Yes, we have to discuss the vaccines once more.
“Thanks to protections from being vaccinated & boosted, I’m grateful to only be experiencing mild symptoms.”
In the past three years you have seen some variation of the above on Twitter from almost anyone in the English speaking world important enough to have their own Wikipedia page.
I really didn’t want to bring up COVID once again. I don’t want to gaze into the abyss every day. But this lie, this idea that a reduction in symptoms from a viral infection is an indicator the vaccine you received against it has worked, is so deceptive, so dishonest, so dangerous, that I feel morally obliged to explain why it’s wrong.
And so we have to go over this once more. Long ago I pointed out something peculiar. The SARS2 mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer look effectively similar to a tolerance induction therapy developed by Pfizer at the same time. The only difference is the lipid carrier used.
I quote once again:
New-generation mRNA and adenovirus vectored vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein are endowed with immunogenic, inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Recently, BioNTech developed a noninflammatory tolerogenic mRNA vaccine (MOGm1Ψ) that induces in mice robust expansion of antigen-specific regulatory T (Treg) cells. The Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is identical to MOGm1Ψ except for the lipid carrier, which differs for containing lipid nanoparticles rather than lipoplex.
And as I have explained many times, you see signs that the COVID vaccines induce tolerance against the Spike protein. The most noticeable sign, is the transition from an IgG3 antibody response (the sort your body normally uses to protect itself against viruses) to an IgG4 antibody response (an antibody that is much worse at neutralizing viral particles than IgG3 and discourages immune cells from destroying infected cells).
And so I want to address the “mild symptoms thanks to vaccination” claim for a moment. When a PhD, politician, journo or a generic notable blue check brings this up, the mental model they’re operating under is that their body is now better at fighting this virus than it would be without the vaccine and as a result the virus never manages to make them very sick.
But that’s not how it works in reality. When you get infected by SARS2, it’s your own immune system that makes you feel sick, not the virus. Your immune system goes on high alert and tries to get rid of this virus. The symptoms you experience, are all one variety or another of your immune system fighting this virus. Fever? Heating you up to kill viruses. Sneezing, coughing? Expunging viral particles from your body. Exhausted, in pain? That’s mostly due to inflammation.
In some people, the overall vitality of their body has declined a lot, while their adaptive immune response to this virus remains very aggressive. Those people are unfortunate enough to get very sick, they may die or end up on the ICU. That’s why throughout the pandemic, we mostly saw elderly people with multiple pre-existing conditions die from this virus. It’s also why vitamin D supplementation could have saved a lot of lives: Vitamin D deficiency tends to result in an overly aggressive adaptive immune response.
The fact that a vaccine against this virus reduces the number of people suffering such severe symptoms that may result in hospitalization or death, does not mean it’s a good vaccine. Good vaccines stop people from catching and spreading a virus. Catching a virus may be difficult to prevent, under conditions of sufficiently intense exposure healthy people can even be reinfected by smallpox. But if you do happen to catch a virus despite being vaccinated against it, it should at least prevent you from passing it on. If a vaccine fails to achieve that, it can not deliver herd immunity against the pathogen and will merely accelerate its evolution.
A reduction in severe cases and death, can not be sufficient to consider a vaccine against this virus a success. The reason is because such a reduction can be achieved in a very simple manner: By simply not fighting the virus.
We now know that if you destroy the adaptive immune system of mice, this does not make them more vulnerable to SARS2. No, it makes them experience zero symptoms. These mice are unable to eliminate the virus, although their innate immune system keeps the viral load stable. This fits data I have seen reported on MERS, where people with HIV just don’t suffer symptoms from the infection.
People look at the decline in hospitalizations and deaths from SARS2 and imagine that this is a result of the population “building up hybrid immunity”. But the studies in mice now show, that if you injected the whole population with something that kills their B and T cells instead of training them to recognize the virus, you could have seen the exact same result that we see today: A decline in severe cases and deaths.
And in this context, I want to ask you the following question:
What does this look like to you?
Does this look like what you expect to see, when a population’s immune response is gradually getting better and better at fighting a virus?
Or does this look like what you expect to see, when a population’s immune response is no longer trying to fight this virus?
I have to point out to you all, that these levels of this virus that we see in our wastewater, are many times higher than what we see for any other virus that infects humans. Influenza and the four regular human corona virus don’t produce anything near this viral load. Go look up the numbers yourself if you don’t believe me.
If you think this virus is becoming similar to the other human corona viruses, I have three questions for you to answer:
- Why is the viral load in the population orders of magnitudes higher?
- Why is it still hospitalizing as many people every two days as seasonal influenza in my country does in a whole year?
- Why do we continue to suffer excess mortality, except in countries with low vaccination rates like Bulgaria?
To a large degree, the observed reduction in risk of hospitalization and death after vaccination can be attributed to the healthy vaccinee effect. Elderly from certain ethnic minority and low income communities with overall poorer health were less likely to be vaccinated. Most comparisons fail to account for the healthy vaccinee effect.
In addition, just because your body stopped fighting this virus, does not mean this virus stops harming you. This is a virus that infects the endothelium, the cells lining your blood vessels. So what does it look like, when your body doesn’t bother fighting a virus that infects these cells? You may feel fine, but then you suffer an unexpected heart attack or stroke. You died of COVID, but because the vaccine discouraged your immune system from fighting the virus, your death did not look like a COVID death.
However, when we see that in certain demographics, hospitalizations from this virus among the unvaccinated remain elevated, I wish to emphasize one thing:
The unvaccinated are carrying their own weight.
Their immune systems are trying to do, what our immune systems evolved to do. Protect the tribe from dangerous pathogens.
At least in the short-term, turning off your immune response against SARS-COV-2 is an effective way to prevent you from suffering severe symptoms, or dying from this virus.
On the other hand, it’s terrible for everyone else you meet, because you will continue to spread this virus and enable its continuing evolution.
If you’re eighty years old, natural selection may be more interested in making sure you don’t infect your pregnant daughter with a virus that will harm her fetus, than ensuring you live to see next spring.
And so I wish to ask you all: I’m sure that during Delta, these vaccines prevented people who received them from dying. Perhaps there is still protection from severe outcomes today.
But at what cost?
Failure to achieve herd immunity against this virus, which is clearly damaging people’s brains and immune systems, is an existential threat. There is no way around it. it follows that if vaccination causes even a slight impairment in someone’s capacity to become a dead-end host for this virus, then vaccination against this virus poses an existential threat to humanity.
Studies show that pregnant women who get infected by this virus, have a doubled risk of their kid having a neurological disorder. This is not just some correlational p-hacking nonsense. We also have studies that detect brain bleeding in aborted fetuses. And when they look at these lesions that are bleeding, they find SARS-COV-2 in 100% of sampled tissues. How strong does the evidence need to be, before people accept this is real?
We now seem to be stuck with this virus for years to come, absent some sudden catastrophic failure of the vaccine experiment. It’s very clearly not starting to behave like a normal benign respiratory virus. The population is very clearly not developing a protective immune response that forces this virus into extinction through a competitive disadvantage versus other respiratory viruses.
But it’s worse. The evidence we have suggests that virulence is merely increasing, with BA.2.86 representing a return to greater virulence, with a Delta-like Furin cleavage site that causes increased cell damage. And it now seems to be going a step further, with a further improvement to the Furin cleavage site that has never been seen before, emerged independently on multiple separate branches and is now spreading in multiple countries.
I don’t know how this ends. But I do know this: We disrespected the laws of nature. We thought we knew better. We thought we had a technofix. A technofix so good, so safe, we even gave it to children.
And all the evidence we now have suggests we’re paying a very high price for it.