Stay calm, and stop pressing the pandemic button

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By Guy Hatchard

If you look at data from around the world, one thing is absolutely clear—the Pfizer Covid mRNA vaccine has gone on strike. It is not working any more. Whether this should be described as due to variant mutation, waning vaccine efficiency, or forms of vaccine-induced immune system dysfunction is not definitively understood. However you can’t argue against the data—there is no statistically clear protective effect of Covid vaccination in those highly vaccinated countries who publish complete records. The vaccinated are as likely to catch or be hospitalized with Covid as the unvaccinated.

Populations have become polarised

Yet we remain in a state of social tension. Populations have become highly polarised and the level of fear is still elevated. Moreover there is a measure of dysfunction that is gripping health services. A friend of mine with a history of serious heart attacks called an ambulance over the weekend as symptoms recurred and was told that there would be a 7-8 hour wait. So off to the local GP. The duty nurse, rather than immediately addressing the cardiac event, obsessed about Covid and vaccination. She insisted on Covid testing as the first priority. This is a metaphor for our current situation—the pandemic is controlling our health services to the exclusion of other health care priorities.

Who can remedy the situation?  The government and the media need to come clean and inform the population (and front line medical workers) that vaccinated or unvaccinated we are now all in the same boat, but they appear stuck and unable to change course. There are a lot of lessons here. Governments have fallen into the hands of health professionals who have a narrow vision. In this one sided situation, mistakes can be made.

Ineffective medical interventions have been prioritised

In the UK this week, Ofsted, the education regulator, reported that mask wearing has affected the development of the young. Infants are experiencing difficulty acquiring language, social, and behavioural skills at the expected ages. The problem lies with reduced exposure to facial cues because of mask wearing. Yet at a press conference this week in NZ, Dr. Caroline McElnay, retiring director of public health, expressed satisfaction that New Zealanders had become so acclimatised to mask wearing, that she expected this obviously beneficial practice would continue into the distant future. Studies show mask wearing is actually not very beneficial. It does little if anything to reduce disease transmission, decreases vital oxygen levels in the lungs, increases bacterial colonies in the airways, and as we have just seen impairs educational and social interaction. Mask wearing, like mRNA vaccination, has passed its sell by date.

Leadership requires a balanced perspective

If you have ever been in a leadership position, you will realise that leaders come under a variety of pressures from various interest groups and individuals in any organisation. The skill of leadership requires that you balance these pressures and stay ahead of those who are jockeying for position and influence, whilst ensuring that organisational achievement is maximised. The government is currently heavily under the control of medical advisors who may not be taking a balanced view of priorities due to the heavily promoted myth of mRNA vaccination success and the consequent scientific bias.

The government certainly achieved a large measure of protection early on by closing our borders and instituting isolation and track and trace policies. The switch to policies based on vaccination rates, social distancing, and masking have not replicated these early results, but the public is unaware of the fundamental weakness of these policies.

To diffuse social divisions and fears, the government must speak out with a more balanced perspective. To reach a position of objective assessment they may have to first distance themselves from their close pandemic partners including the pharmaceutical biotech lobby which has greatly influenced health service professionals. This biotech lobby has gained greatly in power during the pandemic, but their influence is more based on public relations and financial incentives than research findings. In contrast, actual research has not shown mRNA technology to be particularly effective or safe.

The medical and research establishment has become a target of pharmaceutical companies

You may doubt that the pharmaceutical lobby can influence the scientific and medical authorities, but they actually have a big reach in many directions. Last month the prestigious British Medical Journal published an article on 16 March 2022 entitled The Illusion of Evidence Based Medicine saying “Evidence based medicine has been corrupted by corporate interests, failed regulation, and commercialisation of academia”. It continued:

“The advent of evidence based medicine was a paradigm shift intended to provide a solid scientific foundation for medicine. The validity of this new paradigm, however, depends on reliable data from clinical trials, most of which are conducted by the pharmaceutical industry and reported in the names of senior academics. The release into the public domain of previously confidential pharmaceutical industry documents has given the medical community valuable insight into the degree to which industry sponsored clinical trials are misrepresented. Until this problem is corrected, evidence based medicine will remain an illusion.

Indeed the BMJ has previous revealed deficiencies in the Pfizer mRNA vaccine trials.

“….the unintended, long term consequences for medicine have been severe. Scientific progress is thwarted by the ownership of data and knowledge because industry suppresses negative trial results, fails to report adverse events, and does not share raw data with the academic research community. Patients die because of the adverse impact of commercial interests on the research agenda, universities, and regulators.”

The article goes on to say that university administration has become dominated by academic managers and fundraisers whose priorities tend towards alliances with sources of funding and prestige, such as pharmaceutical companies and their satellite offshoots.

“Although universities have always been elite institutions prone to influence through endowments, they have long laid claim to being guardians of truth and the moral conscience of society. But in the face of inadequate government funding, they have adopted a neo-liberal market approach, actively seeking pharmaceutical funding on commercial terms. As a result, university departments become instruments of industry: through company control of the research agenda and ghostwriting of medical journal articles and continuing medical education, academics become agents for the promotion of commercial products.”

Since the late 1990s the international development community began to encourage more active cooperation between the private and public sector in the form of public-private partnerships. Here in New Zealand, the University of Auckland is a member of the Global Alliance of Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance), a public-private partnership. Since its launch, the GAVI Alliance has been mobilizing funds from private and public donors and engaging United Nations agencies in partnership with pharmaceutical companies. In 2005 under the GAVI Alliance supervision, a new initiative known as the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) started an innovative financing (cash prize) model for incentivizing new vaccine research and development.

The pharmaceutical industry also supports medical lobbyists out to influence politicians and government departments, some of whose activity is hidden behind shell companies whose links are hard to identify. Pharmaceutical companies are also closely allied with drug regulators and international advisory bodies to whom they provide information, financial and logistical support.

Some lobbying is directed towards the public. In 2020 more than 75% of television advertising revenue in the USA came from the drug industry amounting to $5 billion. This year Pfizer proudly sponsored the Oscars.

Informed voices have been silenced

These links and influences are growing, funded by massive pharmaceutical profits during the pandemic. They call into question the validity of much pro mRNA vaccine rhetoric which is being paraded around by some government advisors. These biased assessments have been used to marginalise independent voices raising concerns.

It is time to stop labelling people who have raised questions about mRNA vaccination as anti science, anti social, and dangerous. These labels are entirely misplaced. The safety and efficacy of mRNA vaccination is a scientific matter under continuing investigation. Doubters have already been validated by very disappointing outcomes. This needs to be openly acknowledged. Moreover there is more ahead. The extent of the safety downside of universal mRNA vaccination programmes is still the subject of further research efforts whose final outcome is unknown at this point.

Every day that goes by as governments continue to bury the ineffectiveness of mRNA vaccination through incomplete data reporting and deliberate evasion, is a day that adds to social divisions and misinformation. The longer it goes on, the harder that it will become to dissolve the fault lines in society. There will be a point of no return and we have almost reached it.

Guy Hatchard PhD was a senior manager at Genetic ID a global food safety testing and certification company (now known as FoodChain ID)

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