Are the covid vaccines safe and effective?

Three separate covid vaccine trials have now had their results published in peer-reviewed journals (Astra-Zeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna), and the vaccines have already been approved for use in multiple countries. In light of that, I think it’s time to look in to how effective and safe the vaccines are, especially considering that many of us are about to be given the option to take them (and some of us already have).

First out of the gate was the Astra Zeneca vaccine, for which trial data was published in The Lancet on the 8th of December. All vaccines have the same underlying principle – to activate a person’s immune system so that it develops immune memory to a specific disease, without actually causing the person to have the disease you want to protect against. But there are multiple ways in which that goal can be achieved. The Astra Zeneca vaccine is a so called “adenoviral vector” vaccine.

In order to understand how this vaccine works, you first need to understand how a virus works. In general, a virus consists of two main parts, a shell made of protein, and inside the shell, a string of nucleotides that make up the viral genome (which can be DNA or RNA depending on the type of virus). The shell latches on to a target cell that it’s going to infect, and then it injects the genome in to the cell. The target cell has a hard time telling the difference between the virus’s genome and its own DNA or RNA, so it treats the viral genome like its own, and starts using it as a blueprint to produce new viruses.

Luckily our ancestors have been dealing with viruses for hundreds of millions of years, so our bodies have some tricks up their sleeves to deal with them. One of those tricks is to take proteins that are being produced inside the cell, and present them on the surface of the cell. This allows the immune system to detect unusual proteins that aren’t normally produced by the body, and to mount an immune response.

The adenovirus vector vaccine uses this as the basis for creating immunity to covid. Adenoviruses are common, and frequently cause disease in humans. In an adenovirus vector vaccine however, one of the viral genes has been deleted, which means that the virus can infect a cell, but it can’t get the cell to start producing new copies of itself. Thus, it can’t generate a real infection. While removing a gene, another gene is also added – a gene that is normally produced by the virus that you want to create immunity against. In the case of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, the gene that has been added codes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is the part of the virus that attaches to the target cell.

What happens when you inject the vaccine in to a person is that the adenovirus infects cells, and injects its genome in to them. Those cells then start producing the proteins that the viral genome codes for, including the specific protein that you want the immune system to react to. These proteins then get expressed on the surface of the infected cells, and this results in activation of the immune system, and hopefully long term immunity.

Ok, now we know how the Astra-Zeneca vaccine is supposed to work (this is also how the Russian Sputnik vaccine is supposed to work, but I’m not discussing that vaccine in this article because no phase three trial data have yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal). Let’s get in to the details of the trial.

This was a randomized controlled trial, split in to three separate arms, a British arm, a Brazilian arm, and a South African arm. The work was financed by Astra-Zeneca, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the British government, and a couple of other private and public organizations.

The three arms varied somewhat in terms of the methodology used. The British and Brazilian arms were single-blind, while the South African arm was double-blind. In other words, in both the British and the Brazilian arm, the researchers knew who was in the vaccine group and who was in the control group. This is strange, and really quite unforgivable, because it makes it much easier for the researchers to manipulate the results in lots of little ways when they know who is in which group. There is no reason why a big, well-financed study like this shouldn’t use a double-blind methodology across all trial arms.

A second oddity about the study is that the control group in both the British and Brazilian arm wasn’t getting a placebo. It was getting another vaccine, for meningococcus. The South African arm however did get a proper placebo consisting of saline (salt water). The researchers motivate the use of another vaccine in the control group by saying that it decreases the risk of the participants being “unblinded”, in other words that they will realize whether they are in the vaccine group or in the control group. This is true to an extent. If you develop a fever shortly after getting the vaccine, you’ll probably deduce that you’ve been given a real vaccine, not a placebo. But many people don’t develop a fever after getting a vaccine, so not getting a fever isn’t going to tell you that you’re in the placebo group. Therefore I really don’t see why the researchers were so concerned about unblinding of participants, especially considering that they didn’t bother to blind themselves to the group allocation.

The main problem with not giving the control group a placebo is that it makes it harder to determine the extent to which the vaccine causes side effects, and it will tend to make the vaccine look more harmless than it is. Overall, the South African arm is therefore the one with the soundest methodology, since it is the only arm that is double-blind, and also the only arm that has given the control group a placebo rather than an active drug. Unfortunately, the South African arm had barely accrued any cases when the researchers decided to push ahead with getting their results published, so the published data actually only includes results from the UK and Brazilian arms.

All three arms gave two doses of the vaccine, although the amount of vaccine in the doses varied somewhat, and the time that was allowed to pass between the first and second dose also varied somewhat (it is common with vaccines to give one dose first, and then give a second “booster” dose a few weeks or months later, since this has been shown to increase the probability of developing long lasting immunity).

The published data include results from 12,000 participants (half from the UK, and half from Brazil), and the total amount of follow-up after receiving two doses is 29,000 months, so an average of 2,4 months of follow-up per participant (if you instead go by when participants received their first dose, the average follow-up period is 6,4 months). Of the 12,000 participants, 87% were aged 18-55. None were aged below 18. 8% were between 56 and 70, and only 4% were over 70. This is a problem. Even though we know that people under 70 years of age are at very low risk of severe disease, and the only real reason to even bother making a vaccine is that there is some risk to people over 70, this group made up only a tiny portion of the total population being studied.

This is in my opinion the biggest weakness of the study, bigger than not blinding the researchers, and bigger than using another vaccine for the control group instead of a placebo. It is well known that older people are less likely to respond favorably to vaccines than younger people, because they have less well functioning immune systems. In other words, the probability that an 80 year old is going to develop immunity after a vaccine is often much lower than the probability that a 40 year old is going to develop immunity. And yet this study was done almost entirely in young people below the age of 55.

This study is not even close to being powered to answer the question of whether people over 70 will develop effective immunity after taking the vaccine. As you probably noticed, children were also excluded from the study, so the study doesn’t tell us anything about what effect the vaccine might have on children either, or whether it’s safe for them.

Additionally, the average BMI (Body Mass Index) of the participants was pretty ideal, around 25, which is pretty much the healthiest BMI you can have. Again, this is a problem, because the people most at risk from covid are the seriously obese, and this study tells us nothing about whether the vaccine works for them. Just as with older people, people who are obese have less well functioning immune systems, and are probably less likely to develop immunity after receiving a vaccine.

Participants in the study were in general pretty healthy in other ways too. Only 11% had underlying cardiovascular disease. Only 12% had underlying respiratory disease. And only 2% had diabetes. So, even before we get to the results, we know one thing – this study cannot tell us anything about the ability of the vaccine to protect the people who are most at risk of severe disease. And it cannot tell us whether the vaccine is safe for these people either.

As mentioned earlier, follow-up was on average only 2,4 months per participant. This should be enough to catch most side-effects, since vaccine side-effects tend to develop within the first days and weeks after injection, but it is still very much on the short side. It means for example that a side-effect that develops three months after getting the shot won’t detected in the study. Apart from that, the results that were published on December 8th only included 12,000 people, which is quite small for a vaccine trial. It means that the study is likely to detect common side and even quite uncommon side effects, but rare side effects that only affect say 1 in 10,000 people, won’t be detected.

Rare side-effects don’t matter so much for normal drugs that are used to relieve symptoms of existing diseases. But they do matter with vaccines, because you’re essentially giving a healthy person something that they don’t need, in order to slightly lessen their risk of catching a disease at some point in the future. Because the benefit from a vaccine to an individual is generally much smaller than for drugs that are used for treatment of existing conditions, the side effects that are considered acceptable also have to be much less common.

The primary endpoint for the trial was PCR confirmed symptomatic covid-19. If participants developed symptoms that could be suggestive of covid, they were supposed to get in touch with the organizers of the trial, and they would then be tested for covid with a PCR test.

I think this endpoint is problematic, because to me the important thing isn’t whether the vaccine prevents young people getting a cold, it’s whether it prevents frail elderly people dying. And the design chosen makes that question impossible to answer. If it had been up to me, the trial would only have included people over 70 years of age with underlying co-morbidities, and the primary end point would have been death, a nice hard end point with little scope for manipulation. Unfortunately Astra-Zeneca never asked me for my opinions on the subject, so now this very flawed and limited study is what we have. Anyway, let’s get to the results.

Among the participants who got the vaccine, 0,5% developed symptomatic covid over the course of follow-up. Among the control group, 1,7% developed symptomatic covid. This is a 70% relative risk reduction in favor of the vaccine, and it is statistically significant. This is actually a pretty good result, for what it is. If you’re a young, otherwise relatively healthy adult, then the vaccine reduces the probability that you will develop symptomatic covid by around two thirds.

Having said that, we don’t really care about preventing colds (at least I don’t). What matters is preventing severe disease requiring hospitalization, and death. This study was too small to have any chance of seeing a significant effect on deaths in such an otherwise healthy group of participants, but not too small to see an effect on hospitalizations.

It generally takes a few weeks after receiving the vaccine until robust immune memory has developed, so it makes sense to start looking for an effect on hospitalizations a few weeks after immunization. From three weeks after receiving the first dose of vaccine, there were 10 hospitalizations for covid in the control group and zero in the vaccine group.

That is impressive. To me, it’s far more impressive than the 70% reduction in symptomatic covid, because it’s the reduction in severe disease that really matters.

Of course, it’s not just the effectiveness of the vaccine that matters. We also want to know that it is likely to be safe. So let’s look at the safety data. Overall, 0,7% of individuals in the vaccine arm had a serious adverse event after at least one dose of vaccine, compared with 0,8% in the control arm. Of course, the control arm wasn’t receiving a placebo, it was getting a meningococcal vaccine, so it’s actually impossible to say what the risks of the vaccine are in relation to placebo. All we can say is that the covid vaccine overall doesn’t appear to cause more adverse events than the meningococcal vaccine.

In total, there were 79 serious adverse events in the group getting the vaccine, and those adverse events are evenly spread out among lots of different types of event, the vast majority of which could not possibly have anything to do with the vaccine.

The only really worrying thing is that two people in the covid vaccine group developed transverse myelitis a few weeks after getting the vaccine, an extremely rare and serious neurological condition that normally affects about one in 200,000 people per year. One of those people had an underlying undiagnosed multiple sclerosis, a condition which strongly predisposes to development of transverse myelitis, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t the vaccine that triggered the myelitis.

So, it is possible that the covid vaccine causes transverse myelitis in a small proportion of those vaccinated. At present it seems like the the risk of developing transverse myelitis after getting the vaccine is about one in 3,000, but it could be much higher or much lower. We won’t know until many more people have received the vaccine.

Would I take this vaccine personally? No, because I’m young and healthy and I therefore estimate that the risk of me getting severe covid is infinitesimal, and I’m not convinced that the benefits outweigh the potential harms, considering the possible risk of transverse myelitis. If there wasn’t that possible signal of harm, then I’d probably be willing to take the Astra-Zeneca covid vaccine.

On balance, the benefits probably outweigh the harms for older adults, who are at greater risk of severe disease. I say that even though they were not really included in this study to any great extent. Even if the vaccine is less effective in older adults than in younger adults, which it probably is, this group is also at much higher risk of severe disease, so the risk/benefit ratio probably favors getting the vaccine.

Would I let my children have it? No way. Not until there are studies showing that it’s safe and effective in children. It’s only little over a decade since an influenza vaccine (pandemrix) was rushed through and given to children based on limited evidence, causing hundreds in Europe to develop narcolepsy, a debilitating lifelong disease.

There is one final thing about the Lancet article that is odd, and that is that the exclusion criteria are not listed anywhere in the text. Normally inclusion and exclusion criteria are listed clearly in the method section, but as far as I can tell, they’re not there. This is very strange. It’s possible that they’re buried somewhere in the book length appendix, but I wasn’t personally able to find them there either. We know that children were excluded from the data, but we don’t know if there were any other groups that were intentionally excluded. Were people with previous allergic drug reactions excluded? Were people with autoimmune diseases excluded? What about pregnant women? Until this is clarified, people who belong to these groups should think twice about taking the vaccine.

Let’s move on, and look at the next vaccine. Two days after the Astra Zeneca vaccine data was published in The Lancet, the Pfizer vaccine data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Pfizer vaccine is an mRNA vaccine (as is the Moderna vaccine, which we’re going to discuss after we’ve finished going through the data on the Pfizer vaccine). This is a new vaccine technology, that hasn’t been used previously. Fundamentally though, the technology isn’t that different in practice from the previously described adenoviral vector vaccine. The mRNA vaccine consists of two parts – a sequence of RNA nucleotides that code for a specific protein, and an outer “shell” that is in this case made of lipids, known as a lipid nanoparticle.

After being injected in to the body, the lipid nanoparticles are taken up by cells through a process known as endocytosis (a standard method through which cells take things up from the outside environment). The RNA sequence is then released inside the cell. Just as with the viral vector vaccine, the cell is unable to tell the difference between this imported RNA and its own RNA, so it uses it as a blueprint and produces proteins based on it. These proteins are then presented on the cell surface, and this results in activation of the immune system, which recognizes them as foreign. As with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine cause the body’s cells to start producing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Ok, now we understand how the mRNA vaccine works. Let’s get in to the details of the Pfizer study. This was a randomized controlled trial with a total of 44,000 participants, in which 22,000 people received two doses of the Pfizer covid vaccine and 22,000 people received an inert placebo. Just from this, two things are obvious. First, the results from Pfizer involve many more people than those discussed above from Astra-Zeneca. And second, Pfizer have actually given the control group a placebo (consisting of saline) instead of another vaccine. Just those two things make me like this study a lot more before knowing anything else about it.

In order to be included in the study you had to be at least 16 years old and you had to be fundamentally healthy. Chronic health conditions were ok if they were deemed to “stable”. You were excluded from the study if you were receiving immunosuppressive therapy or if you had an immune compromised state for any other reason, if you had ever had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, if you were pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you had an auto-immune disease.

So this study says nothing about whether the vaccine is safe and effective for children. It doesn’t say anything about whether the vaccine is effective or safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women. It doesn’t say anything about whether the vaccine is safe and effective for people with weakened immune systems.

The study doesn’t say anything about whether the vaccine is safe and effective for people with auto-immune diseases. This is a problem, as we’ve already seen with the Astra Zeneca vaccine and the participant with undiagnosed MS who developed transverse myelitis less than two weeks after receiving the vaccine. People with known auto-immune diseases are more likely to develop auto-immune complications after taking a vaccine.

And the study doesn’t say anything about whether the vaccine is safe and effective for people who tend to have strong allergic reactions. In fact we now know it isn’t safe for this group, since a couple of people in the UK did develop anaphylaxis after getting the Pfizer vaccine. If this group had been included in the study, the problem would have been discovered before the vaccine started being rolled out to large numbers of people outside of studies.

So, there’s a pretty extensive group of people we know, even before getting in to the results, that this study cannot provide useful information for. In fact, the list of people excluded is so extensive that I wouldn’t be surprised if more than half of all the people on the planet would be excluded for one reason or another. If you belong to one of these groups, then this study cannot tell you whether the vaccine is safe and effective for you.

Apart from the long list of exclusion criteria, it is of course a problem that people needed to be fundamentally healthy to be included in the study. As we’ve already discussed, the people who get really sick and risk dying of covid are not fundamentally healthy. The average person who dies of covid has three known underlying conditions. And those are the people we need the vaccine to be safe and effective for. Unfortunately, the design of this trial, just like with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine trial, makes is very hard to answer that question.

The primary end point of the study was, similarly to the Astra-Zeneca trial, reduction in symptomatic covid-19, defined as a positive PCR test and at least one symptom suggestive of the disease. As mentioned before, 22,000 people were recruited in to each group, so there were 44,000 people in total. That’s a pretty good number, and should be enough to detect all but the most uncommon side effects. The participants were recruited at a number of different sites around the world (USA, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Turkey).

The median follow-up period after the second shot was only two months, which is short, but should be enough to catch the vast majority of side effects. The two cases of transverse myelitis that occurred with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine both happened within two weeks of vaccination, and as far as I am aware pretty much every single case of narcolepsy occurring after the Pandemrix vaccine disaster also happened within a few weeks.

35% of participants were obese, which is excellent, since this is a group that is at risk of severe disease, and we want to know if the vaccine protects them. Less good is that the study had a very small proportion of elderly people. As with the Astra-Zeneca study, less than 5% of participants were 75 years or older.

Ok, let’s get to the results. Among those getting the placebo, 0,9% developed symptomatic covid. Among those getting the vaccine, 0,05% developed symptomatic covid. That is a 95% relative risk reduction and it is highly statistically significant. That is an impressive result, much better than I ever would have thought would be possible in such a short space of time.

The result appears at first sight to hold up even for the people aged 75 years and older, with 5 cases among those getting placebo and zero cases among those getting the vaccine. Unfortunately, due to the small size of that group, the result is not statistically significant, so we can’t actually say based on this study that the vaccine protects people aged 75 and older.

With that said, the vaccine does seem to protect most people against infection. However, just as with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, we don’t care about whether the vaccine decreases the number of people experiencing a cold, we want to know whether the vaccine protects against severe disease. After having gotten at lest one dose of the vaccine, one person in the vaccine group developed severe covid, while nine people in the placebo group developed severe covid. The reduction in relative risk after getting at least one dose of vaccine is 89%, which is again very impressive. So the Pfizer vaccine does seem to protect against severe covid, just like the Astra-Zeneca vaccine does.

But is it safe?

Overall there were 240 events in the vaccine group that were classified as severe, compared with 139 in the placebo group. That is concerning. Severe adverse events were 73% more common in the vaccine group than in the placebo group. The vaccine should ideally decrease severe adverse events (by decreasing the number of people experiencing severe covid). It certainly shouldn’t increase them. Unfortunately Pfizer aren’t kind enough to provide a breakdown of what the adverse events were, so it’s impossible for us to figure out whether the drastic increase in severe adverse events after vaccination is something we need to be concerned about, and whether it should cause us to avoid the vaccine.

Note that, when it comes to adverse events, severe and serious are not the same thing. A severe adverse event is something that causes a lot of symptoms, but not necessarily something that is serious in terms of its consequences for the patient. A serious adverse event is, on the other hand, well, serious.

If we instead look at serious adverse events, the difference is much smaller. 0,6% developed a serious adverse event in the vaccine group, compared with 0,5% in the placebo group. However, it’s not great that there were more serious adverse events in the vaccine group. If anything, that number should be lower in the vaccinated group, not higher. And again, Pfizer are not telling us what those adverse events were.

Would I personally be willing to take the Pfizer vaccine? No, not until Pfizer publishes a detailed breakdown of what the adverse events were, so I can tell if there’s something in there that I should be worried about or not. If Astra-Zeneca hadn’t provided a breakdown of adverse events, it would have been impossible to see that there is a signal that their vaccine might cause a seriously increased risk of transverse myelitis.

Having said that, the proportion of people experiencing a severe or life threatening adverse event in the vaccine group was only 1,2%, so 98,8% didn’t experience one. If you are over 70 years old or otherwise belong to a risk group, it’s likely worth taking the vaccine even without having the adverse event information, just due to the fact that the vaccine is clearly highly effective against covid, and so the benefit/risk calculation becomes quite different than it is for someone who is young and healthy.

Let’s move on to the final trial, of the Moderna vaccine. I’m going to run through this one a little bit more quickly, because in many respects it is similar to the previous two trials. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine at the end of December. The technology used for this vaccine is identical to the technology used for the Pfizer vaccine, so it’s reasonable to expect that the results would be similar. This was a randomized controlled trial involving 30,000 participants, who were recruited from a large number of sites across the United States. The study was primarily funded by the US government and by Moderna. Half the participants received two doses of the Moderna covid vaccine one month apart, and half received two doses of a placebo injection (consisting of saline). The median length of follow-up after receiving the second dose was two months.

As with the previous two trials, the primary objective of the study was to see if there was a reduction in cases of covid-19, which in this study was defined as at least two symptoms suggestive of covid-19 plus a positive covid PCR test.

The study included adults over the age of 18. As with the previous studies, participants had to be healthy or “stable” in terms of any underlying chronic conditions. The study excluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with allergies, and people who were immunosuppressed. The average BMI was 29. Only 5% of participants were over the age of 75, so as with the other two studies the proportion of participants in the oldest category was low. 5% had chronic lung disease. 5% had significant cardiac disease. 7% were obese. And 10% had diabetes.

Ok, so what were the results?

Among those who had received the placebo injections, 1,3% developed covid. Among those who had received the vaccine, 0,07% developed covid. That represents a 94% reduction in cases, and it is highly statistically significant. If we look at those over 65 (average age 70), then we see an 86% reduction in cases, so the vaccine seems to be highly effective even for older people (although unfortunately no data is provided for the very oldest people, aged 80+).

The results are even more impressive if we look only at people with severe covid. Among those getting the placebo, there were 30 cases. Among those getting the vaccine, not a single person developed a severe case of covid. So, just as with the previous two vaccines, the Moderna vaccine appears to be highly effective against covid-19.

What about safety?

1,0% of participants in the placebo group experienced a serious adverse event and 1,0% of participants in the vaccine group experienced a serious adverse event. Ideally we would like to see fewer serious adverse events in the vaccine group, but there weren’t enough cases of severe covid-19 for the vaccine to have any noticeable positive effect on the overall number.

If we look through the list of serious adverse events (yes, unlike Pfizer, Moderna actually provided this information), we see that there is nothing that could reasonably be thought to have been caused by the vaccine (unlike the transverse myelitis seen in the Astra-Zeneca study), and there is nothing that sticks out as being more common in the vaccine group than in the placebo group.

Overall, the Moderna vaccine does appear to be both effective and safe. Would I be willing to take it? Yes, I would, actually. There is a strong signal of benefit, and zero signal of harm. Considering that there were 15,000 people in the vaccine group, any serious side effects that can happen as a result of the vaccine are likely to be very rare (in those groups that were included in the study).

Ok, let’s wrap up. So all three vaccines appear to be highly effective at preventing covid-19, although both the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are clearly more effective than the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. In terms of safety, I have significant concerns about the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, considering that there is a signal suggesting that it increases your risk of developing transverse myelitis by a hundredfold or more. Future research will have to show whether that is a real risk or not. I also have concerns about the Pfizer vaccine, since there was a 73% increase in severe adverse events among those taking the vaccine, an issue that Pfizer hasn’t bothered to address at all, and I am also concerned about the fact that Pfizer does not provide a detailed breakdown of adverse events, which makes it impossible to see if there is anything in there that we should be worried about. The Moderna vaccine does appear to be safe however, based on the data available up to now.

One final point. None of these studies tell us whether the vaccines are safe and effective for children. It would be unethical to start vaccinating children without first having made sure that it’s safe, especially considering that the risk to children from covid is infinitesimal. The same applies to pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with immune disorders, and people with severe allergies. If you belong to one of these groups, you should probably think extra long and hard before getting vaccinated, because these groups were not represented in the studies, and it is therefore not clear that the benefits outweigh the harms.

I am rolling out a ton of new science-backed content over the coming months, including:

- Analyses of the benefits and risks of all common supplements and medications
- The keys to a longer, healthier life (possibly quite different from what you may have heard)
- A long-term follow-up of the health consequences of the covid pandemic and global lockdown.

Please provide your e-mail address below and you will get all this content straight to your inbox the moment it is released.

Join 15,491 other subscribers

Please support my work by signing up to be a patron. You can sign up by clicking on the button below.

187 thoughts on “Are the covid vaccines safe and effective?”

  1. Dear Sebastian. Thanks a lot for this detailed and careful analysis. In Iceland around 4,000 people in nursing homes have been vaccinated now. Four subsequent deaths were reported and I think yesterday there was one more. It is stated that it is not known if those deaths are related with the vaccine, but at least there must be some suspicion since they were reported. Now I wonder, is there a reason to believe old and frail people are in danger from the Pfizer vaccine? How is this in other countries?

  2. Thanks. The article is very useful in determing whether or not I will take the vaccine assuming that taking it is not mandatory.

  3. The fundamental question is whether there should be vaccine products for SARS-CoV-2 at all? These vaccines are called ‘COVID-19’ vaccines, but is this the correct terminology considering that the virus may not cause serious disease in most instances?
    As you say Sebastian “Luckily our ancestors have been dealing with viruses for hundreds of millions of years, so our bodies have some tricks up their sleeves to deal with them.”
    Bill Gates and pharmaceutical companies and governments have undertaken this ‘vaccine race’, but I question whether this is the right action given most people are unlikely to be too adversely affected by this virus.
    Certainly take steps to protect the vulnerable, but it seems there has been great reluctance to find and acknowledge effective treatments and preventatives such as vitamin D – why? Is it because this would have disrupted the race for lucrative vaccine products to foist on mass populations?
    We need to look at the big picture on this, particularly at the entire vaccination schedule over life, this has grown hugely in the past few years, look at the Australian schedule for example: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule
    There’s an expectation of a ‘magic bullet’ for every ailment…well I’m suspecting things are coming unstuck, and we need a close look at individual vaccine products and revaccinations, we have no idea of the potentially deleterious effects of the ever-increasing vaccine burden throughout life.
    It’s a very serious matter that this area of public health policy has been colonised by the vaccine industry, with people who work on vaccine clinical trials also being on government committees which make recommendations about vaccine products for taxpayer-funded schedules, there’s a morass of conflicts of interest.
    Again, we need to look at the big picture on this, and in my view the plan to vaccinate the entire global population against this coronavirus, potentially every year, is wrong.

  4. Sebastian, It is important to be precise in stating whether the vaccines prevent COVID infection. None of the trials measured this, because not everyone was tested. They only measured COVID in those people who were symptomatic. So it is entirely possible that the vaccines increased the incidence of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic infection.

  5. Thank you for an wonderfully informative article. My only question is related to auto immune disorders. I have an underactive thyriod and take 175mg thyroxine a day. I have done so for over 20 years now, so it is “normal” for me, but with the advent of the vaccines suddenly the question of auto immune disease makes me see my underactive thyroid in a different light. I’m guessing I should think long and hard for now about whether to take a vaccine as I understand hypothyroidism is an auto immune disease.

  6. Hi. I am liver transplanted 11 years ago, and for this reason, I eat imunesuppressive medicin, Advagraf, dose is 2,5 mg/day. This dose is seriously checked 4 times per year, and I have had the same dosis from the day of transplant. And – I have not had any rejection problems at all with the ”new” liver, which is a FAP patience liver. FAP is Familiar Amyloidos with Polyneuropatie.

    As the vaccine studies does not include persons with immune suppressions, could it then be possible for me to take the vaccines? I have earlier taken vaccines against the season flu without problems.

    I think this topic is interesting, as there arel quite a big number transplanted people in the world.

    Pappa Lars

    1. The reason they exclude people who are immune-suppressed from the study is because they are less likely to develop good immunity after taking the vaccine (which is different from people who have an auto-immune disease, who are excluded because they are more likely to have a bad reaction to the vaccine). So, if you’re immune suppressed, the vaccine is probably not more likely to cause side effects than it is in the general population, but it’s less likely to be effective.

  7. On the topic of vaccine safety, The New York Times recently published an attack on Robert Kennedy Jr, by his niece Dr Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, titled ‘Vaccines are safe, no matter what Robert Kennedy Jr. says’.
    I wrote to the Editor of The New York Times complaining about this poorly informed article by a doctor who admits “Being a doctor does not make me a vaccine expert”.
    My email also includes reference to the current rushed rollout of coronavirus vaccine products, and to the influence of Bill Gates, including his sabotaging of the mooted US Vaccine Safety Commission, which is interesting to consider now in light of the increasing number of coronavirus vaccine products racing to market…
    My email to the NYT Editor is accessible via this link: https://bit.ly/3pY4DLv

  8. Thank you so much for this detailed article. The subject of Covid vaccines is one that has been worrying me greatly – mostly not that it may it become mandatory but that the development of vaccine passports may make a relatively normal life difficult. However, I realise that that is not what this article is about.

    I last had a vaccine – rubella – when pregnant with my first child. That child is now 32. I have never had a flu vaccine and am sure that I haven’t had flu for 36 years (I remember being ill (maybe not even flu) when I was engaged to be married but nothing since then and I’m told that one doesn’t forget a bad dose of flu.

    I am not anti-vaccine but I feel that it is important to weigh up the risk versus the benefit. I am 65 but metabolically healthy with good Vitamin D levels. My only health condition is an underactive thyroid as a result I believe of Hashimoto’s for which I take a thyroid medication. Although my thyroid antibodies are normal now, the lack of evidence of safety in those with autoimmunity would worry me especially as I believe the risk of having subsequent autoimmune disease is higher in those already having one.

    Thank you again for your very detailed articles – so good to have a reliable source of information.

  9. Dr Rushworth

    Thanks for this interesting review. Do you have an opinion whether vaccine or infection provides the best future protection?

    1. Hi Håkan,
      Most likely you will get better immunity from real infection than from the vaccine. There are a few examples of vaccines that provide better immunity than the actual infection, but in most cases real infection induces better immunity.

  10. Thank you so, so much for this information. Very informative and balanced.
    Are you looking at the use of Ivermectin at all, which appears (from what I have read) to be effective against Covid, although I am definitely no expert. It would be good to have a trusted unbiased view on its use if you have the time to comment on it at some point.
    Thank you once again for all your time and effort in producing this post, and all of your others too.

  11. Thank you for yet another excellent article. You do a great public service. It’s really disappointing that the regulators presumably approved such poorly designed studies.

    I learned today via Twitter of an opinion piece in the BMJ by an associate editor of the publication, reporting on his analysis of the Pfizer data. He has spotted something that casts some doubt on the efficacy of the vaccine and requires investigation. The salient part of his article is probably this bit:

    “All attention has focused on the dramatic efficacy results: Pfizer reported 170 PCR confirmed covid-19 cases, split 8 to 162 between vaccine and placebo groups. But these numbers were dwarfed by a category of disease called “suspected covid-19”—those with symptomatic covid-19 that were not PCR confirmed. According to FDA’s report on Pfizer’s vaccine, there were “3410 total cases of suspected, but unconfirmed covid-19 in the overall study population, 1594 occurred in the vaccine group vs. 1816 in the placebo group.”

    With 20 times more suspected than confirmed cases, this category of disease cannot be ignored simply because there was no positive PCR test result. Indeed this makes it all the more urgent to understand. A rough estimate of vaccine efficacy against developing covid-19 symptoms, with or without a positive PCR test result, would be a relative risk reduction of 19% (see footnote)—far below the 50% effectiveness threshold for authorization set by regulators. Even after removing cases occurring within 7 days of vaccination (409 on Pfizer’s vaccine vs. 287 on placebo), which should include the majority of symptoms due to short-term vaccine reactogenicity, vaccine efficacy remains low: 29% (see footnote).

    If many or most of these suspected cases were in people who had a false negative PCR test result, this would dramatically decrease vaccine efficacy. But considering that influenza-like illnesses have always had myriad causes—rhinoviruses, influenza viruses, other coronaviruses, adenoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.—some or many of the suspected covid-19 cases may be due to a different causative agent.”

    You can read the full article here: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/01/04/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-we-need-more-details-and-the-raw-data/

  12. Thank you for a great review of the three vaccines. Cases of serious adverse events are coming in now on Moderna’s vaccine too. Am american healtcare worker and family are reporting convulsions all over the body, including the toungue. She is now in hospital. You can llok up her case on facebook. Her name is Shawn Skelton. She has made her status updates open to the public in order to warn others.

  13. A concern to me is the role vitamin D plays in the immune response. These trials were all conducted over the summer months when vitamin D levels are at least likely to be higher. The vaccine is now being delivered to a population that we know likely is less likely vitamin D replete, and will the vaccine effectiveness be diminished. Time will tell. The severe disease is almost always in D deficient individuals.
    Steve Park MD, retired obesity medicine

  14. Thank you, Dr. Rushworth, for this detailed analysis. My view is run for the hills and hide the children (I’ll be 72 shortly).

  15. I wonder whether the studies could address these concerns which I picked from Dr Wodarg’s website:
    ” The formation of so-called “non-neutralising antibodies” can lead to an exaggerated immune reaction, especially when test persons are confronted with the real, “wild” virus after vaccination. This so-called antibody-dependent amplification, ADE, has long been known from experiments with corona vaccines in cats, for example. In the course of these trials, all cats that initially tolerated the vaccination well died after being infected with real corona viruses. This overreaction is further encouraged by potentiators.

    The vaccinations are expected to produce antibodies against spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2. However, spike proteins also contain syncytin-homologous proteins, which are essential for the formation of the placenta in mammals such as humans. It is essential to rule out the possibility that a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 could trigger an immune response against syncytin-1, otherwise infertility of indefinite duration could result in vaccinated women.

    The mRNA vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer contain polyethylene glycol (PEG). 70% of people develop antibodies against this substance – which means that many people can develop allergic, potentially fatal reactions to the vaccine. ” https://www.wodarg.com/english/

  16. Dr Rushworth

    What do you mean with a “better immunity” for real infection compared to vaccine? Is that a stronger, longer or a wider range of protection?

  17. Thank you for yet another great post!
    I have a question about auto-immunity and vaccination. Personally, as of yet, I don’t have any auto-immune disease, but blood tests have showed that I have elevated levels of anti nuclear antibodies, ANA (1/80). Does that mean that I have a higher risk of developing auto-immune disease after a vaccination and would you therefor advice me from not taking these vaccines?
    Thanks in advance!

  18. Thank you very much for your work and blog. I have also read a piece by Dr Zoe Harcombe about the vaccine trals and one thing I remember is her comment re. the numbers who did not catch Covid at all in the trials. Is the big picture, that this virus has been and gone to a large extent? That wouldn’t suit the politics of today of course, so it has to hang around until it’s served its purpose.

    ‘The tiny number of people who tested positive is striking. The revised Pfizer numbers could also be reported as 99.9% of people in the vaccine group and 99.1% of people in the placebo group didn’t test positive. The Oxford/AstraZeneca numbers were similar. Out of the 11,636 people included in Tables 1 and 2 (December paper), there were 131 total cases. That means 98.9% of people overall did not test positive. That was split between the vaccine and placebo groups as follows: 99.5% of the vaccine group and 98.3% of the placebo group didn’t test positive. In May 2020, there were discussions about the ethics of whether or not vaccine volunteers should be deliberately infected with the virus because so few people were catching it naturally, and vaccine trials were at risk of not having enough cases to study (Ref 14).’

    https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2020/12/chadox1-ncov-19-the-lancet-papers/

  19. Hej Sebastian. Thank you for the great article again!

    I have a question regarding transmission. Where there any signs in the studies of vaccinated people transmitting no or less virus to the next person?

  20. Dear Dr Rushworth,
    Thank you for your much-needed assessment of vaccine safety and efficiency.

    My concerns are well articulated above by Kora Klapp, those being the long-term effect of what I perceive to be under-tested vaccines using unauthorised genetic-modifying technology which is capable of inducing an immune over-reaction which could lead to organ failure and possibly death. It seems to me that the whole world is being coerced into a giant medical experiment.
    This concern is in addition to analysis by others that suggests the vaccines will not stop infection, transmission, hospitalisation or death.
    As a 74-year old with (well controlled) astma but otherwise being quite well I will shortly be offered the jab. Despite your excellent article, I stlll do not know which way to jump on this. Hopefully I can decline the invite and opt for a “wait-and-see” strategy.

  21. Håkan: We do know with measles that immunity is lifelong. Virtually everybody in my cohort got it. Interesting paper from Japan showing significantly lower rates of CVD in those who had had both measles and mumps. I can post the link if you’re interested.

    1. Yes, that’s correct. Technically the trials are going to run for a few years, so the results that have so far been published only cover the first few months. But no-one’s willing to wait two years to start vaccinating people against covid…

  22. Good Morning Sebastian,

    Thank you for another very informative article. As a 73yr old with celiac disease I am somewhat hesitant to take the vaccine at this time though I am being urged by family members to take it ASAP, here in Southern California maybe in a month or so. I have had no problems with other vaccines i.e. pneumonia, flu and shingles, so hopefully I would not have a problem with the Covid vaccine!

  23. Thank you for this detailed article as I feel I am better able to understand how vaccines work and what to look for in study’s now for efficacy and safety.
    Can you also help me understand if taking a vaccine is going to ultimately stop the spread of the disease? My nursing friends are posting themselves getting the vaccine on social media and saying things like, “I’m getting this for you. To keep you safe.” Also, in the states our Surgeon General and others are saying to keep wearing your mask and social distancing even if you get the vaccine. Can you help me have some clarity on this? I need some help working through my thoughts on this.
    Thank you. Keep up the great work.

  24. Absolutely agree.
    What always was and is needed against Covid19 is a drug and/or a prophylactic treatment, not vaccines.
    Both existed and exist, if only a fraction of the money we wasted sofar had been spent on proper, mass RCTs for them, instead of or in addition to the vaccines, we would have done the proper thing and done and do much better.
    But then, it seems more and more that this has never been and still isn’t primarily about health…

  25. Absolutely brilliant and valuable analysis. Thank you for your very-helpful sober, objective writing/blogging.

  26. Dear Sebastian, thank you very much for summarizing these studies and pointing out the flaws. I adore all of your content. With this post I’m curious about to what you’d ascribe the flaw present in every study: that only mostly-healthy people and few aged were included. Surely it cannot be incompetence in three separate top-studies. Would you bet on lack of resources, malice, something that you might have missed, or something else?

  27. Thankyou Sebastian. My issue is with your reported incidence of Grade 3 SAE’s in the Moderna vaccine group, which you cited as 1%.
    From the NEJM report of the Moderna trial:-
    “The severity of the solicited systemic events increased after the second dose in the mRNA-1273 group, with an increase in proportions of grade 2 events (from 16.5% after the first dose to 38.1% after the second dose) and grade 3 events (from 2.9% to 15.8%).”
    There is a big difference between 1% and 15.8%!
    In addition to these solicited events, there were a further 1.2% of Grade 3 unsolicited events in the vaccine group.
    Which, by my calculation, suggests that 17% of trial subjects in the vaccine group experienced a Grade 3 adverse event.
    In addition, there were a handful of Grade 4’s.
    Am I missing something?

    1. The 1% number is serious adverse events, table S11 in the appendix, not grade 3 adverse events. A grade 3 event can just be a high fever, which is quite common after vaccinations. That’s why I focused on serious adverse events instead.

  28. The group at greatest risk of death from Covid is, strictly speaking, not those persons merely 75 years old and older but rather those of them who also have serious underlying chronic illnesses — that is to say, persons with one foot in the grave. And since those persons, if I understand correctly, were excluded from the studies, little or nothing can be known about the safety or effectiveness for them of any of the three vaccines. Moreover, among those persons 75 years old and older who are in good health, the rate of recovery from Covid, absent a vaccine, is estimated to be between 85% or so and 94%.

  29. Great article – but see Peter Doshi’s article on the FDA submissions for the Pfizer vaccine and see if you still think it was a decent trial!!

  30. Thank you Sebastian for another excellent post! You remain one of the very few sane voices in a world that has now gone completely crazy! I share the concerns expressed by others in previous comments, and to me, this is first and foremost an “anti-fear” vaccine for all young and healthy people that are acting as Ebola is spreading across the globe… I just hope that they’ll start living again after they’re vaccinated, for us all to try to repair the long-term damage to society that this has caused!!

  31. Skeptic Al: Wise decision. The fact is, none of these vaccines are necessary. There are at least three treatments which are highly effective given prophylactically or in the first few days of symptoms. The push to vaccinate the entire world originated not from scientists or doctors, or even governments, but from a college dropout eugenicist named Bill Gates.

  32. And it doesn’t sound at all ethical to give a meningococcus vaccine instead of a placebo without a person’s knowledge and permission. Very concerning.

  33. Dr Rushworth

    Do we really know how many individuals have been included in the study so far? E.g. the Astrazeneca study has an estimated primary completion date on March 12, according to clinicaltrials.gov. And that is when they give the last participant a shot, isn’t it?

    And can estimated primary completion date be on the same date as estimated study completion date?

    Actual Study Start Date : September 2, 2020
    Estimated Primary Completion Date : March 12, 2021
    Estimated Study Completion Date : March 12, 2021

  34. Thank you for breaking these studies down for us. I do not doubt the veracity of the studies or the sincerity of the researchers but everyone from the drug companies, governments, regulators, media and most of the public want these vaccines to work and to work now. These are not good incentives to have for vaccine development because we might miss some adverse effects or do not thoroughly test for efficacy in older or sick people.

    I stay with my goal to not take the vaccine. I am a healthy (if a bit stressed out right now) 40 year old male with no diabetes, obesity, lung or heart disease. I would consider this vaccine maybe in the next two years if SARS-COV2 turns out be a seasonal disease like the flu and the vaccines turn out safe after two years of use. But I did recommend taking the vaccine for some 70+ family members who do have some underlying conditions.

  35. George Berger: Correct. It has never been about health. The purpose is massive profits for the pharmaceutical industry and the very wealthy, collateral damage be damned. There is simply no need for a vaccine for coronaviruses. As Dr. Rushworth notes, we’ve had millions of years of evolution with exposure to multiple types of potentially pathogenic microbes for our immune systems to learn how to live with them in health. The key here is health. If only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy (insulin sensitive), what about the rest of the world? I maintain that those in good health have essentially zero risk of serious illness from any coronavirus, and that medicine has gone off the rails (long ago) treating sickness rather than promoting health.

  36. Tish: Nearly all vaccine trials have used either another vaccine or the vaccine minus the antigen for the control group. The only reason Pfizer used saline was because they were forced to, after a lawsuit by ICAN. Actually the meningococcal vaccine has a problematic safety record. It is not widely used in the U.S. There is an article on Children’s Health Defense about it. As I understand it, about 20% of the population are carriers of the bacterium, but the disease is rare.

  37. Thank you Dr Rushworth for a brilliant article.
    Am I no Dr – only a familyfather finding all this vacineprogram “too good to be true” and dont by their story. So good you can explain it so I can understand.
    What really consern me is the effect on reproduction and infertility. Do they say anything about it – are there any prospects or thoughts ? Can I ask what you think ?
    Best regards André Jenssen

  38. I think you meant to say, “the VACCINE will appear more effective.”

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write these articles! I find they all very informative in a time when it is difficult to obtain accurate information on these important topics.

  39. Thanks for the interesting comparison. In Italy there is a lot of talk about the obligation to reach the herd immunity threshold. What do you think about it?

  40. So the vaccines don’t prevent Covid and only lesson the symptoms. Why would I take a vaccine when I have a 99.7% of surviving Covid?

  41. Andre Jenssen: Pregnant women and those nursing were excluded from the trials, as they are in virtually all trials for drugs and biologics. Female participants had to have a negative pregnancy test both on enrollment, and on the day they received the vaccine. So there is no data. Yet in the U.S. pregnant women are pressured to have both the flu shot and the DTaP (or TDaP). With no data at all.

  42. A sobering story about a trial participant: “Yesterday, I was speaking with a friend who teaches Zumba…she asked me (me!) what I thought about the Covid vaccine. Then she went on to tell me that one of her students, a healthy, woman who was able to sail through a rigorous Zumba class had been part of the Pfizer trial. And she has fallen down twice in class, since the clinical trial.” — https://www.ageofautism.com/2021/01/sharyl-attkisson-reports-on-health-impact-events.html

    A common vaccine injury, especially in children, is damage to the brain stem, which affects facial muscles, balance, vagus nerve integrity, etc. The Zumba student could have had a brain-stem injury from the vaccine affecting her balance. No one knows 🙂

    We also don’t know what the effect of these vaccines is to nerve/brain health. No one has done before/after studies of reaction time, balance, mental acuity. Forrest Maready has an interesting book about brain-stem damage from vaccines, Crooked: Man-Made Disease Explained.

  43. Hi Simon. FDA’s definition of a Grade 3 is; “Grade 3 Severe or medically significant but not immediately life- threatening; hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization indicated; disabling; limiting self care ADL”
    To me, that constitutes serious! I am more used to oncology trial reporting, where it is standard practice to collectively quote incidence of SAE’s Grades 3-5. All are deemed serious. This report also states that the incidence of SAE’s is greater amongst those under 65. So those at lesser risk from Covid have perhaps a 1 in 5 chance of a ‘Severe or medically significant but not immediately life- threatening; hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization indicated; disabling; limiting self care ADL’ adverse event…..
    I am great fan of your work and appreciate all you do. But I cannot agree with the unqualified ‘safe’ conclusion. Thoughts?
    Kind regards.

    https://www.fda.gov/media/84954/download

  44. I like the question ‘Is immunity via actual contagion more effective than via vaccination’ (although definitely not as profitable for the industry!) – It will be interesting to see how any adverse reaction to vaccine compares to natural infection where zero reaction has meant most have to be tested to know they have actually been infected (It is so weird that ‘not being able to tell if you are infected’ is the outstanding characteristic of a World stopping pandemic. Wonder if there will ever be such a benign pandemic again) – Retrospectively realised I had all the gradually revealed in the media symptoms in February so hopefully that was it and so presumably now have immunity to the original and likely some immunity to mutations as per the common cold Covid?

  45. “From three weeks after receiving the first dose of vaccine, there were 10 hospitalizations for covid in the control group and zero in the vaccine group… That is impressive”.

    “In total, there were 79 serious adverse events in the group getting the vaccine, and those adverse events are evenly spread out among lots of different types of event, the vast majority of which could not possibly have anything to do with the vaccine”.

    I am not sure quite how anyone can be certain that a serious adverse event “could not possibly have anything to do with the vaccine”. However, passing over that, it seems that some people suffering serious adverse events were not hospitalised. Does that mean those events were not really very serious after all? Or that someone decide that no one from the vaccine arm should be hospitalised because it would look bad?

    1. I would say that isn’t possible. The viral genes are broken down in hours to days at most after injection in the body. Especially mRNA is highly unstable (the reason it needs to be stored at low temperature) and degrades very quickly.

  46. Lindsay. A kinesiological test shows that you are immune. (Who the heck believes in such tests?). Feel confident:

  47. Be careful with such questions or opinions! Bill & Melinda Gates, Fauci, Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter are united in an unholy alliance in allowing only one official opinion which one with which they agree. We are in the Era of Covid-1984. If you decide not to have the vaccine you may be “cancelled.”

  48. Dear Sebastian, thank you for your interesting article. If in the future you would like to consider writing about Ivermectin please consider also writing about Amantidine. Here in Poland some doctors achieved very promising results for curing even severe cases of Covid within 48 hours. Some results of the successful application of this substance were also reported in some publications from Mexico, Spain, UK, and Turkey. After first promising results of using Amantidine (medicine name Viregyt-K) our government suspended sale from drug stores in the whole country (it was really surprising) then one vice-Minister fell ill and received this medicine. After short time he recovered and then asked Health Officials and Ministry of Health why it was suspended? Fortunately, it is again available in drug stores.

  49. Very thorough but readable and as such enormously helpful article, thank you.
    What is your view on mRNA/vector DNA/DNA vaccines compared to traditional ones in general?
    Are you not concerned about the unknowable medium to long term side effects of them, what could they be and when would you expect them to occur?
    Isn’t the low number of positively tested (0.4% Pfizer) in itself creating just a random result here?
    A new shampoo’s survey seems to have bigger numbers and as such more credibility…
    Don’t those low numbers of infected suggest that vaccines offer a very small absolute risk reduction, as some have already observed and calculated, and that they are therefore really pretty much unnecessary, certainly for anyone not in an at risk group?!

    1. I’m not that concerned about the technology as such, the genes in the vaccines are the same genes you would get exposed to if you were infected.

      As to the low reduction in absolute risk – normally I think that is a valid point, but since we expect most people to become infected over the course of the coming year, it makes more sense to look at the reduction in relative risk.

  50. Your questions are valid and represent many people’s views. I would add that we are missing an opportunity to educate the public on immune enhancing lifestyle and nutrition preventative measures (like the vitamin D mentioned). At least in the US, policy and recommendations seem to encourage poor health and a compromised “terrain” rather than improve our chances of survival, thus making us more dependent upon synthetic forms of prevention. Also I wonder how vaccines compare to natural immunity which is created by actually contracting the disease. A comparison three months out between those getting the vaccine and those who have already developed the disease would be enlightening. Actually 3, 6, 9, 12, 24 months post vaccine/disease would be very helpful.

  51. Thank you Dr. Rushworth, for another excellent article. I’m healthy, not at all afraid of catching this “cold”, and have no intention of taking any of these experimental vaccines. The problem is it’s starting to look like even if the vaccine is not mandatory, people who refuse it will not be able to live a normal life. All sorts of restrictions from not being able to board a plane or public transit, get a job, to even being denied entrance to a store or restaurant have been suggested. Do you think these things are likely to actually happen?

  52. When getting the vaccination, people have no options or choices about which one will be provided, so although this article has been so helpful (thank you!) the specific recommendations about which ones might be worthwhile and safe have diminished benefit when no choice is presented other than to have or not to have.

  53. yes alisonfletch, its indeed surprising how good the immunesystem competes with those vaccines, it makes me think why do we need a covid or corona vaccine at all.

  54. Thanks for another great article Dr Rushworth. I learned a lot.

    Question. Wouldn’t it be wise to try to preserve vaccines for those who haven’t already been infected / developed natural immunity? But how would you go about determining who those people are, given that a minority of people appear to produce detectable antibodies in response to infection?

  55. Hello Sebastian,

    Above you say in a reply:
    “As to the low reduction in absolute risk – normally I think that is a valid point, but since we expect most people to become infected over the course of the coming year, it makes more sense to look at the reduction in relative risk.”

    Could you not also use that argument to promote the seasonal influenza-vaccine to be given to the whole population and not just risk-groups and health workers? Is that really a valid argument in this situation, i.e. with a virus that doesn’t appear to be that much more severe than Influenza?

    If it is true what J. Couchman quoted above in his reply:
    “All attention has focused on the dramatic efficacy results: Pfizer reported 170 PCR confirmed covid-19 cases, split 8 to 162 between vaccine and placebo groups. But these numbers were dwarfed by a category of disease called “suspected covid-19”—those with symptomatic covid-19 that were not PCR confirmed. According to FDA’s report on Pfizer’s vaccine, there were “3410 total cases of suspected, but unconfirmed covid-19 in the overall study population, 1594 occurred in the vaccine group vs. 1816 in the placebo group.”

    Then wouldn’t it be more interesting to diagnose which pathogen caused most of those ‘suspected cases’ and find a vaccine against that?!

    And as I commented before: a positive PCR-Sars-cov-2-test does not rule out the causative agent of the disease to be something else (influenza, RSV, rhinovirus, ‘common’-corona, …), so not ruling out other causes of the non-specific symptoms is actually a big confounder in these studies I would say. It is easily imaginable that someone catching Sars-cov-2 and getting symptomatic is also vulnerable to becoming symptomatic of other viruses, to name but one possible relation.
    As with someone with a pneumonia: just because you can PCR pneumococcus from his/her upper respiratory tract (URT), that doesn’t mean it’s also the bug causing the disease, since there are others just as likely to cause it. Many of us are colonized with pneumococcus in the URT so just proving that would/should normally not be adequate to decide with which antibiotic you (start) to treat with… Nor to name it as the causative agent of the diagnosed pneumonia.
    So I would add that to the list of confounders in the study: not ruling out other pathogens when having symptoms and suspecting covid19 but exclusively relying on a positive PCR test for Sars-cov-2 in the URT.

    And about your article: despite your questions about the design, methodology and outcome of the studies: you dó think the published results to be trustworthy? After everything last year: the misinformation by organisations, governments and media, with the known large-scale manipulation of studies and results by pharmaceutical companies in the past, the huge rush for a vaccine and the enormous pressure and expectation for it to be succesfull: you still trust the published results?

    Call me a sceptic, but just out of rational caution I would advise everyone to wait a while longer and ask for more and better data…
    And not just concerning the vaccine but concerning the whole ‘threat’ of the virus itself.

    Because in the end, there is still the cost/benefit analysis to be made: is the investment and implementation of a vaccine really outweighing the harmfull effects of the virus?

    A wild guess: ending any lockdown a month ‘too early’ might give more benefit to our societies health-wise (overall, so including everyone under 70 years of age and not just focusing on covid-19 related health-events) and cost-wise than carrying on with lockdowns and trying to get everyone vaccinated during them…

    Keep up the good work!
    Olav

    1. Hi Olav,
      You make many good points. I do agree that it would have been good to test people who were having symptoms with a full viral panel, rather than just testing for covid, to further increase the certainty of the diagnosis. I guess the companies didn’t want to do that for whatever reason (most likely for financial reasons).

      As to the suspected covid cases in the Pfizer trial, I haven’t dug in to that but assume that these are cases where people had respiratory symptoms but a negative covid PCR. I’m not sure too much should be made of that, because even in the era of covid most respiratory symptoms are caused by other pathogens, so those “suspected covid” cases probably aren’t covid cases at all. I do agree that it seems a bit ludicrous that we’ve poured all this money in to making a vaccine against one respiratory virus when there are a hundred others that we’ve known about for decades and never bothered to try making a vaccine for.

      When it comes to trusting the data, well, I trust that the numbers in the tables are not made up. As I’ve said before on this blog, if we can’t even trust the numbers in the results tables, then there’s really no point pretending that anything we do in medicine is based on science.

  56. The cycle level of the PCR tests administered are not included in this article. As you know, if cycled over 30, then everything from flu and cold live and dead viruses can be identified as a positive COVID-19.

  57. Hello. Thank you for your work, always pleasant. Have you dug up the additional data published by Pfizer and Moderna? (I don’t know if the general public has access to it). They seem to contain a few surprises that need to be clarified. This article is interesting because one of the data seems to suggest/confirm that 90% of PCR tests detect false positives (among others). https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/01/04/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-we-need-more-details-and-the-raw-data/

  58. Pfizer Trial: Severe cases of covid: 1 in vaccine group, 9 in placebo group. These are far too few cases for a valid statistical answer. Even Pfizer acknowledges this giving a confidence intervall of “-152,5% – 99,55%”. Such a large confidence intervall, basically, means “anything can happen”. Or: the data are meaningless from a statistical point of view.

    If you want to take these numbers seriously it gets even worse: The -152,5% means that it is more probable to get seriously sick if you are vaccinated than if you are not.

    Worst: The 1 severe case of covid which occured in the vaccine group happened after the second shot and after a 7 days waiting period. That`s exactly when the vaccine is supposed to become really effective.

    As with Pfizer, to evaluate the efficiency regarding “severe cases” percent numbers are meaningless unless you can compare them to the absolute numbers.

    There were no cases of hospitalization, no cases of death in the Pfizer trial. So no data about this.

    What you are quoting as efficency is the relative risk reduction. In absolute terms this looks a lot less impressive:

    No. of people who did not get Covid because of vaccine 153 x 100 : all vaccinated people 18.198 = 0,84 %.

    Normaly a vaccine against a virus like Sars-Cov-2 (Corona family) or any other vaccine against influenca should be tested during the months where these sickdoms are most likely to strike, meaning in winter. Not done here. So all these numbers are very likely to change. In what directions? Well, nobody knows. No data.

    Pfizer, WHO etc. all agree on 1 subject: It is still unknown if these vaccines
    prevents people from being contagious. Meaning: Vaccinated people may get infected but without developing symptoms, such being still contagious carriers of the disease.

    1. Hi Gerd,
      In the supplementary appendix, Pfizer lists a 95% confidence interval for the size of the reduction in severe covid of from 20.1%-99.7%. Where did you find the confidence interval that you’re referring to?

  59. I’m not sure if I am asking the correct question, or even asking the question correctly, but something isn’t sitting right with my, admittedly layman, brain.

    If vaccine vs placebo participants go on to test PCR positive, with at least one clinically diagnosed symptom, how do we know they weren’t going to go onto to become ‘positive’ regardless of the intervention? How do we know that it was in fact the vaccine that reduced the chances of developing symptoms or that there were just more people who happened to be in the control group that were going to go on to be ‘positive’ anyway?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Rich,
      That problem should be avoided by the fact that the study uses a randomized design. If the vaccine doesn’t work, there should be roughly as many people diagnosed with covid in both groups. The fact that there is a big difference between the groups makes it highly improbable that the difference is just due to chance.

  60. Hypothetical musing….
    If the vitamin D status of the trial participants had been measured at the start of the trials …would those who then developed covid be more likely to have had lower levels vitamin D?
    did a vaccine prevent/ reduce illness or did a high vitamin d status ?

  61. Israel and the UK have already vaccinated millions of people with Pfizer, and other countries are ramping up fast. I guess that if serious reactions are somewhat common, we will soon know.

    1. If I do get vaccinated, it will be entirely for altruistic purposes. I’ve been working closely with covid patients all year and still haven’t been infected (as far as I know – I’ve taken two antibody tests that were both negative and also two PCR tests that were both negative over the course of the past year), and I’m (relatively) young and healthy, so I’m not even remotely worried about covid personally.

  62. But not entirely improbable and not measurable? I thought that might be the answer you came back with to be fair.

    For the AstraZeneca trial using the meningococcus ‘placebo’, how do we know this wasn’t a causative factor in the ‘increased’ instances of ‘positive’ participants?

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  63. Hello Doctor. This was very informative. You said that you WOULD take the Moderna vaccine. But I would highly recommend that you view the following video of a doctor. She goes on about how Moderna has (as she claims) NEVER, not only manufactured a vaccine, but it has never even made a MEDICATION of any kind! Thus, she expresses her concern over the expediency of the release of this vaccine. Also, the U.S. the government has granted FULL IMMUNITY to ALL of these pharmaceutical companies from law suits originating from “unintended effects” from the vaccines — perhaps in exchange for their “expediency.” Please watch this video (about 20 minutes long), and let me know what you think and if you STILL would take the Moderna vaccine.

  64. I read with interest the article on the vaccines however I have a query.
    I would expect that none of the participants of the testing were directly infected with the Covid virus, so the question is how do we know how many of the test subjects were susceptible to actually catching it?
    If 20000 of the 22000 didn’t come into contact with the virus then surely the result become even more questionable?

    1. You are right that most people in the study probably never came in to contact with the virus, however, that effect should be spread evenly between the vaccine group and the control group thanks to randomization. The reason that the study is so large is because they planned it with the expectation that most people in the study wouldn’t be exposed. If instead they actively inoculated people with covid it would probably have been enough to have a few hundred people in the study.

  65. Hello Dr. R.,

    Thank-you for your work, and for sharing it.

    Personally I’m not anti-vax, as a 50-something, I must’ve had 4-5 in my lifetime and am grateful for them – my child had the additional MMR too.

    Saying that, I don’t usually like to put stuff into my body that isn’t of vital importance – except beer of course.

    So, I’m thinking that as my risk of dying of C-19, is probably similar to my risk of dying from a poor reaction to a vaccine – I’ll give it a miss.

    Having lived in SE Asia 1988 to 2017, I also suspect that I’ve already acquired immunity to coronaviruses. I state this because there is an obvious pattern of very low deaths per million across the region.

    How could I prove this – would the NHS test me for T-cell immunity?

  66. Hello Sebastian,

    Thank you very much for the vaccine article; shame it’s not on MSM like Sky News, in my opinion!

    Where are you on the likely effectiveness/possible problems with these 3 vaccines, but especially the two mRNA ones, in regards to the new variants (from Kent, UK and especially the South African variant)?

    I’ve heard it said that the mRNA vaccines have the advantage that they can more easily be ‘tweaked’ if needed to be able to more effectively fight off these new covid-19 strains. But it seems quite possible that this could basically also be their Achilles heel… I’m concerned that the new variants might ‘fly under the radar’ of especially the mRNA vaccines.

    The UK authorities said over 3 weeks ago that the Pfizer vaccine can easily be tweaked in a couple of weeks if required but I’m unaware of any publicly available info from the UK or elsewhere on a/ if there’s even a problem of effectiveness of the vaccine against contracting the new variants, and b/ if there is less efficacy/effectiveness with the new variants, whether any reduced immunity really can be/has been recovered by ‘tweaking’?

    Finally, I have a nagging concern that catching one of the new covid variants may not proffer as full immunity against covid reinfection (other ‘regular’ strains). And if having either caught one of the new strains, or having had one of the mRNA vaccines, could these eventualities lead to a possibly increased chance of a bad outcome in a future (regular strain) covid infection? I am aware that you’ve said the Moderna vaccine has an apparent zero risk of harm, but I’m basically looking at the apparent paradox of Dengue Fever: you get one strain and you’re immune for life, but only for that strain – the bad outcome % is, I understand, worse if you then get one of the other 4 strains… I’d like to know your thoughts on whether you share this unease?

    Best wishes
    Adam

  67. Dr. Rushworth,

    Is it possible that the RNA genomes used in the mRNA vaccines can perform multiple functions? I mean, they are manufactured/synthesized to instruct cells to produce sars-cov2 spike proteins, can they be instructed to perform other functions?
    Has Pfizer disclosed where they got the genomes from and exactly what sequences were used?

    Obviously I am not a medical professional of any sort so please forgive any misunderstanding or misuse of terminology.

    Lastly, is it technically possible to combine molecular robotics with mRNA vaccine technology? I.e. is it possible to manufacture/synthesize lipid nanoparticles that can be controlled by external stimuli for the purposes of releasing a different genome/genetic sequence than that for sars-cov2?

  68. The purpose of vaccination programs is to prevent illnesses in the individuals vaccinated but also to increase herd immunity and reduce the spread of disease.

  69. Thanks a million times for this. Passing it on to everyone who will listen.

    Can you help a layperson with terminology. I test negative for Rheum Arthritis, yet every 5 to 7 years I get dis-ease/symptoms. Do I “have” RA? I test pos. for Covid, yet have no dis-ease/symptoms. Do I “have” Covid? My antigen test is pos, yet I’ve never had dis-ease/symptoms. Have I “had” Covid.

    1. Hi Dave,
      In pre-covid-world, you were only considered to have a disease if you actually had some symptoms or signs specific for the disease. For example, you could have a positive rheumatoid factor (a blood test used in diagnosing RA) but if you don’t have any symptoms or x-ray signs of RA, then you don’t have RA. However, RA can be caused by multiple different things going wrong, so you can have a negative rheumatoid factor, but if you have symptoms and signs on X-ray suggestive of RA, then you still have RA, even though the test is negative. Since the advent of covid, people are diagnosed as having or having had covid based on a positive test, even without symptoms. So if you have a positive antibody test for covid, you are considered to have had covid, even if you never had any symptoms.

  70. Dear Dr. Rushworth,

    is there any data on seroprevalence of antibodies in the test groups of any of the studies?
    In other words, would it not only make sense to test for seroprevalence to “save” the vaccine for those who could benefit from it, but also to prevent severe adverse effects? Is there any information on the reaction of vaccinees that went through an infection prior the vaccination?

  71. How do you know if you are a CovIDIOT?

    1. You eagerly anticipate joining the experiment and being injected with an untested vaccine.

    2. You wear a Covid diaper on your face and berate others who don’t.

    3. You believe we need more, longer, and stricter lockdowns ignoring the studies that demonstrate lockdowns do not stop or even slow the spread of Covid.

  72. Thank you very much for this great article.

    mRNA vaccine are quite new and we don’t have large series of this tech being used more than a few years ago.

    Do we have any reason to worry about long term safety at all? I understand there is no theoritical base for such a worry but wonder if there is not an unknown there.

    1. Hi Nicolas,
      As you say, there is no theoretical base for worry, but there could always be “unknown unknowns” that could cause problems, like the substance in the pandemrix vaccine that caused narcolepsy, so there needs to be careful follow-up of the people getting the new vaccines to see whether there are any signs of harm.

  73. How many dead and how many adverse events you want before you start to worry.

    The Ron Paul Institute reported this morning: ‘A Nursing Home had Zero Coronavirus Deaths. Then, It Vaccinates Residents for Coronavirus and the Deaths Begin.’ Since vaccination began 24 coronavirus-infected residents at the 300-bed nursing home have died. Is the timing just a strange coincidence? The nursing home began vaccinating residents Dec. 22.

    Covid-19 vaccines have not been tested in the frail elderly, many of whom are residents of long-term care facilities. Therefore, there is NO evidence that the vaccine is safe or effective for the elderly. Jon Rappoport says, “If this doesn’t give the frail and elderly and their families pause for thought, nothing will.

  74. Thank you for this article. Please note that the Moderna vaccine has a higher rate of severe adverse effects than the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer has 240 severe adverse events in the vaccine group versus 139 in the placebo group, which may be, as you state, concerning. But this concern should be even greater with the Moderna vaccine. Moderna has 2884 solicited adverse events of grade 3 (equivalent to “severe”) in the vaccine group versus 341 in the placebo group. These numbers are from table S4 of the Baden paper. Therefore, safety issues with Moderna should be an even greater concern than with Pfizer.

    It is quite expected that reactivity to the Moderna vaccine, including adverse effects, is stronger, since Moderna uses a 100-microgram dose, whereas Pfizer uses a 30-microgram dose, and the composition of the two vaccines is otherwise quite similar.

    1. As mentioned, severe adverse events are not the same thing as serious adverse events. Table S4 shows severe adverse events within seven days of getting the second vaccine dose and as you correctly state, there were 2884 in the vaccine group and only 341 in the placebo group. However, if you look as what those “severe” adverse events actually were made up of, then the number is not that concerning: 20% had pain at the injection site, 10% had a rash, 7% had a high fever, 23% had a headache, 50% experienced fatigue, 46% experienced myalgia. The grade 3 adverse events may have been “severe”, but they were self-limiting within a few days and not serious in terms of long term consequences. The reason I have a problem with Pfizers study, is because they don’t tell us what the adverse events were. Most likely the adverse events list for the Pfizer vaccine is similar to the adverse events list for the Moderna vaccine, but I’m not going to assume it, which is why I’m not personally willing to take the Pfizer vaccine until I see that data.

      There is one thing that is concerning about all this though, from my perspective. The mRNA vaccines do obviously produce a lot of symptoms in the days after being vaccinated, and it’s possible that if you’re already very sick, then even these self-limiting symptoms can be enough to push you over the edge and kill you. It is therefore very unfortunate that elderly people with severe co-morbidities weren’t included in these studies, since that means there is no data on whether the vaccine is safe for them.

  75. Regarding the ingredients in RNA vaccines. Is there shellfish in the vaccine?

    Seems some people have reacted to this.

  76. Dr Rushworth:

    Thanks for your response. “pre-covid-world…” since the advent of covid…” “even if even if you never had any symptoms…” I have a full head of hair, but “have” the gene for male pattern baldness: so according to my passport I’m bald? I have the engine in my car to exceed the speed limit, so I get a fine for speeding when the car is parked?

    This would seem to be madness. Help me understand, what’s changed with covid?

    “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command”.–Orwell

  77. Would you mind also confirming how many cells (and which cells) are targeted by the vaccines and what will the immune response be to those cells that produce the spike protein? Does it remove only the spike proteins, effectively ‘cleaning’ the cells, or does it kill the whole cell?

    Many thanks.

  78. Simon. Grade 3’s are ‘severe’.
    And we know the FDA definition:-
    “Grade 3 Severe or medically significant but not immediately life- threatening; hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization indicated; disabling; limiting self care ADL”
    Yes, clearly these are mostly self-limiting. But if the median is 3 days, half of them persist for longer than three days!
    Also, the majority of the Grade 3’s are systemic rather than local to the injection site.
    In the live Moderna submission to the FDA, 9.1% local Grade 3 events were reported in the vaccine group, as were 16.5% systemic Grade 3’s in vaccine group (plus 10 in number Grade 4’s). Additionally, there are a further 1.2% unsolicited Grade 3’s. Added together that appears to mean that 26.8% of the vaccine group experienced a ‘severe’ adverse reaction.
    A simple headache would not attract a Grade 3, I suggest.
    The live presentation on adverse events begins at this timepoint:-
    https://youtu.be/mQPMNmvZgi8?t=19468

  79. Sebastian, thanx very much for your excellent summary of the three vaccines.
    Two things I want to add:

    1. “Throughout the safety follow-up period to date, there has been three reports of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine group and one in the placebo group.” (Moderna, https://www.fda.gov/media/144434/download (p.45))

    2. ” Bell’s palsy was reported by four vaccine participants. From Dose 1 through 1 month after Dose 2, there were three reports of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine group and none in the placebo group.” (Pfizer, https://www.fda.gov/media/144245/download (p.43))

    7 : 1 !!!

  80. I hope this is not silly but there seems one important aspect which has been ignored and invalidates the results of the trials!

    Without the trial participants for the trial length being together all the time in the same environment (except maybe going home to sleep) their daily environments must be all different so results for the placebo and vaccine ones will all be different.

    I am 81 and have not been infected and haven’t had the vaccine but if I were in a trial from several months ago and had the vaccine the result would be Oh the vaccine worked or probably had worked when that result would be the same without the vaccine.

    The trial would only be valid if those with the vaccine were placed in an environment with the virus swilling around them – that would test its efficacy, no?

    Perhaps I have misunderstood the methodology.

  81. MKJJ123: I believe it means people with symptoms and a negative PCR test. The symptoms are so variable, and PCR worthless as a diagnostic tool that the statement is essentially meaningless, in a scientific sense.

  82. @Gary: I absolutely aggree. It was just not clear what exactly was meant by “not confirmed”. I have quite a lot discussions with a friend of mine. We are both MDs, and he is really a highly intelligent guy. However, we have a hard time talking about Corona being on opposite sites. This is a very unpleasant experience, since I thought scientific truth is the only thing that counts. But these days, even scientific truth might be debatable.

  83. Question: Unless I’n being misled, it would appear that the three vaccines being promoted, don’t actually stop a vaccinated person from continuing to be infectious! Is this true, and if so, why? Does it have anything to do with the rush to produce the ‘Magic Bullet’, yet again, short term thinking?

  84. Yes, I was going to ask the same question as I came down with the Bug about a month ago, so I assumed that I have immunity, at least for some months.

  85. MKJJ123: What is truly scary is that so many Western governments have used this epidemic to become increasingly authoritarian. In the U.S. the four tech behemoths (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter) now control the internet message, and have just destroyed a very popular upstart called Parler. The incoming leftist government here not only approves of this, but applauds it. Monopolies were once broken up, as they were in violation of anti-trust laws, but our Department of Justice is controlled by the oligarchs (even under Trump), so I’m not hopeful. Life is looking bleak for freedom.

  86. barovsky: The protocol called only for a difference in numbers between treatment and control groups in symptoms, with PCR confirmation, and nothing else. Nothing about transmission; nothing about severity; nothing about children, pregnant women or nursing mothers; almost nothing about the frail elderly. And the followup period was only two months. Two months! This is not science. By the way, it’s good to hear from you.

  87. Well I’m 75 and although I’ve got stents in my heart, I think my immune system is in good shape (is this a paradox?). In any case I came down with the Bug about a month ago,and initially, my only symptoms being loss of taste and smell. A few days later, I felt unwell and thinking it was my heart, went to A&E where they informed me that my heart was fine and following a (PCR?) test, blood tests and an x-ray, I was informed that I had bacterial pneumonia in my left lung. I was given 5 days-worth of penicillin and sent home. I seem to have recovered, though my sense of taste isn’t what it used to be.

    Did I get the bug? I have no idea. I don’t know what test they used but I assume the PCR, or how many cycles it went through, neither did I see the x-ray.

    The hospital confirmed that I had SARS-COV-2, so I suppose I have to take their word for it.

  88. Howzit Gary! For some reason, I’m unable to post to Kendrick’s blog, I think I have an old, duplicate WordPress account screwing things up, but as you can see, after getting the bug I’m still alive and kicking!

  89. I have family who have said one of the main reasons she would not get the vaccination is that the technology was build through the benefit of stem cells derived from aborted fetuses. So this has become an ethical decision rather than a medical. Can you enlighten me on the veracity of this claim? I have no opinion either way; I just want to know the truth, so that my conscience can contribute to my decision making process.

  90. Barovsky: The same thing happened to me for about two months (and to Bill in Oz last Spring). But one day the comments started posting again, so keep trying! We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Dr. Kendrick for helping educate all of us. Good to know you’re doing well. I’m doing better than ever thanks to the Carnivore Diet. Give it a try (“The Carnivore Code,” by Paul Saladine, M.D\.

  91. Carolyn Vaughn: Yes, there are fetal cell lines used in medical research and vaccines (how they’ve immortalized them I don’t know; there must be some sort of biological switch in fetal development which stops cell division). At least one of these three vaccines uses them.

  92. Thank you Sebastian.
    I think the conclusion is that for any healthy person below 70 it is not only safer but achieving longer lasting immunity to get naturally infected than taking the risk of the vaccination.
    Now, the challenge is to find someone in Australia to get infected from.

  93. I don’t get it! This from the link you provided:

    ““These COVID vaccines are preventing clinical disease, we don’t know if they prevent transmission [of the SARS-CoV-2 virus],” says infectious disease expert Chris Beyrer, MD of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. According to vaccines expert David Diemert, MD of George Washington University, it is not known if the COVID-19 vaccines will prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering the body or leaving a vaccinated body.”

    I don’t get it. If you’re vaccinated AGAINST the virus, it seems that one of two things has happened:

    1. The vaccine prevents you from contracting the disease because the immune system has been ‘primed’ by the vaccine to eradicates the virus, hence there’s nothing to infect anyone with;

    or:

    2. The vaccine prevents you from the SYMPTOMS of the disease but doesn’t remove the virus from the body, which means that it’s not truly a vaccine but some kind of preventive medicine. Thus you’re not ‘sick’ but you might as well be, because you’re just as infectious (or not) as someone who hasn’t been .vaccinated’.

    What is going on here? It seems that Boris Johnson’s ‘we’re guided by the science’, has very little to do with real science.

  94. Dear Sebastian,
    thanks for your work and your valuable neutral analysis!

    I would like to highlight one very, very important aspect with respect to the vaccines. For all three vaccines the pre-clinical trials have been skipped entirely. There is no data at all! The vaccines went straight away to phase 1, 2, 3.

    That is one extraordinary important aspect which I would like you to add to your article.

    Thanks and best regards

  95. barovsky: yes, it is option 2. I suspect an intramuscular vaccine will only make your body produce IgG antibodies, which are the ones that neutralize the viruses when they get into your body. So if you have them, you may get minimal symptoms when you contract the virus. But you will contract it.

    Among of what you need to stop contracting and spreading the virus are the IgA antibodies, present in your mucosa cell surface, like your nose and throat. These are minimally generated by an intramuscular vaccine.

    There was an experiment with influenza where they gave mice a vaccine either intramuscular or intranasaly. The intramuscular reduced spread of the disease by 88.2%, while intramuscular only by 47%.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30037481/

    So it’s likely that the covid vaccine won’t really stop the spreading. But maybe you develop IgA antibodies after you contract the virus after you take the vaccine, and (hopefully) experience only minimal symptoms.

    The best way to prevent transmission is to really contract the virus, so your body will produce all the different types of antibodies.

  96. Thanks for this, it’s as I suspected! BTW, I caught the bug about a month ago and aside from some hangover effects (fatigue, stomach problems from the penicillin), I seem to be okay, so as Dr Rushworth says, I don’t need the ‘vaccine’ (can they really be called vaccines?).

  97. Otto, I think your logic here is entirely sound. But how you get tens of thousands of volunteers in the same environment sounds like a logistical impossibility!!

  98. Re not being vaccinated if you have already contracted the virus, see:

    https://thejewishvoice.com/2021/01/young-man-develops-rare-life-threatening-syndrome-after-covid-19-vaccine/

    “Mevorach told Channel 12: “We found out that the young man had contracted the coronavirus asymptomatically before he was vaccinated. It may be accidental but I would not underestimate it. Care must be taken in vaccination of people who were sick with coronavirus in the past.””

  99. PS: Lex, are you sure about your understanding, that it is Option 2? This is extremely worrying if true, does it mean people will have to be ‘vaccinated’ regularly?

  100. “As with the previous two trials, the primary objective of the study was to see if there was a reduction in cases of covid-19, which in this study was defined as at least two symptoms suggestive of covid-19 plus a positive covid PCR test.”

    So, here they need ADDITIONAL TWO SYMPTOMS to call a person infected, while in the mainstream you are infected as soon as your PCR test comes out positive. I’d say that is laughable, as you then will have a lot less positive cases, which then allegedly proves that the vaccine is working in a positive way.

    Change of criteria, and voila, the vaccine works 🙂 Does this virus even exist? What happened to the seasonal flu-cases?

  101. I’m not a scientist, but I think I understand how vaccines work and have an idea of how the immune system works but how do I assess whether this Cahill video is accurate, ie factual and not just Cahill’s opinion? And it’s this that’s at the heart of the confusion and hence fear, with everyone becoming epidemiologists, statesticians etc, because we’re bombarded with so-called fscts!

  102. Thanks for this useful analysis- I assumed Moderna was the best because that is the one Fauci received!

    Also, please provide another Sweden update when you have the chance.

  103. Adam Orkand: The vaccine being produced by Moderna was actually developed by scientists being paid with my tax money. Yes, Fauci’s crew at NAIAD. Moderna is a biotech company which had never successfully brought a product to market, and were close to bankruptcy until Fauci rescued them. Those government scientists who own the patent for the vaccine, along with the U.S. government, will now be each paid $150,000 per year in royalties after Fauci sold Moderna the licensing rights. A real growth industry, vaccines. To a stockbroker, it’s a buy!

  104. Dear Sebastian,

    Thanks for yet another great analysis of the pandemic. I do wonder, however, what you make of the claims of BMJ editor, Peter Doshi. Doshi has questioned the data for all the vaccines, pointing to questionable practices in testing for minor symptoms of covid in both the vaccine and control groups. If he is correct, this would dramatically lower the efficacy of these vaccines.

    His most recent analysis is here (BMJ, ‘Peter Doshi: Pfizer and Moderna’s “95% effective” vaccines—we need more details and the raw data’, January 4, 2021): https://blogs-bmj-com.ezproxy.princeton.edu/bmj/2021/01/04/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-we-need-more-details-and-the-raw-data/

    If you can’t access the BMJ piece, there is a slightly different version here: https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/pfizer-moderna-need-more-data-claims-effective-vaccines/

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  105. SalkiN: Thanks. The June and December statements seem to be essentially the same, but in November they removed the actual definition of herd immunity, that which occurs during outbreaks of natural infection.

  106. Dr. Rushworth said:

    pretty much every single case of narcolepsy occurring after the Pandemrix vaccine disaster also happened within a few weeks.

    Actually it seems narcolepsy risk was elevated even the second year after vaccination. As stated by Granath et alter (2019):

    With first symptom defining index date, the adjusted risk for narcolepsy in younger patients was increased 14 times during the first year after vaccination, three times elevated the second year, but with no detectable increased risk more than 2 years after vaccination exposure.

    I don’t know in the SARS-CoV-2 case but vaccines trials are given an almost free pass in respect to identifying adverse events outside the first month, as exposed by Frederik Joelving in the GARDASIL case.

    Not knowing which are going to be the long term effects of these vaccines if any, I don’t think they are justified outside high risk groups.

  107. Hi Gary Ogden,

    the December version is all about vaccination. Vaccination. Vaccination. Vaccination.
    Very curious is the last sentence:
    “Achieving herd immunity with safe and effective vaccines makes diseases rarer and saves lives.”
    With an vaccine, which is approved under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
    Why should the healthy non-risk ones be vaccinated, though it isn’t even clear – by any means – if he/she can spread the virus afterwards as well? And the healthy non-risk ones usually don’t get very sick with this virus.
    An how on earth can’t we be “exposed” to a virus? By lockdowns, social distancing and masquerade forever?
    It all doen’t make sense, though …

  108. Thank you for a very interesting article. You say the astra zeneca study was based in UK, South Africa and Brazil. Is that just a coincidence that the more virulent strains mentioned by MSM are from those same countries?

  109. Dear Dr Rushworth, I’d like you to expand your comment, if possible, on the inadvisability of getting vaccinated, if one has already caught the virus, as I’m one of those people.

    1. I can’t really see what the point would be in getting vaccinated if you’ve had the infection. The real infection is much more likely to generate effective lasting immunity than the vaccine is, because real infection leads to creation of different types of antibodies, while the vaccine only leads to creation of IgG, and because real infection leads to the development of adaptive immunity against multiple viral proteins, while the vaccine only leads to immunity against the spike protein.

  110. For me the best solution to end these boring conversations surrounding jabs and safety is the following:

    In all vaccines studies the trials are done using the people that are working directly in the developing and production process of the new jab and if these are not enough they can use the other people that work in that corporation.

    If the trials are successful WE ALL KNOW that that vaccine is indeed safe because those that developed it put Their Skin in the Game!

    If the trials are unsuccessful and some or all of them have serious health problems and/or die WE ALL KNOW that that vaccine is not SAFE FOR US. A bonus part is that these failed developers won’t waste anymore resources anymore.

    Until this is implemented the JAB CIRCUS will exist forever and ever!

  111. Thank you for your well considered article, Dr Rushworth. You consider yourself young and fit enough not to need to take the risk of being vaccinated, but what is “young” enough! I’m 60; have only been ill and hospitalized once with community acquired pneumonia (and sepsis) in May 2019; have no other diseases and am not obese; but do have an allergy (rash all over) to Metronidazole. Could someone in my age and fitness bracket be considered young enough not to need to take the risk of having one of these vaccines? Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Lynda,
      I can only speak for myself. I’m 37 years old, have no health issues, am physically fit, eat healthily, and make sure I get enough vitamin D and other nutrients, so I think the risk to me personally is infinitesimal. Additionally, I’ve been working closely with covid patients all year, so I figure that if I was going to get covid I would have gotten it by now. I can’t tell you what’s right for you, all I can do is provide the information that is available from the studies. Some people do get seriously ill from covid, and the vaccines do appear to decrease that risk by a lot, so you really have to weigh the potential risks against the potential benefits for yourself on an individual level.

  112. Dr Rushworth,

    Have you seen the video below by Dr. Simone Gold? I’d be very interested in your opinion. Are her concerns correct?

  113. Crikey, just watched this video which also features Robert Kennedy Jr., Michael Yeadon, Dolores Cahill and others…and on the other side…Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, Prince Charles…
    And what about ‘our elected politicians’ who have bought into this caper and sold us down the river…? Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau and co…
    This documentary sums it all up – self-styled ‘elites’ are planning to displace humanity with AI. Welcome to the ‘useless class’ of ‘hackable animals’…
    The people behind this are traitors to humanity…

    The New Normal Documentary by happen.network:

  114. Probably, you know that 40% of infected people don’t develop antibodies? May be you belong to this group? Eg
    onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/all.14523

    Thx for your work and this article! Joerg

  115. Dear Sebastian,
    thanks for giving a summary and an overview about the new vaccines.
    How do you assess mid- to long-term risks of ADE-events (as reported for exampled on Dengue or FIPV in cats) as the new vaccines aim at only one epitope of the S-spike protein in the absence of TLR, which probably does not “simulate” a regular immuno-response ?
    What do you think about the risks of using PEG for encapsulating the vaccine (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2817614/) ?
    From my point of view, these are both risks that are probably not yet assessed and will be obvious only over the next years.

  116. barovsky: A completely unnecessary vaccine which is also completely worthless except at injuring and killing people. Along with the most massive transfer of wealth in human history from the 99.99% to the 0.001%. Do not submit, folks. Get the boot off your neck!

  117. It doesn’t say that! Using the highly unreliable RT-PCR ‘test’ it says there MIGHT be reinfection but the sample was so small that generalisations can’t be reached. It’s typical of the kind of ‘scientific’ articles being written that end up being nothing more than opinions.

Leave a Reply