Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

The Brownstone Institute fear mongers about mRNA vaccines

Alan Lash is fear mongering about mRNA vaccines in general, once again putting the lie to the Brownstone Institute’s denials of being antivax.

Earlier this month, I discovered a new antivaccine flack named Alan Lash, who writes for the “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD),” the Brownstone Institute and caught my attention by regurgitating an old common antivax trope about distrusting physicians. The GBD, as you might recall, was a declaration created at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), a right-wing “free market” think tank, by three libertarian-leaning scientists who served as useful idiots for AIER to drape its pro-business, anti-government leanings into a scientific-seeming “declaration” advocating a eugenicist “let ‘er rip” approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in early October 2020. Whenever I discuss the GBD, I like to note two things. First, there was no vaccine yet. Second, the entire idea of the GBD was to let SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, rip through the “young and healthy” population to build up “natural herd immunity” by letting them go about their business with no pandemic restrictions while using a vaguely defined—nearly completely undefined, actually—strategy of “focused protection” to keep the vulnerable (e.g., the elderly and those with chronic health conditions that put them at high risk of dying of COVID-19) supposedly safe. It was a strategy that obviously never could have worked, and epidemiologists pointed out that it would never work at the time. This time around, Mr. Lash is regurgitating antivax disinformation about mRNA vaccines in general in an article entitled The mRNA Platform: What It Is, What It Means.

Of course, the first person to whom I’d go for an opinion on mRNA vaccines (or any vaccines, for that matter) would be someone like Mr. Lash, who appears to have no detectable expertise in infectious disease, virology, public health, vaccines—or, as far as I can tell, even basic biology. He is, as I mentioned last time, a software developer with a PhD in physics. I realize that antivaxxers sympathetic with the sorts of garbage opinions thrown about by people like Mr. Lash might refer to this as an ad hominem, and so it could be; that is, if I were to stop right there and not go on to explain how much he gets wrong about mRNA vaccines, thanks to a major case of Dunning-Kruger syndrome. Expertise matters, though, and it is not inappropriate to mention that Mr. Lash clearly lacks expertise in topics relevant to the discussion of mRNA vaccines and the mRNA platform beyond what one might expect of a layperson who “did his own research” and posts conspiracy theories on Facebook, to the annoyance of his relatives. Perhaps that is why he attacks the mRNA platform with antivax tropes that we’ve heard time and time again since the COVID-19 mRNA-based vaccines first started to be distributed—heck, even while they were still in the pipeline and hadn’t received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA yet!

I’m going to start by zeroing in on a fundamental error that antivaxxers like Mr. Lash make when ranting about mRNA vaccines as something radically new compared to previous generations of vaccines:

Back in the spring of 2020 we learned that Operation Warp Speed was hard at work creating a vaccine faster than one had ever been created before. From the decades-long history of vaccine development, we knew that vaccines took 5 to 10 years to make. The subsequent clinical trials could take longer. 

How was this possible? When did this scientific leap take place? What was this fantastic new technology that would make such rapid development a reality?

We quickly learned that the new vaccine would use something called mRNA technology. And there were several companies ready to make it happen. 

The way mRNA works is not like the way any vaccine worked before. Formerly, vaccines were created by taking a weakened or dead form of the virus and injecting that into humans. The human body would create antibodies to fight and beat the weakened virus, thus giving the body the instructions to create antibodies against it if the full force virus were to ever attack. The individual was immune. 

This is not what mRNA does. 

Actually, yes it is. It is exactly what the mRNA vaccines do. Although it is true that, prior to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the mRNA platform had not successfully been used to create a vaccine before, it is not true that the way mRNA works is “not like the way any vaccine worked before.” Notice how Mr. Lash refers to vaccines in the past being created by “taking a weakened or dead form of the virus and injecting that into humans.” I will give him the point that mRNA vaccines are not like vaccines made from killed organisms, whose proteins would then provoke an immune response. However, in concept, mRNA vaccines actually do function a lot like vaccines made from “weakened” virus, commonly called live attenuated virus vaccines. Let me explain.

Live attenuated virus vaccines were made by taking the pathogenic virus being vaccinated against and altering it so that it is weakened, so that it could infect cells but not cause the disease that the normal—”wild type”—virus would cause. In the old days, before genetic engineering, creating such a virus would generally involve selecting for weaker forms of the virus, but since genetic engineering the process generally involves manipulating the nucleotide sequence of the virus (be it DNA or RNA) in order to remove or inactivate key genes necessary for virulence and decrease the ability of the virus to replicate robustly:

Live-attenuated vaccines differ from traditional inactivated vaccines where the pathogen is “killed”, and as the name suggests the pathogen (typically a virus) remains active in live vaccines, however, is attenuated or modified in a way that the pathogen is not able to cause disease itself but can produce a robust immune response. Typically, live vaccines lead to a stronger, more prolonged and robust immune response in comparison to inactivated vaccines.

Live-attenuated vaccines can be produced by reverse genetics including RNAi. Briefly, reverse genetic tools are used to create live-attenuated vaccines. Genes from current (novel) viruses are combined with previously altered (attenuated) viruses belonging to the same generic strain.

However, due to these live viruses being attenuated, they are unable to replicate to the same extent as live unattenuated viruses. This means that they are no longer able to sufficiently infect the host, but can do so enough for the host to develop broad and robust immunity.

Think of it this way. Live attenuated vaccines “hijack” cells in the body to make more virus, which the immune system recognizes, mounting a robust immune response to the virus. Because the virus is much less virulent and doesn’t replicate as quickly, no disease results from infection, and this immune response can wipe it out. The weakened virus, of course, must be sufficiently similar to the wild type version of the virus so that the immune response to the weakened virus also attacks the wild type virus. Since many of the proteins are shared between both versions of the virus, this is usually not an issue. Live attenuated vaccines are an established platform and have been used to create vaccines against prevention of a variety of diseases including influenza, chickenpox, measles, polio and tuberculosis. Indeed, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine, with weakened versions of all three viruses in it. The chickenpox vaccine uses a weakened version of the varicella virus.

Conceptually, mRNA vaccines work in much the same way as live attenuated virus vaccines in that the overall idea is to “hijack” the body’s cells to make antigen, or a protein from the pathogen that the immune system can recognize and target. In the case of live attenuated virus vaccines, it’s multiple antigens from a weakened version of the virus, while in the case of mRNA vaccines like the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines it’s a single protein from the virus, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Recall that the spike protein was chosen as an antigen because it is both displayed on the outside of the virus and it is the key protein used by SARS-CoV-2 to bind to the ACE2 receptor and thereby gain entrance to the cell which means that antibodies against it not only “tag” the virus for the immune system but interfere with the virus being able to enter the cell.

It’s not true that the mechanism by which mRNA vaccines work is “not like the way any vaccine worked before”; that is, unless you understand so little biology that you can’t see that both live attenuated virus vaccines and mRNA vaccines “hijack” the host’s own cells to generate protein antigens that the immune system can recognize and target, resulting in an immune response that can prevent infection and disease caused by the organism targeted by the vaccine. In fact, mRNA vaccines have a number of advantages over live attenuated vaccines. For example, live attenuated vaccines still require infection by a virus to produce the protein antigens and generate an immune response. This can be a problem in immunosuppressed people, for whom even a weakened virus could be potentially dangerous and cause disease, hence the warnings not to use live attenuated viruses in patients who are significantly immunosuppressed. After all, live attenuated viruses still hijack the same cellular machinery that their wild type counterparts do to generate more virus. Another problem with live attenuated vaccines is that, in rare cases, they, if allowed to continue replicating, revert to a fully virulent version of the virus, able to cause disease, a problem particularly with oral polio vaccines.

None of the above can happen with mRNA vaccines, which consist only of the mRNA sequence that codes for the antigen of interest (the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the case of COVID-19) encapsulated in a lipid nanoparticle. It’s one nucleotide sequence designed to make one protein; the vaccine cannot produce the original virus or replicate. Also, while it is true that a chemically altered form of mRNA is used in order to increase its half-life, mRNA is by its very nature not very stable and tends to degrade fairly rapidly. (Just ask someone—like me—who’s worked a lot with RNA in the laboratory how easily it can degrade and how careful we have to be to prevent it from doing so by storing it at very low temperature and treating everything used that might come into contact with solutions containing RNA to destroy all the RNases, enzymes that chew up RNA.)

None of this stops Mr. Lash from ranting later in his article, contrasting using mRNA technology for gene therapy to using it to make vaccines thusly:

So originally, the technology was developed to produce something your body needed that it wasn’t producing. Now the technology would use your own body to create an enemy that it then had to fight. This had never been done before. 

While it is true that “it had never been done before” when it comes to using mRNA technology to “use your own body to create an enemy that it then had to fight,” it is not at all true that there had never been vaccines that “use your own body to create an enemy that it then had to fight.” Again, live attenuated vaccines had long been used to do exactly that. If anything mRNA vaccines refined that approach to be much more specific and targeted, without the danger to the immunosuppressed or the danger that the weakened virus might somehow revert back to its wild type version, fully capable of causing the disease that the vaccine had targeted.

Once you see that Mr. Lash understands basic biology, virology, and vaccine development so superficially that he can’t see the commonality between how mRNA vaccines and live attenuated vaccines work, even though he seems to understand the basics of how mRNA vaccines work:

When the mRNA Covid vaccine is injected into a person, it moves to the cells and creates the portion of the virus known as the spike protein, the active part of the virus that causes all the harm. The body reacts and fights it off. It’s a biological Trojan Horse. 

So why would anyone expect this to work like a traditional vaccine, one that bestows immunity for many years, often a lifetime? We have already seen that this method often does not. Didn’t the companies selling these drugs as a vaccine and the FDA know this from the beginning? 

So close…and yet so far. Of course, the spike protein is not what “causes all the harm” in COVID-19 infection. It’s the actual infection and replication of the virus in cells in the respiratory system and elsewhere in the body that cause all the harm. The spike protein is simply a convenient protein to use because it is the protein that allows SARS-CoV-2 entry into the cell, making its targeting a “double whammy” in that the immune response will, in targeting the virus, hone in on the very protein that the virus uses to gain entry into cells and thereby replicate itself.

When you realize just how much Mr. Lash fails at conceptual molecular biology, it becomes clear why he is so susceptible to the usual antivax tropes. For example, he rants about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy,” not vaccines and the common antivax claim that the CDC “changed the definition of vaccines” in order to accommodate the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines because they were gene therapy and didn’t work. In reality, the CDC changed the wording in order to be clearer and more accurate. Indeed, the pre-2015 definition of “vaccine” on the CDC website was hopelessly outdated:

Massie shared an image containing three definitions for the word “vaccination” with his 326,000 followers on Sunday. One was labeled “pre-2015” and described vaccination as: “Injection of a killed or weakened infectious organism in order to prevent disease.” Another was dated 2015-2021 and said: “The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.” The third was from September 2021, calling vaccination: “The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.”

Even eight years ago, vaccination involved more than using a killed or weakened virus, as genetic engineering had long ago allowed the use of recombinant proteins as vaccine antigens, a platform that had been used for many years before COVID-19 and is now being used for a COVID-19 vaccine. Guess what? The platform used to produce that vaccine is being demonized by antivaxxers too!

Then there are the conspiracy theories spun by Mr. Lash, for example that, rather than being all about the ability to create new vaccines quickly, the mRNA platform was all about profit:

Another limitation of using this technology as a vaccine is that the immune response becomes tuned to the particulars of that virus. If the virus mutates to a variant, the antibody response is not likely to work against it. The spike protein is slightly different.

It is, of course, true that scientists always knew that SARS-CoV-2 would likely evolve. That’s what viruses do, some faster than others. Just look at the influenza virus if you don’t believe me. Here’s the thing, though. This particular coronavirus has proven itself adept at evolving into new variants that can escape immunity due to previous infection with prior variants, as well as vaccine-induced immunity. I like to point out any time anyone associated with the Brownstone Institute and the GBD attack vaccines that “natural immunity” has not proven itself to be superior to vaccine-induced immunity. I also like to point out that, once again, it is far better to achieve whatever immunity one can against a virus like SARS-CoV-2 through vaccination rather than infection, because vaccination does not involve actually suffering through the disease caused by the virus and facing the risk of severe complications up to and including death. Actually, that is the entire point of a vaccine—any vaccine.

It’s also long been a highly desirable characteristic of a platform to make vaccines to be able to be able to use it to respond rapidly to new variants with updated vaccines. (There’s a reason why mRNA vaccines are being used to target influenza, in order to develop new flu vaccines faster, and with more accurate strain matching with in-season circulating strains than those currently available. Indeed, that was one of the first proposed uses for the technology before COVID-19 made the development of a new vaccine to counter the pandemic so much more urgent.)

To Mr. Lash, though, it’s all about profit and only profit:

When the pandemic hit, the folks in the companies that make mRNA saw this as a huge opportunity. Moderna was founded in 2010. Up until this point, they never talked about vaccines, only the therapeutics they were developing, which was their sole focus. Up until the bonanza of 2021, the company never made any money at all. Curiously, there is a huge overlap in the financial interests of high-ranking executives in Moderna and Pfizer and high-ranking officials in the FDA and CDC.

What a boon for these companies! If they could pull it off, they would have a drug they could quickly create for new antigens, and keep selling them over and over. This is why it is called a new platform for drug delivery. It’s a platform because it’s one technology that can be used to quickly create a vaccine when new antigens appear.  

Funny, but he says that part about how the mRNA platform could be used to quickly create new vaccines in response to new variants as though it were bad thing. Any least near the end, Mr. Lash concedes that the mRNA “technology was a remarkable advancement with untold potential benefit for humanity.” Of course, he quickly follows that by concluding that the “interests of power have leveraged it into something inhumane and destructive.”

Say what you will about vaccine mandates, big pharma (which deserves much of the criticism that it gets) or how the mRNA vaccines were granted EUAs, whenever I see someone like Mr. Lash fail at even very basic biology and science as he spins conspiracy theories about big pharma and mRNA vaccines, I know that I’m looking at a propagandist, not someone with good-faith concerns. No wonder he writes for the Brownstone Institute, which excels in spreading right wing propaganda designed to cast doubt on any public health interventions, including vaccines, that require collective action.

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]

66 replies on “The Brownstone Institute fear mongers about mRNA vaccines”

Health officials and Big Pharma lied about the mRNA vaccines. They lied about transmission, lied about efficacy, lied about natural immunity, lied about bio distribution and are likely lying about the dangers.

I’m really only familiar with Johnson & Johnson, but it came out the same as Moderna and Pfizer, and I know there are others. So speed of the mRNA vaccines is not all there is to it.

Every time I hear someone going on about gene therapy or whatever I say: “So you’ve had three does of J&J, right?”

Isn’t that the point? J&J developed their vaccine just about as fast even though it’s not mRNA-based.

It’s almost like the extraordinary conditions of the pandemic accelerated vaccine development or something. Like maybe having guaranteed profit if they could deliver a working vaccine was helpful? Or maybe being able to run large trials with easy recruitment and no trouble whatsoever hitting statistical significance, maybe that mattered?

Nah, it must be an evil the people who secretly control the world to, um… take over the world! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

“Gene vaccine” ?You know, all living organisms are full of genes.

Under this definition, COVID-19 infections would be gene vaccines, as would all other viral infections.

It shows once again that LaBarge never thinks through his comments.

Skyhorse Publishing. Now where have I heard from them before?

They are best known as a publisher of conspiracy theories. They have a forthcoming version of the report of the January 6 Select Committee, but their version contains a foreword by Darren Beattie arguing it was all a false flag set up by the FBI.

Skyhorse is run by Tony Lyons: he has a daughter with autism and publishes many, many books by anti-vaxxers. Both he and his ex-wife have contributed to the genre and he enabled various AoA stalwarts, RFK jr and Gary Null to spread their obnoxious, fact free BS for profit.

“In a follow-up email from the publishing company’s communications department, Simon & Schuster clarified that Skyhorse Publishing is a distribution client — or a third-party, independent publisher for whom Simon & Schuster handles functions such as warehousing, shipping, order entry and more — and not a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster. According to the email, the publishing company has no input into Skyhorse’s editorial decisions. They also aren’t able to pick and choose which of their titles to distribute.”

So, S&S isn’t concerned about any of those titles (which also include a slew of antivaccine and Covid conspiracy/coverup books, including numerous ones by RFK Jr. and allies)? These include “The Real Anthony Fauci”, “Lies My Gov’t Told Me (by Robert Malone), “Cause Unknown”,”The Wuhan Cover-Up” and many others in a similar vein.

The uproar over S&S facilitating AIDS denial will hopefully call attention to their facilitation of other garbage detrimental to public health. Might the embarrassment cause them to cut ties with Skyhorse? Doubtful, but nice to think so.

Big corporate publisher is more concerned about profits than damage their distributed books could cause if readers took them seriously. There’s a real conspiracy.

The whole trope of “developed way too fast” just doesn’t seem to want to die. Meanwhile, when will “they” authorize another booster? Canada already has–UK as well I think.

If there were ever prior success stories wrt mRNA tech and vaccines then maybe “too fast” would be a mere trope. But as it happens as late as 2017 mRNA was still not a success and LNPs has documented problems.

Vaccines that are safe and prevent a disease are hard to make. Many pathogens such as HIV do not have any safe and effective vaccines despite decades of trying. We do not have a dengue virus vaccine. This is regrettable but normal. The great majority of vaccine candidates are discarded and that is a good thing. So yes, it took years and decades to develop the most successful vaccines that we know.

mRNA technology, as Orac notes, is about hijacking cells to make any protein that the creators of mRNA nanoparticles want to express. mRNA technology can quickly be mobilized to mass-produce injections to make any desired protein.

But will expression of such proteins prevent having a disease, stop transmission of the pathogen, or even improve all-cause mortality risk? Yes, we can hijack cells to make a protein, but will it work and keep people healthy?

Answering such a question requries years of testing.

When mRNA COVID vaccines were promoted via insane media campaign of 2021, I could not help but note that

1) No successful coronavirus vaccine of any kind (live virus, inactivated virus, protein etc) was ever successfully deployed
2) No MRNA technology of anything was ever approved for any human use, test animals died or became infertile etc

So the screams of media, financed by the government, about how the covid vaccine was “definitely safe” and “well tested” and how “all scientists agree” that it is a good vaccine (when the disagreeing ones were deplatformed), rang hollow to me. Good things are not promoted in this manner.

In the end, the vaccine ended up not working, made the pandemic worse, and vaccinated people are having multiple rounds of Covid.

How badly is the vaccine not working? Take a look at the recent February CDC presentation:

The presentation has a very interesting part called “VISION Multi-State Network of Electronic Health Records,” starting on Page 17. It describes analysis of a cohort where the number of unvaccinated people is known and recorded in the VISION database. (CDC understates the proportion of unvaccinated people in other reports, leading to nonsensical estimates of vaccine effectiveness).

Scroll to page 32, you can see that the monovalent vaccine had 2 percent (!) effectiveness against ER encounters for 18-64. Other numbers also show a very low vaccine effectiveness for hospitalization, for example 18% for 18-64 year olds.

It gets worse.

Page 33 shows that the relative effectiveness of bivalent booster added on top of monovalent, past 60 days, is only 31% against hospitalizations (and also wanes quickly).

This shows that the previous assurances of the CDC about vaccine effectiveness are based on the trick of undercounting the unvaccinated people and on not recording vaccination status of hospitalized patients. When a dataset with known vaccination status is used, vaccine effectiveness shows up as very minimal and rapidly waning. has summarized the presentations on COVID-19 vaccines from the recent ACIP meeting.

“The third day of the ACIP meeting included CDC presentations on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and safety, a risk-benefit assessment of updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, and preliminary discussions about future updates to COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”

“Data continue to show that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious disease outcomes in all age groups. Data through December 2022 indicate that the hospitalization rate of unvaccinated adults was 16 times higher than the hospitalization rate of adults who received a recommended bivalent mRNA booster. The rate among vaccinated adults who lacked a bivalent booster was 2.6 times higher than those who had received one.”

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to undergo the most extensive vaccine safety monitoring in U.S. history. Information is continually evaluated through multiple surveillance systems, including the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), v-safe, and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) system. In November 2022, a possible safety signal for ischemic stroke in adults age 65 years and older after the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccination was detected in VSD. No similar signal was seen in any other vaccine safety surveillance system in the United States or internationally, and no signal was seen after the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccination. Additional analysis indicates the signal was stronger following simultaneous administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster and influenza vaccine. Presenters emphasized that the small signal has diminished since it was first detected and could be the result of patient conditions or simply a chance finding. Current information cannot prove a causal link, and researchers will continue to investigate. Ischemic stroke is also a frequent complication of COVID-19 disease. CDC recommends that vaccination continue without modification. Additional safety data presented at the meeting showed no increased risk of myocarditis in adolescent males following receipt of a bivalent booster dose.”

“The ACIP meeting concluded with a robust discussion of considerations for simplifying COVID-19 vaccination recommendations later this year. Committee members discussed whether to end the recommendation for a 2-dose primary series in immunocompetent older children and adults, and whether to adopt a 1-dose schedule after early childhood, now that data show the immune systems of almost all U.S. residents have been primed through vaccination, infection, or both. They also discussed the potential use of bivalent vaccines for both the primary series and booster doses, if approved by FDA. Eliminating monovalent vaccines would reduce the recommended formulations from 11 different mRNA COVID-19 products to five, eliminating look-alike vials and decreasing vaccine administration errors. Novavax monovalent COVID-19 vaccine also remains available as an option.”

“ACIP and CDC continue to emphasize the importance of following all current COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. Up-to-date vaccine coverage remains relatively low in all age groups, but extremely low in young children and adolescents. Fewer than half of adults age 65 years and older have received an updated COVID-19 booster.”

I consider the CDC to be dishonest and I am not surprised that they keep singing the same tune DESPITE publishing VISION network effectiveness results that directly contradict their proclamations.

The “unvaccinated are 16 times more likely to die from Covid” claim arises from fake data that 1) undercounts the unvaccinated and 2) does not properly record vaccination status of dead or hospitalized people.

The VISION data properly accounts for the individual vaccination status and sees “vaccine effectiveness against severe outcomes” evaporate.

The CDC does not care about the truth and instead continues publishing false numbers.

Are you worried about problems like this?

“Visual loss” during SARS-CoV-2 infection is a rare finding. Despite the low incidence, many cases have been reported in the literature. Indeed, COVID-19 might cause “visual loss” through several mechanisms. Therefore, COVID-19 should be considered in patients who have recently developed “visual loss”, and clinicians should be aware of this uncommon event to avoid blindness in everyday clinical practice.

Or were you thinking of VAERS searches using CDC WONDER?

Correction: I guess you mean the CDC is ignoring studies like this one?

Overall, VE against COVID-19–related hospitalization among adults with immunocompromising conditions hospitalized for COVID-like illness during Omicron predominance was 36% ≥14 days after dose 2, 69% 7–89 days after dose 3, and 44% ≥90 days after dose 3. Restricting the analysis to later periods when Omicron sublineages BA.2/BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 were predominant and 3-dose recipients were eligible to receive a fourth dose, VE was 32% ≥90 days after dose 3 and 43% ≥7 days after dose 4. Protection offered by vaccination among persons with immunocompromising conditions during Omicron predominance was moderate even after a 3-dose monovalent primary series or booster dose.

You should read material you link:
“Vaccination documented by electronic health records and state
and city registries”
This is not an estimate at all.

I consider the CDC to be dishonest…

1) You consider it — no proof, just dislike
2) Your dislike isn’t based on anything resembling thought, insight, or discovery of a flaw in data or analysis. Your dislike is based on the fact that the legitimate results don’t match the things your imagination dreams up.

Perhaps you can be more analytical. What problems did you notice ?

Immune system mounts defense against any foreign protein, this is very basic thing Do you not know that?
Presentation have many VE numbers. You,of course, picked the lowest one. No way to estimate general VE.

The CDC estimates of “VE” that give a 14 times higher rate of hospitalization among unvaxed, are a scam based on

1) Undercounting the unvaccinated

2) Misclassifying vaccinated people as unvaccinated.

The VISION network study avoids both of these errors because it has a cohort of people with known vaccination status.

The results of the VISION cohort prove that the CDC lied about Covid vaccine VE.

Of course, we the science-minded antivaxxers knew this even before the VISION network results.

The term ‘antivaxxer’ is a derogatory intended to shutdown scientific debate (similar to ‘denier’). Ironically it’s the people slinging these terms that deny science by use of the same.

What is “science-minded”?

I guess that even Igor can’t call himself “science based”…

Science minded if they think the science agrees with them, even if it mostly doesn’t.
They love to abuse science.

Right: the alties I survey frequently call themselves and their work, science based: it’s the governmental agencies, media and universities that are not science based.
That sentence was very hard to type.

The term ‘antivaxxer’ is a derogatory intended to shutdown scientific debate

Nope: if you’re against vaccines for no reason — as you, igor, and the others who drone on about imaginary problems are — you are an antivaxxer.

(similar to ‘denier’).

It is to laugh. The first time I saw people objecting being identifying as a type of denier [relating to science] was when people who dismissed climate change began objecting to being called deniers: they tried to morph it into an insult by claiming they were being equated to Holocaust deniers. That notion was bullcrap then and it’s still bullcrap in your comment: you are denying things about covid and vaccines that studies show to be correct.

Ironically it’s the people slinging these terms that deny science by use of the same.

Again, no. The fact that the results of the scientific community don’t match your view of how thing should work doesn’t mean the people the people touting those results are denying science: it means you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

it’s the governmental agencies, media and universities that are not science based.

That reminds me of a time I was giving a talk about regulation of GM crops, when I woman interrupted me to shout that you could not trust any science coming from companies, governments or universities. I paused for long enough for that statement to sink in with the audience and continued without responding.

The results of the VISION cohort prove that the CDC lied about Covid vaccine VE.

That’s odd, given, y’know, all the CDC personnel on this one.

mRNA vaccines – they were for them (Robert Malone) before they were against them (Alan Lash).

@ Igor Chudov

First, emergency department visits don’t necessarily mean someone had COVID. During the pandemic people went to emergency departments because they “thought” they had COVID. On Page 18 look at the percentage that actually tested positive.

As for hospitalizations, you write: “Page 33 shows that the relative effectiveness of bivalent booster added on top of monovalent, past 60 days, is only 31% against hospitalizations (and also wanes quickly).”

First, there is NO page 33; however, on page 19 it gives “60-119 days earlier” which can simply mean that the data represents a range of days since last vaccination and that those at 119 saw 31% protected against hospitalization. And since they don’t give statistics for after 119 days, your claim “wanes quickly” is based on your bias against vaccines and NO empirical data. And, as someone approaching 80, even a 31% reduced risk of hospitalization is worth a few jabs, sore arms, and, perhaps, mild short-term fever. And the report doesn’t go beyond hospitalization, so doesn’t tell us if those vaccinated needed, perhaps, shorter hospitalization stays, less risk of needing ventilation, etc.

And since you have NEVER indicated you understand even the basics of immunology, you don’t understand that memory immune cells are created by vaccines as well as circulating antibodies and T-cells, so if circulating antibodies gradually reduced; yep, we can get sick; but the memory cells kick in quickly and in many cases limit the seriousness of the sickness. Memory cells from vaccines are primed and ready to respond; however, memory cells from an actual infection take 10 or more days to be created; but then protect us against subsequent infections, so, basically, all that vaccines do is create memory cells ready to act without actually experiencing 10 days of infections or more.

There are numerous international studies of COVID vaccines, some clinical trials, with more than 30,000 and follow-ups of more than six months, some cohort studies comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated and the results are clear, vaccinated around the world have had fewer instances of serious COVID, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer deaths.

A major problem with CDC data is in US we don’t have one source of data, each state and sometimes counties and municipalities collect different data and not all hospitals supply data and when they do, some are delayed, some incomplete, which is why I and anyone actually trained in infectious diseases and epidemiology look at ALL the international data.

Do look at Page 26.


For estimates of absolute vaccine effectiveness, if unvaccinated or vaccinated individuals are significantly different than the rest of the population, estimates may be biased.

For estimates of relative vaccine effectiveness, residual protection from prior doses is an important consideration.
Particularly important for severe disease, for which residual protection from prior doses may be higher
Can be challenging to interpret waning of relative VE

Limited information on prior infection, although we know rates of prior infection in the U.S. population are high.

VE against COVID-19 associated hospitalization may underestimate protection against severe COVID-19 disease. {exactly what I mentioned above]

This is typical of you, someone who doesn’t understand the immune system who is biased based on ignorance against vaccines who continues to make a fool of yourself. NOTE. I won’t give list of reference of international studies because I and others have done this umpteen times and you will ignore them anyway. One can always find studies/papers that back any position and/or misread them as you have this CDC report.

The bottom line is that vaccines can with some diseases completely prevent them, with other vaccines one can get mildly sick, with others percentage can get seriously sick though lower than unvaccinated, etc. Given the safety of vaccines, any rational person would prefer to reduce risks even if they aren’t completely eliminated. A simply analogy: seat belts reduce serious injury and death by ONLY about 50%; but long before required by law, I always used seatbelts, even just lap belts, and required anyone in my car to also buckle up.

@ Igor Chudov

You write: “mRNA technology, as Orac notes, is about hijacking cells to make any protein that the creators of mRNA nanoparticles want to express. mRNA technology can quickly be mobilized to mass-produce injections to make any desired protein.

But will expression of such proteins prevent having a disease, stop transmission of the pathogen, or even improve all-cause mortality risk? Yes, we can hijack cells to make a protein, but will it work and keep people healthy?”

More example of your lack of understanding of the immune system. B-cells and T-cells don’t recognize whole microbes; e.g., viruses and bacteria; but small sections called antigenic determinants. As for the COVID virus in order to enter a cell it has a two-part spike protein that attaches to the cell. Imagine trying to enter a house without a key. So, the mRNA vaccine creates modified versions of the S-spike protein, modified so they can’t actually attach, then change shape to enter cells, though even if they did couldn’t cause problems because by analogy a key thrown through a window now in house but person not. Antibodies then learn to recognize the modified Spike protein and thus attach to and block entry, etc.

As for mRNA, a quick search of National Library of Medicine’s online database finds from 2018 back to 1960s when mRNA discovered over 400,000 papers, so we know quite a bit about mRNA. Another search finds going back to late 1980s research on mRNA vaccines and one was developed for SARS, phase 1 and 2 trials successful; but then SARS ended so couldn’t run phase 3 trials; but did give mRNA vaccine to several different animals species and then infected them with huge does of virus, all survived. And the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did carry out huge clinical trials with over 30,000 participants and continued follow-ups for a year and longer of participants. And as mentioned in my previous comment, we have masses of international data, including additional clinical trials and cohort studies, even a study in southeast asia where two villages only a few miles apart, one received vaccine, one didn’t, and deaths exponentially higher in unvaccinated village.

And, nope, it doesn’t take decades to develop vaccines. You ignore the fact that science progresses. We didn’t have polymerase chain reactions, we didn’t have genome sequencing, what we know about the immune system has increased exponentially over the past few decades, etc. And, as mentioned, we did ALL four phases of mRNA COVID vaccines; e.g., animal studies, phases 1 – 3, and now long-term follow-ups.

Let me know when you figure out why the vaccine rather than the disease is causing myocarditis and pericarditis and what the bio distribution is of the mRNA in the vaccines.

SARS CoV 2 does cause myocarditis:
Irabien-Ortiz Á, Carreras-Mora J, Sionis A, Pàmies J, Montiel J, Tauron M. Fulminant myocarditis due to COVID-19. Rev Esp Cardiol (Engl Ed). 2020 Jun;73(6):503-504. doi: 10.1016/j.rec.2020.04.005. Epub 2020 Apr 15. PMID: 32345547; PMCID: PMC7158782.
Obviously, if spike proein in vaccines cause myocarditis spike protein in SARS CoV2 ould cause it, too.
What is distribution of mRNA of SARS CoV 2 virus ? Try to figure out half life of mRNA in vaccine.

This is the propaganda study that was debunked

Use of the word propaganda indicates that this assertion is just more of your fact-free bullshit. Just in case — reference? [A reference, john, is a link to a valid study or review that points out issues with something. It is not a link to one of your usual far right-wing authoritarian ignorance sites.]

I’m ashamed to say that I had no idea what a titling font was. Every day is an opportunity to learn.

advocating a eugenicist “let ‘er rip” approach to the COVID-19 pandemic

These words hurt Bhattacharya’s feelings, BTW, as his lawsuit against a big chunk of the executive branch (including the Census Bureau) reveals. (I forget exactly which document; probably in his declarations.)

I have a feeling, this article is headed for the Epoch Times.

My dad subscribes to the Epoch times and regularly shows me their pseudo scientific articles, which contain many brownstone writers.

I have lost count of how many times that I have caught Epoch and their brownstone articles in flat out observable lies that can be disproven just by living in the real world!

One of Orac’s greatest critics wrote for The Epoch Times and another quotes it frequently.**

Outlets that mislead by portraying themselves as informational seek to initiate a chaotic state of affairs in which NO news source is deemed valid and therefore ANYTHING goes. If you can’t trust longstanding sources like the BBC, NBC or CBC, who is reliable? Another altie regularly rails against Wikipedia because it contains reality-based information about his “education” and career. If you disparage your followers from media or websites like those, they might migrate to your own.

That may be the MO of Substack ranters and Twitter twits who advocate free speech: no one vets them. They can say anything and at least a portion of their audience, takes them at their word. They masquerade as news providers or investigative reporters who give you the scoop no one else has- which is true because most realistic writers/ reporters know it’s crap.

In other news…
( Twitter) RFK jr tweets a photo of himself, Del and attorney Siri holding a planning session at his Cape Cod retreat.
So I imagine more lawsuits are coming.

** Jake Crosby and Mike Adams, respectively.

LOL. LaBarge only listens to sources that say what he wants to hear. He then trots over here with their ridiculous talking points.

It is one contribution to him being consistently wrong.

Know who else is a columnist for Epoch Times? It’s our old f(r)iend Lawrence Solomon, the Professional Ignoramus. He’s even more deranged now that he can let his freak flag fly at the Times. And yes, he’s still ranting about vaccines. What a loser.

If anyone accuses me of picking on Solomon, yes, I certainly am. As a fellow Canadian septuagenarian, I feel it is my duty.

Awesome how all his workers are wearing masks at his presentation but he isn’t because so much science.

Your inability to understand something doesn’t equate to that something being bullshit. It usually indicates a gap in your education and willingness to learn.

[…] For example, Klein neglects to mention is how misinformation about COVID-19 “therapeutics” like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine arguably harmed many people who chose these ineffective drugs as either preventatives or treatments for COVID-19. A considerable proportion of that misinformation was arguably spread by doctors with severe conflicts of interest due to the profits they raked in selling these drugs and others and groups with ideological aims opposed to collective action to slow the spread of COVID-19 for whom the existence of a cheap and effective treatment for COVID-19 would imply no need for “lockdowns,” vaccines and vaccine mandates, or any other collective actions they don’t like. (FLCCC is a great example of the former, having been busted for running an ivermectin prescription mill, and the Brownstone Institute is a great example of the latter, having spread since its founding all manner of misinformation designed to present a false picture of COVID-19 as not dangerous, mask mandates and lockdowns as ineffective tyranny and carnage, and COVID-19 vaccines as ineffective and dangerous.) […]

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