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Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated

(Refuting Covid Antivaxxers)

Part Two

 

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

This four-part article is continued from Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated (Refuting Covid Antivaxxers) Part One.

     

Proven Serious Vaccine Side Effects

 

      There are only two proven more serious side effects from the Coronavirus (CV) vaccines than the mild ones listed at the end of Part One. The first to be seen was two cases of people who had a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine.

 

Since vaccinations have started, there have been a couple of people who have developed a severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) after getting the shot. This happened in people with a history of severe allergic reactions to other things. For now, people with a history of a serious allergic reaction should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. More studies need to be done to see if, and how, this reaction is related to the vaccine (Good Rx).

 

      The second was the well-publicized blood clots from the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. The final count was 28 people had contracted blood clots after receiving the J&J vaccine and three died.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced more than two dozen total blood clot cases in individuals who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine amongst 8.7 million recipients, a CDC official said, reported Fox News….

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro with the CDC COVID-19 vaccine task force noted 28 total cases of so-called TTS following J&J vaccination reported through a national surveillance system, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

The federal health agency said the current evidence suggests a possible causal link to the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, reported Fox News….

No confirmed clotting cases have occurred after more than 135 million administered doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, nor after over 110 million doses administered of Moderna’s vaccine. Officials say the mRNA vaccines are not associated with an increased clotting risk post-vaccination….

There were no additional deaths since the three reported deaths following the CDC committee’s meeting in April [2021]. However, four patients remain hospitalized with one in intensive care, two patients were discharged to a post-acute care facility and 19 patients were discharged home, reported Fox News (Newsmax. CDC).

 

      Three deaths are tragic. But that is out of 8,700,000 doses administered of the J&J vaccine. That is 0.000034%. Your chances of getting hit by lightning are greater.

      To be clear, these three blood clot deaths are the only confirmed deaths to have occurred due to the CV vaccines, and those two severe allergic reactions are the only other serious recorded reactions. But two anaphylactic reactions is even rarer than the blood clots.

      But just in case, that is why you need to wait at the vaccine site to be monitored for 15 minutes after injection, as if this rare allergic reaction were to occur, it would be within that time frame. And again, as with the blood clots, those cases of anaphylaxis were well reported and researched, which led to that 15-minute wait period.

 

Unproven Claims of Serious Vaccine Side Effects

 

      I emphasize that last point, as you will see or hear claims on social media and on the aforementioned conservative talk shows of thousands of people having died from a CV vaccine. There are also claims of a wide range of serious side effects: strokes, infertility, messed up menstrual cycles, blindness or other vision problems, being paralyzed, and many more. The wildest is that tracking devices are being implanted with the vaccine. However, many of these claims are based on deliberately manipulated information and stories:

 

      Dr. Michelle Rockwell lost a pregnancy in December and shared her heartache with her 30,000 Instagram followers. Weeks later, she received the covid-19 vaccine and posted about that, too.

      By February, Rockwell was getting past the grief and finally starting to experience moments of joy. But then, to her horror, social media users began using her posts to spread the false claim that she miscarried as a result of the shot.

      “They said horrible things to me, like how could I possibly get the vaccine, that I was a baby killer, and that I would be infertile forever and would never have babies again,” said Rockwell, a 39-year-old family medicine doctor from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

      Even though she knows that research shows the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, she said the posts brought her trauma to the surface and hurt her “to the core….

      Scott Reeder, a movie and TV prop master in Austin, Texas, who frequently shares jokes and film industry secrets with his 1 million TikTok followers, posted a short video in September demonstrating how retractable stunt knives, syringes and icepicks are used on a movie set.

      In December, he learned that a clip of the footage was being misused on Facebook and Twitter. Someone had isolated the part of the video where he pushes the spring-loaded syringe into his arm, and falsely claimed that politicians overseas are using the devices to fake their covid-19 vaccinations…

      Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell University, hadn’t even put anything on social media when he learned his name was being used in viral posts claiming the coronavirus was “imaginary and fictitious” (Trib Live/ AP. The unwitting).

 

      In other cases, those making the claims do not understand the difference between correlation and causation. Someone gets a Covid shot then a few days or weeks later develop a particular health problem. Did the vaccine case the problem? Maybe, maybe not. That is only a casual link, but a causal link would need to be shown. That was done with the blood clots, as seen in a previous quote where it was said the CDC found “a possible causal link to the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.” But it has not been demonstrated with any of these wild claims.

      To illustrate, I wash my car and a couple of hours later it rains. Did my washing of my car cause it to rain? What if it happens twice? Two times in a row I wash my car and later that day it rains. Is that proof that washing my car causes it to rain? What if it happens ten times in a row? Is that proof?

      Of course not. There is no causal connection between my washing of my car and the atmospheric conditions that are necessary to create rain. That ten times in a row is a mere casual connection or correlation. It does not prove causation. And that is the case with these many claims of serious side effects from a Covid vaccine.

      Any such possible serious side effects would be reported to the CDC by the various health authorities involved, and the CDC would investigate them, and the media would report about them. That was seen with the blood clots and anaphylaxis. There was no hiding of the possible link. If anything, the CDC and the media went overboard in reacting to and reporting on the blood clots. And that overreaction caused me problems, as I will discuss shortly.

      But here, if there was such a transparent reaction to those serious potential side effects, why then would the CDC and the media hide other side effects? It makes no sense. But the conspiracy theorists among us will circulate such claims, and sadly, talk radio will go along with it. The hosts will either make such claims themselves or allow callers and guests to make such claims without challenging them on their proof of a causal connection between the claimed side effect and the vaccine. And that lack of critical reporting has led many to be unnecessarily fearful of the Covid vaccines.

     

      Among the myths [Dr. Debra] Bogen [Allegheny County, PA Health Director] dispelled: none of the vaccines contain microchips or tracking devices, meat or animal products or whole or partial human cells. There is no evidence to suggest the vaccines cause infertility, and research shows all three are highly effective against the covid variants.

      Bogen said the most important myth to dispel is the idea that the vaccines were rushed and therefore developed too quickly for anyone to determine they are safe.

      “The science is solid,” she said. “These vaccines are rooted in well-established technologies used to develop other vaccines. They underwent extensive testing in tens of thousands of people, including the county executive and me. They have been now given to millions across the country. They are safe, and certainly far safer than getting covid-19, which I will remind you, has contributed to the death of nearly 2,000 Allegheny County residents and 75 people in April, alone” (Trib Live. Allegheny County).

 

      No, covid-19 vaccines won’t cause infertility: “Whoever started that rumor, shame on you.”

      No, the shots’ speedy development doesn’t mean corners were cut: “We worked our butts off for the last six years” hunting vaccines for earlier cousins of covid-19 — a head start that made the difference, Corbett recently told the AP….

      The vaccines’ speedy development “is historic and it is brag-worthy,” said [National Institutes of Health immunologist Kizzmekia] Corbett, whose NIH team was able to customize a shot that matched the new virus after spending six years developing vaccines against other dangerous coronaviruses such as MERS.

      But “really, we should have started the conversations very early about what went into it,” she said, so the public understood that no steps were skipped.

      A combination of huge studies and real-world data show the main side effects of the U.S. vaccines are temporary fevers or aches as the immune system revs up. The shots are undergoing unprecedented safety monitoring, which last month led to a temporary pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to determine how to handle an incredibly rare risk of blood clots….

      But side effect myths persist. Corbett calls the fertility concern “completely absurd,” and in forum after forum explains why it’s biologically impossible for the vaccines to alter anyone’s DNA (Trib Live/ AP. Poll).

 

      Note that mention of “six years developing vaccines against other dangerous coronaviruses.” One mistake all along with Covid is the name “Coronavirus” became acceptable for identifying the virus that cases it, when it fact that virus is just one of many coronaviruses. The common cold is also a coronavirus. But it was deemed “racist” to call the Covid-19 virus the “Wuhan Coronavirus” or the “China virus,” never mind we have called new diseases by their place of origin ever since the Spanish Flu of 1917. But such a designation would have distinguished the virus that causes Covid-19 from these many other coronaviruses. Thus, excessive racial sensitivities prevented us from having an accurate and specific name for the virus, and that has led to much confusion.

      The point is, work was already being done to develop a vaccine for coronaviruses in general, so that work was easily applied to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and that contributed to its speedy development.

 

Additional False Claims

 

      To respond to another claim, for the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, the mRNA dissipates from the body within two weeks of injection. That means, it is not still around and cannot cause any long-term side effects. It also is incapable of “rewriting” DNA, as some antivaxxers claim.

 

      The various coronavirus vaccines cannot alter someone’s DNA. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, addressed the issue for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by noting that messenger RNA is different from DNA, and it cannot combine with or change DNA. The weakened and inactivated form of the virus used in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine cannot alter DNA, either (Cleveland. Coronavirus).

 

      The mRNA vaccines simply “teach” the immune system to react to the CV. And they do so in such a way that should cover most variants. Although it is possible a new variant or variants will necessitate a future or even annual booster shots. But the president of Moderna has said he thinks it might be possible to incorporate the booster shots into the annual flu shot. I do hope that is possible, as it would make it quite easy to get it and increase the likelihood people will do so.

      Another issue is the use of fetal tissue in the development of the vaccines. That is only true for the J&J vaccine and only in the earliest stages of its development. And what was used was cloned fetal cells, not original fetal cells. The preborn baby was aborted back in the 1980s, so the cells being used today are far removed from the original abortion.

      But still, the Catholic Church issued a statement that, if possible, Catholics should get the Pfizer or Monderna vaccines, which did not use fetal tissue in their development, though they did in some testing. However, the Church said that it is still “morally acceptable” for Catholics to get any of vaccines. And I would agree with that assessment.

 

      Roman Catholic leaders in St. Louis and New Orleans are advising Catholics that the covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, newly approved for use in the U.S., is “morally compromised” because it is produced using a cell line derived from an aborted fetus.

The New Orleans archdiocese says the decision to receive a vaccine is one of individual conscience. In its statement late last week, it stopped short of advising Catholics not to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but adds that Catholics should choose coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna or Pfizer — if they are available….

While not disputing the church officials’ contention that an abortion-derived cell line is used in the production, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement Tuesday stressing that there is no fetal tissue in its vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine is made using a harmless cold virus, called an adenovirus, the same technology it used to produce a successful Ebola vaccine. The adenovirus is grown using what’s called an immortalized cell line, and the virus then is pulled out and purified.

Several types of cell lines created decades ago using fetal tissue exist and are widely used in medical manufacturing but the cells in them today are clones of the early cells, not the original tissue.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a January statement that “abortion-derived” cell lines were used to test the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines but not in their development or production….

That is similar to guidance the U.S. bishops’ conference issued in January. “Given that the covid-19 virus can involve serious health risks, it can be morally acceptable to receive a vaccine that uses abortion-derived cell lines if no other available vaccines comparable in safety and efficacy with no connection to abortion,” the January guidance said (Trib Live/ AP. Abortion).

 

      Finally, Covid antivaxxers claim we do not know the long-term side effects of the Covid vaccines. That is because the earliest trials began less than a year ago. As such, we only know what side effects might crop up within that time period. Maybe, just maybe, it is said, in the future, some strange side effect will become apparent.

      That is theoretically possible. However, since no delayed side effects have appeared even among those who were in the test groups in the earliest trials, there is no reason to expect future side effects to appear. Again, the vaccine itself is fully dissipated within two weeks of injection, so it is not still around to cause side effects years from now.

      Moreover, the same could be said about the CV itself. We do not yet know if those who have been infected will someday develop health problems as a result of their infections. Maybe, just maybe, we will find out five years from now that those who experienced a Covid infection have higher rates of heart disease, or cancer, or emphysema, or some such long-term health problem.

      That is doubtful. But if you want to play the “What if?” game, it can be played with the CV itself just as much as with the vaccines. Either way, it is easy to make wild claims about the unknown future. But in both cases, it is just that, unknown. Though I would guess, if there are long term consequences, it would be more likely with the CV itself than with any of the vaccines.

      I say that because of the Covid long haulers previously discussed. If people can still be experiencing symptoms months after infection and apparent recovery, then it is possible months or years after an apparent recovery some new health problem might develop. But no such long-term side effects have been observed with the vaccines.

 

      The vaccines have been linked to short-term side effects like fever, fatigue and muscle aches, but there is no evidence linking them to any long-term health problems.

      The vaccines are new, so experts don’t have any long-term data on their side effects. Other types of vaccines typically cause side effects within two months. Examples throughout history include the oral polio vaccine, the yellow fever vaccine and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

      In fact, one of the reasons to get vaccinated is to avoid any long-term health complications from a COVID-19 infection. Coronavirus “long haulers” have reported lingering symptoms that could persist for months, ranging from fatigue or a cough to depression and insomnia.

      Other studies have also found that COVID-19 may do long-term damage to vital organs like the heart, lungs and kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation found most coronavirus patients who developed acute kidney injury continue to have low kidney function after they’re discharged (Cleveland. Coronavirus).

 

Unproven Claims of Covid Vaccine Deaths

 

      Conservative TV personalities, talk show hosts, and many on the Internet claim that thousands of people have died from the Covid vaccines. They say they are getting their numbers from the CDC’s website. But in reality, they are getting them from VAERS, the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. But that is not a reliable source for Covid stats.

      Basically, anybody can report anything to VAERS. It does not have to be proven. It does not even have to be real. It’s a completely open-ended system. I could go on it right now and claim the Pfizer vaccine caused me to grow a third arm. That of course did not happen, but I could say that it did.

      Despite this unreliability, VAERS is used out of an abundance of caution by the CDC so that anyone who thinks they have suffered any adverse effect from any vaccine can report it to the CDC. The CDC then investigates those claims to see if they are genuine. My claim of a third arm would be easily disproven, but others might be more difficult, but the effort will be made to verify or disprove the claim..

      But most of all, if the claim is genuine, the CDC will investigate if there is a correlation or causation between the adverse event and the vaccine. In the case of claimed deaths from the Covid vaccines, the deaths have been shown to not be caused by the vaccines.

      This system is how the CDC discovered the 28 blood clots cases and three deaths, as reported at the beginning of Part Two. Those cases were investigated and found to be genuine and possibly linked to the J&J vaccine. But these other death claims have been shown to be fraudulent or not caused by the vaccines.

      It must be remembered; people die all the time for a wide variety of reasons. What needs to be done is to compare if a certain class of deaths is occurring more often among those who have been vaccinated than among those who have not been vaccinated. And no such evidence of causation has been demonstrated for any of these other claimed deaths.

      Again, just because someone dies two weeks after getting a Covid vaccine does not mean that person died from the Covid vaccine. You would think the Covid antivaxxers would understand this point, as it is the very point they (and I) have made in regard to the Covid death numbers. I and they have said that someone dying with Covid is not the same as someone dying from Covid.

      I explain this point at length in my article Nursing Home Deaths (Inflated Coronavirus Death Rates and Government Overreach). My main point is, if someone is already at death’s door when they contract Covid, and then they die, that does not mean they died from Covid. Most likely, they would have died soon anyway. At worst, Covid might have hastened their deaths by a few days or weeks.

      Well, the same thing can be said about the Covid vaccines. If someone who is at death’s door is vaccinated and dies soon afterwards, did they die from the vaccine, or would they have died soon anyway? It is possible the vaccine pushed them over the edge, as their weakened immune system could not handle it. But again, at worst, the Covid vaccine might have hastened their deaths by a few days or weeks. But that is not the same as saying the vaccine caused their death.

      That was the case with the first claims of deaths from the Pfizer vaccines back in January 2021. It occurred in Norway. 33 nursing home residents died after receiving the vaccine out of 42,000 vaccines administered to nursing home residents. That’s a 0.08% death rate. The death rate from COVID is over 5% for nursing home residents. That makes the vaccine far safer than COVID itself.

      Also, it sounds like those 33 were basically already at death’s door. The vaccine just pushed them over the edge, meaning they probably would have died shortly anyway. Still sad, but hardly a reason not to get the vaccine for anyone not already at death’s door.

 

      Norwegian health authorities concluded that the string of deaths among the elderly is not directly linked to the COVID-19 vaccines they received.

      “Clearly, COVID-19 is far more dangerous to most patients than vaccination,” Steinar Madsen, medical director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency told Bloomberg on Monday. “We are not alarmed.”

      Reports of 33 fatalities among adults 75 and older after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine raised fears that immunization is too risky. Norwegian health authorities pointed out that those who died had serious underlying health conditions. Madsen said that it’s possible the side effects of immunizations could “tip the patients into a more serious course of the underlying disease.”

      “We can’t say that people die from the vaccine,” Madsen said. “We can say that it may be coincidental. It is difficult to prove that it’s the vaccine which is the direct cause” (Washington Examiner. Norway).

 

Here in the States, such claims come about due to VAERS: However:

 

      The VAERS system is an unverified reporting system that does not determine if a vaccine caused the events that are reported. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which runs the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, warn that “reports submitted to VAERS often lack details and sometimes contain errors.” VAERS was created in 1990 to allow anyone the chance to submit reports. The data is publicly available online. In recent months, social media users have been sharing screenshots of the data without any context to mislead social media users into believing that the vaccine is causing more adverse events than the public is being told (AP. Video).

 

      Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested that thousands of Americans have died since December because of the COVID-19 vaccines, citing an unverified federal database that has become a breeding ground for anti-vaccine misinformation.

      The comments were the latest in a series of controversial remarks by Carlson raising doubts about the vaccines, which clinical trials and real-world studies have shown both safe and effective.

      “Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States — 3,362,” Carlson told millions of viewers during his primetime TV show May 5 [2021]. “That’s an average of roughly 30 people every day.”…

      Carlson said he was citing numbers from the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, an open-source database often misused by anti-vaccine activists to make false claims about vaccine safety. Experts rejected Carlson’s claim as misleading.

      That’s because VAERS data is considered unreliable for drawing causal conclusions. And dying after a vaccine is not the same thing as dying because of the vaccine.

      “It is exceptionally irresponsible for this man to claim that all these are causal associations. It’s wrong,” said Dr. Paul Offit, the chair of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “He puts people’s lives at risk with bad information during a pandemic.”…

      In this case, the CDC has analyzed all the reports of death among COVID-19 vaccine recipients that were submitted to VAERS between Dec. 14, 2020, and May 3.

      “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines,” the agency concluded.

      To establish causation, scientists need to find proof that an adverse event is significantly more common among vaccinated people than unvaccinated people. VAERS doesn’t provide enough data to do that.

      As of May 5, nearly 150 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and many of the early shots went to older and more vulnerable people.

      “When you’re giving a COVID-19 vaccine to elderly adults, there are going to be people who die shortly after vaccination because they would have died anyway,” Dr. William Moss, executive director of Johns Hopkins’s International Vaccine Access Center, previously told PolitiFact.

An estimated 8,000 Americans die every day of all causes, according to the CDC (Austin).

 

In an article published April 22 and later taken down, a website called Red Pill University (a reference to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory) wrote that COVID-19 vaccines “will decimate world’s population.” As evidence, it cites a video featuring Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi.

Bhakdi is a microbiologist who has promoted ideas that run counter to the scientific consensus about the coronavirus pandemic, including the claim that face masks don’t protect against infection. In the video, which originally was published by the New American, a conservative magazine, Bhakdi says COVID-19 vaccines are deadly….

There’s no evidence the vaccines cause death, or that they will depopulate the planet – and clear evidence to the contrary….

The three COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. are one from Pfizer-BioNTech, one from Moderna and one from Janssen, a pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson. Public health officials say all are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.

Over the course of several months in 2020, more than 100,000 people participated in clinical trials for the coronavirus vaccines as a group. None of those trials found that the vaccines caused death. The FDA approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in December and the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in February.

Since then, more than 144 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If the vaccines were as deadly as Bhakdi says, we would surely see widespread and mounting deaths in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a federally managed database of self-reported vaccine side effects. There are reports of vaccine-related deaths in the VAERS database, but because anyone – from doctors and nurses to patients and parents – can submit cases, the CDC says those reports are unverified and may be inaccurate.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective,” the CDC says on its website. “To date, VAERS has not detected patterns in cause of death that would indicate a safety problem with COVID-19 vaccines.” …

The claim that coronavirus vaccines are killing people and will decimate the world’s population is FALSE, based on our research. Public health officials say all three coronavirus vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. are safe and effective at preventing infection. There is no evidence the vaccines cause deadly autoimmune disorders, and reports of blood clots following the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are extremely rare (USA Today).

 

This four-part article is continued at Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated (Refuting Covid Antivaxxers) Part Three.

References:

See Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated (Refuting Covid Antivaxxers) References.

 


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Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated (Refuting Covid Antivaxxers) Part Two. Copyright 2021 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).

The above article was posted on this website May 21, 2021.

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