The Empire State Building in New York City was just lit up in blue and cyan, reminding Americans to get our updated Covid booster!
— Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) September 16, 2023
On Sept. 12, President Biden announced that the FDA and CDC have authorized, approved, and recommended the updated Covid booster for everyone 6 months and older.
We mentioned a few weeks ago that the White House planned to roll out a new vaccine for the fall, and it looks like they’re right on track. This latest booster is supposed to protect against the XBB variants of Omicron.
How do the CDC classifications work?
The CDC has classified the XBB variants as Variants Being Monitored (VBM) at the current time. The most worrisome strains are variants of high consequence (VOHC), then Variants of Concern (VOC), Variants of Interest (VOI), and at the bottom, VBM.
So what does this mean?
It means even the CDC admits the variants currently making the rounds aren’t particularly dangerous. In fact, NBC news recently ran an article saying doctors are increasingly having difficulty distinguishing the new variants from a common cold.
But this didn’t stop former Covid czar, Dr. Ashish Jha, from going on The Today Show last week to promote the newest shot. He compares getting an annual Covid shot to getting an annual flu shot, explaining that since the viruses causing respiratory illness mutate so quickly, they need to produce updated vaccines corresponding to the circulating variant every year. In fact, he recommends getting your Covid shot along with your annual flu shot.
But should you really?
Now, I’m not a doctor. Of course, I’m not qualified to argue with Dr. Jha. But Dr. Vinay Prasad is a hematologist-oncologist and professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco, and so I would hope his opinion carries some weight. If you want to watch an informed, entertaining takedown of Dr. Jha’s booster promotion, I strongly recommend Dr. Prasad’s 20-minute video here.
Dr. Prasad focuses on a few key points. One is that none of Dr. Jha’s statements have any real evidence behind them. He has no real data to back up his assertion that this round of Covid boosters will work any better than the ones in the past. Another point of contention is that there are some key differences between the flu shots and Covid shots. Flu vaccines have never had the catastrophic side effects associated with Covid vaccines.
Why is the US the only country recommending Covid shots for kids?
And Dr. Prasad actually begins his video with a point I’d like to discuss further, which is that the U.S. is the only country pushing these shots on children. He notes that Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Australia have all restricted the Covid shots to people above the age of 50 unless they have other health issues.
Worldwide, most other countries, as well as the World Health Organization, do not recommend Covid shots to most people under 18.
When Florida’s surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo bucked the CDC’s guidelines and said that healthy people under 65 didn’t really need to worry about Covid anymore, he was excoriated in the press. But, if you look at other physicians around the world, Dr. Ladapo is not the outlier. He’s the normal one.
In the United Kingdom, Covid shots are only recommended for people under the age of 65 if they have underlying health conditions of if they are health care workers.
Which is more dangerous, COVID or the vaccine to prevent it?
Now, once again, I’m no medical expert, so I can’t really comment on whether the British or the Americans are more correct. But Dr. John Campbell is a Senior Lecturer in nursing studies at the University of Cumbria. He has also been a clinical nurse and nurse tutor for over 30 years. His instructional books and videos have been used all over the world for decades and so, like Dr. Prasad, I would hope that his opinion carries some weight.
Dr. John Campbell uses Pfizer’s official data to show that the harms from the vaccines are much greater than the hospitalizations that might be prevented.
For example, in the video, he says that for every million doses administered to the 12 to 17 age group, they prevent an estimated 19 to 95 Covid-related hospitalizations. However, according to Pfizer’s own trial data, those million doses will cause over 1000 adverse reactions. Administering this to children is just indefensible.
As Dr. Prasad muses, perhaps we are pushing this harder in the U.S. because Pfizer and Moderna are American companies, and the American government is footing the bill. It doesn’t really matter here if the shots go in our arms or down the drains because Big Pharma will get paid either way.
But Americans are paying attention.
YouTube has made it easy to listen to doctors from around the world. (For now, anyway.) Social media has made it easy to watch what other countries have done. We all saw how Sweden never locked down and didn’t really suffer. We saw how Floridians didn’t all die from Covid.
And now we can watch other countries quietly restrict the use of the newest shots to their oldest and sickest members and draw our own conclusions.
Despite the best efforts of share-owning politicians, Moderna’s stock plunged after the Pfizer CFO David Denton announced his company projects only 24% of eligible Americans will receive fall booster. And even this low number may be overly optimistic. Last fall, less than 20% of eligible people received the bivalent booster.
There will be consequences for defiance.
However, this widespread tuning out of establishment voices is bound to have consequences, and a startling one this week was the demonetization of anti-establishment provocateur Russell Brand’s YouTube channel.
Now, we know all about demonetization here at the OP, but Russell Brand’s situation is different. No one is accusing him of content violations. YouTube demonetized him because of their “creator responsibility policy”, which refers to any offline behavior. Including, apparently, accusations of offline behavior that so far have not been proven.
I don’t know what actually happened between Russell Brand and those young women. I do know that, in free countries, we’re supposed to assume people are innocent until proven guilty. Brand is effectively getting sentenced before the trial.
Russell Brand has a lot of defenders right now. While YouTube, publishers, concert venues, and legacy media outlets may have already decided he is guilty, I think the general public is willing to withhold judgment. Average citizens are starting to recognize that establishment figures are constantly trying to fill our heads with some combination of fear-mongering and bullshit. They’re starting to make up their own minds.
Here’s a recent experience I had.
I’d like to prove my point by sharing my recent experience at the pediatrician’s office. Now, I don’t see some enlightened private-practice physician that lets me do whatever I want. I go to the same kind of big hospital-affiliated practice most other people probably go to. The kind that, until three years ago, wouldn’t treat patients who deviated from the recommended vaccine schedule.
But in 2021 something funny happened. I’ve been long known for having notoriously healthy kids. We’re the family that shows up once a year for sports physicals, and that’s it. When my pediatrician asked how we were doing in the fall of 2021, I told her that we’d tested positive for Covid over the summer (before any of us, including myself, were even eligible for shots) but hadn’t gotten sick. She laughed and said that somehow, with my kids, that didn’t surprise her at all.
In 2022, my kids were eligible for the shots, and I was prepared to start arguing if the pediatrician suggested them. However, not only did the pediatrician not mention them, but the whole doctors’ office had also taken down their comprehensive lists of recommended vaccines. They just had posters with a few shots mentioned and then a suggestion to refer to the CDC’s website for the full list of recommended vaccines. They seemed determined to pretend that Covid vaccines for children just didn’t exist.
With the updated booster this year, I wondered what I’d find. Instead, not only did the pediatrician continue to avoid the subject of Covid vaccines, she didn’t give me the usual speech about other vaccines, either. She just seemed content that my children, as usual, showed up healthy and well-adjusted. As a pediatrician should.
There are all sorts of reasons this agenda is being pushed.
There are obviously a variety of reasons behind this latest Covid push. We’ve already discussed potential lockdowns as we head into the next election cycle. There are also financial interests and the general interest of politicians and media to keep the public afraid and easier to control. There may be other reasons, too. I can’t pretend to have an exhaustive list, or great insight into the balance of various powers.
All I know is that we’re engaged in an obvious struggle. One side is willing to make up bogus scientific claims and overturn hundreds of years of legal practice to exert control; the other just wants some measure of autonomy over itself.
But I find it extremely encouraging that seemingly wider groups of people are not buying into the fear-mongering. Whether it’s genuine concern for the well-being of children or a love of pure scientific truths, more people are simply not complying, and that’s exactly what we need.
What are your thoughts?
First, let us be clear. We want you to make your own decisions. If you choose to get shots and mask up, that should be your choice. If you choose not to, that should also be your choice.
What do you think about this latest push here in America for the next COVID booster? Why do you think the US is veering away from WHO guidelines and recommending this shot for children? Why do you think our recommendations differ from those of other countries? Will you get the booster or will you avoid it?
Let’s discuss it in the comments section.
About Marie Hawthorne
A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.