- Covid epidemiology data increasingly show that those at significant risk of severe disease and death are the elderly and those with comorbidities. The vast majority of the population is not at significant risk.
- The risk/benefit profile of covid inoculations is not at all compelling for mass roll-outs, let alone mandates.
- Mandated Covid inoculation does more harm than good, especially considering the dystopian society and perverse incentives created.
- The evidence and logic are clear; for me it is past time to speak up and push back against mandating ineffective trial treatments.
If you only have time to look up one of the many credible and compelling links included here, please review this presentation (video & PDF of slides with references) from the Canadian Covid Care Alliance. A convincing case is made that the “Pfizer inoculations for Covid-19 do more harm than good” and “should be withdrawn immediately.”
While I am no health scientist or professional, I have done a PhD so am familiar with the scientific process and peer review. My view is not set in stone but follows the evidence. The Covid virus itself is changing and of course the scientific knowledge about it is also developing. My thinking and response are correspondingly open to change.
I should also disclose how my values may influence (bias) my thinking. My environmental sustainability and spiritual values are such that I favour natural approaches to health and wellbeing over pharmaceutical intervention, wherever possible. This is as much based on values as it is on science. This does not mean that I never take a pharmaceutical intervention. In fact, my gut health in the last year has significantly improved largely thanks to a pharmaceutical intervention. In the area of Covid prevention and treatment, my existing beliefs and values draw me to natural and lifestyle approaches to health promotion. Already following a plant-based diet, I am heartened to know my risk reduction is 73% for moderate-to-severe Covid-19.
My Current Position
Notwithstanding my openness to learn and grow, I believe Australian and global public health policy settings are far removed from what would be expected from a society that prioritises values of health, safety and societal freedom (as has been understood and practised in Western democracies for much of the last couple of centuries).
“Covid-19 comes nowhere near the level of lethality needed to justify what amounts to a huge inroad into the basic standards of a functioning liberal democracy.” – James Allan, Garrick Professor of Law, UQ
Why the Apparent Mismatch Between Public Policy and Scientific Evidence?
I trust our government and health professionals to be doing the best they can given:
- The knowledge and training they have, and
- The pressure of public expectation that has been created by the interplay of the pandemic, emerging scientific knowledge, pharmaceutical technology development, policy response and media reporting.
There is a significant degree of institutionalisation (knowledge, values, rules) and path dependency that helps to explain how this interplay may not always lead to optimal public health outcomes. My PhD on institutionalisation and path dependency in another field provides me with some experiential basis to posit this explanation.
But Isn’t there a Scientific Consensus?
In many fields there develops over time a consensus of scientific enquiry such that new evidence tends to confirm core hypotheses and these are eventually firm enough to inform public policy. An example is anthropogenic global warming.
Fact checkers (such as FactCheck.org, Politifact, etc) are usually useful points of reference for the non-expert public citizen. However, the science of Covid is novel compared to most other fields of enquiry, thus knowledge is rapidly growing. Often that necessitates changing basic assumptions and decisions about public health science and policy.
Is there a role for fact-checkers when scientific enquiry can often be more divergent than convergent at this early stage? Unfortunately, current fact-checking regarding Covid is at risk of being driven more by political and corporate interests defending existing or desired policy settings rather than being open to the truth gained through genuine and open scientific enquiry.
A case in point is when the highly prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) was “fact-checked” by Facebook/Meta such that BMJ felt compelled to publish a pointed open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, identifying the fact-checking as “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible”. The original story was the BMJ’s publication of a whistle-blower’s disclosure of concerns regarding Pfizer’s clinical trials.
The Logical Case Against Mandates
There is quite a compelling case against inoculation mandates from a health science and policy point of view. There is minimal to zero personal benefit, negligible societal benefit (in terms of transmission risk), and some level of personal health risk. While there are regulatory norms around safety and efficacy that arguably have not been satisfied for covid inoculations, whether the level of personal health risk is ultimately tolerable or not should be, in my opinion, left up to personal values and judgment. This is usually referred to as informed consent.
There are also undesirable societal impacts of inoculation mandates beyond epidemiological metrics. A perverse incentive is created by mandating en masse a pharmaceutical intervention which unavoidably carries some level of health risk (even if only perceived), is urgently fast-tracked in the context of a declared global pandemic, and from which pharmaceutical companies derive a significant profit. The perverse incentive is to cut corners on safety and efficacy trials, and to ‘sell’ a message of fear to the public to increase demand. There is also a perverse incentive to ignore and even demonise effective treatment options. (Early treatment has saved millions of lives in many developing countries, which have far better disease and death rates compared to Western countries.)
Do we really want there to be a gold-rush mentality among pharmaceutical companies the next time there is a chance of a global pandemic?
Mandates also promote anxiety, distrust and division in an already suffering society.
Thankfully Japan is modelling an approach based on informed consent as opposed to compulsion; though it is somewhat alarming that it is unique in this regard. In relation to Covid inoculation, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare clearly states: “Please do not force anyone in your workplace or those who around you… and do not discriminate.”
Isn’t it selfish to push back against inoculation?
If inoculation was safe and effective (including at preventing transmission), then yes, it could be argued to be selfish not to be inoculated. The preponderance of evidence undermines these requisite conditions, however.
There are a number of legitimate alternative perspectives that actually put the ‘selfishness’ shoe on the other foot:
- Mandating inoculations to whole populations in wealthy countries while even the most vulnerable populations in poor countries do not have access to inoculations also seems to be selfish. So even if inoculations were safe and effective, citizens may be motivated to refuse inoculation by preferring that limited doses be prioritised for more vulnerable populations.
- There is a possible risk that inoculations may encourage mutations arguably extending the pandemic beyond a timeline associated with natural herd immunity. (This assumes marginal effectiveness, which is what the data seem to show.)
- If the risk/benefit ratio of inoculation is poor yet inoculations are still mandated, then refusing the mandates can be an act of selflessness in standing in solidarity against mandated medical intervention in the absence of informed consent.
Trying to influence the choices of another by applying labels of selfishness is itself an inherently self-serving act. Coercion is antithesis to selflessness, love and freedom. Protesting against illogical mandates at risk of losing one’s livelihood is hard to construe as selfish (although such construction has been attempted).
Follow-up Post (added 11 January)
See my follow-up post for:
- What public health policy would I recommend?
- Alternative views (‘fact check’) on the CCCA presentation
- Where to find published scientific evidence on Covid prevention and treatments (in addition to the links below).
Risk reduction and early treatment: https://covid19criticalcare.com/
Declarations & advocacy against mandates:
Thanks for sharing Daniel. Very, very interesting times. Might I add parentswithquestions.com.au as we approach the children aged 5-11 being approved.
Thanks Ineka! I hadn’t heard of that website & group – thanks for sharing!
I share much of the same sentiment and recently had my relatives family get COVID. One family member who tested positive was vaccinated while the rest of the family was not vaccinated. They are getting better now without any hospitalisation. The vaccinated person tested positive after 7 days and was told to re-isolate even though it took 4 days to get her second test result. The common thought is that vaccinated don’t spread the virus as much however this seems incorrect in this case.
I think an unhealthy society makes a flu much worse.
I have read your thoughts above with interest. I hope you respect my qualifications as I respect yours. Mine are in health care, as you know.
Your article addresses health, moral and political issues, all of which are in play at present. You have some good points and some I respectfully disagree with. The current arguments about the safety of vaccines and the posit that they are more dangerous than the SARS-CoV2 virus is based on substantial and proven misinformation. You quote the Canadian Health Alliance. They are associated closely with Liberty Coalition Canada, who feature ‘Dr’ Stephen Malthouse, a controversial homeopathic practitioner, who has had numerous complaints from physicians in Canada against his dangerous claims about treatment for COVID-19 (See https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-stephen-malthouse-doctors-petition-college-1.6092437 ). Both he and the Alliance are not credible. COVID-19 has caused the greatest amount of misinformation on health matters of any topic in the history of mankind, IMHO. I have 13 Gb of material on my computer on the topic, (none of which is video) and have done hundreds of hours of research on the disease, its Biology, its Epidemiology, its genetic structure and similar amounts of research on the vaccines produced to counter its serious effects on the body, alternative treatments, including “natural” ones and potential risks of vaccination. Most of that has been via the scientific literature, although a lot of work against the crazy theories out there has indeed been done by fact-checking websites. I am flabbergasted by the serious misuse of particularly statistical information from the US VAERS system, even by well-qualified doctors, who have re-invented themselves as online orators. Some of them rival the worst of the US televangelists. I would be more than happy to share with you the latest version of a 33 page article I have compiled over the last twelve months, answering many of the concerns people have. It deals with the medical aspects, largely, and some of the moral aspects. The political aspects are another debate, as are those concerning mandates. Just ask. God Bless, David
Thanks so much for engaging with me on this topic. I would definitely be interested to review your paper. And yes, I definitely respect you and your qualifications. I’m open to learning and changing my views with evidence.
I wasn’t aware of who was behind the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, and do wish they would be more transparent about who they are. Thanks for giving me some of that background. I do not subscribe to homeopathy as a legitimate discipline; however, I am more interested in substantive refutations of the concerns raised. I’m sure your paper will cover them. My awareness of many of the concerns highlighted by CCCA does not rely on the CCCA presentation, by the way. It just happens that the CCCA has done an effective job of presenting in an accessible format the concerns that many others have raised elsewhere.
There’s an AFP fact check on the CCCA presentation that only addresses some superficial issues, leaving the significant majority of concerns unanswered. I posted a response to that in my follow-up post. It would be helpful to see a rebuttal to the items not addressed, as I list in that follow-up post.
I agree that there is a lot of misinformation about Covid-19 online. I would also suggest that global warming is right up there as another area with a lot of misinformation online too. A lot of people have damaged their credibility by speaking against the mainstream scientific narrative on global warming, just as I am risking my credibility by highlighting what appears to me to be holes in the mainstream narrative on Covid-19.
I’ve also had some interesting chats with Andrew on these issues, and he has also helped broaden my perspective. Thank you to all the Drs Pennington for critical review of my thinking and views.
I hope you and Del are well!
I just did a bit of investigation re supposed links between Stephen Malthouse and the CCCA, and couldn’t find anything linking the two search terms in Google. I did find a link between Malthouse and the Canadian Health Alliance, but that is different to the Canadian Covid Care Alliance. At first I thought it was just a typo in your comment, but now I’m guessing this could be a case of mistaken identity. I still don’t know who is behind the CCCA, but from the evidence available I would find it hard to demonstrate that Malthouse is part of it.
Whether he is or isn’t involved in CCCA, at the end of the day, is largely irrelevant to the substance of the concerns raised. Ultimately they stand or fall on their merits rather than on who said it.
It’s over a year later, and I reflect with interest on the evidence that has come to light since this post. The NSW premier has come out strongly against mandates, saying that they do nothing to reduce transmission. And prominent public health experts, scientific publications and news media are strongly challenging the official narrative of 2020 to 2022. See https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/10-myths-told-by-covid-experts-now-debunked/news-story/d414984470291668356217f4b3fa1f9c