Monday, March 1, 2021

Lovely People Who Contribute To Deaths

Many of us are familiar with staunch antivaxxers - those who believe that Covid was created by Bill Gates and others to reduce and control the world's population, and that the vaccine serves to implant microchips in our bodies for some nefarious purposes. It's pointless to try to to engage with such conspiracy theorists.

But recently I've become aware of a different strain of antivaxxer - which we can perhaps term a "soft" antivaxxer. These are not crazy conspiracy theorists - they are lovely normal rational people. Such people do not consider themselves to be antivaxxers at all, and are not against all vaccines. They may even be in favor of the covid vaccine, for certain people who are at high risk of dying from covid. But they are against the covid vaccine being recommended for the general population. They provide all kinds of arguments that it has not been sufficiently tested and that it could cause harm that far outweighs the benefits.

The problem is that the arguments that they provide against the vaccine are invariably deeply flawed - and yet they presented in a seemingly convincing way. And so I would like to alert people to some of the misunderstandings and even deceptions which are used. (See too this article for an expose of an antivaxxer presenting misinformation and masquerading as a non-antivaxxer.)

1. "There is no scientific data about the long-term effects of the vaccine."

This is an example of a statement which is technically true but completely misleading. It's equally true to say that there is no scientific data about the long-term effects of the new flavor of Pringles. But the relevant point is whether there is reason to be concerned about the long-term picture. In this case, since mRNA molecules do not change DNA and break down quickly, and vaccine side-effects are seen within several weeks, medical experts (as opposed to Facebook experts) have concluded that there are no specific grounds for either short- or long-term concern. On the other hand, there are most certainly very strong grounds for concern about both the short-term and long-term effects of Covid, which in its newer strain is much more contagious and harmful.

2. "People just want to ask questions! Why are you trying to silence them? What are you trying to hide?"

The word "question" has two very different meanings. One meaning is to seek information in order to fill a gap in one's knowledge. Nobody is trying to silence these kind of questions about the vaccine. But the other meaning of "question" is to challenge. And that involves insisting on various claims. Since these claims are usually false and even dangerous and sometimes lethal, then yes, it is perfectly legitimate and appropriate for these to be forcefully rebuffed, just like any false and dangerous claim.

3. "Israel's population is being used as a lab experiment for clinical trials! The CEO of Pfizer himself even said so!"

This is an utter distortion of reality. The clinical trials for the safety of the vaccine have already taken place and are finished, with perfectly satisfactory results. What the Pfizer CEO spoke about was how Israel is a lab for seeing the results on the economy and health indices of an entire country once most of the country has received its vaccine.

4. "The FDA itself have not approved it! They only gave it emergency authorization! This shows that they themselves have concerns!"

This is an incorrect inference. There is a formal protocol, established many years ago, for vaccines to obtain formal approval. This includes the vaccine having been used for a certain amount of time and clinical studies on its effects on children and pregnant women. When the FDA was asked to approve the vaccine, these protocol requirements were not yet satisfied. But meanwhile the FDA was able to authorize it based on the fact that it went through all three phases of clinical trials and passed with flying colors. The benefits are overwhelming, it had been tested on tens of thousands of people without any serious ill effects, and no particular concerns are even theoretically suspected to actually exist. Since then, it has been successfully used for hundreds of millions of people, with an excellent success rate, and there are still no particular concerns.

5. "I just want to play it safe and not take it. That's my right!"

If you're literally going to lock yourself indoors and never have contact with anyone, then that's fine. But the reality is that everybody has some sort of contact with others in which Covid can be spread. If you're not vaccinated, then you are likely to contribute to this spread. Everyone else, entirely reasonably, wants the pandemic to be over so that people can stop overloading the hospitals and dying, and everyone can get back to work.

6. "People are entitled to make their own decisions, even wrong ones. We have to respect differences of opinion and respect everyone."

A lot of people say this, but nobody actually believes it. After all, we don't respect the opinions of  flat-earthers or antisemites. And while the former are relatively harmless, the latter are a danger to society, and we forcefully rebuff them and sometimes even try to silence them. Those who justify not taking the vaccine, making false arguments about the dangers of the vaccine, are a contributing cause to people who do not take the vaccine and die from Covid.

And this is not some theoretical faraway concern. Every single day in Israel, thousands of people are contracting coronavirus. Some of these people will get very sick, with long-term effects. Some of them will die. And yet every single one of these people had the option of taking the vaccine but did not do so. Why? Generally, it is because they were influenced by those who spread fears about it. 

One of the most famously tragic victims was Osnat Ben-Shitrit, a young woman who died of Covid last week, along with her 30-week old fetus that was also infected with coronavirus. It was reported that her brother-in-law was "the leader of a social-media group consisting of thousands of fellow anti-coronavirus-vaxxers. Nor was he the only spreader of fake news who caused her to reject the vaccine. According to her uncle, Uri Sa’adon, she was 'brainwashed' by 'all kinds of clowns playing doctor with people’s lives.' Had she not listened to them, he said, his niece would still be here with her husband, caring together for what were supposed to have been the couple’s five kids." While she was in hospital, she begged her friends to get vaccinated, and since her death, her family are now likewise begging people to be vaccinated.

It's fine and understandable to have questions or concerns or anxieties about the vaccine. But what you need to do is consult someone who knows what he/she is talking about. Such a person is not the anti-vaxx doctor that you found on the internet, who represents a fringe crank element. Rather, it's the mainstream medical establishment, or your personal physician. And then accept what they say - or if not, then keep quiet. If you raise concerns with others about the safety of the vaccine, based on your non-expert opinion and misunderstandings of the topic and anxieties, then you share responsibility for the deaths that are taking place every day. You might be a lovely person with many wonderful accomplishments, but this will not be one of them.


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  1. I want to take the vaccine. I'm not an antivaxxer nut who believes that Bill Gates created Covid and the vaccine to experiment on the world's population, but I am suspicious that Israelis are targeted as the non-kosher guinea pig and the fact that the vaccine is not FDA approved is rather strange. Trump boasted at CPAC that he developed a vaccine in a few months. Isn't that extremely dangerous? Doesn't it take years to approve it? Biden said it should take five to ten years. Could you add the FDA "question" to your list of answers? Thanks.

    1. The vaccines are FDA approved. They are approved by FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization regulatory pathway. From where did you get the idea that they are not approved? (Oh, I know the answer to that).

    2. Thanks, Rabbi. What you wrote makes sense.

    3. Student, I was told they were not approved. Could you share a link that offers proof? Where did you think I got the idea?

    4. "Shmuel" who is obviously Turk Hill by another name,
      Go on the FDA website. You have to be living under a rock to not know that they approved the vaccines being administered.

      As an aside, this argument about Israel being a lab for the vaccine is particularly stupid. Pfizer has distributed millions of doses worlwide, including in the US itself. But the stupidity is the point.

    5. This is incorrect. Emergency Use Authorization is NOT the same thing as FDA Approval. Their designation under Emergency Use Authorization means that they are not yet approved under any government agency but instead this means they are "authorized" for use. This means (by definition) that they are still considered experimental and have not been shown conclusively to be safe and effective per the existing protocols. Look at the authorization letters for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the FDA: "Based on the totality of scientific evidence available to FDA, it is reasonable to believe that (Pfizer/Moderna) vaccine MAY be effective in preventing COVID19." Far from a certain or declarative statement. In fact the reason the US military cannot force vaccines on the military or advertise on TV/radio is because it is still considered experimental.

    6. Leibster, what you and your fellow propagandist fail to point out here is the context - No one can just create an Emergency Use Authorization out of thin air and start selling their product. It is an FDA REGULATORY PATHWAY, which requires FDA review and approval, with a set of requirements for each product!

      Before they were approved (Yes, they were approved by FDA for emergency use authorization - No one else gave that go-ahead), the clinical data for each of these products were also thoroughly reviewed by outside experts who were nominated by FDA as an expert advisory committee to vote on whether FDA should or should not provide the companies EUA's for marketing to the public. These were day-long meetings that were publicly held and in all cases the experts voted overwhelmingly in favor of approval. The FDA is not legally bound to that recommendation but takes it under consideration.

      Here is the data for each product as reviewed by the adcom and the FDA:

      Here are the links to the hours-long public meetings that anyone can view for themselves to hear from (outside-FDA) experts:

      Every drug used for Covid19 also went through the EUA pathway rather than full approval. That is true for your beloved hydroxychloroquine. It does NOT have full FDA approval for Covid19. It has EUA. So do monoclonal antibodies, which are not a placebo for Covid19 unlike HCQ. EUA is meant to be an accelerated pathway for products that will EVENTUALLY achieve full approval as more requirements are met with further detail because the pandemic, for good reason, is considered an emergency.

      Many of the same people insisting that this technically doesn't have FDA approval would tell you that they do not support FDA approved vaccines either. Suddenly full FDA approval is their barometer of truth only because Covid19 vaccines don't have it yet.

      FDA has strict requirements it is legally bound to for regulatory approvals depending on which pathway is utilized. At this time it cannot make those statements legally and the boilerplate language you cite is reflecting that distinction. To suggest that these vaccines DON'T work, based on all the evidence gathered to date and evaluated by FDA and outside experts is a nonsensical fantasy. FDA will definitively state, as per its legal restrictions, that they DO work (conclusively) when they are granted full approvals in the future.

      Since no one is claiming that EUA is the same thing as a full approval (biologic licensing application), your argument is a straw man. The technical difference between them has no bearing on the discussion of whether to get vaccinated against Covid19.

    7. Nice elaboration student v, thanks.

    8. Look, I’m not an antivaxxer. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. What I will never understand is that you are just as ill-informed as antivaxxers. Yes, antivaxxers are dangerous, but so are people who believe everything the government or scientist says. How many minutes did you spend learning about the vaccine? How many vaccines were never used or denied to the public?

    9. Shlomo - Ok Mr. vaccine expert, how many vaccines did you get?

    10. Insulting me by baselessly calling me "ill-informed" is an underhanded way of avoiding the substance of my arguments. I guess I left you speechless. Facts usually do that to antivaxxers.

      I posted links here with hours of research. You are taking the side of antivaxxers (an irrational non-Jewish movement with corrupt motives and which routinely lies, that some in the frum community have decided to mimic and copy) without spending any time delving into this research. That doesn't reflect well on you, sir.

      Since I didn't make the argument that one should "believe everything a government or scientist says," this is once again a straw man and by definition doesn't address the substance of this discussion.

      It's rather telling that you rely on the saying, "a broken clock is right twice a day" to "convince" us that antivaxers are correct this time, not due to evidence or anything favoring their arguments, but simply due to random chance and because they were wrong so many other times. What a bizarre line of argumentation.

    11. Student, I got a little carried away. Please know that I never meant to insult you in any way. I’m not an antivaxxer. I take vaccines, save the flu shot. I only question the "approval." I think it's healthy to be apprehensive about a vaccine that the government created within a few short months. Don't you?

    12. Well, evidently it is not "healthy," because it's the people with "healthy skepticism" who are dying of Covid-19.

    13. Shmuel, the government didn't create any of the vaccines. Scientists at multiple biotech and pharmaceutical companies created them. The same people who create all the vaccines we take.

    14. FALSE. It's the people who belive the lies of this pandemic that are dying of fear.

  2. Usually the virus only effects elderly people more than young people. I was surprised. It's very sad.

    1. The newer strains are much more dangerous.

    2. Insofar as Rabbi Dr Slifkin's comments are intended to imply that the case fatality rate of the new variants are higher for younger age groups, his comments have no basis in published or prepublished empirical studies. They may be true. It may not. At the moment it is simply performance art. Not so much a guess as a statement of longing.

      Now Rabbi Dr Slifkin may be a lovely person. But in ignoring the material risks his unscientific comments makes, he actually creates danger.

      The only under 50 year old frum Jew to die during the pandemic in the UK died nebech at his own hands. That is a fact the moral panic mongerers need to spend more time dealing with. Domestic abuse has soared. Addiction services are overwhelmed. Young people are dying but not of what you think they are dying of.

    3. Until mid-February, the vast majority of hospitalizations were people 60+, today in Israel, the majority of hospitalizations are below 60 as more than 80% of people over 60 are full vaccinated.

      COVID is no longer an "Old People's disease" in Israel, it now predominantly effects younger unvaccinated people.

      You can see a graph here:

    4. Michael, from where did this new strain arrive? Why it is affecting more people than usual?

    5. The Hat,
      There are plenty of young women (pregnant and not) who are suddenly having very adverse reactions to covid, including known cases of death/near death. There probably aren't any studies on this as yet, but it is very reasonable to be concerned about this, when docs on the ground are reporting a significant upswing in serious complications in the past few weeks/months. Perhaps in a few months we will learn this was nothing but perception; that's no reason not to follow the limited information in front of us.

    6. The data is in Shlomo. There no need to guess. I know a young man my age who was briefly on a ventilator. He had plenty of physiological reserve and recovered well.

      I'm not denying coronavirus, is, occasionally, a severe disease in the young. But the vast majority of deaths occur in the people who have been prioritised for vaccination. Risk doubles with every 8 years of age, and the under 20s have a a higher CFR from influenza then from Covid 19.

      Do you acknowledge the harms caused to young people by lockdown or are you a mental health denier, every bit as irrational as the Covid deniers?

    7. Incidentally see Rabbi Dr Slifkin's response at 7:27 to mw below where he correctly rejected appeals to authority in favour of appeals to evidence. Of course he only does this to further the cause of moral funk. Consistency cannot be expected of those who contribute to the deaths of the young through their irrational, selfish lockdowns due to their lack of rational control over their fears.

    8. There's nothing wrong with appeals to authority and I never rejected them.

    9. The Hat,
      "The data is in Shlomo. There no need to guess. I know a young man my age who was briefly on a ventilator. He had plenty of physiological reserve and recovered well." The data is in on the last few weeks/months of serious cases in the frum world in NY/NJ/Israel? What are you talking about? I've heard from a number of doctors that they have seen a major spike of serious cases among young frum women (mostly pregnant). The data is in on that? Are we supposed to somehow divine this data from your single incident with a single friend?
      "Do you acknowledge the harms caused to young people by lockdown or are you a mental health denier, every bit as irrational as the Covid deniers?" 100 percent, I acknowledge it. What does that have to do with urging young people to get the vaccine?

    10. Rabbi Dr Slifkin was presented with an appeal to the authority of Faucci. He rejected it because the facts favour his policy agenda.
      "Fauci, the manufactures and, science (particularly the studies done on the vaccine) do not say that getting the vaccine will prevent transmission."

      To which he responded without further debate about the meaning of the pirush of HaRav HaGaon Rashkebahag Faucci but with facts 'while the goal of the vaccine was not to prevent transmission, the evidence now shows that it does prevent it.'

      The only thing that is relevent is evidence. Everything else is moral funk and groupthink.

      If Rabbi Dr Slifkin considers appeals to authority valid he ought to renounce his own heresies about the Earth not being flat since Chazal themselves have opined on this matter.

    11. Shlomo, to go of on a tangent, I've heard all sorts of things from doctors.

      I've heard from a psychiatrist who hasn't been seeing patients face to face apart from occasional prison visits. Of course he got his vaccine months before the prison officers who spend all day in the prison got theirs.

      I've heard from a doctor who was really concerned about all the Covidiots who were out and about and ruining things for other people. That doctor was suspended from practice due to a patient complaint, but still saw fit to send his children into school as children of key workers (his wife didn't work).

      I've seen family (GP) practices that have furloughed or laid off employee or locum doctors as they have decided that provision of general practice healthcare want something they needed to do during a pandemic.

      I've heard from another London based frum doctor - very senior and good at his job - who thought that April 2020 was the appropriate time to complain on Twitter that doctors have to pay for their parking spaces and February 2021 was an appropriate time to complain that doctors, like everyone else in the UK, pay taxes on their pension savings in excess of £210,000 (actually the doctors had a temper tantrum and the taxpayer funded pension scheme had agreed to pay the taxes on their pensions but somehow they are still the victims here.)

      I've heard from another doctor who was busy panicking on WhatsApp groups in April not to get masks, they are very dangerous for non doctors. Despite being incredibly vocal she has yet to explain her sudden enthusiasm for these self same masks. Lovely person; no skill in understanding new data.

      A bearded doctor at a post office thought he didn't have to wait in the line with me and everyone else because he was a doctor.

      I've also just tried to arrange a friend to get registered with a family doctor following a very serious diagnosis with a 50 percent 5 year mortality rate made after an acute episode which ended in admission to A&E with cyanotic hypoxia. After 4 weeks of unmedicated gasping for air she has finally got a 10 minute telephone consultation to discuss medication (she left hospital with a 7 day supply).

      All the doctors who sent care home residents back to infect others and refused to accept new admissions from care homes (yes, that was a real thing) - we saw what you did.

      In short I don't really care what doctors say. I have lost any respect for their title. Too many were cowardly, irrational, selfish, entitled and lacking basic empathy towards those who lost their jobs, education and economic opportunity, to Save the NHS.

      Shlomo, look at the mortality data for the past month by age rather than trusting a white coat.

    12. 'Serious spike in young women' - I think you and I are thinking of the same one woman. It's incredibly rare. Incredibly sad and I'm so sorry for the family - but incredibly rare. Unlike alcoholism and domestic violence, which are absolutely rampant.

      You ask what the connection is been vaccines and lockdowns. Vaccines have provided the excuse for lockdowns. The Big Lie is that nobody will die if enough people comply with vaccinations. That is not true. Sadly vaccines do not prevent 100 percent of deaths and if you wait for zero deaths you wait for ever. The Big Lie is preventing unreasonable restrictions bring withdrawn timeously.

      The rich cannot keep cowering, earning big passive income from an inflated stock market, while experimenting with their new sourdough bake for ever at the to expense of retailer, parents, and children.

      Open schools today.

    13. Actually, you are wrong, because I know of a number of serious cases of young women, both public and private (besides for the doctors who have told me they know of additional cases). Your inability to accept anything that doesn't fit your preconceived rage against the doctors makes you unreachable. If I say there are "stories" you say "oh yeah, I know that single really rare story." You are utterly irrational.
      I do not support the lockdowns, which is all you care about, but that doesn't change how blinded you are by hate.

    14. So do I. Young women arent immune from death. Nevertheless most admissions in the UK (Kent variant dominant) are male and over the age of 65, and most have had at least one injection.

      I am entirely rational for telling the truth about vaccines. They work very very well. They reduce deaths but do not eliminate them. There is an unquantifiable long term risk connected to 'unknown unknowns' that you cannot hope away but which will receed, please God, over time.

      I think I am fair about the doctors. I described one as very good at his job despite being extremely entitled about his first world problems on Twitter. I followed his tweets for their strong factual core and for drawing my attention to important emerging evidence. I described another as a lovely person (and an happy to continue and describe her as by all accounts also an excellent diagnostician and superb general practitioner). She also happened to spout state propaganda against masks uncritically into WhatsApp groups in April 2020. I have no idea if the psychiatrist is good at what he does it not. It's not his fault that the system massively over privileges doctors in the distribution of PPE and vaccines. I know nothing about the practice of the GP who was suspended other than that he was the subject of a complaint which has now been resolved. The doctor who felt he didn't have to wait in lines is very well liked by his patients (but not by me). But I have no uncritical regard for any of them at all. It's simply a fact that General Practice in the UK has involved massive delays in registering new patients and obtaining appointments even in cases of acute medical need.

      Doctors are all as prone to error as Rabbi Dr Slifkin correctly highlights the errors of Chazal concerning whether the Earth is flat. The Earth is not flat and there is no evidence masks or alcohol gel or indeed tehillim sessions control the spread of Coronavirus.

    15. It turns out new strains may have a higher lethality

  3. Fauci, the manufactures and, science (particularly the studies done on the vaccine) do not say that getting the vaccine will prevent transmission.

    So why do you care of people get it and what is the logic to lock up people who don't get it?

    1. 1. Because if people get Covid, they overload the hospitals.
      2. While the goal of the vaccine was not to prevent transmission, the evidence now shows that it does prevent it.

    2. You either haven't read the latest data, or you were mislead by the prevailing talking points of overly cautious public health officials or otherwise fearmongers.

      Initially it was unknown to what extent the vaccines prevent transmission because that wasn't the primary endpoint of the Phase 3 clinical trials. The primary endpoint of those trials for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine was vaccine efficacy, measured by the prevention of SYMPTOMATIC infection. This endpoint includes any symptomatic infection across the spectrum from mild, to moderate, to severe.

      Since these vaccines were proven to prevent symptomatic infection, that provides a strong incentive for an individual who wants to avoid a symptomatic Covid case (inclusive of possible severe and critical disease - no one can predict what they will get) to be vaccinated.

      But now evidence is accumulating from multiple studies that it is preventing asymptomatic infections too.

      But this finding is not surprising. The question was more about what percentage of asymptomatic cases would be prevented, not *whether* they would be.

      What many don't fully grasp is that even before studies like this, with the reduction in symptomatic cases, IF hypothetically it turned out that the same percentage of people had asymptomatic infection in vaccine and placebo group, that is still a reduction in transmission. (Because you have to account for the symptomatic cases you prevented and how much lower the total infection numbers are).

      Example with some simple numbers: let's say I have 100 symptomatic cases and 20 asymptomatic cases in placebo group, and this was reduced to 1 symptomatic and 20 asymptomatic cases in a vaccine group. That is still a reduction of total infections by 1-(21/120) = 82.5%, even though there are 20 asymptomatic infections in both groups. That is reducing transmission at the same time that it shifts the balance of infections toward being much milder.

      But evidence is clearly emerging that the 20 and 20 hypothetical is NOT what is happening. The number is lower in the vaccinated.

      If by transmission you mean strictly from a vaccinated person to others, and you are not referring to the asymptomatic infection question specifically, then we also "Don't Know Yet!!!" but soon will. If you've followed all the clinical data on monoclonal antibody cocktails, and have studied the differences between asymptomatic, mild, severe covid cases in general, you would know that it is also very likely to soon be proven true that those who are vaccinated and still manage to catch asymptomatic or symptomatic infections are very likely to have impaired ability to transmit to others. What is not known is to what extent. But you can mark my post for when they have that data: it will show reduced transmission from vaccinated (and subsequently infected) individuals to others.

      No aspect of not yet knowing the full detail on either of these questions provides a serious rationale for hesitating to get vaccinated. The efficacy on symptomatic cases itself is remarkable and compelling. The reduction of transmission is icing on the cake.

      As for why does anyone care if people get vaccinated - The more people vaccinated, the fewer people can be infected, and the fewer opportunities the virus has to seed in a host, mutate to a more dangerous form that evades immunity and then spread to others. The virus mutates into new variants only inside a host it has infected. The reason it mutates is due to the natural error rate of the system it uses for replication. Without replication the virus cannot evolve. In addition, the more people are vaccinated, the fewer circulating infections there will be and the more that the immunocompromised or anyone who for whatever reason could NOT get the vaccine will be protected. Pretty much the same logic as always.

    3. Student v - the number of virus replications taking place in any one person (which is directly proportional to the likelihood of mutations) is vastly greater than the number of humans in this planet.

    4. The Hat
      So what? Don't those numbers compound one another?

    5. The Hat - So what? The number of people infected compounds the problem, and (obviously) not every individual infection results in an immunity-evasive, evolutionarily-improved viral variant. And not every person who is infected will spread to others (thus not every enhanced variant chanced upon will even take root in the population).

      In a large outbreak with many people being infected, it increases the odds of one or more of those variants developing (and then spreading) by giving it so many chances.
      By reducing the number of infections and the transmissibility of those infections, we are doing the opposite.

      To illustrate it hypothetically with an extreme, technically speaking if all vaccinated individuals who subsequently became infected were unable to transmit the virus to others at all, no variants could emerge from the vaccinated population. (And obviously if everyone was vaccinated in that hypothetical, no variants could emerge at all, etc).

    6. Shlomo: it was speculated by the Ravindra Gupta who discovered that the B.1.1.7 Kent strain originated in a single person with a long duration infection due to an impaired immune system. See The origin rate of mutations appears to be heavily weighted to a very small number of individuals.

    7. The Hat: Great, let's try to minimize that small number as much as possible. I don't see your point at all.

    8. (Setting aside the unconvincing words "speculated" and "appears")

    9. The Hat - that is just a hypothesis, so it may or may not be true. But even if it is true, the more virus you have circulating among the population and the more prevalent infections there are, the more likely it is for one of these unique individuals to catch the virus. The same logic still applies.

    10. I accept the above. What I wrote was speculative and uncertain. Science is full of uncertainties and nuances and it is intellectually honest to use equivocal language. It's something to celebrate, not take cheap shots at. I complain about doctors and Rabbi Doctors not using scientifically precise language and I would be hypocritical not to do the same.

      The implications of the reducing prevalence may mean that the number of infection-hours of the virus may be very low in the general population but with a disproportionately smaller reduction and much higher weighting in the immunosuppressed small part of the population responsible for for mutagenesis. Or maybe not. Time will tell. It's plausible - no more.

    11. It's irrelevant anyway. The more we reduce the prevalence in the wider public the more we reduce it (statistically) among the immunosuppressed. So again, I don't see your point.

    12. The difference between a direct correlation and a smaller correlation is not irrelevant.

  4. I personally know, as do you, many people who died after getting the vaccine. What evidence would be acceptable to you that this may have been caused by the vaccine?

    1. Vaccinated people who had been fully vaccinated and after the wait have not died from COVID. They could have died in a car accident or from heart trouble or cancer. But none died from COVID.

    2. Medical 'Experts' have suggested you take hydroxychloroquine. You can be a Rationalist and rely on evidence or you can be irrational and make appeals to authority. Not both.

    3. Do you understand the difference between some random eccentric doctor, and mainstream medical science?

    4. If I picked my medical opinions based on celebrity or numbers of adoring accolytes then the clear winner would be Donald Trump, followed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Rabbi C Kannievsky. If I was to go on actual medical expertise and PhDs, Dr Didier Raoult had plenty.

      It's a sign of the times that I am having to explain why reputation doesn't trump empirical reality to a self described Rationalist.

      I for one am not going to abrogate my responsibilities as an adult human to think about the totality of the problems we face rather than flap around in a vast societal funk about the latest Great Panic, be it terrorism, Charedi evolutionary success, or the Coronavirus.

    5. Batya, I can name many that died of Covid after the vaccine. Or from many other things such as heart attacks. Young, healthy people.

      Rabbi Twersky is one famous example.

      Here are hundreds of others:

    6. "If I picked my medical opinions based on celebrity or numbers of adoring accolytes then the clear winner would be Donald Trump, followed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Rabbi C Kannievsky. If I was to go on actual medical expertise and PhDs, Dr Didier Raoult had plenty." Er, no, we don't go by celebrity endorsements. We go by overwhelming consensus view of experts. Raoult is an eccentric fringe figure. But in any case, he isn't against the vaccine, so what's your point?

    7. MW, many of the people who died from Covid after getting the vaccine contracted Covid before the vaccine had kicked in (it takes a week or two after the second shot).
      Also, in any given population of millions of people, there will constantly be deaths from a variety of causes.

    8. The Hat,
      You are awfully self-satisfied with how independent and clever you are. Just curious: how much of your base of knowledge is based on your own personal observations and deductions? You rely on no one else's expertise for anything? Apparently, you are a once-in-a-generation genius. (Actually, even that wouldn't cut it.)

    9. Shlomo: nobody is fully independent, but being at least cogniscent of groupthink and other cognitive biases helps. It's something experts are peculiarly inexpert at. Please read Star Slater Codex / Astral Codex 10 for some actual Rationalism.

      Rabbi Slifkin has now revised his model. It's stil a popularity contest, but only the people popular on some vague and subjective criteria of "experts" defined by Rabbi Slifkin count.

      But what constitutes an expert? It's turtles all the way down, and what it really bottoms out as is Rabbi Slifkin's subjective preferences.

      Acknowledged experts like Raoult* don't count because he's too "eccentric". Heneghan and Spector presumably don't count because they have historically oppose harsh lockdowns and masks. Sikora doesn't count because he doesn't just work for the state and doesn't spend all his time on social media during a pandemic complaining about doctors paying taxes on their taxpayer funded pensions.

      Do I have to call them Dr Carl Heneghan from the Oxford University Centre for Evidence Based Medicine and Dr Tim Spector from Kings College London for you to take them seriously? I shouldn't need to - to a rationalist they stand and fall on he facts and the facts alone, because that is the only truth there is.

      The state, and the so called experts lost any of my respect when they spent March cheerfully ignoring looming disaster while the Italian army was called in to help truck corpses through the streets of Lombardy. You didn't need to be an expert to know to close the borders and create a flash lockdown. You just needed a TV.

      You ask why this all matters. I believe in vaccines, so do you, and so does every sensible rationalist. I'll tell you why. Next time you meet someone with a mask which doesn't cover his nose, and you feel that flame of rage curling up inside you - that's a problem far more with you than with him. Next time you berate a young person for not having a vaccine that has far less medical benefit for them then someone in their 80s - you are the problem, not the solution. The solution, incidentally is money. Cash. You should pay the young person stone cold cash to get vaccinated, reflecting a small repayment on the vast amount of state borrowings, the vast lost economic opportunities that the old have presumptuously burdened the young with.

      *Raoult is a fraud. That's possibly why he is so highly credentialed in the deeply politicised world of academe. Don't be naive.

    10. The Hat makes the perfunctory check that he relies on other people, and we should merely be cognizant of pitfalls in their thinking. Then he takes a sharp turn, ranting how they have totally lost his respect, which of course is not simply being cognizant of groupthink but rather ignoring them entirely. Anyway, we are discussing the vaccine; stop making anything and everything about your obsession with the lockdowns.

    11. And we have here an entitled so called Rationalist saying that this state of totalitarian house arrest is acceptable now because some predominantly elderly people are dying of a respiratory pandemic although they've all been vaccinated. Initially we had to have our freedoms withdrawn until the elderly got vaccinated. Now we have them withdrawn until the vaccinated stop dying. It is a never ending lockdown with a mission which creeps ever further forwards, and the Big Unscientific Lie that Rabbi Dr Slifkin promulgates - that the vaccine will prevent 100 percent of death from or with Coronavirus - is responsible.

      It's no coincidence that the vaccine ranters are also so fond of lockdowns. They have a deep psychological need to believe that there is a technical fix to human mortality.

      But that isn't going to change the fact that next winter, tens, maybe hundreds of Israeli vaccinated seniors with no physiological reserve and immune systems decades past their prime are going to die of respiratory diseases of one sort or another.

      Rabbi Dr Slifkin presents intelegentsia talking points. He presents them as facts. They are fake news which sometimes are factual, often are not, and have only occasional and coincidental relationship with the one thing that I hold sacred above all else - the Truth. One add one equals two whatever Faucci, or 45, or Chaim Kannievsky says. There's no evidence one year into the pandemic that surgical masks significantly contribute to reducing the spread of Covid despite the state propaganda. The alcohol gel is a pathetic commentary on your gullibility. And the vaccine won't stop all people dying from Coronavirus.

      He has exactly the same commitment to scientific facts as Gwyneth Paltrow, 45, and Rabbi K - nil. Just entitled people with a policy agenda trying to fit the facts into their feelings.

      He has no business hectoring young people about things he is so misinformed about. He may well kill young people through his ignorance and victim blaming. If he cares about us taking the vaccine be knows what he had to do, and it is for rich people to put their hands in their pocket.

      Unless Israel is content to block itself off from the millions of Palestinians who provide cheap labour, the millions of diaspora Jews who put money into the economy - nothing will change

      He is part of the hypocritical elite who can live with repression, because younger, poorer people are busy in Amazon warehouses, meat processing plants, overpacked offices, and supermarkets taking risks so that they are not denied any luxury or service while insisting that ordinary workers cannot go out and earn a living. The stock market has boomed for those earning passive income during Covid - of course government support always benefits the richest in society, welfare for the wealthy. Meanwhile small business people are losing their jobs and minds, kids are losing their education, and rich managers are ordering a new loaf tin so they can spend their newfound leisure time practicing baking banana bread.

      Of course I'm ranting about house arrests. A year ago I was a free man living in a free society. Now I literally live in a society which does not let me out my own front door and which failed in its responsibility to educate the young for 11 of the past 12 months.

      A young man is quite literally dead from this and all you can do is criticise ranting.

    12. Your ranting is indeed ridiculous. I have already stated that I do not support the lockdowns. However, they are not the subject of this post, even though you see everything through the prism of this single issue.
      Now that you have totally disavowed anything doctors have to say (don't trust anyone in a white coat), what do you do if God forbid you (or someone in your care) have a medical problem? Do you diagnose it yourself? Are you sufficiently trained and experienced in every field of medicine? I know you have a soft spot for mental health professionals - no one else is to be trusted? Dentists? Optometrists? You are taking a fundamentally unserious position.

    13. Either the Hat is being disingenuous and he would consult with doctors when needed, or he is absolutely insane. Either way, there's nothing to talk about.

    14. Shlomo: You cannot compare public health advice one year into a pandemic to an acute medical emergency.

      You cannot disaggregate the Great Lie told about the 100 percent efficacy of vaccines to the continuation of Lockdown.

    15. The Hat: that may well be, but you have sworn up and down this blog that you have no trust in, nor respect for, *any* doctors. Like I said, you are speaking disingenuously or insanely.

    16. Obviously if I was having a heart attack I wouldn't go to the car mechanic. That's ridiculous.

      But I won't forget for a long time how the NHS - people were literally standing at their doorsteps clapping for the NHS - let this nation down. We have one of the worst case fatality rate in the world and a reckoning is needed. Part of this was underinvestment, part was panicked decisions leading to huge deaths in care homes, part was to political failures, and part is, I have to say attitudinal. Rationing care to the elderly and learning disabled and Do Not Attempt CP Recussitation determinations seems to come far more readily to NHS doctors, including frum doctors, than to those working in systems where they are paid by their patient.

    17. Shlomo don't do the 'insane' accusation thing. Just argue your case without getting nasty.

    18. Mr Unknown,
      Except that's exactly what it is. I'm not saying "insane" in an ad hominem sense (although of course that's unavoidably included), I mean it in the technical (if not strictly medical) sense: exhibiting a severely disordered state of mind; unable to think in a clear or sensible way.
      Someone who has no trust in *any* medical experts (except mental health ones for some reason) because he's really angry about the political decision to put people under house arrest because of covid, is either insane or lying. How else should I say it?

    19. I know that every single person who drank water before 1850 died. Every single one.

    20. Shlomo, I think what you mean is I'm angry, but, as I have demonstrated, I am not inchoately angry. I will always have due deference to the facts.

      The facts are that the mainstream medical establishment experts initially played down the pandemic, then overreacted, became increasingly irrational, full of moral funk with no evidence based in advocating particularly oppressive policies. They are still not being accurate to the public, serving up slogans rather than presenting actual science, which is full of nuanced uncertainties and probabilities.

      At no stage did the establishment, in due deference the extent to which they could have zero expertise in managing novel coronavirus, seek the input of business owners, economists, human rights advocates, or the general public in making vast, illiberal, profoundly undemocratic, unproven and unsafe interventions - not just as an emergency measure, but over a very long and sustained period.

      The current behaviour of doctors - particularly the continuing failure to provide basic healthcare services and the bubble of martyred entitlement on social media and in person - this really does not improve my outlook. I would say that in this pandemic 70% of doctors gave the other 30% a bad name.

    21. I would say you're *incoherently* angry. Blaming 70% of doctors (and then also the 30% somehow? remember you pretend not to trust *any* doctors!) when the vast majority of them have absolutely nothing to do with lockdowns. And you ignore evidence when it doesn't suit you. "There's only one young woman who had a problem, you and I know the same case. What's that? I just made it up? Oh, I know many cases as well, but moral funk, don't trust docs, I know someone who suffered mentally, I hate house arrest. etc." I see the lockdowns as really bad policy, but like I said, you're just ranting and looking to cast a wide net of blame.

    22. Shlomo, today is a great day to review UK medical twitter. I would send you individual examples of frum doctors behaving this way but Rabbi Dr Slifkin, perhaps fairly, has not allowed me to post them.

      On the anniversary of the NHS medical director commenting on a ban on advertising FFP3 masks that "Callous firms looking to maximise profits by pushing products that fly in the face of official advice is outright dangerous and has rightly been banned", doctors are 1) doing a victory lap about how great they are at performing intramuscular injections in the deltoids with a vaccine developed by a private company and 2) threatening to quit work because the tax advantaged lifetime pension allowance, which is £1,078,900, is being frozen at its current monetary level for three years. Also today in the UK a full third of the workforce, some 11 million people, have been furloughed from their jobs, and a further 2.5 million are unemployed. No child apart from the children of doctors and others have attended school in over 2 months. And yet UK medical twitter is frothing about how multi millionaires will not have their tax advantages increasing in line with inflation.

      The vast majority of doctors *did* vociferously support lockdown. No restriction was too extreme (for example they're currently very exercised about Public Health England guidelines recommending children aged 5- 11 do not wear masks). Look at the letters page in the BMJ and the Lancet.

      Doctors did inappropriately issue DNACPR notices for younger Down's Syndrome patients

      Doctors did refuse to take admissions from care homes during the pandemic

      Doctors did ask elderly people to stay home and die for the NHS

      I live in a dystopia.

    23. It seems that your rage is directed at the medical establishment in one very particular country.

    24. In respect of the medical anti-masker movement occurring at this time last year, the doctors were egging reach other on internationally into the state of mass hysteria. Not a single senior doctor either side of the Atlantic who made authoritarian public pronouncements on this has had the decency to apologise. Not one. Instead they claim it shows how scientific they were (the science hasn't advanced in support of masking).

      The inappropriate shoveling of Covid positive patients into care homes to infect staff and to residents without privileged access to high quality masks was an international phenomenon.

      The public downplaying of the disease in February by senior public health officials was an international act of collective groupthink denialism.

      The NHS is unique in its willingness to withhold care. We also currently have the uniquely unedifying site of unionised millionaires using a once in a century pandemic as leverage to extract further wealth from the public.

      For the sake of balance I'm thinking through all the UK frum doctors and nurses who made a positive impression on me this year. I don't think they would appreciate being named, but they know who they are. The consultant anaesthetist who sat and said Shema with the dying, and on Zoom meetings appealed to facts, not his personal gravitas, in his public pronouncements. The junior and senior doctors who did not lose their heads when everyone else around them were losing their, turned up to work every day, and did their job. The GPs who continued to provide in person primary care when it was unfashionable to do so. The GP who broke the omerta and formally complained about the appalling treatment his parents received from the NHS. The nurses and Hatzola staff and ambulance crews. Well done - kol hakavod.

  5. The CEO of Pfizer specifically said that the test will be good in Israel because they are primarily using their vaccine. If it was just about the economy (a imagined reason he never said) what difference would it make which vaccines were given?

    He also mentioned monitoring for reinfection after getting the vaccine. He's not even sure it works. And Israel is the lab.

    1. The reason why it makes a difference which vaccine is given, from his standpoint, is that he wants to see how well HIS vaccine works.

      Whether it prevents reinfection has absolutely nothing to do with its safety. Nada.

    2. Very misleading comment. "Monitoring for reinfection" does not indicate a belief that the vaccine doesn't work. It is already proven to work.

      What is not known is how long that protection lasts and in what percentage of people it wanes. Is it 9 months? 12 months? 3 years? 10 years? No one knows.
      Monitoring for reinfection in vaccinated individuals (in this case a highly vaccinated population) will provide answers to that question.

      "The CEO of Pfizer specifically said that the test will be good in Israel because they are primarily using their vaccine"

      And? So what? You do know that Pfizer and other vaccine makers could simply sell their products to various countries who vaccinate their citizens and never run any follow-up studies, other than what's required by the FDA, right? Would that somehow make you feel better about the product?

      The risk for Pfizer in running studies is that if long-term something unexpectedly goes terribly wrong, their product sales go to 0. In addition, follow-up studies (commonly referred to as "Phase 4" trials, or post-marketing studies) are REQUIRED BY FDA to continue to further assess products through their real-world use. This is true of vaccines and any drugs they approve.

      Ascribing something nefarious behind running follow-up studies on the vaccinated population in Israel is very dishonest. Typical use of innuendo by propagandists.

    3. I was specifically addressing the claim that "What the Pfizer CEO spoke about was how Israel is a lab for seeing the results on the economy and health indices of an entire country once most of the country has received its vaccine."

      For that, it would not matter what vaccine was given. Or the reinfection rate.

      The assumption of what he is looking to test is not true.

  6. "People just want to ask questions! Why are you trying to silence them? What are you trying to hide?"

    Yes and when we refute their garbage we are providing factual answers to the questions. Why are they trying to silence the answers to their questions? What are THEY trying to hide?

    They have the right and freedom to ask ignorant questions that are easily answered, and we have the right and freedom to answer them. They have the right to spread lies and misinformation, and we have the right to refute them and show them to be ignorant liars. Antivaxxers just love to play victim. It is no one's fault that they are idiots. But it is their fault for being morally bankrupt.

  7. ***********************************March 1, 2021 at 7:23 PM

    There is scientific data about the long-term effects of the new flavor of Pringles. Or more precisely, Pringles in general. And it isn't great reading.

    How long did it take for Thalomidide side effects to become apparent, by the way?

    Bottom line, the benefits outweigh the risks sure, but the fact remains, nobody knows that it is risk-free. No scientist (as opposed to bloggers) has announced that it is risk-free. Because they cannot. 'No specific grounds' is just science speak for 'we don't really know. There is no 'specific evidence' that you are not a murderer either.

    The consensus is that any risks are outweighed by the benefits. Nothing more and nothing less.

    1. I'm not saying that it is categorically risk-free. But there is nothing in it that gives grounds for concern. Given what we know about physiology (which is quite a bit), there is no reason to think that it has any long-term harmful effects.

    2. The vaccine does give you the virus. But, yet again, that is what a vaccine does, I suppose.

    3. ***********************************March 1, 2021 at 8:40 PM

      That's what they always say. Before every disaster. Financial, engineering, human.

      And after every disaster they say 'steps have been put in place to ensure it never happens again'. Until it does.

    4. Would you like to live in the pre-modern scientific era?

    5. Shmuel, none of the vaccines approved in the US are live virus vaccines, so in this particular case, no they do not give you the virus. That is only one strategy of vaccination. It is the modality of a Chinese company's vaccine that is used elsewhere in the world but not approved (under EUA, lol) in the US.

      Yes the benefits outweigh the risks, but when viewing the risks in light of the risks of actual covid infection, those vaccine risks shrink considerably. They cannot simply be viewed in the vacuum of "new vaccine product with some unknowns."

      It is risks of new vaccine product with some unknowns vs. known risks of covid infection plus unknown risks of covid infection. Typically vaccines produce side effects within 6-8 weeks at most, not months & years, so Rabbi Slifkin is right to suggest that there isn't a ground for concern over longer term. Of course surprises can happen with human biology. The question is how likely they are to happen in this case.

    6. Student, Thank you for telling me this. I did not know that about the vaccines. I agree that the risks of Covid outweigh the benefits of a vaccine.

  8. Human beings are notoriously bad at evaluating risk (or probability/statistics) in general. I suppose this is why people continue to play the lottery while smoking cigarettes or failing to wear seat belts...

    But re: this covid thing, here is how I am trying to explain it to people: 

    Johns Hopkins (one of the premier academic medical centers in the world) has set up this online Covid-19 Risk Calculator.

    You input your age, demographics, underlying medical conditions and it will spit out an estimate of your risk of dying from covid (based upon the mountains of epidemiologic data they have collected). As a relatively young healthy person, my own risk came out to something like 1 in 300,000.

    Now, if that seems like a pretty remote possibility, consider that nearly 250,000,000 doses of the various vaccines have thus far been administered around the world and the only ill effects that have been documented are scattered cases of (non-fatal) anaphylaxis (which is expected to occur in some small fraction of recipients of any vaccine, drug or, frankly, any substance taken in to the body) and perhaps 2 cases of blood disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (though it remains unclear whether these cases were actually caused by the vaccine or would have occurred anyway; after all, the incidence of ITP in the general population is significantly more frequent than 2 in 250 million).

    So, using those numbers for reference, even as a healthy young person, my risk of dying of covid is about 400 times greater than my risk of experiencing a serious adverse effect from the vaccine (1/300,000 vs. 2/250,000,000). 

    You can bet that for those whose risk of dying of covid is higher (in general: older, less healthy people), the difference is even larger. You can also bet that I got my covid shots as soon as I could.

    1. Excellent points. Also, the new strains of Covid are much more dangerous.

    2. You keep saying that but I would be very interested in seeing concrete evidence. In Switzerland for example, the % of new variant cases keeps growing, but an increase in hospitalizations and deaths has not yet followed. We're talking about a good 6-week window now. I understand it is far more contagious, but have not seen conclusive stats on it being more dangerous.

    3. Are you going to write an article about the new strains? I know almost nothing about them.

    4. Don't get your scientific advice from here. Here's a hint - a blogpost without footnotes is generally a polemic rather than a scientific exploration. A blogpost which seeks validation because 'I showed this to to two medical PhDs' (and still managed to misstate the risks of HQC)... Tragic really. There's as much science in here as in any other random opinion piece in YeshivaWorldNews.

  9. You say "there are no specific grounds for either short- or long-term concern".

    What is your definition of no specific grounds? If multiple PhD's. virologists, molecular biologists, and other experts detail specific ground for concern based on published studies, is it enough for Snopes to call them anti-vaxxers for their concerns to be completely ignored?

    A few of many examples by tens of doctors and scientists who represent thousands (or perhaps tens of thousands) of doctors and scientist who expressed concerns:

    Professor Dolores Cahill Bio:
    Alexandra Henrion-Caude: French Institute of Health and Medical Research. Bio

    Professor Dolores Cahill and Alexandra Henrion Caude: Why People Will Start Dying A Few Months After The First Mrna Vaccination

    Here are a number of doctors and scientists who express concerns.
    Ask The Experts (Covid-19 Vaccine)

    Now because you are "rational" I know you won't use the time-honored method of selecting the two or three that you don't believe are credible ignore the others. Rather, you will select the two or three most compelling experts and explain why it is rational to completely ignore their concerns and continue to say there are no "grounds for concern".

    Here are some others:


    16 presentations including doctors and Rabbis. Again, select the most credible presentation and explain why there are "grounds for concern".

    This is the tip of the iceberg.

    After watching 20+ experts review studies that show "grounds for concern" is it really that unreasonable and "dangerous" to "challenge" the vaccine?

    1. It takes about a minute of Googling to reveal that your "experts who represent thousands (or perhaps tens of thousands) of doctors and scientists" are actually non-experts and cranks who represent conspiracy theorists.

    2. Yes. And it takes a lot longer to get past the Pharma shills to really investigate the backgrounds of these people.

      Check out the bios of the first two people I posted.

      Note also you cannot refute their claims. You just rely on some random "fact checker".

    3. Yes, I did check the bios, and a lot more about them. Nutcases.

    4. mw Let me guess, they say it is not FDA approved? Didn't Rabbi Slifkin answer that (above)?

    5. Shmuel. No he did not. It is not FDA approved. It has emergency use approval.

    6. "It is not FDA approved. It has emergency use approval."

      LOL. And whom do you believe gave this "emergency use approval?"

    7. Student, "emergency use" is not the same thing as FDA approval. The term "emergency" implies that they have to yet this thing lose for now, but it was not sufficiently researched to determine whether or not is safe. Under "emergency" one is "allowed" to violate the Shabbath. Does that mean it's healthy to violate Shabbath? Of course not.

    8. Shmuel, you are not a regulatory expert and you are just sitting there making up analogies and metaphors to create your own definitions of FDA regulatory terminology based on how you understand English language. With all due respect, it doesn't matter what the term emergency implies in your brain (or in anyone's brain for that matter). What you said is not what EUA means. Your Shabbos analogy is nonsensical.

      The "emergency" in EUA is a characterization of the pandemic situation, which was officially declared as a public health emergency. It does not mean the product was not sufficiently researched or that because it's an emergency situation you can treat or vaccinate with any toxic chemical you cook up. (We've been through this point already).

      Insufficiently researched products cannot be granted emergency use authorization.

      Here is an explanation in FDA's own terms: (Remember, you said they are the authority and your bar for safety was full approval because FDA is the one who grants products full approvals. You FURTHER implied that FDA is saying, by giving these vaccines EUA only and not full approvals, that they are "not healthy" "not sufficiently researched" grossly "not safe" etc). But the FDA is clearly NOT saying that:

      I quote from there a salient point: "However, efforts to speed vaccine development to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have not sacrificed scientific standards, integrity of the vaccine review process, or safety."

      Here are some more resources that are very helpful to understand what an EUA is, and the distinction from a BLA and why that distinction was kept as minimal as possible by the FDA for the evidence they required for covid-19 vaccines (with a more flexible criteria on evidence for potential *treatments* of Covid-19, for reasons which should be obvious but are explained).,-Drug,-and-Cosmetic-Act-Fact-Sheet/

      As these documents make clear, ultimately by granting EUA the FDA is saying the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh its known and potential risks.

      So are we going to shift the goalposts now and suggest that FDA should NOT be trusted? That would be funny.
      Now how will this conversation evolve? I'm intrigued to find out!

    9. Student, I got a little carried away. Please know that I never meant to insult you in any way. I am only skeptical of the EUA/FDA "emergency" approval. Questions are good and stifle growth. I’m not an antivaxxer. I take vaccines. I used to take the flu vaccine but stopped due to other reasons. But I realize that a few months was not enough time to develop an efficient vaccine. I also do not think it is in accordance with halacha, Jewish law if the vaccine uses DNA from aborted babies. This seems immoral and unethical to me. Would you agree?

    10. I appreciate the apology.

      "But I realize that a few months was not enough time to develop an efficient vaccine"

      You realize that? You mean you assumed that. You were proven wrong in your assumption.
      Development of vaccines against Covid19 began in January 2020. It took almost a full year to complete phase 3 clinical trials and receive Authorizations (for some of them it has taken more than a year). So that was not "a few months," but I get the point that you are imprecisely stating "a short period of time" and not harping on the specific number of months.

      Multiple companies successfully created efficient vaccines in a short period of time due to a confluence of many factors (not least of which that Covid turned out biologically to be an easy disease to vaccinate against, much to the world's good fortune). The evidence and data generated on these products in well-controlled clinical trials (And now in real-world evidence follow-up data) is what convinces me of that, not my wants and desires or my speculations. Speculations have to get thrown out the window when there is hard evidence to the contrary.

      If you want to know WHY this was possible even though it is not typically done this quickly, we can discuss that, and there are many clear reasons to explain it.

      "I also do not think it is in accordance with halacha, Jewish law if the vaccine uses DNA from aborted babies"

      What in the world are you talking about? There is no baby DNA in these vaccines. And no aborted baby DNA either.

    11. Student Then why do Catholic priests forbid the vaccine? Because it contains baby DNA. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine contains aborted baby DNA and fetal cells.

    12. LOLOL

      Shmuel you've gotten really desperate now after failing at all your other arguments.

      First off, I can't speak for Catholic priests, and I don't follow their religion. I follow Orthodox Judaism. Did you convert to Catholicism c"v ?

      As you will see with a quick google search that I just did, the Pope and Pope Emeritus received their first Covid vaccine shots at the vatican in January. So that tells me that you lied about the priests. Catholic priests are beholden to papal authority.

      But your last lie is the most egregious and most absurd. It is weird that you expect people to believe this stuff. It's like telling me the moon is made of cheese. There is no aborted baby DNA and no fetal cells in Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
      The ingredient list is published and you can check for yourself. There is no DNA at all in the product. Certainly not from babies or from any people.

      Shmuel, why are you making stuff up? If you had a compelling argument you wouldn't need to lie. What are you so afraid of that you feel the need to lie and mislead other people?

  10. "The reality is that everybody has some sort of contact with others in which Covid can be spread. If you're not vaccinated, then you are likely to contribute to this spread."

    1. If you get vaccinated, you prevent yourself from spreading it to others.
    2. If you get vaccinated, you still need to socially distance and wear a mask.

    Pick one.

    1. 3. If you get vaccinated, evidence indicates that you are far less likely to be able to spread it to others. Since it it is not yet demonstrated that it is *impossible* to spread it to others, current recommendations are still to mask.

    2. Since it's so easy, please invent for us the vaccine that prevents 100% of covid cases and transmissions. The world will be grateful and you'll make a lot of money.

      In the meantime, the existing products are not 100% efficacious. So they can reduce risk dramatically but still require mask wearing and social distancing especially since we have no idea who has been vaccinated or not. (And we know people will refuse any effort to prove that).

      It does make sense to relax restrictions for a vaccinated population though. A lot of sense. Risk will be dramatically reduced. But that won't be true in the case that half the population refuses vaccination.
      So what's it going to be, antivaxxers? Are we all (vast majority) getting vaccinated and removing all the restrictions? Or should we all refuse and then be stuck with masks and distancing at every new covid wave?

    3. No, it doesn't exist. No vaccine in the world protects you 100%. It's just impossible. How is Slifkin supposed to make it?

    4. The original argument to keep us masked and socially distanced indefinitely was that we don't know if the vaccine has any effect on transmission. Now that the anti-science lockdown proponents want to say that the vaccine dramatically reduces transmission, the goal posts have shifted to a standard not applied to anything else in life: 100% risk prevention. How convenient! This was predictable though, since a 100% risk-free society was the unspoken premise of the deadly lockdowns and restrictions to begin with.

    5. There is no possibility to make a case. By definition, any doctor or expert, 100, 1,000, 10,000 will always have a "fact check" site to discredit them.

      I can show you many sites that discredit the mainstream claims.

      Bottom line is that there are very credible concerns. You just choose to ignore them after a one minute google search.

      Here is an example of a real concern. No one argues that this is a concern. Immune enhancement.

      Here is Fauci and other experts expressing this concern 10 months ago.

      No one claims this was resolved and that there is nothing to worry about. Maybe they would like to think so. But there is no evidence.

      No one deals with the real issues. You pretend to do "one-minute" research on the topic.

      This will all eventually come out. You will see how many people died because of your advice.

    6. Well, let's see. So far, hundreds of thousands of people have died because they didn't get the vaccine. And not more than a handful at most (if that) because they did get the vaccine. So I know which side I am more comfortable advocating for.

    7. Plus, those that did die with the vaccine, died because they got covid before the vaccine went into affect. What I'm worried about is the side effects ten years later.

    8. Funny how when 1,000 people die after getting the vaccine, they are old people who would have died anyway. No connection to the vaccine.

      But when a bunch of 980 year olds die with being tested using the faulty PCR test to have Covid, then Covid killed them.

      If anyone died from Covid, most likely because they did not use Therapeutics such as Ivermectin as recommended by tens of thousands of doctors.

      For HCQ, a medicine widely prescribed safely for 70 years, you demanded multiple double blind peer reviewed studies and claimed it was dangerous. But zero peer reviewed studies on a vaccine with new technology never tested on humans (or animals) and just one manufacturer study (not peer reviewed) that did not even release the full data and you can 100% confident with the safety.

      Very rational.

    9. Shmuel, of course you are right, and my comment was just a sarcastic reply to MK's comment.

    10. mw, it is a lie (and a very distorted one) to suggest that there is no evidence to resolve the concern over immune enhancement, a concern that existed with real uncertainty prior to any covid vaccines being tested (as you refer to comments by Fauci 10 months ago before there was clinical data on any of these vaccines, and we had no idea how those trials would turn out).

      This is the reason clinical trials are run.
      If these vaccines DID cause immune enhancement, that would have happened during these trials (and those products would have been discontinued and never even asked for, let alone received, EUA).
      But this didn't happen in the clinical trials, thank God. This concern has been tremendously alleviated - By the data!
      There are many theoretical risks that become refuted over time by acquiring new information. The less we know about something the more theoretical risks there are. One year ago, we knew next to nothing about how these vaccines would turn out. We don't live in that world anymore. You should stop pretending.

    11. Mw, HCQ DID receive emergency use authorization. It was then revoked because further research raised serious concerns.

    12. He just won't accept that not only is it not 'demonstrated' that the vaccine presents transmission, it has been demonstrated that around 25 percent of existing transmission risks remain. Fake, Unscientific facts with a policy agenda.

      The surgical mask makes as good a protection against airborne disease as it does a balloon. It hasn't been demonstrated to work. And the only reason you are recommendeded to wear one is because there is only possible embarrassment and no possibly upside to the government from conducting a property randomised controlled trial of the efficacy of masks at controlling spread of Covid.

    13. "Funny how when 1,000 people die after getting the vaccine, they are old people who would have died anyway. No connection to the vaccine."
      Actually, we would expected more than 4000 to die in such a population. 1000 would indicate that the vaccine provides implausible longevity. Please be more accurate with your exaggerations.

      "But when a bunch of 980 year olds die with being tested using the faulty PCR test to have Covid, then Covid killed them."
      No, the faulty covid test killed them. But having survived the Spanish Flu, the Black Plague & the Crusades, these 980 year olds shouldn't complain too much.

      "as recommended by tens of thousands of doctors."
      How many have recommended, and how many have not?

      "But zero peer reviewed studies on a vaccine"
      Like the peer reviewed study published last week in New England Journal of Medicine?
      Peer review? Why not self-review before posting stuff like this?

    14. As The Hat wrote in a previous comment, it boils down to R' Slifkin deciding that rationalism in respect to COVID-19, is defined by trusting the medical experts that he decides are the experts. Since his experts continue to move the goalposts and make unscientific claims, he will move the goalposts and make the same unscientific claims. Since his experts do not consider the wide-ranging ramifications of these policies, R'Slifkin won't either. At no point can critical thought interfere with this version of rationalism.

    15. Student, it’s not about the short-term effects. It's about the long-term effects. If one infects one's self with poison the effects are not immediately apparent.
      The same with asbestos. They sprayed that stuff (fire retardant) everywhere, even on kids playing on the streets. They were unaware that it later caused cancer and led to multiple extinctions, the American carrier pigeon went extinct, for example. That's what I'm worried about. What are the long-term effects? No body seems to know.

    16. "it boils down to R' Slifkin deciding that rationalism in respect to COVID-19, is defined by trusting the medical experts that he decides are the experts." Good grief. No, I'm talking about the overwhelming consensus of the international medical community, as opposed to a tiny number of fringe cranks.

      "Since his experts continue to move the goalposts and make unscientific claims." Not sure what you mean by that. But the nature of scientific knowledge is that it advances.

      "Since his experts do not consider the wide-ranging ramifications of these policies, R'Slifkin won't either." Wrong. It is not the job of medical experts to decide things like lockdowns. Medical experts can (and should) only talk about medical consequences - but things like lockdowns have all kinds of consequences. They should therefore be decided by elected policymakers.

    17. "the overwhelming consensus of the international medical community"

      Ok Mr. vaccine expert, how many minutes did you spend learning about the vaccine? They are just as ill-informed as antivaxxers! Listen, I’m not an antivaxxer but isn't it dangerous to believe everything the government or scientists say? Are you not worried about the long-term effects? Didn't they say asbestos was safe and sprayed it everywhere, even on kids, only to learn later that it causes cancer and inadvertently led to the mass-extinction of the American carrier pigeon ? The truth is, we still have no idea what's the potential of this untested vaccine. Do we want to find out the hard way?

    18. Moving the goalposts - this bit about "yesterday we were told X about masks and now we are told Y! Make up your minds!" is exactly how the scientific method works. And we have to work with the latest data and recommendations. Countries like New Zealand who were very into using masks were able to return to some semblance of a normal life much earlier, while US and UK and other places who had large numbers of deniers and antimaskers (what a terrible word) ended up with recurrences and repeated lockdowns. So the people who fought against the lockdowns ended making us need another one or two.

      And as far as the "mental health" hazards of being in lockdown: I grant you that it is depressing to be isolated. I have many patients who described exactly this. But this is manageable, treatable, and fightable, both during and after the episode. Death and permanent disability due to blood clots or lung scarring or what-have-you are not. And to play the financial card, an ICU stay for two weeks is waaaay more expensive than two years of antidepressants and psychotherapy (I picked two years as an arbitrary number - I suspect most people will have bounced back much before this. Of course, many patients will not need 2 weeks in the ICU either, but that seems like a good average, I should think.)

    19. Rabbi Dr Slifkin, if I may be so bold, on what planet have you been spending the past year?

      On my planet doctors in a moral funk have been front and centre for advocating publicly and privately for lockdowns, and politicians have been claiming to be merely 'following the science'.

      Vaccination is a policy. If you want to trust doctors on that, what you are saying is that doctor should be determining policy.

      I support vaccines but not some platonic ideal of a doctor determining policies. Ideally patients should be empowered to do your own research.

      I do not trust the politicised experts, who have been so expert in advocating against masks, for masks, for public transport, against public transport, against border closures, for border closures, against mouthwash (evidence is growing that mouthwash in early stage might be somewhat protective), that there was no need for concern, that there was a need for concern that there was no evidence of airborne transmission, that there was, that the lockdown would last until all vulnerable groups were vaccinated, that the lockdown would last until the pressure on hospitals was relieved, that the lockdown would last until cases dropped below 50/10,000, that schools would never shut again and were safe, that schools would need to close, that etc. etc, the list is too wearying to recite.

      And the science in masks at least hasn't advanced. (In fact it has, but the inconclusive and disgracefully suppressed result of the high quality Danmask trial point tentatively in the opposite direction to the direction of travel of doctors recommendations and state regulations.).

      Of course I don't trust medical experts. I lived through the past twelve months of repeated, advisable and in serious professional failures. Where were you?

    20. Yosef R, the only new substantive evidence about masks since the Surgeon General of the USA described wearing masks as "potentially dangerous" for people who were not medical workers is the Danmask trial. I recommend you read it. It showed no significant benefit to the wearer.

      The reason the medical establishment told you not to wear masks is because the doctors wanted to hoard the limited available supplies for themselves. The reason they told you later to wear them is that they hoped without a great deal of evidence that they would work.

      Normal surgical masks, or the retail material face coverings which do not have a good airtight seal have not been demonstrated to have any efficacy whatsoever 1 year into the pandemic.

      I am of the tentative opinion that they are unlikely to provide much benefit because Covid is spread by aerosols, not droplets.

      There is good evidence that high quality masks do work - N-95 and FFP2/3. If you are scared and can afford to, wear those types of masks assiduously.

    21. Wait, is there "no evidence" that surgical masks work or is there not a "great deal of evidence" that they work? I thought you're very precise with your scientific wording. What about the PNAS review which found some evidence for the efficacy of masks, but I guess not a great deal? Also, your distinction between aerosol and droplets (discussed by these authors) is not nearly as certain as you present it.

    22. 1) To delve into the semantics, the PNAS study was some of the worst science imaginable - like the kind of science where people shout "New Zealand!" and "Sweden!" at each other on Twitter and think they are being scientific. It compared infection rates in New York before and after the mask mandate. There were so many uncontrolled confounding variables it is painful to behold. That's even before we get into correlation not being causation, and the really childish line fitting against obviously non linear data. It's simply not evidence of any quality whatsoever.

      2) I cannot be more precise than the word 'tentative opinion'. It precisely describes my tentative opinion. It is not a comment on the quality of evidence, just on my less than rigourously formed hunch.

    23. I think we're talking about different studies. I'm referring to the PNAS review of a number of studies not a single study of NY.

    24. I can't find what you are referring to. This is a good summary of the multiple, weak and contradictory studies done to date written by a pro-masker:

      Disagree that masking RCT studies are unethical, but otherwise presents data fairly.

  11. I don't understand how these so-called anti-vaxxers are happy to drive a new car or fly a new model of a plane or take a new medicine if they are c'v sick. Surely they trust the safety experts that it is safe. Why is a vaccine different? Perhaps it is trypanophobia?

    1. Talmid should learn about thalidomide, the 737MAX or the de Havilland Comet.

      I think the vaccine is likely to be safe long term and would be happy to have it but it's entirely plausible that it could be deleterious and there is nothing wrong with admitting the truth and bring honest with people.

    2. @The Hat
      Thalidomide for pregnant woman happened a long time ago, before we had the high level of regulation we currently have .Besides the fact that a human being can always err but you are more likely to err if you go against the consensus. My point is that if we don't trust the consensus of the scientist we shouldn't be taking any medication or flying etc.

    3. All I can say is that I advocate trusting the evidence.

      There's no reason to mistrust the vaccine. I encourage everyone to take it. There is an unquantifiable residual risk of long term harms from unknown causes.

  12. You point 1. is foolishly made. Long term safety evaluation is essential. These are not Pringles and you are opining on matters way above your pay grade. Real vaccine experts are humble enough to acknowledge there's much they don't know and real area of concern. See the "Safety" section in this review:

    1. Interesting article - from 3 years ago. How long are you willing to wait?

    2. Kira, you misunderstood the review or missed the point. Large scale long term safety testing has not been going on for 3 years. The authors were pointing out some of the things that had an idea would warrant serious attention for this new technology when it came to the fore. It has now come to the fore in a very, very atypical rush. So one has to be honest about the unknowns and the risk balance. If I were 80, I wouldn't wait at all. But a healthy 20 year-old has a much different calculus to perform. A rationalist should be honest about that.

    3. For a good example (in the context of pregnant women) of how an honest empiricist approaches these sorts of questions see Dr. Prasad's recent medpage article:

  13. The argument for a healthy 30-year-old to get the vaccine today is the same argument that could have been used (and probably should have been used -- see "The Great Barrington Declaration") to argue that a young 30-year-old 10 months ago should intentionally stand in front of someone with the virus so that he could get the virus and thereby (after two weeks) not be a potential danger to anyone he subsequently meets. It's called getting a natural vaccine.

    This is basic common sense, yet wasn't done because mainstream "experts" didn't advise it. And yes, I know: There are rare cases of people getting Covid twice. There are also rare cases of people getting Covid after getting the vaccine.

    So as long as we're trying to control other people's lives (which we should never do and why libertarianism is such a beautiful philosophy) and create animosity and hatred in society, why not give people a choice: Take the vaccine or get sick so that you have the natural vaccine?

    1. That is an idiotic comparison. The 30-year-old ten months ago could have spread the virus to others after contracting it.

    2. The natural vaccine does have nasty documented side effects including loss of taste and smell, loss of appetite, renal failure, encephalitis, sticky blood, loss of limbs, permanent scarring of the lungs and permanent lung damage, and of course death.

      The only advantage of the natural methods of vaccination is that it is very cheap to administer.

      It's a no brainer really, and I speak as some one who hates the encroachment of the state as much as you do.

    3. Also, the "natural" vaccine would have resulted in the hospitals being overloaded.

    4. That is in fact the choice that is being given.

      At the rate that this thing spreads, the odds of not getting it without a vaccine in the next year, after things reopen, are very very high.

      So whoever chooses to not vaccinate, they are choosing to get the virus and become immune naturally.

      They are also choosing to not be part of the defense against the virus spreading ...

      There is evidence that natural immunity is not as strong as the vaccine's immunity, and as of this morning, Israel is offering vaccines to those who had the virus > 3 months ago.

    5. Yeah, not buying it. It's a remarkable coincidence that hospitals always got to the cusp of being overloaded in March, the (much bigger) cusp in January, but always just about managed. Reality: there was huge flex in the system by using non traditional spaces and staff (medical students and people like dermatologists and neurosurgeons were used). But the moral funk cost billions upon billions, and thousands of lives lost due to cancelled cancer stroke and cardiac treatments.

      Most of the second wave UK excess deaths did not occur within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.

    6. @Kira, the immunity against severe disease offered by natural means was initially estimated in a study by the BMJ at 83% but a subsequent study has revised this upwards to around 90%. It's very slightly below the immunity from the Pfizer / Moderna vaccine, probably slightly superior to the immunity from AZ, and around 15% superior to the J&J, Sputnik V and Chinese vaccines. Don't denigrate natural immunity.

    7. Libertarianism is not a Jewish concept any more than the nanny state is. A reasonably integrated and supportive society where people are areivim zeh lazeh while not in your face is ideal.

      Natural immunity is great, when it occurs, you know, naturally. It's nice to be immune to environmental pathogens, but nobody recommends drinking a glass of sewer water every morning!

  14. No more time to focus on this.

    All you need to do is read the cases of deaths after the vaccine.

    There have been over 1,000 in Israel along. As posted above, here are many with details. Will you take the time to read them?

    Here is what is going on in the US. Read the details. Don't just say that anybody can write a claim. Read them. See what happened and who wrote it up. These are not people who were going to die anyway. Many healthy people who clearly died from the vaccine.

    And you can be sure that anything that can kill that many people does damage to a lot more.

    1. There have been 4.7 million Israeli who had at least one dose of the vaccine. That's more than half the population. And you're talking about 1000+ deaths. The Israeli death rate is about 5.2 per 1000 per year. At that rate there'd be 24,400 deaths for those 4.7 million in a year. Or 4000+ in a couple months. The number is probably higher since the vaccinated population is older than the non-vaccinated population. So 1000+ is not alarming, concerning or even worth yawning at.

      I checked the first item in the forum/link you posted. Fake news. The individual got 2nd vax on Jan 11 & died on Feb 26. He first reported symptoms on Feb 3. Now symptoms appear on the average of 5-6 days after infection, but there are outlier cases in which it takes two weeks. And it takes about a week after the 2nd vax before full immunity kicks in. That adds up to three weeks, which covers the period from Jan 11 to Feb 3. Perhaps an outlier, but no proof whatsoever that the vaccine would not have been effective for this unfortunate individual.

      "Many healthy people who clearly died from the vaccine."
      Prove it. Start with "one" & move up to "many". You may use a calculator, but you must show your work. As I've demonstrated above- the first news story I found in the link proved nothing. Don't just cite & quote- analyse.

    2. Ephraim, you are the one grasping at "maybe its an outlier" straws about the second dose against an anti-vaxer. It's embarrassing.

      The peer reviewed, high quality NEJM study of the Pfizer vaccine estimated efficacy at preventing death of 72% ( You will presumably be aware that 72% is less than 100%. To save you the trouble of your customary barrel scraping, I am happy to point out that the upper 95% confidence interval for that estimate is 100%, and that you'd be unscientific to jump to the extreme ends of the confidence interval which confirmed your biases towards moral funk.

      People won't stop dying of Covid 19 because of the vaccine. All the groups which were identified as vulnerable have now been vaccinated, and so it is well past time to open schools and end the arbitrary house arrests.

    3. People won't STOP dying, Mr. Hat. People will die in REDUCED NUMBERS. They will stop dying and stop taking up ICU beds and stop getting blood clots and stop having anosmia IN REDUCED NUMBERS.

  15. All true, except for:

    "sometimes even try to silence them"

    No one should ever be silenced.

  16. "There is no scientific data about the long-term effects of the vaccine."

    How about: "There is no scientific data about the long-term effects of the virus."

    An objective risk/reward analysis of this element of the choice would involve the probabilities of getting covid with and without the vaccine and the possible downstream impacts of the vaccine and the disease. IMHO you'd need to be really sensitive to vaccine risks and insensitive to disease risk to decide not to vaccinate

  17. I personally know, as do you, many people who died after getting the vaccine.
    Which is to be expected in a large population even with a vaccine that was 95% effective. Greater detail would be required before reaching any conclusions

  18. It is not completely accurate, at this stage, "And yet every single one of these people had the option of taking the vaccine but did not do so" because many people between 18 and 35 are still between their first and second vaccine, so they have less protection, even though they signed up for appointments as soon as they could. And, there are people under 16.

  19. Well said, Rabbi. I hope some of the stubborn or foolish take heed, but scanning the thread, I'm not optimistic. Personally, as a 69-year-old in NYC, I'm eagerly looking forward to my first shot next week.

  20. I've been surprised by how many people I thought otherwise quite reasonable have been swept up in this wave of anti-vax/anti-mask/conspiracies of varying degrees of believability. Even close friends and good neighbours. I struggled to put my finger on exactly what is the underlying difference between us. I struggle to understand how people can ignore medical expertise. Then a close friend suggested quite simply its a difference of optimism vs cynicism. Maybe? I consider myself very optimistic. Could this be an underlying mida/trait causing these behaviours? What do you think?

    1. If trust has eroded it is because government scientific advisors have become the face and stars of political policies. 'The Science' doesn't deal in childish pabulum like "vaccines protect from death". It says that you are estimated to have 72 percent less chance of dying from Covid 19.

      Scientists who play at politics have only themselves to blame. Scientists who covered up for Barnard Castle have zero credibility. Zero.

    2. I would say it's the opposite. An adverse reaction to a society suffering from mass anxiety.

    3. Read through this litany of failures and see why I have lost any respect for 'experts.'

    4. " It says that you are estimated to have 72 percent less chance of dying from Covid 19."

      To clarify: That study covered the results after the first dose. The study dealing with the second dose found 95% effectiveness in preventing covid-19. (That result is not yet relevant in the UK where they've chosen to push off the second dose in order to vaccinate more people. Plus they've not using the Pfizer vaccine exclusively.)

  21. This is the worst big pharma propaganda I have ever read, and it’s doubly shocking and disturbing coming from someone who is supposed to be a spiritual leader. Are you aware that the death rate from covid in anyone under 70 is over 99%? And even in over 70 it’s over 95%, which is still more effective than an untested vaccine. It is not a vaccine either, it is experimental gene therapy. Call it what it is. Of course we don’t know the long term effects yet, but isn’t it alarming that the death rates in Israel increased during the vaccination campaign? Of course, this will be covered up by the mainstream media which is firmly under control of corporate pharma, as it appears are many spiritual leaders. Why? Are you not able to do any independent research and thinking? Do you trust big pharma, companies like Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, who have lied, cheated and murdered before, over your belief in god and your innate immune system? What about proven treatments like Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine? You want to save lives? Research that. Look up America’s Frontline Doctors. The truth will eventually come out and you will find yourself on the wrong side of history, encouraging divisiveness, hatred, and blind obedience to a truly satanic agenda.

    1. "This is the worst big pharma propaganda"
      No it isn't. RNS is not on any pharm co's payroll. On the other hand, you should should talk about Big Alt-Med & Big Supplement & their bribing/lobbying of politicians. That;s why supplements are available without any regulatory oversight of efficacy, safety or even if the damn capsule contains the ingredients stated on the bottle label.
      "an untested vaccine."
      The vaccine has been tested.
      "It is not a vaccine"
      It's a vaccine.
      "it is experimental gene therapy."
      And a very promising experiment at that.
      " but isn’t it alarming that the death rates in Israel increased during the vaccination campaign"
      There is no evidence for increased deaths in the vaccinated population.
      "which is firmly under control of corporate pharma"
      They are not under firm control from corporate pharma.
      "as it appears are many spiritual leaders."
      They are also not under firm control from corporate pharma.
      "Are you not able to do any independent research and thinking?"
      This is progress. You have made a distinction between independent research on the one hand, & thinking on the other.
      " over your belief in god and your innate immune system"
      The use of the term "innate" in such a context evokes the pagan/pantheistic basis of certain alt-med systems. In any case, I don't have faith in my immune system. Anyone who does is an idolator.
      " What about proven treatments"
      They are not proven. There's still a debate. Evidence is mixed at best, and there's a sorry lack of high quality studies. I can understand why some doctors would treat with HCQ & Ivermectin, but I understand the scepticism too.
      " Look up America’s Frontline Doctors."
      Doctors are not necessarily scientists.
      "and blind obedience to a truly satanic agenda."
      Don't be silly. There aren't any satanists lurking around my local medical clinic.

  22. On this day one year ago, Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said about adverts for FFP3 masks being banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority "Callous firms looking to maximise profits by pushing products that fly in the face of official advice is outright dangerous and has rightly been banned."

    He and the rest of the NHS regard themselves as the heros of the hour and he has marked the last few days on Twitter by congratulating himself on the NHS' superlative intramuscular injection technique with syringes of vaccine developed and produced by private companies.

    The other big news on UK medical twitter are demands for pay rises and a monetary increase to their tax advantaged pension annual lifetime allowance (of £1,078,900 each) on UK medical twitter following the budget speech yesterday, and threats of senior consultants to resign if those demands aren't met. See for example.

    Elsewhere in the real world as of 15 February 2021 one third of the UK working population - 11 million people - remain furloughed from their jobs. No child (apart from the children of the medical elites and other excepted categories) have not been to school in more than 2 months.

    I live in a dystopia.

    1. Have been furloughed cumulatively, not were at that moment furloughed. The instantaneous number of furloughed people was 4.9M and there were also more than 2M unemployed. Just over 20 percent of workers in the UK.

  23. I think most people who look at those who are cautious about the vaccines are really hoping that things go back to normal after vaccination. They are either not listening to what these elites are saying, or see that they keeping shifting goalposts. Recently the Jerusalem Post reported that Bibi is talking to both Pfizer and Morderna CEOs about setting up vaccine plant in Israel. That should tell you that they see covid vaccine business as being here for the long haul. My suspicions were confirmed when a few weeks later, there were talk of "Booster Shots" every 6-12 months. I hope Im wrong but something tells me not


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