Vaccines: truth, lies, and controversy

Vaccines misinformation man in tinfoil hat

Peter Gotzsche is no crank. Rather the opposite, in fact. In the world of evidence based medicine, he is one of the great heavyweights. He was a founding member of the Cochrane collaboration, is a professor of clinical research methodology at the university of Copenhagen, and has had his work repeatedly published in all the leading medical journals. His blunt honesty and willingness to speak truth to power, even in the face of personal consequences, makes him one of my personal heroes.

One year ago, Gotzsche came out with a book called ”Vaccines: truth, lies, and controversy”. Considering how hot the topic of vaccines is, you would expect the book to have be selling at a furious rate ever since it came out. Instead, it languishes in obscurity. The problem, in my estimation, is that it is too brutally honest, and that it therefore pleases no-one

No-one wants a balanced take. Most of the people who write and talk about vaccines are fundamentalists, of either the anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine variety. The anti-vaccine fundamentalists control the debate on social media (or at least they did until social media started actively censoring them), while the pro-vaccine fundamentalists control the debate in mainstream media. Both groups are only interested in reading and talking about books that feed their biases and further their one-sided agenda. But most people aren’t fundamentalists. They just want to know the truth. Which is why the book is so important.

Gotzsche begins with the sacred cow of the anti-vaccine fundamentalists, the belief that the MMR (meases mumps rubella) vaccine can cause autism. He goes in detail through the sequence of events surrounding the profit-driven scientific fraud that led to this now widespread and yet utterly false belief, making particular note of how this fraud was enabled and supported by The Lancet, which is in spite of this is still considered one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. Apparently there is nothing a major medical journal can do that will result in a loss of its reputation. He then goes through the epidemiological evidence, much of which has been conducted in Gotszches home country of Denmark, showing that there is no link whatsoever between MMR vaccination and autism.

Immediately after destroying this central tenet of anti-vaccine fundamentalism, Gotzsche switches focus, and, after a brief interlude to discuss how morally reprehensible attempts at coercing people in to getting vaccinated are (politicians should take note!), he tears in to one of the sacred cows of the pro-vaccine fundamentalists, the belief that the influenza vaccine is beneficial and important. Over the course of a few chapters, he clarifies the evidence that exists on the influenza vaccine, going through the randomized trials and systematic reviews, and showing that there is no good evidence that the influenza vaccine has any effect on the things that matter, namely hospitalizations and deaths, nor for that matter any evidence that it does anything at all for the elderly.

Of course, this isn’t what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) claims. With multiple examples, Gotzsche shows how the CDC website is rife with misinformation that would make even a pharmaceutical company blush. He lays out the close ties that exist between the CDC and the pharmaceutical industry. Then he shows how the CDC consistently ignores the higher quality evidence (randomized controlled trials) showing that the influenza vaccine is largely useless, and may even do more harm than good, while instead focusing on low quality evidence (observational studies, and in particular case-control studies which are notoriously unreliable) that do show benefit. I have personally noticed the CDC doing exactly the same thing with the scientific evidence of face masks. It is clear that the CDC (just like many other public health agencies) will produce the results it’s political and financial masters want, whatever those results may be, and regardless of whether they align with the science.

After discussing the influenza vaccine, Gotzsche moves on to the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine. This is a vaccine that is primarily given to pre-pubescent girls, with the goal of protecting them from developing cervix cancer (which is usually causes by certain strains of HPV). He goes in detail in to how the pharmaceutical companies have manipulated their trials and the subsequent post-approval surveillance in such a way as to hide evidence of harms. He also shows how the EMA (European Medical Agency) has been complicit in this, and how the agency has done it’s utmost to downplay evidence of harm once it started to appear, acting more like a shill of the pharmaceutical industry than an independent regulator. Gotzsche’s own research group has done research which suggests that roughly one in 1,000 people vaccinated with the HPV vaccine develop a serious neurological disorder as a result. Since you need to vaccinate several thousand people to prevent one death from cervix cancer, it is not at all clear that the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the harms.

Gotzsche moves on to a discussion of the vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, as a kind of teaching exercise. Since it is clear that government agencies cannot be trusted to provide balanced information, people will often have to look in to the scientific data themselves, and the chapter on Japanese encephalitis is a kind of tutorial on how to do this. For those who aren’t willing to do this kind of legwork, Gotzsche has a simple rule of thumb: If every country with an equivalent level of economic development recommends the vaccine, then it’s probably worth taking. If not, then it probably isn’t.

The main message of the book is that both the anti-vaccine fundamentalists and the pro-vaccine fundamentalists are wrong. To say that all vaccines are bad is idiotic. To say that all vaccines are good is equally idiotic. One needs to look at each vaccine individually, and weigh one’s personal risk of infection, and of serious disease if one should be infected, against the particular risks of harm specific to the vaccine.

There are many quotes in the book that I love, and which have immediate bearing on all the nonsense of the past year, such as the following: ”An expert panel is the modern version of the Oracle in Delphi, and statistical modelling is like whispering in a wizard’s ear which result you would like to hear.” Quite.

As mentioned, the book is intent on pleasing no-one. Which is probably why I like it so much. In some ways, Gotzsche reminds me a bit of Ignasz Semmelweiss, the doctor who discovered that obstetricians were killing women by delivering babies with dirty hands, and that this could easily be avoided with hand-washing, but who managed to alienate all his colleagues by calling them idiots and murderers, and thus was unable to get them to change their practice. This resulted in a delay of decades before Joseph Lister, a much more socially competent man, was able to convince his colleagues to start washing their hands before surgery.

I think most doctors are unaware that vaccines can be dangerous, and that benefits and risks therefore need to be balanced carefully. During my years in medical school, vaccinations were always presented as 100% a good thing. I don’t think I even once heard anything about the risks related to a vaccine that is in current use. I think that’s why many doctors will tend to lump anyone who in even the mildest way tries to lift the issue of risks associated with a vaccine as an ”anti-vaxxer”, and why doctors have been so unhesitant when it comes to vaccinating entire populations with an unproven new vaccine.

It is a shame that the book came out just as the covid pandemic was ramping up, and thus doesn’t have anything to say on the covid vaccines that are now in use or on the coercive ”vaccine passports”. Regardless, the contents of the book couldn’t possibly be more relevant to the present moment, when massive numbers of people are being pressured to take experimental vaccines of which we still only have a limited understanding. For that reason, the book deserves to be read and discussed widely.

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219 thoughts on “Vaccines: truth, lies, and controversy”

  1. Thank you for this. I’ve been having the annual flu jab for years, but recently decided to give it a miss this autumn, so it’s interesting to read that it has no value. I’ve refused the Covid vaccines, because they haven’t been tested for long-term adverse effects; I’m slim and fit, eat healthily and take Vitamin D, and think I’d survive Covid.

    All the hype and coercion over the vaccines has made me realize that it’s a huge act of faith to let someone inject something into your bloodstream. My faith in the authorities has dwindled over the past year.

    1. Xantilor –
      I agree with you. My faith in medical personnel has nosedived this year.

      I am a nurse in the US. I am part of the medical establishment. I can’t begin to describe the profound sense of betrayal I feel. Medical professionals engaging in peer pressure. Suddenly if you express the slightest doubt on an issue, you are ostracized. At my hospital, people aren’t really talking about the vaccine much. It has gone silent. This of us who have concerns about the Covid vaccines text each other or only whisper in vacant rooms or supply closets. Seriously. It sounds ludicrous – it wasn’t like this two years ago. People could have different opinions. Not now.

      I am in my 50s. I am healthy. And I know I will not live long enough to see the credibility of the medical profession restored from the damage we did to ourselves in the space of 15 months. I can’t tell you how sad this makes me.

      1. Well I touched on that sadness when they killed my neice 35 years ago, she was 11 with cancer and it was more than sad when they killed her mother, my sister 2 years ago. I am past all the feelings though, might as well be sad about the craters on the moon for all the good it does. When it comes to vaccine, especially the COVID vaccines they are literally getting away with murder and breaking each of the Nuremberg principles. More vaccine deaths have been reported into the VAERS federal vaccine reporting system in the United States in these five months than reported into the system in 20 years for all the other vaccines put together.

        Modern Medicine is Brutal

        Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny
        with the object of making men happy in the end,
        giving them peace and rest at last,
        but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death
        only one tiny creature and to found that edifice on its un-avenged tears,
        would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?
        Tell me, and tell the truth.
        Fyodor Dostoyevsky

        The entire vaccine industry is based on the principle of sacrifice. It is perfectly all right and acceptable that one child is sacrificed to the vaccine God of death as long as we save a million others protecting them from suffering and death by disease. Unfortunately, it does not stop at one death, nor does it stop at a tide of suffering from vaccine damages that torment mothers, fathers, and their families for the rest of their lives. As sexual abuse betrays the deepest vulnerabilities of a person’s soul, vaccine attacks, damages and deaths are a disgusting display, a betrayal of love.

        One should understand why I titled my vaccine book The Terror of Pediatric Medicine, which I had to delete from my site because of the benevolent pro-vaccine bias that crosses the border into terrorism brought to us by our favorite social media companies. But the orginal title was Cry of the Heart…….

      2. I am so sorry this is happening to you. The censorship is scary. I’ve always wondered how “normal” German (and the onlooking world) citizens looked the other way and allowed the tyranny. Now I see how it is done…fear and cowardice.
        I do hope you and your colleagues are not overwhelmed by the “breakthrough” cases and the number of injuries I notice are reported to VAERS. Be strong. Stay healthy.

    2. I’ve never had flu vaccine, ever. I’m 68, survived hep c, not in the best of health I guess. But I’ve also never had flu my entire adult life. Coincidence?
      I know anecdotal evidence is worthless to many, but I met a man whose toddler got the MMR jab and within 24 hours was very unwell and has been autistic ever since. Telling him that evidence proves him wrong won’t do him much good. He said Dr Wakefield, now a pariah, was the only doctor willing to help. One wonders what possible motive Wakefield would have for saying something that could only end in ruin for him.
      For ordinary mortals it’s all very confusing. But no covid vaccination for moi.

      1. Dr Wakefield, now a pariah, was the only doctor willing to help.

        The ones who made him a pariah just could not deal with the truth nor with his near saintliness….thats why I call them terriorists…

      2. His motive was money – he was secretly working with lawyers aiming to sue pharmaceutical companies. This hidden financial conflict of interest was kept hidden which is against medical ethics. He did not expect to get found out. The medical establishment initially closed ranks and it was ages before the editor of the Lancet acknowledged his error. The whole sorry business is in the BMJ article https://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347

      3. Our son had his first MMR and had an allergic reaction to it he now carries an epipen

      4. Drafted into the US Army in 1970. Given many vaccines in preparation for assignment most anywhere, but especially SE Asia. No negative effects I could notice, but I was busy with basic training.

        The only time in my life I had flu was immediately following flu vaccination, while still in the Army. Pretty sick for a couple days, although I stubbornly kept working.

        I didn’t show up for any further vaccinations.

        Now 73, no way I will risk taking one of the rush job and poorly tested flu vaccines on offer. I forget which one, but at least one of the vaccines was not tested on anyone over 55.

        Although people my age are urged to take one of the flu vaccines, the risk is high for an elder.

        Pretty funny: Denver city chess club plans to resume in person play this summer. Must prove taking one of the dangerous covid-19 vaccines to attend.

    3. I am disinclined to trust the new MRNA vaccines as they are way too new for anyone to know what the long term side effects might be. However, I’m very cognizant of the fact that to participate in society going forward being vaccinated will make life easier, which is why I’m interested in the Novavax COVID 19 vaccine.
      I hope Dr. Rushworth can comment on them as they become available.

  2. Thanks for good input on this and other medical topics.
    does this point towards that individuals that got a good immune response to the corona virus (i e felt like a mild cold..) should think twice before taking the vaccine?
    Per

  3. Thank you. I will try and read Peter Gøtzsche’s book. I have always been an admirer of his and believe he has been very badly treated. I will read his defence of the MMR with interest. Even although both my daughters had it, I admit to having my doubts about it especially when it contained thimerosol. I believe my elder daughter did suffer some ill effects after both her MMR shots but it did turn out that she already had very high levels of mercury in her body from in utero exposure. Anyway I am willing to be open minded.

    Although I don’t intend to take one, what really alarms me about the current situation is the seeming desperation to get us all vaccinated. I am very concerned about the vaccination of children who surely cannot benefit from this but only stand to suffer harm.

    The issue of vaccination has become highly politicised and there is too much money to be made by certain people and industries. It ceased to really be about health long ago.

    1. I have decided that from now on I will answer “Yes” to the nosy questions by random strangers and friends if I have been vaccinated. Yes, I have been vaccinated with polio, pneumonia, tetanus, etc. whereas I have not (yet) taken the experimental genetic therapy. You see, I’m answering truthfully that I have in fact been “vaccinated”. The covid jab is not defined as a vaccination. I am not an anti-vaxxer for myself and for my two boys. If I am reading the VAERS data correctly regarding the Covid jab the chances of death are 1.8% and a permanent injury at 1%. This means the jab is more dangerous than the disease. For the many scientists and medical professionals here please let me know if I’m reading the chart correctly.

      1. Not sure if you got your numbers exactly right but yes it seems clear that the vaccine is more dangerous than the disease……and that would be a greater understatement if they would treat COVID with one of many safe approaches even less would have died…..but they repressed everything but the holy vaccines….even vitamin D……and would you believe that viruses are pH sensitive so if they used sodium bicarbonate, like some doctors did in 1918, almost one would have died…in Acre Brazil a ICU department nebulized bicarbonate to great success….with 300 patients when the news came out…did anyone listen…..no……so many died from medical malpractice and certainly from medical ignorance.

  4. It seems that in the german version, which has been published in 2021 only, Peter Goetzsche has added a part in relation to the admission process of the covid 19 vaccination.
    (peter-c-gotzsche, impfen-fuer-und-wider, ISBN 978-3-7423-1743-8

    1. I have just checked the book on Amazon and the English version summary confirms that it does include Covid vaccines.

      1. Like I mentioned, the book came out a year ago, so although there is some discussion of covid, it’s limited to what was known a year ago – unless an updated version has been released now.

      2. Here in the UK, the English language version of the book won’t be available until July but it apparently has been updated to discuss the covid situation.

      3. It’s confusing. I just now downloaded the Kindle version of the book. Amazon states “People’sPress (6. Februar 2020)” as the publisher and the only date I could find. Chapter 10 is called “The 2019 coronavirus pandemic”. Gotsche writes about events in March and April 2020. I assume that there were late additions about Covid-19 in that chapter and the book was actually published in its current form in April or May 2020.

      4. https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Vaccines-by-Peter-C-Gtzsche-author/9781510762190
        Synopsis shows it is being republished next month (June.2021) and including CoV19, hence updated.
        Thanks for helpful pros/cons on this site: too often speaking against over the past year (be it lockdown extremism or vaccination concerns) is taken as being anti and disbelieving, instead of normal informed debate. Those of us retired from clinical professions totally ignored, yet trained in the days of infectious diseases and could have contributed to the skills-knowledge needed and helped bring some balance. Not wanted. God be with those attempting to care within legal prohibitions.

  5. Thank you for the book tip. Is it currently only available as a kindle book, or am I just not finding the correct place to order it?

    People have a tendency to want to polarize all questions into a pro and against part.. Good to have you and Gøtzsche trying to bring more nuance to this, for the benefit of us all.

  6. Checked for the book, but the kindle version is wildly overpriced.
    I get that you say the author doesn’t try to please anyone, but why should we believe what he says in a time where you can’t trust anyone any more?

    1. I have long been an admirer of Peter Gøtzsche. He speaks to issues with an honesty that commands respect. We need more of his fellow professionals to speak truth even when it means breaking ranks with those who compromise their ethics.

    2. Quite a conundrum isn’t it? Whom to believe—if anyone. If we are too selective, we are accused of selection bias on our part and living in a self constructed bubble wrt our view of the world. On the other hand, who has the time—or the intellect—to master every field we have a vested interest in.

      1. As is always the case, ask yourself “quo bono” (who benefits?)
        The modern day derivative: follow the money

    3. Well that’s right, you shouldn’t automatically believe anybody. It’s a matter of actually reading the referenced papers, checking the logic, and reading what the “other side” has to say in their own words, not the caricatured straw-man version put out by their opponents. It’s a time-consuming process, so it has to be restricted to a few controversial topics that matter to you, with other controversial topics having to remain as “don’t know”.

      1. Yes, and of being aware of the ways in which research can be misleading.

        For example, vaccine safety studies suffer from healthy-user bias, because people change their behavior depending on personal circumstances. If mostly healthy children are vaccinated and unhealthy children are not, then the vaccinateed group might have much better health than the unvaccinated, leading to incorrect conclusions about safety and benefits.

        Excellent discussion at http://vaccinepapers.org/healthy-user-bias-why-most-vaccine-safety-studies-are-wrong/ and http://vaccinepapers.org/high-mortality-dtp-vaccine/

      2. What you say about the potential for bias is correct, but nothing will get regulatory approval of any sort with a randomised study, so is not relevant nowadays. All the current covic vaccines have been studied using randomised studies. If there are any known confounding variables, then a stratified randomisation is often used. After the data has been collected, it can be checked to see if any known confounding variables are equally distributed between the different study groups.

  7. Thank you for this excellent review of this book. I am a vaccine advocate for those vaccines which have removed the scourges of childhood. I have participated in evaluations of different vaccines including Dark Winter. That said. My oldest child is autistic. The symptoms began about a month after his MMR vaccination schedule was complete. My wife received prolonged oxytocin induction (another proffered cause of autism). And genetically there is both Asperger’s and narcissism in the family line. (Although usually considered distinct the overlap between the conditions is dramatic). Did this combination cause autism? It is difficult to prove from a scientific point of view.

    Medical knowledge begins with epidemiological surveys. Such surveys are limited by our mathematical models in which the outcome of an individual cannot be predicted; only the outcome of a population. There is also a definitional point of view of Asperger’s spectrum/autism; how to make the diagnosis; and where does an individual fit on the curve. Looking at the link from an overall population level is difficult as the signal is drowned out in the noise. (The numerator is small but the denominator is large). In the case of autism/Asperger’s syndrome) no good marker exists so it is difficult to finesse out the population at risk.

    Until a mechanism is known, an epidemiological association is just that: an association and subject to the “association is causation” fallacy. For an association to move towards causation a plausible biological mechanism must be demonstrated. We have this link with the demonstration that peripheral inflammation may spill over into the central nervous system. The link if further strengthened with the demonstration that central neural inflammation is found in autism (along with genetic predisposition). The brain undergoes significant change in life when young, where we know that hard-wiring (genetics of the brain), firm ware (genetics plus environmental interaction) and software (socialization) are all necessary to ensure proper maturing of the brain.

    And so we are left with this statistical phenomenon: Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome appears to be increasing in society. Widespread MMR vaccination as a triple vaccination only became common in 2005. It is possible that either the triple vaccination or the tri-valent vaccine given at a critical point in a genetically susceptible family line is the cause.

      1. We are likely to find that Autism/Asperger’s is a syndrome (a constellation of findings in common) and not a disease (in the sense of a single etiology) as we have no biological marker/laboratory test to confirm or exclude the disease. This will make finding and proving any link difficult. Genome-wide genetic analysis may help in this assessment. However, at this time, the emotional rhetoric between the two camps (vaccine/anti vaccine) is so intense that any objective inquiry is likely to be impossible. The rising non-reproducibility of medical literature (currently at 50%+ articles and increasing each year), plus the distortion induced by Big Pharma to prove superiority of a non-superior medication, is likely to interfere with any meaningful assessment.

    1. Well then we just will have to use our common sense….a little intuition and logic mixed in….always remember that the most brilliant man of the last century said,m” I think with intuition,” that was Einstein.

    2. I guess I’ll have to read the book to hear the Doctor’s take-down of the MMR-autism link hypothesis.

      What cannot be escaped is that autism has spread like wildfire at the same time the recommended jab-schedule for children has ballooned. The MMR jabs are administered at roughly the same time as another four to eight jabs are recommended. There are a lot of variables at work here, so it is difficult to conclusively falsify the hypothesis that the MMR jab is linked in some way to autism.

      1. Exactly. This is especially difficult when there is a predator/prey relationship curve, where the effect is temporally displaced from the cause.

      2. The various national authorities with responsibility for vaccine safety resolutely refuse to conduct any studies comparing the overall health of vaccinated children versus unvaccinated, the reasons are obvious, they know the results would kill the vaccine money machine.

        A study has been carried out by private individuals and the results are damning for the vaccine industry, the overall health of the unvaccinated vastly exceeds that of the vaccinated.

        https://www.activistpost.com/2020/12/vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-the-study-the-cdc-refused-to-do-interview-with-dr-weiler.html

      3. This study you link to on activistpost.com has not the faintest beginnings of any scientific credibility. I suggest you read Dr Rushworth’s post some time back on the scientific method. It will help you assess whether the ‘results’ you are reading are of any scientific merit.

    3. In Scotland 1976 jabs were individual. A friends little boy went from happy energetic chattering to withdrawn unresponsive within a few days of the whooping cough jab. We decided our daughter same age was not going to have that jab. A few weeks later she was hospitalised with whooping cough and nearly died. Our daughter recovered. Their son never has.

  8. Thank you for acknowledging Peter Gotzsche at last, and mentioning one of his works.
    Most of the medical profession ignores his controversial views, because, just like with covid, it is easier to parrot the politically correct paradigm rather than think outside the box.

  9. Thanks Sebastian, discovered you via Ivor Cummins vid, bought your book immediately and read it last (Scandi long) weekend – bloody fantastic to read something of pure sense and sensibility in these utter despotic, idiotic times we live in filled with nothing but hype, lies, deceit, panic & fear wherever we look.
    As such, I have just bought this book too and very much look forward to another good read over this also long and rainy weekend. THANKS!!!

  10. Thanks for the information Sebastian I will try to read this book. But now I mean today we should have such an unbiased view about Covid 19 vaccines.
    My wife for example has 60 years old and the authorities call her and informed her she would take the Jansen vaccine just before Norway had forbidden this vaccines and several safety problems had been raised in USA. She felt very uncomfortable to being pushed and she refused the vaccine.
    But is Pfeizer good for her or Astra Zeneca or Moderna ?
    Today with more data than in December where vaccination in mass begun can anyone outside the pro vaccines people that seems to be our politicians and medical authorities gives us all an unbiased view ? We should look case by case and not say they are all good or bad. This is specially important in the case of people like myself or my wife which are not young but are not also old people.
    Should we take Covid 19 vaccines ? All of then ? Are they safe ? Beneficts surpass the risks ? Can you help me on this Sebastian ? Can you send some light on this ?

    1. The best thing you can do is read the article again, and digest especially these paragraphs:

      The main message of the book is that both the anti-vaccine fundamentalists and the pro-vaccine fundamentalists are wrong. To say that all vaccines are bad is idiotic. To say that all vaccines are good is equally idiotic. One needs to look at each vaccine individually, and weigh one’s personal risk of infection, and of serious disease if one should be infected, against the particular risks of harm specific to the vaccine.

      I think most doctors are unaware that vaccines can be dangerous, and that benefits and risks therefore need to be balanced carefully. During my years in medical school, vaccinations were always presented as 100% a good thing. I don’t think I even once heard anything about the risks related to a vaccine that is in current use. I think that’s why many doctors will tend to lump anyone who in even the mildest way tries to lift the issue of risks associated with a vaccine as an ”anti-vaxxer”, and why doctors have been so unhesitant when it comes to vaccinating entire populations with an unproven new vaccine.

      Then do some research on the convid serious harm / death rate for you & your wife’s age group / medical status / history & make your own decision – no one can or should tell you what to do, that’s totally up to you and it’s your responsibility to make an _informed_ choice.

      1. Time is your friend re: taking the shot if you are at risk. If you are not at risk or have had the virus, again, time is your friend.
        Before the coercion to take the shot I was generally speaking, pro-vaccine (although I never took or gave a flu shot to my children). Now that I am more aware of the CDC and FDA and the significant conflict of interests, I understand why during the last 40 years Americans have become sicker and sicker with more and more chronic disease related to poor nutritional food choices and extreme abundance. While one could blame marketing, as humans we have a choice. Taking a pill or a shot is, unfortunately, the American way. The corruption is astounding and, with the exception of a few brave scientists and doctors, I have lost all respect for “science” who have chosen to accept thirty pieces of silver. I say this understanding the difficulty because I had to leave my own profession due to “management requests” to “what-if” the financial data to unlikely scenarios. I’ve chosen to live a modest lifestyle so I can meet my Maker without regret.
        We are seeing both unreported and reported “breakthrough” covid hospitalization cases here in US and lots of long term injuries. The CDC has changed the PCR threshold count guidelines for “vaccinated” cases to 23 and “unvaccinated” remain at 40. This will, of course, distort the case numbers in favor of “vaccinated”….this is easily found on their website.
        Sadly, many people have become incensed with anger over the control government and scientists are wielding over us. It is a kind of psychopathic control that angers even me…a fairly understanding person.

    2. Lack of choice as to which vaccine, in the countries with several available, is a concern. (UK now give under 40s a say in this; it remains to be seen if that choice will be preferential treatment or available to older folk!)

      The data shows the viral vector (Jansen and Astra Zeneca) vaccines have a higher than norm for population risk of a very specific type of clotting mechanism. Refer to this site’s article dated 17 April for an excellent explanation of this (link below).

      The risk:benefit is very dependent on perspective – ironically, having (outside the UK) halted the OAZ vaccine in over 60s earlier in the year, it is now that age group advised it is safe for: actually, it isn’t really safer for the older, just that the risk of similar clotting with the covid infection is higher in older age groups, so the benefit of a vaccine with a very slight risk of that in younger folk is less a benefit of them than it is perceived to be for older folk.

      Headlines saying 8-10 times more likely to get that side effect with covid itself than the vaccines are misleading – and concerning, in an era where many go no further than the headlines. The survey quoted only studied people who had the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) because it studied folk in USA and Israel where the viral vectors have not been given!

      That sort of misleading information is sadly typical of much of the past year’s events. Distancing and hygiene are logical with any respiratory virus and there is no question this is a nasty one and such precautions essential; masks if unable to space sufficiently indoors (pointless outside, especially in damp weather: counter productive.) But how much else has been needed to the extent it has been – and draconian policing, fines, general oppression rather than encouraging safer practices … Democratic regimes have not behaved democratically.

      Sadly, treatment has often been panic-driven also. It’s heart breaking hearing of changes in treatment to what in some instances would have been the norm in the first place a few decades ago; and reading of PPE guidance that suits blood born transmission better than respiratory. Also of death certificates stating covid19 that turn out not to have been (yet it’s known that in order to avoid false-negatives, tests include false-positives from dead viri: dead are not necessarily indicative of having been infected; they could be contamination e.g. from a carer (professional or voluntary) as sanitiser merely kills the virus, hands etc need washing to actually remove it. Little details that add up to massive fear and sorrow.

      The other key vaccine risk is anaphylaxis, which can occur with the mRNA vaccines, but whilst life threatening, it is more observable and treatable. As ever, good clinical practice is necessary and certainly many vaccination centres appear to be meeting that.

      The main problem on vaccine risk however seems to be “allaying” fears by falsely assuring “they are safe” – they have emergency approval, none are yet licensed (again, refer to https://sebastianrushworth.com/2021/04/17/is-the-astra-zeneca-…) Yes, for most folk, early evidence suggests safety, but the low risk of severe side effects are very high impact indeed for those individuals suffering them – and death should not be the only marker of that, when severe strokes are seriously life-changing. Primum non nocere – first, do no harm – is wise to bear in mind, not to avoid risk, that way, the good gets thrown out with the bad; but to make informed decisions on the balance of risk – and allow individuals a say in the matter.

  11. Thank you for an interesting article. I’m sorry I haven’t read any of Gøtzsche’s books, but some years ago he wrote a book about the dangers of neuroleptics. I believe his point was that in a vast majority of cases treating schizofrenic patients with antipsychotic drugs were more dangerous (for the patient) than not treating. This conclusion were obviously drawn from studies, without him having any clinical practice.
    From my work as a clinician (mostly forensic psychiatry) for about 30 years, I have noticed when treated “correctly” many patients can acquire a significantly better quality of life, than without treating.
    Schizofrenia is a terrible disease, affecting all aspects of the abilty to live. In some countries without effective medical care, you can notice strange, dirty persons sneaking around and searching for food in dustbins. I believe at least some of them are schizofrenics left out of society, and approaching death sooner or later, because of unabilty taking care of themselves because of both the so called positive and negative symptoms of the disease.
    That’s a reason for me since Gøtzsche wrote the book, I have been sceptical to his battles with the medical industry. Is that his own personal battle (in some narcissistic way) or is the battle made of some misinterpreting of the scientific basics?

    1. I’m afraid you have the wrong impression of Gotzsche’s message in his book ” Deadly Psychiatry and Organised denial”.
      You really should read it before forming an opinion.
      He never says that schizophrenia should not be treated with medication.
      Nor that severe depression should not be treated with medication.
      Rather he makes the point that mild depression is overtreated with anti-depressants today, and that causes more harm than good.

      1. Of course treat it with medication but the key is the right medication and those rarely come from pharmaceutical companies

  12. Dr Rushworth

    What is your view on the research by Peter Aarby and Christine Stabell Benn regarding non-specific effects of vaccines? They claim positive non-specific effects from live vaccines, e.g. live polio vaccines will reduce mortality in areas witout polio. And they also claim negative non-specific effects from non-live vaccines which yields a higher total mortality eventhough the numbers improve for the target disease.

    1. Gotszche refers to that research several times in the book. I haven’t looked in to it personally yet, so can’t comment. It feels like a good topic for a future article, so I’ll look in to it!

  13. Responding to: Luis Cristóvão

    Please study the differences between the mRNA shots (Moderna and Pfizer) and the adenovirus shots of AstraZeneca and Jassen/Johnson & Johnson). This is not easy because there is no single source for this study and of course, many facts are highlighted or downplayed depending on the writer’s biases. Your decision should not be made until you have satisfied yourself that you have a sufficient base of knowledge and have looked at the benefits and detriments of each possible choice.

    In my opinion, we do not have sufficient knowledge about the long term results of taking the mRNA shots and those shots seem to create enhancement of symptoms later, if and when you become exposed to a variant strain of the China Flu. I have not seen data or reports that the adenovirus shots create such enhancement although, some articles state that they too may lead to such pathological priming or antibody dependent enhancement. Who knows ?

    My decision to avoid the shots is based on this lack of sufficient information on the long term effects of the adenovirus alternatives, which I think are significantly less of a risk than the mRNA. Also I must point out that I am not trained or skilled in any medical field although I have spent hours and hours studying and comparing facts. It is not a simple thing to just say which of the four alternative shots is the least harmful. And it becomes more complex when you then have to evaluate your lifestyle and activities with your health to see if you should even submit to any of the shots.

    I think the best choice is to wait for more information and to keep on educating myself. However, I note in my family that most jumped on the propaganda bandwagon and took the mRNA shots even though all were young and healthy, but they were working where they had to have access to many others in close environments and felt pressured to take the shots. I have been upset that they would not delay their decision as they just wanted to make the choice a non-issue in their lives. They chose the easiest way and believed all the propaganda being pushed about the shots without much study or research. I fear that is what most people have done who have submitted to the shots. Afterwards, they close their ears and refuse to spend any time or intellectual curiosity into learning more about what they have just done to their bodies.

    My wife did heed some of my exhortations about the dangers of mRNA shots and elected along with our son-in-law to also get the Johnson & Johnson shot. One son and daughter-in-law ( took the AstraZeneca only because it was the first available, not for any other reason).

    Whatever your choice, please DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN TAKE THESE SHOTS !!~!! There has been absolutely no proof that children are in need of these shots and the chances for long-term damage while their bodies are still developing is heightened. We do not know anything about how these shots will affect them and there are many reports that these shots, all of them, can affect the reproductive capabilities of both boys and girls !!!

    1. 173dVietVet, thanks for your input
      But it’s difficult to have an opinion on vaccines specially considering all the angles involved. They can be important but bring a risk of safety and its not a few cases there are many deaths (I read until now near 4,000 people died with causes related to covid vaccines). If we assume 1 billion people vaccinated this gives us 4 cases in a million which is very low, 4ppm. Even if the real number are 2 or 3 times higher we go until 12 ppm which is also very low.
      But this is an average and could be misleading because deaths are not equally distributed over the 4 main vaccines, and Pfizer has a much higher number of people vaccinated. Its not only the numerator but the denominator in this death percentage !
      If we can assume that every drug even aspirin has a risk I don’t know if vaccines are worst than any drug…This is a point that should be put in perspective for those that are against.
      I think only looking at the numbers can bring some light on this, but I leave that to Dr Sebastian and all other experts on this blog.

  14. ‘… the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine…’

    By sheer coincidence (?) in France they started promoting this over the media just after the CoVid vaccine programme started. This is a new thing, never heard it before.

    Also frequent ads – and announcements in supermarkets – giving out a hotline number to report domestic abuse and urging people who suspect it happening with neighbours or family members to call the number or the Gendarmes. I wonder if it has anything to do with intractable lockdowns, more people out of work, constant air of fear?

  15. Thank you for drawing attention to this interesting book. Personally I am very concerned about the headlong rush into administering Covid19 vaccines to healthy people but am trying to keep an open mind for the future.
    My biggest concern is that many people are over fearful and not in a position to make informed consent. In the UK we know that many, especially healthy young, people over-estimate the risk of suffering Covid19 by orders of magnitude. Laura Dodsworth’s recent book “A State of Fear” explains how this has come about.
    As you mention, GPs are not necessarily in a position to assist in informed consent. More generally I have recently learnt just how ill-informed on some aspects of healthcare our UK GPs are. Professor Tim Spector’s recent book “Spoon-Fed” is very readable, though inconclusive and sometimes muddled, tour of all the problems surrounding MIRS diagnosis and treatment. The chapter on “Don’t trust me, I’m a doctor” is especially illuminating.

  16. Well Sebastian we cannot have it both ways though I see you wish we could. The medical-industrial complex, led by Big Pharma is either the largest terrorist organization in the world or its not. We can trust them or not. As such we can trust the vaccine companies or not. Really no such thing as trusting one member of a terrorist group and the others not. And oh, by the way, the MMR shot is a, hard to put a word in their…but you know, or I hope you know that the German Supreme Court ruled, after examining all the evidence, that the measles virus has never been proven to exist…so we have a shot for something that does not exist….wow….how can anyone defend that?
    https://drsircus.com/general/mmr-vaccine-from-hell-court-rules-measles-is-not-caused-by-a-virus/

    1. A German biologist, Lanka, offered a reward for someone to prove the existence of a measles virus. Someone tried to claim it, was initially awarded the prize, but subsequently this was overturned, essentially on a technicality that the proof offered did not fully satisfy the condition set by Lanka.
      This essentially is a useless piece of information of no scientific validity.
      I also think you should not be using this forum to link to your own alternative medicine website.

      1. What you think is not very important to me…just the fact that you make a split in your consciousness between alternative and mainstream it telling….“Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime.” Is what we are really talking about and mountain ranges of human suffering so please do not make light of it. I am also a paying contributor to Sebastians work so please spare me your suggestions…..and the light dismissal of the German Supreme courts decission…the entire virology case is on a slipperly slope….

    2. Well I am sure you are not bothered about what I or anyone else with alternative views think. When it comes to the mountain ranges of suffering, you will be doing your bit peddling high cost quack therapies from your website for cancer sufferers.

      1. Well I should not dignify your communication with a response but why not confront your obvious aggressiveness…..this is medical site and thread, you want to talk medicine or you just want to quack quack quack….lets start with sodium bicarbonate…..and that every cancer patient should be on it according to the latest science and research….same for COVID and the Flu since viruses are pH sensitive…..right?

    3. I love it that you call it for what it is, no mincing words!! BTW, thank you for all your research and books!!

  17. Why can’t I get a “vaccine” with an attenuated SARS‑CoV‑2 virus?

    This is a religious war/schism. I dare anyone to read one quality book about the reformation and inquisition then not herniate yourself laughing at the similarities to the past 18 months. There are heresies and heretics: That which can’t be spoken and those excommunicated. Is the wafer the body of Christ or the spirit of Christ; is a vaccine a virus or is it a gene therapy? Martin Luther hated the peasants as much as the Pope and married a nun; most Conversos burned were wealthy or powerful, the grand inquisitor was himself a Converso.

    Careful not to Simmleweis yourself Dr Rushworth.

    1. ”Why can’t I get a “vaccine” with an attenuated SARS‑CoV‑2 virus?”

      Because it would take years and a number of tests to determine if you had a relatively safe and effective one; TPTB decided, for whatever reasons good, bad or evil, that they wanted the whole world vaccinated as quickly as possible.

      Given how the COVID numbers for cases and deaths have been rather unremarkable vis à vis prior influenza numbers, while the COVID vaxx adverse events reports have been off the charts versus all prior years where reports were tabulated, it is difficult to accept that authorities and big pharma are acting in our best interests.

      The question remains: Are they stupid, or are they evil.

      1. “Are they stupid, or are they evil.”

        They are greedy. Being too greedy in the long run is of course a stupidity against its shareholders. We know that from real world financial experiances. The biggest long run contributer for financial gains allowing for greed is of cource government authorities due to the growth of revolving doors between industry and supervision. Thereby making the businesses Evil and crimes against the humanity possible.

        Today no-one goes to jail. Criminal charges are transformed to money-events payed by all share-holders. The financial deregulations from the 80’s set the tone.

        Today we are all financial followers set by our own greed and need for financial freedom and pensions.

      1. Inactivated means dead/damaged, usually accompanied by an adjuvant, typically aluminium. Attenuated may be preferable for healthy people but COVID-19 attenuated vaccines are still Phase I, so, all set for a release next year then 😀

      2. The Meissa “attenuated” vaccine currently in Phase I is not in fact an attenuated SARS-CoV2 vaccine, it’s an RSV virus vector that has been genetically modified to express the SARS-CoV2 spike protein. Which is disappointing because what one would like is an attenuated virus with a set of epitopes that’s similar to the real thing.

      3. Isn’t the spike protein a possible source of adverse events? They claim the one they pump into you is “safe,” but would the ones it triggers your body to express also be safe?

  18. Im not sure your basis for truth about the dangers of the mmr vaccine lying in one doctors view based on what he found in his country counts as unquestionable truth. The CDC are, as you admit, guilty of peddling in misinformation and the truth around damage from the mmr vaccine is no different. There have been CDC whistlblowers and evidence about the mmr dangers come to light over the years, especially about autusm caused to black and hispanic boys. It also seems unlikely that if, by your own admissions in your latest article are anything to go by, that the flu vaccine, hpv vaccine and now the covid vaccine are not worth the risk but the mmr is ok and theres no evidence to support its avoidance? It doesnt make sense to me. What does make sense is that, as you admit, there are many vaccines that carry dangers and a multi vaccine would surely be no different, in fact, it would more likely be dangerous…

    I have researched vaccinations for many years and have not come across any evidence to suggest it is safer and better to have a vaccination (with all its questionable and sometimes toxic ingredients, incubation protocols and delivery which bypassses the bodys natural defence system) rather trust your body which has developed an immune system and response over thousands if not millions of years. Even if you go back to original written records, you will find that the smallpox vaccine came into play after the diease was waning yet vaccines got the credit. This, I believe, is how the covid vaccination tragedy will plsy out too, just like lockdowns and masks.

    I enjoy your writing. I bought and read your book, but, take a step back and re read what you have written and maybe youll understand why I have taken the view that I have.

      1. Yes. Well done, Jude. Because of this covid crisis, I was driven to Bobby Kennedy Jr website (he has been censored) and learned much about vaccines….notice the significant uptick in number of vaccines since 1990 (under Fauci’s watch)….the first one is administered at age 3 days old. My children received all vaccines but none after 1989.

    1. Jude you are so right.
      There was a 340% increase in autism with afro american boys after there second jab MMR. The movie vaxxed explains it all. And Wakefield wasn’t fraudulent but showed in his study that more investigation was needed to examin the relation between autism and the guts.

      1. Gotzche’s book actually has a long and interesting discussion of the movie ”Vaxxed”, which was directed by Andrew Wakefield. The claim that African American boys in particular develop autism after the MMR vaccine is the result of data trawling, and of not compensating for looking at many variables by setting a more stringent p-value requirement. In other words, it is a statistical artifact.

  19. I just listened to Peter Gotzsche on YouTube and have ordered his book “Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime.” What an inspiring man, and thank you Sebastian for another thoughtful great article.

  20. He should contact Dennis Prager to see if he would like to read the book and have him on his radio show. He frequently has book authors on.

  21. I think I might get this book, im interested in vaccines, but does he go into depth about MMR and the relationship with Autism.

  22. Can you confirm this?
    “They haven’t seen lasting immunity from survival. Sweden tried that and they didn’t even get 7% immunity. People who have survived covid have caught the first strain twice.”

  23. Thank you for the review of Peter Gotzsche book. It is a welcome look at both sides of the debate. I like to point people to your site for this type of balanced approach to the medical issues of today.

  24. well, might it be that Semmelweiss told the doctors in a polite way, to no effect, and then he correctly addressed them as murderers?

  25. It seems to me odd that from 100,000 years ago to the 19th Century say every one had dirty hands and much else besides no doubt so how did humanity survive childbirth so well or didn’t it with 80/90% deaths of mother and baby the norm?

    1. The problem was that doctors went from autopsies to deliveries, and therefore carried with them certain specific bacteria that are particularly likely to cause post-partum fever. What Semmelweiss noticed was that the midwives had much better mortality statistics than the doctors, because they weren’t spending part of their time doing autopsies.

    2. Childbirth was dangerous to women in the 19th century and before, but it was never 80-90% mortality. Maybe 5% of first time pregnancies ended in the woman’s death. If women could get past the first child, future pregnancies looked relatively safe.

      Birthing hospitals in the 19th century is where the highest mortality due to purpueral fever occurred.

      I don’t recall any RCTs proving that washing hands between autopsies and delivery resulted in reduction in maternal mortality.

  26. Gotzsche is great, a very independent mind indeed. I believe, however, that his take on the MMR – autism question is not definitive. The “money making” accusation was a rather dubious counter-attack by Brian Deer against Andrew Wakefield (although it is true that Wakefield was positioning himself to benefit financially, but this doesn’t refute his medical analysis and claims). Regardless, the exponential rise in autism is a huge and unsolved problem of itself.

    1. I’m not sure that the prevalence of autism is increasing, although I agree that the diagnosis is increasing as is the diagnosis of other check-list based psychiatric diagnoses, like ADHD. In Sweden, for example, this is in part driven by the fact that a lot of state support requires having a formal diagnosis, and additionally, the diagnostic criteria have become broader.

      1. It is very high, at any rate: “What is the prevalence of autism in the U.S.?
        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68children in the U.S. have autism. The prevalence is 1 in 42 for boys and 1 in 189 for girls. These rates yield a gender ratio of about five boys for every girl.” (Scientific American)

      2. I suspect that autism will turn out to be a genetic modification–perhaps methylation of some genes–that at low incidence confers a benefit on the human gene pool. It seems to be somewhat sex-linked.

      3. Hi Sebastian, thanks for your blog. Just as additional information, there is an interesting book written by Prof. Christopher Exley titled “Imagine You Are An Aluminum Atom” describing the role of aluminium in human health. He is concerned about the amount of aluminium contained in certain vaccines and he received therefore harsh criticism and was immediately considered an “anti-vaxxer”.

      4. Sebastian,
        Just want to say there is a huge different outcome/symptom betw Autism and ADHD. ADHD is by many said to be (at least partly) a socially attained syndrom. Early childhood traumas i.e combined with dysfunctional family-upbrought etc.

    2. We set the bar pretty low for Autism these days, and there’s a tendency to medicalise any challenging behavior. Obviously there’s no blood test for Autism, and we’ve been unable to find any structural abnormalities in the brain linked to it. It seems to me that Autism is arbitrary collection of traits, of which doctors decided a minimum number, presenting for a minimum time, meet the criteria for an Autism diagnosis. When questioned about the resulting rather loose definition of Autism, the stock reply is that every case is different, unique. My take is that if every case is different how are they the same, in other words, what is Autism? If they’re all different how can they be the same syndrome? This isn’t science anymore, it’s a collection of beliefs, a narrative.
      Now I think there is likely to be a physical cause for many of the traits we associate with Autism, unfortunately we have too many activists getting in the way of identifying these causes. They’re not really interested in addressing causes, they’re interested in raising awareness, getting funds, getting that all important “label” so your challenging child can access additional help. They’ll spout unscientific bromides like “Autism can’t be cured, it’s for life”. Their enablers in the Psychiatric profession will offer their children Prozac to alleviate the symptoms of autism, all without considering the long term consequences.
      My own daughter received an autism diagnosis, psychiatrists and psychologists were generally a waste of time, it did enable us to get additional social security benefits for a child who while bright, had obvious difficulties. We homeschooled her for a while and then she returned to the state school system where she was put in a class for those with special educational needs, which unfortunately was mainly a dumping ground for disruptive children.
      I read around the subject a bit and decided to put our daughter on a Gluten free diet and cut down on the Carbs and her symptoms improved quite dramatically. She’s now at a different school and no longer a “special needs” pupil, albeit a bit eccentric.
      I guess if any doctor had prescribed a Gluten free diet the mainstream would have deemed this doctor a quack, I would counter that modern medicine is more like a guild, one replete with groupthink.

      1. I read your comment with interest. I have been diagnosed as being “on the spectrum.” I have considerable sensitivity to light, smell, and texture. In social contexts, I have a social “blindness” which hinders my ability to perceive social signals in real time. I believe that autism has a sensory basis and that my sensitivity to sensory data is somehow connected with my difficulty perceiving social signals. When it comes to social signals, a signal for an autist may seem to be a candle on a bright sunny day, while for a non-autist, the same signal may seem to be a glaring neon sign on a dark, moonless night. So, background sensory input (and perhaps internal mental input) may hinder perception of social signals.

        For me, the problem isn’t social intelligence. Once I realize that I have missed a signal, I have no problem understanding what the signal was, how it was relevant, or how I ought to have reacted to it. To some degree, I can mitigate the problem by polling for social signals in social environments. Someone who isn’t autistic can rely on a social signal throwing an interrupt to get their prompt attention.

        In order to function effectively in social situations, autists really need to understand the dynamics of those situations and know which signals they need to actively poll for. Effective training can help with this a lot.

      2. In trying to consider autism in the light of this book: – If autism has something to do with perception of environment, one also has to take environment into account. The child’s environment includes parents, teachers and doctors and, it is very much easier for ‘grown-ups’ to blame children than it is to critique themselves. So, if a child is ‘disruptive’ in class, how good at doing their job is the teacher?

  27. 18 Reasons I Won’t Be Getting a Covid Vaccine

    “A few friends have asked my thoughts on the covid jab(s) so I thought it was time to write an article on the topic.
    All my friends had not heard most of the details I shared, so I figured you might appreciate hearing some of what I told them.
    Knowing how contentious this issue is, part of me would rather just write about something else, but I feel like the discussion/news is so one-sided that I should speak up.
    As I always strive to do, I promise to do my best to be level-headed and non-hysterical.
    I’m not here to pick a fight with anyone, just to walk you through some of what I’ve read, my lingering questions, and explain why I can’t make sense of these covid vaccines.”

    https://www.citizensjournal.us/18-reasons-i-wont-be-getting-a-covid-vaccine/

    1. To Jake
      Date @22 May, 2021 at 18:33
      Subject: 18 Reasons I Won’t Be Getting a Covid Vaccine

      I think that everybody must have an opportunity:
      Go to Google, put the entire sentence from ‘subject’ in the search area and, in ‘Tools’, limit search from April,12 to May,13 (2021).
      I think that a month is enough.
      Read all the (few) results against the author of the ‘subject’.
      Have peace.

      1. Me OLiveira,
        Thanks for the contradictory on these 18 reasons against covid 19 vaccines.
        It was quite interesting and helpfull

  28. Thank you for signalling this book. I am a great admirer of PG and will buy the book ( despite it’s high price on Kindle!) I have just reread your article on the covid vaccine trials. My husband went to our GP for a prescription this week and got a barrage of persuasion to get vaccinated. One of the arguments that the doc used was that there had never been a vaccine with long term bad consequences. Apart from death being a pretty bad long term consequence I thought of Pandemrix . I have just looked up the ANSM data for the Pandemrix narcolepsy cases in France ( where I live). You stated in your article on the covid vaccines that as far as you knew the narcolepsy had manifested within a few weeks. For the cases here the average time of manifestation in adults was 4.7 months and for children and adolescents 3.9 months so both outside the average time of assessment for the covid vaccine trials. Interestingly for adults the longest time to manifestation was 2.5 years!

  29. It looks like there is an updated English hardcover coming out in July 2021. I do not know if its content will be the same as the Kindle version from 2020.

  30. Thanks for reminding me of dr Gotzsche’s book – I will definitely order it. Hasn’t he commented on the vaccine passport plans?

    Sebastian, you have seen interviews with Dr Peter Mccullough, regarding treatments for Covid and mass vaccination, haven’t you? He may not be an equal to Dr Gotzsche but he is a highly published researcher, if I understood correctly, and can’t easily be brushed aside. He highlights the total lack of interest in repurposed drugs for covid among the medical establishment and media.
    I recommend the interview with Tucker C.
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/dr-peter-mccullough-tells-tucker-carlson-today-the-world-has-gone-off-the-rails-with-treating-covid-19

  31. Regarding the safety of the Covid vaccines, one factor that is almost always forgotten is that even if one “treatment” with one of the covid vaccines may be acceptable from a benefit risk point of view, it absolutely doesn’t follow that repeated injections, perhaps every year (as we have heard the CEO of Pfizer and Anders Tegnell say may be necessary), with this experimental vaccine is safe and good. How is our immune system affected by repeated and long term use of these injections? For sure there are no studies which give any answers to that question.
    Another issue that is usually ignored is the fact that people who have previously been infected by covid, are excluded from the vaccine trials, as far as I’ve heard. How may this large group of people be affected by repeated, perhaps yearly covid vaccine shots? The incidense of side affects among medical staff seem to have been rather high, probably because many of them have previously been infected; and side effects may be due to remaining antigens for example.

  32. I must admit that I immediately become skeptical that anyone who classifies “MMR causes autism” as the “anti-vaxxer’s sacred cow” has even attempted to listen to or understand the concerns of those who do not want to vaccinate. I have several dozen close friends and family members who would qualify as “anti-vax” and have read the arguments of hundreds more online, and only a tiny fraction even consider the MMR/autism as being significant enough to make their list of reasons not to vaccinate. Many stopped vaccinating because of what they considered to be a vaccine injury, but that only began them down a path of research into the issue that exposed much more significant concerns. I would classify the majority of the “anti-vaxxers” I know and have read as being mainly concerned that:
    – The history of childhood illnesses is not consistent with the story that it was vaccines that ended severe illness and death in 1st world countries. With the improvements in hygiene and sanitation, the severity and death rates were already dropping very low before vaccines were widely used.
    – Paired with that first item, that vaccine-conferred immunity is inferior to infection-conferred immunity. That in an attempt to eradicate a handful of (what the vast majority of modern 1st world children would experience as) mild, problem-free childhood illnesses, an entire population has been dosed with toxic ingredients and inferior protection that could leave them more susceptible as adults, and also deprives the next generation of maternal antibodies.
    – The use of aborted fetal cell lines
    – The vast majority of vaccine providers have not received or pursued a balanced education on the issue
    – The vast majority of vaccines are not given with fully “informed consent.”
    – In the US at least, the vaccine liability shield disincentivizes manufacturers from working on ways to make vaccines safer
    – The increased pressure to mandate vaccination/end exemptions, and along with that, the difficulty in finding a pediatrician or family doctor willing to provide care for patients who choose not to vaccinate, or even those who wish to space them out or use monovalent vaccines

    I think it can be easy for the “pro-vaxxers” to ignore the “anti-vaxxers” by pretending that their primary or only concern is based on the debunked Andrew Wakefield’s claims, but not only is the MMR/autism issue more complicated than the “pro-vaxxers” suggest (another commenter mentioned the whistleblower who was told to shred MMR trial data showing increased autism in black boys), it is also not even close to the main issue for most “anti-vaxxers.”

    I appreciate the book recommendation, and will work to get my hands on a hard copy.

  33. Thank you very much Sebastian for this post.
    You have clarified two things for me. First, I was under the impression that the MMR vaccine did cause autism but now I know better. Though there is still the ethical question on whether it is right for it to be mandatory for parents to allow their child to have it.
    Second, and this involves me directly, the question whether the flu vaccines are of any use. That jab never seemed to do anything for me so I have now started refusing it.
    I’ve also refused to have the Covid jab. At present it is still not certain what a lack of covid passport will exclude me from. I’m a UK citizen and resident.

  34. A reasonable voice with a high degree of credibility in this world of chaos. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Good to remember “Medical reversals – when doctors hurt patients.” I do not think Sebastian talked about vaccine doctors in that essay…..bottom line, besides the vaccine dead and injured….for all the vaccines they have humanity has never been sicker. Sure they work!!!!

    I read this just now, “What has occurred in the last year has befuddled me, as the level of treachery, deception, disinformation, and false narratives has reached excessive elevations, indicating a sense of urgency and desperation by those wielding power over society. It has been depressing and frustrating to witness the level of obedient compliance by the majority of frightened sheep in this country, with complete subservience to authoritarian dictates of their overlords.”

    COVID vaccines are right smack in the middle of this…..

  36. A surgeon I know mentioned that his fellow surgeons in his group were asking him why he wasn’t getting the vaxx. They were acting like vaxx fundamentalist bullies. I’m sure this is not unusual.

  37. There is excellent info on vaccines and autism at http://vaccinepapers.org/ –science based, most of the papers it cites are available for free download. It says “Vaccinepapers.org provides detailed, science-based and objective information about the dangers of vaccines. We are most concerned about aluminum adjuvant toxicity and immune activation-mediated brain injury. Vaccinepapers.org is the first to make this hugely important scientific research accessible to the public.”

    An excellent book on the history and science is Dissolving Illusions by Dr Suzanne Humphries

    For aluminum-containing vaccines, Prof Exley’s book is Imagine You Are An Aluminum Atom: Discussions With Mr. Aluminum — he is a pre-eminent aluminum researcher, and makes a compelling case that aluminum adjuvant should not be used in vaccines.

    I checked the reviews for Gøtzsche’s book on amazon, and was sorry to see this: “…it is a pity that Gøtzsche opposes parents who are hesitant to vaccinate by bullying them, calling them names and suggesting they should be deprived of their liberty, rather than by respectfully dealing with the concerns they raise. This detracts from the valuable contribution he could make to the vaccine debate. He does state in the book that he is careful to not be associated with anti-vaxxers. That is understandable considering one is judged by the company one keeps, but it does not justify his rude and beligerant tone towards them.” — https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R71CA36NJEV02/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0848FPKNP

  38. ‘One needs to look at each vaccine individually, and weigh one’s personal risk of infection, and of serious disease if one should be infected, against the particular risks of harm specific to the vaccine.’

    This is a fair point, but equally valid is the view that we must consider the accumulative effect of vaccines on the human body.
    Perhaps one or two vaccines can actually be shown to provide benefit but what happens when dozens and dozens of vaccines are injected into the human body and all those toxic adjuvants take their toll on the human body.

  39. Amazon states that the book was updated in May 2020 with a chapter on Covid 19. Furthermore, right beside the Kindle ed is a hardback version – it helps to read through

  40. Regarding the 2 ‘fundamentalist’ camps described in Dr Rushworth’s post, I probably received even less information about vaccines when I went through medical school than Dr Rushworth, in fact, I cannot remember any at all. Most post graduate doctors will only have a sketchy knowledge of medicine beyond their own specialty. The difference between the camps is that, I think most medical practitioners would change their minds when presented with the facts.
    Most of the fundamentalist anti vaxxers would probably not, and cleave to their views with religious fervour. Both Dr Rushworth and Gotzsche debunk the MMR-autism link. Even if Wakefield had not fabricated his data for the publications. his studies were so scientifically poor as to be useless, and that is quite apart from his hidden financial interests. The BMJ paper clearly sets out the fabrications (https://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347). Between 2018 and 2020, a measles epidemic in Eastern Congo has infected 480,000 children with 8000 deaths. That is a lot of deaths to put your hand on your heart and say that is just the way it is.

    1. I think you have been duped, and you admit it about medical school. There really are not two camps….or if there are one is for murder…..the other medical sanity..with COVID vaccines its mass murder…..and man oh man do you guys love to crucify Wakefield…..and since you guys have nothing solid to say about autism and what causes it….more likely Martian ray guns than vaccines right? One of the big ones is mercury pollution which is everywhere, and super overuse of antibiotics which makes it difficult for kids to eliminate mercury from their bodies….

    2. Not only do most doctors have a sketchy knowledge of medicine outside of their specialty, but most lack the time to read anything more than abstracts outside of their specialty. Doctors have time to read articles in the specialty in depth, but doctors must rely on other specialists for knowledge about anything outside of their specialty.

      One physician I know tells me that he reads the abstract and the limitations section. But what if the article lacks a limitations section? Is that article to be discounted? For example, the article about the RECOVERY trial lacked a limitations section. What should we make of that?

      About certainty and uncertainty–it seems to me that those people who take time to look at systematic error and other details have more of a duty to speak out about what they have found. And people who have not looked have a duty to be more circumspect. So, the view that everyone should show profound uncertainty about their conclusions looks to be weak. Due diligence suggests that we should look at what each person says and weigh their message against how much work they have put into looking. Hence, people who have done more looking, like Peter Gotzche, should speak with more certainty about what he has looked at, and people who have not done much looking should speak with less certainty.

      When it comes to HCQ, the opinion of the medical community is based on a relatively small group of people who are in field. And those people have a vested interest in smearing antivirals because they are competition to vaccines. There are physicians and researchers who have looked carefully at HCQ who are at odds with the opinion of the medical community and those people are not vested in anything beyond patient care. These are people like Frisch, McCullough, Derwand, Kory, Marik, etc. Their opinion is at least as relevant as any of the CDC. And weightier, in my opinion. And I have looked carefully.

      My view of things is without clinical background, but with my background in systematic error from my training in physics and chemistry, I can speak with some knowledge about the impact of systematic error even in medicine. I can tell from knowledge about PCR based on my research that when influenza is cycled at 27 and covid is cycled at 37, that the chance of a misdiagnosis of covid is about 1,000 times the chance of a misdiagnosis of influenza. Hence, public health statistics are very likely to be strongly weighted in favor of an inflated covid case count.

      When the CDC said that breakthrough cases are to be cycled at 28 or less, it was obvious to me that the CDC was looking to minimize the breakthrough case count. The divergence between 37 cycles for community testing and 28 for breakthrough testing is obviously concerning. What should we make of it? Do the powers that be have a vested interest in minimizing breakthrough cases?

      And what of the CDC decision to only track breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths? Maybe that makes sense now, but then why didn’t the CDC do that originally?

      The CDC is not addressing these questions and that ought to alarm everyone.

      1. people have a vested interest in smearing antivirals because they are competition to vaccines.

        Translated….there are medical terrorists who will do anything to deprive the public that will help them prevent death or serious complications just so they can sell dangerous experimental (not approved) vaccines no matter how many they kill and hurt. Lets not be nice about the 15 thousand to God knows how many deaths already reported and hundreds of thousands of diverse vaccine reactions from COVID vaccines. The FDA, in approving these COVID vaccines outdoes all the other terrorist organizations in the world put together. What does that make them? Sadly even the strongest lanquage does not stop them

  41. I think the covid jab discussion follows on from each stance on the virus itself.
    So far as I know, both sides have two things in common.
    1 Irrespective of whether a person is fearful of coronavirus or stressed by the restrictions, they are intensely stressed and have been continuously so for so long that it is now chronic stress.
    From biochemistry, physiology and immunology some of the impacts of chronic stress on physical health are: –
    i) Inhibited thinking and learning.
    Thus children unable to learn and adults making bad decisions.
    ii) ‘Flight or fight’ response.
    Hence increased verbal and written abuse, aggression and violence.
    iii) Weakened immune system due to disrupted cortisol.
    Panic about coronavirus is counter-productive and stress of restrictions is destroying our immune system.
    iv) Disrupted hormones
    Increasing miscarriages, reducing fertility and wasting muscles.
    v) Raised blood pressure
    Increasing hypertensives’ risk of fatal coronaries.
    vi) Increased incidence of hypertension.
    So previously healthy people now unknowingly have hypertension.
    vii) Hypertension damages microcapillaries in lungs, kidneys, brain and elsewhere, exacerbating renal and respiratory diseases.
    Exacerbating and increasing the incidence of renal and respiratory ill-health.
    viii) Changed gastrointestinal acidity.
    Exacerbating ulceration and increasing incidence thereof and thence of G.I. cancer.
    ix) Disrupted cortisol and previously healthy coping mechanisms ruled out.
    So exacerbated and increased incidence of obesity, alcoholism, addiction, thence diabetes and liver cirrhosis.
    2 Both sides are silent about the physical health impacts of chronic stress.
    Do we really have to wait for the predictable disaster to unfold?
    Why has neither side been speaking out on behalf of the physical safety of all?
    Internet searches, without words like lockdown or covid, find well-established facts uninfluenced by ‘agendas’ e.g.: – stress and
    a cortisol, blood pressure, kidneys, gastric ulcers, behaviour
    b immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine and reproductive systems

  42. Yes we have a stress and fear pandemic, massive suffication and muzzling, home prisons with huge vitamin D takedown……leading to PTSD on a massive scale….but health (death and suffering) officials could care less…….

    Fear is Perfect Vaccine Marketing

    Fear is the most dangerous virus, and it seems like a good percentage of the population is suffering from COVID fear. The big or most crucial question is how to save yourself from the fear of COVID because no virus is more dangerous than fear.

    It is easy to avoid or treat this virus, but it is tough to avoid the fear swamping humanity because of the fearmongering press, the preaching of Dr. Fauci, and the pronouncements of the CDC, FDA, and the WHO. A dedicated group has been acting together for almost a century, scaring the living daylights out of us over viruses. The frightening atmosphere we are watching right now is a collective madness that is deliberately imposed on us. We have seen this repeatedly with every virus that shows up and with each bad flu season.

    1. So, help each other escape imposed stress; point to the physical health impacts of chronic stress.
      Just gain-saying what the powers-that-be say gets trapped in conflict, achieving at best stalemate. They have obviously prepared for confrontation about what they are saying and doing and have the advantage of surprise on that. It’s doubtful they expect us to take any initiative. They have not mentioned the physical health impacts of stress. So that initiative is wide-open. The physical health impacts of stress unite us. If we unite, they cannot ‘divide and conquer’ us.

  43. Stort Tack Sebastian för Ditt Professionella Kunnande & Modet att Publicera!
    Tack också för Din lika Professionella Bok; ”Varför det mesta du vet om Covid-19 är fel”

  44. Would love to see what is coming out in the studies in relation to long covid how wide spread is it? and how does it compare to “long pneumonia” or any other serious disease. A lot the studies don’t seem to have hard parameters or end points and so they are very open to subjective interpretation. However I do know personally at least 4 people who have suffered fatigue, headaches, dizziness for weeks after getting covid.

  45. Whilst I have a lot of respect for Dr Gøtzsche, especially when it comes to his criticism of psychiatric drugs, I do think he’s been misled when it comes to the safety of vaccines.

    I’ve just been reading Dr Richard Halvorsen’s latest update of his book “Vaccines: Making the right choice for your child” in which he explains the shocking lack of safety trials behind the MMR; the way the UK knowingly used a version of the MMR that was deemed to cause meningitis in other countries prior to the UK rolling it out but then continuing to use it for several years, despite the same issue occurring here; that there have been plenty of children in his, and other medical colleagues’, practices who developed autistic traits following their MMR vaccine despite normal development up to that point; that adverse effects can happen even months later, as demonstrated by a child who got encephalitis and died, 9 months after his MMR – and was found to have vaccine-strain measles virus in his brain!

    The safety research hasn’t been done for the MMR, and for plenty of other childhood vaccines that are being combined such as the 6-in-1, or for concomitant administration with other vaccines. And the lack of efficacy, particularly for the mumps element of the MMR, is constantly ignored.

  46. Some of dr Peter Gotzsche’s books are available in german, english and swedish at the swedish net book shop bokus.com

  47. Re Dr Wakefield’s “discredited” research. The retracted paper is available at https://medium.com/predict/an-epigenetic-clock-that-predicts-maximum-lifespan-3dcead212af0

    The paper’s discussion seems well grounded in the evidence: “Rubella virus is associated with autism and the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (rather than monovalent measles vaccine) has also been implicated. Fudenberg noted that for 15 of 20 autistic children, the first symptoms developed within a week of vaccination. Gupta commented on the striking association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and the onset of behavioural symptoms in all the children that he had investigated for regressive autism. Measles virus and measles vaccination have both been implicated as risk factors for Crohn’s disease and persistent measles vaccine-strain virus infection has been found in children with autoimmune hepatitis.”

    and “In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.”

    His real crime was suggesting that instead of a combined MMR vaccine, that we give the measles vaccine separately, monovalent, until further research was done to establish whether the combined vaccine was safe.

    This has two concerns for pharma: the implication that vaccines can injure, and a dramatic reduction in vaccine profits, because it greatly limits the number of vaccines that can be given.

    Pharma’s solution was a disinformation campaign to demonize Wakefield. One of the other authors of the rejected paper had insurance, fought the loss of licensure, and won reinstatement, with a strong rebuke from the judge to the original charges. Wakefield actually seems to be a sound scientist, all of his work that I’ve read seems to be well-grounded in the evidence. Before the demonization campaign, he was well regarded with 100s of peer-reviewed publications.

    1. Sorry, but this is just plain wrong. A full discussion of the issues is in the BMJ paper https://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347
      As has been pointed out countless times before, MMR vaccinations occur at the same time as autism tends to become obvious. Association is no indication of causation.
      Of course his papers read reasonably, but since he fabricated much of his data, what else would you expect?

      1. The MMR/autism question should be easy to test with a RCT. You could delay giving MMR in a group of 5,000 for a year and look at autism rates for several years compared with another group of 5,000 who received the MMR vaccine a year earlier. Why haven’t MMR manufacturers done this test? They could easily put this whole idea to rest.

      2. @theasdgamer — the technical problem with an RCT like this is the healthy-user-bias selection factor. See http://vaccinepapers.org/healthy-user-bias-why-most-vaccine-safety-studies-are-wrong/

        The business problem with an RCT is that there is no benefit for pharma. Their vaccines are currently mandated for children in most states, so these studies will not increase sales. However, if the study shows harm it will destroy their market.

        All of the studies to date, as far as I know, show that vaccinated children are less healthy and have higher rates of autism. See Mawson’s study, https://www.oatext.com/pdf/JTS-3-186.pdf and a recent study by Dr Thomas, https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/22/8674

      3. The appeal against the GMC ruling on Prof Walker-Smith hinged on whether they were carrying out clinical treatment and investigations or purely research. This affects the type of consent to be obtained. The High Court ruled that the GMC had not made a satisfactory case that research was being done under the guise of clinical treatment. It had nothing to do with the accuracy of the data or validity of the studies. 10 of the original 13 authors retracted the study when they realised what had actually had happened – ghost authorship was common then.

  48. I’ve been a fan of science since forever. That’s why I love these evidence based medicine treatises. It’s also why I have never taken the flu vaccine. Even as a lay person, the evidence for a favorable risk/reward ratio was weak. Sadly, that puts me in the position of needing to lie to my physician, which is a generally bad idea. If I tell the truth, I’m labeled as an anti-vaxxer, and in the current healthcare climate in the US, that would probably be part of my permanent medical record that followed me wherever I went.

    When I was 49, a gastroenterologist asked me which prescription medicines I was taking and I told her “none”. Her head jerked up and she disapprovingly asked, “You would take medications if they were prescribed for you, wouldn’t you?” I replied, “Of course, if they were needed.” I don’t think she liked my conditional statement. All she wanted to hear was, “Of course.” After all, she’s the healthcare provider, and she knows what’s best for me. After an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, she prescribed a prescription proton pump inhibitor, despite me having no signs of stomach pain or even discomfort. I didn’t fill that prescription, and at 60 years of age I am fortunately still not taking any daily prescription medications. I do take vitamins D3 and B12.

    I haven’t been vaccinated lately. I had a tetanus vaccine probably 10-12 years ago. I haven’t had any of the experimental COVID-19 “vaccines”. If challenged, I’ll say that I’m waiting for them to be FDA approved, although given the risk/reward ratio to the best I can determine with insufficient data, I still wouldn’t take an mRNA “vaccine”, even if the FDA approved it. Given the adverse effects already reported, the FDA would need to relax their safety requirements before these “vaccines” could be approved. Every experiment needs a control group. I’m volunteering to be in the control group for this large scale mRNA “vaccine” experiment. 🙂

  49. Not everyone has time to dig deep, so thank you Sebastian Rushworth for sharing your information. When people ask me about covid 19 I refer to your blog. Because you are a doctor and serious in your writing I’m not mistaken as a conspiratorial person, and people are less frightened to look into it themselves. Usually on the topic vaccines, – autism pops up. I’m grateful to see that Peter Gotzsche brings up the matter, and goes in detail through the fraud.

    Following text is for people interested on the topic vaccines and autism. Me, I would start investigating inside the brains of autistic themselves. Like for example science teacher, writer and ‘autist’ Fergus Merray. He has written about it in The psychologist (the british psychological society) with the heading: ‘Me and Monotropism: A unified theory of autism’ (August 2019, Vol.32 pp.44-49). I would also take into account researchers who is on the autism spectrum themselves; for example Jac den Houting: https://youtu.be/A1AUdaH-EPM . Further I would seek up scientist who are working with autistic people. One good example of that is a team of scientist in Sweden: https://www.extraordinarybrains.com/the-project. I would also look up on the history of autism. For example through science writer Steve Silberman’s book: ‘NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity’.

  50. Dick Bijl, president of the International Society of Drug Bulletins, has published a book on the flew in september 2020 (in Dutch) and draws similar conclusions as Gotzsche on the efficacy of influenza vaccins. Bijl engages in the national Dutch debate on covid19, but is held outside mainstream media in spite of his well known expertise and most probably because of his decades of combat to keep the industry and the science separate as far as is possible.

  51. Thank you for this book review. It’s brave of you as a practicing doctor to even mention the issue of vaccine safety- hopefully, you won’t get complaints about this.

    Peter Gotzsche also wrote a superb but incredibly depressing book called “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare” in which we learn that Big Pharma now ghost-writes papers for researchers and uses gangster tactics to intimidate critics.

    Gotzche is also one of my heroes, but his critique of the autism-vaccine debate is outdated. The best book on the subject is Handley’s “How to End the Autism Epidemic”(2018). Unfortunately, Handley is a well-known “anti-vaccine” activist so most people simply dismissed his book. (This book blames autism on the Aluminum adjuvant in the Hepatitis B and Diptheria vaccines, etc.)

    The two best books I’ve read on vaccine safety are “Fear of the Invisible”(2008) and “Vaccine Papers”(2010) by Janine Roberts. These are thoroughly researched and documented books, which contain numereous excerpts of key documents (some of which are no longer available online). They contain info that you won’t find anywhere else.

  52. “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare”

    Right so we should not trust one God dam thing they have to say. Case closed or do doctors want to continue to be and support criminals. I often say to people that they are better off going to a gas station for medical advice because there they know what they are doing, most doctors really have no idea what they don’t know…and how much harm their ignorance has on patients……the mental block doctors have about natural medicine is criminal, and stupid because we really know that in ICU, emergency rooms and even ambulences the most effective and safe medicines are natural. Heart attack….none of the pharmaceuticals in the protocol work…what does a good doctor take out? Magnesium chloride. Works like a charm when the patient is dying. Sodium bicarbonate has been used forever, we now have injectable selenium….how many hospials would survive without iodine though doctors have forgotten what its good for. Again look at his title…“Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare”….You think vaccines stand outside this corruption? Not a chance……

    1. Most likely he would have picked up that this letter is written by a self-selected group of ‘fundamentalist’ anti-vaxxer parents, who therefore, by definition, are no way representative of their local community whose children are used for comparison.

      The letter contains many references. I looked at 3 of them out of interest. All were non-randomised observational studies with no attempts made to control for measurement and observer bias.
      It is easy to cherry pick the data, as so many poor quality studies get published. The medical profession and journal industry are partly responsible for this state of affairs with a ‘publish or perish’ culture, especially in the US (I have worked as a doctor in the US). One of the worst offenders is Didier Raoult of current notoriety, who published a piece of original research every 3 days, year on year out, until he was thrown out of the American Society for Microbiology for attempted research fraud.

      1. The notion that “publish or perish” affects many physicians in the US is absurd. Most are not academicians and are under no pressure to publish.

        How do journals get their funding? Is it from general practitioners who do retrospective studies of repurposed antivirals? Who controls the funding of RCTs for new treatments?

        Speaking of poor quality studies, why did the Lancet publish a study of late treatment of covid using hydroxychloroquine which was later retracted because the data was unavailable (likely invented out of whole cloth as some hospitals claimed that they were never contacted)?

        And another poor quality study–this time an RCT. Why did the New England Journal of Medicine publish its trash article about the RECOVERY trial of hcq?

        Very little error is actually removed by insisting on RCTs. But when reading articles, it is essential to distinguish between mountains and mole hills. For example, studying late treatment of ILIs using antivirals produces a mountain of error–even when done in an RCT. By comparison, unblinded retrospectives of early treatment constitute a mole hill when the degree of relative benefit is 80% improvement.

        You can see outright fraud in Boulware and Skipper, where the article titles claim that they studied early treatment/prophylaxis, but digging into the data (including corresponding with the authors) shows that many of the people were actually treated late. Oh, yes, they were RCTs. Bravo!

        Few physicians bothered to dig into the data and journals refused to correct the articles or to publish articles critical of the original articles.

        How many thousands of people died from gastric cancer because their pylorii infections weren’t treated because physicians followed the herd instead of the science? And that was even before the emphasis on RCTs.

        Oh, I checked on Raoult at google scholar. His top article which was published in his journal was cited by _over 4,000 other articles_. Funny how Raoult, despite having been hounded from the American Society of Microbiology, still manages to have such tremendous impact. One would think that his alleged fraud–if true–would cause other researchers to shy away from him. (Oh, that article was about a non-randomized clinical trial of repurposed antiviral drugs to treat covid.)

        I think that most physicians and researchers would find your views about Raoult somewhat off.

    2. Well i cannot reply in detail.
      Publications come from those who are expected to publish, and they are under ‘publish or perish’ pressures. I know as I can speak from experience. The fact that there are plenty of physicians in private practice who do not need to publish is irrelevant to my point that many poor quality papers are churned out by the million of necessity .
      The journals are commercial organisations. Without papers they die. Depending on the relative quality of the journal, the rejection rate will vary.
      RCT are the gold standard. Anything else will be subject to unknown confounding variables, as well as observer bias, especially likely in unblinded observational studies. I suggest you read Rushworth’s post on the scientific method. He routinely dismisses these studies.
      HCQ has been reviewed by Dr Rushworth, and I agree with his opinion.
      Citation indexing are like Google searches, and often manipulated to ensure a high citation index. Many authors cite a study based on the title alone, but usually with little more than a cursory read of the abstract. A high citation count is in itself not of much value. I suspect I am closer to the medical consensus on Raoult.

      1. Avoiding confounding variables means nothing _if_ you fail to search for blacks swans. A prospective study that goes on a wild goose chase means nothing to anyone, the “gold label” aside. (By the way, during my physics study, I had never ever heard of a RCT. I’d put physics experimental research up against medical research any day. And experimental physicists generally understand experimental error and confounders far better than medical researchers.)

        Once you understand error, you understand the limits of your certainty. And if you don’t understand error, you wind up in Never Never Land.

        “I suggest you read Rushworth’s post on the scientific method. He routinely dismisses these studies.”

        Lol, that was one of the first areas I read. Except when Dr. Rushworth uses “dismissed studies”, like when he looked at vaccine AE problems.

        Dr. Rushworth’s last word on HCQ, iirc, was that there ought to be some RCTs of early treatment using HCQ, which means that his article on HCQ is not definitive by his own estimation. Who should do those studies? HCQ skeptics, of course. Who can afford to do them? Pharma. So why aren’t they being done?

        One of the things that you find is that small benefits may be the results of confounders, but large benefits are unlikely to be. When treating a relatively small number of nursing home patients (med. age mid 80s) with hcq results in a much smaller number of hospitalizations than is expected for non-treatment, the signal of treatment benefit is quite clear. 10% hospitalizations for treatment v. 40% for non-treatment is quite clear. These are absolute percentages, by the way. And these numbers are reported quite consistently in the literature for early treatment.

        When you see late treatment studies of antivirals for an ILI, you should suspect that fraud is being perpetrated. When you also see studies pretending to do early treatment but actually doing a lot of late treatment on a small group and that there is no significant benefit, your suspicions ought to increase. When you don’t see early treatment RCTs being done but the narrative is being spun that antivirals don’t work, your suspicions should solidify into an active working theory that science is being stifled and that malice is at work. We saw that with tobacco-industry-sponsored research for decades and pharma has learned how to control the research.

        By the way, failure to find significant benefit in no way excludes the possibility of benefit. Meta analyses of this sort of data are very handy for increasing group sizes until they are large enough to show significant benefit. When you see small studies consistently showing benefit without rising to the level of significance, this suggests that a meta-analysis might show benefit. (Really, you know because of the repeated consistency that there is benefit even without the meta-analysis when you have to make clinical decisions.)

        Human history is full of conspiracies. Just because many claims of conspiracy are bogus is no reason to reject all claims–you just have to do your due diligence to test the claims.

        Regarding Raoult–you have to have a lot of influence to get people to ghost write for you. Oh, Raoult wasn’t expelled from ASM–he resigned, per wiki. Raoult didn’t dispute the problem of mistaken numbers. No question that citation count is a game to get funding, but people will generally not reference the papers of a fraud. Nor will people who are funding want their name to be attached to a fraud. (Out of almost two thousand papers, this is all you could come up with?)

        If you have influence, you will also attract enemies. And Raoult is hardly a retiring spinster. He is aggressive in getting funding and he attacks his enemies substantively and vigorously. There is no fault in any of that.

        NB

        There is no such thing as The Scientific Method. There are _many_ scientific methods. Physics has many such…theoretical papers, in silico analysis, experimental research testing hypotheses, star-gazing with telescopes (essentially just observation to gather data)–I’ve even read an interesting study on masking by some physicists which relied on observational studies by others researching masks. Biophysics may use some of the methods of medical research. I never studied it.

      2. Raoult: 2300 publications.!! That tells you everything you need to know.

        Those not familiar with the world of academic medicine, research and publication will be impressed. Those who are familiar will know this is an egregious example of ghost authorship and salami slicing of the data. One of his HCQ papers is of 20 patients, but has 18 authors – this is just taking the p***.

      3. 2300 ghost writers is quite awesome!

        The study that you mentioned is this one.

        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924857920300996

        Cited by 4370 other articles. That study of HCQ was quite important, wasn’t it?

        Somebody should tell those people who cite Raoult’s articles that he is a sham. Maybe they aren’t actually in the world of academic medicine, research and publication and so are impressed by his numbers and therefore cite him?

        What is the advantage of having 18 authors? Is it to demonstrate that many eyes have been on the research? Are some of those people extremely knowledgeable? Did some of them do most of the actual work on the research and on the paper (writing, statistics, literature search, viral culturing, etc.)?

        This was a controversial paper, wasn’t it?

      4. I was one of those people who back in March thought that Raoult had been cherry picking his data by excluding people who had died from his HCQ pilot study. I didn’t understand anything about covid progression or that antivirals had to be given early in the course of covid for antivirals to work. Back then, covid was new to Raoult, too. It’s not surprising that he wasn’t aware at the outset of the pilot study that patients who were very sick ought to have been excluded from the study. So the only way to get a useful paper out of the study is to exclude from the study ex post facto those patients who at the outset were very sick.

        So now I see value in Raoult’s early study even though I didn’t back in March. But most people failed to alter their positions when more facts became known. It’s the psychological sunk cost problem.

      5. This is another way of fiddling the results, excluding ‘inconvenient’ patients who do not fit your hypothesis.
        ” I didn’t understand anything about covid progression or that antivirals had to be given early in the course of covid for antivirals to work”
        How did you know that antivirals had to be given early when there was no study that confirmed that. That is a serious errors, making up your mind in advance of the data.
        I don’t think you know how medical knowledge is obtained. It is nothing like experiments in basic sciences and your experience of physics/chemistry you allude to is not applicable. You say you had never heard of a RCT. Of course not, these are not used in basic physics etc, and probably you did not know about multi-variable logistic regression, Bayes theorem, all of which are essential in untangling the results of medical research.
        Raoult’s racket is not the most serious problem on medical research compared with the massive distortions from commercial interests. The stables need to be cleaned out, but there is no point in killing the horses as well. The basic principles of medical research should be strengthened, and the RCT is the bedrock of this.

      6. So your main question is how we know that antivirals for ILIs should be given early?

        With covid, there is an incubation period, potentially followed by symptoms, a time to max viral load, potentially followed by viral clearance, potentially followed by progression to moderate/severe covid.

        “Treatment” implies symptoms. So treatment can only reasonably occur once symptoms have occurred. Giving HCQ before symptoms is prophylactic use, not treatment. It’s absurd to give an antiviral after viral clearance has occurred. So an antiviral must be given between symptom onset and viral clearance.

        When viral load peaks, the immune system is already winning against the virus. It is logical to expect best results by giving an antiviral between symptom onset and max viral load. So it is logical to test the hypothesis of early treatment rather than late treatment with antivirals.

        Raoult’s _early_ problem wasn’t “inconvenient” patients, but testing the wrong hypothesis. Raoult at the beginning of the pandemic was scrambling for some way to treat the patients coming into his clinic with covid and he saw some Chinese research on HCQ and decided to check it out. But the Chinese were missing some key information about covid when they wrote their paper.

        At that point, Raoult didn’t know anything about the progress of covid–mean incubation period, mean time to max viral load, mean time to viral clearance. Raoult got that data before anyone else did, using PCR _with viral culturing_. The Hopkins review of studies about PCR false negatives and Heneghan’s paper on PCR with viral culturing for pandemic tracking confirmed and supported Raoult’s preeminent research on covid. (This knowledge was ignored by authors of covid vaccine research efficacy studies.)

        So is Raoult to be faulted for not knowing in advance what the key hypothesis to test should be? That seems rather absurd. In science we often start out with an hypothesis that is not on point and that hypothesis changes as we gather data and think about the hypothesis and data so that our hypothesis moves to being more on point and useful. Raoult figured out earlier than most that testing HCQ efficacy on patients who had advanced covid was absurd. When did _you_ figure that out? Sometimes excluding patients ex post facto is necessary and correct–and sometimes excluding patients is cherry picking data to support your conclusion. Raoult explained his reason for excluding patients and his detractors didn’t understand Raoult’s explanation.

        When it comes to testing hypotheses, isn’t testing the wrong hypothesis a bigger problem than whether or not there are confounders?

      7. Well I think we have flogged this to death and somewhat hijacked the discussion.
        I would just point out that changing the hypothesis half way through a study is a no-no. It should lead to a fresh start and a suitable method. Once started, all the analysis should be on ‘intention to treat’.

      8. I was well aware that changing endpoints and exclusion criteria after a study has begun is not ideal.

        (Intention to treat assumes RCTs, doesn’t it?)

        Your suggestion of starting a study over early in a pandemic is rather like saying to generals that the current bombers can’t be used–that the bombers will have to be redesigned–while enemy bombs are falling on your lines.

        General practitioners and clinical infectious disease physicians will have a radically different perspective than IM physicians who work in a hospital. Gp’s will be able to access patients far earlier than most other physicians and Gp’s will be focused on preventing hospitalization. (I have tried to understand the perspective of various specialties as they relate to covid.) I know that some IMs practice in clinics and may have early access to patients. Nevertheless, they typically focus on chronic diseases. I was actually very surprised that Peter McCullough, a cardiologist who works at Baylor Medical Center, was an advocate for early treatment with antivirals (and even had a treatment plan published in AJM). Ditto regarding Harvey Risch, who is an academic who focuses on cancer.

        What works for studying chronic diseases like diabetes may not be suitable for studying an ILI early in a pandemic. The “gold standard” is fool’s gold outside of chronic disease research.

        When you have a highly infectious disease that has the approximate morbidity of a bad flu, as a GP you need to have a treatment ready to go–yesterday. You need to do better than telling patients to wait at home until they need hospitalization or they recover.

        Looking at the history of medicine, I haven’t found any instances where RCTs have helped find treatment of novel ILIs. SARS, MERS, ebola all went away with no help from the “gold standard”. I see no reason to expect RCTs to ever help in the case of discovering treatment of novel ILIs.

        The difficulty with novel ILIs is that you have a learning curve while the rate of population exposure to the virus increases. It takes time to discover the right questions to ask. RCTs are just too slow and often answer irrelevant questions like “Does HCQ work treating covid late?” This leads to a cluster, including poisoning the well against an antiviral. So the best solution historically is to go with retrospective studies of antivirals for novel ILIs and run meta-analyses against them and look for confounders. And if you are talking about repurposed, inexpensive medications, you will also have to fight pharma.

      9. Well I cannot let that go without a brief riposte.
        There is absolutely no reason a decent RCT could be set up quickly to study novel infections in the community. It just needs a bit of central organisation, and large numbers of patients could be quickly recruited from a large number of GP practices, and an answer quickly obtained.
        The problem with your suggestion that GPs need a treatment ready to go, is where do they get this treatment from in the absence of evidence- the back pages of the newspaper? A treatment plucked off the shelf can turn out to worsen outcome, even though given in good faith.
        Early treatment with HCQ could worsen outcome- and we do not really know if it does not.

      10. Where do you get this absurd notion that HCQ makes things worse? There have been dozens of safety studies in the last year.

        Whenever you talk about “large numbers of patients” from “large numbers of practices” you are talking about large numbers of meetings about ethics and large amount of followup and a large amount of consent and people to do statistics and people to do literature searches and coauthors to review and a large amount of time (six months) and money to fund all this. And, oh by the way, by the time you put all this together and publish you are already through the Gompertz curve of the infection and the infection has become endemic and most of the mortality is already done.

        Then you have the ethics problem. How is it ethical for a gp to allow his high risk patients to not be given treatment that the gp believes may be necessary to save his patients’ lives? You have an ethical problem with gp’s and blinding straight off with a RCT.

        So it seems that it is on the skeptics to fund and perform RCTs, isn’t it?

        Currently we have several high quality retrospectives which favor early treatment with HCQ. Where is the high quality evidence against?

        When the CDC said to limit HCQ to hospitals, where was the RCT evidence to back that up? Why aren’t you blasting the CDC for their recommendation without any evidence? Not even retrospective evidence…. And the NHS followed the CDC lockstep with harsher restrictions against outpatient use of HCQ and no evidence to back up those restrictions.

        Where is your evidence based medicine?

      11. “Where do you get this absurd notion that HCQ makes things worse? There have been dozens of safety studies in the last year”

        I did not say that it did. The retrospective studies did show some evidence of harm.

        “Then you have the ethics problem. How is it ethical for a gp to allow his high risk patients to not be given treatment that the gp believes may be necessary to save his patients’ lives? You have an ethical problem with gp’s and blinding straight off with a RCT”

        No you do not have an ethical dilemma. You start with assumption that the treatment could be harmful.

        “Currently we have several high quality retrospectives which favor early treatment with HCQ. Where is the high quality evidence against”

        This if rightly not sufficient for a regulator to recommend.

        “Where is your evidence based medicine?”

        Following the evidence. If reliable evidence does not exist in favour of a treatment, then it does not exist. Following your logic, snake oil should be recommended because there is no RCT proving it does not work.

  53. Thanks for posting the letter, extremely well-written and a concise collection of the evidence.

  54. Dr Rushworth

    A new study suggests that the spike protein itself can harm the endothelium.

    “our data reveals that S protein alone can damage endothelium, manifested by impaired mitochondrial function and eNOS activity but increased glycolysis”.

    This is important since the vaccine strategy is to have cells to produce spike proteins.

    What is your take on this, Dr Rushworth?

    https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318902

    https://www.salk.edu/news-release/the-novel-coronavirus-spike-protein-plays-additional-key-role-in-illness/

  55. I just read your book, Dr Rushworth.

    An excellent read. It summarizes much of the information that I have seen over the past year from people who do not buy into the narrative and adds great new insight too.

    Agree with your final conclusion, or at least I do not have a better one. This is a giant muck up. The CCP had no intent to create what has happened. They wanted to show their power locally. Had no idea that the whole world would get so scared and copy what they did. The vaccines really are the only way out that allows face saving all round; and avoids having to confront scared populations, who have made sacrifices for a whole year, with the truth that it was all pointless. Nobody wants to hear that.

    I do hope you are right that vaccines will in fact be the way out though. There is a danger that politicians are growing addicted to the powers they have assumed. Incumbent politicians are also tending to stay popular (Trump was the exception, and he was broadly a sceptic when it came to anti Covid measures) during this state of fear. My worry is that they will be tempted to keep this going. It’s a bit like a permanent state of war.

    Or maybe they are moving onto Climate Change as the next thing to keep everyone in a perpetual state of fear over.

  56. Pres. Trump was most assuredly not a sceptic re Covid. He was the first to ban flights from China and had formed the Movid Response Team before the end if January 2020. Remember that in December and January the government was all third up in the most pressing issue – a frivolous impeachment. Nancy was traipsing through San Francisco’s Chinatown in Februart, calling Trump names and telling everyone to “Come to Chi town. We’re here and safe.” Then she stopped at a fortune cookie factory and made a few copies with her bare hands. He pushed the vaccines in Operation Warp Speed in 9 months and had the foresight to pre-order millions of doses in advance which allowed needles in arms starting in December. Meanwhile Big Pharm waited until after the election to announce the vaccine’s effectiveness. There have. Eden some real a makes – Fauci, the face of greasy hucksterism – but as usual Trump’s instincts were correct, that locking down the economy, masks, and quarantining healthy are contraindicated. Much of this history will be viewed in shame in a few years as we view the masked so bie ohitis.

    1. You are right. I misstated the comment.

      Trump was sensibly a sceptic against lock downs and masks.

      Agree that he was in favour of following the classic guidelines for dealing with epidemics that existed pre 2020. And he acted before many other people did.

      His instincts were simply anti hysteria. That did not help him in the election, it seems.

      Pro hysteria politicians in most countries seem to be benefiting in popularity. So far.

      1. I am a skeptic about the US having had an honest election in 2020. I don’t know anyone who voted for Biden. Everyone I talk to in bars voted for Trump. So I don’t think that Trump’s position on covid had anything to do with election results.

  57. “The retrospective studies did show some evidence of harm.”

    Which studies and what was the harm?

    “No you do not have an ethical dilemma.”

    There are two ethical dilemmas, depending on facts. One, based on retrospective evidence, delay of treatment would likely be harmful–especially to high risk patients. The other is that treatment may not be effective and may be harmful. I am only aware of harm shown by studies using toxic dosing. The _weight_ of the evidence is that early treatment of covid with HCQ using the same dosage used for rheumatic patients (200mg bid) is safe and effective.

    “You start with assumption that the treatment could be harmful.”

    When you are considering a new drug, not a repurposed, well-tolerated drug with a known track record, harm is a serious consideration. HCQ was over the counter in France until it was withdrawn in Jan. 2020.

    ““Currently we have several high quality retrospectives which favor early treatment with HCQ. Where is the high quality evidence against”

    This if rightly not sufficient for a regulator to recommend.”

    You dodge. There is no evidence sufficient for recommending against off-label use or restricting. Regulators who guess wrong–and it _was_ guessing _without evidence_–may do substantial damage. Better is for regulators to take no stand and to let physicians who actually see patients treat off-label.

    Funny how those early guesses benefited pharma by removing competition to vaccines and new antivirals. And those guesses may have done substantial harm to the public.

    And why didn’t the regulators pursue science and run RCTs? And why did the CDC remove its EUA for _late_ treatment with HCQ based on a _retracted_ Lancet study? And why did the CDC recommend _late_ treatment with HCQ instead of _early_ treatment, especially considering that the fear at the time was of overtaxing hospitals?

    Then there was the CDC recommendation in Jan. 2020 to treat high risk influenza patients _early_ with antivirals–even _before_ lab results came back. So why the _different_ plan for HCQ? None of that different, late treatment plan makes any sense from a medical perspective. Of course, if one were trying to poison the well against HCQ with late treatment studies by shifting focus away from early treatment, it would make sense.

    1. Well, I still managed to miss a point.

      Where was the science for the CDC to recommend _only_ late treatment with HCQ–essentially recommending _against_ early treatment? Notice that “late treatment” was associated with trials. The CDC _could_ have said that early treatment _only_ in trials was also recommended, but it failed to do so. Or the CDC could have said that either late or early treatment with HCQ, but only in trials, was recommended. The CDC didn’t make that medically obvious recommendation.

      But am I even making any points with people? I see no evidence that anybody is being persuaded by any of my points.

      So it’s time to stop.

      1. The CDC and the FDA are large terrorist organizations. Let’s cut through all the crap and put a dead stop to the vaccine killings. Let us threaten certain people with ????? for breaking the Nurenberg Code, for mass murder, for genocide, for the most disgusting lack of caring since the Nazi doctors walked the earth. It is somewhat reassuring that some of those doctors were hung.

        Many people are out there, starting with doctors, nurses, and healthcare officials, who need to be stopped in their tracks. Let not one more needle be plunged into young and old alike, and let’s damn to hell all those who persist and favor these highly lethal COVID injections. Let us take the gloves off, stop being nice, stop dancing around the issue.

        Mouthing obscenities at the obscene and shame those who just cannot come up with the backbone to call the evil out for what it is is a good place to start. It is not just the dead, with over 17,000 reported in Europe and the United States. And now they are attacking the kids.

        When it comes to pharmaceutical companies and vaccines there is no heart. The temperature is set to absolute zero degree Kelvin in terms of heart presence. That point was made in one of my deleted essays. The entire edifice of the vaccine world is built on the principle of human sacrifice. Whats a few vaccine dead and injured but with COVID we have at least 20,000 dead worldwide (conservative estimate) and hundreds of thousands injured. Sorry just had to throw that in.

      2. @theasdgamer You may not be convincing ian, but your points are excellent. There is no way on these comments to “like” posts, but I believe you would be getting lots of likes, Ian not.

      3. The Fauci gang engaged in willful blindness. Trials were purposely set up to test HC regimens in a way they would not work. Then the headline could be touted “HCQ does not work.”
        The Fauci Gang ignored the following:
        Anti-virals must be given early in the disease process. For COVID-19 this means day 2 or less. The science for this is straightforward: HCQ does 2 things: it blocks the glycocalyx of the cell so the virus cannot grab hold. It alters the generation of the AEC2 receptor so that the virus can no longer bind the receptor to enter the cell. Inside the cell it inhibits RNA polymerase so the virus cannot multiply. It theoretically alters the pH of the endoplasmic reticulum so the proteins of the virus do not fold properly. It is insufficient by itself. It requires zinc. Zinc also blocks RNA polymerase. Zinc requires help to get into the cell so it requires quercetin. Quercetin also helps as it blocks the cleavage of the S1 fragment from the S2 fragment. It is this cleavage that allows activation. There is also a need for azithromycin. Usually seen as a broad spectrum antibiotic it has the additional property of inducing interferon in respiratory cells. COVID-19 knocks out interferon 1. Interferon 1 is the main trigger against viral infection. Doxycycline, another broad spectrum antibiotic can directly inhibit viral replication that also minimizes inflammation. Some regimens suggest using doxycycline instead of azithromycin. Once the virus passes day 2, there is an increasingly likelihood of immunological dysfunction. At this point immunosuppression such as corticosteroids is necessary. Clearly if the treatment occurs after marked viral replication, HCQ regimens will become less effective.

      4. Tim Lundeen: Not being an American, I cannot debate with him/her about the CDC, but I can debate about the methodology of medical research and how to obtain reliable evidence free from bias. This has been part of over 30 years of my work and I know more than he/she does.
        Likes and dislikes are for FB, but have no value here, where you express your views. If you go against the flow, so what?

      5. Ian has expertise in using RCT in medical research, but I’m not sure that he understands RCT limitations. For those who hold RCT in high regard, RCTs provide the only reliable data.

        I expect that I may may have a broader background in philosophy of science than Ian due to my extensive reading. I have also looked somewhat at RCTs’ advantages and disadvantages.

        RCTs tend to minimize bias and confounding factors and provide consistent data–which are their primary advantages. However, their value may be undermined by poor design, lack of quality control, and study-selection bias. RCT results often don’t translate to the field. (This is similar to the problem in physics where what works in the lab might not be able to be duplicated in the field.) RCTs might not be practical due to cost/benefit, ethics, or time. (With a pandemic, you are racing the Gompertz mortality curve to find a benefit, so time factors in in that case.) RCTs don’t help a lot when effects vary widely depending on individual factors like particular comorbidities. (The problem here is that variation in distribution isn’t characterized well by a an average benefit analysis.)

        On the gompertz curve in epidemiology:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/13/the-math-of-epidemics/

      6. I’m with ya, Matt. More common sense. Yikes! I’ve got my HCQ and am in the process of obtaining Ivermectin. I’ll have all the tools in my medicine cabinet should I become ill. At this point I’m assessing the Covid jab and think that 1) it is on its natural way out and I can hold out a bit longer because I’m retired and not really in crowds and 2) it seems as if the risk of a serious illness, permanent condition or death is about the same as me dying from Covid. Besides, I think I already had it at the end of February 2020. But nobody can advise me on a test to know for certain. So, I’ll wait and see. In the meantime, I’m comforted that there are actually early treatments with good results. The jab, on the other hand, we don’t know…do we?

      7. The following article about Evidence Based Medicine contains some helpful analysis of randomized controlled trials and retrospectives.

        “It is possible to “prove” the results of an RCT to be correct (Cartwright 1989; cf. Worrall 2007b). Every scientist, at some point in his career, learns that one cannot judge X to be a cause of Y just because X and Y are correlated. According to a prominent theory of causation, viz. the probabilistic theory, causation is a form of correlation after all. Very roughly, the probabilistic theory holds that X causes Y just in case X and Y are correlated and all sources of confounding have been controlled (Reiss 2007). It can now be shown that under the probabilistic theory and a host of other assumptions (including the assumption that randomization has been successful in that the treatment groups are balanced with respect to prognostic factors), if the treatment status variable is correlated with the outcome variable, then the treatment must cause the outcome (Cartwright 2007). To give RCTs a special status in EBM on the basis of this reasoning would be to commit a logical mistake, however. The argument can only show that if all the assumptions behind an RCT are satisfied, the RCT will give a causally correct result. It does not show that RCTs are the only way to generate provably correct results. Indeed, it can relatively easily be shown that observational studies that identify so-called instrumental variables are similarly provably correct under a certain set of assumptions”

        https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medicine/#RandContTriaEvidBaseMedi

        Observational studies have gotten some things right that RCTs missed. From the previous article, “The observational studies had picked up a true signal for the women closer to menopause. In the randomised trial, that signal was diluted because fewer women close to menopause were enrolled… The randomised trials had it right for coronary heart disease but failed to sufficiently focus on women close to menopause for breast cancer. The main reasons for the discrepancies were changes of the effects of HRT over different times… (Vandenbroucke 2009: 1234)”

        “_signal was diluted_”

        …essentially, a distribution and numbers problem of the RCTs which are very difficult to discover and correct for

        https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60708-X/fulltext?version=printerFriendly

      8. Tim,

        The philosophers of medicine have less faith in RCTs than does the medical community and RCTs are a favorite punching bag of the philosophers. There are many confounders between studies that can cause studies to go wrong, so a “gold label” doesn’t necessarily imply good evidence.

        RCTs can be poorly designed, poorly conducted, ended prematurely, and a whole host of other ills.

        Retrospectives, done properly, can outshine RCTs that are done poorly. If both are done well, they tend to agree. Generally, retrospectives can spot trends that have a diverse distribution better than RCTs can.

        There are many ways to go wrong between “ceteris” and “paribus”.

      9. @ian

        “Likes and dislikes are for FB, but have no value here, where you express your views. If you go against the flow, so what?”

        The problem is whether spending time posting is worthwhile or not. At least “likes” give you some feedback that others appreciate your time and effort.

        I appreciate your posts too, even though the evidence you cite is sometimes of low quality (Brian Deer for example), and that you are limiting yourself to a subset of available data. Good models explain all the data. But it’s all part of making sense of how things work, and your comments are helpful, as are theasdgamer’s.

  58. I used to have a bad flue (along with other health problems) every year, until I got smart about 10 years ago (after watching Dr. Lustigs “The bitter truth” lecture on sugar) and eliminated sugar in all forms from my food. Lost all my health problems within a short time along with 20 kg in weight (unintended side effect), and never head a flue since. Am healthier now at 68 than I was when I was young. Basic health is so much more important than trying to battle every little bug than can affect you.

    1. This protocol was informative, thank you.
      It recommends mask wearing and not giving HCQ at any stage.!

      1. Just because a source has baby doesn’t mean it lacks bathwater.

        Best case for stopping viruses is 100% humidity, which is also accompanied by maximum bacterial growth in masks.

        Worse case for stopping viruses is 0% humidity, where about 70% transmit as aerosols and 30% are re-breathed. Droplets will be caught by masks, then evaporate, leaving free virus which will either be inhaled or sent out into the room as aerosol.

        Without masking, the droplets containing viruses simply fall to the floor. I don’t know the percentages there, but certainly there is much less virus infection than when wearing masks in a dry environment.

      2. Actually, the article says that HCQ has “unclear benefit” and does not recommend giving HCQ, which is different than recommending that HCQ not be given.

        As Marek works in the hospital and HCQ is recommended to avoid hospitalization, Marek’s experience with HCQ is likely limited to late treatment.

        Have you found _any_ gp’s who have tried HCQ for at least two weeks and say it doesn’t work? I’m still looking for a black swan and none so far out of hundreds of thousands of gp’s.

      3. I also inferred from your comment that you look for sites and opinions that you trust.

        I recommend not trusting any particular site or source, but be diligent to evaluate what they say on the merits of what they say–not on the basis of trust.

        All sites and sources produce both baby and bathwater. Of course, degree matters and a wise man will prefer sites and sources where the ratio favors baby.

  59. Thanks for another insightful article Dr Rushworth. This made me go straight out and buy Gotzsche’s book.

    A few small corrections. Sorry to be that guy, but I can’t turn the editor off.

    Para 4: “meases (measles) mumps rubella”

    Para 6: “will produce the results it’s (its) political and financial masters want”

    Para 7: “which is usually causes (caused) by certain strains of HPV” & “the agency has done it’s (its) utmost”

  60. Hey Sebastian, do you know if recent “covid-related” deaths (or just cases) might include those who died (or got side effects) shortly after the jab? Some media are reporting more cases now, as if more people are getting sick. I’m thinking it could be because side effects are reported as new cases. I talked to a couple today (in their 70’s), who both had flue-like symptoms after the jab. I was the second person to recommend them not to take the second round.

  61. I find your article interesting, but surprisingly pointless. What is your take? What is your opinion of the risk of vaccines? Do you think that Gotzsche is right? Do you think that vaccinations be stopped and reevaluated?
    Regarding the quote ‘An expert panel is the modern version of the Oracle in Delphi, and statistical modelling is like whispering in a wizard’s ear which result you would like to hear’. I understand this to indicate the Pharma statistics are ‘manipulated’. But this quote cuts both ways – who’s statistics are correct? Who’s statistics do you agree with? How can we decide?
    You write ‘vaccinations were always presented as 100% a good thing.’. Can’t a treatment have risks, but also be a good thing? Don’t all pharmaceuticals have side effects? Do we expect every choice to be clear-cut: black and white, good vs evil? As grownups, we have to understand that there is an inherent risk/cost for every decision we make, even the easy ones that we make every day. Sometimes we have to make ‘bad’ decisions.
    Shouldn’t it be a Doctor’s job to prescribe a treatment (or preventative step) – and explain that even the best treatment might not work and/or have side effects?

    1. The point is that there is coercion and an “official position” that is published by the various world organizations in collusion with the socials that will de-platform or cancel anyone of any qualifications from expressing a different opinion or presenting any data that doesn’t agree with the vaccines only approach. For example, they do not recognize any pre-hospital treatments. Nothing. Just go home and wait. That is not only crazy but SUSPICIOUS.

      1. No – the point is, are vaccines better than getting sick with a disease? Aren’t there questions about every treatment? Saying that there are questions is not what I want to hear from a doctor (I can go to Facebook for that).

  62. Yes. That IS the question. It makes me wonder why we don’t vaccinate for rabies. Obviously, rabies is a terrible, usually fatal disease. There is a rabies vaccine: we are required to vaccinate our dogs and cats. But we do not vaccinate ourselves. Is the vaccine worse than the disease? You aren’t asking ALL the relevant questions. 1. What is the chance of me being exposed to Covid? 2. What is the chance of being exposed then developing the disease? 3. What is the chance of surviving Covid? 4. What is the chance of me developing serious Covid symptoms? 5. What is the chance for me to progress to severe Covid? 6. What is the effect of the jab on someone already immune? 7. What are the long-term effect of the jab? 8. Why am I unable to obtain liability against the jab should things go wrong, or worse, for my family?
    I haven’t made up my mind as I try to obtain answers to my questions.

    1. Interesting that you ask, ‘ What is the chance of me being exposed to Covid?’. Isn’t that relative to the immunity of those around you? Aren’t you protected by other people having immunity (either by vaccine or infection)? This isn’t a zero-sum, game theory problem – no man is an island.
      The answer to questions 2-7 are (somewhat) known (unless the hospitals get over run by mass infections…). When do you think that you’ll make a decision? What are you waiting for?
      As for question 8 – Can we get liability if/when you spread it to other people?

      1. No liability when spread to others I imagine. In California they decriminalized knowingly spreading HIV to a sexual partner. Besides, when fully vaccinated spouses are publicly kissing with masks on it doesn’t bode well for the experimental genetic therapy as preventing anything.

        What am I waiting for? I’m waiting for some early the results of the experiment. And the ability to know if I have already been exposed and have immunities to Covid. Every experiment needs a control group. You chose to join in the experimental group and, for now, I have elected to be in the control group.

      2. What results? What numbers do you expect to get? How long are you going to wait?
        In the US you have ‘182,412,776 people or 56% of the population have received at least one dose’ and ‘157,323,738 people or 48% of the population have been fully vaccinated’ (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/covid-vaccine-tracker-states/).
        At what point do you think that you will say, ‘I’ve seen enough’ and make a decision?

        Would you consider protecting others (not me, obviously) as a reason to get a vaccine?

    2. Has anyone made a proper risk analysis of Covid versus the vaccines and presented it publically? The results would of course vary a lot depending on which numbers and percentages you would use. It seems like adverse effects of Covid have been largely exaggerated in public data (or at least in the public interpretation thereof), and one can assume that vaccine side effects and their severity are largely under-reported. This insecurity of basic parameters (combined with the one-sided media propaganda) would in my opinion be enough to NOT take the C vaccine.

      Please keep in mind also that we still don’t know the long-term effects of the vaccines. Some reports claim that spike proteins aggregate in the ovaries. How would that affect fertility?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_assessment

      1. Would you believe one if it said, ‘vaccines are safe’? Or ‘infection is worse’?

    3. Interesting that you ask about rabies. People at risk are vaccinated (handlers, Vets etc.), in addition to dogs (>99% of cases are acquired from the bite of an infected dog). Vaccinate the dog – protect the owner. Most cases (~95%) occur in Africa and Asia, areas with lower vaccination rates.

      1. But it is a nearly 100% fatal disease. The most recent I read about in the US is a person walking barefoot on the grass and was bitten by a bat but the bat was so small and the bite was more like a sting that he didn’t think about it other than perhaps a mosquito got him. Of course, when presenting symptoms most doctors do not think rabies but by the time they figure it out, it is usually too late. So, back to my question: why aren’t more people – perhaps people who like to camp or hike – inoculated? If the vaccine is “good” then why not everyone? Even city dwellers may eventually go out in the country or be around bats. Anyway, my point is that vaccines are not completely harmless and for an illness that doesn’t affect the young or those who already have immunity (and they SHOULD make the test available to find out!) and for those who are at low risk in general, why expose them to an EXPERIMENTAL GENE THERAPY? At least the rabies vaccine has been around for decades and we know the effects. But there’s so much we do not know about the Covid jab. For example, my 26-year-old son is in the military. I read they will require the jab. I will advise him to freeze sperm samples should he desire to have children in the future because we really don’t know the effects of the jab on fertility, especially as it is being pushed hard by Eugenicists and De-populationists.

  63. It looks like the US (pre-covid) gives an average of 130 million vaccines per year (per the CDC). 100 million people in the US are fully vaccinated and another 47 million have had a single dose as of May 4th. We are only partway towards 100% vaccination and likely won’t get a lot higher percent than 50. If covid vaccine deaths exceed deaths from all other vaccines for 20 years, the covid vaccines kill at more than 19x the average rate of other vaccines. We are still counting VAERS deaths from covid vaccines and VAERS deaths are under-reported.

    1. Please add the 100,000,000 jabs to the already reported 34,600,000 known “cases” and approximately 114,000,000 youth and children (perhaps around 35% of our population) none of whom should be jabbed, and we’re up to nearly 100%. How can ANYONE ask for 100%? That doesn’t make sense because you shouldn’t include known cases and children. Plus, the pandemic/epidemic will clear on its own as they all do eventually.

      1. Don’t forget the 35,000,000 “cases”. In my humble opinion, they should not take the jab and you can throw them into the “already immunized” camp. Then there are the children and youth, I think we have some 113,000,000 (about 35% of our population). They might already be immune due to asymptomatic disease and in the lowest risk category. So, we are probably at about where we should be. Anyone saying 100% of the population needs the jab should be suspect.

  64. Before getting the any vaccine, I need to see a good-quality risk:benefit analysis, which I have not found anywhere. Do you have one?

    With regard to risks of vaccination, I can’t find good data on the safety results. I would like to see all medical-treatment-events and deaths in the vaccinated group recorded for an extended period, so that we can examine the relative occurrence versus background. Have I missed this, can you point me at this data? The best I’ve found is the EU Yellow card system, which is not reassuring — and does not include all events post-vaccine.

    For covid risk, the best data I’ve found on treatments is at https://ivmmeta.com/, which shows an 80% or so reduction in risk of death overall.

    At the present time, the best info available to me suggests that the risk of death or serious injury from the vaccine is much higher than the risk of dying from properly-treated covid.

    The rest of the risk:benefit equation is also uncertain: the reduced risk of death or serious injury from covid following vaccination, and the risk of actually having a serious covid infection. There is a high rate of natural pre-existing immunity to covid, and I likely have been exposed on multiple occasions, so why should I be concerned about it at all?

    Finally, should I get the vaccine and be disabled, who will take care of me and my family? I am not aware of any compensation or support in this event. If I am killed, there is life insurance, but they would rather have me here. (The risk to me of death/disability from covid appears to be close to zero, given my good health, and no consequences from virtually certain exposure during the pandemic.)

    1. You lost me at ‘https://ivmmeta.com/’ is ‘the best data I’ve found on treatments’. Try branching out, reading from other sources.
      Why do you think ‘I likely have been exposed on multiple occasions’? How do you get to this conclusion? Are you willing to bet you health on this?

      1. Exposure doesn’t equal infection. One might not have been infected for many reasons, low viral load, healthy immune system, and even immunity from other coronaviruses. Even in tracing studies, not everyone known to be exposed to an actual sick person with symptoms develops an infection. I know that when my housekeepers were in my house (unmasked) three days before they came down with mild symptoms (fever, stuffy nose) and had their Covid diagnosis confirmed, the docs automatically quarantined their 18-year-old son, who never had a test or symptom but just assumed he was a “case.” They were all fine and bored, stuck at home. Nobody in my household got sick after my housekeepers did. Perhaps the “flu” I had at the end of February 2020 was actually Covid, or I have a healthy immune system or my daily jaunts to a nearby park, exerting myself with deep breathing exercises, taking daily 5000IU D3 and zinc, and wearing the filthy mask only when I had to, as in to enter the grocery store (where people would annoyingly shove up against me), or just lucky, so far. It is possible that I may still get infected but that I have a 98% chance of recovering. I will immediately start on antivirals and zinc, maybe HCQ and Ivermectin. That will decrease my chances of needing hospitalization. But if I’m one of the small percent with a case that gets out of control, I’ll get seek monoclonal antibodies and pray. Most people have had the disease or have taken the jab by now, so the chances are excellent that this nightmare is soon over…until the next flu season when we’ll hear the drumbeat for shutdowns, especially during elections. I beat cancer that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving even WITH heavy treatment, so .1% are odds that I’m ok with. I wonder how many Covid patients died with normal-high Vit D3 levels? Nursing homes are notorious for having already weak individuals who rarely get outside and are likely low on many vitamins, and get little fresh air and sunshine. I know that my dear husband died after shutting down the nursing homes, and I couldn’t get to him to take him outside for fresh air and sun (he died of pneumonia, not Covid). Thus the elderly with co-morbidities died of Covid at very high rates, the average being 85 years old. Anyway, I’m still waiting and watching and assessing.

      2. I agree 100% percent that ‘Exposure doesn’t equal infection’. But also, ‘quarantined’ does not equal ‘case’. Can we agree on that?
        Do you think that you have a >98% chance of dying from the vaccine? Do you think that ‘monoclonal antibodies and pray’ are more effective than your own antibodies, generated from vaccination (monoclonal antibodies have been one of the most disappointing treatments so far and are only useful in some cases)? Isn’t it better to stay out of the hospital in the first place? When the hospitals get overrun, lots of other sick people don’t get treatment.
        I’m sorry to hear about your husband and glad that you were useful in dealing with cancer. I wish you a long and healthy life. I believe that you should do everything you can to help your immune system to deal with a novel various (the chance you had it in February probably 0, unless you live in a few places in the US, such as Boston, NYU or Washington, and even then it’s close to 0).

    2. You may want to check with your health, life and disability insurers to see if they will cover any complications (or death) from the jab. If they do, find out the limitations and what they would expect as “proof” because people I know are complaining to their doctors about bad symptoms and the docs denying it has anything to do with the jab. They don’t want to report it and most don’t know how to report to VAERS. My friend just finished his 2 jab. He’s high rise due to his comorbidities. He pretty much lost his mind for a couple of days after each does, didn’t know where he was and such. But his doctor didn’t want to hear from him. He’s ok now but said he’ll never take another booster or jab again.

  65. Re “You lost me at ‘https://ivmmeta.com/’ is ‘the best data I’ve found on treatments’” — what sites do you recommend? I do read widely, and have not found a better meta-analysis. Although https://roundingtheearth.substack.com/ is also excellent, overall.

    Re “Why do you think ‘I likely have been exposed on multiple occasions’? How do you get to this conclusion?” — because everyone has been exposed, and I have not tried to hunker down. I also had covid symptoms Feb 2020, they resolved without any problems.

    Re “Are you willing to bet you health on this?” Absolutely. I am in an extremely-low-risk category, and I have confidence in my ability to treat it effectively should I have symptoms.

    Have you looked at the Diamond Princess data? It shows most people on board not testing positive despite the close-quarters of a ship, many people with positive PCRs and no symptoms, and deaths confined to older passengers. From other studies, we know deaths are predominantly in those with co-morbid conditions, regardless of age.

    1. Good job bringing up the Diamond Princess. That was the early laboratory of how Covid spreads and who it affects. The numbers in situ are matching what we could call in vitro of the Princess. Also, not one of the crew members died. It is a very interesting study and the closest thing we have to a closed system, except I don’t believe there were any children aboard. I’ll have to review. Even Wiki has a good write up.

      1. Yes, one of the good things about the Diamond Princess is that the numbers are internally consistent (e.g. same PCR cycle count, whatever it was, haven’t been able to find it anywhere) and everyone was tested at the same time. There were children on board, none of the 0-9 with symptoms, a few 10-19 with symptoms. I can’t add the graphs I made, but here is the raw data:

        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468042720300063
        https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.09.20059113v1.full.pdf

    2. I go over all the major scientific/medical journals (I can send you the links, if you want), I also read various blogs/podcasts etc (I can send you recommendations), with different viewpoints, including Brian Tyson and the Raoult chorus.
      What am I supposed to from the Diamond Princess case? I see that the R0 went up rapidly (day 12-to-19) and then down ‘following the quarantine measures’. That seems to indicate that social distancing works. Does the fact that not many people died mean that it’s not dangerous?

      Regarding ‘I also had covid symptoms Feb 2020’, the chance you had it in February probably 0, unless you were on the Diamond Princess or at the biotech conference in Boston.

  66. Also, no deaths except in 70-79, where 3 in 1,000 died, and 80-89, where 19 in 1,000 died. No deaths in the 90+ (but only 11 on board)

  67. I think I will read this book next.

    At the time that I was making vaccine decisions for my kids (when they were babies/toddlers), I read Aviva Jill Romm’s book, which looked at each vaccine indepenently (although she goes into home remdies, which I am guessing my doctors are not comfortable with). Without saying which vaccines should be taken. But giving a profile for each vaccine – with a clear picture emerging that you really do need to assess each vaccine as an individual intervention. The mechanisms of action and range in efficacy do paint a varied picture.

    I came to the conclusion that the MMR was a vaccine I felt comfortable with giving to my kids. While the Flu and HPV are not vaccines that my kids get.

    And I honestly have felt rather lonely in not belonging to a “camp” where I either deny all vaccines or accept every vaccine (including new ones with emergency use authorization), without any consideration about my personal risk/benefit assessment.

    1. Something tells me you are about to have a lot of new company in your camp.

      When this is all over, people are going to be questioning vaccines like never before. And I think that is good. I have never questioned them before – got them all – but after watching the hubris with the Covid vaccines, that is changing.

      Bottom line: The medical community needs to come out now, loud and clear, and disassociate itself with the mandates and passports; inform the public they will provide the Covid vaccine to anyone who wants one; and no matter what your vaccination status, you will be taken care of properly.

      Did no one spare a thought to what would happen to the public’s view of the old tried and true vaccines if, God forbid, something went sideways with the Covid vaccines they are threatening your job over if you don’t get it?

  68. The gist of the post reminded me of a comment I saw last night, its was the lament of the lack of a completely dispassionate news presenter. I think everyone is sick of bias, as evidenced by the popularity of your post. On a serious note though, its hard to beat Reynolds Wrap for all your tinfoil hat needs (which is funny because I understand its actually been aluminum for sometime now).

  69. I am an admirer of Dr. of Dr. Gotzsche and but have not read this book. I am disappointed to hear that most of his case disparaging “anti-vaxxers” is based on the case against Andrew Wakefield. The case is based primarily on a subsequently discredited article by Brian Deere who had a connection to Rupert Murdoch whose ties to pharmaceutical concerns are not a conspiracy theory. Dr. Wakefield has devoted a couple of decades to research on the history of measles vaccinations and the fact that they were not universally welcomed by the scientific community and at a time when measles had become an overwhelmingly benign infection already. He offers a fascinating multi-part presentation on the history of the measles vaccine on YouTube called “Vaccine Risks”. I am disappointed that Dr. Gotzsche apparently did not use the same scrutiny that he uses for other investigations to look past the mainstream corrupted treatment of Dr. Wakefield. By the way, the injuries from vaccination did not start with Dr. Wakefield. It was an issue from the beginning and coming to a head during the mid 80’s with the dangerous DPT vaccine. Incidentally, Dr. Wakefield’s work regarding gut disruption impacting brain health has since been proven with science concerning the microbiome.

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