From Ronald Hoffman, MD – ANH-USA Board President and Medical Director
Yes, there’s a COVID uptick, with more people reporting infections. A few patients here and there in my practice have had it recently. Some are COVID “virgins” who have until now eluded infections; others are pre-infected and vaccinated, some with multiple boosters. All have reported mild symptoms, lasting at most a few days. And yes, around 20,000 people have been hospitalized recently “with COVID”, but it’s likely they had comorbid conditions like congestive heart failure, poorly controlled diabetes, immune suppression, or frailty.
Although officially there have been upwards of one million US deaths attributed to COVID, I can’t think of a single one of my patients among them. That notwithstanding that a significant proportion remain unvaccinated as their choice. Might it be that their resilience can be attributed to their adherence to healthy diets, exercise, and supplement programs?
(Which is not to suggest that vaccines may not be of some benefit to those less fortunate who are at higher risk.)
White House COVID Czar Ashish Jha is trotting out the disproven shibboleth that getting vaccinated will “protect grandma”. According to most studies, the vaccine won’t prevent transmission. Nor will it do much to augment the natural immunity of individuals who have already had COVID. As to Long COVID, there’s some evidence that vaccinated individuals may be less likely to experience long-term symptoms, but the researchers didn’t compare the effects of having boosters to being fully vaccinated without them.
The White House and the CDC have hewed to the recommendation that everyone over the age of six months get the new COVID booster—but Americans by and large aren’t biting.
The Wall Street Journal weighed in in an op-ed:
“The FDA last week approved updated boosters based on data showing they generated antibodies and past studies purportedly demonstrating that the original vaccine and earlier booster versions worked. But these are large extrapolations based on flimsy evidence. No placebo-controlled trials have shown the boosters are effective, and studies on prior boosters systemically suffer from what scientists call ‘healthy user bias’—the process by which healthier people, who are more likely to receive a treatment, skew retrospective analyses.”
Pfizer recently forecast that only 24% of Americans will be taking the booster this fall, leading them to schedule layoffs in their vaccine division.
Uptake among children and adolescents is even more disappointing to health authorities. They’re commissioning expensive NIH studies to plumb the reasons why parents—many of whom themselves dutifully signed up for vaccines and boosters—don’t think their kids need them.
Indeed, the U.S. is an outlier among nations in recommending the boosters for other than seniors and those with underlying risk factors. Do they know something we don’t?