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Martin Kulldorff promotes an old antivax narrative about “natural immunity”

Great Barrington Declaration author Martin Kulldorff, who is also the “scientific director” of the Brownstone Institute, a public health science denialist right wing “think tank,” is promoting an antivax narrative about “natural immunity” against COVID-19, because of course he is.

The antivaccine movement has have long promoted a narrative going back to as long as the concept of immunity due to vaccines has existed that vaccine-induced immunity is somehow “inferior” to “natural immunity.” Of course, as I like to respond, vaccine-induced immunity is every bit as “natural” as “natural immunity” resulting from infection and recovery from infection. Even better, whatever its duration and robustness relative to post-infection immunity (the more correct term for “natural immunity”) vaccine-induced has the advantage of not requiring a person to suffer through the disease and face the risks of severe complications and death. Yet antivaxxers have long fetishized “natural immunity” as far superior to vaccine-induced immunity, even when it isn’t, which goes along their narrative that portrays vaccines as somehow “unnatural,” “dirty,” and “contamination” of their “purity of essence.” So it comes as no surprise that Martin Kulldorff, one of the three scientists who authored the Great Barrington Declaration and currently the “scientific director” of an astroturf anti-public health think tank billed by its founder as the “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration,” the Brownstone Institute.

Let’s see what Kulldorff has to say now in his recent article for the Brownstone Institute not-so-subtly entitled The Triumph of Natural Immunity. Let’s start with Kulldorff’s conclusion first, in which he fires a shot across my bow (well, not specifically mine, but I view it that way):

The medical establishment used to push for evidence-based medicine as a counterweight to “alternative medicine.” It is tragic how that philosophy has now been thrown out the window. If Pfizer and Moderna want these vaccines to be given to children, they should first conduct a randomized controlled trial that shows that they reduce hospitalization and all-cause mortality. They failed to do so for adults. They should not get away with that for our children.

Kulldorff is clearly comparing vaccine science to alternative medicine like homeopathy in this paragraph. He ought to know that them’s fightin’ words to advocates of science- and evidence-based medicine. Unsurprisingly, he cherry picks studies to reach his conclusion, as you will see, a tactic that is, ironically, very much like how apologists for alternative medicine approach scientific evidence as a tool to seem to support their quackery and to attack conventional evidence-based medicine.

First, though, let’s go back to the beginning:

A new CDC study shows that around 75% of American children – and nearly 60% of adults – have already had covid. That means that they have strong natural immunity that protects them from covid infections as they get older. Despite this, the CDC, the FDA and other government agencies are pushing all of them to get vaccinated. 

Why?

Let me just stop right there and point out that this very introduction could have easily been found on antivaccine websites without even a single edit, because it’s exactly the same argument that antivaxxers have been making about infectious diseases going back longer than I can remember. Kulldorff becomes outraged when anyone even suggests that he might be antivaccine because he apparently honestly believes himself to be provaccine. My retort is that someone who is truly provaccine would never write drivel like this because, again, the question of postinfection immunity to COVID-19 is complex. In general it appears that hybrid immunity (from previous infection plus vaccine) is superior to either form of immunity alone, which implies that, while it is better never to get COVID-19 in the first place, given the potential for hospitalization, death, complications, and long COVID, if you have had COVID-19 it still makes a lot of sense to be vaccinated. Moreover, as I’ve discussed on more than one occasion, postinfection immunity for COVID-19, although potentially as robust, never appeared to be particularly durable, and there is a wide range of how effective it is; in contrast, the vaccine tends to result in more predictable immunity.

Moreover, as I’ve discussed on more than one occasion, postinfection immunity for COVID-19, although potentially as robust, never appeared to be particularly durable, and there is a wide range of how effective it is; in contrast, the vaccine tends to result in more predictable immunity. Also, the rise of much more transmissible variants with ever-greater ability to evade prior immunity (e.g., the Delta, but even more so the Omicron variants) long ago demolished the rationale behind a “natural herd immunity” approach to the pandemic, because such an approach requires that postinfection immunity be not just robust, but durable—preferably lifelong. We now know that reinfection of people who had the original strain of COVID-19 with the new variants is common and that “natural immunity” wanes almost as fast as vaccine-induced immunity. Antivaxxers like to portray the probable need for yearly or periodic boosters for COVID-19 as a failure, when in fact it’s just a reflection of how even “natural immunity” against COVID-19 is not only not lifelong, but not particularly long-lasting.

It is useful at this point to reiterate for newbies who haven’t encountered my discussions of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) before that the GBD was a document authored in early October 2020 by Martin Kulldorff, who was then at Harvard University, along with co-authors Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford University) and Sunetra Gupta (Oxford University) during a weekend confab held at the headquarters of the libertarian “free market” think tank American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) in Great Barrington, MA. The idea behind it was that “lockdowns” (vaguely defined as almost any public health intervention involving restricting or closing businesses and any form of “shelter-in-place” orders, no matter how full of loopholes) were so horrendous that they were destroying the economy, which to the GBD signatories meant that a “natural herd immunity” approach to the pandemic would be less horrendous. Basically, the GBD proposed that, to reach “natural herd immunity” faster, governments should ease up on “lockdowns,” let the young and “healthy” get on with their lives and most of them catch the disease (thereby allowing businesses to get back to the business of making money), and use “focused protection” to keep those vulnerable to severe disease, hospitalization, and death safe from COVID-19. The basic concept was that young healthy people were at such a low risk from COVID-19 that they should just be allowed to get it naturally, which is why I frequently refer to the GBD as a “let ‘er rip” strategy.

As I’ve pointed out many times, the GBD was never a serious scientific proposal. Rather, it was a strategy known as “magnified minority,” in which ideological actors manage to find some fringe scientists to use as useful idiots to promote whatever message they want to promote, in this case the ideological actor being AIER and the useful idiots being Kulldorff, who, after having been wined and dined and thereby recruited by AIER, rapidly turned around and enthusiastically recruited Bhattacharya and Gupta to come to AIER headquarters for a meeting. Moreover, the GBD never had a chance of working, because it is basically impossible to protect the most vulnerable (e.g., nursing home residents and the ill or elderly living in multigenerational households) if a highly transmissible respiratory virus is spreading unchecked among the people taking care of them. For the GBD to work, “focused protection” would have had to be essentially perfect, 100%. That is, of course, impossible in real life. Again, remember that in October 2020 vaccines were thought to be months away, at least, and, even though the Pfizer vaccine was first released under an emergency use authorization (EUA) in December 2020, it was indeed a few months before it was widely available to the general public aside from frontline healthcare and other workers. That’s another reason why I have argued that the GBD was profoundly eugenicist; it left the elderly and those with chronic illnesses to the tender mercies of SARS-CoV-2 while only paying lip service to actually protecting them.

I also like to cite how poorly we’ve done with vaccinations:

Knowing that background, let’s see how Kulldorff justifies the title of his article, The Triumph of Natural Immunity (which, sadly, reminds me unmistakably of another “triumph“):

In April 2020, the Santa Clara study showed that 3% of its population had been infected. In February 2022, the CDC study shows that at least 58% percent of Americans have had covid, as evidenced by their anti-nucleocapsid antibodies, which are produced due to infections but not the vaccines. The numbers vary by age.

What does this mean? We know that natural immunity after covid recovery provides excellent protection against future infections, and while covid will be with us for the rest of our lives, it will be something that our immune system will cope with in the way it is handling the other four widely circulating coronaviruses.

Shorter Kulldorff: “Don’t worry, be happy. Never mind the one million dead Americans whom COVID-19 has killed since it arrived on our shores a little more than two years ago.”

Indeed, one can’t help but note the irony here. We just hit one million deaths this week—although the true total number of COVID-19 deaths in the US is almost certainly much higher. As I like to point out, given that the US population is roughly 330 million, that means that, if every single American has been infected (which, as this CDC study suggests, is not true), that would place a lower bound on the infection fatality rate (IFR) for COVID-19 of 1/330, or 0.3%. If we take the seroprevalence rate of this study (59%) as accurate, this implies a lower bound for IFR of 0.3%/0.59, or ~0.5%, which is one in two hundred.That might sound like a small percentage, but, as public health officials know and I’ve long pointed out, the law of large numbers can make small percentages translate into huge numbers of dead.

With that background in mind, I can’t help but point out what Kulldorff left out of his citation of the Santa Clara study, which, as it turns out, included among its authors Kulldorff’s buddies Jay Bhattacharya and John Ioannidis, the latter of whom has basically become as big a denier of public health science and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination, as Kulldorff, Bhattacharya, the AIER, and the Brownstone Institute. Specifically, that study estimated that the IFR was at most 0.2%, but probably a lot lower. At the time it was published, the Santa Clara study was widely criticized for massively overestimating the seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 from a biased sample and underestimating the probable IFR. Basically, Kulldorff cherry picked the one figure he liked from the study and ignored the implication that, if that the IFR estimated from the study is probably three times lower (at least) than the “true” IFR that we have been seeing in the US in practice. Yet Kulldorff represents that April 2020 study as having been vindicated by citing it in a deceptive manner.

Another problem becomes immediately apparent, but first let’s see more of Kulldorff’s spin:

It means that we are now transitioning from the pandemic stage to the endemic stage, and we will eventually reach herd immunity, the end point of every pandemic no matter what strategy is used.

Given these numbers, why are the CDC, the FDA and the government pushing hard for all children to get vaccinated against covid? Why are some schools and universities mandating covid vaccines for children and young adults? The majority already have superior natural immunity.

One more time, “endemic” does not equal “harmless.” That is the message that pandemic minimizers and opponents of public health nonpharmacological interventions (NPIs) like masks, social distancing, and “lockdowns” parrot endlessly, but it’s just not true:

Stating that an infection will become endemic says nothing about how long it might take to reach stasis, what the case rates, morbidity levels or death rates will be or, crucially, how much of a population — and which sectors — will be susceptible. Nor does it suggest guaranteed stability: there can still be disruptive waves from endemic infections, as seen with the US measles outbreak in 2019. Health policies and individual behaviour will determine what form — out of many possibilities — endemic COVID-19 takes.

In Kulldorff-speak (as in Brownstone-speak), “endemic” really means, “shrug our shoulders and do nothing and, yes, let ‘er rip,” no matter how much they deny that it’s a “let ‘er rip” strategy.” Kulldorff can deny that as much as he likes by claiming that he and his GBD useful idiots advocate “focused protection” for those most vulnerable to severe disease and death, but his parroting of very old antivaccine narratives about “natural herd immunity” (and “natural immunity”), coupled with his resistance to pretty much every other public health intervention that is not 100% voluntary on an individual basis, tells me that he’s always been all about letting COVID-19 rip through the population to reach herd immunity, damn the death toll of one million dead Americans and 15 million dead worldwide (possibly as high as 25 million worldwide)—and counting. These are numbers of dead that, had you predicted them two years ago, would have been met with horror and dismay. Today, we just shrug our collective shoulders that it was mainly the old and ill who died, while Kulldorff tries to proclaim that “natural herd immunity” will soon be upon us, just as pandemic minimizers have been predicting for a long time and not acknowledging how wrong they were about it.

Before reaching his conclusion that public health is no better than alternative medicine, Kulldorff jumps straight into a Gish gallop that would have impressed even Duane Gish, which he sets up with some typical misleading comparisons:

Given these numbers, why are the CDC, the FDA and the government pushing hard for all children to get vaccinated against covid? Why are some schools and universities mandating covid vaccines for children and young adults? The majority already have superior natural immunity

All of them are at minuscule risk from dying from covid even if they have not had it, a risk that is smaller than dying from any of a whole range of other causes such as motor vehicle accidents, drowning, homicide, suicide, drug overdoses or cancer. While anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in covid mortality between older and younger people. 

I was amazed that Kulldorff cited an article by himself from April 2020 to argue that there is a 1,000-fold difference in mortality due to COVID-19 between the old and young. As it turns out, we have much more recent data, and it is true that there is a huge difference in IFR between children and the elderly, but that’s true for many causes of death. For instance, in the US, by Kulldorff’s own citation approximately 1,850 children die of cancer every year, which makes me wonder if he agrees with the “modest proposal” to close all pediatric cancer hospitals. After all, cancer doesn’t kill that many children compared to auto crashes or homicide, either!

Then the Gish gallop starts. Kulldorff cites the Danish study on all-cause mortality and COVID-19 vaccines as concluding that the vaccines have no benefit in terms of preventing mortality:

To sell a drug or a vaccine, we require pharmaceutical companies to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to show that it works to prevent serious health outcomes or death. Pfizer and Moderna have not done that. For adults they only showed a reduction in symptomatic disease. 

To remedy this, a recent Danish study used the RCTs to evaluate all-cause mortality. For every 100 who die in the placebo group, there are 103 deaths among mRNA vaccinees, with a 95% confidence interval of 63 to 171. This contrasts with the adenovirus-vector vaccines (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson), with 37 deaths among the vaccinees (95% CI: 19-70).

First, this is not the first time that Kulldorff has deceptively cited this study. He did it a couple of weeks ago. Second, this, like his first citation of this study, is quite simply a distortion of the study and not true. Basically, the study shows that COVID-19 vaccines have no benefit against non-COVID-19 mortality, which is a “Well, duh!” finding.

Second, his claim that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed no mortality benefit reminds me very much of something that Peter Doshi published in The BMJ over a year ago, in which based on specious reasoning he falsely estimated that the benefit of the mRNA vaccines was far lower than what was reported in the randomized clinical trials. Kulldorff didn’t link to the source of his claim that “Pfizer and Moderna have not done that”; so I’ll have to dig more for the root of that claim, which is clearly false.

Then, of course, Kulldorff does his best to claim that the Pfizer vaccine, which reduces COVID-19 infection in children by 91%, is useless, claiming that such a reduction is useless if there’s no clearly proven benefit for mortality. He also appeals to—you guessed it!—natural immunity, parroting the same arguments that antivaxxers have been citing since time immemorial about “natural immunity” to measles, pertussis, chickenpox, and every other childhood disease, which makes this bit of “whataboutism” to which he pivots all the more ridiculous:

The CDC, the FDA, schools, and universities are pushing covid vaccines without having shown any benefit to the majority of children who have already had covid. It is stunning how these institutions have abandoned 2,500 years of knowledge about natural immunity. For the minority of children without a prior covid infection, the RCTs only show a short-term reduction in mild disease. 

The CDC could instead focus on catching up with regular childhood vaccines for measles, polio, and other serious childhood diseases. Those vaccinations were severely disrupted during lockdowns, and we now see an increase in measles and polio worldwide. Yet more collateral damage from two years of disastrous public health policy.

I’m annoyed; so I’m going to repeat a modified version something I wrote a few weeks ago. According to the CDC, before the measles vaccine, 48,000 people a year were hospitalized for the measles; 4,000 developed measles-associated encephalitis; and 400 to 500 died. By any stretch of the imagination that was a significant public health problem, and the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, followed by the MMR in 1971, made it much less so, bringing measles under such control that it became very uncommon and deaths from it rare. As Dr. John Snyder reminded us nearly 13 years ago in his response to Dr. Sears making the same arguments in his vaccine book that touted an “alternative vaccination schedule”, measles is not a benign disease, regardless of what popular culture thought of it 50 or 60 years ago. (More recent data show that a severe complication of measles, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), is more common than we used to think.) Meanwhile, over 13 years ago Dr. Sears was claiming that the risk of fatality from measles is “as close to zero as you can get without actually being zero”. Sound familiar? This is basically the same argument that (this time) Martin Kulldorff is making for COVID-19, which has killed over 1,300 children in the US since the pandemic hit, arguably more than the average yearly toll of measles before the vaccine.

Kulldorff is correct that we should work on making sure that it is important to catch up on all the deferred and delayed childhood vaccinations over the last couple of years, but his whataboutism is incredibly transparent given that he’s using exactly the same antivax arguments against COVID-19 vaccination in children that antivaxxers routinely used to invoke against measles and chickenpox vaccines: that the diseases aren’t dangerous to children and “natural immunity” is superior, meaning that vaccination is unnecessary or even dangerous.

It should surprise no one that Martin Kulldorff is now parroting common antivaccine arguments while doing his best to cherry pick and distort studies to falsely argue that COVID-19 vaccines don’t protect against severe disease and death and that “natural immunity” after COVID-19 infection is so much more robust and long-lasting than immunity from COVID-19 vaccines. After all, the entire rationale of the GBD, whether Kulldorff realizes it or not, rested on two old and common antivaccine arguments, namely that “natural immunity” is always better than vaccine-induced immunity and that “natural herd immunity” is superior to herd immunity from vaccines. In October 2020, when it was uncertain when (or even if) safe and effective vaccines would ever be deployed, the GBD rationale, as flawed as it was, could at least seem not entirely bonkers. Now that there are safe and effective vaccines, the GBD makes no sense at all from a scientific standpoint, which is why its proponents are pivoting to much more explicitly antivaccine arguments.

Martin Kulldorff might view himself as “pro-vaccine,” but, as much as he might deny it to himself and others, his own words very much do not support his self-image. If he truly is pro-vaccine, he could easily demonstrate it, but unfortunately he continues to do quite the opposite. There comes a time when one must contrast a person’s denials with his repeated statements that belie those denials. That time passed long ago for Martin Kulldorff.

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59 replies on “Martin Kulldorff promotes an old antivax narrative about “natural immunity””

Kulldorff: “…why are the CDC, the FDA and the government pushing hard for all children to get vaccinated against covid? Why are some schools and universities mandating covid vaccines for children and young adults?”

Well, why do you think this is? It’s unfair to Just Ask Questions and not provide answers.

Is it the profit motive? Desire to control us? Or could it simply be…Evil?

Don’t leave us hanging, Martin!

Yeah, Martin Kulldorff can sit his arse down, the mental divot.

I swear these people intend to out-murder the Spanish Flu. And they’re doing a pretty fair job of it too. They must be in narc heaven.

Yep, and the WHO estimate might even be an underestimate itself. I cited one estimate that the total death toll thus far worldwide could be as high as 25 million.

“(Pfizer and Moderna) should first conduct a randomized controlled trial that shows that they reduce hospitalization and all-cause mortality. They failed to do so for adults.”

This is both true and misleading. Each of these companies conducted randomized controlled trials in adults (with about 40,000 subjects apiece) that conclusively showed a reduction in symptomatic COVID19 infections. Hospitalization and all-cause mortality are less common than symptomatic infection, so an RCT powered to detect these endpoints would have required (in my rough estimate) >500,000 subjects. That would have been impractical, and also unethical (because we would have had the answer regarding symptomatic infection but would then have withheld the vaccine while awaiting the next 450000 subjects, meanwhile people would have died from COVID19). The misleading part of his statement is that symptomatic infection is a perfectly reasonable surrogate marker – if vaccines reduce symptomatic infection, then it’s almost certain that they reduce severe symptomatic infection and death. It’s also misleading because post-authorization, public health data shows a profoundly lower risk of death in vaccinated vs unvaccinated persons, which helps to confirm the conclusions of the RCTs.

Why quote rumor when you can easily find the facts? In the FDA’s analysis of the Pfizer vaccine study, available online, they state that there were 2 cases of suspected but unconfirmed COVID19 cases. Not remotely enough to change the conclusions.

Kuldorff’s just practicing his sophistry in case he gets to write a Supreme Court opinion someday.

After I posted that one-liner, I thought it might be too glib, and maybe too “political”. A generalized slap at Kuldorff and Alito’s argumentation, without specifying how they are both alike and wrong. So here’s the one that caught my attention:

Kuldorff argues “the CDC, the FDA and the government” should not be “pushing hard for all children to get vaccinated against covid”, and schools should not be “mandating covid vaccines for children and young adults” because: “The majority already have superior natural immunity.”

The problem here is presenting a part (the majority) as the whole.

We see this a lot: the conflation of ‘children have greatly reduced risk from COVID compared to adults’ with ‘children have so little risk from COVID we don’t need to worry about it’. So what about the children who aren’t in the majority, by Kuldorff’s numbers 25% of American kids, over 18 million? You might think he’d at least allow for them to be vaccinated, but no, he calls for the CDC to “instead focus on catching up with regular childhood vaccines”.

This reminded me of Alito’s argument that a right to abortion is not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition”, and “on the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.” However, as he acknowledges, until well into the 19th Century, prohibition and punishment of chosen abortion almost always only applied after “quickening”, the moment a fetus begins to ‘kick’ in the womb. So it would be equally true to say that until the mid-19th century women did have a right to an abortion. The problem of course, is that Alito insists that “abortion” must be one unified identical thing, when the common law — just like Roe — treated is as different things, depending on the developmental stage of the fetus.

There are more parallels between rhetorical tactics I could draw . But I’ll just note one meta parallel. Neither Alito’s opinion nor Kuldroff’s essay are built to withstand scrutiny, to consider and counter the arguments of an opposition view in a way that might be effective at persuading someone who has yet to make up their mind. Alito goes through the motions, to be sure, but his arrogance and self-contradiction are so evident it’s mere hand-waving. Both of these pieces, then, are preaching to the choir, offered to reaffirm what partisans already believe, give them authorities to cite, and an excuse to claim the mantle of reason.

This only works in the realm of law to the extent that the author writes from a position of unchecked power. Really, Alito can say pretty much anything and get away with it. Kuldorff’s bubble isn’t quite so impermeable, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Alito winds up echoing and citing Kuldorff in an upcoming opinion on a matter of public health. His opinion in the OSHA mandate case very much entailed ‘but the vaccine could be dangerous‘ premises, just as Kuldorff goes to the antivax well here :

There are no RCTs that show the vaccine prevents deaths or provides any other tangible benefit to children, while there could be harms. All vaccines come with some risks of adverse reactions, and while we know that they cause an increased risk of myocarditis in young people, we do not yet have a complete picture of the safety profile for these vaccines. [my emphasis]:

“on the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.”

To me this is one of the stupidest arguments ever.

Women in the US did not have the right to vote until 1920. Should we roll that back to what happened in the 19th Century?

Every so often, society makes improvements. We should maintain those improvements rather than be saying “Back when I was young…”

I guess some people want a return to the ‘good old days’, when everyone had ‘natural immunity’.

I decided to take a look at Kuldorff’s analysis for myself. It seems that he places a lot of weight on the Gazit study from August 2021, which is still in preprint 8 months later! He calls it a “straightforward and well-conducted epidemiological cohort study”. But it is actually a “retrospective observational study”. For comparison, he picked the CDC VISION 9 state study published in MMWR in November 2021. That study looked at patients hospitalized with Covid-like illness, which could be influenza, RSV or something else as well as Covid-19. It looked at these patients and whether they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

There have been several critiques of the Gazit study, but in particular I think it’s important that it does NOT have a non-infected, unvaccinated control group to base a protection rate calculation on. So it focuses on a large ratio in a small number of infected patients, only a handful of whom required hospitalization. Also the Gazit study found that vaccinating previously infected patients reduced their odds of getting reinfected by 0.53. Kuldorff calls this a ” a 35% lower risk for symptomatic disease “??

The CDC VISION study looks at hospitalized patients and who is more likely to be there because of a Covid-19 reinfection. It calculates an adjusted odds ratio of 5.49 for previously infected patients to test positive compared to the vaccinated group. Kuldorff finds several reasons to discount comparing these two groups. But even the raw number ratio of 1.7 shows a significant advantage in favor of vaccination.

He also ignores the CDC Kentucky study published in MMWR about the same time as the Gazit study. It showed a 2.34 increase in protection from vaccinating previously infected people.
He also ignores true cohort studies like Nordstrom et al

http://www.philosophie-spiritualite.com/Liste_telechargement/Corona%20virus%205/SSRN-id3949410.pdf

This study showed persistent effectiveness in protecting against severe disease and hospitalization.

With respect to severe Covid-19 such as hospitalization or death, follow-ups of clinical trials showed about 84% and 92% efficacy of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 after 4 months15 16, with similar results reported by the CDC, although slightly lower maintained protection of BNT162b217. Also, studies from US and Qatar showed that the effectiveness of BNT162b2 against hospitalization and death persisted through 6 months18 19, whereas preliminary data from UK indicate a slight waning, most notably for older adults and for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 compared to BNT162b220.

He doesn’t mention the many studies that continue to show about a 90% protection against hospitalization and death from the vaccines even longer than the data studied by Nordstrom.
And he doesn’t mention the costs of getting this natural immunity. The previously infected cohorts skew younger because the older people infected are more likely to die. And then there is the increased risk of dying from other causes in the year after recovery. And the risk of PASC. And you may have brain fog and not be aware of it for up to 9 months after you think you have recovered.

For another good discussion of several studies on natural immunity, I suggest his video from Dr Susan Oliver.
https://youtu.be/XzyAvW34QAc

Yes. Omicron is very good at evading immune protection, which seems to be related to its extra affinity to bind to a cell wall before antibodies can grab it. Which may be why the Omicron-specific mRNA vaccines don’t do all that better. Although Prasad wants us to run through the whole testing cycle for those vaccines before doing any childhood vaccinations.

And an experienced epidemiologist like Kuldorff should have been aware that immunity to the other 4 common coronaviruses doesn’t last very long. Ralph Baric was pointing this out in early 2020 when he expected this one to eventually be another cold coronavirus. Although this one has turned out to be more of a cold+ with multiple extra harms.

it will be something that our immune system will cope with in the way it is handling the other four widely circulating coronaviruses

That’s a lot of wordiness buried in even more of the same to drop the monkey-see, monkey-do “it’s only a cold” routine.

With and of are prepositions, not pronouns. Do die with something is different to die of something. An example is I can die of a gun shot wound but with covid. Even though I had covid, the gun shot wound is my ultimate demise. As for the death certificates why would they need to be fake? They can simply write that covid was a factor. The numbers are fake, on purpose as Birx told us from the start.

Still don’t understand that deaths where covid was a contributing cause are also a factor in the impact of covid on a population eh John?

I guess we can ignore AIDS too? After all, it’s those pesky opportunist infections and cancers that most commonly kill you. Died with AIDS. I’m sure you’d like those figures ignored as well?

Of course we shouldn’t. But 1 Million is a convenient, pro-vaccine exaggeration that distorts reality in order to pump of a risk/reward narrative in favor of the vaccine. We don’t know the truth but what is likely is that 1) a fraction of those deaths were actually caused by covid just due to the counting employed by the CDC 2) a lot more people were infected with covid than were ever counted and as a result 3) there are a lot more devastating vaccine reactions than are currently being admitted to and 4) because of this the vaccine is not near the positive intervention it’s touted to be.

“But 1 Million is a convenient, pro-vaccine exaggeration that distorts reality in order to pump of a risk/reward narrative in favor of the vaccine. ”

john, you’ve been asked several times to supply evidence for your assertions but you never do. What evidence to you have for this (or the other bits of stupidity in the same post)?

PSA: Labarge is full of shit. Again. As someone who fills these out, this is not now, was not ever, and will not ever happen. Insurance companies would be in revolt if it was going on. See my past replies for more detail.

“We don’t know the truth but what is likely is”

Isn’t it amazing how all of your guesses support your world view? It’s almost as if there’s some kind of underlying mechanism……

The CDC could instead focus on catching up with regular childhood vaccines for measles, polio, and other serious childhood diseases. Those vaccinations were severely disrupted during lockdowns, and we now see an increase in measles and polio worldwide.

While this is true,
1 – our health agencies in our respective countries can do both (there is currently an advertisement for a childhood disease vaccine diffused on the French radios). And add prevention of car accidents, etc.
2 – up until then, he was talking about US vaccination policies, but suddenly now it’s about worldwide policies? I mean, the measles and polio increases are, so far, not happening in the US.

I would also point out the disruption was due to the adults being confined, along the children, and also, due to changes in resource allocations – the resources used oversea to fund humanitarian programs aimed at developing nations was redirected home to fight the pandemic.
I mean, even if we accept that children were at no-risk, we still had to try to protect the adults. I think.
If he wants to argue that these lockdowns and accompanying measures were unnecessary (or “disastrous”), then he should make his case that covid19 was harmless for adults as well.

@ORAC

Why does the CDC state this if Natural Immunity is not superior’

“Who Does Not Need MMR Vaccine?

You were born before 1957.**

**Birth before 1957 provides only presumptive evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella. Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with measles, mumps, and rubella viruses during childhood. The majority of people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected against measles, mumps, and rubella. Healthcare personnel born before 1957 without laboratory evidence of immunity or disease should consider getting two doses of MMR vaccine.”

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html

That quote is not evidence that natural immunity is better. It is just recognition that people born before 1957 most likely had measles.

@ Chris

Yep, I had measles, chicken pox, German measles, mumps, rotavirus, etc since I was born before 1957 and way before most vaccines were available. And to the best of my memory, so did almost all of my classmates. However, prior to 1955 my mother, during polio season, wouldn’t let me go to municipal swimming pool nor movies, then Salk vaccine trials ended April 1955 and I was in 1st cohort to get Salk vaccine, so my mother allowed me to go for swim lessons and to movies. I had school mates who had steel braces because of polio and knew someone in an iron lung.

I was volunteer in Phase 3 clinical trial of Moderna mRNA Covid-19 vaccine and recently started as volunteer in Phase 2 clinical trial of Moderna mRNA Covid-19 variant vaccines. One nice thing is they are near Trader Joe’s, where I do some of my grocery shopping, so I go there every so often so they can take my blood to test for antibodies, etc. and then kill two birds with one stone by doing my shopping at Trader Joe’s.

And they are ignoring the fact that immunity declines at different rates for different bacteria and viruses. The protection to measles, mumps and rubella is very long lived, which is why they are combined in one vaccine. Protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis declines in a few years, which is why you need boosters every 10 years or less. A lot of people get infected with pertussis and don’t know it. They just have a bad cough for a few days. But they can spread it to unvaccinated children.

Also, the people on TWiV have been pointing out that no vaccine, even the MMR or IPV, provides totally sterilizing immunity. You can still get a viral infection started. But the immune system quickly stomps it out and you don’t get symptomatic illness.

If we picked a large cross-section of people and did weekly blood tests to see what we could culture from them, we’d probably be shocked at what is actually circulating out there.

If anything, it treats the two as equivalent.

I wonder if any studies have been done to show if measles acquired immunity and MMR acquired immunity together are better than either alone.

I wonder if any studies have been done to show if measles acquired immunity and MMR acquired immunity together are better than either alone.

The signal would probably be undetectable (and I have no mechanism to offer), but I have wondered whether vaccination subsequent to measles disease could be prophylactic against SSPE.

Good grief. Measles and COVID are completely different diseases. “Natural Immunity” is not one unified thing that works the same way from one disease to the next. Born in ‘53, I had all those childhood diseases, once, and didn’t get them again. Which says NOTHING about the duration of immune system protection against respiratory coronaviri. Unless, you know, you think the fact you had the flu last year means you won’t get it this year.

@ sadmar:

I’m glad you said it – we keep forgetting that many vaccine denialists DON’T know that and haven’t even considered that viruses/ viral illnesses are not all the same– in fact they often cite material about retro-viruses for non- retro-viruses like Covid.

— Also:
your comments about Alito’s “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition”.

You may recall that I wasn’t raised to be religious so I had to look this up although I knew the basics:
conservatives often base their actions/ beliefs on biblical precedents ( e.g. anti-gay people in Leviticus) but how about abortion and questions about ‘when life begins’?
If someone killed a person- including a woman- the punishment would be death ( ” an eye for an eye, a life for a life”) but
if someone injured a pregnant woman resulting in a miscarriage, it was treated as an injury to her : she would be awarded damages similar to that of other injuries to her. No “personhood” involved, no “murder” charges.

So why do they forget about these rules and jump to the 16th Century or later?
Aren’t they based in Judaic Christian law? Isn’t that a part of ” history and tradition”?

Also, that 1957 date for the presumption of having contracted measles, mumps and rubella is by no means universal. In Australia, where I live, the cutoff for that presumption is 1966, presumably down to when the vaccines started to be widely used in each country.

https://www.ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/adult-vaccination-fact-sheet.pdf

The presumption is not necessarily correct, either: I was born before 1957 and while I know I’ve had measles, I don’t know whether I’ve had rubella, and I know I haven’t had mumps.

Because they are different diseases.

Humans (in general) build durable immune memory to the measles virus.
Humans (in general) do not build durable immune memory to the pertussis bacteria.
Humans do not build any immune memory to tetanus, assuming that they manage to survive a case.

Not all pathogens elicit a strong, durable immune response. There are lots of reasons for that, all of which are very complicated.

(Also, the measles virus specifically targets memory immune cells, resulting in a person having less immune defenses after a case of the measles than before, which is why the measles vaccine results in reduced all-cause mortality.)

I’ll happily pit my vaccine-based immunity to tetanus against your infection-based immunity.

Not even close to in the same ballpark as covid vaccines. Highly tested, highly effective and not respiratory.

Just a note. I have a grant deadline this week, which is why there hasn’t been a post since Monday. I’m not sure if I’ll have anything until Monday, but I might have something tomorrow.

Let’s just say that, as much as I still love blogging, I’ve finally learned to step away from the blog when real life interferes.

[…] Not satisfied with having been, as he bragged, in the “room where it happened” as the GBD was being drafted, Jeffrey Tucker left AIER a few months later to form his own libertarian think tank, the Brownstone Institute, which he himself described as the “spiritual child of the GBD.” There, he recruited the useful idiot who became the prime behind writing the GBD, Harvard scientist Martin Kulldorff, to be Brownstone’s scientific director, along with a bevy of other ideologues, COVID-19 pandemic minimizers, antimaskers, anti-lockdowners, and, yes, antivaxxers. Even before the appearance of the Delta and Omicron variants of SARs-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, it was clear to public health scientists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease experts that the GBD never would have worked, but since those variants demonstrated that COVID-19 evolve to overcome postinfection “natural immunity” claims that we can ever reach “natural herd immunity” to the disease are delusional at best. […]

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