LONDON. It’s not always Bill Gates’ nefarious plots, mind control through 5G antennas, or elaborate conspiracies about a “plandemic” involving bioweapons created and tracked by Pfizer. Some of the more convincing arguments of the No vaxes use real data and cite official sources, but draw incorrect conclusions. Here then is the guide of the head of the Science channel of the Times, Tom Whipple who comes to our rescue, explaining in the English newspaper some of the most common and persuasive arguments and why they are wrong.
“Thousands of vaccine deaths”
For example, the theory that “thousands of people” would have died from vaccines or had serious consequences: the source of the data is not false, it has just been misinterpreted. These are in fact official, governmental websites. In the UK, EU and US, doctors report post-vaccine illnesses, oddities and deaths to a central database, regardless of what caused them. If you vaccinate an entire population, there will be many. Because? Because oddities, deaths and illnesses happen anyway, regardless of the vaccine. What is important to understand is what connection there is, that is, how many of these negative events were caused by the vaccine and how many are independent events.
A key question to understand this is: are they more than you would expect in a population that hasn’t been vaccinated? Answering this question is incredibly difficult. At the moment, the only confirmed side effects have been an extremely limited risk of thrombosis in the case of administration of Oxford-AstraZeneca and an equally rare phenomenon of some cardiac consequences, not fatal, for that Pfizer. In addition, testimonials sometimes have to be taken with a grain of salt: for example, one person reported an implausible enlargement of the penis following the administration of the vaccine.
“Vaccinated footballers continue to die”
Then there is the accusation that “Vaccinated footballers continue to die after the vaccine.” The source, explains Whipple in the Times, is an Israeli site for which 108 players and coaches died around the world in 2021, therefore in a period in which there was an almost world-wide mass vaccination. Also in this case, it is necessary to understand if a number of deaths like this is comparable to a year in which there was no vaccination or if the incidence is much higher. Unfortunately we do not have numbers all over the world, but just take a research from FIFA (the world football body) which collected data in 16 countries in 2020, before the vaccines were up and running, to discover that 150 footballers are unfortunately died in the field. So even hypothesizing a death-vaccine link is really very foolish.
“Big Pharma is eliminating drugs to defeat Covid because it cannot gain from them”
Ivermectin, one of the famous drugs among the No Vax is an excellent explanatory case to make clear how wrong this thesis is. It is an inexpensive, mass-produced and highly effective drug. The problem is that it is very effective at treating parasites. But where did the idea come from that it could instead stop the pandemic? Months ago some laboratory studies suggested that, along with many other compounds, it could have an effect on Covid. Subsequently, this hypothesis was supported by clinical studies. The most impressive of these studies, including a randomized study in Egypt, turned out to be fraudulent. It is currently being evaluated in the Oxford Recovery Trial, but there is not enough evidence yet to recommend its use.
And as for the allegation that Big Pharma is killing a cheap medicine, well, it’s very difficult to square this idea with the fact that the first drug that was shown to be able to cure Covid was a steroid. 60 years ago called dexamethasone, which costs a few cents.
“Among the under 60s, the risk of death for the vaccinated is double”
Another theory: “People under 60 who are vaccinated are at risk of dying twice as many as those who are not vaccinated.” Whipple admits: these are the official British figures. But this is not a lesson about the danger of vaccines, but about the danger of counterintuitive statistics. As Stuart McDonald, president of the Covid 19 Actuaries Response Group said, it is an almost textbook example of a phenomenon known as the Simpson paradox.
In every age group – from 30 to 40, from 40 to 50, from 50 to 60 – vaccines reduce the risk of death. However, when these ages are grouped together, the opposite appears to be the case. How come? The answer is simple: it is because the average age of the vaccinated group is much higher than that of the unvaccinated. Almost all children under ten are in the unvaccinated group. Almost all adults over 40 are in the vaccinated group. What the statistic really shows is that older people are more likely to die.
“Covid is like the flu”
It is true that many initial symptoms are similar, but this does not mean that the mortality is the same. Deaths from influenza vary over the years, depending on the strain in circulation and the effectiveness of the vaccination schedule. According to Public Health England, however, in a normal year – a year without public health mitigations – it would not be unusual to have fewer than 10,000 deaths.
In the past couple of years, we have had the most stringent public health mitigation measures in history, so much so that the flu has all but disappeared. And we have seen more than 150,000 deaths from Covid. Covid is definitely not like the flu.
“Vaccines no longer work”
Finally, there are those who argue that “vaccines no longer work now that the Omicron variant is there.” There is no doubt that the latter variant pierces the vaccines, based on the Coronavirus Delta version, more easily than the previous ones. But as the latest British health studies show, the third dose called “booster” against Omicron protects 88% from hospitalization and, in the most serious cases, from death. In addition to avoiding many to end up hospitalized or in intensive care. And here Whipple makes a very simple calculation: last winter, in the United Kingdom, out of 50 thousand cases of Covid there were a thousand deaths. This fall they did not exceed a hundred.
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