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What the Statistics Say About Covid Boosters

What the Statistics Say About Covid Boosters
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The story is more complicated than government health authorities are letting on.

According to news reports, the Biden Administration is weighing a plan that would allow all Americans to get a second booster of a COVID vaccine; current CDC guidelines recommend a second booster only to those who are immunocompromised or over the age of 50. Unfortunately, a hard look at the numbers shows reason to be wary of COVID boosters, with some data showing that those who have received four total doses of a COVID vaccine being 100 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are unvaccinated. Now we are facing new variants that appear to be even more resistant to vaccine induced and natural immunity. This shows that each of us need to weigh the pros and cons of vaccination very carefully and not just blindly accept government dogmas.

The dominant strains of the virus right now are omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. The evidence so far suggests that these variants escape antibody responses among both those who have previously been infected and those who are fully vaccinated and boosted. Researchers noted a three-fold reduction in the antibody response to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants compared to older omicron variants, which were already more contagious than the strains targeted by the vaccines. In plain terms, the dominant strains of the virus currently are the most contagious to date, and people are still contracting COVID who either previously had it or are fully vaccinated.

Nevertheless, governments are still calling for everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. Our friends at ANH-International looked at two recent data sets released by British and Australian authorities purporting to support the idea that everyone should get their shots. The British data is from January 2021 to March 2022, so it is not representative of the new omicron strains.  British authorities say that the data show that you’ll be 13 times less likely to die from COVID if you are fully boosted. A miracle! But look at the data a different way, and you’ll find that the same data also tell a different story: you are 65 percent more likely to die from non-COVID deaths if you’re up-to-date on your vaccinations, compared to the unvaccinated!

As reported by ANH-International, these wildly divergent findings indicate that the data is corrupted. This was the conclusion reached by a group of researchers who explain their findings here and here. The crux of the issue seems to be that the statisticians and health bureaucrats failed to accurately report deaths and omitted deaths that occurred within two weeks of vaccination, skewing the numbers. And, of course, these data do not take into account that new variants are evading vaccine-induced immunity much more readily than previous strains.

A similar subterfuge is going on with Australian data. Again, data was released along with the message to go get boosted. Again, there are glaring inconsistencies. This report is dealing with omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. First, the report states that only six people under the age of 65 died from COVID this year so far; all six had underlying conditions that increase the risk of severe disease, and all six had received at least two doses of the vaccine (four had received three doses). Further, data from the last seven weeks shows that people who had been vaccinated between one and four times against COVID-19 were 45 times more likely to be hospitalized than if they were unvaccinated; receiving four shots meant you were 100 times more likely to be hospitalized.

It isn’t clear how much of this increased risk is due to the fact that those receiving a fourth booster at this point are already more prone to hospitalization and death (since they are older and/or immunocompromised)—or, could the vaccinations themselves be negatively impacting health and resilience? We don’t know, and health authorities do not seem very curious about these questions.

The FDA recently decided that current shots should be “updated” with an omicron component for fall 2022. But there are problems with this approach. This has to do with “immune imprinting” or “original antigenic sin.” These terms refer to the body’s immune system to rely on antigens from previous infection when a slightly different version of that pathogen is encountered, leaving the immune system “trapped” by the first response. In the case of COVID, this means that, for those who have been vaccinated, the original mRNA shots dominate the immune response even after receiving an omicron-specific booster. The same logic would apply to natural immunity acquired from previous infection—many people have gotten COVID two and three times.

Meanwhile, the factors that have made our country so susceptible to COVID in the first place remain unaddressed. This has to do with the chronic disease epidemic, where our country is being ravaged by preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. We discussed this omission when the COVID relief bill was approved without meaningfully addressing prevention.

Each individual should carefully weight the pros and cons of vaccination and/or boosters. The risk/benefit calculation is different for those who are younger and otherwise healthy, especially given the risks of serious adverse effects like myocarditis that have been reported.

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