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June 15, 2021

Washington's Inoculation Gamble: Calculating the Vegas Odds of Virus vs Vax Risks, and the Goal of Herd Immunity

"Are you getting the vaccine?" I have had to disappoint a lot of friends and family when I tell them that I'm going to sit this one out; that I don't like the odds so I'm choosing to be part of the control group in this grand experiment. Furrowed brows, a sharp look of disapproval, and inevitably I hear some version of "It's not about you, it's about saving lives by building a ring of immunity around the vulnerable to reduce the chance that they get infected."

In my recent investigative report - The Lies Exposed by the Numbers - I documented the worst of the lies, half-truths, and misdirection used by our public health officials to manipulate public perceptions throughout the pandemic. The public messaging surrounding the COVID vaccination campaign has been just as crooked. So, I thought I would do what the government has refused to do: calculate your Vegas odds of death from the virus so you can weigh those odds against the risks of getting the jab. And I will show you how the concept of herd immunity is being willfully distorted to shame you into getting the jab, despite the fact that the vulnerable in this pandemic are all capable of getting their own.

George Washington's Gamble

History provides fantastic examples to make concepts jump up out of a page, thus making a story easier to tell. So, I'm going to begin this article by taking you back to a time when vaccination was first being developed as a public health strategy in order to highlight all the key elements that are required to make an informed risk-benefit calculation (your Vegas odds) and to show you how far our public health agencies have strayed from all the ethics and principles of vaccination.

In the early days of the Revolutionary War the smallpox virus followed American troops everywhere. Plague and pestilence always follow closely on the heels of war. Not only did smallpox spread like wildfire among George Washington's troops and tie up valuable resources to care for sick soldiers, it also caused his troops to spread smallpox to all the towns and villages along their path. 

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For children under 1 year of age, smallpox had a fatality rate of between 40 and 50%! For the population at large, the fatality rate was round 30%. Losing 30% of your troops even before you fight a single battle is unacceptable. And there is no way you can win a war if you turn the population against you by allowing the Grim Reaper to march alongside you, because he will amuse himself by emptying the cradles of all the villages that you rely on to feed your troops. It's hard to win hearts and minds when those you claim to be fighting for are asked to bear the highest cost.

Smallpox came in two varieties - variola major (the common variety with the 30% death rate) and variola minor (with a death rate of around 1%). Surviving one gave immunity to the other. They were, in fact, the same virus. The difference was how the virus began its assault on the body. If it entered the body through the air (via the respiratory system), it would spread through the body via the lymphatic system, which led to the lethal variola major version of the disease. But if it entered the body via a scratch on the skin, it led to a more local and less lethal variola minor infection, which allowed the patient to develop immunity without the virus spreading through the lymphatic system. 

Early smallpox inoculation utilized a strategy called variolation to purposely infect people with variola minor by introducing pus from an infected individual into scratches on their skin. Acquiring immunity using variolation still caused a death rate of 1%. That's almost 10x more deadly than our current COVID virus, even before accounting for the difference in COVID risk caused by age and pre-existing health conditions. Variolation was a dangerous and hellish experience, yet many people considered it a justifiable risk because smallpox was so deadly and so common. 

No-one was asked to take that risk for someone else. Variolation, like all immunization, was about individuals weighing their personal risks of immunization against their personal risk from the disease. 

John Adams, Founding Father and 2nd US President, described his own experience with variolation: "Do not conclude from any Thing I have written that I think Inoculation a light matter -- A long and total abstinence from everything in Nature that has any Taste; two long heavy Vomits, one heavy Cathartick, four and twenty Mercurial and Antimonial Pills, and, Three weeks of Close Confinement to an House, are, according to my Estimation, no small matters.

Eventually variolation was replaced by a much less risky alternative when the world's first vaccine was developed using the closely related and much less dangerous cowpox virus to induce immunity against smallpox. The word vaccination comes from the Latin word Vacca, which means cow. But at the time that George Washington was fighting the Revolutionary War, variolation was the only option.

Dr. Edward Jenner created the world's first vaccine - the smallpox vaccine - because he knew that dairy workers who contracted cowpox (a relatively mild infection) were immune to smallpox. This painting captures his first experimental vaccination on a boy by the name of James Phipps on May 14th, 1796.

George Washington was initially extremely reluctant to inoculate his troops because of how dangerous variolation was, but he eventually recognized that "we should have more to dread from it [smallpox], than from the Sword of the Enemy." One study suggests that for every American soldier killed by the British, the Americans were losing ten of their own soldiers to some sort of disease. And so, George Washington quarantined his troops (to prevent the variolation process from sparking an epidemic in the surrounding community) and inoculated them (under a cover of absolute secrecy to prevent the British from attacking while his quarantined troops were bedridden). 

Variolation allowed George Washington to give his troops individual protection against the virus, thus giving him an advantage in war. And it allowed him to protect the villages that he depended on for food by drying up the source of viral spread. In other words, inoculating his troops for their own protection also allowed him to protect the vulnerable babies in their cradles. And the reason it was ethical to try to create herd immunity to protect babies in their cradles was because those taking the risk of variolation (his soldiers) were also getting a benefit for themselves that outweighed their risk from variolation.

Variolation leveled the playing field against the British, many of which were arriving on American soil with immunity because of prior inoculation or natural exposure back in Britain. George Washington's gamble ultimately played a huge role in why the Stars and Stripes and not the Union Jack flies over American soil today.

Calculating Your Vegas Odds

Vaccination is a lot like sports betting, except that you have three sets of odds to calculate. First there is the odds of death if you catch a virus. In George Washington’s time, the odds of death if you were infected with smallpox were roughly 1 in 3. Catching smallpox was a game of Russian Roulette with a three-chambered gun and one live round of ammo. 

The second calculation is the odds of losing your life (or becoming permanently disabled) during vaccination. No vaccine is 100% risk-free because "each person's body reacts to vaccines differently" (source: US CDC). Variolation was a game of Russian Roulette with 100 chambers and only one live round. Definitely better odds than full-blown smallpox, but not something to take lightly either. 

Despite the light-hearted reference to Vegas odds, this isn't a casino where you can keep your bets small to ensure that you can keep playing if you lose on your first turn. A vaccination, like an infection with the actual disease, are both one-time bets. You're betting the farm. It's your life on the line. And there's no opting out of the game because, by refusing to bet on one, you automatically place your bets on the other.

The odds faced by George Washington's troops favored variolation. 1 in 100 vs 1 in 3. But everyone's personal exposure to the risk matters too - that's the third calculation everyone has to make before getting vaccinated. George Washington's troops were almost certain to get exposed at some point because of the cramped unhygienic conditions of war and their constant mingling with strangers. It only takes one soldier to bring the virus back to the barracks after a wild night out on the town and the whole division gets put at risk. A rural hermit has a very different calculation, not because he's not at risk if he gets exposed, but because he has a much lower chance of getting exposed in the first place. Calculating your odds is a very individual process.

The risk posed by COVID, like most respiratory viruses, is not evenly distributed across society. Lifestyle plays a big role in your risk of exposure. Long-term care residents and staff working in hospitals or nursing homes face orders of magnitude more risk of exposure than a retired person living at home, someone working from home, a truck driver, or farmer out in his fields. Some people are certain to be exposed to the virus at some point, possibly even to high viral loads. Others may go a lifetime without ever crossing paths with it.

While everyone has to gauge these highly individual factors for themselves, it's nevertheless possible to put some numbers on how age and underlying conditions affect your risk from the virus and to compare those numbers to the risk of death or serious injury from the vaccines. It's time to calculate some Vegas odds for the virus and for the vax.

The Calculations: Vegas Odds of Death from COVID

Step 1 - Infection Fatality Rate: In the following chart I've calculated the odds of death from a COVID infection using the CDC's official infection fatality rate for each age category (this is the risk of death IF someone catches an infection). Clearly age matters a lot. But before these odds can give you any meaningful insights about your personal level of risk, we need to refine those numbers to account for:

  • the portion of the population that has pre-existing cross-reactive immunity and is therefore not at risk of catching the disease in the first place,
  • the level of community exposure required to reach herd immunity,
  • and pre-existing health conditions.

Calculating the odds of death from a COVID infection based on the CDC's official numbers (source US CDC(to check my math here is an example for the 0-17 group: 1,000,000÷20 = 50,000=1:50,000)

Step 2 -Accounting for cross-reactive antibodies (T-cell immunity): Research studies have demonstrated that many people have cross-reactive T-cell immunity to COVID-19 because of prior exposure to other coronaviruses. A previous encounter with one of COVID's closely related cousins is a serious advantage. It varies from country to country; however, a range of studies from around the world shows that from 6% to 81% of adults and up to 60% of children already have this cross-reactive immunity. A study from British Columbia published by the US National Center for Biotechnical Information found that 90% to 99% of adults in the Vancouver area show positive antibody reactivity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike, RBD, or the N antigen. And an article published in the British Medical Journal referenced 6 studies demonstrating T-cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 in 20% to 50% of people with no known exposure to the virus. This last article makes several important points about cross-reactive T cell immunity:

  • "SARS-CoV-1 reactive T cells were found in SARS patients 17 years after infection." Thus, the public health messaging that we need booster shots every year against COVID-19 flies in the face of evidence from SARS-CoV-2’s closely related coronavirus cousin. Antibodies from an infection may fade relatively quickly but we can expect T-cell immunity from a prior infection to continue to provide protection for a long time.
  • The study also points out lessons learned during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Data on B-cells and, in particular, T-cells, which are “known to blunt disease severity”, forced a change in views at the WHO and CDC “from an assumption before 2009 that most people 'will have no immunity to the pandemic virus' to one that acknowledged that 'the vulnerability of a population to a pandemic virus is related in part to the level of pre-existing immunity to the virus.'

Cross-reactive immunity is not an on-off switch but would be best thought of as a scale. Some people will be sufficiently protected by this cross-reactive immunity to be entirely protected from symptomatic disease, others will nonetheless become ill or even be hospitalized, particularly if they have a weak immune system as a result of pre-existing health conditions. But these cross-reactive antibodies would go a long way towards explaining why SARS-CoV-2 leads to asymptomatic infections in the vast majority of people, severe outcomes in people who have weak immunity, and only affects a small number of people without pre-existing conditions, presumably those who do not have this cross-reactive immunity. 

The presence of cross-reactive antibodies has two implications. It implies that we are far closer to herd immunity than if this virus was entirely unrelated to other coronaviruses already circulating in the community. And it demands that we reassess the odds of death or serious injury from SARS-CoV-2 in order to reflect this pre-existing immunity. So, even if we assume an entirely theoretical middle-of the-road estimate of 20% of people having no risk of disease because of pre-existing cross-reactive immunity, the odds would change as follows:

(to check my math here is an example for the 0-17 group: 1,000,000÷(100%-20%)÷20 = 62,500=1:62,500)

Step 3 - Accounting for your chance of being infected before we reach herd immunity: Once a community reaches herd immunity, the virus is essentially starved of available hosts and cannot keep spreading. Again, let's use a conservative estimate that says herd immunity will be reached when 90% of the population achieves some kind of immunity, either through infection, vaccination, or cross-reactive immunity. If you don't catch the virus before that 90% herd immunity level is reached, you probably won't catch it because the virus won't be spreading anymore. Let's adjust the numbers again:

(to check my math here is an example for the 0-17 group: 1,000,000÷(100%-20%)÷90%÷20 = 69,444=1:69,444)

Step 4 - Accounting for pre-existing conditions: Those with a severe pre-existing health condition face a much higher risk than those who don't. The US CDC is happy to tell you all the pre-existing health conditions that accompany COVID deaths, but a clear breakdown by age has been extraordinarily difficult to find. However, an obscure report released by Statistics Canada over the winter did just that and since the virus doesn't care what passport you carry, Canada's numbers are good enough for the brute calculations I'm doing to guestimate our Vegas odds:

COVID-19 death comorbidities in Canada (source: Statistics Canada)

Remarkably, 100% of all Canadian deaths under the age of 45 had comorbidities - they were already sick with something else before catching COVID! (I know the US age brackets don't overlap exactly with the Canadian data, but it's close enough; Vegas odds aren't precision engineering, they are ballpark rules of thumb). So... if you are healthy and under the age of 45, you have ZERO statistical risk of death if you catch COVID. If you fall in this category, vaccination might at most spare you a nasty flu-like ordeal, but vaccination will not reduce your risk of death since that risk is already at zero. 

Let that sink in! Hundreds of millions of people around the world are being encouraged to risk their life on these vaccines without having any risk of COVID death to offset. For these people, the vaccine is, quite literally, more dangerous than the virus. They get to play a version of Russian Roulette where they still face the risk of finding that live round of ammo when they spin the cylinder and pull the trigger, but there is no prize to be won if they survive the challenge. 

Anyone under the age of 45 who does not have pre-existing health conditions is being asked to take this vaccine purely to reduce someone else's risk from this virus - for herd immunity - despite the fact that all those who are vulnerable are now able to protect themselves with the jab (more on that later). It's like being asked to undergo variolation, with all its risks, without being at risk from smallpox. Imagine George Washington forcing that on his troops - they all would have mutinied or deserted.

Let's adjust the Vegas Odds again using US statistics for the percentage of people living with multiple chronic health conditions (shown in the chart below) and the Canadian comorbidity statistics.

People living with multiple chronic conditions by age group (source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

And these odds could easily be refined still further by the type and severity of various pre-existing health conditions. For example, a June 1st study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology called "Associations between body-mass index and COVID-19 severity in 6·9 million people in England: a prospective, community-based, cohort study" demonstrated that risk of severe outcomes increased substantially as body fat exceeds the healthy range (or if body fat fell below the healthy weight range), so much so that one of the study's conclusions was that “Our findings from this large population-based cohort emphasise that excess weight is associated with substantially increased risks of severe COVID-19 outcomes, and one of the most important modifiable risk factors identified to date. 

In other words, not only is risk variable and increases the further your body mass is from your ideal weight, but you also have a great deal of control over that risk by making sure that you get your body mass into a healthy range. This chart from the study's supplementary appendix illustrates how risk varies with body mass index, 
Associations of BMI with COVID-19 deaths (source)

And this table, from the same supplementary appendix, shows what how strong the correlation is between severe outcomes and body mass index for various age groups with various body mass indices. As an example of how to read the chart, 93% of the risk of death from COVID in people aged 20-39 with a body mass index of 40 can be explained by their body mass index. 93%! You can also see from the chart that this correlation between body fat levels and severe coutcomes is strongest among the young and gets weaker in older age groups.
Supplemental Table 2. Attributable risks and fractions in risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes(hospitalization, ICU admission, and death) associated with body mass index (BMI) across age groups (source)

How ironic that gyms were among the first businesses that were shuttered when this madness began.

On their own, the Vegas odds of death from the virus are already rather shocking and give some perspective of just how irresponsible and unethical a mass vaccine rollout is for the millions who don't need it. It also highlights how different the risk is for different age groups and health categories. But for those who do face a risk from the virus, they also need to understand their Vegas odds of death or serious injury from the vaccines. Imagine George Washington's soldiers submitting to variolation without knowing if variolation or the virus posed the greater risk. The devil is always hidden in the details (and in the fine print).

The Calculations: Vegas Odds of Death or Injury from the Vaccines

To calculate your Vegas odds of injury or death from the vaccines I used the data from the UK's vaccination program, which reports adverse drug reactions (ADRs) through their Yellow Card system. These numbers were aggregated in a sobering report published on June 9th by the Evidence-based Medicine Consultancy Ltd, which gives us an insight into the severity of the adverse events being reported. As President John Adams would say, they are no small matter. Nor does surviving the game of Russian Roulette with the vaccine mean that your ordeal is over. I encourage you to read the full report because the range of injuries, many with life-long debilitating consequences, is staggering. 

I have summarized some of the key numbers and quotes for you below to give you a sense of what you are risking when you take the vaccine. And then I will use these numbers to calculate the Vegas odds of a vaccine-linked injury or death.

UK COVID Vaccinations as of May 6th, 2021
  • 39 million single doses and 24 million both doses (for a total of 63,000,000 doses)
  • 1253 deaths (total).
  • 888,196 adverse drug reactions, including 256,224 individual reports.
Bleeding, Clotting, and Ischaemic Reactions ("Ischemic" is a medical term that means some part of your body is not getting enough blood supply and is therefore being deprived of oxygen, like the heart, brain, or any other part of your body): 13,766 events (856 fatal) 
  • "Our analysis indicates that thromboembolic ADRs have been reported in almost every vein and artery, including large vessels like the aorta, and in every organ including other parts of the brain, lungs, heart, spleen, kidneys, ovaries and liver, with life-threatening and life-changing consequences. The most common Yellow Card categories affected by these sorts of ADRs were the nervous system (152 fatalities, mainly from brain bleeds and clots), respiratory (with 103 fatalities, mainly from pulmonary thromboembolism) and cardiac categories (81 fatalities)." 
Immune System Adverse Drug Reactions (Infection, Inflammation, Autoimmune, Allergic): 54,870 events (171 fatal)
  • "Among 1,187 people for whom post-vaccination COVID infection was reported, there were 72 fatalities"
  • "Many ‘INFECTION’ category ADRs indicated the occurrence of re-activation of latent viruses, including Herpes Zoster or shingles (1,827 ADRs), Herpes Simplex (943 ADRs, 1 fatal), and Rabies (1 fatal ADR) infections. This is strongly suggestive of vaccine-induced immune-compromise."
  • "Also suggestive of vaccine-induced immunocompromise was the high number of immune-mediated conditions reported, including Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome (280 ADRs, 6 deaths), Crohn’s and non-infective colitis (231 ADRs, 2 deaths) and Multiple Sclerosis (113 ADRs)"
  • "Allergic responses to the vaccines comprised 25,270 reported ADRs, with 4 fatalities occurring among 1,001 people experiencing anaphylactic reactions."
'Pain' Adverse Drug Reactions: 157,579 events (4 fatal)
  • "A large number of these were arthralgias (joint pains – 24,902 ADRs) and myalgias (muscle pains – 31,168 ADRs), including fibromyalgia (270 ADRs)".
  • "The head was the most common location for pain, but abdominal pain, eye pain, chest pain, pain in extremities, and anywhere else that pain can be imagined was reported. Headaches were reported more than 90,000 times and were associated with death in four people."
Neurological Adverse Drug Reactions: 185,474 events (186 fatal)
  • "A wide variety of neurological ADRs were noted, including 1,992 ADRs involving seizures and 2,357 ADRs involving some form of paralysis, including Bell’s palsy (626 ADRs). Other ADRs involving encephalopathy (18), dementia (33), ataxia [loss of balance, coordination, or speech] (34), spinal muscular atrophy (1), Parkinson’s (18) and delirium (504) may reflect post-vaccination neurodegenerative pathology."
  • "The majority of fatalities associated with Nervous System ADRs occurred as a result of central nervous system haemorrhages"
  • "More information is needed to determine the extent of the morbidity associated with this alarmingly large category of ADRs"
Adverse Drug Reactions Involving Loss of Sight, Hearing, Speech, or Smell: 4,771 events
  • "There were 4,771 reports of visual impairment including blindness, 130 reports of speech impairment, 4,108 reports of taste impairment, 354 reports of olfactory impairment, and 704 reports of hearing impairment."
Pregnancy Adverse Drug Reactions: 307 events (164 fatal)
  • "Given that vaccinated pregnant women comprise a small proportion of the vaccinated population in the UK up to 26th May 2021, there appear to be a high number of Pregnancy ADRs (307 ADRs), including one maternal death, 12 stillbirths (reported as 6 stillbirths and 6 foetal deaths, but only 3 listed as fatal(?)), one newborn death following preterm birth, and 150 spontaneous abortions."

Here is the summary of all this information expressed as the Vegas odds of death and/or injury:

Data source: report published on June 9th by the Evidence-based Medicine Consultancy Ltd

Clearly not all of the injuries will be severe or life-threatening. The UK numbers don't allow us to gauge what portion of those injuries are severe, but the data provided by the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) system maintained by the US CDC does provide this insight. Comparing the US numbers to the UK numbers also allows us to test if the vaccine reporting systems are consistent or wildly different from one country to the next. Consistent results are an indication that we are getting a reliable picture to help us assess our risks, whereas inconsistent results are a warning that we do not have a reliable picture of our risks.

So, here are the Vegas odds using data from the US VAERS system for deaths, all injuries, and only those injuries that the CDC has categorized as severe:

Data source: VAERS, June 9th search results for all reactions and filtered as "severe" only.

It is important to point out that the odds shown in the previous chart are from a single dose. Although a number of health experts have stated that the risk of injury from the second dose is worse than the first, assuming that the risk remains the same, the cumulative odds (using the US data) of two doses are:

  • Death: 1 : 30,303
  • Death or Severe Adverse Reaction: 1 : 3,171
  • Any reaction: 1 : 482

And if people get a booster shot after 12 months, the cumulative odds after the third dose look like this:

  • Death: 1 : 20,202 
  • Death or Severe Adverse Reaction: 1 : 2,114
  • Any reaction: 1 : 321

And those cumulative odds keep adjusting for every subsequent booster shot. 

Vegas Odds Discussion:

George Washington's soldiers knew their odds well. They could make an informed decision. When it comes to COVID, it is not so easy. Let's put some of these numbers in context.

Once more, for your benefit, I have reproduced the preliminary odds calculations of death from an infection with the virus versus the odds of death or injury caused by the vaccine:

Data source: VAERS, June 9th search results for all reactions and filtered as "severe" only.

As these numbers show, anyone under the age of 49 who does not have pre-existing health conditions faces almost ZERO risk of death from COVID. For this group of people (along with anyone who has already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and has recovered), the risk of death from the vaccine is clearly higher than the risk of death from the virus itself. They have nothing to gain, only something to lose from vaccination.

Everyone else has some risk of death, from as little at 1 in 4,722 for young people with pre-existing health conditions all the way up to 1 to 14 odds for someone 65 or older who is living with pre-existing health conditions.

To put these numbers in context, let's compare them to the odds of death if you are infected with some of the other dangerous diseases that we routinely vaccinate against:

  • Tetanus has a case fatality rate ranging from 10% to 80% in unvaccinated individuals.
  • Diphtheria has a death rate of around 5-10%. For children under the age of 5 and for adults over the age of 40 the death rate rises to 20%. 
  • The death rate for meningitis can be as high as 70% and 1 in 5 survivors will be left with serious lifelong debilitating side effects like hearing loss, neurological damage, or an amputated limb. 
As you can see, these diseases are in a completely different league than COVID, except for the very old living with severe pre-existing conditions. For them, COVID approaches the bottom end of risk posed by some of these other deadly diseases. 

But another difference between these other diseases and COVID is that, unless you are vaccinated, these other diseases pose a lifelong risk because you start being vulnerable the moment you are born, and you never stop being vulnerable until the day you die (unless you get immunity through disease or vaccination). COVID is a statistical nothingburger for those who are young, and only gets risky as you reach end of life. 

Also, when it comes to these other deadly diseases, there is no cross-reactive immunity to be inherited from catching their closely related "cousins" because there aren't any less risky cousins floating around to offer you a lower-risk path to safety. With COVID there is.

As to the Vegas odds of the vaccines: the risk from the COVID vaccines is essentially impossible to quantify. The risk of death immediately after vaccination is reasonably consistent: 1 in 50,000 (UK) versus 1 in 60,000 (US) - these odds are in the same ballpark. But we simply don't know the long-term risk associated with these vaccines because the long-term trials won't finish until 2024. Your long-term risk is a complete blind gamble, a shot in the dark. You literally have no idea what you are signing up for.

Furthermore, the range of serious and life-threatening conditions being reported are deeply alarming. These are more than just a mild temporary headache or a sore arm. How many of these injuries will result in permanent life-changing consequences? I don't know. How many will leave their victim vulnerable to developing other future medical conditions? I don't know, but considering the range and severity of these reactions, I am not sure I would want to be the guinea pig that finds out. 

And some of the most alarming predictions made by critics, many of whom are widely cited and reputable doctors and researchers with long and distinguished careers, suggest that my attempt to calculate Vegas odds for the vaccines does not capture anywhere near the full range of possible bad outcomes. These critics may be wrong. But there is no data that can conclusively rule out their concerns so I cannot quantify the risk of pathogenic priming or antibody-dependent enhancement in my Vegas odds. Time will tell. The most important test will come this winter when coronavirus seasonality puts our vaccinated friends to the test - that's when we will really find out whether all the concerns about antibody-dependent enhancement have merit or not.

If the critics are right, then those who have been vaccinated will have had their odds of death significantly increased when they next encounter a COVID virus in the wild. I hope with all my heart that the critics are wrong. Hope is not a strategy. A mass vaccine rollout with these kinds of overhanging questions is gross negligence on a scale never seen before.

I can understand why someone living in a nursing home with severe life-threatening pre-existing conditions might want to play the odds. I don't think I personally would, even then, but I also do not judge those in their position if they choose to go down that path. But I find it utterly reckless that the vaccine is being offered to anyone other than the most vulnerable among us, given the wide range of unknowns and the possible life-changing consequences of drawing the short straw in this gamble.

Asking someone to risk their life on vaccination in order to keep someone else safe is unethical. Even more so when those asked to take the risk cannot quantify their risk because the long-term risks of the vaccine remain unknown. Even more so when a large portion of the population that is being asked to take it has zero statistical risk of death from the virus itself. And even more so when coercion and misinformation is being used to strong-arm people into taking it.

For those under the age of 45 without pre-existing health conditions, for those with pre-existing cross-reactive immunity, and for those who have already had a COVID infection and/or have antibodies against COVID, there is no excuse whatsoever why they should be asked to risk their life on vaccination without any conceivable personal benefit to themselves. 

But where does that leave the vulnerable? Doesn't that leave them without a ring of immunity and at risk from COVID?  Let me show you how the concept of herd immunity is being wilfully distorted to shame you into getting the jab.

Protecting babies in cradles by vaccinating those around them

George Washington's ability to protect vulnerable babies in their cradles by vaccinating his troops illustrates the concept of herd immunity. By drying up the spread of the virus among his troops he also made the cradles in the villages in his path a much safer place to be. Not everyone is capable of getting vaccinated. Not everyone is capable of acquiring individual protection. Herd immunity, either acquired through natural exposure to a virus or through vaccination, creates a ring of immunity around the vulnerable.

The idea of herd immunity doesn't apply to every disease. In the case of bacteria like tetanus, herd immunity is irrelevant because there is no person-to-person spread. The bacteria are waiting on the end of a rusty nail. The only form of protection that matters against tetanus is individual immunization. 

Most other deadly diseases that we vaccinate against, like measles, rubella, meningitis, pertussis, tetanus, measles, diphtheria, chickenpox, and so on all depend on person-to-person transmission. Unlike COVID, many of these other diseases prey especially heavily on the young. Thus, many of those who face the highest risk from these other diseases are not capable of acquiring individual protection because they are either too young to get vaccinated or because they cannot get vaccinated while they are pregnant or immunocompromised. Ideally the latter categories already got immunized earlier in life (they had their chance to protect themselves before becoming vulnerable), but for the very young, until they reach the age that they can get vaccinated, their only means of protection against measles, mumps, meningitis, rubella, and so on is through the herd immunity of the community surrounding them. 

COVID is unlike these diseases because once COVID vaccines became an option, the vulnerable stopped needing a ring of immunity because our health authorities have declared that they are all eligible to get individual protection from the jab. 

You don't need a knight in shining armour to ride to granny's rescue when she can have her own Sherman tank.

Before the emergency-use authorized COVID vaccines became available, lockdowns slowed spread among the healthy and therefore prevented a ring of herd immunity from forming around the vulnerable. At that time, the vulnerable desperately needed a ring of immunity because it was their only defence against the virus. Had the WHO's pandemic planning guidelines been followed to allow the healthy members of the community to keep living their lives (while providing focused protection for the vulnerable), the healthy would have achieved natural herd immunity in 6 to 8 weeks (as happens every winter during flu season), after which the vulnerable would have been able to rejoin the community. Instead, they have been stuck behind bolted doors for 15 months, at risk of everyone they meet. 

But once vaccines became available that calculus changed. COVID is not a dangerous childhood disease, which preys on newborns who cannot get vaccinated. The vulnerable during this pandemic are predominantly people with severe pre-existing health conditions. And according to our health officials, they are all now eligible for vaccination. They can all now acquire individual protection. Consequently, the herd immunity argument no longer applies. 

The vaccine is being rolled out to the elderly, including long-term care patients with only a few months left to live. It is being rolled out to pregnant women. It is being rolled out to cancer patients prior to going into surgery or starting chemotherapy. It is being rolled out to people living with HIV and other immunocompromising conditions. Everyone now has the option of vaccination. Everyone who is vulnerable can get personal individual protection against COVID, if they want it. We no longer need to worry about trying to create a ring of immunity around the vulnerable because they now have the option to pop down to a clinic and acquire individual protection via the jab.

Protecting granny by getting the vaccine sounds like a noble cause. The dragon-slaying knight in shining armour, altruistically risking death by riding to granny's rescue to protect her from the COVID dragon. How virtuous, how honorable, and how utterly silly. Because if the vaccines work, granny now has the option to own her own dragon-slaying Sherman tank, complete with canon and bunker-busting dragon-killing rounds. And using coercion, like lies and vaccine passports, to force someone else to ride to granny's rescue is not just silly, it is a violation of all the principles that make us a free society. 

The time for bravery and virtue was before vaccines became available. What was needed 15 months ago was the courage of the healthy members of society to stand up to their fears and keep living their life so that a ring of immunity could have formed around granny. Now granny doesn't care what you do because she can get her own fully loaded tank with cup holders, a make-up mirror, and COVID-seeking missiles. 

If the vaccine works, there is no case to be made for mass vaccination because the vulnerable can get the jab. But if vaccines don't work, or if they are too risky, then we are right back where we started 15 months ago where our only option to protect the vulnerable is to get rid of lockdowns so the healthy can acquire natural immunity, while providing focused protection for the vulnerable until a ring of immunity forms. 

Summary

I will end by returning to that nasty tangled packet of lies that is being used to try to shame us into getting the jab: "It's not about you, it is about saving lives by building a ring of immunity around the vulnerable to reduce the chance that they get infected.No, it's 100% about you because you are the one taking the risk of the vaccine. And no, it is not about making a sacrifice to build a ring of immunity around the vulnerable because every single vulnerable individual now has the option of getting the jab.

Whether the vulnerable should take the risk of getting the emergency-use authorized vaccine is another question altogether. My recent investigative report into the government's disastrous handling of the pandemic showed that it is virtually impossible for anyone to give informed consent for the COVID vaccines because of how badly the government has distorted everyone's sense of risk. And this article demonstrated that the known risks of getting the jab are no small matter and that the unknown and unquantifiable risks hanging over this vaccine have turned what should be a basic risk calculation into a blind gamble.

George Washington took calculated risks. I do not think he would have approved of a gamble that asks those who are not vulnerable and have little or nothing to personally gain from the COVID vaccines to risk their lives by taking it, despite the vaccines' sketchy risk profiles and unquantifiable long-term risks, and to do all that in order to create a ring of immunity around those who no longer need a ring of immunity because they can protect themselves by getting the vax.

~

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This article was updated on July 1st, 2021, with additional information about cross-reactive immunity, the Vegas odds after multiple doses, and the correlation between body mass index and severe outcomes from an infection with SARS-CoV-2.

COPYRIGHT 2021 JULIUS RUECHEL


25 comments:

  1. Thank you for the immense work that must have gone into this article! I appreciate your putting the numbers that float around on our media into context. You are doing us all a great service, by helping us to think clearly in these emotion-laden issues. Would that our government officials were as intelligent as you! Keep up the brilliant work!

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  2. Excellent article. One question is about the infection rate itself. Using the IFR assumes everyone will be infected. My research indicates that only 3 in 100 people are generally contracting COVID. Should this not be a mitigating factor in the calculation of the COVID risk?

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    1. The issue of cross-reactive immunity is indeed going to prevent a lot of people from catching it, but it varies so much from country to country that I decided to do the calculation with a very conservative assumption of only 20% already having immunity in order to demonstrate the effect this has on the odds and allow readers to repeat the process for their own individual jurisdiction. I have seen some studies as low as 6%, and others as high as 81%, so the variation from country to country appears to be huge depending on prior exposure to other coronaviruses.

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  3. Thank you so much. What’s become of our government and doctors is they are pushing even people like myself that got covid19 and are immune to it for the sake of pushing the number of vaccines.

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  4. Thanks for another excellent article I can reference to try and convince the ignorant but willing to hedge their bet on the jab. Please consider doing a followup to compare getting injured by the jab to winning a lottery prize. (i.e anything from a free ticket to the grand prize)

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  5. Thank you for a clear account that most with their eyes and ears open will agree with. At 63 without comorbidities and having had a mild COVID like illness and showing antibodies months later, I have nothing to gain from vaccination even if there were no currently know adverse effects.
    I am worried about your risk calculation on vaccine side effects since the numbers of vaccinated in the UK and USA are near to half of the population, and the older half at that, one needs to take into account the background level of the kind of events that are reported on the UK's Yellow Card system and probably the US system as well, since they may have their own causes not related to vaccination. So it is the excess of such events in the COVID vaccine era that will be relevant. Is such information available? Likewise, since it mainly affects frail or otherwise at risk people, the excess death rates compared to average need to be considered in understanding the actual risks of COVID. Influenza/pneumonia has largely been supplanted as typical cause of death, whether this is really so or due to reporting bias. Where excess deaths are recorded, the debilitating effects of lockdowns are a compounding factor, especially in severely impoverished urban areas such exist in South Africa, where there have been significant excess deaths according to official figures. An economic collapse could, as much as a disease, see off many elderly who have a marginal existence in extended families.

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  6. I can't wait for an article touching the Fact Checkers, how they started to exist and where we are now.
    The hammer sees everything a nail. I know there were myth busters before that but I think they took it to the extreme. Who are they checking the facts for? Everybody can check for himself / or not?!?

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  7. Hello Julius,
    I have a theory explaining the totality of vaccination.
    The theory is very simple and is defined by one word: "coverup".
    Before start of immunization the epidemiologists like professor John Ioannidis could go to the blood banks and find how many people REALLY had COVID by measuring percentage of samples with COVID antibodies. Thus, in March 2021 his estimate was 1.5-2 billion had COVID already and as a result infection fatality rate was calculated just 50% high than of average flu season: 0.15%.
    Thanks to vaccines, John Ioannidis can't make his conclusions of real risk of the disease anymore. The slates are wiped clean and by that all the measures to stop the "horrible disease" are justified all way to the first lockdown.
    I can't explain this total vaccination by any other way even knowing that authorities are extremely unprofessional, prone to groupthink and politicized.

    By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog.

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  8. Julius, I can't thank you enough for the work you're doing. I'm sharing the same message of reason and common sense through science, but I don't have your left brain skills! As an artist, I can write and translate to the best of my ability, and hope to reach others who are at least open to the truth. I'm now following you on Twitter. Please follow me back. I do write about and post your stuff. @MichelleLCatlin

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    1. Thank you Michelle - I really appreciate your support! I just followed you back on Twitter! Make sure you also follow on alternate social media (Gab and Minds) in case either of us get purged for WrongThink! (;

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  9. Interesting read. Thanks.
    Do you agree there will always be a percentage of 'vulnerable' for who the vaccine will not work - basically anyone with a weak immune system (the very old, leukemia survivors, transplant recepient s etc.). They just won't produce enough of an antibody reaction from vaccination. Do they not deserve some protection or do they just have to stay away from everyone?
    Jay P

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  10. Thanks for this, really excellent, impressive research and knowledge. I have subscribed. I just discovered you on Twitter and came on over here. I write on Substack. https://khmezek.substack.com/ twitter: @karenalainehunt

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  11. I am curious what you would do(as a healthy 57 year old) if you were coerced into taking the first shot(Pfizer), would you get the 2nd? To me the increased possible immunity form the 2nd is NOT worth the risk, however Governments, and venues are imposing restrictions?In my country it is a 4 month wait between vaccines which can now be reduced to 8 weeks, if we choose.

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  12. Brilliant series of articles. The group think is the exact same in Ireland, gov figures show about 60,% of cases were nursing home hospital aquired. Same thing they dumped sick patients from hospital in care homes, no testing no support no PPE.

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  13. Julius,
    Oxford university have published risk calculator based on UK data you may be aware off this already.
    Keep up the brilliant work.

    https://qcovid.org/Home/AcademicLicence?licencedUrl=%2FCalculation

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    1. Much appreciated Killian, thank you for the link!

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  14. Julius,

    Thank you for your articles: I have found them quite informative, sharing with friends and family as we wrestle through all of this uncertainty. In speaking with a colleague over the past few weeks, he observed what I agree to be an error in statistics in “Step 2” of this article.

    Let’s assume, as you did, that 20% of the population has cross-reactive antibodies, rendering their risk of death from COVID to be zero. But since the measured value for the infection fatality ratio has not changed, it must mean the remaining 80% without cross-reactive antibodies shoulder a greater proportion of the risk.

    In other words, before accounting for cross-reactive antibodies:

    (chance of dying) = (infection fatality ratio)

    After accounting for cross-reactive antibodies, where the chance of dying with antibodies is 0 and solving for the chance of dying without antibodies:

    20% * (chance of dying with antibodies) + 80% (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio)
    20% * (0) + 80% * (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio)
    80% * (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio)
    (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio) / 80%
    (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio) / (8/10)
    (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio) * (10/8)
    (chance of dying without antibodies) = (infection fatality ratio) * 125%

    Since the infection fatality ratio is constant, the chance of dying without antibodies must be 125% the known infection fatality ratio. This ultimately means that my personal risk assessment is unchanged — regardless of the chance that I have cross-reactive antibodies:

    20% * (chance of dying with antibodies) + 80% * (chance of dying without antibodies)
    = 0 + 80% ((infection fatality ratio) * 125%)
    = 80% * 125% * (infection fatality ratio)
    = (infection fatality ratio)

    I credit my colleague for spotting this intuitively, as I did not pick this up the first time I read through your article. Ultimately, I don’t think it detracts from your overall argument, but given your attention to detail and desire for accuracy, I thought I would share!

    Sincerely,

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    1. Hi Jesse, I believe you are confusing infection fatality rate (% of those infected that will die) with gross mortality rate (% of total population that will die).

      I included three layers to my odds calculation: the odds of death IF you catch the virus (that is the Infection Fatality Rate), the odds of being part of the population that already has cross-reactive immunity and therefore won't catch the disease at all, and the odds of being spared an infection if herd immunity is reached before you get exposed.

      So no, cross-reactive immunity is not part of the first calculation based on infection fatality rate. Each of the three layers has to be accounted for separately to make a personal risk calculation.

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  15. You know, a lot becomes clear when you look at the source of the data you're using. The so-called Evidence-Based Medicine Consultancy data attributes any adverse health event following vaccination as a side effect of the vaccine. But this is just post hoc ergo propter hoc. It does isn't sufficient to establish the causal claim.

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  16. Julius,
    To add further data to Step 2 with regards to immunity. Take a look at the article:
    "Covid-19 antibodies present in about 1 in 5 blood donations from unvaccinated people, according to data from the American Red Cross"

    In summary, they have 3.3MM US blood samples July 2020 - Early March 2021.

    1.5% antibodies samples from July 2020
    4% antibodies first week October 2020
    12% antibodies first week January 2021
    21% antibodies first week March 2021.

    Welcome to July 2021. I would expect this to be > 35% antibodies present if sample data were published today.

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  17. Dear Julius, I am so grateful to find your articles, these are the most clear, articulated and inspiring texts regarding covid I've read!
    Just one question - since I hear it often - how about vaccinating the whole population in order to stop new variants emerging? I believe it's another manipulation, but is there any clear data on that as well?

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    1. Thank you viktorija!
      It is definitely another manipulation. Herd immunity is impossible to achieve with vaccines that still allow people to catch and spread the virus. As long as people keep getting infected despite being vaccinated, new variants will continue to emerge.

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  18. Thanks so much Julius for your dedication to medical ethics & rigorous research - which I too feel are more critical than ever today, with govts & corporations losing sight of right/wrong and/or unwilling to prioritize integrity over capitalist greed.. But since we taxpayers cover govts' salaries (for starters!) these 'leaders' need to respect their constituents by being truthful at all times, & always protecting ouR best interests rather than those of corporatiobs/industries whose vested interests make them wholly inadequate guides for govts to go on..

    Isn't it odd - & maddening - that with public access to expert scientific info (like yours) more widespread than ever b4, our govts blindly carry on unethically pandering to (obvs. corrupt) industries' (Big Pharma's) bottom lines -- & blatantly lying about it -- instead of giving due consideration to the hard-working experts who will guide them to the best outcomes every time.. ON TOP OF steering leaders clear of eventual & inevitable exposure of their wilfull corruption/ errors of judgement??

    Clearly, doing the right thing --ie. Respecting ethics/ science rather than their corporate donors++-- should be govts' priority, with so much at stake nowadays! Yet almost every world leader now is failing on this key front.. to the detriment of whole populations' health & wellbeing!!

    Keep on posting, for without good peops like you making THE TRUTH known to everyone, we would be jumping off the cliff like lemmings -- tho we're closer to the edge than ever b4 in history (& govts are FAILING to do their jobs & safeguard our futures)

    Cheers & solidarity!

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