A Glimpse of America – AGE OF AUTISM
Last week the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece byand
So I was really surprised that the writers asked a simple question. Are Covid vaccines riskier than advertised? There are trends in blood clots and low platelets that the authorities won’t tell you.
One notable aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic was how often unpopular scientific ideas, from laboratory leak theory to the effectiveness of masks, were initially dismissed or even ridiculed only to reappear in mainstream thinking later. Disagreements are sometimes rooted in disagreements about the underlying science. But the more common motivation was political.
Another turn in thinking could be imminent. Some scientists have raised concerns that the safety risks of Covid-19 vaccines have been underestimated. But vaccination policy has pushed its concerns to the edge of scientific thinking – for now.
Historically, the safety of drugs – including vaccines – is often not fully understood until they are used in large populations. Examples include rofecoxib (Vioxx), a pain reliever that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke; Antidepressants, which appeared to increase suicide attempts in young adults; and an influenza vaccine used in the 2009-10 swine flu epidemic, which was suspected of causing febrile seizures and narcolepsy in children. Real world evidence is valuable because clinical trials often include patients who are not representative of the general population. We learn more about drug safety from real-world evidence and can adjust clinical recommendations to weigh risk and benefit.
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or Vaers, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, is a database that enables Americans to document adverse events that occur after receiving a vaccine. The FDA and CDC state that the database is not used to determine whether the events were caused by a vaccine. This is true. But the data can still be interpreted to account for its strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what the CDC and FDA are saying.
The Vaers data for Covid-19 vaccines shows an interesting pattern. Among the 310 million Covid-19 vaccines administered, several adverse events are reported with high frequency in the days immediately following vaccination and then drop steeply. Some of these adverse events could have occurred anyway. The pattern may be due in part to the tendency to report more events that occur shortly after vaccination.
The database cannot tell what would have happened without vaccination. Still, the high frequency of certain adverse events immediately after vaccination is worrying, and the silence about these potential signals of harm reflects policy around Covid-19 vaccines. Stigmatizing such concerns is bad for scientific integrity and could harm patients.
Four serious adverse events follow this arc, according to data taken directly from Vaers: low blood platelets (thrombocytopenia); non-infectious myocarditis or inflammation of the heart, especially in those under 30; deep vein thrombosis; and death. Vaers has 321 cases of myocarditis within five days of receiving a vaccination, which go back to almost zero after 10 days. Previous research has shown that only a fraction of the adverse events are reported, so the actual number of cases is almost certainly higher. This underreporting tendency is consistent with our clinical experience.
Analyzes to confirm or reject these results should be carried out on the basis of large data sets from health insurance companies and health organizations. The CDC and FDA are certainly aware of these data patterns, but none of the agencies has recognized the trend.
This means that the risks of a Covid-19 vaccine may outweigh the benefits for certain low-risk populations such as children, young adults, and people who have recovered from Covid-19. This is especially true in regions with low prevalence in the Community, as the likelihood of disease depends on the risk of exposure.
And while you would never know if you listened to public health officials, not a single published study has shown that patients with previous infection benefit from Covid-19 vaccination. That this is not readily recognized by the CDC or Anthony Fauci is an indication of how deeply entangled pandemic policy is in science.
However, there are signs of life of scientific honesty. In May, the Norwegian Medicines Agency reviewed the case files for the first 100 reported deaths of nursing home residents who received the Pfizer vaccine. The agency concluded that the vaccine “likely” contributed to the deaths of 10 of these residents from side effects such as fever and diarrhea, and “possibly” contributed to the deaths of another 26. But that kind of honesty is rare. And it’s rare for a vaccine to be linked to death, so this unusual development in mRNA vaccines deserves further investigation.
The battle to regain academic honesty will be an arduous one in U.S. anti-Trump policies that grew into social media censorship in the spring of 2020. News coverage often lacked intellectual curiosity about the adequacy of public health guidelines – or why a vocal minority of scientists strongly disagreed with prevailing opinions. Scientists have spoken out for or against Covid-19 therapies and at the same time maintained financial relationships with product manufacturers and their foundation sponsors.
Health officials are making a mistake and risking public confidence by not commenting on the possible harm from certain vaccine side effects. The blending of political partisanship and science in addressing a public health crisis will have profound consequences.
Dr. Ladapo is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Risch is Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.