Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

Gov. Ron DeSantis grants antivaxxers their wish, a mini-“Nuremberg 2.0”

Since long before the pandemic,antivaxxers have fantasized about Nuremberg-like tribunals (a “Nuremberg 2.0, if you will) to punish vaccine advocates. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is now giving them their wish.

I realize that it was just the other day that I wrote about how, since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything old is new again among antivaxxers. What I did not mention is that, when it comes to pure antivax bonkers, it’s hard to surpass what has been happening in Florida lately, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has apparently decided that the path to becoming President runs through recycling every old “health freedom” antivaccine trope I’ve been writing about for 18 years now, after having used them to dictate Florida’s pandemic policy for nearly two years. Examples of how Gov. DeSantis has done this include his embrace of the “Urgency of Normal,” which advocated reopening schools with, in essence, no COVID-19 mitigations “for the children”; his appointment of Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who first made his name promoting hydroxychloroquine as a cure-all for COVID-19 with the grifting right wing conspiracy group known as America’s Frontline Doctors, and then pivoted to opposing in essence any COVID-19 mitigations that are not completely voluntary or inconvenience anyone; and the conversion of the Florida Department of Health into a pandemic-opposing antivax organization, complete with dubious studies falsely extrapolating their results to argue that vaccinating children against COVID-19 is more dangerous than letting them catch COVID-19.

Apparently, totally embracing the “let ‘er rip” philosophy of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), the frankly eugenicist statement advocating letting the young and healthy catch COVID-19 and locking away the “vulnerable” as “focused protection” wasn’t enough. Now, apparently, Gov. DeSantis wants to give antivaxxers what they’ve long wanted, dating back to decades before the pandemic, their own mini-“Nuremberg 2.0.”

Here’s what I mean:

At a roundtable he convened of Covid vaccine skeptics and opponents — including his own surgeon general — he formally called on the state Supreme Court to impanel a grand jury to investigatewhether pharmaceutical companies criminally misled Floridians about the side effects of vaccines, a position at odds with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

DeSantis was a major booster of the vaccines last year and once called them lifesaving, but he later turned against them, mirroring a shift in conservative Republican opinion. By January, he refused to say if he even got a booster, and that prompted Trump — whose Operation Warp Speed led to the rapid development of the vaccines — to take a thinly veiled shot at him, albeit not by name, for being “gutless.”

The last time Gov. DeSantis organized a roundtable discussion of COVID-19, pandemic response, and vaccines, he included antivaxxers like Dr. Robert “inventor of mRNA vaccines” Malone (who’s gone complete antivax conspiracy theorist), GBD contributors Drs Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, and advocates of letting kids catch COVID-19 like Dr. Tracy Beth Høeg. Let’s just say that antivaxxers immediately got the reference:

Florida Governor Ron Desantis Seeks Grand Jury of Covid Vaccines-Covid Crimes — POISON SHOTS: DESANTIS’S PANEL PUSH NON-COVID VACCINES, C19 SHOT VS BLOOD UPDATES – TIMTRUTH.COM — Desantis, Musk, Paul… All agree with Chris Edwards, Chief Justice of Nuremberg 2.0 for Crimes Against Humanity vs Covid Hoax and Vaccine Injuries.

One of the sites referenced above greets visitors with this image:

Ron DeSantis and Nuremberg
The dog whistles are so loud that even humans can hear them.

Unsurprisingly, many of the same usual suspects from the “Urgency of Normal” roundtable in March participated in Gov. DeSantis’ “Nuremberg 2.0” conference this week, including:

  • Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD
  • Martin Kuldorff, PhD
  • Tracy Beth Høeg, MD, PhD
  • Joseph Fraiman, MD
  • Christine Stabell Benn, MD, PhD
  • Bret Weinstein, PhD
  • Steven Templeton, PhD

I’m not so familiar with Dr. Benn or Templeton, but I’m very familiar with the GBD authors Drs. Bhattacharya and Kulldorff, who first co-authored the GBD and now write for the astroturf anti-public health “group”think tank” Brownstone Institute, with Kulldorff serving as its scientific advisor. Bret Weinstein, of course, is the evolutionary biologist turned COVID-19 conspiracy theorist and promoter of ivermectin as a cure for the disease, while Dr. Fraiman is an antivaxxer who has coauthored an awful paper with Peter Doshi falsely representing COVID-19 vaccines as unsafe. Dr.Tracy Beth Høeg, of course, is a sports medicine doctor turned fake COVID-19 expert churning out a bad VAERS study and one of the main promoters of “Urgency of Normal” and dubious claims about vaccinating children.

Consistent with that, the roundtable produced antivax zingers like:

“It is always important to balance benefits and risks. For older high-risk people who have not vet had Covid, vaccine benefits outweigh potential risks for an adverse reaction,” said Dr. Martin Kulldorf, Ph.D., Scientific Director, Brownstone Institute; Fellow, Hillsdale College’s Academy for Science & Freedom. “For children, young adults and those who have had COVID, the risk of dying from COVID is miniscule, so even a small risk of a serious vaccine adverse reaction, such as myocarditis, will tip the balance against the vaccine.”


“It it clear we urgently need updated and fully transparent vaccines risk-benefit analyses for all age groups for physicians to make informed recommendations and patients to make informed decisions,” said Dr. Tracey Høeg , M.D., Ph.D., Physician Epidemiologist and Clinical Researcher at Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco, Acumen, LLC. “Blanket mandates or requirements for COVID-19 vaccines are both unscientific and unethical given the vaccines’ ineffectiveness at providing lasting protection from infection or transmission and the uncertainty surrounding the current vaccines’ benefits and risks.”

In antivax-speak, “risk stratification” means: Don’t vaccinate children. It has ever been thus, back to the days when antivaxxers used to argue that vaccinating against measles was unnecessary because it was a “harmless” childhood disease the produced lifelong “natural immunity.” (Never mind the injury to the immune system it causes that results in “immune amnesia” lasting up to three years.)

Curious about the other two, I looked them up. Dr. Benn appears down with the messaging of the GBD, if her Twitter feed is any indication, for example:

Funny how Dr. Benn appears to forget that the GBD never actually defined very well what “focused protection” is and in practice could never have worked.

She was also apparently “honored” to be part of what she called an “inspiring and refreshing” meeting:

Whatever one can say about Dr. Benn’s past, now clearly she has gone deep down the antivax conspiracy rabbit hole, as one of her followers noted:

Here’s the video:

As for Dr. Templeton, a quick Google search led me to his Substack, Fear of a Microbial Planet, billed as “fighting back against a germophobic safety culture.” His first article railed against “coercion,” reaching back to The Black Plague for examples, for example how Jews were targeted, along with foreigners, religious dissenters and witches, or, as he put it, “anyone who could be labeled as ‘other’—were attacked, cast out, stoned, lynched or burned.” Yes, he does fit in with a “Nuremberg 2.0” narrative, as:

Oh, goody. “Hygiene” hypothesis, here we come!

Consistent with this, Dr. Templeton added:

“There has been a tremendous loss of trust in public health and I think you can see that in decreased uptake of vaccines that have been traditionally used,” Steve Templeton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine-Terre Haute. “This isn’t just anti-vaxx people; this is people who have really lost trust in the system, and I think you have to restore that trust to get people to believe in the efficacy of vaccines that have been used for decades without problem and have been very effective.”

What Templeton neglects to mention is that undermining trust in all vaccines by taking advantage of the newness of COVID-19 vaccines to spread what sounds like convincing disinformation about them has been the aim all along, which is why antivaxxers rejoice when surveys have shown that trust in childhood vaccines has declined. It’s an intentional strategy designed to use the banning of COVID-19 vaccines as the “foot in the door” to achieve the longtime goal of the antivaccine movement, the elimination of all vaccine mandates of any kind. That’s always been the endgame, and COVID-19 has given antivaxxers the opportunity to realize it, possibly with the help of cynical politicians like Gov. DeSantis.

I didn’t watch the whole roundtable. (The older I get, the more I fear putting my neurons at risk.) However, but these assessments were accurate about what I did see:

Indeed, they are.

Yes, indeed. All the COVID-19 antivax conspiracies are there. The “Died Suddenly” claims about excess mortality? They’re there. Exaggerated claims about myocarditis from the vaccines? They’re there! False claims that the vaccine has promoted newer and more deadly variants? Yep. The list goes on.

Let’s look at what Gov. DeSantis is doing:

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion joined by Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and world-renowned physicians, researchers, and public health experts to discuss adverse events of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and announce new, aggressive actions to hold the federal government and Big Pharma accountable, including:
  • Establishing the Public Health Integrity Committee. The Committee will be overseen by the Surgeon General to assess federal public health recommendations and guidance to ensure that Florida’s public health policies are tailored for Florida’s communities and priorities.
  • Filing a petition for a Statewide Grand Jury to investigate crimes and wrongdoing committed against Floridians related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Leading further surveillance into sudden deaths of individuals that received the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, based on autopsy results. The state will collaborate with the University of Florida to compare research with studies done in other countries.

Translation of “Public Health Integrity Committee”: Nuremberg 2.0, the tribunal long fantasized about by antivaxxers going back decades that will supposedly investigate the vaccine program and then prosecute and punish vaccine advocates. Actually, the Statewide Grand Jury is probably the better fit to Nuremberg 2.0, with the Public Health Integrity Committee being basically a rubber stamp for Gov. DeSantis’ anti-public health and antivax policies designed to slap a veneer of fake scientific credibility onto profoundly antiscience and antivax policies. Indeed, Gov. DeSantis intends this committee to:

…counter the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which DeSantis said “is not serving a useful function; it’s really serving to advance narratives rather than do evidence-based medicine.” The panel would assess guidance and actions from federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC.

Never mind that the state does not control drug regulation. Not that that matters. This committee is all about propaganda and countering messaging from the CDC and federal government. That’s all.

Reading the press release, I was interested in exactly what Gov. DeSantis’ handpicked committee of antivaxxers, COVID-19 minimizers, and conspiracy theorists is claiming:

The Biden Administration and pharmaceutical corporations continue to push widespread distribution of mRNA vaccines on the public, including children as young as 6 months old, through relentless propaganda while ignoring real-life adverse events. At today’s roundtable the Governor and health experts discussed data covering serious adverse events. These risks include coagulation disorders, acute cardiac injuries, Bell’s palsy, encephalitis, appendicitis, and shingles.

I had, of course, read about all the dubious claims about the “clot shot”—never mind that there’s no evidence that the mRNA vaccines cause increased clotting leading young people to “die suddenly” of massive heart attacks, while there is plenty of evidence that COVID-19 infection itself does cause that—but I had never heard of any claims that the vaccines cause appendicitis before. So I looked at the link cited, and it’s the original clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine, which found, yes, a slightly increased incidence of appendicitis in the vaccinated group, with a risk ratio of 1.40 (95% CI, 1.02 to 2.01; risk difference, 5.0 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 0.3 to 9.9). That’s barely statistically significant, as well as a very tiny number, and the authors noted:

However, phase 3 trials may have inherent limi- tations in assessing vaccine safety because of a small number of participants and a healthier-than- average sample population. Hence, they are often underpowered to identify less common adverse events. Postmarketing surveillance is required to monitor the safety of new vaccines in real-world settings.

Funny how Gov. DeSantis’ lackeys ignored this large 2022 study that investigated the potential safety signal in the Moderna study and found:

In this nationwide study comprising 4 million vaccinated individuals, we found no association between immunization with mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and appendicitis. The safety signal was raised when BNT162b2 vaccine trials showed higher numbers of appendicitis cases in vaccinated than placebo groups; the US Food and Drug Administration then listed appendicitis as an adverse effect of special interest.1,4 This suspicion was backed by disproportional reporting of adverse events2 and an Israeli cohort study estimating an excess risk of appendicitis of 5.0 episodes per 100 000 individuals after vaccination.3 However, an interim analysis of US surveillance data found no association.5

Cherry picking, anyone? Basically, there was a safety signal for appendicitis, it was investigated, and no association was found in postmarking surveillance.

Unsurprisingly, one of the other references cited is that awful study by committee member Dr. Fraiman and The BMJ‘s antivax-adjacent senior editor Peter Doshi that was full of p-hacking-like misrepresentation to find spurious associations between vaccination and “adverse events of special interest.” You get the idea. A lot of the favorite antivax tropes are in the press release and were part of the conversation.

Of course, no good disinformation campaign would be complete without anecdotes, and so those were featured as well, without evidence that their health problems were actually caused by the vaccines, just like any good antivax narrative. Every antivax roundtable organized by cynical politicians needs its “victims,” and this one is no exception. Republicans were doing this in my state back in 2018.

Gov. DeSantis’ call for a “Statewide Grand Jury” to investigate COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine manufacturers, and the CDC is obviously an attempt to play to his party’s base. As Amanda Carpenter points out at The Bulwark:

But regardless of the political calculations that brought DeSantis to this point, it’s important to recognize that his vaccine skepticism is relatively new. This is particularly odd considering that an overwhelming majority of Americans have been safely vaccinated—including millions of Floridians who received their shots when DeSantis was still advocating them.

Let’s review DeSantis’s pro-vaccine advocacy: In December 2020, he traveled to Washington to attend Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine summit, where he outlined plans for Florida’s vaccine rollout. DeSantis then embarked on a “Seniors First” campaign to ensure Florida seniors were first in line to get jabs. He also developed a partnership with the Publix supermarket chain to establish vaccination sites in its stores. DeSantis was so happy to promote vaccination—including vaccines delivered during “house calls” to those unable to travel to get their shots—that he joined healthcare workers to vaccinate a 94-year-old WWII veteran in his home and invited Fox & Friends to cover it.

DeSantis cheered vaccines for everyone in July 2021: “If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero,” he said. “If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all. And so these vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.”

But somewhere along the way, his tone and emphasis started to change. Instead of promoting individual vaccination efforts, he started criticizing vaccine mandates. And as he did, his status with the GOP’s base only improved.

She also asks:

It’s tempting to wonder where to place DeSantis on a continuum between “cynical panderer” on one side and “true believer in his own brand-new mythology” on the other. But even this might be giving him too much credit. DeSantis could be something far more boring: a try-hard overachiever with a penchant for overdoing it, even to the point of humiliating himself.

Personally, I tend to view DeSantis as probably more on the side of “cynical panderer.” He sees that embracing the “health freedom” narrative about COVID-19 vaccines fires up the GOP base. Also, it was only April when he awarded the Florida State Medal of Freedom to the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials, Benjamin Ferencz, who is 102. Seriously, in retrospect it’s hard not to look at this award, deserved as it might be, as yet another example of Ron DeSantis understanding exactly what his antivax admirers want and providing a prelude to this latest proposal.

Gov. DeSantis invokes the ghosts of Nuremberg.
Nazi doctors facing justice in Nuremberg in 1947.

Does he believe all this nonsense about “Nuremberg 2.0” (even if he appears to have managed to restrain himself from explicitly likening the proposed grand jury to that)? Who knows? Does he know that the narrative he’s embracing and his call for a grand jury to investigate big pharma, the CDC, and Anthony Fauci is basically a call for a mini-Nuremberg 2.o? Probably, but he also likely doesn’t care, nor is it likely that he cares about the potential dangerous and violent outcomes that going down the “Nuremberg 2.0” path can produce.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter much whether Gov. DeSantis believes the dangerous nonsense he is peddling. He has, in essence, proposed giving antivaxxers what they have long craved, a mini-Nuremberg 2.0. They won’t be satisfied, though. They want a true Nuremberg 2.0.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

115 replies on “Gov. Ron DeSantis grants antivaxxers their wish, a mini-“Nuremberg 2.0””

De Santis may be getting assistance in his battle against reality
( yesterday, @ HighWireTalk)
Del hosts Aaron Siri, who heads ICAN’s legal team who are attempting to overturn vaccine/ mask mandates. Siri outlined his grand plan on public opinion about vaccines, legal suits and legislation ( 1:20.00 IN – until I gave up at 1:50.00). They sue the FDA and other governmental bodies and request ” thousands” of FOIAs. They seek precedents that apply across the board rather than playing ” whack a mole” ( his words, not mine). Siri opines about why Covid changes everything – more people got the vaccine all at once; with kids’ vaccines, uptake is gradual over years and injuries may be subsumed/ hidden ( paraphrase). They stopped mandates for schools in San Diego and workers’ rules elsewhere. Eventually, they will get every mandate struck down he said so that vaccines will be voluntary. 30% of all appeals at FDA are from ICAN.

Del said that they stick with science so they win. Prof Dorit said Siri is a smart guy: I agree but his science-based arguments are mostly what we’ve heard before.

Also from Dr DG’s twitter: the survey about anti-vax sentiment 2019-2022. It got worse amongst parents and republicans.
My oft-repeated question: what happens if there is another novel virus/ pandemic?

Old enough to remember them being 95% effective, stopping transmission and bringing herd immunity…

“We’re vaccinating so very fast, our data from the CDC today suggests, you know, that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real world data,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky

“When you get vaccinated, you not only protect your own health and that of the family but also you contribute to the community health by preventing the spread of the virus throughout the community,” Fauci said. “In other words, you become a dead end to the virus. And when there are a lot of dead ends around, the virus is not going to go anywhere. And that’s when you get a point that you have a markedly diminished rate of infection in the community.”

@ johnlabarge
You and your kind do nothing else than lieing about vaccines and covid.

Never lied about the jabs

That’s one of: a massive troll, or the greatest statement of non-self-awareness ever, or a huge lie itself. It certainly isn’t related, even as a 5th cousin, to the truth.

@john labarge COVID vaccines were 95% against alpha variant and 90% against asymptomatic COVID. Original herd immunity estimate was 70%
COVID was allowed to mutate, rapid vaccinion would indeed helped.,as Fauci said.

The forecasts for everywhere are bone chilling. Getting reinfected with Covid three times a year, takes people’s health down.

Covid is only beginning!


My oft-repeated question: what happens if there is another novel virus/ pandemic?

If there is another pandemic, do not hope for (and do not take) any insta-made vaccine.

It takes many years to develop good vaccines and most vaccine candidates fail. That’s normal because vaccines are complicated. Chances that any vaccine developed at “warp speed” would end up in ignominious failure, are overwhelming. (this is why I declined the Covid vax in the first place)

To avoid “the next pandemic”, keep a much closer oversight of so-called “virologists” – and make an example of the ones who developed Sars-Cov-2 and those who financed or guided them.

Virologists should be trembling in fear of the thought that their lab projects could end up killing people.

Virologists should be trembling in fear of the thought that their lab projects could end up killing people.

Oh, they do. They always have. That’s why there are so many rules governing research on human pathogens and why the whole system of biosafety levels (BSL-1 through -4) with respect to human pathogen research was developed.🙄🤦🏻‍♂️

The fear, of course, comes from the knowledge of what these pathogens can do, more than anything else.

@john labarge. Read references in the link. Actual FDA approval process is one of refs-

@john labarge Your claim was that bivalent boosters were accepted based only on mouse data. Perhaps you notice tha your source lied.

It is good, but I hope that the fear also comes from expectation of a severe and just punishment.

It is good, but I hope that the fear also comes from expectation of a severe and just punishment.

Since there is no evidence at all that the scientists and statisticians who worked on the current vaccines did anything dishonest, it’s impossible to see what “punishment” they deserve. You scum who put the health of people at risk by lying about the “dangers” of vaccines on the other hand…

Igor posts on

That alone tells everything you need to know. For those who DON’T know look that site up on RationalWiki

If there is another pandemic, do not hope for (and do not take) any insta-made vaccine.

You lie about the fact that the covid vaccines were not “insta made”. Is there anything you won’t lie about?


Moderna’s groundbreaking coronavirus vaccine was designed in just 2 days – Business insider

That’s their official story — that they developed it in two days.

igor, you are really a pathetic pos.

https www cnbc com/2021/07/03/how-moderna-made-its-mrna-covid-vaccine-so-quickly-noubar-afeyan.html

Hi, mRNA as a delivery platform was developed for decades. Every single application of it prior to Covid vax was a failure.

Then “Covid vax” was developed in 2 days, and put on the failed mRNA platform.

They had the audacity to put genetic code from a possible lab made bioweapon, with the HIV peptides and all, into the vaccine that everyone was mandated to take. That took only two days and presumably no one thought about that brilliant decision making (except me)!

Then the young people were mandated to take that poison. And here we are, now, in the midst of the seventh wave of covid, with people getting endlessly reinfected and overall health declining.

Hospitals are full of people very sick with previously ordinary diseases and nobody cares.

They had the audacity to put genetic code from a possible lab made bioweapon, with the HIV peptides and all, into the vaccine that everyone was mandated to take. That took only two days and presumably no one thought about that brilliant decision making (except me)!

Not a bioweapon. How long does it take you to develop these lies? An hour or so?

“That took only two days and presumably no one thought about that brilliant decision making (except me)!”

If no one thought of it, except you, then maybe your self assumption that you are competent is flawed?

Julian- Once the sequence was published (Jan. 15th, 2020?), two days later Moderna had inserted the Spike sequence into their mRNA vector. This is possibly the only remotely true thing Igor has ever posted here.

@ Igor:

Please note, I am not Dorit although I take your error as a compliment.
I asked about what happens the next time a novel virus shows up. Obviously, I predict that because of fear mongering, misinformation and uncertainty drummed up by anti-vaxxers, a significant proportion of the populace will avoid or delay vaccines, fearing them more than the new novel virus itself, leading to even worse results than the current fiasco
to which anti-vax contributed mightily.

Igor too much common sense here. Was there myself from the beginning. Anyone under 50 should have waited it out.

I feel incredibly lucky that I waited it out. At various points in 2021, I was not that far from pulling the trigger, but doubts persisted. The Barnstable County outbreak put the end on my doubts.

In many ways, I am lucky that I had Covid in Nov 2020 (so far my only one). That weighed on my decision.

I shudder at the thought that I could be vaccinated, suffered from many covids, and experienced heart attacks, blood clots, immune probles, and brain deterioration.

@ Igor:

My experience with Covid was quite different:
since January 2020 I haven’t had symptoms of any respiratory illness enough to be tested. I had a J&J vaccine April 2021, a Moderna booster in November 2021, a Pfizer booster in June 2022 and a bivalent Pfizer in November 2022. I took whatever vaccine was available at the food store except for the Moderna when I had a choice. I had no significant side effects.

I also flew once each summer, worked by phone, went shopping regularly and ate in restaurants every week after the initial shutdown. I haven’t had any adverse events over the entire time period. My SO is similar although he took the original 2 Pfizer doses and Moderna 2 boosters/ bivalent. He hasn’t been sick and worked regularly after the initial shutdown.

If I assumed my experience was illustrative of the vaccine’s overall utility I WOULD BE WRONG!.
I cannot generalise from my experience and/ or my SO’s any more than you can from your own. That’s why we need data from large numbers of people.
By and large, the results are good. The vaccines work. If you look in detail you might find the rate of myocarditis per million and how Covid itself causes heart issues at a greater rate.

I shudder at the thought that I could be vaccinated, suffered from many covids, and experienced heart attacks, blood clots, immune probles, and brain deterioration.

You know what? I got the Pfizer vaccine and boosters and that ALL happened to me! It was rough!, let me tell ya!

Actually, I did get the Pfizer vaccine and I am up to date with boosters. Each time, I got a sore arm and felt vaguely out of sorts for a day. I have never got covid, despite frequent exposure at work (acute care hospital) and through family and friends.

I am grateful for the vaccines. Also, I think you are a fool.

“If there is another pandemic, do not hope for (and do not take) any insta-made vaccine”

So, your medical opinion is to let it run wild for a few years and see what happens? Six months in and you’ll be claiming that THEY have a cure but don’t want you to have it.

There were serious infectious diseases efore there were any virologists. So they can appear again, regardles of virologists.
Many years refer to attentuated pahogns vaccines.MRNA vaccines.or ones based on pathogen proteins are much faster.

Maybe before the next pandemic hits ignorant posers will have actually learned a smattering of virology and molecular biology so that they can do something other than running their virtual mouths with incessant streams of nonsense. It’s fine when such types reveal their ignorance once or twice, but it gets tedious when they do it over and over and over.

And there you are, lying again, because it’s the only thing anti-vaxxers like you can do.

What’s interesting is that even if you’re pro vaccine, it’s the force and mandates that poked the bear hard enough for it to become this political. Without the mandates the reaction wouldn’t be this robust. Assuming they are mostly safe with rare side effects, pro-vaxxers made their beds with the mandates. The mandates make many of us more suspicious and more defiant. What’s more, they mean that the state (through corporate partners reminds us of a political system that starts with an f and ends with an ‘ist) is doing massive harm by pushing these vaccines if they are indeed dangerous (which I believe is fairly likely). It’s at least likely that their benefits do not outweigh their risks.

What mandates? Nobody has to go to a university or work in a hospital. Those places already throw a bunch of annoying rules at us.

Yeah no value in a college degree or a job at Google. People should just remain uneducated or work somewhere else. Get real.

That’s exactly what Mike Adams is bleating on about though isn’t it? Go back to the land, don’t get a college education, buy guns and gold.

What’s the point in being highly educated though? People like you, John, suddenly decide that your own educational speciality equips you to tell them how to do their jobs.

Occasionally I think that you should get your way. I figure that the only way some people learn is to be thrown right into the deep end. Let’s take all of the big names in the anti-vaxosphere, give them all the big talkers on the blogs as minions. Put them in charge of the US health care organisations, CDC/FDA etc etc. Let’s take anti-vax preferred policy seriously though. Bring in the death penalty for any failures as voted for by twitter, subject them to constant threat and denigration, insist they stop what they are doing to process endless FOI requests, insist they take seriously every armchair, fag packet, statistical analysis from economists and lawyers etc. Investigate every reported AE individually, including a full genetic work up of the entire family, friends and pets. Then, to cap it off, find out where each of them has worked in the past and claim a conflict of interest and corruption if any of them ever made money from anything.

Big Pharma would love it. To much hassle? Don’t bother making drug X or vaccine Y. Just make whatever fad is being touted on social media. No need to prove efficacy, anecdotes do that.

However, it would be grossly unfair to the vast majority of Americans who just want to get on with their lives and don’t believe that black helicopters are hovering over their house every night.

@ NumberWang:

And it’s more than just Mike Adams’ schtick!
Other alties/ anti-vaxxers glorify the simple life- farms, traditional roles, family-oriented lifestyles, organic food, rejection of SBM/ meds, universities and the educated classes**.

One of the biggest loons I survey insists that school for children starts too early, crafts and manual jobs are much superior to “computers”, students work too hard and “ruin themselves”. Women wrongly try to be both “careerists” and mothers. He claims that we should only read/ study 15 minutes at a time so that it “sinks in” ( which universities did he attend? Oh, right. Ersatz College and Bogus U-by-mail). His instructional materials about life style changes/ AGW/ farming are what anyone can look up in 5 minutes. He’s starting an “intentional community” for his followers. On his 50 acre estate. (

Mike works on his ranch and runs a multi-million dollar empire of woo and right wing media, although remaining a simple, religious midwestern guy who preps, cares for his animals and runs old fashioned tractors. He wears old clothes and taped together boots, he claims- not Armani and Ferragamo.

Katie Wright ( of CHD and Safe Minds fame) lives on the Upper East Side of NY ( Money!) but cherishes upstate farm life and Nature ( see her Twitter account). After all. modern interventions like vaccines “destroyed” her son, giving him autism. City life features mask mandates, fast food and heinous subway crime.
Other anti-vax mothers champion “natural” diets and pure products ( see AoA, CHD).

I think rejection of modernity goes further because it encompasses an unrealistic view of the past as idyllic- a veritable homespun Nirvana – AND a society that rejected a large portion of its people because they were not white, not Christian, not middle class or above, not male, not straight or in traditional roles. You can see how nature worship blends seamlessly into right wing talking points because both desire a return to the past- in more than one way!

** unless it’s about themselves or their allies

@ Denice Walter
If they are so fond of that idylic past, perhaps they should also keep away from all that modern technology, like computers and internet.

Well, they could do their best to go back to a farming, hunting, gathering lifestyle. Bit elitist though. No way everyone in America could have their own farm. People like Mike Adams would poop their pants if they really had to survive in the wild. I’m sure he’d really like some out of sight peons to make tractor parts, generate electricity and deliver pizza.

All mouth, no trousers as we say.

@ Renate:

Oh, I know. They also warn followers about the deleterious effects of 5G, cell phones, electrical systems, blue light, microwaves, smart meters due to radiation/ other physical effects and because people avoid real life, opting for virtual relationships.
As they use technology to spread misinformation, gather supporters and earn money. see RFK jr.

I’d love to know where I can earn money convincing folks (or trying to) that the medical industry needs reform because Pharma has captured the regulators.

Well first you’ll have to document actual examples, preferably something recent. You say you have a legal background so you should be aware of the standard of proof you’d need to win a case. That way you could earn money too.

It is always difficult to get into people’s heads in general. It is also hard to know what made then “change their minds” and turn from supporters, to opponents of Covid vaccines.

What made DeSantis, Malhotra, John Campbell, or Elon Musk (all vaccinated and expressed support for Covid vaccines) change their minds?

Was that selfish political, career, or monetary considerations?

Is that the weight of scientific evidence?

Is that the personal experience with getting infected, and reinfected, with Covid?

Is that a personal vendetta due to blaming the Covid vaccine for side effects of themselves or their loved ones?

DeSantis has a young wife with turbo-cancer, diagnosed post-vax. Musk said that his booster side effect was far worse than his unvaccinated Covid. Malhotra’s father died. (and Orac discussed that death in detail)

What made me, for example, change from an unconvinced, skeptical observer to a rabid anti-covid-vaxxer? It is a combination of “scientific evidence” and “personal vendetta” due to side effects in certain associates. As I started looking, the weight of evidence against the “Covid vaccine” became overwhelming.

People who stole our freedom of speech, hijacked the discourse, pretended to “represent science”, and force-vaccinated young people, and profited handsomely, poisoned someone I care about. I am not going to let it slide.

I hope that these people will be comprehensively investigated, investigations will be made public, they would hopefully be tried fairly and sanctioned appropriately.

Many of the wrongdoings committed are of novel nature and involve transnational operations, and therefore a discussion about whether they were “wrongdoings against humanity” is a question that is important politically, ethically and legally.

This pushback can potentially get seriously out of control, hijacked by extremists and become very ugly. I would prefer to avoid that and, hopefully, the investigations and hearings will give this process structure with the intent of still having a civil society, as opposed to a free-for-all “purge”.

What made DeSantis, Malhotra, John Campbell, or Elon Musk (all vaccinated and expressed support for Covid vaccines) change their minds?

Just as trump did with racism, support for white surpremacists, and neo-nazis, the people you mentioned held fingers to the wind and realized that the swell of ignorance that really got rolling with reagan would back the lies that covid itself was harmless while the vaccines were dangerous and quickly pivoted to monetizing the ignorance of others. With the help of charlatans like you and the other clowns continually spreading lies and pushing false “data analysis” showing the vaccines are bad, they made bank.

Was that selfish political, career, or monetary considerations?

Certainly was.

Is that the weight of scientific evidence?

Not at all, which is why only the bottom feeders like you and labarge continue to push it.

I wish these sort of people would pander to people above 100 IQ and who are tolerant of uncertainty and wish to have more compassion …


“I hope this [Covid] wakes people up to the value of vaccines too. There’s so many wackos out there that think that vaccines are a scam, or they’re dangerous. There are so many people out there that won’t vaccinate their children.”

Joe Rogan, March 10, 2020, interview with Dr. Michael Osterholm, pro-vaccine before Spotify corporation gave him $100 million, now he is anti-vaccine


“The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
– H.L. Mencken

My bad. Chill for his brutal megalomaniac apartheid control freak dumblebum derpism. He’s ruined it for me and he can fuck all the way off and all the way up inside DJT’s uknow until that withered old bottomer shrivels up and cuts the blood supply to his dick == a former fan

“Is that the personal experience with getting infected, and reinfected, with Covid?

Is that a personal vendetta due to blaming the Covid vaccine for side effects of themselves or their loved ones?

DeSantis has a young wife with turbo-cancer, diagnosed post-vax. Musk said that his booster side effect was far worse than his unvaccinated Covid. Malhotra’s father died.”

Those are all reasons why someone might change their mind. I’m sure you notice that they are also all assumptions and/or anecdotal.

How about, I had a car accident, I was wearing a seatbelt and the edge of the belt dug into me and caused a serious cut. If I hadn’t worn the belt I wouldn’t have been injured?

WHO published the worlds most cited epidemiologist as saying covid at its peak was just a bad flu in most places. Orac or public health institutions or anybody can only make inferior citations at this point. 5 vaccines for a bad flu is excessive, clearly effective therapy was abated for the more profitable prophylactic mandates.

Your link is broken and your opinions are worthless.

The data on mortality shows it is far worse than an average influenza season. Long-COVID is playing havoc with economies around the world. The vaccines are safe, and are far better than encountering the disease without the primed immune response.

“5 vaccines for a bad flu is excessive”

That’s your worthless opinion. No one here really cares about your opinion, and you’re clearly not well educated in medicine or science.

Turocancer diagnosed after vax ? o you knoww how long it takes cancer to develop ?

DeSantis has a young wife with turbo-cancer, diagnosed post-vax.

WTF is “turbo-cancer”? As a surgical pathologist, I need to know so I won’t miss this diagnosis.

Interesting (but predictable) that Gov Death Sentence is so vehemently against the scientific consensus about covid, but is all for the same consensus when his wife’s life is on the line.

Are you claiming that anti-vaxxers are not guided purely by the ‘science’? I find that hard to believe.

What made me, for example, change from an unconvinced, skeptical observer to a rabid anti-covid-vaxxer? It is a combination of “scientific evidence” and “personal vendetta” due to side effects in certain associates. As I started looking, the weight of evidence against the “Covid vaccine” became overwhelming.

People who stole our freedom of speech, hijacked the discourse, pretended to “represent science”, and force-vaccinated young people, and profited handsomely, poisoned someone I care about. I am not going to let it slide.

Wha a tremendous bit of bullshit, especially the parts about “weight of evidence”, “side effects in certain associates”, “stole our freedom of speech”, etc.

The notion that you were ever a “skeptical observer” and not simply a science denialist is laughable, given your history of posts. The evidence that you don’t have the capability to judge these things in a scientific way is the pathetically bad use of linear regression you posted as “evidence” of your side.

No, you’re just another clown who doesn’t have a clue, makes up horrible injuries to people you know, and continue to try to make a name for yourself combating “big pharma”.

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I see two problems with labeling DeSantis a “cynical panderer”.

The first is that ‘pandering’ implies just following the herd, where he’s clearly egging the mob on toward further extremes. An ‘cynical accelerationist’, then maybe?

But the second problem is that “cynical” is too understated. I don’t think DeSantis believes this this antivax stuff any more than I think Tucker Carlson believed it when he led the spread of COVID antivax into Fox Nation. I mean, I’m cynical, but this stuff is simply absolute callous disregard for human life — contributing to deaths in 6 figures plus who knows how much misery from long COVID all to bolster a neo-fascist political movement built on irrational grievances. The political pundits are opining that DeSantis is doing this to distinguish himself from Trump, by getting to Trump’s right on a key symbolic issue to the MAGA base. I suppose that motive could be described as cynical, but the damage to public health is just evil.

DeSantis was cautious enough not to jump on Tucker’s antivax bandwagon at the height of the pandemic, but now that he has, the rules of the outrage game demand that he one-up it’s prior avatars. So his Orwellian-named Integrity Committee will provide the rationale for Florida exempting itself from Federal rules from CDC, FDA, NIH et al., while his grand jury will do it’s best to intimidate pro-science voices. This will all likely have much negative effect outside Florida as well, as the GBDers will receive more publicity and legitimation for their “expertise”, giving an energy boost to antivaxers and COVID deniers everywhere.

Thing is I do think DeSantis is a follower of the mob rather than a leader, he sees where they are heading follows and pretends he’s the one leading them, he may fool himself he’s the tail wagging the dog here, but it certainly does not look that way from the outside.

He’s a follower in the sense he waits until he sees where the base are going, but then a leader in the sense of drawing them further into more radical thought and action.

I can’t argue with this characterization. The only hope I have of him not someday being President is that he is one of the most charisma-challenged politicians seeking the office I have ever seen in my entire life. (Hell, even Bush I had more charisma, and even as much as I hate Trump even I had to grudgingly admit that he can be entertaining and funny.) Then I think back to Richard Nixon.

Crap, we’re screwed.

while his grand jury will do it’s best to intimidate pro-science voices

The odd thing is that grand juries nominally exist as a buffer to the whims of the king-shaped object, not as a support system. He went to Harvard Law School, so one might expect that he would grasp such things.

Benjamin Ferencz is one of my very few heroes. I don’t know what his position on vaccination is (or if he even has one), but it’s shameful that DeSantis has tried to tie himself to this living legend.

He’s extremely old, still sharp, understands the violence of denying people medical care, and is wary of lying fascists. My guess is he is pro-vaccine, just like he had to be pro-medicine to enjoy living to his advanced age. I was privileged to hear him speak (I think it was in 1986?).

The sick irony of the Nuremberg 2.0 nonsense is some of the covid denial propaganda was pushed by the former President’s group of grifters to immunize his administration from accountability for deliberately mishandling the response to the pandemic. 45’s son in law pushed him to downplay the problem since they hated New York and NY hated Trump. By the time it spread beyond the big city, it was too late to change course.

Before becoming POTUS, Trump said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not loose supporters. With Covid, he killed hundreds of thousands (unnecessarily) and his supporters cheered. Jim Jones had nothing on this guy.

Stalin supposedly said that one death is a tragedy and a million is a statistic. Covid shows we don’t have that much empathy in our society.

A working paper by Yale researchers recently released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that far more Republicans are likely dying of Covid than Democrats.

According to the study, which used data from Florida and Ohio counties, registered Republicans and Democrats died of Covid in equal numbers in 2020, but once vaccines became widely available in summer 2021, the number of Republican excess deaths nearly doubled those of Democrats. The disparity grew even wider during the winter of 2021.

Amid skepticism by Trump and other conservative elites, fewer Republicans chose to be vaccinated or to wear masks in public spaces, and the consequences have sometimes been fatal.

These “selection effects” — Republican death rates and Democrats’ more even geographic distribution — may help swing other extraordinarily tight electoral districts and states, particularly when turnout increases in 2024.

Republicans’ long Covid may well endure.

It’s misleading to put all the blame for COVID deaths on Trump. There’s a much broader right-wing movement at work here. There were two big political factors in US COVID deaths — COVID denialism at first when the wave overwhelmed hospitals and GOP pols resisted mitigation measures, and then, the whole Redhat antivax thing, which was even more deadly than the first. Trump was only involved in that early minimization — having gone along with Warp Speed leaving him not fully pro-vax but more vax-neutral. The big mover on the antivax front was absolutely Tucker Carlson, with various other ‘new digital media’ figures following his lead. Leading to the appearance of Trump on stage with Bill O’Reilly and both of them getting booed when stating they’d been vaxed.

Oh, it’s definitely more of a broader right wing project. Remember, for instance, that despite his antivax history dating back to at least 2007 Trump saw the release of COVID-19 vaccines as an important development that could save his failing reelection run and pressured the FDA to grant them emergency use approval before the election. Also, note that resistance to vaccine mandates and COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies are associated with the far right not just in the US, but all over the world.

Desantis is enabling these vile disinforming quacks and pseudoscientists in what he thinks will bolster his political base. I’m cautiously optimistic that just like Trump, Desantis fails to understand that once he lets these freaks out of the box. It’s going to come back and bite him. Ironically, he’s celebrating the fact that he’s displaced Trump but not truly understanding why that happened, which will lead him I believe to make the exact same mistake.

As a pediatrician, I have to know a lot about childhood development and you are stuck at the pre-operational stage.

God help us if this guy ever does become president!

I fear for the future of the F.D.A. C.D.C. and any public health authorities in a possible DeSantis presidency.

My only question is, does governor DeSanctimonious. (Borrowing Trump’s name for him), actually believe this anti vax nonsense, or it this just pandering pure and simple?

All I can say to Orac is, stay healthy and take care of yourself, we will need you and this blog and your contributions to the not so secret other blog for many years to come.

P.S. Thank You to Dr. Gorski and all the other skeptics and vaccine advocates who believe in science based medicine, as a formerly vaccine hesitant individual I believe, firmly that the Lord Jesus Christ led me to the truth that science based medicine is indeed a good thing. I know, weird combination being a Born-again Christian and a skeptic/ vaccine advocate. Weird beautiful world!

IANAL but I’m curious what Florida law DeSantis thinks the manufacturers and public health officials may have violated. False advertising because the vaccines turned out not to be as effective in preventing infections from later variants like Omicron?

And grand jury proceedings are secret as we have clearly seen in the Georgia investigation into election interference and the two DC grand juries investigating Donald Trump. That will let him subpoena documents and witnesses but won’t generate much real publicity.

I suppose he could try a class action lawsuit on behalf of people who got myocarditis after an mRNA vaccination. But how would that work under the PREP Act?

But I see the whole thing as a political exercise. You want antivax? I’ll give you super antivax!

@ squirrelelite:

IANAL… obviously
( from Yahoo news) De Santis wants a grand jury to investigate ” crimes and wrongdoing to Floridians related to the Covid-19 vaccine” and have ” further surveillance of sudden deaths of individuals who received the Covid-19 vaccine in Florida”. Another television news report said the vaccine makers/ governmental officials, IIRC,
‘misinformed’ people about the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines.
Congressman Raskin labeled this “Orwellian”. Dr Fauci called it “excessive”.

De Santis should look at what RFK jr and Del are hatching via CHD and ICAN, respectively. They go well beyond pharma companies and attack governmental entities and officials, in order to stop mandates and other PH measures. It’s the end of the year, they’re probably courting donations for their charities so they’ll probably list their “accomplishments”.

Interestingly, Del told his legal eagle, Siri, that he can’t be political because of their charity status.

I know it’s been said all over, this is little more than a stunt, the latest of several DeSantis has done recently in his bid inherit the MAGA crowd. Its the worst of worst political cynicism, especially as he was touting the vaccine as the best way out of the pandemic and imploring people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Sadly. now the GOP has become the political wing of the AV cult, if he wants to win them over to him being their candidate for president at some point, he’s gotta appear as cranky as they are. He’s like the bloke standing in a doorway as a mob rushed past only to say, “where are they heading I should tag along so I can be their leader”

Wait, no Simone Gold on the panel of integrity? She’s such a brave maverick to shill antivax propaganda during that historic seditious act with the violent reality denying kooks. I guess you have to draw a line somewhere. Seems implausible that one could just make up a grand jury to find unspecified wrong doing. Perhaps this is where Simone will be picked at random.

In case you wanted to know. One hopes the Florida Supreme Court sees through this meritless fishing expedition request.

Missed these … still not clear there is an avenue to empanel a Grand Jury for anything vaccine related.

Thanks, I was just wondering about that.

To follow up on what I wrote before ( see my first comment above), I went back and watched Del and Siri ( 1:45:00- 2:20:00** The Highwire, Thursday) wherein they list ICAN’s legal ‘triumphs’. They sued to stop mandates for Covid vaccines and mask requirements in many different locales and by many diverse entities such as large school districts ( San Diego, Newark), the CDC, airlines *** and the armed forces ( to keep religious exemptions). In addition, they represented vaccine injured people and opposed vaccine safety commissions ( V Safe). They also gave information to Tucker Carlson for broadcast. Supposedly their achievements are listed somewhere on the ICAN site.

Overall, I think readers can observe the obvious glee they exude as they celebrate these victories. Stopping people from following public health guidelines must be so FUN! Actually, I am impressed with Mr Siri’s abilities and note how carefully he characterises Covid vaccines’ issues: they do not “STOP transmission”, he asserts. Watch his wording always. NO mention of other benefits. He recounts how the various agencies etc “just rolled over” when he attacked. He outlines his plan for even more activity opposing mandates. That’s all they’re doing- stopping mandates.

** all that I could stand- there’s more.
*** Del sued the airlines over masks. He rants about masks.

The tide is turning, the next guessing game is who will be the new FDA chief and the new CDC chief under President DeSantis…

(this is hypothetical as DeSantis might NOT become president, of course)

I wonder what he’ll do as cases of Covid, influenza and RSV rise?
It seems that many cities are considering masks again ( CNN,, etc) of course, they’re all blue cities like NYC, LA, Philadelphia, a few in NJ or in Washington.

Although I haven’t seen it yet, I imagine that anti-vaxxers will soon be shrieking anew about masks “destroying” children’s lives, mental health and businesses.

We have actually seen Dr. Stabell Benn before – I’m fairly sure you engaged her on Twitter yourself. She’s part of the Aaby group and believes the DTP vaccine causes mortality, and has been a favorite of anti-vaccine activists for a while before the pandemic. She had written things they like a whole lot, even as she vigorously denies she’s anti-vaccine.

She’s still working against vaccinating children in Africa against pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria based on studies drawing on a small dataset from the 1980 in a country already going dramatic changes.

So I’m not surprised.

The Florida Supreme Court granted DeSantis his wish: Supreme Court OKs DeSantis’ grand jury probe of COVID vaccines

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday granted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call for a grand jury to investigate COVID-19 vaccines, despite overwhelming scientific consensus that the shots have saved millions of lives in the U.S. and across the world.
The court issued an order stating the grand jury can investigate “pharmaceutical manufacturers (and their executive officers) and other medical associations or organizations” involved in almost any way with the use of “vaccines purported to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission.”
The grand jury can also look into “other criminal activity or wrongdoing that the statewide grand jury uncovers during the course of the investigation” or anything that’s part of an “organized criminal conspiracy.”

Oy, vey is mir.

Doubtless they’ll find only the most virulent anti-vaxxers, COVID deniers, and MUH FREEDUMB! types to comprise the jury.

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