Response to Mayo Clinic’s “Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked”

Earlier this month the prestigious Mayo Clinic featured an article on their website titled, “COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked” in an effort to “set the record straight on some of the myths” circulating about COVID-19 vaccines.” How well do their “facts” stand up against the “myths”? Well, let’s see.

“Myth” 1: “COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were developed and tested quickly.”

Excerpts from Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 1:

“This emergency situation warranted an emergency response. That does not mean the companies bypassed safety protocols or performed inadequate testing.”

This vaccine was created using new technology based on the molecular structure of the virus that allows it to be free from materials of animal origin and synthesized by an efficient, cell-free process, without preservatives.”

“To receive emergency use authorization, biopharmaceutical manufacturers must have followed at least half of the participants in their vaccine trials for at least two months after completing the vaccination series, and the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population.”

“The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA.”

My response:

Did the situation warrant an emergency response?

In my opinion, according to the FDA’s criteria for vaccine emergency use authorization, that statement is legitimately debatable. Why? Well:

“Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.” (emphasis mine)

A significant number of qualified health professionals have loudly voiced concerns that existing medications that have proven to be both effective and safe treatments for COVID-19 are being all but ignored by the NIH and FDA- the now famous hydroxychloroquine protocol, and more recently, ivermectin protocol.

A large group of medical professionals have organized into a group named “America’s Frontline Doctors.” These experts have compiled an impressive case for the safety and effectiveness of the hydroxychloroquine protocol, including sections devoted to HCQ Information and FAQs and Science of HCQ. Besides the impressive efficacy data, the safety profile of this drug is of particular relevance, “HCQ has been FDA approved for 65 years and is sold over the counter in most of the world. It is the #1 most used medication in India, the second-most populous nation on the planet with 1.3 billion people.”

The anti-parasitic Ivermectin, with its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, has attracted the attention of a growing number of experts as well. The protocol developed by Dr. Marik, Professor of Medicine, and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School was advocated for fiercely in a recent Senate hearing, “Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution,” which aired on Fox News. In one clip, Dr. Pierre Kory, Associate Professor of Medicine at St. Luke’s Aurora Medical Center practically begs the NIH to consider the numerous studies now available supporting this treatment option. In another clip, Senator Rand Paul questions several doctors supporting this protocol. Again, besides the compelling efficacy data, the drug has an impressive safety profile having been dosed to over 3.7 billion people globally since the 70s.

Call me overly skeptical, but I’m suspicious that these inexpensive drugs with an established safety track record are being overlooked in favor of experimental vaccine technology due to motivations that I, as a consumer, am not comfortable with. This MIT News article, “Explained: Why mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 raced to the front of the pack,” affirms my suspicion:

“Many years of research have enabled scientists to quickly synthesize RNA vaccines and deliver them inside cells.” Daniel Anderson, professor of chemical engineering at MIT and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering says, “People in the field, including myself, saw a lot of promise in the technology, but you don’t really know until you get human data. So to see that level of protection, not just with the Pfizer vaccine but also with Moderna, really validates the potential of this technology- not only for Covid, but also for all these other diseases that people are working on. I think it’s an important moment for the field.”

Anderson isn’t the only one to voice excitement over the “opportunity” the COVID-19 situation has presented. In an April 2020 article by Chemical and Engineering News, Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center gushed, “They have been described as the vaccines of the future. However, they have not yet been pressure tested. The COVID crisis is a great opportunity for those technologies to be pushed.” Other sources documenting similar statements by experts can be accessed here, and here.

No matter how you slice it, this mRNA vaccine technology is brand new, has never been licensed for human use before, and sports a mere 2 months maximum of safety data- all points that Mayo Clinic concedes. There appear to be promising candidates for effective COVID-19 treatments that: 1) have a growing mountain of science supporting them; and 2) sport decades long track records of use while maintaining very high safety profiles. Why in the world are the NIH and FDA overlooking them to grant EUA to experimental vaccine technology?

The companies didn’t bypass safety protocols or perform inadequate testing?

I’m rating this Mayo Clinic claim “partially false” or at least “missing context.” This STAT article from March 2020 titled, “Researchers rush to test coronavirus vaccine in people without knowing how well it works in animals,” reports that vaccine developers engaged in both of the above when they jumped to human testing without animal trial data.

This hasty progression to human trials was embarked upon despite well-known, very disconcerting “pitfalls” of previous vaccine development attempts, including a phenomenon called “immune enhancement.” “News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine” by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America says:

“Researchers need to understand in particular whether the vaccine causes the same types of immune system malfunctions that have been observed in past vaccine development. Since the 1960s, tests of vaccine candidates for diseases such as dengue, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have shown a paradoxical phenomenon: Some animals or people who received the vaccine and were later exposed to the virus developed more severe disease than those who had not been vaccinated.”

Immune enhancement can be deadly- a lesson hard learned in the 60s. “Researchers at the time were pursuing a vaccine against RSV…In trials of one vaccine candidate, several children who received the vaccine developed a serious illness when infected with the natural virus. Two toddlers died.”

Despite this knowledge, vaccine developers forged ahead with human trials.

What about Mayo Clinic’s statement that “the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population” meaning, the population of trial participants? Should that make us, the public, feel safe?

A 30-year internal medicine doctor, going by the moniker IM Doc, and a group of 9 of his physician friends examined Pfizer’s safety study and offered up a review in writing. If you don’t read any other link in my response to Mayo Clinic, I hope you’ll read this one word for word. It’s titled, “An Internal Medicine Doctor and His Peers Read the Pfizer Vaccine Study and See Red Flags.” How bad is it? IM Doc says:

There are more red flags in this paper and related events than present on any May Day in downtown Beijing.”

One of the many problems he has relates specifically to the trial participant population and something called “exclusion criteria.” He explains why this is a critical issue:

“[Exclusion criteria] refers in general to groups of subjects that were not allowed into the trial prima facie. Common examples would include over 70, patients on chemotherapy and other immunosuppressed patients, children, diabetics, etc.. This issue is important because I do not want to give my patient this vaccine (available apparently next week) to any patient that is in an excluded group. Those patients really ought to wait until more information is available – FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY. And not to mention, exclusion criteria exist because the subjects in them are usually considered more vulnerable to mayhem than average subjects. From my reading of this paper, and the accompanying editorial, one would assume there were no exclusion criteria. They certainly are never mentioned.” (emphasis original)

And now we know there were exclusion criteria, not because of anything Pfizer, the investigators, or the NEJM did but because of stunning news out of the UK…In the UK on day 1 of the rollout, two nurses with severe allergies experienced anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction to this vaccine. Only after world-wide coverage did Pfizer admit that there was an exclusion criterion for severe allergies in their study.”

You can read about these anaphylaxis events here:

People with a history of ‘significant’ allergic reactions shouldn’t have Pifizer vaccine, regulator warns

The Guardian reports additional details, explaining that two members of Britain’s National Health Service “developed symptoms of ‘anaphylactoid reaction’” after the vaccine.

Another event has occurred in the US since the time of IM Doc’s writing. A “middle-aged” female health care worker in Alaska with no prior history of allergies suffered an “anaphylactic reaction” that took place “within ten minutes of receiving the first of Pfizer’s two dose jab,” Fox News reports in “Alaska health care worker suffers adverse reaction after COVID-19 vaccine.”

As a member of the public considering receiving the vaccine, it would be nice to know the exclusion criteria for trial participants. If you would not have qualified to participate in the trial, then the trial results cannot tell you anything about the safety of this vaccine for individuals like you. When Mayo Clinic says that the vaccine has been shown to be safe (in the short-term) for trial participants, they fail to elaborate on how exactly that statement applies (or doesn’t apply) to you personally.

Now, after following trial participants for 2 months they’re ready to try it out on the public and see what post-marketing data reveals. Which brings me to my next point…

Should I feel “safe” knowing that the CDC and FDA are closely monitoring the safety of these vaccines after they’ve released them to the public?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Noooooooooooooo.

A Nov 28th article in Newsweek explains how adverse effects from the new Covid vaccines will be tracked via the VAERS system, which the CDC has counted on since 1990 to track all vaccine adverse events, and a brand-spanking new surveillance system- an app called V-SAFE. Please follow along as I demonstrate why this is a slap in the face to every single parent who has ever trusted the CDC and FDA when making the decision to vaccinate their children according to the CDC schedule:

This is what the CDC says about the VAERS system:

“VAERS is a passive surveillance system: reports of events are voluntarily submitted by those who experience them, their caregivers, or others. Passive surveillance systems (e.g., VAERS) are subject to multiple limitations, including underreporting, reporting of temporal associations or unconfirmed diagnoses, and lack of denominator data and unbiased comparison groups. Because of these limitations, determining causal associations between vaccines and adverse events from VAERS reports is usually not possible.”

In 2000, the 6th Report by the Committee on Government Reform addressed the failings of VAERS in its address of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The report states:

“The quality of VAERS data has been questioned. Because reports are submitted from a variety of sources, some inexperienced in completing data forms for medical studies, many reports omit important data and contain obvious errors. Assessment is further complicated by the administration of multiple vaccines at the same time, following currently recommended vaccine schedules, because there may be no conclusive way to determine which vaccine or combination of vaccines caused the specific adverse event.”

“Former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler has estimated that VAERS reports currently represent only a fraction of the serious adverse events.”

The Congressional report above listed 5 limitations that the IOM Committees noted:

“1) Inadequate understanding of biologic mechanisms underlying adverse events; 2) Insufficient or inconsistent information from case reports and case series; 3) Inadequate size or length of follow- up of many population- based epidemiological studies; 4) Limitations of existing surveillance systems to provide persuasive evidence of causation; and 5) Few published epidemiological studies.”

The report continues by pointing out that the “IOM warned that ‘if research capacity and accomplishments [are] not improved, future reviews of vaccine safety [will be] similarly handicapped.’”

Not only that, the same report raises alarm bells that there is significant conflict of interest in this arrangement:

“Within Congress, there is bipartisan concern over dual responsibilities and potential conflicting interests in HHS drug development and delivery. Regarding vaccines, HHS conducts and encourages vaccine research on the one hand and is the lead agency with-in the Federal Government for the promotion of vaccination pro-grams. HHS also administers the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ([VICP] or the Program). Critics charge these responsibilities may conflict.”

The IOM has been telling the CDC for over 26 years that they have inadequate information (and none at all in some cases) to advise on the causal relationship between vaccines and adverse events for a majority of adverse events reported!! In a 1994 report on vaccines and adverse events the IOM stated:

“The lack of adequate data regarding many of the adverse events under study was of major concern to the committee…Although the committee was not charged with proposing specific research investigations, in the course of its review additional obvious needs for research and surveillance were identified, and those are briefly described here.”

In 2011, the IOM conducted another study examining the scientific evidence in studies available for 158 vaccine adverse effects. Again, they concluded that they had inadequate information to come to a decision:

“The vast majority of causality conclusions in the report are the evidence was inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship.”

What have we learned? VAERS is crap. CDC, FDA, and Congress know that VAERS is crap. Every time you hear a doctor say the “science is settled,” “vaccine adverse events are “1 in a million,” they are making vacuous statements with no science to back them. There is no possible way to know those things. You would think, in 30 years, the CDC would attempt to upgrade this system. Well, let’s talk about one time when they did make an attempt.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave Harvard Medical School a $1 million dollar grant to track VAERS reporting at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare for 3 years and to create an automated reporting system which would revolutionize the VAERS reporting system- transforming it from “passive” to “active.” Guess what they found? The grant final report states:

“Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. […] Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of ‘problem’ drugs and vaccines that endanger public health. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed.”

Harvard Pilgrim also thought they succeeded in making revolutionary improvements to the VAERS system. Guess what the CDC did? Completely ignored them! Stopped answering the phone or checking their emails. Just, poof! Disappeared.

“Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation.”

Now we’re supposed to believe that what the CDC has been allegedly unable to do in 30 years- develop a useful vaccine adverse event surveillance system- they have suddenly been able to resolve in a matter of months via an app called V-SAFE?? Pardon me if I’m not filled with confidence.

Add the following to all of the above:

FDA staff recommends watching for Bell’s Palsy in Moderna and Pfizer vaccine recipients


The “FDA Safety Surveillance of COVID-19 Vaccines:
DRAFT Working list of possible adverse event outcomes ***Subject to change***

These are the reactions the FDA is on the lookout for in the public:

 

All in all, perhaps the Mayo Clinic and I disagree on the appropriate definition of “safe.” My definition doesn’t encompass this level of experimental technology with this short span of safety data.

Myth” 2: “I already had COVID-19 and I have recovered, so I don’t need to get vaccinated for COVID-19.”

Excerpts from Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 2:

There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.”

Mayo Clinic recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine even if you’ve had COVID-19 previously.”

My response:

Mayo Clinic’s recommendation is perplexing considering what Pfizer says about the duration of protection their vaccine is known to offer in their “Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers”:

The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown.”

Mayo Clinic can’t tell you if the vaccine is effective past 2 months, but they feel good about going ahead and recommending that you get it.

Myth” 3: “COVID-19 vaccines have severe side effects.”

Excerpts from Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 3:

COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to have short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury.”

Keep in mind that these side effects indicate that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. These side effects are common with vaccinations.”

My response:

Am I supposed to take this to mean they are safe in the long-term as well?

That’s a big part of the problem- we have nothing but 2 months worth of safety data. There is no data at all on potential long-term safety issues. Not having data on long-term safety issues does not mean they don’t (or will not) exist. In fact, this is what IM Doc has to say about Pfizer’s safety study based on his personal experience of decades in the business:

Pharmaceuticals that go bad rarely do so in the first few weeks or months. Rather, the adverse effects take months or years. It is a known unknown of not just vaccines but any kind of drug. Our pharma companies have become notorious for having inklings or indeed full knowledge that there is a problem early on, and saying nothing until many are maimed or killed. I will assume that this is the case in this class of drugs until proven otherwise. They are such deceivers I have no choice.”

What about that short-term safety data?

IM Doc is at odds with safety claims, even as Mayo Clinic applies them to the short-term data. Anaphylaxis is certainly life-threatening even though health authorities are inexplicably downplaying it when it comes to the Pfizer vaccine. He cites the comments of Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research:

“Even people who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to food or to something in the environment in the past should be OK to get the shot….1.6% of the population has had a severe allergic reaction to a food or something in the environment. We would really not like to have that many people not be able to receive the vaccine.”

Here’s how IM Doc responded to those comments in his article:

“Are you serious? Dr. Marks, have you ever seen an anaphylactic reaction? I live in a very rural area. Many patients live 30 minutes or more from the hospital. What if one of them had an anaphylactic reaction to this vaccine hours after administration, had no epi-pen and had to travel a half hour to get to the nearest hospital? There is a very high likelihood that a good outcome would not occur. Sometimes, as a physician, I simply cannot believe what I am hearing out of the mouths of our so-called medical leaders.”

His concerns don’t end with the reports of anaphylaxis. He recounts the experience of a Pfizer trial participant, who also happens to be a nurse researcher, which was published in a JAMA article:

In her story, she details her recruitment and her experience in the Pfizer COVID trial, the same one we are dissecting here. She describes in detail her experience with the vaccine and the fact that she is concerned that many patients are likely going to feel very sick after the injection. She wrote up her own reactions, and included a very troubling one. About 15 hours after her second injection, she developed a fever of 104.9. She explained that she called her reaction to the Research Nurse promptly the next morning. They recounted the response of the Research Nurse to her information as ‘A lot of people have reactions after the second injection. Keep monitoring your symptoms and call us if anything changes.’”

Yet somehow this event, which according to IM Doc, qualifies as a Grade 4 event according to the trial’s own data, and which occurred “well within the trial’s recruitment of arms as detailed in the paper,” and by law must be reported to the FDA, the Institutional Review Board, and the original investigators is somehow excluded from Pfizer’s published safety paper!

IM Doc remarks:

“This is a time-tested pharmaceutical company tactic to obscure findings that they do not want you to see. My mentor warned me about ruses like these years ago, and finding one raises the possibility that deception is in play.”

Is he making a mountain out of a molehill? He doesn’t think so:

“There are 37,706 participants in the ‘Main Safety Population’ (from Table 1), of which 18.860 received the vaccine. Let us assume that this individual was the only one that had a GRADE 4 reaction. Let us also assume that the end goal is to vaccinate every American a total of 330,000,000 people. So if we extrapolate this 1 out of 18,860 into all 330,000,000 of us, it suggest that roughly 17,500 could have this kind of fever. Now assume a 70% vaccination rate, and you get that would be approximately 12,250. I hope you now understand that in clinical medicine related to trials like this – a whole lot of nothing can turn into a whole lot of something quickly when you extrapolate to the entire targeted group. Does anyone not think that the clinicians of America should be prepared for anything like this that may be coming?”

Here are some testimonies from other trial participants:

STAT reports on 29 year old Ian Haydon’s experience with Moderna’s vaccine: “Twelve hours after receiving his second dose, he developed a fever of more than 103 degrees, sought medical attention, and, after being released from an urgent care facility, fainted in his home.”

CNBC reports on 44 year old Luke Hutchison’s experience, a couple of anonymous participants’ experiences with Moderna’s vaccine, and an anonymous Pfizer participant’s experience:

“After getting the first shot on Aug. 18, he said he felt a little under the weather for several days with a low-grade fever. He got his second shot at a clinic on Sept. 15. Eight hours later, he said he was bed bound with a fever of over 101, shakes, chills, a pounding headache and shortness of breath. He said the pain in his arm, where he received the shot, felt like a ‘goose egg on my shoulder.’ He hardly slept that night, recording that his temperature was higher than 100 degrees for five hours.”

Two other participants in the Moderna trial, who asked to remain confidential because they feared backlash from the company, reported similar side effects. Likewise, one participant in the Pfizer trial said he experienced more severe symptoms than he expected.”

Are these side effects just par for the course when it comes to all vaccines?

That’s what Mayo Clinic says. Here is Pfizer’s fact sheet for medical providers list of adverse reaction rates in trial participants:

“In clinical studies, adverse reactions in participants 16 years of age and older included pain at the injection site (84.1%), fatigue (62.9%), headache (55.1%), muscle pain (38.3%), chills (31.9%), joint pain (23.6%), fever (14.2%), injection site swelling (10.5%), injection site redness (9.5%), nausea (1.1%), malaise (0.5%), and lymphadenopathy (0.3%)”

IM Doctor, who indicates that he has had “the privilege of sitting on an Institutional Review Board (an independent entity that protects patient safety)” counters:

We are told nothing about how long these symptoms last or the amount of time at work lost. The ‘minimal side effects comparable with other viral vaccines’ in the editorial and press releases is just not consistent at all with my experience of 30 years as a primary care physician. There was universal agreement with this assessment among my MD colleagues. They had great concern about this as a matter of fact: great concern that it will cause bad publicity and decrease administration and great concern that given this already high side effect profile, it may be much worse when it gets out to the public.”

COVID-19 vaccine severe side effects don’t sound very “mythical” to me.

What of Mayo Clinic’s statement “that these side effects indicate that your immune system is responding to the vaccine”?

I submit that there is more to this wording than meets the eye. I can’t help but notice Mayo Clinic is falling in line with the guidance to make the COVID-19 vaccines’ tendency toward much more severe reactions than are typically experienced after vaccination more palatable to the public by playing semantics games. This NBC News article, “Covid-19 vaccines may have potentially unpleasant side effects” illustrates the point:

“’We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,’ said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. ‘There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.'”

How public health experts explain such effects is important, Omer said. ‘There’s evidence that suggests that if you frame pain as a proxy of effectiveness, it’s helpful,’ he said. ‘If it’s hurting a little, it’s working.’”

If you want to feel extra manipulated, click around on this site “Guide to COVID-19 vaccine communications.” Be sure to click “The Principles” tab, then select and read each option underneath. Spoiler alert, they think it’s a great idea to have doctors reach out to “trusted” influencers in your community such as pastors, and if you’re black, your barber (yeah, that’s really in there), and school them on how to encourage you to get your COVID shot.

Add to the above, NPR’s early December piece, “And Now For An Important Message: Convincing You To Get The Coronavirus Vaccine.” “For 78 years, the Advertising Council has been helping Americans face national challenges. From Smokey Bear’s ‘remember, only you can prevent forest fires,’ to ‘loose lips sink ships’ during World War II and the 1990s campaign ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk.’” Now they’ve been enlisted to make sure you get your COVID-19 shot.” “Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, tells NPR’s All Things Considered that the $50 million campaign will be the most significant in the group’s history. It’s ‘our moonshot moment. We’re approaching this with the size and the speed and the scale and the urgency unlike anything we’ve ever done before.’”

Myth 4: “I won’t need to wear a mask after I get vaccinated for COVID-19”

Excerpts from Mayo Clinic’s response to Myth 4:

Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown whether you can still carry and transmit the virus to others after vaccination.”

Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions, such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and washing hands frequently, will be important.”

My response:

Read it and weep folks. Nothing but facts here. That’s why I didn’t place myth in quotes this time. This article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) titled, “Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren’t designed to tell us” highlights a whole host of important things you’d like to know before rolling up your sleeve for any vaccine that, well, none of these COVID-19 vaccine trials are even capable of telling you:

None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.”

Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, admitted this in an NBC “Dateline” episode and Business Insider reported on it.

Bloomberg’s “How a Covid-19 Vaccine Could End Up Helping the Virus Spread”, brings up an additional concern:

“A vaccine that protects against symptoms of Covid-19 could contribute to the spread of the disease if—and this is still just an if—the people who get vaccinated remain capable of carrying and transmitting the virus. That’s a risk that’s gotten little attention amid the deserved jubilation over a Nov. 9 report from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that their vaccine candidate appears to be highly effective.”

How big a problem this might be is hard to say, because we don’t know for sure if immunized people are capable of shedding infectious virus.”

We already know that people who are asymptomatic can spread Covid-19. In fact, that’s one of its scariest characteristics…if people who get vaccinated throw caution to the winds, it’s possible they could get a lot of other people sick.”

So yeah. Not only will receiving the COVID-19 vaccine not change a single thing about your life right now as it relates to mask wearing, physical distancing, and any other COVID related restriction, you cannot virtue signal by saying that you’re saving lives by receiving it.

Myth” 5: “More people will die as a result of a negative side effect to the COVID-19 vaccine than would die from the virus.”

Excerpts from Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 5:

A claim circulating on social media is that the COVID-19 mortality rate is 1%–2% and that people should not be vaccinated against a virus with a high survival rate.”

In contrast, clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines have shown only short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury.”

“While some people who receive the vaccine may develop symptoms as their immune system responds, this is common when receiving any vaccine, and these symptoms are not considered serious or life-threatening.”

It’s important to recognize that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not just about survival from COVID-19. It’s about preventing spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects.”

While no vaccine is 100% effective, getting vaccinated is far better than not getting vaccinated. The benefits outweigh the risks in healthy people.”

My response:

First, the “claim” about COVID-19’s mortality rate is a very good point in favor of those who fall into the age demographics which have minuscule risk of dying of COVID-19. At one point the CDC released statistics that those 0-19 had a 99.997% survival rate, 20-49 a 99.98%, 50-69 a 99.5%, and 70 and above a 94.6%. If you’re below 70, you have a very legitimate reason to not want to take any vaccine risk upon yourself. I mean, we’ve already established there is no “get it for the sake of others” angle we can sell here.

Second, we’ve already discussed why clinical trials have “only” shown short-term vaccine reactions. That’s all they’re capable of showing. We only have 2 months of data. Long term data doesn’t exist. The fact that we don’t have any data on it doesn’t negate the possibility for future long-term serious adverse effects to materialize. It just means we’ll have to wait to see them.

Third, as we’ve already discussed, the nature of the data supporting claims of “mild or moderate” short-term effects is not beyond reproach. A tiny window of post-marketing experience has already revealed an issue with anaphylaxis, which is universally recognized as life-threatening, and it seems to be occurring in an increasingly alarming number of vaccine recipients for reasons experts do not appear to be able to explain.

Fourth, it’s almost unbelievable to me that Mayo Clinic would make the statement that “getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not just about survival from COVID-19. It’s about preventing spread of the virus to others…” when a mere few paragraphs earlier they admitted that we have no data indicating whether or not the vaccine is capable of preventing transmission.

Fifth, the Mayo Clinic makes two statements that they do not have the data to factually support. Without adequate risk data for the COVID-19 vaccines, which we do not currently have, it is impossible to know if the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. This response earns Mayo Clinic a “pants on fire” rating.

Myth” 6: “COVID-19 vaccines were developed to control the population through microchip tracking or ‘nanotransducers’ in the human brain.”

Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 6:

There is no vaccine microchip, and the vaccine will not track people or gather personal information into a database.”

This myth started after comments made by Bill Gates from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about a digital certificate of vaccine records. The technology he was referencing is not a microchip, has not been implemented in any manner and is not tied to the development, testing or distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.”

My response:

This one is complicated. It’s clearly worded in such a way as to make the underlying ideas sound like conspiracy theories. I have no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines were developed to control the population, so I would never claim that they were created for that purpose. And, as far as I know, the COVID-19 vaccines currently being given do not contain any such microchip tracking capability. However, if some people have gotten the idea that either are true, it’s due to the existence of troubling facts, incriminating statements from key players (Mayo Clinic tips a nod to this fact in their mention of Bill Gates’ comments), and well-deserved distrust of our public health authorities.

Population Control?

Whether or not the purpose of COVID-19 vaccines is to control the population, some scientists have been ringing alarm bells that the Pfizer vaccine could result in infertility. Dr. Michael Yeadon, former vice president and chief scientist for allergy and respiratory for Pfizer (Yeadon reportedly stepped down from this position in 2011), and German physician Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, sent a letter to the European Medicines Agency calling for a halt to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials in the EU. Their concern is that a part of the spike protein used in Pfizer’s vaccine resembles a part of another protein which is vital for placenta formation in mammals (called syncytin-1) closely enough that Pfizer’s vaccine could generate an immune response to that protein. This would result in the inability to form a placenta.

Syncytins’ role in reproduction is quite fascinating, and the interested reader can refer to “The role of syncytins in human reproduction and reproductive organ cancers” for an in depth explanation. The question is, are the concerns regarding Pfizer’s vaccine legitimate? One fact checker says that there is no evidence for this claim. However, Dr. Yeadon and Dr. Wodarg obviously disagree, and neither can be said to be unqualified to make the judgment.

The truth of the matter is that Pfizer’s trials can tell us nothing about the potential of this vaccine to affect fertility. This document is the information that Pfizer provided UK health professionals about their vaccine. Note section 4.6 on fertility, pregnancy, and lactation:

On Pregnancy: “There are no or limited amount of data from the use of COVID-19 mRNAVaccine BNT162b2. Animal reproductive toxicity studies have not been completed. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 is not recommended during pregnancy. For women of childbearing age, pregnancy should be excluded before vaccination. In addition, women of childbearing age should be advised to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after their second dose.” (emphasis mine)

On Fertility: “It is unknown whether COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2has an impact on fertility.”

Note that in the version of this vaccine information document supplied to UK vaccine recipients, there is no mention that animal reproductive toxicity studies haven’t been completed, and absolutely no mention that potential impact on fertility is unknown. I consider the absence of this information in the vaccine information documentation given to the public to be unethical. Undoubtedly, this knowledge would make a difference for some individuals in deciding whether or not to receive the vaccine.

It’s also worth mentioning that Australia just scrapped one of their vaccine candidates due to the fact that a portion of their vaccine included “a small component…derived from the human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV…” Although it was a mere “HIV protein fragment,” it was enough to cause some trial participants to produce enough of an antibody response to trip HIV screening tests into a positive result. The possibility had been considered “remote” and “medical researchers had not expected it to occur.” “’Everyone was very surprised at the unexpected prevalence of the false positive,’ Professor Murphy said.” Apparently, immune responses that experts consider to be “remote” and extremely unlikely, can indeed occur. Who would’ve thought?

If Pfizer can’t tell you if their vaccine impacts fertility, neither can Mayo Clinic. End of story.

Microchips, Tracking, and Personal Information Gathered into a Database?

Where in the world do people get the crazy idea that somebody would put microchips in vaccines? Or track them? Or gather their personal information into databases? Well, from everybody’s favorite IT guy who is for some reason all up in our healthcare and vaccine business- Bill Gates. (There are others as well, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll just focus on Gates.) If you haven’t seen Gates interviewed about all things COVID on virtually all mainstream media networks, you’ve been living under a rock. Back in March he did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on COVID-19 and later published a piece about this session on his “Gates Notes.” In response to a question Gates said, “Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”

When asked what he meant by a “digital certificate” he didn’t respond. However, it’s not hard to answer that question when you take a look at what Gates has been up to:

In a January 2018 Microsoft Blog titled, “Partnering for a path to a digital identity,” you’ll find the following quotes:

As discussions begin this week at the World Economic Forum, creating universal access to identity is an issue at the top of Microsoft’s agenda, and we think technology can be a powerful tool to tackle this challenge. It was last summer that Microsoft took a first step, collaborating with Accenture and Avanade on a blockchain-based identity prototype on Microsoft Azure. Together, we pursued this work in support of the ID2020 Alliance – a global public-private partnership dedicated to aiding the 1.1 billion people around the world who lack any legal form of identity.”

This Science Alert article from December of 2019, “An Invisible Quantum Dot ‘Tattoo’ Could Be Used to ID Vaccinated Kids” discusses a new technology that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding: “…researchers from MIT…[have] created an ink that can be safely embedded in the skin alongside the vaccine itself, and it’s only visible using a special smartphone camera app and filter. In other words, they’ve found a covert way to embed the record of a vaccination directly in a patient’s skin rather than documenting it electronically or on paper – and their low-risk tracking system could greatly simplify the process of maintaining accurate vaccine records, especially on a larger scale.”

In September of 2019, PR Newswire ran, “ID2020 Alliance launches digital ID program with Government of Bangladesh and Gavi, announces new partners at annual summit,” with this info:

The ID2020 Alliance is hosting its annual summit today in New York, where it announced the launch of an ambitious digital identity program with the Government of Bangladesh and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as new partners in government, academia, and humanitarian relief.”

Recognizing the opportunity for immunization to serve as a platform for digital identity, this program leverages existing vaccination and birth registration operations to offer newborns a persistent and portable biometrically-linked digital identity.”

The ID2020 website itself is highly educational. The site notes that, “The ability to prove who you are is a fundamental and universal human right.” They refer to the “core requirements of that digital ID as the four P’s,” which are: “Private. Only you control your own identity, what data is shared and with whom. Portable. Accessible wherever you happen to be through multiple methods. Persistent. Lives with you from life to death. Personal. Unique to you and you only.” The “Emerging Technologies” Tab adds that use of “biometrics” will make this possible.

The Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) include target 16.9 which aims to ‘provide legal identity for all, including birth registration by 2030.”

In September 2015, all United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including their commitment to ‘provide legal identity for all, including birth registration by 2030.”

Also in September of 2019, Biometric Update published their article, “ID2020 and partners launch program to provide digital ID with vaccines,” and Find Biometrics published their, “New ID2020 Project to Build Biometric ID Program Around Infant Immunization.”

You can see how much financial support the US contributes to efforts such as these in this Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) summary, “The U.S. and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.”

In June of 2020, Biometric Update reported, “Trust Stamp integrating biometric hash solution with Mastercard on children’s vaccine record system:

Digital identity capabilities from Trust Stamp are now being integrated with Mastercard’s Wellness Pass solution, which it will launch in cooperation with Gavi in West Africa. Proving identity without revealing any information about it is the idea behind Trust Stamp’s zero knowledge approach to online identity verification, according to a profile by Mastercard.”

Gareth Genner, Trust Stamp co-founder and CEO, explains in an interview how the company’s Evergreen Hash technology uses biometrics without taking on the risk of spoofing or a data breach that he says come with standard biometric implementations.”

And also from Biometric Update, the following November and December 2020 articles:

Biometric health passports discussed by tech firms and governments as COVID-19 vaccine approaches”:

Immunity passports are currently being considered in Chile, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and the U.S., according to Zac Cohen, Chief Operating Officer at Trulioo…As the world gets closer to a COVID-19 vaccine, the idea of an immunity passport will continue to be explored by governments and tech firms alike.”


India mulls digital voter ID before assembly elections next year.” Can you think of any reason why this might appeal to American voters?

Philippine biometric ID registration on good footing as authorities eye Step 2 start.”

Integrated Biometrics reveals its fingerprint scanners may kill COVID-19 at ID4Africa event conclusion.”

Elyctis to deliver 550 ID BOX One biometric ID card readers to Senegal healthcare facilities.”

Digital identity all-star team appointed as new Turing Institute International Advisory Board.”

Discussion even made its way to Bloomberg: “Biometric Tracking Can Ensure Billions Have Immunity Against Covid-19.”

Mayo Clinic is probably correct that “microchip” is not the appropriate terminology for referencing the technologies that are directed at some form of biometric digital identification that can be associated with vaccines in various ways, whether as delivery systems, or other correlations. However, the statement that the technology hasn’t been implemented in any manner is not accurate. Internationally, this type of technology is already seeing use, and the clearly stated goal is for this technology to revolutionize global individual identification. This will obviously include databases with personal information. As far as I am aware, Mayo Clinic is correct that this is not currently being implemented in COVID-19 vaccines in any way. It should, however, at least be on everyone’s radar as a future possibility. It’s certainly not a crack-pot idea with no basis in reality, which is how Mayo Clinic wanted to frame it.

Myth” 7: “COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.”

Excerpt from Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 7:

Injecting messenger RNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells. Human cells break down and get rid of the messenger RNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.”

My response:

My understanding is that this is the majority view among experts with regard to mRNA vaccines. However, there is one DNA vaccine candidate being developed by Inovio, which was set to head into phase II trials in November 2020. DNA vaccines are recognized to have the possibility of altering a recipient’s DNA as the study, “The dangers of DNA vaccination,”published in Nature in 1999 documents:

After injection, some DNA may persist and reach distant sites. Although the amount of DNA uptake by distant cells is not large, it is unlikely to be zero. Moreover, DNA injected intravenously into pregnant mice reaches fetuses. If after vaccination DNA is taken up by fetal or germ–line cells, immunological tolerance may be induced in the progeny (and descendants) of the vaccinated individual.”

That is not to say that there is unanimous agreement that mRNA vaccines cannot alter DNA. Dr. Doug Corrigan has written one such article in dissent from the majority view titled, “Will an RNA Vaccine Permanently Alter My DNA?” According to Dr. Corrigan’s “About Me” page on his blog he has the following credentials:

Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a master’s in Engineering Physics (concentration: Solid State Physics), and a bachelor’s in Engineering Physics (concentration: electrical engineering.)”

As a NASA Graduate Fellow , I worked with NASA on a series of material science microgravity missions that were conducted aboard the Space Shuttle, and I conducted research with Oak Ridge National Lab on new materials in their Solid State Physics Division.”

I switched to life sciences and went into Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I started a biotech company that developed new tools for discovering drugs to combat drug resistant forms of HIV.”

I also am an avid innovator, and have developed concepts for new medical devices, 3D printing technologies, cellular assays, nanotechnologies, sensors, new materials, etc— I have competed against a pool of 350,000 engineers and scientists from around the world and won commercial licenses for further development of 30 of these technologies. For these awards, I was named a Super Solver for 2 consecutive years.”

I’ve confirmed several of his credentials here in this article from a local news source and here in this Oak Ridge National Laboratory publication.

Dr. Corrigan notes:

“This concern about genetic modification is normally answered by the following argument: RNA will not permanently alter your DNA because it is a temporary molecule that quickly becomes destroyed in the cell, and because it is fundamentally different than DNA. RNA does not integrate into DNA, and RNA doesn’t remain in the cell permanently because the cell destroys the RNA relatively quickly. Therefore, there is no potential risk of an RNA vaccine genetically modifying a person’s genome.”

After an explanation of how mRNA vaccines work, Dr. Corrigan goes on to detail why he disagrees. I encourage the interested reader to take a look at his concerns. He concludes his article with a bit of common sense advice I believe we’d be foolish not to take:

“My professional opinion is that since RNA vaccines are a new mode of delivering vaccines, they should be tested for 5-10 years to demonstrate that genetic modification is not a major concern.”

Myth” 8: “COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue.”

Mayo Clinic’s response to “Myth” 8:

These messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines were not created with and do not require the use of fetal cell cultures in the production process.”

My response:

Notice that Mayo Clinic restricts their negative answer to mRNA vaccines. That’s because it’s not even debated that some of the other COVID-19 vaccine candidates were indeed developed using fetal cell cultures from aborted babies- those from AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson for example.

When it comes to the mRNA vaccines, I still consider Mayo Clinic’s “fact” to be misleading and in the newly in-vogue fact-checking language, “missing context.”

Some of the most trusted watchdog organizations for the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines, the Charlotte Lozier Institute for example, have recently declared that neither Moderna or Pfizer used aborted fetal cell lines in the design and development of their vaccines, but did use the HEK 293 cell line (from an electively aborted baby in the 70s) in their testing. Moderna’s data is published here in Nature and Pfizer’s data is published here on bioRxiv.

When it comes to the claim that Moderna didn’t use HEK293 in its design process, it turns out that declaration isn’t entirely true, and is based on a technicality. The Catholic World Report explains:

Scientists not from Moderna had initially made DNA vectors with the gene sequence of the spike protein, and injected them in HEK-293 cells to produce the spike protein. The HEK 293 cell line is derived from a baby who was aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s.”

The production of the DNA vectors was studied and evaluated by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the University of Texas, who determined that the spike protein was a good candidate for testing. Moderna was not involved in the DNA construction, nor was it involved in the evaluation of the construction.”

Dr. John Brehany, director of institutional relations at the NCBC, told CNA in July that while Moderna thus has some association with the use of cell lines from elective abortions, it is not responsible for that use, and its vaccine was not produced using HEK 293 cells.”

So, since Moderna wasn’t directly involved with the development of the DNA vectors with the gene sequences of the spike protein they used, Catholics consider this degree of distance from actual participation in sin an appropriate separation to be declared morally acceptable. I’m not Catholic, and at the end of the day, no matter what caveats you put on it, Moderna’s vaccine is involved with the HEK 293 cell line from a murdered baby. Pfizer’s appears to at least have a connection in testing as well.

If you’re not comfortable with that, you’ll cringe to hear what they do to mice to be able to test COVID-19 vaccines on them. NPR’s “Mouse Hunt: Lab Races To Grow Mice For COVID-19 Research” reports:

Laboratories across the world are gearing up to develop vaccines that can stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. They’ve got the funding; they’ve got the talent. But they don’t have the mice.”

“…researchers can’t use ordinary mice. That’s because the coronavirus doesn’t make mice sick. Humans have to genetically engineer them to be susceptible to the virus.”

Wait, what?

This FDA contract document obtained by CNS News explains that aborted fetal tissue is necessary to create these “humanized mice”:

The Government intends to solicit and negotiate directly with Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) Inc. and no solicitation will be issued. The objective is to acquire Tissue for Humanized Mice. ABR is the only company that can provide the human fetal tissue needed to continue the ongoing research being led by the FDA. Fresh human tissues are required for implantation into severely immune-compromised mice to create chimeric animals that have a human immune system. This human immune system allows us to test biological drug products for safety and efficacy. This is necessary because these drug products do not bind non-human species drug targets.”

The Federalist reported, “Pro-Lifers Arrested For Protesting San Francisco Hospital Transplanting Aborted Baby Organs Into Lab Rats.”


On the other hand, Washington Post ran the article, “Trump ban on fetal tissue research blocks coronavirus treatment effort,” bemoaning the Trump administration’s ban on fetal tissue research, “The inability of the Montana lab, part of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to pursue these experiments on the coronavirus is the latest example of disruptions to scientists’ work caused by the administration’s restrictions on research involving fetal tissue.”

For these reasons, I rate Mayo Clinic’s response “missing context” for their over-simplification of the topic resulting in the misunderstanding that aborted babies played no role in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines we have.

Conclusion

While I understand that most people consider Mayo Clinic to be a highly reputable source (and I’m sure they are in the context of some other subject matter), when it comes to their “debunking” attempt of the topics addressed in their COVID-19 vaccine article, my confidence in Mayo Clinic to give objectively reliable, factual information could be described as “mythical.”

 

 

 

Excerpts from the Transcript of the CDC’s Private Simpsonwood Meeting

First things first: What was the Simpsonwood Meeting and why should you care about reading excerpts from it?

July 7, 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service issued a joint statement which provides the background for the private CDC meeting that would occur the next year. Keep these statements in mind when reading the excerpts from Simpsonwood. Once you have read them, ask yourself if you are inclined to agree with the last two statements in particular.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act of 1997 called for FDA to review and assess the risk of all mercury-containing food and drugs. In line with this review, U.S. vaccine manufacturers responded to a December 1998 and April 1999 FDA request to provide more detailed information about the thimerosal content of their preparations that include this compound as a preservative. Thimerosal has been used as an additive to biologics and vaccines since the 1930s…”

…there are no data or evidence of any harm caused by the level of exposure that some children may have encountered in following the existing immunization schedule.” (emphasis mine)

The recognition that some children could be exposed to a cumulative level of mercury over the first 6 months of life that exceeds one of the federal guidelines on methyl mercury now requires a weighing of two different types of risks when vaccinating infants. On the one hand, there is the known serious risk of diseases and deaths caused by failure to immunize our infants against vaccine-preventable infectious diseases; on the other, there is the unknown and probably much smaller risk, if any, of neurodevelopmental effects posed by exposure to thimerosal. The large risks of not vaccinating children far outweigh the unknown and probably much smaller risk, if any, of cumulative exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines over the first 6 months of life.” (emphasis mine)

(As an aside #1- how exactly does one make a definitive public statement that the “large risks of not vaccinating children far outweigh” (fill in the blank comparative risk) when in the very next breath one describes said comparative risk as “unknown” and “probably much smaller”?)

Just shy of one year later, June 7th and 8th of 2000, the CDC convened a group of experts to discuss the issues. This meeting is briefly mentioned, although not by name, in the CDC’s Timeline: Thimerosal in Vaccines (1999-2010):

“Fifty-one vaccine and vaccine safety researchers and experts meet in Atlanta, GA to review data regarding thimerosal in vaccines and nervous system disorders. A report summarizing the meeting was presented to ACIP.”

The primary focus of the private discussion was this study led by Thomas Verstraeten: increased risk of neurologic impairment after high-exposure to thimerosal containing vaccine in first month of life. Age of Autism summarizes of Verstraeten’s study in a Special Report linked below:

“This study, conducted by investigators at the CDC using the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) of computerized HMO databases was a two-part ‘retrospective cohort study.’ The first phase looked at potential associations between neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) – including autism, ADD, speech and language delay and tics – and thimerosal among 124,170 US children born from 1992 to 1999 at one of two HMOs (A and B)…”

It is very important that you view this unpublished abstract of the first version of the study because these are the data the researchers are responding to. By the time the study was finally published in 2003 it had undergone multiple additional analyses, with each analysis getting closer to conclusions deemed acceptable. The following are the relative rates of increased risk to children exposed to greater than 25 mcg of thimerosal according to the original study:

ADHD: 11.35 times more likely

autism: 7.62 times more likely

ADD: 6.38 times more likely

Tics: 5.65 times more likely

Speech and language delay: 2.08 times more likely

(As an aside #2: This study alone invalidates the 2nd claim excerpted from the AAP and PHS joint statement above. If there were no data, Verstraeten would have had nothing to compile. If what he compiled was not taken seriously, surely the CDC would not have bothered to hold a private meeting of 51 experts to discuss it.)

For frame of reference, Robert F. Kennedy Jr famously points out that the relative risk for smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and getting lung cancer is 10. Of course, cigarettes come with a Surgeon General’s warning on every pack, but I digress…

(As an aside #3: it is outside the scope of this article to discuss the issues of how and why the subsequent analyses of this study concluded with results that are far more favorably suited for public vaccine policy. Those interested in a very detailed discussion of that issue may refer to Age of Autism’s Special Report: Vaccines and Autism- What do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? Verstraeten’s study is discussed at length along with several others.)

The Simpsonwood Transcript was uploaded in a 259 page pdf by the group Safeminds.org. Safeminds obtained the transcript of this meeting along with subsequent private correspondence between some of the researchers via a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. Some very illuminating comments from this correspondence are included in the Age of Autism Special Report linked above, in the section on Verstraeten’s study.

Thimerosal was mostly removed from vaccines in 2001. How is this discussion relevant today? These excerpts are an irrefutable example of the disparity between the CDC’s often definitive, “science is settled” type statements (which essentially amount to public relations blurbs) found in their superficial, front page, pediatrician’s office summarized info sheet- type information versus the data discussed privately among their experts. While the focus of the meeting was specifically thimerosal, many comments unequivocally illustrate the uncertainly about the safety of other vaccine ingredients (particularly aluminum- which is still in many vaccines) and of the vaccine schedule as a whole, with respect to the very same neurodevelopmental concerns. Summarized in one statement:

The Simpsonwood Transcript is why no parent can accept any statement of “settled science” regarding vaccine safety at face value.

FULL DISCLOSURE:

I have personally read this entire document. I intentionally chose comments to highlight the disparity between definitive statements made by the CDC/other officials and private expert conversations, NOT to provide a summary or overview of the entire meeting. To avoid accusations of misrepresentation, each citation will be followed by its corresponding page number so that the reader may personally read it in its context. The first citation of each commenter will be followed by that individual’s biographical information provided on pages 1-8 of the transcript.

-Begin-

Dr. Johnston (Immunologist and Pediatrician and the University of Colorado School of Medicine and National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine. Says “Adverse events related to vaccines has been of particular focus and interest for me mostly through serving on a series of committees dealing with the relationship between the vaccine and punitive adverse events.”):

…Thimerosal is in many vaccines because it is a preservative and lowers the rate of bacterial and fungal contamination that may occur during the manufacturing process, packaging and the use of vaccines in the field…” (p. 14)

…There are three licensed preservatives in the United States…We won’t talk about the other two today…Thimerosal is the most active and it has been utilized in vaccines since the 1930’s…” (p. 15)

Thimerosal functions as an anti-microbial after it is cleaved into ethylmercury and thiosalicylate, which is inactive…There is a very limited pharmacokinetic data concerning ethylmercury. There is very limited data on its bloodlevels. There is no data on its excretion. It is recognized to both cross placenta and the blood- brainbarrier. The data on its toxicity ,ethylmercury, is sparse. It is primarily recognized as a cause of hypersensitivity. Acutely it can cause neurologic and renal toxicity, including death, from overdose…” (p.15)

…And then at the end of the meeting ironically, Walt Orenstein asked the most provocative question which induced a great deal of discussion. That was, should we try to seek neurodevelopmental outcomes for children exposed to varying doses of mercury by using the Vaccine Safety Datalink data from one or more sites?” (p. 18)

…Finally I would like to mention one more issue. As you know the National Vaccine Program Office has sponsored two conferences on metals and vaccines…We just recently had another meeting that some of you were able to attend dealing with aluminum in vaccines. I would like to say just one or two words about that before I conclude…First, aluminum salts…reduce the amount of antigen and the number of injections required for primary immunizations. Secondly…it would present a significant burden to try and develop different vaccines for primary and subsequent immunizations…Aluminum and mercury are often simultaneously administered to infants …However, we also learned that there is absolutely no data, including animal data, about the potential for synergy, additivity, or antagonism, all of which can occur in binary metal mixtures that relate and allow us to draw any conclusions from the simultaneous exposure to these two salts in vaccines.” (pp. 19-20)

Dr. Clarkson (“associated with the mercury program through Rochester [NY] for a long time):

As you know, there is a paper just published on this now…if you are given mercury day by day as the guidelines are based on, whether it’s EPA, ATSDR, or FDA, these are based on constant daily exposure…Whereas we are just considering one single dose for vaccines. But nevertheless, a single dose from vaccines can raise blood levels by a certain amount…” (p. 22)

Dr. Brent (Developmental Biologist and Pediatrician from Thomas Jefferson University and Dupont Hospital for Children) repsonding to Dr. Clarkson’s comment above:

It’s just the sensitivity of the central nervous system, based on the mechanism that’s involved in producing the end result. You know the thalidomide data taught us that autism is related to the high brain and it produces it in the 22nd day of gestation, while the central nervous system from the standpoint of mental retardation, its most sensitive period is in the eighth week to the fifteenth week. That’s when we see neuro-maturation…I think that you have to realize that each of the developmental problems that have been evaluated here have a different stage where they are most sensitive from environmental factors.” (p. 23)

*** If you’re not familiar with the thalidomide reference he is making, you can learn the basics at this Wikipedia entry.

Dr. Johnson (State Public Health Officer in Michigan and member of ACIP) responding to Dr. Brent’s comment above:

“Are any of them different from birth, term birth to six months?” (p. 23)

Dr. Brent responds:

In Hiroshima, Nagasaki, you had severe mental retardation after 75 rads. If you give 75 rads to an infant, nothing will happen with regards to their central nervous system development. So you have this changing sensitivity throughout embryogenesis and early childhood development that makes it difficult to generalize.” (p. 23)

Dr. Johnson responds: “So the answer is that we don’t know…” (p. 23)

Dr. Sinks (Associate Director for Science at the CDC National Center for Environmental Health, Acting Division Director for the Division of Birth Defects, Developmental Disabilities and Disability Health):

I want to ask an unrelated question, and this has to do with potentially looking at confounding as we go through this. You mentioned the issue of aluminum salts. I know it’s an issue, but I don’t know the specifics of it. I wonder is their a particular health outcome that has been of concern that is related to the aluminum salts that may have anything to do with what we are looking at here today?” (p. 24)

Dr. Weil (Pediatrician representing the Committee on Environmental Health of the Academy):

Two things. One, up until this last discussion we have been talking about chronic exposure. I think it’s clear to me anyway that we are talking about a problem that is probably more related to bolus acute exposures, and we also need to know that the migration problem and some of the other developmental problems in the central nervous systems go on for quite a period after birth. But from all the other studies of other toxic substances, the earlier you work with the central nervous system, the more likely you are to run into a sensitive period for one of these effects so that moving from one month or one day from birth to six months of birth changes enormously the potential for toxicity. There are just a host of neurodevelopmental data that would suggest we’ve got a serious problem.” (p. 24)

The second point I could make is that in relationship to aluminum, being a nephrologist for a long time, the potential for aluminum and central nervous system toxicity was well established by dialysis data. To think there isn’t some possible problem here is unreal.” (p. 24-25)

Dr. Johnson responding to Weil:

Thank you, Bill, for your comments. As an old pediatrician, I had that same kind of feeling. That there must be a difference with age.” (p. 25)

Dr. Verstraeten (EIS Office at National Immunization Program- leading author of study linked above which is being discussed):

…Finally, and this may be the toughest one of all, how do we know that it is a Thimerosal effect? Since all vaccines are Thimerosal containing, how do we know that it’s not something else in the vaccines such as aluminum or the antigens?” (p. 50)

In conclusion, the screening analysis suggests a possible association between certain neurologic developmental disorders. Namely Tics, attention deficit disorder, speech and language disorders and exposure to mercury from Thimerosal containing vaccines before the age of six months…” (p. 50)

Dr. Weil:

I think what you are saying is in terms of chronic exposure. I think the other alternative scenario is that this is repeated acute exposures, and like many repeated acute exposures, if you consider a dose of 25 micrograms on one day, then you are above threshold. At least we think you are, and then you do that over and over to a series of neurons where the toxic effect may be the same set of neurons or the same set of neurologic processes, it is conceivable that the more mercury you get, the more effect you are going to get.” (p. 75)

Dr. Bernier (Associate Director for Science in the National Immunization Program):

…let me just reemphasize if I could the importance of trying to protect the information that we have been talking about. As many of you know, we are invited here. We have asked you to keep this information confidential. We do have a plan for discussing these data at the upcoming meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 21 and June 22. At that time the CDC plans to make a public release of this information, so I think it would serve all of our interests best if we could continue to consider this data The ACIP work group will be considering also. If we could consider these data in a certain protected environment. So we are asking people who have done a great job protecting this information up until now, to continue to do that until the time of the ACIP meeting. So to basically consider this embargoed information…” (p. 113)

Dr. Brent:

…The other thing is with some biological of some chemicals, the more you are exposed to them sometimes enzymes change with regard to excretion and metabolism. Is that known for mercury at all or is it totally unrelated to experience with the substance?” (p. 123)

Dr. Clarkson (repsonding to Dr. Brent’s question):

As you know, methylmercury and ethylmercury are slowly metabolized to inorganic mercury. The common mercury bond is broken. It’s achieved in two ways. The microflora in the intestinal tract break down methyl to inorganic and that’s how we get rid of it. Methylmercury goes through entroypathic recirculation from liver to bile, to intestine and back reabsorbed again and but for these obliging micro organisms in the GI tract, we wouldn’t really get rid of it. So does the microflora break it down to inorganic, which is not well absorbed and comes out in the feces.” (p. 124)

The other way it is metabolized is by phagocytic cells in almost every tissue in the body, probably including microglia in the brain. These phagocytic cells will also break down methylmercury. We don’t know for ethyl, but it is probably the same mechanism. So to what extent this change would do us, it’s not known. It’s an interesting question, but that’s not know (sic).” (p. 124)

Dr. Phillips (Family Medicine Private Practice in Seattle, Washington; Chair of Commission on Clinical Policies and Research for the American Academy of Family Physicians):

…What is the population attributable risk we are talking about? Even if we assume that all children completed the complete series of immunizations and they all include Thimerosal containing vaccinations, what is the burden of illness that we are talking about for these areas of interest? Speech delay and ADHD, that could possibly be attributable, if we believe these figures, to this exposure? What is the public health impact of the findings?” (p. 145)

Dr. Verstraeten (responding to Phillips’ question):

I haven’t come around to calculating the attributable risk…As you are aware, however, a large majority of children are vaccinated, so it will probably be quite high, if we believe the signal.” (p. 145)

Dr. Brent:

…many of your curves showed the rise in the relative risk, is that not correct?…I mean over a period of time, you give me the explanation of why over a period of time you got this increased risk.” (p. 161)

“Wasn’t it true that if you looked at the population that had 25 micrograms you had a certain risk and when you got to 75 micrograms you had a higher risk…What is your explanation? What explanation would you give for that? ” (p. 161)

Dr. Verstraeten (responding to Brent’s questions):

Personally I have three hypotheses. My first hypothesis is it is parental bias. The children that are more likely to be vaccinated are more likely to be picked up and diagnosed. Second hypothesis, I don’t know. There is a bias that I have not yet recognized, and nobody has yet told me about it. Third hypothesis. It’s true, it’s Thimerosal. Those are my hypotheses.” (p. 161)

Dr. Brent (in response):

If it is true, which or what mechanisms would you explain the finding with?” (p. 161)

Dr. Verstraeten (answers):

You are asking for biological plausibility?” (p. 162)

Dr. Brent:

Well, yes.” (p. 162)

Dr. Verstraeten:

When I saw this, and I went back through the literature, I was actually stunned by what I saw because I thought it is plausible.” (p. 162)

Dr. Brent:

…I would add a couple of things in there and that is that there are three reasons you might have the findings that you reported. One is, and we don’t have the data, that with the multiple exposures you get an increasing level, and we don’t know whether that is true or not. Some of our colleagues here don’t think that is true, but until we demonstrate it one way or the other, we don’t know that. The other thing is that each time you have an exposure there is a certain amount of irreversible damage and that as you exposure (sic) the damage adds up. Not because of dose but because they are irreversible. And the third thing is that maybe the most sensitive period is later, like in the fifth or sixth month. In other words, the sensitivity period is not the same over the first six months. Those would be explanations that you could only demonstrate with research, and probably not human…” (p. 163)

Dr. Weil:

…there is something else we won’t ever find out from these data, I don’t think, and that is whether or not 37.5 milligrams at one month is different than 37.5 milligrams at two months or three months, and that may be because of brain development. A critical issue and we can’t answer that from these data, no matter how they get manipulated or how many times we review. So some of the really gutsy questions from a person who is very concerned about neurodevelopment cannot be answered out of this. I don’t think we have anything that says this establishes this. All we can say is we are anxious and we need to get data the way we ordinarily do. We need to go to animal neurotox studies, developmental neurotox. We need to look at some other data that can be obtained to see if we get a comparable kind of impact, but let’s not try to refine and refine and refine these data. These are what they are. They show something and you cannot, by twiddling them and manipulating them, get much more out than Tom, Bob, and others have already done.” (p. 178)

Dr. Johnson:

…Do you think the observations made to date in the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project about a potential relationship between vaccines which contain Thimerosal and some specific neurologic developmental disorders, speech delay, attention deficit, ADHD and developmental delays constitute a definite signal? That is are a sufficient concern to warrant further investigation?…” (p. 179)

**** To the question above, most vote yes along with explanations for their votes which I will not cite in their entirety. These votes along with comments can be found on pages 179 and following. I will continue citing comments only as they are relevant to my stated goal. If a comment references a “yes” vote, it is a response to this.

Dr. Oakes (Chair of Biostatistics at the at the University of Rochester):

The other side to this is these data are out now. I mean they may not be public, but they will be. So this data exists, and then we can’t go back to the state where this duty has not been done, so there is a need to understand the data we have…” (p. 187)

Dr. Clover (Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Louisville, and ACIP member):

Maybe that’s an impossible question to answer, your first question, because no one around here is going to say that mercury per say is not a concern.” (p. 187)

Dr. Weil:

…My answer is yes. Although the data presents a number of uncertainties, there is adequate consistency, biological plausibility, lack of relationship with phenomenon not expected to be related, and a potential causal role that is as good as any other hypothesized etiology of explanation of the noted associations. In addition, the possibility that the associations could be causal has major significance for public and professional acceptance of Thimerosal containing vaccines. I think that is a critical issue. Finally, a lack of further study would be horrendous grist for the anti-vaccination bill. That’s why we need to go on, and urgently I would add.” (p. 187-188)

Dr. Brent:

…I remember when I was an intern, I rotated to Boston and there was a woman there by the name of Pricilla White. Because I had been a researcher before I was an intern, she would come down and show me these placentas from mothers who were diabetic and because they were using DES, and she would say to me look at that placenta. Look how healthy it is from mothers who are on DES. Of course she was eventually crushed psychologically when they found out that it caused adenocarcinoma of the vagina. And the implications here are much vaguer. That was an epidemic which was horrendous. Causing learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. ADD is a tremendous problem in our society and I think it is one we should be very concerned about.” (p. 190)

Although my gut reaction, which is totally irrelevant, is that it is probably not causatic, the only way you can come to a conclusion is through the data, and that’s the data I think we have got. Even if we put the vaccine in single vials and put no preservatives tomorrow, we still want the answer to this question. Because remember, epidemiological studies sometimes give us answers to problems we didn’t even know in the first place. Maybe from all this research we will come up with an answer for what causes learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, and other information…” (p. 191)

Dr. Koller (Pathologist, Immunotoxicologist, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University):

…As you increase the vaccination, you increase effects, but you don’t know. You have modified live viruses. You have different antigens. There is a lot of things in those vaccinations other than mercury, and we don’t know if this is a vaccination effect or a mercury effect. But I am almost sure it is not a mercury effect. Positive as a matter of fact, and there are several experts particularly that have viewed this, the methylmercury aspect who I think would agree with that due to dose response.” (pp. 192-193)

Dr. Johnson (to Koller):

Loren, if you are absolutely sure there is no causal relationship, why would you answer yes to question one?” (p. 194)

Dr. Koller (responding to Johnson):

Because I think there are other factors. There is (sic) many confounders that have not been evaluated. Biological and environmental. As a matter of fact, in question two one of my answers is there does appear, however, to be a weak positive association between increased numbers of vaccinations and some neurological endpoints…Because as you increase mercury, you increase vaccinations, so there could be several other factors in those vaccinations that are causing these effects. There is (sic) also other types of vaccines that these children are exposed to. There might be a combination biological effect. It might be antigen effects. There is (sic) all kinds of possibilities here. Some of these are modified live viruses. I would assume they are modified live viruses. Something between the combinations or subsequent exposures in a sensitive population, or hypersensitive population may trigger some of these effects.” (p. 194)

Dr. Clarkson:

It will be interesting, Mr. Chairman, to know the conclusion of the aluminum meeting in Puerto Rico. What came out of that? Because we heard yesterday from the CI’s that the aluminum will correlate just as well as mercury with these results. Is Dr. Myers here? What were the conclusions?” (pp. 194-195)

Dr. Myers (Acting Director of the National Vaccine Program Office):

Well, first we didn’t have this data to study. We didn’t have available what we are discussing today. This study, so I am not sure.” (p. 195)

Dr. Clarkson:

What did they reveal about the all (sic) aluminum in terms of…” (p. 195)

Dr. Myers:

They thought there was an enormous margin of safety, that were well below concerns, but again they hadn’t seen these associations. By summary we thought we were well below the mercury as well.” (p. 195)

Dr. Stein (General Pediatrician and General Pediatric at University of California, San Diego; Co-Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics recent practice guideline on diagnosis and evaluation of ADHD):

…Well, of course I answered yes also, but first I want to say thank you to everyone for giving me a course in Epidemiology. I learned a lot. I also want to congratulate the group that did the data and the study analysis. It also gave me a great respect for the problems of evaluating vaccine safety beyond what I had ever known or expected before, and obviously I have been practicing pediatrics for a long time…” (p. 195)

Dr. Johnson:

…In my opinion the evidence today is insufficient to determine whether or not Thimerosal containing vaccines caused the neurological sequelae in question…Now on the other hand, the data suggests that there is an association between mercury and the endpoints. ADHD, a well known disability, and speech delay as entered into the database…This association leads me to favor a recommendation that infants up to two years old not be immunized with Thimerosal containing vaccines if suitable alternative preparations are available. I do not believe the diagnosis justifies compensation in the Vaccine Compensation Program at this point.” (p. 199)

I deal with causality, it seems pretty clear to me that the data are not sufficient one way or the other. My gut feeling? It worries me enough. Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at eight o’clock for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by C-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation, and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal containing vaccine until I know better what is going on. It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meantime I think I only want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines.” (pp. 199-200)

Dr. Brent:

…The epidemiological data is valid, as is (sic) the associations that were reported. It is more difficult, if not impossible, to refute a causal association based on this study. Therefore, the question of causal association remains unanswered until we obtain the data that was suggested in the answer to the first question I wrote.” (p. 205)

Dr. Weil:

…The number of dose related relationships are linear and statistically significant. You can play with this all you want. They are linear. They are statistically significant.” (p. 207)

…The increased incidence of neurobehavioral problems in children in the past few decades is probably real…I work in the school system where my effort is entirely in special education and I have to say that the number of kids getting help in special education is growing nationally and state by state at a rate we have not seen before. So there is some kind of an increase. We can argue about what it is due to…But there are certainly more kids with ADD and there are more kids with speech and language disorders than there have been in the past.” (p. 207)

…The rise in the frequency of neurobehavioral disorders, whether it is ascertainment or real…is much too graphic. We don’t see that kind of genetic change in 30 years.” (p. 207-208)

Dr. Oakes:

…I don’t think we have seen any evidence that the causal agent, if there is one, is Thimerosal and not some other constituent of the vaccine.” (p. 211)

Dr. Brent (responding to Oakes):

Could you say that again?” (p 211)

Dr. Oakes (responding to Brent):

We haven’ seen any evidence that it is the mercury, if there is some damage being caused, that these associations are real, that it is an association with mercury. The question is what other things are in there that are also potential causal agents?…” (p. 211)

Dr. Myers:

Can I go back to the core issue about the research? My own concern, and a couple of you said it, there is an association between outcomes and vaccination that worries both parents and pediatricians. We don’t really know what the outcome is, but it is one that worries us and there is an association with vaccines. We keep jumping back to Thimerosal, but a number of us are concerned that Thimerosal may be less likely than some of the other potential associations that have been made. Some of the other potential associations are number of injections, number of antigens, other additives. We mentioned aluminum and I mentioned yesterday aluminum and mercury. Antipyretics and analgesics are better utilized when vaccines are given…and yet all the questions I hear we are asking have to do with Thimerosal. My concern is we need to ask the questions about the other potential associations, because we are going to the Thimerosal-free vaccine. If many of us don’t think that is a plausible association because of the levels and so on, then we are missing looking for the association that may be the important one. I thought I would put that out. That we shouldn’t just think in terms of mercury.” (pp. 231-232)

Dr. Chen (Chief of Vaccine Safety and Development at the CDC National Immunization Program) responding to Myers:

To address Marty, I think that is quite reasonable, although we have a limited amount of manpower because of what we just studied. At the moment, I would think most people around the room would argue that these are biologically plausible outcomes potentially related to mercury, and then we will keep the other ones in mind…” (p. 233)

Dr. Myers (responding to Chen):

I agree with you, Bob, but the think the conclusion (sic) is that there is an association between vaccinations and the outcomes that we cannot reject and of which one compliment of the vaccines that is associated is Thimerosal, but it is only one of the associations. I don’t think it is any more plausible than some of the others. And I think I heard several of the consultants say the same thing.” (p. 233)

Dr. Caserta (Chief Medical Officer for the Vaccine Compensation Program):

One of the things I learned at the Aluminum Conference in Puerto Rico that was tied into the metal lines in biology and medicine that I never really understood before, is the interactive effect of different ions and different metals when they are together in the same organism. It is not the same as when they are alone, and I think it would be foolish for us not to include aluminum as part of our thinking with this.” (p. 234)

Dr. Orenstein (CDC’s Director of National Immunization Program):

You have to add smallpox and IPV. In fact, one of the studies from the perinatal project suggested an increased risk of tumors in the off spring (sic) of parents who received three CBL. Heard of these associations.” (p. 234)

Dr. Clements (Expanded Program on Immunization, WHO, Geneva):

…I am really concerned we have taken off like a boat going down one arm of the mangrove swamp at high speed, when in fact there was no (sic) enough discussion really early on about which way the boat should go at all. And I really want to risk offending everyone in the room by saying that perhaps this study should not have been done at all, because the outcome of it could have, to some extent, been predicted and we have all reached this point now where we are left hanging, even though I hear the majority of the consultants say to the Board that they are not convinced there is a causality direct link between Thimerosal and various neurological outcomes.” (pp. 247-248)

I know how we handle it from here is extremely problematic. The ACIP is going to depend on comments from this group in order to move forward into policy, and I have been advised that whatever I say should not move into the policy area because that is not the point of this meeting…But there is now the point at which the research results have to be handled, and even if this committee decides that there is no association and that information gets out, the work has been done and through freedom of information that will be taken by others and used in other ways beyond the control of this group. And I am very concerned about that as I suspect it is already too late to do anything regardless of any professional body and what they say.” (p. 248)

My mandate as I sit here in this group is to make sure at the end of the day that 100,000,000 are immunized with DTP, Hepatitis B, and if possible Hib, this year, next year, and for many years to come, and that will have to be with Thimerosal containing vaccines unless a miracle occurs and an alternative is found quickly and is tried and found to be safe.” (p. 248)

So I leave you with the challenge that I am very concerned that this has gotten this far, and that having got this far, how you present in a concerted voice the information to the ACIP in a way they will be able to handle it and not get exposed to the traps which are out there in public relations…How will it be presented to a public and a media that is hungry for selecting the information they want to use for whatever means they have in store for them…I have the deepest respect for the analysis that has been done, but I wonder how on earth you are going to handle it from here.” (p. 249)

-End-

As a former very pro-vaccination individual, these are the things that bother me the most about this interaction:

    • Experts do not know what I consider to be basic and necessary safety information for a multitude of vaccine ingredients and how they may or may not interact with one another and affect the body.
    • The absence of the above information is in no way considered an impediment to vaccine approval, utilization, and forceful recommendation.
    • Prior to reading private conversations such as this, I assumed the experts did know these basic and necessary data.
    • The public is preliminarily assured of safety before anyone has any idea of whether or not these assurances are accurate, even before scientific data has been sufficiently collected and/or reviewed.
    • Given evidence of the distinct possibility that some element of vaccination (not sure which, it could be multiple things) is directly associated to neurological developmental disorders (among other things), experts feel justified in withholding this information from the public to ensure that confidence in vaccination is not lost.
    • Although aluminum was clearly identified as (at the very least) an ingredient equivalently dangerous to mercury, there was not, and there has not been, any effort to remove this ingredient or seriously study it.

These realizations are particularly unsettling in light of the 2011 Institute of Medicine Report. The ICAN white paper on Vaccine Safety summarizes their findings on pages 8-9:

This third IOM Report reviewed the 158 most common vaccine injuries claimed to have occurred for vaccination from varicella, hepatitis B, tetanus, measles, mumps, and/or rubella. The IOM located science which ‘convincingly supports a causal relationship’ for 14 of these serious injuries including pneumonia, meningitis, hepatitis, MIBE(deadly brain inflammation a year after vaccination), febrile seizures, and anaphylaxis. The review found sufficient evidence to support ‘acceptance of a causal relationship’ for 4 additional serious injuries. The IOM, however, found the scientific literature was insufficient to conclude whether or not those vaccines caused 135 other serious injuries commonly reported after their administration…For the remaining 135 vaccine-injury pairs, over 86% of those reviewed, the IOM found that the science simply had not been performed.”

I won’t list all of the 135, but the following is a sampling: Encephalitis, Encephalopathy, Seizures, Transverse Myelitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain-Barre, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Juvenile Ideopathic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Athritis, Fibromyalgia, SIDS. (Relevant IOM Report link here)

At the outset of this article I asked the reader to reflect on the last two statements made by the AAP and PHS. After considering this interaction between experts, how would you answer the following questions: 1) Are they sufficiently transparent and unbiased? 2) Do you trust that you are being given adequate information to make your own decisions? 3) Do you agree with policies and recommendations that have been made in the interest of public health? 4) Going forward, would you accept official statements at face value and continue to vaccinate yourselves and your children, no questions asked? 5) Does it bother you that the US is reaching epidemic levels of autoimmune diseases and neurological behavioral disorders, yet the cause is a complete mystery? 6) Might the interest of the public health be at odds with your interest, as a parent, in the specific health of your child? 7) Is the risk of historically benign, low risk, short-lived infections such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox beginning to look very attractive compared to the vast number of unknowns and high stakes long- term, life- altering diseases potentially associated with vaccination?

 

If you answered those first four questions with a “no” and the last three with a “yes”, welcome to the “vaccine hesitant” club.

 

Creationist Theory on Ascending Complexity of Life Ordered in Precambrian/lower Cambrian Sediments

In my opinion, one of the most challenging arenas of science for a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) is geology. Both sides of the debate have the same data to work with- the geologic column. Likewise, they share the same goal- reconstructing a plausible theory to explain the earth’s history. The very deepest layers in this geological column, the Precambrian and lower Cambrian, pose quite a mystery for us to solve since they contain the very first signs of life.

Of particular interest within these lowest levels, is the presence of a clear order of organisms increasing in complexity along the vertically ascending layers of sediment. The questions are: how do we explain the method by which these layers came to be deposited historically and what is the significance of the increasing complexity in the fossil record? Creationists and Evolutionists have two vastly different answers largely due to the presuppositions underlying their respective world views. These presuppositions unavoidably affect interpretation.

Evolutionary theory sees the layers as being deposited over millions of years, containing the record of the evolution of life from simple to complex. This view traditionally enjoys the “edge” in modern thought for two reasons. First, it’s the only view most people are aware of since it is the only one approved in public education systems; and second, it is certainly a simple/obvious explanation if one agrees with evolutionary presuppositions.

YEC theory sees the deposition of these deepest layers as the result of one catastrophic event- the global flood recorded in Genesis chapters 6-9 which devastated the entire earth. Since YEC’s maintain that life didn’t evolve, but came into existence simultaneously according to the Biblical 6 day Creation narrative, the difficulty has been arriving at an explanation of the increasing complexity demonstrated in the fossil record. However, Dr. Kurt Wise (Ph.D. in Paleontology and M.A in Geology from Harvard) described a theory during his presentation at the 2017 “Is Genesis History?” Conference proving that the evolutionary reconstruction is not the only one data supports. Wise admits that “Creationist palaeontology is an immature field” and that theirresources… are severely limited.” However, Wise believes his theory is the one aligning most closely with the evidence.

Shared Evidence

Early in Dr. Wise’s presentation, he sets the stage by documenting the data both evolutionists and creationists have to interpret:

At the base of the geologic column, the lowest level is referred to as the “Precambrian.”

                                                  Image via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Wise notes that there are only 12 geographical locations where geologists can access the complete Precambrian series of sediments exhibiting the order of increasing complexity (stratomorphic series). In fact, he explains, it has only been within approximately the last 30 years that these rocks have been recognized as what they are- Precambrian sediments that did not erode away. Within this series, there is a clear and consistent sequence of sediments containing organisms increasing in complexity beginning with simple bacteria. This same order of increasing complexity in the fossil record is observed throughout the geological column. For example, the order is present even throughout the Great Unconformity (which exists on almost all continents) despite the fact that some of the layers present in the Precambrian series of sediments are missing altogether.

Dr. Wise supplies the following examples of this ascending complexity. In the deepest layer of sediment, the only fossils present are bacteria or bacteria related. Rising up into younger sediments, in addition to the bacteria, you begin to find single celled algae. Continuing upward, protists appear (single celled, non-photosynthetic organisms- not an animal, plant, or fungus). Next, appear a group called “Ediacaran Fauna” which are large (1-2′), flat macrofossils (fossils observable with the naked eye).

Photo: Dickinsonia, by Ilya Bobrovskiy, Australian National University (fair use for scientific and educational purposes), via SBS News.

Following this group is “Tommotian Fauna” (or “small shelly fauna”) which are small (around 1 inch at most) cone-shaped fossils.

Tommotian Fauna image via fossilmuseum.net

Next, come the “Atdabanian Fauna.” This is the lowest level in which Trilobites are found.

Plate from Barrande’s work Système silurien du centre de la Bohême via Wikipedia

Evolutionist Interpretation of the Data

Traditional evolutionary theory presupposes both uniformitarianism and naturalism. The former can be defined as the “concept that ‘the present is the key to the past’ (that events occur at the same rate now as they have always done)…Today, Earth’s history is considered to have been a slow, gradual process, punctuated by occasional natural catastrophic events.” Therefore, each layer of sediment in the geologic column (some of which are tens of thousands of feet thick) represents millions of years of history. This “deep time” is crucial to support the latter presupposition which can be summarized as the “idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.” Barring the possibility of a Creator God existing outside of His Creation, evolutionists conclude that the ascending complexity of organisms can only be explained by slow evolutionary processes requiring millions of years.

No one would disagree that given the presuppositions above, these conclusions are reasonable. Wise notes an additional factor supporting evolutionary theory while being problematic for YEC. Essentially, if the lowest levels of sediment can preserve bacteria, it should be able to preserve more complex organisms if they existed simultaneously. The simplest and most logical deduction is that only bacteria are preserved because they were the only thing in existence. This is the problem Wise’s theory addresses.

At this juncture it must be noted that the assumption of uniformitarianism underlying evolutionary theory is not scientifically provable. As influential 20th century paleontologist G.G Simpson famously stated, “Uniformity is an unprovable postulate justified, or indeed required, on two grounds. First, nothing in our incomplete but extensive knowledge of history disagrees with it. Second, only with this postulate is a rational interpretation of history possible, and we are justified in seeking—as scientists we must seek—such a rational interpretation.” This is imperative due to modern day rhetoric claiming that creation science is “pseudoscience.” The entire foundation of evolutionary theory is underscored by an “unprovable postulate” rendering its resulting conclusions no more or less scientific than the conclusions of creation science.

YEC Interpretation of the Data

YEC’s operate under their own set of presuppositions. While agreeing that relatively recent geological history can be reconstructed with the assumption of the slow, gradual processes that we witness today, they reject that uniformitarianism can be projected infinitely backward in antiquity to arrive at an accurate historical reconstruction of earth’s ancient history due to the global Flood. YEC’s also presuppose a Creator who created life supernaturally as described in Scripture rather than via naturalistic means. Wise submits that the evidence indicates that “the uppermost Precambrian are the very beginning of the Flood deposits and they are preserving a Pre-Flood ecological sequence of some sort.”

Interestingly, this alternative interpretation of the data wasn’t arrived at by a group of YEC scientists. Instead, the theory that follows was developed during the course of a Harvard University graduate class under renowned paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Gould, studying the Cambrian explosion. Although Wise doesn’t reveal if any of the other class participants besides himself were YEC’s, he does note that the conclusions being drawn were (understandably) disconcerting to the evolutionists working on the project.

It all began when the group made an interesting observation: within the stratomorphic series,

each type of fauna is specific to a particular type of rock. For example: the Ediacaran Fauna is almost always found in sand; the Tommotian Fauna is always in carbonates; and the Atdabanian Fauna is always in shale. Therefore, the faunal sequence is dependent on the type of rock (facies dependant).

The group recognized this phenomenon to be in keeping with “Walther’s Law” which Wise summarizes as, “a principle in geology stating that if you have a series of lithosomes (types of rock) stacked vertically in a particular order, it could be that the order is due to a transgression event or a regression event, where the first thing is formed in shallow water, the next thing is formed in deeper water, and the next thing is formed in even deeper water. It could be that what you see vertically, is what the world was like horizontally at the time of deposition… So, you’re not actually looking at three different aged things. You’re looking at three different things at different positions.”

“Stratigraphic column on the north shore of Isfjord in Svalbard Norway. The vertical succession of rock types (representing sedimentary facies) reflects lateral changes in paleoenvironment.” via Wikipedia

Wise clarifies with the following scenario: you have sand at the shore, mud off shore, and reefs out beyond that. This would result in layers of sandstone, mud shale, then carbonate. So, if you see a sequence of sandstone/shale/carbonate in a vertical sequence, you could conclude that rather than life evolving into greater complexity over millions of years, you merely have three separate facies existing side by side that became buried on top of each other because water came in over the land. Therefore, these three faunas may not be separated in time, but are separated horizontally. Three different fauna, living at the same time, getting buried in a sequence only because water is either coming in or going out. Subsequently, the shallow water organisms are buried on bottom, followed by those inhabiting medium depth water, followed by deep water organisms.

This essentially reveals that millions of years of time is not a necessary factor in the formation of these 12 areas in which geologists have a clear cross-section of the Precambrian.

Adding Radiometric Dating into the Mix

It is beyond the scope of this article to address the numerous and very valid problems with the accuracy of ages of rocks assigned by radiometric dating. Interested readers can refer to Dr. Andrew Snelling’s treatment of that topic in his article Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions. To greatly simplify, I will merely state that the science behind the dating models is sound. However, the scientifically unprovable assumptions plugged in as constants in the equations render the results unrealiable at best and completely invalid at worst.

For our purposes, the only relevant issue is the range of time that these radiometric dating models indicate regarding the successive layers of rock which cumulatively result in the millions of years evolutionists assign to the geologic column in the form of the geologic time scale. When it comes to these ancient date ranges assigned to each layer of sediment, Wise explains that the smallest increment of measurement is the “radiometric pixel” which is a unit of 5 million years. Essentially, this means that radiometric dating methods employed in this context cannot discern periods of time between sediments in increments less than 5 million years.

This becomes of paramount importance when Wise notes that the graduate team examining the radiometric dating data pertaining to these layers of sediment discovered that the evidence revealed the time period separating these layers was not, in fact, hundreds of millions of years, but something less than a radiometric pixel! Here, Wise points out, that when you are at the Cambrian level (dated by the evolutionary time scale to be 5 million years ago), 5 million years is 1%- you can’t see anything less than 1%. Foundationally, you can’t distinguish the different age of things less than 1% apart.

How do these facts alter the interpretation of the data? Wise states, “The radiometric data suggests that there is less than a radiometric pixel between these three faunas. Add that to the facies issues of the faunas and we concluded these faunas don’t represent successive faunas, they represent three faunas at the same time. Buried in that order, but not living in that order.”

Wise continues by explaining that this finding is magnified when one realizes that whatever process has buried these fauna in this same pattern, it is represented identically in 12 different geographical locations all over the earth! So, the next step becomes figuring out how closely the age of these 12 different deposits can be determined. Wise says, “Again, we concluded that we cannot discern differences in their age at the level of the radiometric pixel. So, they could all be at exactly the same moment in time, and that the same event, a global event, buried them in the same sequence for that reason.” Therefore, the data contained in the Precambrian and lower Cambrian layers can very well be interpreted in support of the Genesis global flood event, documenting life existing simultaneously, and ordered in horizontal proximity to one another.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, evolutionists will never consider the YEC theory to be valid. Not because the data contained in the Precambrian and lower Cambrian sediments preclude it, but because it violates the two foundational presuppositions of uniformitarianism and naturalism- neither of which are scientifically provable.