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Is it worth vaccinating children? It sounds cruel — but a small number of deaths would be worth it

It is easy to say 'even one death is too many' (Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

It is easy to say 'even one death is too many' (Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


January 25, 2022   6 mins

Like a number of the weird little pressure groups that sprung up over the pandemic, the modus operandi of the Health Advisory & Recovery Team, or HART, is relatively straightforward: cobble together a bunch of people with vaguely academic credentials, put out scientific-sounding press releases that pander to one side or another’s prejudices, and get media attention.

Its latest such gambit is a claim that the Office for National Statistics’ data shows “a significant rise in the death rate for adolescent males over the last eight months”. HART have put together an “open letter to Sajid Javid, Chris Whitty, Patrick Vallance and the relevant public health bodies”, saying that “the concern is that this time period coincides with the rollout of vaccinations to this age group”.

There’s a saying in journalism that you should play the ball, not the man. And I will play the ball, but I want to play the man a bit first. HART has form for suggesting that vaccines kill people: on p35 of its ‘Covid-19 Response’, still prominently linked on their website, they suggest that the second peak in deaths “coincided with the mass roll-out of novel mRNA/DNA vaccines” and that “whilst we cannot infer causation from correlation, the mRNA/DNA vaccines had not been tested on this cohort” and it would be “negligent” not to ask whether “the rise in deaths during this period is linked in some way to the vaccine roll-out”. (The second peak in deaths was, in fact, caused by the second peak in Covid cases which preceded it by a fortnight or so.)

HART is populated by odd people who believe strange things: one of its publicly listed members worried, in a since-leaked private chat, that the vaccines were literally making people magnetic. Other leaked messages show a member suggesting that the group “seed the thought that vaccines cause Covid”, and that the vaccine rollout is “a crime against humanity” and part of a plan for “massive scale depopulation”. It’s worth noting that while these people may seem to be cranks, they also seem to have some influence with senior Tory backbenchers.

But let’s look at the ideas, as well as the people. After all, stopped clocks are right twice a day, and there have been plenty of stopped clocks in the pandemic. So: what’s the evidence that vaccines have been killing young people?

Here’s HART’s case. They say that according to ONS data, there were 402 deaths among 15 to 19-year-old boys between May and December last year, and that that’s about 65 more than the average for that period over the years 2015 to 2019. I’ve looked into it, and these numbers are about right. In fact, they are a slight understatement of reality: you can see the figures for 2021 here, and the five-year average here. This is, the ONS acknowledges, a “statistically significant” increase.

HART thinks, or at least heavily hints, that the extra deaths are caused by myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle which has been seen in rare cases following vaccination with the Pfizer jab: “​​a connection cannot be excluded,” they say, and it would be “a grave dereliction of duty” not to investigate. They took the ONS to the High Court to get them to release more data, including the age, gender, and vaccination information of everyone who died between the age of 12 and 19 since 1 May last year1.

HART are not the only people to worry about this. In the US, there are regular outbreaks of concern around the mRNA vaccines and myocarditis. But is there anything in it?

For the record, HART is right that the number of recorded deaths in that age category is unusually high. I spoke to the ONS, and they agree — a spokesperson told me that there has been an increase of recorded deaths, compared to the five-year average.

That said, it’s not clear that the rise is real. The ONS only becomes aware of deaths when they are officially registered, which — if the death is referred to a coroner — could be weeks or months after the death itself. Young people’s deaths are much more likely to be referred to the coroner, and in 2020, coroners’ offices were under enormous strain from the pandemic. The spokesman also speculated that there might be a simple backlog from the previous year. There may be all sorts of other reasons, and until the coroners’ reports are in we won’t know.

Another problem for the myocarditis hypothesis is that, although HART says that the “time period coincides with the rollout of vaccinations to this age group”, it doesn’t really. The first mass vaccinations for under-18s didn’t start until August, and even then only began relatively slowly: only about 40,000 people a day were being given first doses in that period, down from a high of 600,000 in March. HART also says that the real risk is second doses, and under-18s wouldn’t have received those until September. Admittedly, 18 and 19-year-olds would have had their jabs somewhat earlier, but not that much earlier: even 30-year-olds were unable to have theirs until the end of May.

And looking at the data that HART themselves cite, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious spike after younger people get the vaccine: while the number of deaths does seem to go up after about May, there’s no spike in August when large numbers of young people started getting vaccinated.

The ONS spokesperson said that there have been adverse vaccine reactions mentioned on death certificates — but only 13 of them, and the ages ranged from 35 to 94. Perhaps there’s been a rash of unreported myocarditis cases, or other vaccine reactions, among young men, but it would be a bit surprising given the attention on the issue.

But let’s grant HART’s premise. Let’s imagine that some percentage of these excess deaths are not statistical artefacts, and are caused by myocarditis. What would that mean?

The main conclusion wouldn’t change: vaccines save lives. Look at this Our World in Data page on the risk of death for vaccinated vs unvaccinated people, in various countries. An unvaccinated American is around 100 times as likely to die as a triple-vaccinated one; an unvaccinated Swiss is about 165 times as likely to die. Similar if less extreme numbers can be seen in Chile and England, although OWID doesn’t yet have data on the effects of boosters in England.

Of course, that’s across all ages. But when you look at 12 to 17-year-olds in the US (the only country where there’s a reasonable amount of data), about one in every 100,000 unvaccinated died each week. That would be about 250 a week, if everyone were unvaccinated. It’s well over ten times the risk to vaccinated children of that age.

The US CDC assesses the risk like this: if 100,000 children are vaccinated, they’d expect around five to seven cases of myocarditis, likely mild. But if they weren’t vaccinated, they’d expect about 5,500 of them to be infected with Covid in the following three months, and about 50 of them to be hospitalised. Out of the 25 million or so 12 to 17-year-olds in the US, that would be around 12,000 hospitalisations in three months. Perhaps ironically, a fair number of them would develop myocarditis: the UK government says about 18% of hospitalised Covid patients suffer myocardial injury.

The point is: even if some non-trivial number of young people have died of myocarditis because of the vaccine, the odds are that more would have died without it — and likely very many more would have suffered a really nasty illness and ended up with some quite long-term effects from it. And, of course, they’d have been more likely to pass it on to other, more vulnerable, people, including their own families.

It is easy to say “even one death is too many”. Of course, each death is a tragedy; but two deaths is twice as big a tragedy, all else being equal. I hope that the ONS is able to find some hint of what caused the apparent increase in deaths among adolescent males; I sincerely doubt that it’s the Pfizer vaccine. But even if it is, the likelihood is that it saved many more lives than it cost. 

Luckily, I think the battle over vaccines has largely been won — more than 90% of UK adults are now vaccinated. But groups like HART have influence over serious people on the fringes of real power, despite being deeply strange people who think those who advocate vaccines for children “need shooting”.

The trouble is, HART’s data is superficially convincing, and takes work to rebut. There are still many thousands of children, and others, who have yet to have their vaccine: if some of them die unnecessarily because of this nonsense, that really would be a tragedy.

FOOTNOTES
  1. The ONS is looking into it, but they can’t release the data easily: so few people die at that age that if they gave much more information about them then individuals would be identifiable. The High Court agreed that they shouldn’t release it.

Tom Chivers is a science writer. His second book, How to Read Numbers, is out now.

TomChivers

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Scott S
LI
Scott S
2 years ago

Has Unherd slumped to Daily Mail click bait?? It looks like it to me. ‘It sounds cruel — but a small number of deaths would be worth it’, you’re damn right it sounds cruel! You do not vaccinate kids, with which is basically an unauthorized vaccine. If a consenting adult wants the vaccine, then that is their choice, but vaccinating 5 year olds is just not right. What is wrong with people?? The Great Barrington Declaration, which was nefariously shadow banned by Google, and not mentioned by any of the MSM, was spot on. Shield the elderly and vulnerable, and everyone else carry on, I can’t believe we have got to the point of discussing ‘Vaccinating Kids’. No doubt all the governments around the world and Big Pharma have got this legally wrapped up, but when the shit hits the fan, I really do hope a class action is bought against people, governments and Big Pharma promoting this insidious ‘advice’.

Last edited 2 years ago by Scott S
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

Ultimately governments have a choice. If their modelling shows that vaccinating a countries children will likely kill 10 of them, but not vaccinating the children will see 100 die of the disease most governments are going to choose the first option which is what the article is saying

Scott S
LI
Scott S
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Whos modelling are we talking about in the UK, the wildly and massively incorrect Sage modelling?

Last edited 2 years ago by Scott S
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

If Chivers can show in a relatively short essay that vaccination appears slightly less dangerous than the virus, I’d wager a government will have access to at least this level of information on which to make their decision

Scott S
Scott S
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

However, up to this point in time the UK government has acted with ‘worst case scenario’, which has been proven outrageously incorrect. What makes you think they will change tact now? I’m afraid I don’t trust this government to get anything right, nor the useless civil service. It speaks volumes that the most successful part of the vaccine rollout was the procurement, which was outsourced to the private sector.

Last edited 2 years ago by Scott S
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

The government has acted much more cautiously than I believe was necessary throughout the pandemic so why do you think they would suddenly go gung ho over children’s vaccinations?

Scott S
Scott S
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

As you say, they will act on the modelling, and as I have already said the modelling has been massively wrong, so using your logic, they will push for vaccinating kids using incorrect data.

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

France has

Mike Stimpson
Mike Stimpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Sue Whorton

The point both Billy Bob and Tom have not covered is the long term risk to the young and healthy from a vaccine with no long term risk data. We have no reason to assume there will not be any long term risk given the track record of the drugs companies and this type of novel treatment. A risk assessment that does not build this in when applied to a very low risk group is at best incomplete and at worst negligent.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Stimpson

We have no reason to asume there will be no long term risk from getting COVID either. In fact we have ‘long COVID’. Uncertainty cuts both ways.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Rasmus, you need to get a grip on reality. We are no longer dealing with the original variant, or the alpha and delta variants. The current variant, Omicron, produces a bad cold. That’s a god send. As for long COVID, do some research and look up the literature. The latest on long COVID, debilitating though it is, is that it is largely psychosomatic.

Jane H
Jane H
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Tell that to my 9 year old football, cycling, skateboarding, life loving well balanced grandson who, after contracting covid, has to stop playing his beloved game of football after 15 minutes, sit down on the sideline to get his breath back, before rejoining the game. He would never choose, consciously or subconsciously to miss even one minute of the game he absolutely adores. Don’t label all long covid case outcomes as psychosomatic.

Helen Murray
HM
Helen Murray
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Long Covid is a serious issue, please don’t gaslight those afflicted by dismissing their many symptoms as ‘all in the mind’. There is plenty of gaslighting going on with those who have adverse Covid vaccine reactions too.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Post viral syndrome is nothing new. Have had it myself after a coronavirus is 2017. Different is that it wasn’t splashed about in corporate media to scare and fool people

Helen Murray
Helen Murray
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We also know that there are cases of ‘long Covid’ after vaccination, look up Shaun Barcavage on YT, a medical researcher who after second Pzifer jab has serious long term side effects. He has started a research website for vaccine damaged and has 3K of those people so far interested.

Maxine Shaverin
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

long covid is no greater a risk to anyone than viral fatigue from any number of viruses. It is not a new phenomena

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Stimpson

Well.. there is that. And the fact the data shows the protections of the vaccines not only don’t last but if you don’t get a booster it goes negative. (meaning you are more likely to catch covid). This is actually why BoJo may have thrown in the towel. Plus his partygate scandal. LOL. We are on year two of this. We have administered billions of vaccines globally. It is admitted that they do not stop transmission or infection. It is claimed with unreliable data that it prevents severe disease. Why do I make that claim. Well step away from all the rhetoric and look at the big picture. Go to this webpage. Scroll down to deaths. Look at the chart. Click on the linear tab to give an even better picture. If this vaccine does what the Tom Chivers of the world says it does… Why isn’t it working? If you look at the chart the death rate actually goes up at the start of vaccinations. Since September the chart decreased back to the original rate before the vaccine was administered. (probably because people quit getting boosters because they are having second thoughts). After billions of vaccine injections shouldn’t this curve have flattened? I mean my God. This has to be the greatest fraud in history.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billy Bob, as ever you paint with very broad brushstrokes.

Maxine Shaverin
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

how can it be slightly less dangerous than a relatively insignificant virus to the vast majority of the population when they are at little risk from said virus and the risks from said ‘vaccination’ are unknown?

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The first case is a sin of commission, the second is a sin of ommision. The first fits the definition of human sacrifice. That may be the right thing to do, but we should acknowledge what it is.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

I’m not making any moral judgement on the matter, I don’t know if it’s morally worse to kill somebody by giving them a manufactured vaccine or to let them die from a virus. Governments however won’t be making their decisions on morality but on cold hard statistics. If they believe that by giving the vaccines less kids will die than if they don’t then they’re going to approve vaccination for children.
A line will be crossed if they mandate children must be vaccinated however, that should be a decision for parents to make after weighing up the pros and cons

Tom May
Tom May
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

How do you account for any potential consequences to these children in 5, 10, 20 years time?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom May

I can’t, nobody can. As a society we had to weigh up the risk/reward and decide if the possibility of unforeseen consequences down the track was worth it to prevent however many deaths caused by the virus in the present

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom May

How can you account for the potential consequences in 5, 10, 20 years time from getting COVID?

Maxine Shaverin
MS
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

One is nature the other is murder

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
2 years ago

You think a virus manufactured in a Chinese lab is ‘natural’?

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And how do parents ‘weigh up the pros and cons’ when any criticism of the vaccines is censored?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago

And treating the illness is virtually outlawed.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Maxine Shaverin
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And cold hard statistics back in February 2020 from the Diamond Princess said to do nothing was the right way to go.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago

People die under general anaesthetic from time to time. Is surgery also human sacrifice? People die on the roads. Is driving human sacrifice? People die in childbirth. Is that human sacrifice too?

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Of course not. People under general anaesthetic are there because they have a medical condition. People drive on the road because they choose to. People die in childbirth because they choose to get pregnant. Not the same at all.

Rob Lothian
Rob Lothian
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wouldn’t it be worth knowing what the underlying conditions were for the kids who died of Covid (and those who’ve died from the vaccine). Maybe vaccinating children with diabetes, severe asthma, cancer and other conditions only would be more suitable? This should also be a consideration when looking at the figures

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Indeed it would, however that’s much more in depth than the article goes into so I can’t really comment

Bo Yee Fung
Bo Yee Fung
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That’s disingenuous. You already hold a position that vaccinating children is overall good, yet you don’t have information on the medical condition of those children who died from vaccine or Covid, so you’re admitting that you took your position without knowing, or wanting to know, more. Don’t fob it off on the depth of this article.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Bo Yee Fung

I’ve come to my conclusion based on the pure mathematics of the situation. All the numbers I’ve seen from various sources indicate that at a national level offering the vaccination will help more children than it harms. I don’t deny that some may be more at risk from the virus than others, which is why I wouldn’t want it to be mandatory but left to the parents to decide, however you’d presumably refuse to offer the vaccination to children based solely on your ideological opposition to the vaccines

Andrew Dalton
AD
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

This was the original proposal from vaccine taskforce (I forget their acronym) for the 12-15 age group. They drew up a list of 50(?) medical conditions, which would produce a risk factor significantly exacerbating a covid infection, and children with those conditions were recommended to be vaccinated.
SAGE recommended against this because vaccinating all children would mean opening up the schools earlier (I never understood this logic, but there you go).
Unfortunately, vaccines are the governments new magic hammer. And we, the populace, are nails.

Dennis Boylon
DB
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Studies have shown the vaccine doesn’t last for the sick, elderly, or immunocompromised. The whole purpose behind a mass vaccination campaign is limit the spread of the virus. There was so much gaslighting around this fact a lot of the population believes it prevents infection. Even though viral loads were compared and there was no difference among vaccinated or not. It is a massive fraud to sell vaccine and force digital IDs. I know people don’t want to believe that but it is the truth. Take a look at this 2010 article about swine flue. It is probably past time we keep giving these evil people the benefit of the doubt. They don’t deserve it. This is fraud on an unimaginable scale. Most people don’t want to go there but if we don’t what kind of world are we going to leave to our kids. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/swine-flu-pandemic-world-health-organization-scientists-linked/story?id=10829940

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I don’t know anybody who thinks that the vaccination prevents infection. What it does do is reduce the likelihood of becoming extremely sick and requiring hospital treatment

Maxine Shaverin
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

you mean all 3 of them aged under 20? Over 2 years? Perhaps we should look at what underlying conditions there are for kids who die from any other the wide range of viruses which circulate both constantly and periodically., What about those who die walking to school, get struck by lightening?

Elena Lange
Elena Lange
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Kids’ fatality rate from Omicron is 0.0%.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Elena Lange

The vaccinations for children started before omicron though. Yes it has now become the dominant strain and thankfully appears to be less deadly than previous incarnations of the virus, but nobody was to know that until recently, which is why the statistics are taken across the pandemic as a whole

Maxine Shaverin
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And unfortunately for the zealots, the previous strains were not that deadly either ………

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Modelling? Yeah, because that’s been so accurate the last 2 years.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Call my cynical but I’d wager the information available to the government was vastly different to the vastly inflated numbers they delivered to the public to try and obtain some level of compliance

Andrew Dalton
AD
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I would suggest you need to prove that.
If it is the case, then the populace is being unequivically corralled by propaganda.

Marie Morton
Marie Morton
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

except the average age of dying with covid is 82 – higher than the nation’s average life expectancy of 81. That 82 is even for those 17,371 (ONS figures) who died (from the beginning of March 20 to September 2)1 without co-morbidities – only 1600ish died who were under 64 .

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Marie Morton

And the average life expectancy of an 82-year-old in western Europe is about 10 more years.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That is not the correct to look at it.
Some 82 year-olds will die next month and some will reach 100. It depends on the individual.
In your terms, by killing off many the venerable individuals ages 82+ Covid has actually increased the life expectancy of those that survived. So a positive health benefit

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

No. I am not less likely to die because someone else who is in bad health dies early. It may be that the survivors will on average live longer, but they would have lived longer anyway, because they are healthier from the start. No benefit there.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yes, but what sort of 10 years, hale & hearty or incontinent & incoherent?
As Lucan* said “The Gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that we may endure life”.

(* Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, 39-65 AD or correctly 792-818 AUC.)

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m pretty sure that makes no sense

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Look at it this way: Life expectancy is summed of all the risks you face through your life. If you make it till 82 you have already avoided a lot of those risks, so your life expectancy is longer than 82. Or like this: If life times were a nice bell curve, you would have half the population live longer than 82, and for everybody who died at 60, you would have another one who lived till 100. But it is worse than that. Quite a few people die before they are 40, but nobody live till they are over 120. To keep the average at 82, then for every person who dies at 22, you need, say, six people who live till 92.

Colin Macdonald
CM
Colin Macdonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The average life expectancy of a nursing home resident, where most of the elderly deaths occurred, is 13 months. I think we can agree, that across all age ranges, that those who died of covid were more likely to have a shortened life expectancy. You know, co morbidities, clues in the name.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Macdonald
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

That may well be, and if you had some decent numbers you could make a good argument for it. But meanwhile let us stop making the completely misleading comparison between the average age of COVID victims and the life expectancy of the population.

Colin Macdonald
CM
Colin Macdonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It may well be, indeed! Not quite sure why you’re peddling this stuff, though I’ve seen plenty of other people use the same argument. It’s not exactly controversial that Covid kills people with comorbities at a higher rate. Of course, an 80year will likely have comorbidities, but clearly they’re unevenly distributed, hence some are in nursing homes, most, thankfully, are not.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

OK, badly put on my side. I would not deny that having co-morbidities (like being old), obviously makes your chances a lot worse. Less obvious is how many people we are talking about, how seroius the co-morbidities have to be, and how many otherwise healthy people get caught anyway. You made no explicit claims on those fronts, but a lot of people do.

helen godwin
HG
helen godwin
2 years ago
Reply to  Marie Morton

I don’t know why this statistic is bandied about since its still not good if there is excess death at this age average?!!! 50% those are under 82 and if there were half a million of them would that be OK??!!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You seem to be missing one very important point.
At best protection form the vaccine lasts a matter of months and that is if it is effective against new variants at all.

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

As modelling proved so successful…. We still don’t know the long term effect of the vaccines. Over my dead body would I ever have a child of mine vaccinated. Thank God they are all grown up and can make their own decision.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If you allow governments to choose for you you are just a sheeple

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Yet you’ll unequivocally believe everything peddled by those who agree with your predetermined position?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not every death is the same. You have to ask yourself which cohort to kill, the ones who would die from Covid or the ones who would die from getting vaccinated. One is the act of god and one is the act of government.

Maxine Shaverin
MS
Maxine Shaverin
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Vaccines, even if their definition is now somewhat stretched, have only ever been given to protect the individual. If an individual is not going to benefit from a vaccine, it should not be offered. Period. Your argument is nonsense from that perspective. To take the new argument of protecting others through immunising everyone to create herd immunity, that argument, despite never having been a reason to vaccinate anyone in the past, was also never going to be valid since said ‘vaccine’ was not developed or tested to prevent disease or transmission

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

But the numbers suggest that at a national level giving children the vaccine will save some children

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

These vaccines provide the only immunity that matters, they give the companies that make them immunity from prosecutions.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

We’ll, in fairness, it’s Tom Chivers, a crank not even worth an eye roll. I just came for the comments.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

I agree about UnHerd. I read very little now and will not be renewing my subscription.

Scott S
Scott S
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I know Ed West is on substacks, but has he left Unherd? Douglas Murray, and Ed were, are? The best 2 on here.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

Douglas had an article last week. I was wondering if Ed left.

Scott S
LI
Scott S
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Yes, I saw Murrays article, Ed West as mentioned, is on substack, think he may have left unherd.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

Murray had an article last week. However because he criticised the American right everybody on here complained that it was a poorly written article and they’d be cancelling their subscription. Turns out most on here just want an echo chamber, and are no better than the woke

Scott S
Scott S
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed Billy, an echo chamber should not be what unherd should be about. Not a good look.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

Yes, Unherd is a tabloid with intellectual pretensions. 10% of the articles are written by true writers or intellectuals (that rare type who actually reads a lot before forming an opinion) while 90% are pundits of the millennial sort whose culture is a salad of cherry picked knowledge from wikipedia and various popularizer streams (YT, curiosity, nebula, etc) all of which have this common style to say very little but spread over 50 minutes of verbiage.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

Shielding the elderly and vulnerable.
How practical do you think that would have been in the UK ?
This virus only transmits when people meet.
If you were going to really protect care home residents you would have had to ensure that all their carers and any visitors didn’t meet anyone else – that is that the care homes and their staff were kept in their own bubbles (not mixing with their families) until all the elderly inmates were vaccinated.
1.49 million people in the UK are in receipt of adult social care (private and NHS and Local authority and direct payment recipients). According to Satista about 490,000 of these are in care homes. There are 1.52 million social care workers (potential transmitters to this vulnerable population). This doesn’t include those that are being cared for by immediate family members – about 13.6 million informal carers according to this paper :
COVID-19 and UK family carers: policy implications
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215036621002066#!
a number of whom are schoolchidren / in college eductaion / working.
In addition.
The population at risk of severe COVID-19 (aged ≥70 years, or with an underlying health condition with a fully adjusted hazard ratio of getting severe covid of 1.13 or greater) comprises 18.5 million individuals in the UK, including a considerable proportion of school-aged and working-aged individuals.
34% of households in the UK are multigenerational – 9 million homes.
According to the Actuaries Friday report # 51 : Priority Groups 1 to 9 i.e. over 50s, Health & Care Staff, Extremely Clinically Vulnerable and “At Risk” amounts to around 31m people.
Big numbers requiring lots of financial and logistical support in a GBD scenario + a massive sacrifice by direct care workers unless you chose to bribe them (to isolate with their charges) with what ? an average junior doctor’s salary perhaps for 1 year ? (Foundation year doctor year 2 £33,345) x 1.52 million care workers = aproximately £ 50 – 51 billion.
So that just leaves the ? millions who are still clinically vulnerable but still working and contributing to the economy but aren’t in a care home.
Good luck with organising all that.

Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago

I can never work out how people can argue that it is impossible to put a percentage of the population in shielded bubbles and social lockdown whereas doing it to the whole population on and off is somehow easier?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Su Mac

What percentage of the population, detailed in my original post are you suggesting should have been shielded in 2020 and in 2021 (when vaccine coverage of the younger, vulnerable members of society was incomplete) ?
Please state an actual figure including the percentage of those individuals who are economically active.
Which members of the population do you think were valuable enough to shield in 2020 ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Marcus Corbett
MC
Marcus Corbett
2 years ago

But it would/might have been finished within a month, as long as the rest of us lived life as normal.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

How so ? The borders were open. There were plenty of immunocompromised people who would have caught and incubated and then transmitted mutated versions of the virus after 4 weeks.

Scott S
Scott S
2 years ago

Just lock everyone down for months on end then. Or you can be reasonable, and look who is at most at risk and do your best to shield them. Hospitals were the obvious place to catch covid, this should have been put into any plan after the first wave. Children are not at severe risk, and this risk should have been acknowledged. No response could have been perfect, but it could have been a damn sight better.

Last edited 2 years ago by Scott S
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
EG
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott S

How many exactly do you think were “at risk” ?
What is your definition of “lockdown” ?
I was in Northern Italy March – September 2020. There were severe restrictions regarding freedom of movement March – May. After that things were pretty normal other than masks, only eating outdoors, limited access to museums etc., restricted numbers on public transport.
Re-imposition of some restrictions in the Autumn / Winter of 2020 – restaurants offering take out only and some restrictions on moving from one region to another but nothing like the Spring. Thereafter the restrictions have been piffling.
The only “lockdown” I have experienced and from talking to English pals, UK residents have experienced, was in the early Spring of 2020.

Last edited 2 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
helen godwin
helen godwin
2 years ago

Totally impractical I agree. Nice idea. Quite impossible!

Nick Wade
NW
Nick Wade
2 years ago

Where to begin with this article? Is Chivers just being paid by Pfizer? He starts by saying ad hominems are a bad idea, but then devotes 3 and a half paragraphs to just that. Bizarrely, he describes a group of highly qualified medical doctors and other PhD qualified academics as “a bunch of people with vaguely academic credentials”. Meanwhile Chivers’s own academic achievements (as he’s a science editor) are shrouded in mystery. If he is to play the “credentialism” game so beloved of his ilk, let’s hear his.

His sloppy use of OWID statistics to justify his position on child vaccination is very revealing. We are given the overall figures of vaccinated versus unvaccinated. This is not granulated for children, who we know are at virtually zero risk from Covid, as the disease is so age dependent. Something like 6 healthy children have died from Covid in the UK. The risk benefit ratio just doesn’t work, because statistically, there is no benefit for children, and we don’t even know the risks.

I can’t believe this is what passes for science writing. It is more like “Pharma Shilling”. I regret taking out a year’s subscription to pay for this tripe.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick Wade
James Longfield
James Longfield
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I tried to like this comment, but it wouldn’t let me

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Thank you for this. My feelings precisely. There have been many cod scientific articles in the press over the last two years, either due to lazy journalism or funding from sources with a particular agenda, but this one really provoked me.
As a retired RN/RM, who battled her way through a nasty dose of Covid at home very early in the pandemic, I have looked on appalled at the way SAGE and government have twisted basic medical/health precepts, and deliberately manipulated half the population into a state of such abject terror that many would back into the hedge wearing a mask outdoors, for fear of coming closer than 6 feet to a passer by. It has been equally dystopic and tragic.
When Hart finally came along to regularly question the surrealism and voice considered medical sense, it felt a little like the cavalry coming over the hill. I’m not sure how Chivers reconciles his admission Hart have some influence with his claim they are a “weird little pressure group”. I would respond to him that any respect I might have had for his “scientific-sounding” writing is now non existent. It ranks about the same level as the dubiously funded “fact checker” websites one occasionally encounters.

Dennis Boylon
DB
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

He is by far the worst on unherd. I largely only come here for Freddie Sayers. Chivers just pisses me off. If you review his past articles he is clearly a World economic forum #buildbackbetter guy. Maybe that is the price of doing business in the UK. They force you to put at least one of these propagandists on the payroll and give them a platform.

Richard William Pitt
Richard William Pitt
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

welll said Sir

Zoe Drewitt
ZD
Zoe Drewitt
2 years ago

‘It sounds cruel — but a small number of deaths would be worth it’. Try saying that to a bereaved parent. Hey, your kid died, but it’s all for the greater good. And that is the problem with utilitarianism; its inhumanity.

Last edited 2 years ago by Zoe Drewitt
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Zoe Drewitt

But you could also say the same to a parent whose child died from Covid if you’ve withheld a vaccine that could have saved them. Thankfully both cases are vanishingly rare, but the numbers suggest the vaccine is slightly less dangerous than the virus

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

!

How about just doing Risk Benefit analyst – the ones immune compromised, the frail and sick – but not the healthy. WTF is it everyone gets it – surely only the high risk children should get it as it is the healthy young the vax hurts, yet does not help.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

No child is being forced to take it. I don’t doubt that it would be of more use to some children than others, but the government can’t set national policy based on individual circumstances. Make it available to all and let the parents decide

Michael Richardson
MR
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But government policy was to invoke Gillick Competence, to try to side-step a parental decision. And, it wasn’t like here is the vaccine, your choice. Huge amounts of pressure like “you would not want to kill granny”.

Ron Bo
RB
Ron Bo
2 years ago

“you would not want to kill granny”.
A silly emotive argument.
Average age of death in the UK is greater than 80 years!

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Eyes rolling.

Tom May
TM
Tom May
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But we don’t know the 5, 10, 20 year results. We are just vaxing to fix a very short term problem. It is kind of weird.

Gunner Myrtle
Gunner Myrtle
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom May

Yes – several cardiologists have come forward to say that vaccinated people frequently have markers associated with higher risk of heart disease and may be suffering sub-clinical damage. One said he feared the current deaths as ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Why give extremely low risk people this vaccine – there is no need to shoulder this risk.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This is not what the numbers I am seeing are saying at all.

Michael Richardson
MR
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Sin of commission versus sin of omission.

James Longfield
James Longfield
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You could say that if the evidence was there, but it isn’t. So why make this point. The risk for children from Covid (way before omicron emerged) is virtually zero. The risk from the vaccine is unknown. If you are a parent who makes a decision to vaccinate their child you are being led by propaganda not science

Bret Larson
BL
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Zoe Drewitt

I’ll add to that. The cohorts who die are different also. That said, I dont think they can know whether its beneficial or not in the long term. So it should be an individual decision.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Zoe Drewitt

The whole world economic forum #buildbackbetter philosophy is built on this. The individual is evil and the collective is good. Or course the “collective” is given only once choice and they don’t get a say in it. As Billy Bob says we don’t get to see the real data. We would be too stupid to understand it… so we get the fake data to inspire us into the collective right think! You can’t make this stuff up. Billy Bob must work for SPI-B! Accept their decisions or be punished. This is what the vaccine passports and mandates are all about. It is to put you into your place. To force compliance. To let you know who your betters are to take your directions from. The Billy Bobs and Tom chivers know what is best for you. Comply or else.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Ron Bo
Ron Bo
2 years ago
Reply to  Zoe Drewitt

According to ONS statistics,less than 20 people under 20 died from covid.That’s about 20times less than the number of deaths from drowning.
Total covid deaths FROM covid ,less than 20,000.

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago

Statistically, more kids would die from the vaccines than Covid by an order of magnitude, even if the overall numbers were small. Add the fact that the vaccines don’t prevent spread and it’s a net negative.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

The numbers in the article implies that this is not the case. What are you basing your opinion on?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Here you are Billy Bob – as you have such a strong position on the vax I would ask you to watch these https://odysee.com/@BannedYouTubeVideos:4/JOE-ROGAN-AND-DR-ROBERT-MALONE:c?r=ArkgA4P66Sz5zGgXYSVrbytBFoB8wGkg

The most watch video on the vax – banned on youtube

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I believe Rogan recently had someone on his podcast who refuted a lot of this stuff. Rogan, to his credit, allowed that he might have been wrong about this.

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I haven’t watched that video, yet, but I would remind you that Dr Malone was intimately involved in the early discovery and development of the mRNA technology. If the reputation of that discovery has not been damaged in the public eye by the greed of big Pharma over their cavalier approach to their “vaccines” it may yet have a valuable role to play in future treatment of many diseases. I think we should therefore allow Dr Malone some credit for what he might have to say.
I would be interested in a link to the podcast you mention, please, if you have it still?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And this this one with Dr McCullough and Joe Rogan (Rogan is the world’s most popular youtube interviewer.

He says giving children a vax is a crime against humanity – a TOP doctor, again this interview has had more views than 5 million on the many platforms it is on. https://odysee.com/@jackspirko:a/rogan-mccullough:6

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I have a lot of time for Rogan, the way he talks to almost anybody about any subject is to be admired. However that doesn’t mean that just because I like him I have to agree with all his guests. The fact is that the number of doctors who are anti vaccine is vanishingly small compared to those that are pro, and having listened to a few that are against it none as of yet have put forward any arguments that I find convincing enough to change my opinion

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You do not have to agree with his guests – but to listen to them as this covid response is about to destroy the world. It is a big deal.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I can listen to them and still believe they’re incorrect

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wait, are you saying you think health professionals who administer vaccines should switch off any sense of responsibiity for what they are doing because they are told that only one particular set of stats interpreted by one particular journalist at one moment in time is important, so if their patient dies they need feel no sense of guilt? They can wash their hands of it? The government and health services also? I’m sorry, but this is going down a very dangerous line of thinking indeed. You are saying it is okay to kill a healthy person, knowing this might be an outcome, in an attempt to prevent deaths you only know about as projected statistics? This removal of seeing each person as a human individual and instead as a possible mortality statistic that will look bad for the government is pure evil. You can choose to go down that track if you wish to, but you will be living in a very different world from the one I choose to inhabit.

Last edited 2 years ago by Helen Hughes
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

That is part of all medicine, surely: You do things that might kill some patients, because not doing them would kill even more patients. Think of chemotherapy: Some people die from the chemotherapy, but if you do not give it, they all all die from the cancer. Would you prefer a doctor that refused to act, so that however many people died he could not be blamed for it?

Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

At least try and use comparable analogies. If a patient has a malignant tumor and you do nothing, they WILL die. That’s a whole different ballpark where the survivability for COVID in children in 99.9995% and that was for the bad variants. For Omicron, the survivability is 100%. You don’t vaccine for the common cold, so you sure don’t vaccinate against Omicron with a vaccine targeted against a variant that’s two years old and whose spike contains well over 50 mutations relative to the original.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Healthy children are not “patients”. Unless you are starting to pathologise the healthy as well as the sick, just because they might at some point in the future become unhealthy and be then interpreted as being a biohazard. I think we need to be extremely aware of when we are going down the path of dehumanisation at the moment. Even if you believe you can make a net saving of human lives through jabbing the entire world (for which there is no evidence) you must still be aware you are being prepared to kill in order to do so. It’s a classic ethical question – the trolley car. And I am really concerned that the point is being made here that all the government has to worry about is numbers, not ethics. It that is what we now believe, heaven help us!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Are you also against vaccination for measles, polio, smallpox? The logic would seem to be the same in each case.

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The Covid injection is not a vaccine. Check out the information on the unknown long term effects of this gene therapy.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Ann Roberts

vaccine noun: a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious agent or disease:” Merriam-Webster dictionary.
We do not know the long-term effect of either COVID disease or COVID vaccines – though the former is likely to be worse than the latter. What about it?

Helen Hughes
HH
Helen Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think it is pretty important to think very carefully before we use medical interventions on healthy people, and to weigh up the risks in the individual circumstances, rather than using them for everyone regardless. If the only goal is vaccine-induced herd immunity we also need to be aware of the many over-simplified assumptions we may be making with this strategy.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Well, I could not disagree with you on that.

Helen Hughes
HH
Helen Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Hurrah!!!!! It’s always nice to find common ground :-).

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not medicine, public health.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

I don’t believe I said anything of the sort, so please stop implying I did. What I said was that the medical professionals opposed to vaccination are minuscule compared to the numbers that are pro vaccination. Those I’ve listened to who are anti vaccine haven’t as of yet been able to provide any hard evidence for me to believe them over the vast majority of their peers who think it’s a good thing

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

ROFL. “Vanishingly small”. Come on Billy. You can’t really be that naive. There are thousands and thousands of doctors and scientists who question the vax but they’re either censored (like the Joe Rogan interview) or threatened with losing their job.

Amazingly, many people then think they’re hearing all ‘the science’, but they’re getting only onr side, because for two years the biggest censorship campaign ever has been in place.

Ask yoursrlf why they are censoring all these voices Billy? That isn’t how science should work.

And do make sure to watch the Peter McCullough interview as he is one of the most reputable scientists in the world, and what he says is echoed by the thousands of good doctors and scientists throughout the world who have been silenced.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

If they have reliable evidence they can present it, deal with critial comments, and start convincing those who are willing to listen. In the end they will win the argument *if they have the data*. That is how science works. The reason they are being suppressed is that they do not have the data but are spreading disinformation anyway.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Which leaves me with a choice: Not having the time to redo the analysis myself, do I trust the UK Health Security Agency, or eugyppius. Not a hard choice. UKHSA ast least gives an explanation why their way is better than eugyppius way, which he does not reciprocate. Anyway, I find it unlikely that the entire UK civil service is deliberately and knowingly promoting a medical treatment that can be proved to increase people’s chance of dying.

Graham Stull
GS
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are a zealot, Rasmus.
I could tell you, as a long-time civil servant, how little it matters whether or not the ‘entire’ civil service believes in the party line or not, but you simply wouldn’t trust me.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Civil service or not, there is a limited group of people who are used to working with this kind of data, who do it for a living, and whose job, research or health service, is to promote better health. You are telling me that it is obvious from a quick look at the data what the real situation is – and that every single professional is happily colluding in a conspiracy to harm people unnecessarily. Not a single one of the people who understand the business thoroughly is willing to do the only thing that would make a difference – which is to publish a well-supported, professional-level analysis that would be impossible for journalists or colleagues over the world to ignore. It is much more likely that the professionals are actually right, but that there are a group of highly motivated amateurs eagerly looking to twist the data to conform to their beliefs, but unable to make a winning argument because the data simply are not there.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Eugyppius is one of those very people. He works in a government research unit in Bavaria, specialising in data analytics. He has a PhD and has worked in academia in the States.
The reason he publishes under a pseudonym is precisely because stepping out of line from the consensus has serious professional consequences, in the current climate.
And there are many such professionals who have stepped out, albeit mostly in academia: Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan, Byram Bridle, Jay Bhattacharya, Tess Lawrie…it’s a long list.
And no, I am not telling you that those who follow the consensus are part of a conspiracy. I am merely suggesting that they follow a narrative which has become so entrenched that – yes – its adherents ignore the blind truth in front of their eyes.

Last edited 2 years ago by Graham Stull
Brad Mountz
BM
Brad Mountz
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Exactly!

Last edited 2 years ago by Brad Mountz
Arnold Grutt
AG
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“It is much more likely that the professionals are actually right,”

Why? They got Thalidomide very wrong.

Last edited 2 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Why don’t you actually look at the UKHSA data a bit more carefully, as well as comparable data elsewhere. It’s not so pretty for the vaccines right now. They worked well to start with but not now.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Most of them are also insisting that men can be women. Go figure, if Big Pharma pays we get their tune. Phizer sticks 5 them most popular investment of congress members…

Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

McCullough and others are doing their best to present. But surely you realize that there’s has been an awful lot of censorship, including on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, the MSM, etc… In fact all of your comments over the last several weeks/months reflect your intellectual lazziness with regard to finding out what’s actually going on.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I have yet to see anything that makes me doubt my current position seriously. I am arrogant enough to think I could probably produce a professional-grade analysis myself, if I tried, but I would have to work at it full time, probably for a couple of years. Anything less would be amateurish. And there is no need for one more amateur expert in this debate.

Arnold Grutt
AG
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“I have yet to see anything that makes me doubt my current position seriously.”

Why am I not surprised?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are indeed arrogant enough because your series of comments display an awful lot of ignorance, or more specifically, “a little knowledge is dangerous”. Further, you haven’t seen anything to reverse your position because you have repeatedly failed to look and do the relevant reading. If you trust the “narrative” from the “ExpertsTM” you will end up in a ditch.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Censors are never the good guys. “Suppression” is only necessary when truth is being told.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Malicious falsehoods can do a lot of damage, and people have found it useful to try to suppress them. Would you try to suppress the ‘Protocols of the elders of Zion’, the blood libel etc’? Or do you think they are true?

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Hogwash. I know about blood libel because the self-evident utter mad weirdness of it isn’t suppressed but there for all to see. What we haven’t until recently been able to discuss is C-19, it’s origins, who’s responsible, its genuine lethality in real numbers, how to treat it, and who is profiting from the blatant lies of commission and omission for two years. There’s your malicious falsehood. Expose it all.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Another example is the idea of ‘love jihad’, that is causing rioting and murder in India. Whether that idea is promoted or suppressed makes a difference in people getting killed – or not.
Anyway, we *have* been able to discuss all the things you named. It has just been hard for people who had strong convictions but no reliable evidence.

Brad Mountz
BM
Brad Mountz
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Wrong!

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not true at all Rasmus. Once you go against the narrative your research stops getting published and you no longer get airtime. It isn’t about whether it is right or wrong. It is about who brnefits or doesn’t.

This is no longer a world in which things are openly debated. The media relies on big pharma for billions a year in revenues (look it up) and universities (including Imperial for example) rely on big pharma funding or grants from the likes of the Gates Foundation. Do you think they would be wiling to go against their paymasters and risk their funding.

I wish we still lived in the world you speak of Rasmus, but alas, those days are long gone.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh
Brad Mountz
BM
Brad Mountz
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Science has been politicized and competent DRS forced into the shadows and silenced to protect their livelihoods and family. The most prominent who speak out are made by the press and institutional medicine to look crazy for questioning “the science”, or can’t be heard due to censoring by our current leftist media. Science is based on data and I would believe a real scientist over a government bureaucrat and his theory based algorithm. Unreported data, if ever collected, will be proof of the science behind the vaccine mandate, and it’s going to be ugly. This data is in every DR office in the world. How many increased cases in “x” occurred since vaccination began? How many neurological disorders, autoimmune cases, cardiac related illness, etc? I have friends who are DRS, they know this data for their practice and they can’t speak openly about it for fear of being cancelled or humiliated by their own profession. Medicine has always been political and now politicians control health care completely, because they control what a DR will say. “Follow the science is akin to “uncloth and step into the shower.” Sickening! We can’t stand for it. We must not only resist, we cannot comply! As one of my DR friends say recently, “medicine and science is over as we have known it.” I don’t want to believe that, but am seeing it everyday.

Arnold Grutt
AG
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“The fact is that the number of doctors who are anti vaccine is vanishingly small”

What do you mean by ‘anti-vaccine’? Against vaccines altogether or against their application by force? These are two different arguments.

Last edited 2 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Alison Wren
Alison Wren
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Had you thought that doctors who speak out risk ruining their careers. Medical research is hugely funded by Big Pharma. There are many similarities with the onslaught of transideology teachers and others afraid to speak out.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The numbers in the article are misinformed and distorted. Just check out the VAERS and Yellow book data pages versus the UKHSA statistics. The incidence, incidentally, of myocarditis in young males (including children and all the way up to 50) is incredibly high relative to expectation. And there is no such thing as mild myocarditis. Anything that requires hospitalization for a medical (as opposed to surgical) condition is by definition very far from mild. And the long term consequences of myocarditis include a very high incidence of heart failure.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

I willo sum up the article above:

Giving the children these vaccines is a crime against humanity, but that is ok because some studies on this experimental medicine show it will save more than it kills.

And coincidentally the very pro vax man, Dr Campbell, did a part on this just today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25-iJKPA1CA He would vax anything which got within range of a needle – yet he says do not vax children without doing the risk analyst he then explains this recent CDC study showing that.

I prefer Dr Malone and Dr McCullough (you can see both of their 3 hour long interviews with joe Rogan on Odyssey if you google it. They both are the best experts available – both say it is a crime against humanity to vax children. JUST the fact TOP doctors say it is a crime to vax them should be enough for Chivers to not be so sure, as killing children, or damaging them, is not such a light choice as he makes it.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

This Campbell is a retired nurse not a medical dr His PhD is in nurse education. Basically a semiliterate with a YT channel – a grifter

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Has pretty solid statistics from NY and CA. Doesn‘t matter if his PHD is in nurse education.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago

All his statistics are copy-pasted from gov sites. He never seemed to be able to infer any conclusions of his own. Also when he cites studies from Lancet he selectively highlights one or two statements from the conclusions section to satisfy the bias du jour of his viewers. Upon closer inspection those studies (especially related to IVM) actually reached the opposite conclusions.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Maybe you look at his conversation with Professor Clancy, who is a world famous immunologist. Maybe you think Clancy also presents the “bias of the day”…https://youtu.be/FPPnyzvO7J4

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thanks for that video. The statistics seem pretty good news for people who acquired natural immunity through Covid illness. Seems also to confirm Dr.James‘ opinion about his acquired immunity and telling Javid off about the requirement for NHS doctors to be vaccinated.

Last edited 2 years ago by Stephanie Surface
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

What garbage writing.

This is the kind of hit piece that the big pharma PR departments have been encouraging puppet journalists to write for years.

It is a simple method.

Find someone, it could be a person or group, who is not following the script, and then start calling them a ‘quack’ (if it is a doctor). If it is scientist then terms such as ‘discredited’ come in useful. If it is a group then focus on the members and find a couple of them who said things that turned out not to be true. By association this implies the rest of the group is wrong too.

This is all standard corporate PR propaganda and it does make one wonder whether Tom Chivers has some association with big pharma. If he isn’t on their payroll he should be, as he is clearly working on their behalf whether paid or pro-bono.

I appreciate the fact that Unherd publishes writing from a diverse range of writers. I like to hear different views. But writing of this quality is just garbage. It isn’t quality journalism. It doesn’t provide interesting insights. It isn’t investigative (a form of journalism that seems to be very rare these days). It is nothing more than a poorly written hit piece on behalf of the pharmaceutical giants.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul Smithson
Rob D
RD
Rob D
2 years ago

Please can we have full disclosure and accountability?
Is Chivers taking Pharma money? Because this article certainly reads like it.
Many of us have found the work of HART and similar groups to be humane, and reliable, so the ad hominem that makes up the first part of this piece seems very dubious.
Ditto focusing on the risks of Covid to children when the facts show that to be one smidgen over zero…
I know Chivers loves the contrarian clickbait articles but he appears to have been seriously gulled, or something has turned his head….

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob D
Barbara Elsmore
Barbara Elsmore
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob D

Couldn’t agree more Chivers needs to see this: https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/the-pfizer-vaccine-more-harm-than-good/

Last edited 2 years ago by Barbara Elsmore
Gerald Koh
Gerald Koh
2 years ago

Even with all the appeals to numerous bits of data (done in a somewhat sloppy manner), this sounds like a lame, even dangerous shill piece on behalf of the Big Pharma narrative.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Gerald Koh

What do you believe was incorrect with the figures stated and the conclusions Chivers came to?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

the only problem is they are lies – try VAERS, try many sources – the issue is there is no good collecting of issues on harm – nor on benefits so they are hugely exaggerated. These are the – lies, damn lies, and statistics, done to promote the agenda

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Because the beautifully presented cesspool of data from the single Our World In Data page that this potty article hangs on is completely misleading.
The mortality data for England, for example, precedes Omicron by two months – it will likely be describing mostly older people who first became ill with Delta in the late summer.
The Swiss data, from early January, looks more compelling – until you realise Omicron only became dominant there between Xmas and the New Year, and that yet again the data is unrepresentative of what’s going on right now.
I hopefully needn’t remind you that what we have right now is the sniffles. If you want to Follow The Science and start vaccinating every minimum risk child with an unknown risk medication against a blocked nose and sore throat that they can still pass on, you’re on your own.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

I’ll admit that omicron now does appear to be much less severe, however that’s only a single variant, and has only come about in the last month or two. If the next one appears to be more deadly like the previous ones then wouldn’t it make more sense to use statistics for the pandemic as a whole when making decisions, rather than cherry picking the ones that best suit our argument?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billy, you need to understand how vaccines work. So let me clarify. The mRNA/DNA vaccines code for the spike protein from the original strain and hijack one’s cells, largely in the deltoid muscle at the site of injection, to produce said spike. Antibodies are then made SPECIFICALLY against this spike. There may be cross-reactivity to variant spikes to a greater or lesser extent but it all depends on where the mutations are located. If these are at the site where neutralizing antibodies bind (i.e. the binding site for the ACE receptor, or the site that undergoes large conformational changes to enter the cell), then your antibodies produced against the original spike will not be effective. In the case of Omicron, there are so many mutations in the spike that the antibodies generated by the current vaccines are ineffective. The same is also true of the monoclonal neutralizing antibodies that were produced against the original spike, and that’s why those monoclonal antibodies are no longer being used.

Philip L
PW
Philip L
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Cherry picking. Right. So for example, singling out some of the more leftfield views of individual HART members and portraying them as representative. Or maybe treating vaccination status as one homogenous lump of age-standardised mortality and not, say, breaking out its constituent age groups for the purposes of an article titled, “Is it worth vaccinating <specific age group>?”
I guess that was too much like hard work.
Furthermore, the mortality rate for the under 60s is so obviously low compared to the rate for the over 60s that it should lead you to question the need for vaccinating anyone aged 0-59 at all. Concentrate on high risk cohorts, particularly in other nations that are lagging us. Stop talking about children.
In summary then: this article is so sketchy and confused it’s basically worthless – the fact it’s from the ‘Science Editor’ makes me suspect he’s either daft or under orders to generate clickbait – so this is my last comment on the matter.
I do admire your tenacity though.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well, other people have come to completely different conclusions as to what the data is and what it means. Somebody’s wrong.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/355581860_COVID_vaccination_and_age-stratified_all-cause_mortality_risk

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

Titles like this make me want to cancel my subscription.

Hilary LW
HL
Hilary LW
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Indeed – I am cancelling my subscription today. This publication is no longer worthy of its name.

Teresa Ventisette
Teresa Ventisette
2 years ago

I think Tom Chivers should move to Italy. He’ll be very happy to live in a country where our anti-democratic government has made it practically mandatory for young people over 12 to get vaccinated: without their infamous ‘ Green Pass’ they can’t do sports (which should be encouraged as a way to be healthy), they can’t go to a cinema with their friends, and now they can’t even enter a shop which sells non-essential goods…basically they can’t live.
Not to mention mandatory vaccination for over 50…but that’s another story.
Since Chivers is so fond of numbers I’d like to talk about numbers and I’m going to share a link to a report published (English version) with official data from our ‘Istituto Superiore di Sanità’ (something similar to your National Healthcare Department); so, it is not a Flat Earthers website:
https://www.epicentro.iss.it/en/coronavirus/bollettino/Report-COVID-2019_5_october_2021.pdf
I am not denying that the report highlights the benefits of full vaccination (which now means 3 doses) against developing severe disease, but if you look at the statistics of people who have died of Covid infection it is quite clear that: 
1)    Mean age of patients dying for SARS-CoV-2 infection was 80 years 
2)    As of October the 5th 2021, 1.2% positive SARS-CoV-2 patients under the age of 50 died, percentage which decreases to almost 0% under 20 years old
3)    67.7 % of people who died had at least 3 comorbidities (worst being hypertension, ischemic heart disease and diabetes)
Unfortunately this report is not updated with the Omicron variant, as in Italy we seem to be quite slow on publishing data, but it does show something interesting. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that that it is unnecessary to vaccinate people who don’t risk anything from this virus, considering the obvious fact that vaccinated people do get the virus and do spread it! Believe me, I’m doing a swab test every two days to be able to go to work and there are plenty of vaccinated people (even with 3 doses) who receive a positive result! 
Besides, these vaccines are still experimental and we do not know the extent of their possible side effects. They should be fully tested before they are given to young people, let alone children. I can tell a sad story about the difficulties encountered to prove that a severe illness was caused by a vaccination: a person close to me, who is now 40 years old, had to fight all her life to get a compensation from a vaccine given to her when she was just a baby. After so many years of tests, trials, humiliations, she finally got the Court to rule that it was that vaccine that gave her a disability for life. I’m not saying that vaccines are always bad, I’m just saying that if something goes wrong (as it is possible in medicine, remember Thalidomide) it is not so easy for Authority to take responsibility, imagine now with all the Propaganda surrounding these vaccines!
Teresa, a person who still believe in Freedom of Choice!

Michael K
MK
Michael K
2 years ago

The vaccines have been fully tested, they have been applied multiple billions of times, and the data is in. They’re neither particularly safe, nor particularly effective.

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

And long term problems, though we can speculate, will be fully revealed in coming years.

Mel Bass
MB
Mel Bass
2 years ago

I suspect that anybody who suffers serious side-effects from the covid vaccines will find it impossible to prove causation, or to get compensation. The propaganda trivializes or blames most side-effects on the nocebo effect and any longer term, more subtle injuries will be written off as coincidence. A decade ago, I had exactly this problem with a family member, who was given the Pandemrix (swine flu) vaccine, and whose subsequent reaction (eventually fatal) was brushed off by authority as mere coincidence. Perhaps it was, but it was certainly swept under the carpet very, very quickly, with some very odd things said by medical staff, and a suspicious spike in similar cases in our home town. Things are a thousand times worse now, with the covid vaccine hysteria, and Authority will fight tooth and nail to avoid any damaging admissions regarding long-term vaccine safety.

Dave Mil
Dave Mil
2 years ago

“An unvaccinated American is around 100 times as likely to die as a triple-vaccinated one; an unvaccinated Swiss is about 165 times as likely to die.”. What a ridiculous way to present statistics. You’re contributing to the very kind of misinformation and wilful distortions you seek to rebut. I won’t even waste my time with an explanation. Readers are easily sufficiently intelligent to see what’s wrong with that. It’s shameful.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Mil

I’d like an explanation as to why you believe those statistics are incorrect. Let’s not resort to the tactics of the woke by shouting “educate yourself” rather than putting your point across coherently

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I sense you’re fighting a losing battle here, but I truly appreciate your doing it. I also appreciate your calm politeness in response to some of these replies: good on ya, mate.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Seconded

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Thirded

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Fourthed

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Fifthed

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

I personally don’t care about people’s stance on vaccinations, I’ve had mine because I believe it lowers my risk of serious illness but if others don’t want to it doesn’t affect me.
I’m just interested to see whether those that disagree with Chivers are doing so because they have additional facts and data that disproves him, or whether they’re doing so out of ideology.

Andrew McDonald
AM
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Quite right.

Dave Mil
Dave Mil
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m not saying they’re incorrect per se. You can take almost any data and present it to support a particular view. But these data are useless as a means of determining the true likelihood of someone dying from covid. There are so many risk factors to take into consideration (e.g. age, general health condition, inter alia). To imply that there is a universal truth that every unvaccinated person is 165 times more likely to die from covid than anyone who is vaccinated is ignorant at best, disingenuous at worst. Almost no children have died from covid.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Mil

This is very true there are many different factors determining the risk from the virus. However when setting a policy at a national level, the government of the day will have to work on averages rather than individual cases.
Almost no children have died from Covid, but an even smaller percentage have died from complications arising from the vaccine. This is why I believe it should be available, and the decision left to the parents as to which they believe carries the greater risk

Dave Mil
DM
Dave Mil
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Surviving the vaccine isn’t the only measure of its success. We dont know what the long term consequences of the vaccine could be which is why it should be self evident to take a prudent approach and not administer the vaccine to a cohort that presents such a limited risk from the virus itself.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Mil

We do not know what the long term consequences of the virus are either. And it is likely to have a much heavier footprint that the vaccine.

Joe Blow
NM
Joe Blow
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Upon what ‘science’ do you make this claim? Please justify it. Journaled peer-reviewed references preferred.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

I did say ‘likely’ – and since we would have to wait for twenty years or so before we were sure about the long term consequences of either this cannot be proved either way. So no proof and no references – but the argument is simple enough. The classical vaccines introduce a dose of protein or dead virus – once. mRNA or virus-based vaccines cause your cells to produce the protein – again once. The virus stays around for longer, because it replicates and infects new cells. It infects more cells. It produces more different proteins and interferes more with the in-cell machinery, it kills cells to release new virions. And it is capable of mutating and producing new variants. The vaccine will have other components, lipids, adjuvants, whatever, but unlike the parts of the corona virus these have been selected and validated by regulators (as best they could) to cause minimum possible damage and long term effects. It is not completely impossible that you could get a vaccine that caused more damage than the virus and that got through the initial trials without showing it, but sounds very unlikely indeed. The virus might not give long term damages either (though we do have long COVID already), but it is a good bet that it is likely to be more dangerous than the vaccine.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
EG
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Prevalence of Clinical and Subclinical Myocarditis in Competitive Athletes With Recent SARS-CoV-2 Infection Results From the Big Ten COVID-19 Cardiac Registry JAMA 2021(with references to 4 other studies along the same lines)
For those that survived a spell in an ICU there is PICS https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ams2.415
Neuropathic sequelae described here :
Neuropathogenesis and Neurologic Manifestations of the Coronaviruses in the Age of Coronavirus Disease 2019A Review JAMA 2020
Pulmonary sequelae described here :
Follow-up study of the pulmonary function and related physiological characteristics of COVID-19 survivors three months after recovery EClinicalMedicine 2020

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

They don’t “have” to set any policy, let alone work on averages.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Mil

It is not a universal truth – certainly not to the extent that the number 165 holds across all age groups. But I believe it is true that across age groups and conditions the unvaccinated are many time more likely to die of COVID than the vaccinated. My guess is you would find the same across all groups you looked at, e.g. with various kinds of vulnaribilities, athletes, … with very few exceptions. Anyway, the numbers in Tom Chivers links, while incomplete, point to that. What do your numbers point to?

Tom May
Tom May
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Because the people dying are old. What are the comparable ratios for unvaxed and vaxed 20 year old people?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom May

Enlighten me, what are those statistics?

Graham Stull
GS
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Thanks for an informative post. I cannot critique your numbers, but nothing in there to suggest to me they are problematic. Anyway, more authoritative sources have also pointed out that the risk/benefit ratio for children is rather finely balanced. Just a couple of comments:

When you are looking at low risks to very large groups, absolute risk reduction is apt to make the problem look less than it is, just like relative risk reduction is apt to make it look worse. Your data have both, but many choose to quote only one.

It is also worth at least considering that the long-term risks of getting COVID are no better known than the risks of getting vaccinated, and that reducing transmission has benefits for third parties also.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Although I am very much in favour of covid vaccines, I have been wondering if we may have reached the point where we should concentrate on the vulnerable, and getting the rest of the world vaccinated.

A counter argument might be that we may not then have the vaccine induced herd immunity to cope with any more virulent new variant from abroad, especially as immunity wears off after a couple of months

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

That could well be. It is sure not an easy thing to figure out.

Graham Stull
GS
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I can’t agree that ARR understates the problem. The question of risk put in words is this: If I do A, versus doing B, how much more likely am I to suffer a negative outcome? This is what ARR tells you and it is what the average person understands when they think of risk.
I challenge you to find an intuitive formulation in words that expresses the concept of RRR, that the non-mathsy person can relate to and which could compel their animal spirits to triple mask, deprive their children of education, starve the developing world… The fact is the authorities know that the RRR numbers are essentially meaningless and are misinterpreted by the average journalist who reads them. That is why they keep using them.
Actually they are worse than meaningless. They magnify the error from the (incorrect) implicit assumption that no confounders exist in the data. In other words, by calculating RRR for such a small absolute risk, the fact that the actual deaths are heavily influenced by confounders (what are the health characteristics of the unvaxxed who die/don’t die of/with covid, vis-a-vis the vaxxed who die/don’t die of/with covid?) is magnified exponentially by the RRR number. As the actual risk becomes vanishingly small (ie. omicron) the size of the exponent for the error term goes to infinity.
I should say this is not normally a problem in medical data, because the absolute risk is usually large enough for these effects to be within a range of comparability. There we’re talking about diseases that actually kill people.
As regards your final point: the long-term risks of covid are better known than for the vaccines by a whole year, because that is how much longer the time series goes. Theory also implies these risks will be lower, because we know something about the way spike protein is released in the case of infection – it is less concentrated than for the mRNA vaccines. This is likely why the cases of myocarditis from vacccination are much more severe than those resulting from natural infection. Any soccer fan knows this: In 2020, when infections were happening but vaccination wasn’t, no young men were dropping dead on the pitch. Fast-forward a year and soccer leagues are putting in place protocols to keep the bodies off camera during televised matches.
We also know that the immuno-suppression effect is particular to case of vaccine-induced immunity. Those who have recovered from covid and are not vaccinated have a measurable T- and B-cell response to repeated infection; the vaxxed who face subsequent infection have a stronger S-antibody response but are not responding with the full range of immuno-weaponry. And as the S-antibody response wanes, the vaxxed are left largely weaponless.
This is why the data now clearly shows negative efficacy for those who were double-vaxxed and face omicron. Too few S-antibodies, too badly targeted.
For now, it’s not a catastrophe, because omicron is so damn mild and the boosters are effective in providing short term protection, largely among the elderly.
But what happens next September?

Last edited 2 years ago by Graham Stull
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

You seem to live on a planet where omicron is harmless, and people are dropping like flies from being vaccinated. I am not convinced that is the same planet I live on, so while your rough estimates sound no less solid than my rough estimates, I cannot trust your data or conclusions. It would take the usual well-evidenced data from an authoritative source to convince me.

Meanwhile, on risk ratios. people (myself included) are notoriously ill equipped to understand probabilities. I think the best way is to give absolute numbers and include the popoulation, as in ‘5000 people in the UK’. We latch on to that better. If we are looking at an individual choice (like drinking a pint a day), yes, I agree that absolute risk reduction is a reasonable second best. ‘Reduces by a factor of ten’ is certainly too strong if the risk is too small to worry about in either case. So far I’ll ocncede your point. If we agree that the problem is big enough to worry about that consideration falls away, and then relative risk reduction does have the advantage that it can apply across subgroups with widely different risks – I believe that COVID vaccination reduces the risk of death by comparable factors across all age groups, even though the absolute risk varies across groups. Also we cannot vary the look of the number by merging groups with different risks. ‘5000 people in Burnley’ sounds a lot worse than ‘a 0.01% increase of deaths in the UK’, even though the numbers are the same. The problem comes in when we at looking at small risks for large groups. Say that vaccination could reduce COVID deaths in the UK from 5000 to one. You can relate to that. If you say ‘a five-thousand-fold decrease in risk’ you are exaggerating. But if you put it, again, as ‘a 0.01% reduction of deaths in the UK’ you are strongly implying that it is too small to worry about, and not worth giving up your weekly hour in the pub. And do you really think tha t5000 deaths are an irrelevance?

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You seem to live on a planet where omicron is harmless, and people are dropping like flies from being vaccinated.”
Oh come on, Rasmus. You and I are both smart enough to understand that the infection fatality rate of omicron, (when you take out the ‘with’ component) is vanishingly low – 73% lower than for the already mostly harmless Delta strain:
Omicron: South Africa says fourth wave peak has passed as it lifts curfew | The BMJ
That means it’s a cold.
Are colds harmless? Not completely. If everyone gets them then a number – in absolute terms a big number – will die, either ‘of’ and ‘with’ the cold.
If we deployed the same number of PCR tests on a particular rhinovirus back in say 2017, we would get the same scary number of ‘cases’ we see now for omicron. Again, alot of those ‘cases’, by design among those who are frail and getting admitted to hospital, would be among very sick people.
My grandmother died of a cold back in 1994.
On the risk reductions thing we are talking apples and oranges. I never said that relative numbers are never the right numbers to use. But in assessing an individual’s risk of death from infection by a virus (this is what risk reduction means) the absolute number is better, for the reasons I have already mentioned.
For looking at whether 5,000 deaths is a big number or not, relative numbers are more relevant. Why? Because we need to compare whether those 5k is a large percentage of the total number of deaths or not. 5k deaths in the world is nothing. 5k deaths in Iceland, well that’s another story.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

AFAIAC 5000 deaths are five thousand deaths, whether they happen to live in Iceland or spread around the world. The measures I would find worth taking – or not – to prevent those deaths would be the same in either case (except, possibly, if I knew some of them personally).

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Confounders. That’s the explanation. Confounders.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Hi Billy Bob, Mil isn’t saying the ‘statistics are incorrect’. His criticism is that numbers can be used to mislead. In support: The OWID website numbers Chivers uses to base claims that Mil believes contribute to ‘misinformation and willful distortions’ exclude ‘partially-vaccinated people’, therefore the cohort most at risk through having their innate immune system suppressed, and, secondly, speak to relative and not absolute risk of death.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Relative risk of death is exactly what we should be looking at. It tells us whethar vaccination helops or hinders, without confusing it with the question of how many people there are in each group. As for your ‘partially vaccinated people with suppressed innate immune systems’ I do not think the concept is valid, but it sounds like an analysis of the data should be able to show whether there is such a problem. Can you point to one?

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I beg to differ. I have no interest whatsoever in my relative risk of dying. My only interest is my absolute risk. Then shouldn’t (referring to your second point) you be arguing for their inclusion?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

It depends on what alternatives you are looking at. If getting vaccinated makes you ten times less likely to die of COVID that seems like agood argument in favour of vaccination, whatever the absolute risk. It certainly eliminates the confusion from comparing risks in different populations. It also prevents you from deciding that the risk from omicron is ‘effectively zero’, while still worrying about the much smaller risk from vaccination.

As for ‘partially vaccinated’ people, I have never heard that vaccination made you more vulnerable to infection, but I can clearly see why you would only include fully vaccinated people if you want to check how well vaccination works. But if you think people with one but not two doses of vaccination constitute a separate and uniquely vulnerable group, then a separate statistical analysis ought in principle to be able to confirm that.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s wrong on various levels. First, the numbers are based on incorrect records concerning COVID deaths, as co-morbidities or other diseases were and are vastly ignored. Second, the true numbers of infection are in fact unknown, as vaccinated people are tested much less frequently than unvaccinated people. Third, different countries use different ways of recording all aforementioned numbers, so even these incorrect averages are not comparable. Fourth, the data lacks any detail pertaining to age, BMI, diet, smoker status etc. and is thus completely worthless on the individual level that is suggested by the wording.

Caroline Watson
CW
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

A ‘small number of deaths’ can never be worth it to vaccinate powerless people, with no personal or legal agency, against an illness that will barely affect them, for the sake of others who do have agency and have used it to become morbidly obese or a smoker.
Children are vaccinated against polio because it kills and disables children. I, along with other teenage girls in the 1970s, was vaccinated against German measles because, when contracted in pregnancy, it can kill and disable babies. There may have been some risks with the vaccine, but they were vastly outweighed by the risks of the illnesses.
Vaccination, particularly of a vaccine which does not prevent infection or transmission but merely alleviates symptoms, is only appropriate for those people for whom the risk to themselves of contracting the disease exceed the potential risk of the vaccine. For a healthy child, that will never be the case for Covid. Children must not be used as a human shield for adults. Vaccination of healthy children should, until the vaccines have been properly tested and licensed, be not only advised against, but forbidden in law.

David Fülöp
David Fülöp
2 years ago

Very well thought through and articulated argument, thank you.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago

Perfectly expressed. As an aside, Bob Moran’s cartoon of a geriatric wearing a baby carrier with the words “Pfizer STAB VEST” written across the front to illustrate the slogan “Protect the Vulnerable” will for ever sum up for me the peculiar horror of this aspect of the hysteria.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

There is certainly an ethical limit here. As some other Unherd article pointed out, if the hospital has one young motor cyclist whom you could save, and three people dying for lack of organ transl[palnts,. a purely utilitarian calculation would require you to let the motorcyclist die and use his organs to save the others. Which is not only unacceptable but horrible.

Your problem is that you are making some quite questionable assumptions:

  • That vaccination is much more dangerous than COVID, for children; AFAIK the risks are extremely low in either case.
  • That the vaccination has no effect on transmission – AFAIK it significantly reduces transmission even if it does not completely prevent it.
  • That COVID only harms those who are particularly vulnerable and who brought it on themselves anyway; not true, and quite a nasty thing to say anyway.
Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are attempting to apply ethical insight obtained from choices between individuals who have suffered harm to the deliberate act of inflicting harm on healthy children. This is unwarranted.
Meanwhile, the risk of COVID to children is known and quantified: 0%, rounded to several significant figures.
The risk of the experimental gene transfer therapies to children is unquantified, plausibly accommodates a range with a very high upper value, and will not be known for years even on the basis of the safety trials currently in progress. Your claim that the risk of the gene therapy to children is extremely low is not even wrong.
Speculation about the effect of the therapy on transmission to others, and the effect of the virus on others, is therefore irrelevant. Treatment fails the determining risk/benefit test for the healthy child.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Lyon
Elena Lange
Elena Lange
2 years ago

Another one like this from Tom Chivers, and I’ll unsubscribe. I can read anti-humane baiting like his anywhere in the herd mentality press.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Elena Lange

I love that people sign up to a website that is about putting forward different viewpoints and not following the herd, then throw a hissy fit and threaten to cancel their subscription the minute an article is posted that differs from their worldview

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s brilliant isn’t it?