Antivaccine nonsense Clinical trials Medicine Skepticism/critical thinking

Economist Mark Skidmore publishes antivax propaganda disguised as a survey

Antivaxxers love surveys. This time BMC Infectious Diseases has the dubious “honor” of publishing a truly awful one by an economist named Mark Skidmore that claims that COVID-19 vaccine have killed nearly 300K people.

Regular readers might remember how in May tech bro turned “Debate me, bro!” antivaxxer Steve Kirsch estimated that COVID-19 vaccines had killed a half a million people, all based on his survey. The survey itself was one of the most risible surveys that I’ve ever seen—a “simple survey of my readers,” as Kirsch put it—in which he just posted an Internet survey to his Substack that anyone could access and answer and then extrapolated from ~400 respondents to claim that COVID-19 vaccines have killed a half a million people. I kid you not. Yesterday, BMC Infectious Diseases published a paper that gave me very strong Steve Kirsch vibes. It’s by a Michigan State University economist named Mark Skidmore, who is the Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance and Policy, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Professor, Department of Economics.

Entitled, The role of social circle COVID-19 illness and vaccination experiences in COVID-19 vaccination decisions: an online survey of the United States population, Prof. Skidmore’s survey reminded me, more than anything else, of a Steve Kirsch “study” in which a fundamentally bad research design is tarted up with (some) seemingly legitimate social science research methodology and then.dishonestly spun to produce a fake estimate of 278,000 fatalities due to COVID-19 vaccines, which is then “validated” by an incompetent dumpster dive into the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database of the sort that I’ve been writing about since 2006.

Let’s dive in.

A “bait and switch” to promote an antivax narrative

The first thing that hit me about this paper is that it’s a bit of a bait-and-switch. On the surface, the primary aim of Prof. Skidmore’s survey is not at all unreasonable, as related in the abstract:

The primary aim of this work is to identify the factors associated by American citizens with the decision to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Nor is Prof. Skidmore’s methodology—on the surface:

An online survey of COVID-19 health experiences was conducted. Information was collected regarding reasons for and against COVID-19 inoculations, experiences with COVID-19 illness and COVID-19 inoculations by survey respondents and their social circles. Logit regression analyses were carried out to identify factors influencing the likelihood of being vaccinated.

However, the true purpose of Prof. Skidmore’s survey rapidly becomes apparent, from what reads like a tacked-on analysis:

In addition, the proportion of fatal events from COVID-19 vaccinations was estimated and compared with the data in the VAERS database.

As Scooby-Doo would, say, “Ruh-roh!” I sense…an antivax assumption behind the survey, the same antivax assumption behind deceptive dumpster-diving into VAERS, namely that every report of a death or adverse event that occurs after vaccination must have been caused by vaccination.

And that appears to be exactly the assumption that Prof. Skidmore had. First, let’s look at an entirely unsurprising finding of the survey:

A total of 2840 participants completed the survey between December 18 and 23, 2021. 51% (1383 of 2840) of the participants were female and the mean age was 47 (95% CI 46.36–47.64) years. Those who knew someone who experienced a health problem from COVID-19 were more likely to be vaccinated (OR: 1.309, 95% CI 1.094–1.566), while those who knew someone who experienced a health problem following vaccination were less likely to be vaccinated (OR: 0.567, 95% CI 0.461–0.698). 34% (959 of 2840) reported that they knew at least one person who had experienced a significant health problem due to the COVID-19 illness. Similarly, 22% (612 of 2840) of respondents indicated that they knew at least one person who had experienced a severe health problem following COVID-19 vaccination.

It makes intuitive sense that people who knew someone who had experienced a significant health issue after COVID-19 would be more likely to be vaccinated, while those who know someone who experienced a severe health issue after COVID-19 vaccination—whether that health problem was caused by the vaccine or not, I hasten to add—would be less likely to be vaccinated. There is, I suppose, utility in demonstrating this point about vaccine hesitancy yet again and perhaps attempting to quantify the effect. I have no problem with that sort of survey. What I do have a problem with is when such a survey is used as a jumping-off point to support conspiracy theories involving vaccine “depopulation” and “died suddenly” narratives. Here’s what I mean:

With these survey data, the total number of fatalities due to COVID-19 inoculation may be as high as 278,000 (95% CI 217,330–332,608) when fatalities that may have occurred regardless of inoculation are removed.

“Fatalities that may have occurred regardless of inoculation are removed”? How, pray tell, did Prof. Skidmore figure this out?

And the conclusion:

Knowing someone who reported serious health issues either from COVID-19 or from COVID-19 vaccination are important factors for the decision to get vaccinated. The large difference in the possible number of fatalities due to COVID-19 vaccination that emerges from this survey and the available governmental data should be further investigated.

See the bait-and-switch? There’s a reasonable conclusion (health issues after COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccination influence people’s decision to get vaccinated) that’s used to buttress an antivax conclusion, namely that vaccines killed nearly 300K people. Prof. Skidmore then then JAQs off about the supposed discrepancy between this estimate and government statements about the safety of the vaccines, using his JAQing off to call for an “investigation.” True, at the very end Prof. Skidmore concedes that there are “limitations with using a survey to collect COVID-19 health information, particularly for a politicized health issue” and respondents “often interpret events with bias due to perceptions based on history, beliefs, culture and family background.” (Well, duh.) Unfortunately, these limitations are only mentioned in a paragraph near the very end of the paper and do not dispel the overall narrative.

I was also immediately struck by the phrase, “when fatalities that may have occurred regardless of inoculation are removed,” which made me immediately ask how Prof. Skidmore estimated this number. I’ll get into this in a minute. First, however, let’s look at how antivaxxers are spinning this survey.

Antivaxxer’s react to Prof. Skidmore’s survey

Let’s just say that…they got the message. They completely ignored the mundane finding that knowing someone who had serious health problems after COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccination influences the decision to vaccinate and focused like a laser on the true message that Prof. Skidmore intended to convey, that vaccines are killing lots of people.

For example, here’s Dr. Aseem Malhotra:

And more antivax spin. I’ll restrain myself to just a few examples, because antivaxxers have been Tweeting links to this study since yesterday morning:

OK, I’ll stop. With Twitter. Meanwhile, on antivaccine Substack, which is linking to the study far and wide as slam-dunk “evidence” that COVID-19 vaccines are killing and injuring:

You get the idea. There is, of course, a fatal flaw in the very conception of the study’s “secondary”—really primary, but not represented as such—aim, which is to claim that the survey shows that there are lots of vaccine deaths that “they” don’t want you to know about.

The fatal and likely intentional flaw in Prof. Skidmore’s study

Regular readers know that the most significant limitations of the VAERS database are that anyone can report anything and that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. That’s why antivaxxers have long dumpster dived into the VAERS database and represented every report as being slam dunk evidence that the adverse event reported was due to the vaccine. Again, I’ve been discussing this issue 2006 and was incredibly frustrated how unprepared the CDC, public health authorities, and the government were to counter disinformation about vaccines based on VAERS. Indeed, it was entirely predictable to those of us who had been following the antivaccine movement for a long time that they would immediately weaponize VAERS against COVID-19 vaccines by ignoring the base rate of the adverse events reported to VAERS and portraying raw numbers as evidence that vaccines were killing and injuring hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and that’s exactly what they did throughout 2021 and beyond, starting within weeks after the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine. I started trying to explain very early after the vaccines rolled out and continue to do so, but the narrative has stuck, because a beleaguered band of skeptical bloggers and social media mavens really have little chance against the tsunami of antivax disinformation firehosed by the antivaccine movement—and people like Prof. Skidmore.

As antivaxxers do with VAERS, Prof. Skidmore appears to accept nearly every respondent’s report of a death from the vaccine as having been because of the vaccine. First, though, let me note that the criticism that this is just an “Internet survey” that I’ve seen from some critics on Twitter is a bit off-base. Yes, it is a survey administered online, but it’s not just a survey that anyone can fill out and self-selects for antivaxxers, like Kirsch’s pseudosurvey. Rather:

The sample was obtained by Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data platform, and is representative for the US American population [6]. The sampling using Dynata is based on opt-in sampling, respondents deliver high quality data, they are diverse and have community norms of honesty and accuracy [7]. The survey was opened to the Dynata panel until the required number of responses was obtained from each category of the stratification variables age, sex, and income, as required for a balanced response set. With opt-in sampling there is no response rate as classically defined in survey research.

We can argue about whether companies like this provide samples that are truly representative of the sociodemographics of the US population or not; for my purpose discussing this study it doesn’t matter much. Even if Dynata’s sample is as close to a perfect reflection of the US population as is humanly possible to attain, the spin being put on this survey (that it’s evidence of hundreds of thousands of vaccine deaths) and the use to which it is put (that the government is “hiding” hundreds of thousands of vaccine deaths) would still be utter dishonest nonsense. Here’s what I mean.

The first problem to deal with is that a survey like this is just not a valid method to calculate a valid and accurate estimate of the number of deaths due to…well, almost any cause.It’s even less so in this case, given that deciding whether any given death is plausibly due to a vaccine is not a straightforward determination. When someone in a person’s circle of relatives, friends, and acquaintances dies, generally that person will just take the family members’ word for what the cause of death was, regardless of whether the family member is correct or not. The authors even note this in one of their results, sort of:

Estimated nationwide COVID-19 vaccine fatalities based on the Democrat, Republican and Independent subsets are 109,564, 463,444 and 247,867, respectively. With the vaccinated and unvaccinated subgroups, estimated COVID-19 vaccine fatalities are 110,942 and 659,995.

There’s actually an interesting observation there, namely that political and ideological orientation has a huge effect on whether a person attributes the death of a loved one, friend, or family member to COVID-19 vaccines.This observation, however, says absolutely nothing about whether that death of a loved one, friend, or family member was actually caused by COVID-19 vaccines. Indeed, the huge discrepancy in the numbers based on ideological groups should tell you that these numbers are perceptions, not reality. In the hands of a researcher not hellbent on spinning these results into antivaccine disinformation, these results could have served as the preliminary data from which to develop interesting hypotheses to test in further studies. Prof. Skidmore is an economist, however, not a social scientist, and instead he uses these numbers to argue that we should “investigate” the apparent discrepancy between these numbers and the government’s figures. In other words, he uses them to bolster the antivax “died suddenly” conspiracy theory that claims the vaccines are killing huge numbers of people but “they” are “covering up” the evidence.

Don’t believe me? Check out this passage:

The ratio of COVID-19 vaccine deaths to COVID-19 illness deaths of the people respondents knew best who had health problems is 57/165 =0.345, whereas the ratio of vaccine-associated fatalities to COVID-19 fatalities from government sources is 8023/839,993 = 0.0096. The null hypothesis (H0) that the true ratio, X, is equal to the CDC ratio which is also equal to the survey ratio: X = CDC Ratio = Survey Ratio.

This hypothesis is tested using state-by-state VAERS data on reported COVID-19 vaccine-associated deaths and COVID-19 illness fatalities. The alternative hypothesis (Ha) is: X = CDC Ratio < Survey Ratio. The mean (u) and standard deviation (σ) of the ratio of vaccine fatalities to COVID-19 fatalities from the state-by-state data are u = 0.0136 and σ = 0.0111. The probability that the Survey Ratio > CDC Ratio = X is P(CDC Ratio > 0.345). With P(CDC Ratio > 0.345) = 0 and a Z-score = 28.86; the null hypothesis is rejected.

So science-y! So statistics-y! So wrong!

So basically, Prof. Skidmore, for reasons known only to him, is testing a fantasy hypothesis that his estimate of how many deaths have resulted from COVID-19 vaccines based on a survey that that reflects perceptions of the respondents, not actual medical reality should match government statistics and declares the hypothesis falsified when the two numbers are very different from each other. Then he does the same thing with VAERS. Truly, this is fractal pseudoscience whose abuse of frequentist statistics is truly impressive.

That’s not all. It gets even more depressingly hilarious when Prof. Skidmore tries to estimate how many people would have “died anyway” not necessarily because of the vaccines, in order to subtract that number from the total and seem more “reasonable.” Let’s just say that he gives a master class in how not to avoid the base rate bias, in which people tend to ignore the base rate of a particular adverse event and attribute all such events to the cause they are examining, in this case vaccines.

I explained this in detail almost two years ago and then again in October, but, in brief, according to the  CDC the yearly number of deaths in the US in 2019 was 2,854,838, for a rate of 869.7 deaths per 100,000 population. In other words, less than 1% of the US population dies every year, but that’s still a huge number. Immediately before the pandemic around 7,821 people died each and every day. If you start vaccinating millions of people in a short period of time, by random chance alone and the law of large numbers, there will be a large number of people who die within, say, 30 days of being vaccinated even if the vaccine has absolutely nothing to do with their deaths. That’s why VAERS numbers, divorced from baseline rates, are utterly meaningless, and, as the VAERS website itself states, VAERS cannot reliably determine incidence and prevalence of an adverse event (AE) after vaccination. That’s not what it was designed to do. Rather, it was designed as an early warning system to generate safety signals that produce hypotheses of specific possible AEs after vaccination to be investigated further, and that’s how the CDC uses it.

The same reasoning applies to Prof. Skidmore’s survey. By random chance alone a lot of people will know (or hear of) other people in their extended social social circle who died within a timeframe after being vaccinated against COVID-19 that makes it plausible to a human pattern-seeking brain to think that the vaccine caused it. Again, he just assumes that if a respondent attributed a death to the vaccine, that it must have been the vaccine, with a small “correction”:

This evaluation is conducted under the assumption that the reported vaccine-related fatalities and injuries are caused by the COVID-19 vaccine but is now relaxed by reducing the number of reported fatalities by the fatalities due to other causes that would be expected to have occurred anyway. An estimated 2.43 fatalities might have occurred from heart attacks, strokes and blood clots within the survey sample regardless of vaccination status. Subtracting these fatalities from total estimated vaccine fatalities generates a nationwide estimate of 278,000 fatalities, which is 4.1% smaller. Estimated total adverse events are correspondingly reduced by 4.1%.

Let’s just say that this is not how you correct for the base rate of these events in the population! Actually, it’s impossible to “correct” for anything without the medical records and death certificates of all the people in the respondents’ social circle who died. Again, a survey of lay people—and even of medically trained people—is not a reliable method to estimate deaths due to pretty much any cause. For that, you need systematically collected data analyzed by epidemiologists and statisticians who know what they are doing, a description that most certainly does not apply to Prof. Skidmore.

Final questions

After reading Prof. Skidmore’s survey results, I was left with three questions:

  1. Why did Prof. Skidmore do this study?
  2. Who funded Prof. Skidmore’s survey?
  3. How on earth did BMC Infectious Diseases publish such dreck?

The first question was answered easily with bit of Googling quickly led me to a website maintained by Prof. Skidmore called Lighthouse Economics, where he maintains a personal blog. Just a brief perusal of his blog demonstrates that he’s a hard core antivaccine conspiracy theorist. If you don’t believe me, just peruse some of these entries for yourself, such as:

You get the idea. Prof. Skidmore did this survey because he’s antivax.

More interestingly, the Funding section reveals that this entire survey was funded by one person, Catherine Austin Fitts. I had never heard of Ms. Fitts; so Google was my friend. It didn’t take long to find out that she’s worked with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. before, with a Washington Post article noting:

The viral clip from “Planet Lockdown” depicts an interview with Catherine Austin Fitts, who served as assistant secretary of housing and urban development under President George H.W. Bush and has since worked in finance. Fitts, who has no background in medicine or public health, has worked with anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to promote unfounded claims about the pandemic and to oppose lockdown measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus.

Quelle surprise! The funder of Prof. Skidmore’s “study” is an antivax loon.

So this survey was done by an antivaxxer and funded by…an antivax conspiracy loon!

It’s also apparently been in the work for a year. Buried in a list of papers in a Steve Kirsch Substack entitled License to kill (and how to redpill patients) there’s a link to a paper published as a PDF on Prof. Skidmore’s site as a “working paper” entitled How Many People Died from the Covid-19 Inoculations? An Estimate Based on a Survey of the United States Population*. Interestingly, the primary and secondary aims are identical to the aims in the version published yesterday in BMC Infectious Diseases, but flipped. The primary aim in the old “working paper” dated February 28, 2022 appears to have been to examine “the potential fatalities and injuries from the COVID-19 inoculation using an online ‘Covid-19 Health Experiences Survey’ administered to a representative sample of the United States (US) population,” while almost as an afterthought Prof. Skidmore writes that “I also analyze the factors that influence the likelihoods of being inoculated, experiencing an adverse event, and knowing someone who was injured by the COVID-19 inoculation.” (Emphasis mine.)

Looking at the paper in light of this nearly year-old precursor (which quotes antivax luminaries like Sen. Ron Johnson and Informed Choice Australia—even the execrable Stephanie Seneff “review” article on vaccine harm), I’m even more convinced that it is a total bait-and-switch. I really do think that Prof. Skidmore did the survey to come up with an inflated estimate for the number of COVID-19 vaccine “deaths” but also did an analysis of factors leading to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, which would be much more palatable and likely to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. He then shoehorned in the inflated, implausible, and unproven death estimates, whose successful publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal was the real purpose of this survey. The “working paper” version of the manuscript is a “greatest hits” collection of antivaccine tropes, distortions, and misinterpretations of scientific studies; the published version is cleaned up just enough to make it past peer review by people clearly not familiar with antivaccine disinformation but still keep the claim that COVID-19 vaccines caused 278,000 deaths in the final version, so that antivaxxers can point to it instead of the correlations between various responses and likelihood to accept the COVID-19 vaccine.

My final thought involves peer review and ethics. First, how did this awful manuscript get through BMC Infectious Diseases peer review? This is one of the cases where an open peer review process is quite…illuminating. I perused the peer review reports and was amazed and disappointed. I’ll give Prof. Skidmore credit for one thing; he’s persistent. He submitted a total of five versions of his manuscript, and it appears to have been reviewed by only two peer reviewers, one of whom allowed himself to be identified. This reviewer was Yasir Ahmed Mohammed Elhadi, who appears to be a Sudanese researcher who is now student in the Department of Health Administration and Behavioral Science, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University. Let’s just say that his comments on the manuscript and its revisions were not exactly rigorous, either, nor were the other reviewer’s comments. Neither of them noted the fatal flaw at the heart of the assumptions underlying this study, specifically how you cannot infer causation from the perceptions of respondents reported on a survey like this. Neither noted the base rate fallacy at the heart of this study. Neither noted that you can’t infer causation from raw VAERS data. In short, neither appeared to know what they were talking about.

Finally, how did this study manage to get approval from MSU’s IRB, anyway? My guess is that the survey looked looked like a straightforward assessment of factors that affected people’s decision to be vaccinated against COVID-19, without any obvious indication how the authors would use the results to deceptively claim that close to 300,000 people had been killed by COVID-19 vaccines and then bolster a conspiracy that the government was somehow hiding this carnage. Again, the whole study strikes me as a bait-and-switch to get antivaccine disinformation published in a peer reviewed journal. It might be worth asking the chair of the IRB.

The bottom line is that this survey, although seemingly a bit more rigorous than the typical antivax survey only in that it used a company that provides a respondent pool designed to mimic the demographics of the US, is at its heart no different than the sorts of bizarre Internet surveys about vaccines that antivaxxers have been doing for years and years and then spinning as “proof” that vaccines are harmful. MSU should be embarrassed that it has on its faculty such a conspiracy monger willing to use bogus research techniques to promote antivaccine disinformation.

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]

117 replies on “Economist Mark Skidmore publishes antivax propaganda disguised as a survey”

I don’t think you’re wrong at all. I also suspect that he left that part out in his IRB application, but I could be wrong.

As for that article, I recalled having seen it. Thanks for the link. I added a couple of paragraphs about how the “evolution” of the manuscript from that “working paper” to its final form just reinforces my view that this whole survey/study was nothing more than a bait-and-switch, the bait being the correlation between increased vaccine hesitancy and knowing someone who was injured by the COVID-19 vaccine (whether the “injury” was due to the vaccine or not) and the inverse correlation between receptiveness to the vaccine and knowing someone who suffered serious health issues from COVID-19 itself, with the switch being to using the survey’s result to extrapolate to close to 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 vaccines.

Skidmore’s Covid-19 research is interesting – he has a previous paper on covid-19 mortality, he ‘showed’ that “HCQ use significantly reduced fatalities where the magnitude of the effect is substantial” (based on the low mortality in Africa and the websites and

even factoring in the average younger ages in Africa, it’s not true there was “low mortality in Africa”

country. official. per 100k. excess est. per 100k. est vs. official

Egypt 24,805 22.3 330k to 370k 290 to 330 +1,300%

South Africa 102,568 171.3 270k to 290k 460 to 490 +200%

Ethiopia 7,572 6.1 50k to 490k 41 to 400 +3,300%

Sudan 5,001 10.7 61k to 350k 130 to 750 +2,300%

Nigeria 3,155 1.4 −60k to 470k −27 to 210 +3,800%

Kenya 5,688 10.5 19k to 170k 35 to 320 +1,400%

Tanzania 846 1.3 −8.4k to 170k −13 to 260 +9,100%
[the previous President of Tanzania was a Covid denier and died of Covid – his successor admitted it was real]

Madagascar 1,418 4.8 −2.5k to 83k −8.6 to 280 +2,600%

Algeria 6,881 15.3 51k to 170k 110 to 380 +1,400%

Angola 1,930 5.4 −5.4k to 79k −15 to 220 +1,800%

Cameroon 1,965 7.0 11k to 100k 39 to 360 +1,700%

Tunisia 29,291 237.1 26k to 47k 210 to 380 +20%

Somalia 1,361 7.7 3.6k to 80k 21 to 450 +2,400%

Zambia 4,037 20.2 14k to 62k 70 to 310 +700%

for comparison:

United States 1,102,286 325.8 1.3m to 1.5m 380 to 430 +20%

also for comparison:

total US deaths in all wars 1776 – present: 1,354,664

These are “estimated” deaths. Antivaxxers reject “estimated” deaths preferring “reported” deaths. They go silent when you tell them that deaths are severely under “reported” in these African countries (and that the average age is 18 compared with 45 for most developed countries).

How can you calculate ‘excess deaths’ if you don’t have any accurate populations data?

I gave patients HCQ early on when we had nothing else. This was both outpatient and inpatient. It didn’t do shit. I have seen vitamin d repletion seem to help recovery and prevent severe disease. SEEM TO. That’s much more than I can say for HCQ.

You guys really need to get over these “wonder” drugs. They have no value whatsoever in covid treatment.

I guess that my sarcasm got lost.

I’ll try again – If an economist can ‘prove’ that HCQ is the best treatment for COVID-19, I’m not sure how much I would trust his his work…

Based on his research, the only think that Skidmore has ‘proven’ is that economists are very skilled are using statistics to obtain the ‘desired’ result, and that their conclusions must be read with (more that usual) criticism.

This survey was conducted via a sample obtained by Dynata, “the world’s largest first-party data platform”.

The company’s business model, as I understand it, involves Dynata “members” who sign up to take surveys in return for compensation. As the site puts it:


“For every survey you take, you are going to earn yourself some points. These points go to your account, and you can redeem them later for cash rewards, gift cards, donations to charity, and so on.”

“A short survey in Dynata will last about 10 minutes. A lengthy survey is a survey with an estimated average length of 11 minutes and more. The length and estimated number of points you can earn in a survey will appear at the bottom of the survey. Thus, since taking part in the survey is voluntary, you can decide if you will take part in the survey or not. This will depend on whether you have enough time to participate, and whether you feel the estimated return is worth your time.”

I wonder how reliable answers are to surveys with controversial/politically charged subjects (as opposed to simple product evaluations), when people opt-in to participate in this manner. Also, is there any tendency to answer in a way you feel the survey questions are leaning, if you think the “right” answers will help you to get selected for more surveys and obtain more points and cash awards?

This discussion is hilarious. Which part of “should be fully investigated” do you not understand? Seems pretty clear that they are reporting a signal. As per usual, you’re on hand to loudly proclaim—on the basis of no evidence whatsoever—that the signal should be ignored.

(It’s bizarre to me that you seem to wear the word “skeptic” as a badge of honor while expressing zero skepticism whatsoever to dubious claims put forth by Pfizer and their minions. Ignorance is strength. Amirite?)

And what the signal is ? Unvaccinated report more vaccine deaths among people they know. Bias is the signal.

But what is the signal? How ‘accurate’ or ‘real’ is the signal? How can you differentiate the ‘signal from the noise? And what does this signal tell you?

How can the author’s conclusion be anything other that ‘lots of people claim to know people who claim to have had a severe response to the COVID-19 vaccine’ or ‘believing that the COVID-19 vaccines are responsible for severe side effects, can effect you vaccination status’?

These kind of paper seem like the scientific version of the projective test – you see it the data what you expect to find… Especially if you feel that the vaccines are killing lots of people.

Yes, the boundaries of what is being accepted as plausible evidence seem to be getting wider.
For example It appears in this recent survey of 1000 Americans by Rasmussen 28% of respondents know someone who died from taking the vaccine.

I don’t know what is more worrying: that 28% of respondents know someone who died following taking the vaccine, or that 28% uncritically believe it to be true.

With the sheer weight of self interest, self preservation, bandwagon jumping, profiteering, fear, malice, and hubris, it’s getting very difficult in the current climate to actually know to what is true.

There is always a degree of uncertainty when we try and understand scientific issues, a fact not often fully realized by those who don’t actually conduct research. This can be hard to deal with, and most of us would prefer a simple and clear-cut answer. But real life is complicated, and often it seems that the more we learn, the more we realize how complicated it really is.
I would add that the use of words such as ‘truth’ is problematic, as it conveys an expectation that we can fully understand something as complicated and vague as the immune system. This seems that this may lead to disappointment, and to a sense of betrayal by the system.

You’re assuming that excess deaths are not investigated at all and only those of us on social media have noticed or care about them – perhaps because you think that there’s sort of cover-up going on. I don’t blame you for thinking that, history is full of examples of that sort of thing happening. But in this case I really don’t think it is. Both here and abroad the scope of such a cover-up would be so huge, complex and expensive that it would be nearly impossible. The government are indeed incompetent, but if they start being evil then people tend to find out, and I don’t just mean a few tens of people on Twitter. So demanding an “investigation” is pointless – it’s already happening. Besides, would you accept the findings of such an investigation? You don’t like fact-checkers very much.

It’s the difference between conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies. Conspiracy theories are, by their nature, never truly provable or falsifiable. Real conspiracies become known because evidence is found that makes them known and proves that there was an actual conspiracy.

“Seems pretty clear that they are reporting a signal”

Historically, quite a few people have reported being abducted by aliens. Is that a signal too?

If a million religious fanatics think that anyone not of the same faith is a demon worshipping baby muncher, is that a signal?

Besides, what investigation? This survey is already at gold standard level for most anti-vaxxers. How much more investigation could they possibly do? Any solid scientific investigation wouldn’t be believed unless it also reported the same results. You know that’s true. What you don’t seem to grasp is that, being unable to accept contrary results is why you should never attempt science.

As a Spartan Alum myself, I’m embarrassed. But it’s a big university and I haven’t been there for years.
If he really wanted to do a reality check of his speculation, he should have compared it with some of the research done using actual medical records like the two studies Dr Susan Oliver talks about in this video.

The first one was a UK study using the Biobank records.

Regarding the post-acute phase, patients with COVID-19 (n = 7139) persisted with a significantly higher risk of CVD in the long-term [HR: 1.4 (95% CI: 1.2–1.8); HR: 1.3 (95% CI: 1.1– 1.6)] and all-cause mortality [HR: 5.0 (95% CI: 4.3–5.8); HR: 4.5 (95% CI: 3.9–5.2) compared to the contemporary (n = 71 296) and historical controls (n = 71 314), respectively.

Also, while the contemporary controls were followed through August 2021 for a period when a huge number of people in the UK were getting Covid-19 vaccinations, there was no increase in deaths or any of the long list of significant adverse effects compared to the unvaccinated pre-Covid-19 historical group.
The Indiana study showed that vaccinated people were less likely to have to visit an ICU, be hospitalized or die compared to those previously infected.

Results. We matched 267 847 pairs of individuals. Six months after the index date, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly higher in vaccine recipients (6.7%) than the previously infected (2.9%). All-cause mortality in the vaccinated, however, was 37% lower than that of the previously infected. The rates of all-cause ED visits and hospitalizations were 24% and 37% lower in the vaccinated than in the previously infected.

Conclusions. The significantly lower rates of all-cause ED visits, hospitalizations, and mortality in the vaccinated highlight the real-world benefits of vaccination. The data raise questions about the wisdom of reliance on natural immunity when safe and effective vaccines are available. (Am J Public Health. 2023;113(1):96–104.

That’s par for the CT course. It’s not just torturing some dubious data to get a conclusion, but also just ignoring all the counter-evidence.

My friend’s nephew, a guy in his 20s, died within a couple of days of his safe and effective J&J vaccine in May 2021. I did check VAERS and he is not in it. I am sure that he died from the vaccine (blood clot).

That kinda woke me up.

There are several estimates of how many people were killed by Covid vaccines.

Steve Kirsch had a survey at the end of 2021: 388,000

Skidmore et al: 278,000

Fabian Spieker estimated it using cool linear regressions of excess deaths vs dispensed vaccine doses, on his substack: one of 1,642 doses results in death in Germany. For the US at the end of 2021, it works out to 266,40 deaths.

We will never know the exact number.

Regarding Skidmore being an antivaxer: people are not born antivaxers. I never was an antivaxer until the pandemic made me into anti-Covid-vaxer, which by Merriam Webster definition means I am called “antivaxxer”. I became one by observing reality and realizing what happened. The above mentioned young guy’s death was a wake up call for me.

So, when Skidmore realized what was going on, he became an antivaxer like others. It should not surprise anyone.

A more precise estimate of how many people died would possible once individual level data is released, in depersonalized form, to the public.

You became an anti-vaxxer because you never actually learned to think but have somehow acquired the arrogance (common to all preachy anti-vaxxers) of thinking that (1) you can think, and (2) you’re some sort of medical/science experts (which you most definitely are not).

What math web site do you run? I want to make sure kids don’t stumble upon it and learn 2 + 2 = 5 in Igor’s world.

Somehow, promoters of vaccines want the public to believe that only high priests of science, possessing multiple degrees in medicine and immunology etc, can figure out if a health fraud (covid vaccine) is a fraud.

That is false. Professional fraud investigators are almost never high priests of science. Instead, they follow the money, documents etc.

To see that Covid vaccine is a fraud, all one needs is critical thinking skills and an ability to look around, read news, remember past news, and generally read stuff.

Anyone can notice that if the CDC publishes a chart purporting to show that Covid boosted people are 10 times less likely to die from Covid, while at the same time publishing a MMWR that shows it is only 56% effective at preventing severe illness, that the CDC is lying in at least one of those.

The same critical look can then be applied to the “flu vaccine”, which is also a fraud, and does not work, but less deadly than the Covid vaccine.

Both Covid vaccine, as well as flu vaccine, are perfect examples of medical quackery (promotion of unproven and non-working treatments) promoted by charlatans.

Then a critical thinker would ask, if quacks and charlatans are promoting dangerous and non-working treatments such as Covid and flu vaccines, what about other vaccines the same exact people are promoting?

I do not personally bother to look too deeply into this last question, but it does need to be asked eventually. It will be asked.

Somehow, promoters of vaccines want the public to believe that only high priests of science, possessing multiple degrees in medicine and immunology etc, can figure out if a health fraud (covid vaccine) is a fraud.

I’d consider conceding this point if these very same “personal fraud investigators” didn’t constantly show their utter ignorance of science, medicine, immunology, epidemiology, and clinical trial design, using that ignorance to come up with hot takes that are so wrong they’re not even wrong and, not at all coincidentally, support their preconceived conspiracy theory. Unfortunately, they are all painfully ignorant of science, medicine, immunology, epidemiology, and clinical trial design and do come to conclusion supporting their conspiracy theories. So I won’t concede the point in this case.

You have a valid point Orac. A lot of us antivaxxers are unscientific and I am sure that I myself unintentionally said plenty of stupid or false things and displayed my medical ignorance.

Point conceded.

I would much prefer if honest regulators, unbiased scientists, and cautious, conscientious corporations were running the show, while being closely watched by skeptical press ready to pounce on any improprieties.

I would also prefer that megabillionaires who love children in ways that are objectionable, who possess no college degree and zero medical education, would not dictate health policies of the entire globe, and instead such policies were developed via open intergovernmental process.

If that was the case, I would definitely get myself uninvolved from second guessing the FDA, CDC, vaccines etc.

It is ridiculous that amateurs like myself and other people have to be involved. It is not normal and not even right.

But as things stand now, there is no other option and this is SAD and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

@Igor Chudov ACIP makes vaccine recommendatios. Give a list of its megabillionaire members. Make specific claims.

“Somehow, promoters of vaccines want the public to believe that only high priests of science, possessing multiple degrees in medicine and immunology etc, can figure out if a health fraud (covid vaccine) is a fraud.

That is false. Professional fraud investigators are almost never high priests of science. Instead, they follow the money, documents etc.”

I don’t know about the “almost never” qualifier [I’m doubtful, however].
But those people have some knowledge of the relevant area, so hae some basis for understanding. They have some understanding of the statistics in the studies.

You, Igor, have neither of those things. All you have is a willingness to lie about numbers and make up accusations of fraud, large numbers of deaths, and some nebulous plan to “make a weapon” that lead to the virus. If your views were made into a movie it would t be good enough to make it into Tubi’s streaming service – and they hosted Llamageddon.

I went to the comment where you first mentioned the death. In that comment, you said:

he went with everyone [to be vaccinated] and was promptly dead.

But now, you are claiming he died within a couple of days.
“When something isn’t adding up, it’s usually because the truth hasn’t been entered into the equation.”

He died the next day or on the following day. Honestly I do not remember. This is “promptly” as far as I am concerned. The point is he died from the safe and effective covid vaccine.

The point is he died from the safe and effective covid vaccine.

Bullshit. IF this person existed [given your history of dishonesty I don’t believe your story at all] the only thing you could say is he died after the vaccine.

From Oxford definitions:

promptly: with little or no delay; immediately.

A few days doesn’t cut it. Either stop making up stories of people dying or keep notes so you don’t contradict yourself.

Igor, when I write a story, especially a longer piece or one that is part of a set of stories, I tend to diagram out major events so I don’t contradict myself. You should do the same with your friend?cousin?friend of a cousin? that died immediately?within a day?the next day?within two days? of getting the vaccine. If you’d done that from the start you’d have a better, easier to follow sequence of events and you won’t have to justify what happens next by bringing in plotlines about clones (it’s overused, seriously, soon as I see it in a story I tend to close the tab immediately, very boring to me), people faking their deaths, reanimating as zombies, or being monstrous imposters

I’m sorry about your friend’s nephew.

You must be proud to see that Skidmore has a link to your newsletter on his blog, among other “valuable sources of information”. But I have to question any information coming from Ron Unz, zerohedge, globalresearch etc. You must be proud to be listed among many the he considers ‘demonstrably competent and of high integrity’.

Thank you, I had no idea that Skidmore has a link to me. Where is that link located?

Very exciting and thank you for letting me know David.

By the way, if you (or any other reader of Respectful insolence) wants to debunk antivaccine narrative, feel free to make comments on my blog.

For 1.5 years of its existence, I only deleted spam comments. Pro-vaccine comments are completely allowed and I had a few contributors argue in favor of vaccines. Just stay mostly polite.

I don’t waste my time commenting on antivax blogs. My precious online extracurricular hobby time is much better used producing more content for this blog.

Though I take the point you are trying to make, I would suggest your rather arrogant and dismissive statement puts you into the Dr Peter Hotez “I know I’m right” category and does both you and your readers a disservice.
At least Mr Chudov has the interest to respond (politely) to to your statements whereas you simply appear to plough on trying to confirm what you already believe to be true, a high handed form of self referencing confirmation bias perhaps.
In common with Hotez you appear to be unwilling to debate.
Elsewhere I’ve posted that a recent Rasmussen poll shows 28% of the their sample respondents know someone who they believe died from the vaccine. That’s a big number, and though not overwhelming, does suggests the ground of public opinion is gradually slipping away from beneath the provaccine “narrative”.
If you believe you are right, stop wasting your precious hobby time preaching to the converted and take the debate to the antivax lobby.
Mr Chudov, Steve Kirsch, and Robert Kennedy Jnr have all extended invitations for debate, but all they get back is sneering responses to the effect that they are not worth the time.
History moves in mysterious ways and you may yet regret the missed opportunity for educating the vaccine sceptical when MSM finally grows a pair of balls and the mass of public opinion turns against you.

If you believe you are right, stop wasting your precious hobby time preaching to the converted and take the debate to the antivax lobby.
Mr Chudov, Steve Kirsch, and Robert Kennedy Jnr have all extended invitations for debate, but all they get back is sneering responses to the effect that they are not worth the time.

I’ve explained more times than I can remember why I do not do this. For instance, this post is nearly a decade old:

More recently, addressing Dr. Oz and—yes—Steve Kirsch:

“Debating” cranks is useless, because, unlike the case for science advocates, cranks are not constrained by science or even the truth.

For someone who’s hung up on being “polite”, and clutches his pearls over “arrogant” and “dismissive” comments, Henry Longstop appears blissfully unaware of the irony of his approvingly citing RFK Jr. and Steve Kirsch as authorities.

RFK Jr. is known for venomous attacks on pro-immunization advocates like Anthony Fauci and has likened opponents to Nazis.

Steve Kirsch recently stalked and harassed a CDC physician at her home, proudly relating the details on his Substack.

As for Igor, it hardly seems “polite” for him to ignore evidence-based refutations of his memes while continuing to spout the same nonsense over and over again.

I thank you for the invitation. But I have commented a number of times, but you seem to ignore my questions. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the hundreds of comments by readers thanking you for confirming their bias. Funny how that happens…

Not deleting comments that don’t agree with you with is a low bar, and not something that I would consider boasting about. How about engaging with those who ask questions about your posts, as you see Orac doing, instead of those that agree with you? Or are you afraid of alienating your audience if you stop pandering to their desire for confirmation?
The fact that you seem to ignore any comment on your blog that challenges your narrative, makes it hard for me to believe your sincerity.

Anyone citing either zerohedge or globalresearch as though they were credible sources is either a Poe or has forfeited all right to be taken even slightly seriously.

“Someone I know died, and even though I have no evidence, I decided it’s the vaccine, and therefore I accept made up numbers with no basis from anti-vaccine activists who are not epidemiologists who claim vaccines kill people” is the epitome of how anti-vaccine views are formed.

My friends cousin, who knows someone who works for the NHS, told him about a woman who overheard a conversation on a train where the person sitting 10 seats back, had a long lost relative who’s son died in a car crash 3 months after he was vaccinated, cos he had a stroke seconds before losing control of his vehicle. Most definitely caused by the vaccine, even though which vaccine it was , was never mentioned.

I see from the news the new AV majority in the US congress has launched a new Attack Science committee with MTG taking a lead. This mearly days after her tweeting her demand for an inquiry in all the sudden deaths from the vaccines

So for the next two years all these sudden death conspiracies are going to be going into overdrive driven the AV cults political wing the GOP.

It’s just going to get worse.

Does this guy list any conflicts of interest? Does the journal require it? The single source of funding – a private individual, no less – is a major red flag.

It doesn’t seem that he has any ‘conflicts of interest’ with the source of funding…

Genuine question: Do articles in economics have to pass an institutional review board? I’m a physical scientist, and IRBs have never been a thing in my work. When my colleagues and I write an article, we just go ahead and submit it when we think it’s ready to go.

Thanks! The stars we observe don’t evn know they’re being watched, as far as anyone knows …

@ Orac
“I have no problem with that sort of survey.” You should. Once you see “online survey” the red flags should go up. I’m not talking about the kind of overt bait and switch Skidmore does with VAERS and deaths, just that supposedly “objective” data.

I get the feeling folks in med-science-world don’t have much experience with social science methodology. Validity is highly dependent, first of all, on how you define the categories you’re going to crunch numbers on, and how you slot varying responses into those buckets. The problem with any self-administered survey is that the respondents may or may not be using the same definitions, or using the process you assume to stuff their thought of experience into one of the available slots. Then, no matter how you do the sample, there’s likely to be issues with how representative it actually is…

For me, the flag that started going up at “online survey” began flapping right here: “22% of respondents indicated that they knew at least one person who had experienced a severe health problem following COVID-19 vaccination.” Maybe, I’m misunderstanding the pandemic, but that number seems way high. (Didn’t we already see something like this in some other bad survey based COVID vax study? Ioannidis?? I can’t remember them all…) Even posing the question evokes post-hoc fallacy in a way that will effect the responses. What do you mean by “severe health problem” What’s the definition of “following”.

You actually discuss some of the problems with that 22% in discussing the deaths: the survey is counting perceptions of lay people not reality. But you may be too kind in assessing “knew a person” as a direct report from a family member or close friend. ‘Know’ could actually be ‘know of’, IOW ‘I read about it on Facebook’. Really, is there any other way they could come up with 22% severe issues post jab? (Genuine question that, please explain if that does indeed make sense…)

There are ways to minimize the problems I mentioned above in the design of the survey “instruments”, which is why you can’t evaluate these studies unless the authors make those available. Which they almost never do. Which is why the whole field is crammed with garbage, of which the likes of Skidmore’s is just among the more egregious. [If social science was legit, posting complete details of the method online, including the survey as presented to the respondents, would be a requirement for publication.]

Parts of the actual survey appear to be in the “working paper” precursor to this paper that I linked to.

Also, I don’t mean to say that using a company like Dynata is the most rigorous design. I’m just saying it’s more “rigorous” than the usual antivax design of posting a survey on their blog or on Facebook and then having their readers answer it, you know, like Steve Kirsch does. In other words, it’s not saying much. Also, the questions are in the supplemental files, and you are correct. At least of them is worded in a way that allows for “hearing about a friend of a friend.”

To clarify: In saying “you should” question pretty much all survey research, I wasn’t saying you should have addressed those generic issues in your post on Skidmore. I was going off on a tangent, based on one casual bit of language you employed in passing, rather than addressing the central substance of your post. As you no doubt know by now, “social science” in general is one of pet peeves. It often annoys me when someone replies to one of my comments by picking at some minor point and ignoring the thrust of the argument, so I should be more careful… at least flag the digression as a digression.

As far as Skidmore goes, IMHO you’ve come right up to the point of ‘more rigorous than Kirsch’ without quite getting all the way there. The use of Dynata is a key part of the bait, providing enough of a patina of objective “scientific” methodology to allow the paper to be published in a scholarly journal, while a Kirsch-type self-selected sample wouldn’t pass the methodolotry filter. No doubt Skid was confident he could torture the product of the Dynata sample by virtue of the survey design and his schema for interpreting the results… IOW, it’s not really to his credit as anything other than a clever propagandist that he used an admittedly better-than-total-bat-guano professional third-party sample.

@ sadmar:

re 22%
” Didn’t we already see something like this in some other bad survey..”

Of late, anti-vaxxers are trumpeting a ( IIRC Rasmussen) poll that claims 22% of people know someone who has died of the vaccine and that 49% are wary about the vaccine. That pollster has been considered rather biased in general.

If you include people who know someone who says they’re acquainted with somebody who had a vaccine reaction, the numbers become astronomical.

We need more investigations, face-to-face debates, Internet polls, vaccine challenges, and demands for everyone we don’t like to resign, immediately. Otherwise, Steve Kirsch will show up at your house to bang on the door.

Why, a friend of a friend had a young-adult son who developed a cardiac inflammation after getting the Moderna vaccine — which was especially tough, because the father of the victim was himself a noted senior heart surgeon, and was therefore worried sick about his kid, vividly imagining every possible bad outcome.

And, within three days or so, the kid was fine, no apparent damage. Whew!

Interesting point: Skidmore thanked Kathy Dopp, a mathmatition who published a paper on Covid-19 and vaccines with Stephanie Seneff…

Ooooh. I didn’t notice that.

Lesson for the future: Google the name of everyone a crank writing a paper like this thanks in the acknowledgments.😂

I look at all the corporations that use Dynata and highly doubt any of them conduct surveys like this, focused on injury and death. I bet Dynata has no real “ethics” committee of their own to vet this type of nonsense.

Of course not. I don’t mean to say that using a company like Dynata is the most rigorous design. I’m just saying it’s more “rigorous” than the usual antivax design of posting a survey on their blog or on Facebook and then having their readers answer it, you know, like Steve Kirsch does.

Ah, here’s the beastie that biases the whole survey (from “Additional File 1” which is the online questionairre used by skidmore), Question 32:

Q32 Think about your social circles (family, friends, church, work colleagues, social networks, etc.). About how many people in your circles do you know well enough that you would typically learn about a significant emerging health condition? (numerical answer only please)

Bolded emphasis mine. Once you tell people to think about people they know on their social networks, you open up to all the anti-vax lies and propaganda spread on the internet, especially during this pandemic.

@ Dr Chris:

See my response below ( after 2pm) about social networks- direct and indirect

Returns nicely to Sadmar’s comment about ‘what people understand by something ‘.

There will be people who understand ‘social networks’ to include the Facebook group they belong to with 50k radical white supremacists.

One of the main things to get from his paper is that he’s a shitty statistical writer: his compound sentences about setting up hypotheses, and then explaining the results, are pathetic.

I note that the BMC website [from which I downloaded the paper] now has this change history [my emphasis added]

Change history

26 January 2023

Editor’s Note: Readers are alerted that the conclusions of this paper are subject to criticisms that are being considered by editors. Specifically, that the claims are unsubstantiated and that there are questions about the quality of the peer review. A further editorial response will follow the resolution of these issues.

Having adequate peer review in the first place means never having to say you’re sorry – or at least, not apologizing quite so often.

“Antivaxxer: “The vaccines age you!”

Before the fact apparently. Who knew Obama had loaned his time machine to big pharma.?

I know that Orac’s core oeuvre is taking down the antivaxers with at least some pretense to science, and he doesn’t much truck with the COVID antivax rantings of the pundits featured in MAGA-friendly media: Tucker Carlson, et al. But for anyone with a morbid interest in ‘popular populist’ antivax conspiracy theory, you really need to check out the stream of rhetoric from Silk around the recent death of her sister and co-pundit Diamond. It’s the most concentrated, complete and overheated compendium of vax CT I’ve ever encountered. Sadly, no one article about it popping up via Google captures it all, and even then there tend to be too many summaries of the points covered, when you need the verbatim quotes to get the real flava of the screeds. A brief partial summary: Diamond died suddenly because the vaccine skilled her, even though she was unvaxed, because vaxed people shed cardiac arrest cooties, which is the dark science at the heart of the global elite’s insidious depopulation plan, engineered by Tony Fauci.

It was THIS rant (partly delivered in her eulogy at Diamond’s funeral, partly via social media posts and media interviews) that MTG Tweeted about approvingly, just as Kevin McCarthy announced she would be seated on his COVID issues inquisition, err “investigation” committee.

What I found interesting was this paragraph that was quoted in the OP:
“Estimated nationwide COVID-19 vaccine fatalities based on the Democrat, Republican and Independent subsets are 109,564, 463,444 and 247,867, respectively. With the vaccinated and unvaccinated subgroups, estimated COVID-19 vaccine fatalities are 110,942 and 659,995.”
Just look at the death numbers in the various politically defined subgroups!
And yet we hear from many sources that the greatest opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines is coming from the right.
So why are Republicans dying from vaccination at four times the rate of Democrats? – is there something in being a Democrat that is protective against vaccine-induced death?

Thinking about this, I realise that I don’t know anyone– directly or indirectly- who claims to have had or knows of a Covid vaccine injury/ death AND I know a lot of people, both directly and indirectly **. I don’t do social media at all*** although I look at Twitter to keep track of altie BS and sceptics/ SBM.

The only places I hear about vaccine “injury and death” is at anti-vax/ altie/ contrarian sites and broadcasts and amongst scoffers here at RI.
HOWEVER I do know several people who died of COVID in early 2020:
— a doctor/ restauranteur who lived/ worked nearby
— indirectly – my SO’s mechanic and his father both died
and his friend’s brother in Spain

Of course, this is anecdotal but so are anti-vaxxers’ examples

** to give an idea of the amount of indirect, two examples-
— I regularly speak to my cousin who has SEVEN siblings, six are married with children, some with grandchildren and she corresponds with many relatives in three countries and worked for a visiting nurse service she keeps up with
— my SO worked in an office with about 50 employees a few miles away but keeps up with at least 10 of them – most of them are married with kids, etc. He works now with a smaller group. He also meets up with guys he went to school with.
*** I know: I’m the last one

I’ve had patients who died of COVDI-19. For example, not that long ago I saw a woman with breast cancer and scheduled her for surgery. However, we found out a couple of days before her surgery was scheduled that she was in one of our network hospitals with COVID-19. (One of her doctors called me to let me know.) We followed her progress from afar, hoping to be ready when she recovered sufficiently to get her back on the schedule to take care of her other life-threatening disease (breast cancer). However, sadly, she kept getting worse. Soon we heard that she was in the ICU on a ventilator. A few days after that we learned that she had died of COVID.

One thing that struck me is that even if their crazy inflated claims were true, it would still mean the vaccines have been an amazing success story.

OT for this post but not for recent observations..

Orac mentioned that sceptics shouldn’t attack people who claim vaccine injury such as seizures:
yesterday, Del ( @ Highwire Talk, starting before 10 minutes in**) complains how his opponents made fun of his past and present guest ( whom Orac also featured), creating videos on social media of shaking or dancing. Whilst it seems these jokers were NOT Sceptics or SBM advocates we know, Del gets mileage out of their tomfoolery about how anti-vaxxers oppressed. Later on in the show, Vera Sharav talked about being a Holocaust survivor and he mentions how he was scorned for his Star of David stunt ( video).
Notice how he amalgamates diverse events to illustrate persecution of anti-vax/ PH denialism.

** I am very specific about times for altie crap so no one has to listen to more than is absolutely necessary; you can skip around the video easily. Actually, I skip around most of the time, even I can’t take these ( laughingly-called) shows in their unedited form.

It’s another sad day for antivaxers.

Russia’s “Father Sergiy”, a coronavirus denier who urged his followers to disobey the country’s anti-Covid-19 control measures has been sentenced to a jail term.

The mad monk (actual name Nikolai Romanov – no foolin’) was backed by “burly” ex-military enforcers, claimed Covid vaccination was about implanting microchips, and denounced government pandemic efforts as “Satan’s electronic camp” (not to be confused with Tommy’s Holiday Camp).

In other words, he’s almost as nutty as RFK Jr. and Del Bigtree.* They’ll probably proclaim him a persecuted martyr, and start a campaign to exchange him for Anthony Fauci.

*but not quite as far gone as Ginny Stoner.


On the previous Orac post Ginny Stoner posted a link to a very short cut, soundbite, of Anthony Fauci testimony before Congress.

I’ve tried numerous search strategies; but couldn’t find the actual testimony. It has to be out there since an antivaxxer used it to make the short cut version. If anyone can find the actual testimony, please give link in a comment.


That’s a tough one. It looks like some sort of scientific conference, not a testimony before Congress. 1999 was when NIAID started the first HIV vaccine trial in Uganda. Nova did an episode Surviving AIDS which you see on the border around the video. It’s clipped from that episode. The part with Fauci starts at about 4:55 in.

That clip is about all you see of him in the Nova episode although I haven’t watched it all the way through. I see it as him advising caution on expecting an HIV vaccine soon because of the long process for testing. But he doesn’t say what conditions are in play when, as he says, “all Hell breaks loose” twelve years later.
Dr Fauci has spoken elsewhere and much more recently that we’ve never seen a serious adverse effect of a vaccine turn up more than about 6 weeks to 2 months after the start of mass administration.

He probably gave the talk at this meeting in 1998.

I didn’t find a transcript or proceedings anywhere.

Dr Fauci was also interviewed on TWIV back in February 2013 and talked about HIV and other viruses. But I don’t think he mentioned that 12 year thibg.

I go back to my unfortunate incident with an antivaxxer at a cafe, since then I have eavesdropped similar conversations but declined to participate. I do not know anyone, whom I known for certain have been vaccinated, who has had a serious adverse event, let alone died. Indeed, the last person to die within my family or social circles was my father in October 2020 and 2 friends who died during the first covid wave after covid infection before that. But what I have often come across is people (who are suspected anti vaxxers) who claim they personally know, not one but numerous vaccine deaths. My conclusion…..anti vaxers LIE.

I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating…we have clinics in three states and I personally work out of four hospitals and two clinics. We’re a part of the Mayo network, which is massive. I’ve never heard of a single case of vaccine injury, let alone death.

Before the “Just because you’ve never seen one” bs starts, I ask around. It’s an interest of mine. I had the misfortune of being the rotating doc on the joint safety committee a few months back. No one anywhere has ever seen an adverse vaccine reaction. There is no evidence that the vaccinated are “sicker” or “dying suddenly.”

The worst that ever happened was a person sat in the ER one time at one hospital after a vax “reaction” out of an abundance of caution. She knitted for a half hour and went home.

I’ve lost count of unvaccinated covid deaths, though.

@ squirrelelite

Thanks for trying. It has to be somewhere on the internet, otherwise antivaxxers could not have cut a short soundbite. I found the journal he gave the 1998 talk but, unfortunately, they only have posted articles beginning in 2002. Oh well.

I’m sure you as well as others have notice just how dishonest Ginny Stoner is. She asks me a question. I answer, often with direct quotes and detailed references so anyone can find the original paper and she continues to claim I never address her questions, etc. And she continues to base everything on VAERS, ignoring that Orac has written several pieces explaining its limitations and I have also written numerous comments, including references. She is really hopeless.

I just watched VAXXED for the first time. Unfortunately, couldn’t download a transcript as I thought about refuting point by point. One of the most dishonest pieces of propaganda I’ve seen in a long time. And I can refute their points. I have numerous papers that address them.

You’re welcome, Joel. I think they just snipped that part out of the Nova episode. They may have used a player that gives it the title box you see on some clips.

The video or maybe film is out there somewhere. But it was a large conference with several working groups. And that was back in the Windows 98 days when dial-up modems were still common and even video streaming was almost unheard of. My little laptop was too slow so I kind of skipped that whole era. But I used to download chat forums from a local BBS.

Let me take the time to thank Dr Yeti for her injections of reality about Covid : like many readers, I do not work in health care and know what I do from news reports, the internet and research studies whilst she has been in ICU since the start of the pandemic.

I do read loads of altie/ anti-vax BS from natural health provocateurs/ poseurs who pontificate about the pandemic/ vaccines/ PH as rank amateurs/ liars, gathering an audience of like minded contrarians and rabble rousers, hoping to garner as many likes/ views as possible.
Following Orac’s lead, I have finally stopped watching Bill Maher’s weekly BS fest** but I will keep up with my usual suspects who claim expertise above and beyond SBM on a daily basis. I include scoffers on RI who lecture Orac and other HCWs.

With the growth of Substack monetisation, contrarians can profit from their fantasies. I learned that Celia Farber*** has “hundreds” of paid subscribers and Covid contrarians like Malone have thousands: having followers also fattens their egos and self satisfaction.

** the last straw? He and Bari Weiss Friday discussing the uselessness of a university education whilst they trumpet themselves and declare SBM/ CDC wrong etc. They know better etc. Video is available, second half of show.
If higher education is so meaningless, why have voting differences strongly reflected it?
If Bill Maher didn’t go to university, he’d be selling cars or shirts in Paramus, NJ.
*** long time hiv/aids denialist now anti-vaxxer. For a while, she was so broke, she sold homemade candles.

Comments are closed.


Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading