Day: 6 May 2022

Vaccine Safety Update

This is the 31st 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 30th 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 was 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 being double vaccinated “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.

  • The U.S. FDA has limited access to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine because of the risk of blood clots, making it available now only to over-18s who cannot take one of the mRNA vaccines for medical reasons or are not willing to take one.
  • A family GP practice in the USA has said it is not able to sign off vaccinated student athletes for sport without lab work to check their heart.
  • Data released by the U.K. Government show the all-cause mortality rate is substantially higher in those who have received one or two doses of the Covid vaccine than in the unvaccinated.
  • The U.K. Government has launched an urgent investigation into an increase in severe hepatitis amongst children. Hepatitis is a known vaccine side-effect, though any potential link of this outbreak with the vaccines would be indirect as almost all the children affected are unvaccinated (most are too young).
  • A study has shown that Covid vaccination can elicit a distinctive form of hepatitis (liver inflammation) which is “CD8 T-cell dominant”.
  • Case report on severe and fatal rhabdomyolysis (muscle tissue damage) after Covid vaccination.
  • A piece in Spectator Australia asks questions about adverse events in the country linked to the Covid vaccines.
  • Pfizer has submitted an application to the FDA for U.S. Emergency Use Authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose in children aged five to 11.
  • A study has found significant menstrual issues related to Covid jabs including a massive increase in the previously rare event of “decidual cast shedding”.
  • Geert Vanden Bossche says he has informed the WHO of the dangers associated with continuing the Covid vaccine campaign.
  • Adverse events reported in the U.K. press: Mollie Brown, 21; Oli Akram Hoque, 26; Peter Jackson, 96; Dawn Wooldridge, 36.
  • Eudravigilance – the European version of the Yellow Card Reporting system – as of April 30th has reported 4,241,317 reactions from 1,755,775 reports of which 1,933,161 were deemed as serious. 44,161 fatal reactions were reported with an approximate actual number of deaths being 14,379. This is due to a 3.07 reporting rate in fatalities across multiple reactions.
  • VAERS – the American version of the Yellow Card reporting system – as of April 29th reports a total of 1,247,131 reports of adverse events following Covid vaccines, including 27,532 deaths and 226,340 serious injuries. For children up to the age of 17 there have been 48,033 reports, of which 4,296 were deemed serious and 106 fatalities. 
  • DAEN Australia – the equivalent of the Yellow Card reporting system – has logged (up to April 20th) 124,087 reports of adverse events, including 828 deaths.
  • Children (Under 18) Adverse Events U.K. – up to April 20th, the MHRA reports a total of 3,873 adverse event reports, comprising 3,558 Pfizer, 263 AstraZeneca, 26 Moderna and 26 unspecified from 3,613,500 children vaccinated with 5,926,600 doses. This includes 76 reported cases with Pfizer of myocarditis/pericarditis, suggesting a current reported risk of 14 cases per million first doses and 11 per million second doses for this age group.
  • Booster Doses – 48,612 adverse events have been reported across all vaccines up to March 30th from 39,108,473 people vaccinated.

Summary of Adverse Events in the U.K.

According to an updated report, as of April 20th the MHRA Yellow Card reporting system has recorded a total of 1,485,059 events based on 453,680 reports. The total number of fatalities reported is 2,096.

Keir Starmer to be Investigated by Police Over ‘Beergate’

Keir Starmer faces a police investigation into his lockdown curry, after repeatedly demanding Boris Johnson should quit for breaching rules in similar circumstances. MailOnline has more.

The Labour leader is at risk of being engulfed by the so-called ‘Beergate’ row after Durham Police dramatically declared it will probe “significant new information” about the gathering. 

The force initially decided Sir Keir did not breach Covid rules when he and party aides had drinks and a takeaway in April 2021, when millions of Britons were banned from mixing indoors in most circumstances. But following intense pressure and a series of revelations – including that up to 30 people attended and shared £200 worth of food – the position has shifted.

Sir Keir maintained a stony silence as journalists threw questions about the situation on a visit to Carlisle this afternoon. Labour said the party was “happy to answer any questions there are and we remain clear that no rules were broken”. 

However, there is frustration among Tories that the decision was only taken after the local elections – when the PM’s own fine over the Partygate scandal damaged his support.

The development could raise serious doubts over Sir Keir’s future, as he trenchantly argued that Mr Johnson should resign when he was found to have broken the law. 

Sir Keir had been filmed drinking a bottle of lager with colleagues at the event at the offices of Durham MP Mary Foy in the run-up to last year’s local elections – and has been wriggling when asked about the incident all week.

Sadiq Khan risked inflaming the row earlier this week by admitting there was “equivalence” between Keir Starmer’s actions and the PM’s birthday gathering in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 – which has seen him and Chancellor Rishi Sunak fined. Mr. Khan suggested the main difference was that the Labour leader only broke lockdown once.

Tory MP Richard Holden, backed by several ministers, wrote to Durham Constabulary insisting there was now “incontrovertible” evidence Labour had “lied” about the events of a year ago, including there now disproved claim that the deputy leader Angela Rayner was not there. 

On Energy, the EU Is Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

On Wednesday, I asked whether the EU’s proposed embargo on Russian oil – to be phased in over the next six to eight months – really makes sense.

It now seems the proposal may be dead in the water, as Hungary has said it will exercise its veto. Speaking to the BBC, the country’s Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations described the proposal as “unacceptable”, claiming it would “ruin the Hungarian economy”.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who compared the proposal to dropping an “atomic bomb” on the Hungarian economy, said his country would need five years to transition away from Russian oil, adding that one and half years is “not enough for anything”.

As the FT explains, oil imported from Russia isn’t refined in the same way as oil imported from other sources, so massive investments would need to be made in Hungary’s refineries to process the new oil. Hungary currently gets 65% of its oil from Russia, as well as 85% of its gas.

According to Reuters, Orban also questioned “whether it was wise to make investments on that scale for a result in four to five years time, while the war in Ukraine was happening now”. As I noted in my post on Wednesday, the proposed embargo is unlikely to have much impact on the war itself.

The Toxic Perfectionism Young People Have Learned From Social Media and Covid Conformity

There follows a guest post by dental student Tom Shaw, who says the paralysing atmosphere of conformity that young people have learned from social media has been made much worse by the last two years.

From early on in dental school, it stumped me why I was one of the few people willing to answer questions in university lectures or practical classes, let alone volunteer my own questions. Why would I, or anyone else, waste £9,250 a year to sit in an awkward silence when it was either reasonably clear what the answer was or I could at least have a stab at answering it and learn something new if I was wrong.  Particularly in practical classes, with the answer often being on the handouts we’d been given or available in the session’s pre-reading, it seemed silly to waste time in pointless silence that could otherwise be spent learning the necessary technical skills that make a good dentist. Yet it seemed many of my peers did not subscribe to such a view on their higher education or, if they did, did not do a very public job of acting upon it.

Many scientists and software engineers point to the role that social media is likely having on young people, including on their mental development. I come from the first generation where such technology was ubiquitous throughout my adolescent years and, having lived through that, I can see how social media could contribute to the problem. Kids grow up with an environment in which everyone online appear as ‘model citizens’, who publicise only the highlights of their life and hide the rest to be forgotten to time. In this context, many understandably feel that making a mistake, whether online or in ‘real life’, must be avoided. This leads young people to be constantly thinking about how best to avoid or even eliminate a mistake.

In this mindset, not saying anything that might cause embarrassment and following the herd become highly attractive and young people end up instinctively pursuing what I can only describe as a toxic form of perfectionism. You must be seen as master of life, not for the sake of your own wellbeing, but for the appraisal of others to justify your inclusion in the world. Thus were you to venture to answer a question in class, will that define your image amongst your peers? Will that predispose you to more opportunities for failure than you would have otherwise? In a social media world which dissuades people from taking risks for fear of exposing their flaws, such an opportunity to engage intellectually appears as a threat.

WHO’s Dubious Model that Claims the Real Pandemic Death Toll is 15 Million – and 5 Million of Them Are in India

First we had the Economist claiming to be able to work out how many had really died in the pandemic, then the Lancet joined in. Now it’s the turn of the World Health Organisation. While the Economist and Lancet claim the true toll is around 18 million (though find a very different distribution across countries), the WHO goes for 15 million. Once more we find that the (massive) gaps in reported data are filled in with modelling: “The methods rely on a statistical model derived using information from countries with adequate data; the model is used to generate estimates for countries with little or no data available.”

The estimates for India are particularly inflated and have drawn sharp criticism from the Indian Government. The WHO claims that India experienced 3,400 deaths per million over the two years (note the figures quoted in most reports as WHO estimates for 2020-21 are an average of the two years), which amounts to 4.69 million total deaths – almost a third of the global total. That’s nearly 10 times more than India’s official Covid death toll.

India’s official Covid death toll in 2020 is 148,994. The Government said this week that its official estimate of additional deaths in 2020 compared to 2019 is 474,806, which is 3.2 times higher than the official Covid toll. It hasn’t yet provided its estimate for additional deaths in 2021, but we know that the official Covid death toll for 2021 is 332,492. If we assume the same degree of undercounting then the number of additional deaths in 2021 would be 1.06 million. (Note that India has around 10 million deaths each year, so this represents about a 10% excess mortality in 2021.) Adding the two together gives 1.54 million additional deaths for 2020 and 2021. The WHO’s estimate of 4.69 million is three times higher than this. No wonder the Indian Government is disputing the findings.

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