Day: 3 November 2021

News Round-Up

Vaccine Safety Update

This is the 16th of the round-ups of Covid vaccine safety reports and news compiled by a group of medical doctors who are monitoring developments but prefer to remain anonymous in the current climate (find the 15th one here). By no means is this part of an effort to generate alarm about the vaccines or dissuade anyone from getting inoculated. It should be read in conjunction with the Daily Sceptic‘s other posts on vaccines, which include both encouraging and not so encouraging developments. At the Daily Sceptic we report all the news about the vaccines whether positive or negative and give no one advice about whether they should or should not take them. Unlike with lockdowns, we are neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine; we see our job as reporting the facts, not advocating for or against a particular policy. The vaccine technology is novel and the vaccines have not yet fully completed their trials, which is why they’re in use under temporary and not full market authorisation. This has been done on account of the emergency situation and the trial data was largely encouraging on both efficacy and safety. For a summary of that data, see this preamble to the Government’s page on the Yellow Card reporting system. (Dr Tess Lawrie in June wrote an open letter to Dr June Raine, head of the MHRA, arguing that: “The MHRA now has more than enough evidence on the Yellow Card system to declare the COVID-19 vaccines unsafe for use in humans,” a claim that has been ‘fact checked’ here.) Boris Johnson said in October that the vaccine “doesn’t protect you against catching the disease, and it doesn’t protect you against passing it on”. We publish information and opinion to inform public debate and help readers reach their own conclusions about what is best for them, based on the available data.

  • New Zealand researchers Aleisha Brock and Simon Thornley have published a peer-reviewed paper in Science, Public Health Policy, and the Law which reanalyses a key CDC study showing mRNA vaccines are safe during pregnancy and found that the actual rate of miscarriage before 20 weeks gestation following mRNA exposure was at least 81.9% – a massive seven-fold increase over the expected background rate of 11.3%. They have called for a halt on COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women.
  • The Brownstone Institute has collated 102 (and counting) research studies that “affirm naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19“.
  • An investigation found that 100% of deaths reported as adverse events from Covid vaccines were associated with just 5% of the vaccine batches, suggesting the most serious safety issues may be batch-related.
  • Covid vaccine damage sufferers have called for a review of the Vaccine Damages Payment Scheme (VDPS), asking the Government to “overhaul the VDPS to make it more accessible, with payments based on need rather than an arbitrary figure”.
  • The Irish county of Waterford has the highest reported infection rate in the country despite 99.7% of adults being vaccinated.
  • TV presenter Lisa Snowdon has reported suffering from Covid a second time despite being double vaccinated, and she says it was worse.
  • The Government of New South Wales in Australia has said that workers will face tighter restrictions if they don’t get vaccinated.
  • EudraVigilance – the equivalent of the Yellow Card reporting system in the EU – has logged (up to October 19th) 2,637,525 adverse events, including 28,103 deaths.
  • VAERS – the American version of the Yellow Card reporting system – released new data on October 22nd bringing the total to 837,595 reports of adverse events following Covid vaccines, including 17,619 deaths and 127,457 serious injuries.
  • DAEN Australia – the equivalent of the Yellow Card reporting system – has logged (up to October 19th) 70,355 reports of adverse events, including 608 deaths.
  • Children (Under 18) Adverse Events U.K. – up to October 20th, MHRA report a total of 1,458 adverse event reports, comprising 1,216 Pfizer, 233 AstraZeneca, 5 Moderna and 4 unspecified. Myocarditis reports are 9 in a million doses for this age group (suggesting approximately 18 cases to date from the 1,956,481 doses administered so far). No information is provided on fatalities.

Summary of Adverse Events in the U.K.

According to an updated report published on October 28th, the MHRA Yellow Card reporting system has recorded a total of 1,243,998 events based on 378,074 reports. The total number of fatalities reported is 1,738.

  • Pfizer (23.2 million first doses, 20.1 million second doses) now has one Yellow Card in 187 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 40,278 people vaccinated (576).
  • AstraZeneca (24.9 million first doses, 24.1 million second doses) has one Yellow Card in 106 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 22,412 people vaccinated (1,111).
  • Moderna (1.5 million first doses, 1.3 million second doses) has one Yellow Card in 83 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 75,000 people vaccinated (20).

Overall, one in every 131 people vaccinated (0.76%) have experienced a Yellow Card adverse event. The MHRA has previously estimated that the Yellow Card reporting rate may be approximately 10% of actual figures.

Swiss Restaurant Closed, And Owners Arrested, for Refusing to Enforce Vaccine Passports

On Saturday, Swiss police arrested the owners of the Walliserkanne restaurant (pictured above) for refusing to police customers for vaccine passports, which became a legal requirement in September. The police had closed the restaurant the day before following repeated violations, lining the entrance with concrete blocks, however the manager returned on Saturday to open the restaurant prompting the authorities to take the owners into police custody. Le News has the story.

The restaurant’s website says: we welcome everyone, also without certificate. The management has refused to check whether their diners have valid Covid certificates since the legal requirement was introduced on September 13th 2021.

In mid-September, in a video interview with 20 Minutes, one of the restaurant’s bosses said that they had only been checked once by the police and that they would continue to let anyone enter their bar and restaurant without a certificate. After several violations a criminal investigation was initiated.

The arrest on Saturday followed repeated defiance of police requests. On Friday, the police closed the restaurant at the behest of the cantonal government because the operator was breaking the law by not checking Covid certificates. The judiciary and police are required to ensure the population complies with laws made by Switzerland’s democratically elected parliament.

Later in the day, ignoring the closure order, the restaurant’s boss reopened the establishment. In response, the police closed it again and had large concrete blocks placed in front of the building. However, the manager of the restaurant opened it again on Saturday morning announcing with a microphone that the restaurant was open for business. In exasperation, the police arrested the man and his parents and placed them in custody. The arrest was resisted and resulted in injury, according to various media reports.

The brothers who manage the restaurant at the centre of the conflict have been open about their anti-Covid beliefs, reported the newspaper Blick. They have also been outspoken out on a German website that posts content on conspiracy theories. In an interview on the site, one of them says that there is no pandemic, there is no epidemic and that only 0.001% of the world’s population has died from the disease, a percentage that infers 79,000 deaths. Number crunchers at The Economist estimate that close to 17 million (0.22% of the global population) have died from Covid, a figure based on excess deaths rather than the official count of 5 million, which relies on patchy testing.

In the same interview, the other brother makes the claim that Switzerland’s democratically elected government is breaking laws by creating them. Under Switzerland’s constitution, legislation enacted by parliament cannot be declared invalid on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, unless it contravenes international law.

Over the weekend, the arrest became a rallying point for hundreds of protesters, including members of the Freiheitstrychler (cowbell ringers) and Mass-Voll groups, who assembled outside the restaurant. These groups have been present at numerous anti-Covid protests across Switzerland.

Worth reading in full.

Dodgy Climate Models Should be Discarded

There follows a guest post by journalist Chris Morrison looking at a recent paper by the physicist Nicola Scafetta. It suggests that the main climate models used to predict rising global temperatures aren’t fit for purpose.

A devastating indictment of the accuracy of climate models is contained in a paper just published by the highly credentialed Physicist Nicola Scafetta from the University of Naples. Professor Scafetta analysed 38 of the main models and found that most had over-estimated global warming over the last 40 years and many of them should be “dismissed and not used by policymakers”.

But the majority still are. In the absence of conclusive proof that humans are causing all or most global warming, the science is deemed to be settled almost entirely on the basis of forecasts from models that have never been correct. And of course this lies at the heart of a drive to so-called net zero and the removal from human use of the one cheap and efficient fuel we all rely on to sustain a comfortable, healthy, modern lifestyle – namely, fossil fuel.

At the heart of the climate model problem is determining the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). This is defined in climate science as the increase in the global mean surface temperature that follows a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Nobody knows what this figure is – the science for this crucial piece of the jigsaw is missing, unsettled you may say. So guesses are made and they usually range from 1C to as high as 6C. Models that use a higher figure invariably run hot and Professor Scafetta has proved them to be the least accurate in their forecasts.

Scafetta demonstrates this clearly in the graph (below). The thick green line is the actual average global temperature and all the other lines are the models’ projections. The red lines show the models that put the temperature at 6C. Interestingly, the models started to go haywire at a time when global warming was gaining political traction and debate on the science started to be discouraged. Perish the thought, of course, that the two are in any way related. Scafetta also goes into great detail about the performance of models in all latitudes and concludes “significant model data discrepancies are still observed over extended world regions for all models”.

Italian Higher Institute of Health Adjusts Number of Deaths Due to Covid Alone Since February 2020 Downwards From Over 130,000 to under 4,000

A reader spotted an interesting story in Il Tempo, an Italian newspaper. The Italian Higher Institute of Health had adjusted downwards its estimate of the number of people who’ve died from Covid, as opposed to with Covid, from over 130,000 to under 4,000. Yes, you read that right. Turns out 97.1% of deaths hitherto attributed to Covid were not due directly to Covid.

According to its latest report on Covid mortality, the Institute says COVID-19 has killed fewer people than the average bout of seasonal flu. According to the statistical sample of medical records collected by the Institute, only 2.9% of the deaths registered since the end of February 2020 have been due to COVID-19. So, of the 130,468 deaths registered by official statistics dating back to the beginning of the pandemic, only 3,783 are due to the virus alone. All the other Italians who lost their lives had from between one and five pre-existing diseases. Of those aged over 67 who died, 7% had more than three co-morbidities, and 18% at least two. According to the Institute, 65.8% of Italians who died after being infected with Covid were ill with arterial hypertension (high blood pressure), 23.5% had dementia, 29.3% had diabetes, and 24.8% atrial fibrillation. Add to that, 17.4% had lung problems, 16.3% had had cancer in the last five years and 15.7% suffered from previous heart failures.

Worth reading in full… if you speak Italian.

If any readers would like to translate the article for us, please send the translation to lockdownsceptics@gmail.com.

Stop Press: We’re doing some digging into this to try to corroborate it. Treat with caution until further notice.

Stop Press 2: We trawled through the various websites of the Italian National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Statistics to try to corroborate this piece from an Italian newspaper, and it appears to be based on this report (in English) published on or before October 20th. The author of the piece is effectively stating his opinion that only those who died of Covid without comorbidities (2.9%) should be counted as a Covid death, and then extrapolates from there to suggest that the ‘real’ Covid death toll over the period in question was only 3,783. This is all contrary to the report itself and to the NIH’s detailed guidance (in Italian) on how to classify Covid deaths. It thus seems as though the article severely misrepresents the position of the NIH, but a lot seems to have been lost in translation and this is really just an opinion piece where the author is poking fun at the NIH while trying to make a point about the risks of Covid.

Jonathan Van-Tam Declares That Too Many Think the Pandemic Is Over

Worried about rising case rates, Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, has told members of the public to receive their booster shots and wear masks, while also commenting that too many think that the pandemic is already over. The Mirror has more.

He warned the every day actions of Brits will be crucial in determining how bad the pandemic gets.

Britain has had among the worst infection rates in Europe over the past month, and few restrictions to stop the spread of Covid.

So far the Government has resisted calls to launch its ‘Plan B’, which would see a return to home working and mandatory face mask wearing.

“The rates are still very high at the moment”, Professor Van-Tam told BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live.

“They are higher than in most of Europe. And we are running quite hot – I think that’s the right expression.

“And, of course, it’s of concern to scientists that we are running this hot this early in the autumn season.

“And so, from that perspective, I’m afraid it’s caution, followed by caution, and we need to watch these data very carefully indeed over the next days and weeks.”

He added: “Too many people believe that this pandemic is now over. I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it is not over.

“The caution that people take or don’t take in terms of interacting with each other: that is going to be a big determinant in what happens between now and the darkest months of the winter”.

Despite a recent 10% dip in weekly cases, the UK remains at the top of the European charts when it comes to daily Covid infections.

Worth reading in full.

CDC Approves the Pfizer Vaccine for Five Year-Olds

28 million U.S. children between five and 11 years-old have just become eligible for the Pfizer vaccine today after the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the green-light to the jab. The decision was rubber-stamped by the CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who spoke of the vital importance of vaccinating young children. Sky News has the story.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already approved the shots for the age group, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines – which it has now done.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made the announcement just hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s vaccine should be opened to the 28 million youngsters in that age category.

“As a mum, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their paediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” she said in a statement.

U.S. President Joe Biden marked the decision, describing it as a “turning point”.

He said: “It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others.

“It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Yesterday, we highlighted a concerning article published by the BMJ where a whistleblower calls into question the integrity, legitimacy, and safety of Pfizer’s vaccine trials in Texas, which can be found here.

Another Question for Chris Whitty

I previously posed a question for Chris Whitty here on the Daily Sceptic. (Outrageously, I have not yet had a response.) To jog your memory, here’s what I asked.

In an interview with The BMJ on 4th November 2020, you (Whitty) characterised the Great Barrington Declaration as “wrong scientifically, practically, and probably ethically as well”.

Yet five months earlier, you had outlined a plan to the Health and Social Care Committee which sounded an awful lot like focused protection. You said that we’re “very keen” to “minimise economic and social disruption”, and mentioned that “one of the best things we can do” is “isolate older people from the virus”. 

Given that you were recommending focused protection as recently as March of 2020, why did you subsequently describe the Great Barrington Declaration as “wrong scientifically”?

I now have a follow-up question for Professor Whitty. (If he answers this one promptly and in a satisfactory manner, I am willing to forgive his having ignored my first question.)

Professor Whitty, you opined that the Great Barrington Declaration is “probably” wrong ethically. I presume you said this because you believe that focused protection would have led to a higher death toll (notwithstanding the fact that you were recommending it back in March of last year).

The UK’s official death toll is on the order of 150,000. Let’s assume that if we had followed focused protection, the death toll would be double – i.e., 300,000. Note: I don’t consider this remotely plausible, but let’s assume it for the sake of argument.

Now, the ‘UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011’ states that planners should “aim to cope with up to 210,000 – 315,000 additional deaths across the UK over a 15 week period”.

Given that “315,000 additional deaths” is comparable to the number of people who would have died if the UK had followed focused protection, which you regard as unethical, you must regard the UK’s pandemic preparedness plan as unethical too?

If so, why did you not seek to change the plan while you were Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care between 2016 and 2021? Note: the ‘UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011’ was published by this very department.

Thank you for listening, and I once again look forward to your answer.

2021 is An Average Year for Deaths so Far. But What is Killing the Under-65s?

The latest quarterly report of the Mortality Monitor from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, with data to the end of September, brings some encouraging news and some worrying news. The encouraging news is that it shows overall mortality for 2021 so far is about average, meaning Covid has not yet managed to cause more people to die in 2021 than in a typical recent year. The worrying news is that, despite this, mortality in the under-65s is significantly elevated, and it’s not immediately obvious why.

The Mortality Monitor provides graphs and data for the cumulative age-adjusted mortality for England and Wales in 2021 compared to the 2011-20 average. This is a curve that starts at zero on January 1st each year, rises each week that there is above average mortality and falls each week there is below average mortality (see above). It rose at the start of the year during the winter Covid surge then fell as mortality dropped below average in March until, by mid-June, 2021 had below-average cumulative mortality. It started rising again at the end of July, and by the end of September had reached 0.3%, so about average. Note that the 2011-20 average includes the high mortality of 2020, but also the low mortality of 2019. Adjusting the mortality for age ensures that the ageing population is taken into account.

However, while overall mortality is about average, there are big differences by age. Mortality for over-65s is below average (which drives the overall trend, as the large majority of deaths occur in the over-65s), but mortality for under-65s is significantly elevated.

Cumulative mortality is running below average in those aged 65-84 at minus-0.5% and in those aged over 85 at minus-1.6%. But in those aged under 64 it is significantly up at 7.4%.