The following letters from the Mountain Mail newspaper trace the genesis of the local covid mRNA vaccine debate. Part 1
‘Cure will be worse than the disease’
May 6, 2020
Chaffee County issued guidelines for reopening stores and businesses May 1. Unfortunately, the mandates will dramatically raise overhead and lower revenue.
Most who open will lose more money than if they stayed closed. If the intention is to continue these precautions all the way through summer, we may as well close now and save ourselves from a slow, inevitable death.
But I struggle to understand what in the local data makes all these precautions necessary.
What we know: There were 66 cases of COVID-19 in Chaffee County and 17 deaths. Of the 66, 52 were at Columbine Manor, including 43 patients and nine employees. But mitigation was successful. No new cases were reported in Chaffee County since April 11.
What we do not know: anything about the other 14 supposedly non-Columbine cases. Are they sprinkled far and wide across the county, or do they have something in common? I submit the unaccounted 14 cases likely have a link to Columbine Manor – perhaps relatives or friends of Columbine residents and staff. How many cases are completely unrelated to Columbine? Chaffee County Public Health must know but has not shared this information.
If the outbreak was confined to Columbine, and no new cases in Chaffee have occurred since April 11, why not fully open the County (especially BV) for business with minimal restrictions? Zero new cases in three weeks? You cannot sanitize your way to less than zero.
There is a way to determine the risks. Walmart has been open through the shutdown. Employees are in constant contact with the public. They have exercised basic social distancing and hand sanitization. How many employees have been infected? If the answer is nearly or actually zero, risk to store employees was determined under real-world conditions to be minimal.
How can you justify draconian, perhaps long-term restrictions if stores operating during the height of the pandemic did so safely?
Some say opening now is too dangerous. What about driving, skiing, rock/mountain climbing and whitewater rafting? These activities have the potential to kill more people in Chaffee County every year than COVID-19. If public health is always more important than economics, why don’t we ban them? Ah, you say people who engage in these activities choose to take the risk upon themselves.
In this same way, within reason, let businesses and customers decide what risks they are willing to take. Those who choose to continue sheltering have every right to do so but have no right to impose their own choice on everyone else.
The unfortunate COVID-19 fatalities in Chaffee County were confined to the elderly and other high risk populations – who will remain quarantined. Allow all other residents to make their own informed decisions.
Orders are only as strong as the public’s willingness to follow them. If you insist on proceeding with your plan, please give a detailed justification of your reasoning. Treat us as partners, not as serfs.
I fear the government-mandated cure will prove worse than the disease.
‘Why is HRRMC mandating vaccines?’
Oct 12, 2021 Updated Oct 12, 2021
Why is Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees?
We hear daily from the hierarchy of federal, state and local governments, medical establishment and mainstream press: Safe. Effective. Only idiots do not take the shot. Months ago contrary data was hard to find. Despite best efforts to tell a one-sided story, the other side leaked out.
Analyze the oft-heard sentence: “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.”
Until recently, COVID shots were not considered vaccinations by CDC:
“Vaccination (pre-2015): injection of a killed or weakened infectious organism in order to prevent the disease.”
“Vaccination (2015-2021): Act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.”
“Vaccination (September 2021): Act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.”
Why did CDC redefine “vaccination”? Because COVID shots were nothing like traditional vaccines. They are gene therapy. How many would refuse the cattle call “come get your COVID gene therapy”? How many avoid genetically modified organism (GMO) foods but lined up for a genetically modified cocktail containing disputed ingredients? Vaccines no longer “prevent” disease, just “produce protection.”
Safe? CDC data for U.S. persons receiving COVID vaccination: vaers.hhs.gov/data.html, December 2020 to present:
Adverse reactions: 559,462
Permanent disabilities: 7,863
If the goal is an informed decision, why are vaccine deaths not on the front page?
In addition, people are not considered vaccinated until two weeks post-shot. How many vaccine deaths were incorrectly categorized as COVID deaths?
Effective? Early communiques promised the moon. Where are we now? According to Colorado data (covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-breakthrough) vaccinated persons are: 3.5 times less likely to be a COVID case; 4.7 times less likely to be hospitalized; 5.8 times less likely to die.
This is a far cry from initial comprehensive safety promises of vaccine protection from drug companies, who still bear zero liability for sickness/death from the shot.
Why is the HRRMC mandate an overreach? There is no exception for those who contracted COVID, recovered and have natural immunity. Forcing an additional shot, considering the risk, is unconscionable.
Government is no longer in the “governing business.” It is in “control the outcome of public opinion by limiting their access to information” business. This happened with a moratorium on troubling information surrounding the 2020 election, both nationally and in Chaffee County. It also happened with COVID information. Government, media, medical establishment-complex decided we must be vaccinated and set about propagandizing the upside while hiding the downside. Thanks, nanny state.
MJB’s hopes for herd immunity are unattainable when the vaccinated can both contract and spread COVID. CDC: “Fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to a positive COVID case should get tested on day 3-5 following exposure and wear a mask.”
HRRMC supposedly wants a conversation about vaccine mandates with their employees. If the goal is an equitable solution, I suggest public dialogue. Life-and-death issues deserve a full hearing, not one-sided mandates invoking governmental and institutional power. People deserve to be heard.
There’re limitations to free speech
Oct 22, 2021 Updated Oct 22, 2021
Jerry Raski’s letter (Oct. 12) questioned “election transparency” in Chaffee County. As was the case for his previous letters, there’s not a scintilla of evidence presented documenting any actual election fraud.
Raski didn’t mention Mesa County, where the Republican clerk was removed from election supervision while criminal investigation of her alleged nefarious activities after the 2020 election continues.
Raski’s letters reflect the national campaign by Trump questioning the 2020 presidential election. Trump had many opportunities to present evidence supporting his absurd fraud claims. No court found evidence of widespread fraud. More than 60 cases were dismissed, including by the U.S. Supreme Court to which Trump had appointed three new justices.
The facts are clear. Inasmuch as our elections are conducted independently by states, counties and municipalities, widespread fraud would require a conspiracy by tens of thousands of individuals. There is no evidence of widespread election fraud in 2020.
President Ronald Reagan referred to America as “a shining city on a hill.” His intent was to reflect his vision of America as a magnificent example for the world.
Unfounded Trump claims of fraud undermine our nation’s image. Our democratic republic was once the model of democracy for the world. How does the world perceive us now?
Even more troubling is legislation in many states to suppress voting. In some states, new laws may permit legislatures to ignore the actual vote and select electors supporting the losing candidate. And these Republican-controlled legislatures reflect extreme gerrymandering which permits Republican control even though they’re a minority of statewide vote.
Unless superseding federal legislation is enacted, you can redact the word “democratic” from our democratic republic. All civilizations eventually fall and this may be our time.
Another letter published Oct. 12 was penned by Vince Phillips, who evidently objects to Heart of the Rockies’ Regional Medical Center’s vaccination mandate. If you need to go to our hospital, I guess Phillips believes it’s OK for you to be exposed to a deadly disease because of some imaginary right of employees to “freedom.”
Phillips considers the COVID-19 vaccine to be “gene therapy.” This is utterly ridiculous.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain messenger RNA encoding the viral spike protein. Oversimplifying and without venturing too far into molecular biology, human cells don’t have enzymatic machinery necessary for incorporating viral RNA into the genome.
Phillips claims there’ve been 6,756 deaths from COVID-19 vaccine. This figure reflects every death reported through CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, including those who died from any cause after vaccination. Vaccination does not cause traffic accident fatalities.
In fact, there’ve been only three deaths directly attributed to COVID-19 vaccination. Those were due to blood clots from the J&J vaccine. That is of 489,300,000 vaccine doses administered in the USA.
Our Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees free speech. However, there’re some limitations. An obvious example is shouting “fire” in a crowded theater as that may cause injury or death. Well, vaccine misinformation may prompt some to eschew vaccination, thereby causing their death.
‘What’s wrong with skepticism’
Nov 23, 2021
In his Oct. 22 letter, “There’re limitations to free speech,” Frank Waxman took exception to my Oct. 12 letter, “Why is HRRMC mandating vaccines.” All I did was “follow the science,” quoting government statistics. For this I must be silenced?
While vaccines are a boon to humanity, there have also been many fatal incidents: cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/concerns-history.html. What is wrong with healthy skepticism/debate about research vaccines using new technology, which were rushed into widespread use without full FDA approval?
Instead we incessantly hear COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective.” Does this mean they are 100 percent safe? 100 percent effective? No vaccine ever created met this criteria.
So is mass COVID-19 vaccination of everyone, regardless of age and health status, still indicated by data accumulated from vaccinating over 50 percent of the U.S. population in the last year? We may never know. Outside of the HHS Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), there is no widespread effort to tabulate adverse reactions. VAERS is an optional (not mandatory) system and certainly underreports adverse reactions.
When comparing the fatality rate of COVID-19, disease vs. vaccination, we must first evaluate data quality.
VAERS currently lists 8,284 people who died after COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. (COVID Vaccine Data - OpenVAERS), including 69 deaths in Colorado. In the meantime, Mr. Waxman assures us (without citation) only three people have died from the vaccine. 8,284 versus three? Online investigation reveals why many VAERS deaths are currently not being attributed to vaccination. Many in the VAERS database were old and/or sick. We are told they were high risk and therefore discounted from the vaccination death total.
But wait, the COVID-19 death total is proclaimed to be over 750,000, and most of these people were similarly old and sick. Yet they were included in the COVID-19 death total.
Can you compare data collected using two divergent sets of rules? This either inflated the numbers of COVID-19 deaths, grossly underestimated numbers of vaccine-related deaths, or both.
One problem with both data sets is the difficulty evaluating whether either COVID-19 infection or vaccination is a primary cause of death, a major/minor contributing cause or no cause. Subjectivity dominated data creation, resulting in numbers skewed in favor of the medical establishment’s desired outcome: universal COVID-19 vaccination. Maintaining this singular message is ongoing and seemingly relentless. Why is no re-evaluation allowed, based on new data?
Do you want to sway those hesitant about COVID-19 vaccination? Remove mandates, end coercion. These actions, along with biased messaging, hardened resistance. Start reporting vaccine deaths along with COVID deaths. Tell the full truth, acknowledge there have been more adverse reactions than anticipated. Then make your case, if you can, that despite the downside, vaccination is still the best option. Stop telling only one side of the story.
And please watch the following video: youtube.com/watch?v=QabAtYBnqro. When asked in a congressional hearing how many CDC employees are vaccinated, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky refused to answer. If the CDC is not following their own advice, why should anyone else?
Handful of deaths due to vaccine
Dec 3, 2021
I generally don’t get involved in back-and-forth discussions regarding my previous letters. But in this instance, the topic is so fundamentally important that it’s necessary.
To review, on Oct. 12 a letter by Vince Phillips voiced objections to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center’s vaccination mandate. In my Oct. 22 response I opined, “If you need to go to our hospital, I guess Phillips believes it’s OK for you to be exposed to a deadly disease because of some imaginary right of employees to ‘freedom.’”
Then, on Nov. 23, Phillips responded by asking what is wrong with skepticism about the safety of vaccines. Phillips makes a valid general point – there is nothing whatsoever wrong with skepticism. In fact, scientific training encourages skepticism.
It’s important to state at the outset there is not always a direct relationship between intelligence and expertise. From Phillips’ letters, he appears to be highly intelligent. Nevertheless, he’s manifestly ignorant when it comes to assessing benefit vs. risk of COVID-19 vaccination.
Presenting misleading information about vaccines is dangerous as it may cause some to avoid vaccination and thus endanger not only themselves but our community.
Not all opinions are created equal. On some topics, expertise is important. I don’t know if Phillips has had medical science training. My doctorate is in microbiology, a discipline that encompasses viruses, and I have more than 50 years of experience as an immunologist. I also worked for three years in the NIH Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases. As a medical school professor, I spent a large part of my career teaching medical students about vaccines.
Phillips cites 8,284 deaths reported through the CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System as his “evidence” that the COVID-19 vaccine is dangerous. While the number is accurate, the inference that the vaccine caused these deaths is fallacious.
The CDC VAERS website reports all deaths following vaccination. People of course die from many causes entirely unrelated to vaccination; that’s the explanation for the VAERS data. Here’s a good lay-language explanation of the VAERS system: “Scary Reports of Deaths Following COVID-19 Vaccination Aren’t What They Seem” (muhealth.org).
The CDC offers an explanation for its VAERS data: “Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC.”
Any medical procedure involves comparing potential risks to rewards. As Phillips states correctly, no vaccine is 100 percent safe and effective.
But in the case of COVID-19, the evidence is unequivocal. There have been just a literal handful of deaths attributable to the vaccine out of hundreds of millions of vaccine doses administered. On the other hand, more than 750,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and every three days the current death toll exceeds that of 9/11.
There is nothing wrong with healthy skepticism. However, being skeptical about established facts bespeaks ignorance. For example, believing the earth is flat is ignorant.
We all want to get back to normal. The plain simple fact is that if everyone was vaccinated, COVID-19 would largely be history.
Frank Waxman, Ph.D.,