In the movie Moneyball, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane queries his team of scouts when discussing a prospective player, “If he's a good hitter, why doesn't he hit good?” The scouts all have solid explanations, at least in their minds, of why a prospect might be a good hitter, from the sound of the crack of the bat when they hit the ball to the player’s good looks.
These explain why the player should be a good hitter, but what if the numbers, from batting average to on-base percentage, tell a different story? The question Billy poses is obvious in its simplicity, good hitters should hit good. And if they don’t, then perhaps they are not really good hitters.
What if we ask the same question about COVID vaccines, rephrased as “If the vaccines work, why aren’t they working?”
This is the time when I must add the necessary disclaimer that I am not anti-vaccine, having been personally fully vaccinated almost a year ago. Nor am I offering medical advice, only an analysis of current news of COVID cases rising in many highly vaccinated locales, seemingly against common sense.
Some readers have asked why such a disclaimer is necessary. I am a practicing physician, although I don’t treat COVID patients, administer vaccines, or offer medical advice regarding COVID to my retina patients. But today, just having an opinion can be hazardous to one’s livelihood.
The American Federation of Medical Specialists makes it clear, “Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.”
Hopefully asking thoughtful questions and observing how the medical authorities like Dr. Anthony Fauci have changed their own positions on vaccines is not considered “misinformation.” Or that citing the CDC and major news organizations won’t be considered “disinformation.” In the 1950s, x-raying pregnant women was standard practice, and questioning that harmful procedure, were such a thing to be done in the 1950s with today’s climate now might be considered mis- or disinformation.
If you think such medical censorship is all conspiracy theory, ask Dr. Mary Bowden, a Houston ear, nose, and throat specialist suspended from her Houston hospital for tweeting about vaccine mandates and ivermectin.
Back to COVID vaccines. The CDC website states, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free.” Those three words are all relative. Let’s quickly unpack them.
VAERS is the “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.” From their website, one can compare adverse events from COVID vaccines from the past 11 months they have been available to adverse events from all vaccines for the past 30 years, 1990 and onward.
Note this is 11 months versus 30 years of side effects and in most categories, the cumulative cases are similar between the two groups, despite a 30-fold time difference of data recording. Of note, hospitalizations, deaths, permanent disabilities, and birth defects were greater for 11 months of COVID vaccines than they were for 30 years of all other types of vaccines – such as shingles, influenza, measles, mumps, hepatitis, and so on.
VAERS is voluntary reporting. For a variety of reasons, all cases do not make it to the VAERS database. How much is this underreporting? VAERS did their own analysis about ten years ago and found, “Fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.” Their words, not mine.
This means adverse events could be happening far more frequently than what we are being told by the corporate media who don’t even report VAERS's current data. What if these adverse events are 10 or even 100 times more common than VAERS reports? To paraphrase Billy Beane, “If the vaccines are safe, why aren’t they safe?”
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Are they effective? The CDC answers an emphatic yes,
COVID-19 study shows mRNA vaccines reduce risk of infection by 91 percent for fully vaccinated people. Vaccination makes illness milder, shorter for the few vaccinated people who do get COVID-19.
Does the real world agree and support the CDC’s optimism? Gibraltar is more than fully vaccinated, they are 118 percent vaccinated, meaning that many fully vaccinated have had booster injections too. Yet this headline doesn’t jive with CDC assertions, “Most vaccinated place on Earth told to cancel holiday plans amid an exponential rise in COVID cases.”
Pick another country: “93% vaccinated Ireland has gone into partial lockdown, including midnight curfew.” This recent headline too, “COVID surge in Singapore despite 80 percent vaccination.” Or from the U.K. where the Spectator reported, “The rates of Covid infection per 100,000 are now higher among the vaxxed than the unvaxxed.”
Closer to home it’s much the same, “Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country. So why are cases surging?” My home state of Colorado is singing from the same hymnal, “Colorado’s COVID hospitalizations jump again as virus’ statewide death toll surpasses 9,000.” Colorado’s 12 and up population is over 80 percent partially or fully vaccinated.
If these numbers are misinformation, tell that to big media. I am quoting their headlines. Will their licenses be threatened?
The CDC on its website claims, “Research provides evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19.” Yet cases in highly vaccinated locations are surging, now almost two years into the COVID pandemic. As Billy Beane might say, “If the vaccines work, why aren’t they working?”
Last is the “free” claim. Nothing from the government is “free.” Recipients may not be charged but that is not the same as “free.” The government produces nothing and therefore is not able to offer anything for free. They confiscate money from those they lord over and redistribute it back to those from whom they took it.
The Pfizer vaccine costs the government about $20 per dose, with the other COVID vaccines in the same ballpark. Some 445 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the U.S. to date. That’s $9 billion right there. Spending on research and development has been estimated at $40 billion, pushing the total north of $50 billion, and likely much higher given the many hidden or non-transparent costs.
If these numbers seem off, major vaccine maker Pfizer expects $36 billion in COVID vaccine revenues in 2021, in the same range as the above numbers. While the vaccine may be free to the person getting jabbed, someone is paying the tab for the vaccine, syringe, and time of the person administering the shot. It always works that way – nothing is really “free.” As Billy Beane might say, “If the vaccines are free, why do they cost so much?”
There is nothing wrong with the medical establishment saying, “we don’t know” or “we’re not sure” about COVID prognostications, rather than being cocksure about everything until reality turns their pronouncements upside down. Gaslighting the public, being wrong more than right, doesn’t engender confidence.
Those who preach “follow the science” seem to neither understand nor desire to actually follow the science, instead letting politics replace science with our COVID policies often not following the science.
Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged the new vaccine reality in a New York Times podcast last Nov. 12,
They are seeing a waning of immunity not only against infection but against hospitalization and to some extent death, which is starting to now involve all age groups. It isn’t just the elderly.
When others observe and acknowledge this reality, they are ostracized and shamed. How long has Dr. Fauci known this? Last May, the CDC said that once vaccinated, you can return to a normal life. How is that working out?
Instead of transparency, we see this, “FDA wants 55 years to process FOIA request over vaccine data.” Is this, “part of the FDA’s commitment to transparency” as the FDA itself claims? This is the same FDA that took only 108 days to review Pfizer’s clinical trial data, deeming it safe and effective enough for FDA approval. But for the public, the FDA needs 20,000 days to “review” the same data before public release.
The published concept of “imperfect vaccinations enhancing the transmission of highly virulent pathogens,” meaning that vaccinating during a pandemic can create new vaccine-resistant virus strains, is never discussed. Neither are off-label therapeutics that while not a panacea, may save lives. Instead, the government and medical establishment balkanized the world, vaccinated versus unvaccinated, us versus them, the worthy versus the lepers, creating further division in an already divided society.
Despite the shaming and ridicule, here we are, almost two years into the COVID pandemic, with a mostly vaccinated population, and hospitals and ICUs are overrun with COVID cases. This pandemic should be in the rearview mirror, yet in some respects, it is bad as it was last year. Leaving Billy Beane to ask, “If the vaccines work, why aren’t they working?”
Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., is a physician and writer. On Twitter as @retinaldoc