Day: 6 May 2021

There Are More Downsides to Vaccination Against Covid Than People Think, Says French Microbiologist

There follows an extract of an interview published by French news website Entreprendre with Professor Didier Raoult, the Director of the Méditerranée Infection Foundation – translated from French to English by Google. Professor Raoult argues that there should be more clarity about the benefits and risks associated with taking Covid vaccines.

For the moment, the vaccine is not compulsory. Medical practitioners must advise their patients whether or not to take the vaccine.

The most important point is, of course, to ask: what is the balance between the risks and the benefits?

When people tell you there is no risk, that is not true. We are starting to understand some of the risks of taking the AstraZeneca vaccine. There are really dangerous risks of allergy due to the compound we use, polyethylene glycol, with people who have anaphylactic shock which may be fatal and people who have thromboses. So the numbers suffering in this way need to be solidified so we know how many people are in potentially fatal accidents. Is it 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 10,000? These are things we need to know so we can say “this is the risk you are taking with the vaccine”.

What is the risk you take when you are not vaccinated? Well, it’s a mix between the proportion of people who are infected and the proportion of people who are infected with a severe form. So, to avoid severe forms, this vaccine is probably of interest. We must give people the choice to think. For those over the age of 75 or 80, the number of sick people who are at risk of dying is significant. Mortality among those over 85 is over 20% so the benefit to be hoped for in a period when the virus is circulating for people over 80 is very good.

And if, in these great times of terror we live in, people are reassured to be vaccinated, they must be vaccinated. But there are more downsides than they say. There is work that just came out in Nature that shows 75% of participants in a Pfizer vaccine trial reported side effects. We have never seen this with another vaccine: it is two to three times more than the flu shot. There are also some lethal effects. Is the risk worth taking? Certainly when you are part of a population at risk, but when you are part of the population without risk, you can ask yourself the question. It is everyone’s choice.

Professor Didier was asked: at the community level, is it worth getting vaccinated to avoid infecting others?

Current data does not allow us to say that we will control the circulation of the virus in England with the vaccine. There is a decrease in the severity of infections when one is vaccinated. As for a decrease in the circulation of the virus, there is, as yet, no work that convinces me. The target of this vaccine is so narrow that it will be very easy to see new variants appear which will resist the antibodies generated by this vaccine. So again, the vaccine is not the magic wand hoped for to keep this virus and its variants from circulating.

I think we have to come back to the idea of ​​what a disease is… We need to maintain credibility with the population if we want to be able to implement effective public health measures.

Alcohol Deaths Rise to Highest Level Since Records Began in England and Wales

Alcohol killed more people in England and Wales last year than in any other year since records began, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as many Brits turned to drink to cope with the isolation – and other forms of suffering – caused by the lockdowns. MailOnline has the story.

An ONS report published today revealed there were 7,423 fatalities linked to drinking last year, which was a fifth more than in 2019 and the highest number since records began in 2001.

People living in the poorest parts of the countries were four times more likely to have died from alcohol abuse compared to those in the wealthiest areas.

Alcohol-related deaths have been rising for decades. But they rose quickest from March 2020 onwards, after the first national lockdown came into force, and got progressively worse as the year went on.  

Most deaths were related to long-term drinking problems and dependency – with alcoholic liver disease making up 80% of cases. 

But experts told MailOnline that a year of social restrictions likely exacerbated Britain’s drinking problem. Dozens of surveys found people drank more than usual during lockdowns to cope with isolation, boredom and anxiety about the pandemic.

One in 10 of the alcohol-related deaths were from mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol misuse and 6% were from accidental alcohol poisoning…

Professor Paul Hunter, an Epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, previously told MailOnline it was possible some of the increase was caused by excessive drinking during lockdown speeding up the deaths. 

“If people with liver disease start drinking again, especially binge drinking, that would certainly be very bad for their liver and could lead to liver failure and subsequent death,” he added. 

He added the spike in liver disease deaths could be down to patients struggling to access healthcare. Waiting lists have soared to record levels as a result of the NHS focusing on Covid patients. 

The number of people dying because of alcohol got worse as lockdowns progressed through 2020.

Compared to 2019, there were just 8% more fatalities by March last year, compared to 30% more between October and December.

But between 2019 and 2020 the rise was 19.6%. 

The spike highlights the “devastating impact” of the pandemic on problem drinking, according to the Portman Group – a regulator for alcohol labelling, packaging and promotions.

The increase in people dying from drink may partly explain last year’s drop in registered suicides – along with delays to coroner inquests – since they would be recorded as unintended injury deaths rather than as suicides.

The MailOnline report is worth reading in full.

Tucker Carlson Asks: How Many Americans Have Died After Taking the Covid Vaccines?

We are told a lot about the upsides of Covid vaccines but rarely discuss the risks. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has taken it upon himself to ask how many Americans have died after taking the vaccine.

Here is a transcript of part of the video.

How many Americans have died after taking the Covid vaccines? Not Americans who’ve been killed by the virus, that’s a huge number, but how many Americans have died after getting the vaccines designed to prevent the virus? Do you know the answer to that question? Do you know anything about the downside? We know a lot about the upside of the vaccine. We’ve been completely in favor of vulnerable people taking vaccines. 

But what about the potential risks? You’d think you would know more about that than you do. We talk about vaccines constantly, not just on this show, but in this country. Joe Biden was on TV yesterday talking about vaccines. He wants you to get one. Everyone in authority wants you to get one. In fact, you’ve probably already had your shot, and good for you. If you haven’t had your shot, you’re under enormous pressure to get your shot. You understand that soon you may not be able to fly on commercial airplanes or go to work at the office or send your children to school if you don’t have the shot. Meanwhile, the social pressure is enormous. Friends may have already informed you that you’re not welcome at their parties or weddings if you haven’t been vaccinated. There is a lot of pressure to comply. At some point, you probably will comply. It’s just too difficult not be to vaccinated in this country.   

But before you make the appointment: do you know anything about the potential risks? Probably you don’t know much. We all assume the risks are negligible. Vaccines aren’t dangerous. That’s not a guess, we know that pretty conclusively from the official numbers. Every flu season, we give influenza shots to more than 160 million Americans. Every year, a relatively small number of people seem to die after getting those shots. To be precise, in 2019, that number was 203 people. The year before, it was 119. In 2017, a total of 85 people died from the flu shot. 

Every death is tragic, but big picture, we don’t consider those numbers disqualifying. We keep giving flu shots, and very few people complain about it. So the question is how do those numbers compare to the death rate from the coronavirus vaccines now being distributed across the country? That’s worth knowing. 

We checked today. Here’s the answer, which comes from the same set of Government numbers that we just listed: between late December of 2020, and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the Covid vaccines in the United States… That’s an average of 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23rd. We don’t have numbers past that, we’re not quite up to date. But we can assume that another 360 people have died in the 12 days since. That is a total of 3,722 deaths. Almost 4,000 people died after getting the Covid vaccines. The actual number is almost certainly much higher than that – perhaps vastly higher.

The data we just cited come from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) which is managed by the CDC and the FDA. VARES has received a lot of criticism over the years, some of it founded. Some critics have argued for a long time that VARES undercounts vaccine injuries. A report submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 concluded that “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported” by the VARES system. Fewer than 1%. So what is the real number of people who apparently have been killed or injured by the vaccine? Well, we don’t know that number. Nobody does, and we’re not going to speculate about it. But it’s clear that what is happening now, for whatever reason, is not even close to normal. It’s not even close to what we’ve seen in previous years with previous vaccines.

Worth reading – or watching – in full.

Stop Press: Pradheep J. Shanker says in the National Review that Tucker Carlson deliberately misrepresented the VAERS data to promote a dangerous strain of vaccine skepticism

Health Scientists “Haven’t Seen Any Hint” That Covid Variants Can Fully Evade Vaccines

Over-50s will be offered a third Covid vaccine dose before winter, in part to tackle new variants. But according to the Head of the Covid Genomics U.K. Consortium (COG-UK), there is currently “no hint” of a variant that can fully evade the effectiveness of vaccines. If anything, future variants could be less infectious. The Express and Star has the story.

Sharon Peacock, Head of COG-UK and Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said it could be the case that coronavirus mutates to become less infectious, though she warned it could take years for it to become like the common cold.

Asked whether a variant will emerge somewhere across the globe that is resistant to current vaccines, Professor Peacock told Times Radio: “That’s what we’d call it, a variant of major concern. We haven’t seen anything like that to date, and the question you’re asking is the million dollar question in many ways, everybody wants to know what’s the likelihood and when is it likely to occur, if at all.

“What we don’t know is if it is likely to occur. We know that as mutations accumulate in the virus, it can actually make it more fit in terms of avoiding our immune system, but the more mutations it accumulates, it could actually lead to a virus that is less infectious, for example.

“So there’s a trade-off for the virus in terms of how many mutations it can tolerate.

“Now, some people have predicted that a virus could emerge that is pretty resistant to vaccines, but we haven’t seen any hint of that at the moment.

“And the idea that this could arise is based on models from previous viruses, not this current one, so at the moment, I remain optimistic that we’re in a good place – that the viruses that are circulating are susceptible to vaccinations.”

Despite the continual fall of Covid cases and deaths, and the success of the vaccine rollout, the Government and media narrative around the virus continues to be fairly pessimistic – largely due to the perceived threat of variants. Imperial College’s Danny Altmann said last month that the Indian Covid variant could “scupper” Britain’s “roadmap” out of lockdown – a statement which a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation criticised as “pessimistic“. Professor Neil Ferguson also believes that life in Britain will “not [be] completely back to normal” by summer because of Covid variants, despite advisers to SAGE saying last week that Pfizer’s vaccine does protect well against the South African variant after people have had both doses.

The Express and Star report is worth reading in full.

More Companies Tell Their Staff to Work From Home Post-Lockdown

An increasing number of companies are telling their staff to work from home at least some of the time, confirming previous reports that, for many, “hybrid working” could become “the norm” post lockdown. HSBC moved 1,200 staff in Britain to permanent working from home contracts last month – many of them willingly – in an effort to cut costs, despite a study finding that working from home is less productive (not to mention the impact on staff socialisation). The latest companies to take this approach are Google and KPMG. The Guardian has the story.

Accounting and consultancy group KPMG has told its 16,000 U.K. staff that they will have to work only an average of two days in the office each week from next month, as the firm revealed its plans for a post-pandemic hybrid working model.

Under the new initiative, which the company has called the “four-day fortnight”, staff will spend the remaining days working either from home or at client sites.

In addition, over the summer, staff will also be given an extra 2.5 hours off each week “to give people time away from work and to re-energise”. 

All staff will be given an extra day off on June 21st, the date the Government plans to end all social distancing restrictions – which many see as marking the end of the pandemic.

The new KPMG working arrangements were unveiled as Google said it expected 20% of its staff to work from home permanently in the future. The search engine group said it anticipated 60% of workers being office-based, 20% working in new office locations and 20% staying at home.

Those proposals are in stark contrast to the approach taken by investment bank Goldman Sachs. On Tuesday, Goldman moved in the opposite direction, telling its U.S. and U.K. bankers to prepare to return to offices next month.

Jon Holt, Chief Executive at KPMG UK, said: “We trust our people. Our new way of working will empower them and enable them to design their own working week. The pandemic has proven it’s not about where you work, but how you work.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Almost all of the U.K.’s 50 biggest employers say that they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time, according to BBC News.

News Round Up