AI tool to “Process EXPECTED high volumes of Covid-19 vaccine adverse drug reactions”? Why have the government removed any liability on the drug companies if things go wrong ? And why has it been tendered under the EU procurement process when we have supposedly left ?https://ted.europa.eu/udl?u
Read section II Object II.1.4 Short description.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago
Reply to  blanes

the vaccine will be administered globally”7.8 billion people.

a one percent rate of adverse reactions will yield 78,000,000 ARs.

occam2436
occam2436
2 years ago

Chivers is worrying about the wrong antivaxxers. Insane governors, such as Cuomo, have already said that they won’t allow their people to get the vaccine because it happened during Trump. That’s CRAZY.

James Moss
James Moss
2 years ago

Great article, thanks.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
2 years ago

Well. you can shove this blatant propaganda piece where the sun doesn’t shine, because You know less about this “fake” pandemic than I do. So, if you need any “science” pertaining to this virus, then just come and see me Tom.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
2 years ago

Are we to assume that by the repeated use of the illustration with the message “F_ _k your vaccine” the publisher of The Unherd is promoting anti-vaxxer orthodoxy?

and pray tell how it is The Unherd freely and repeatedly publishes “F_ _k your vaccine” but when a community member wants to reference it in unexpurgated form it is sent to “waiting for approval” purgatory never to be seen again?