‘Why I am a vaccine skeptic’- Opinion by Prashant Bhushan

BCI asks Delhi Bar Council to examine Prashant Bhushan case
Prashant Bhushan

By Prashant Bhushan

A vaccine frenzy has taken over the world – led by the governments and showcased in the media, as the only appropriate public health intervention to curb the Covid pandemic. Governments are being blamed for inadequate vaccines, courts are being entrusted with ensuring fair play in pricing and supply, while people are rushing to get themselves registered and vaccinated.

The fear around combating the virus, has contributed to what is now the general belief, that vaccines are a one-point solution to the pandemic.

Alternate views, that the development of these untested vaccines follow an unprecedented trajectory of research, testing and technology, that there is a growing body of evidence of the serious adverse events following immunization (AEFI), that there is credible fear of even more serious long term side effects and that the vaccines themselves could be promoting the emergence of new and more virulent strains of Covid, are being dismissed as conspiracy theories and sought to be censored by the main stream media and even on social media platforms.

I am not anti-vaccine nor am I anti-science (incidentally, I have a Masters degree in the Philosophy of Science from Princeton University). But I am aware of several instances where views, even scientific views on several subjects, have been driven by commercial, political and media vested interests, to the extent that they drown out opposing views by credible scientists, some of whom are even Nobel laureates in their fields of science and medicine.

There was a time when the tobacco industry drowned out scientific evidence and censored views that tobacco is harmful to health. The same happened more recently with genetically modified foods, as strong commercial vested interests used scientists funded by them or funded by governments which they controlled, to drown out opposing views.

The Norwegian virologist and biotechnologist Professor Terje Traavik put it succinctly in the film on GMOs called Life running out of control when he said “in this field (GMOs) there are hardly any independent scientists left who are not funded directly or indirectly by vested commercial interests”.

With Covid however, it is abundantly clear now that there has been suppression of information regarding alternative treatments and censorship of the truth, in pursuit of vaccine profits, promoted by scientists on the payroll (directly or indirectly) of big pharma or trusts with deep links with big pharma.

In February 2021, the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD), an international meeting of physicians, researchers, and patients, following a guideline development process consistent with WHO, reached a consensus that Ivermectin, which is a cheap and widely available drug, should be deployed immediately globally, as a treatment for Covid.

The BIRD group’s recommendation rested on various studies that reported using Ivermectin reduces the risk of COVID19 by over 90% and mortality by 68%-91%. In an open statement the Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, Washington DC, has exposed the disinformation campaign and WHOs Ivermectin panels highly irregular analysis that was aimed from the start at recommending against Ivermectin.

A new powerful metastudy for reducing Covid-19 deaths using Ivermectin published by the Amercian Journal of Therapeutics concludes, “Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using Ivermectin. Using Ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”

In what has been described as the political economy of mass hysteria, studies have examined how negative information which is spread through mass media repeatedly can affect public health negatively. There has been a dramatic shift in public health response to this pandemic from evidence based medicine to science driven by medical misinformation that is promoted by big pharma, making our health systems globally vulnerable to entities with financial interests.

In fact, Dr. Peter McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist and Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine, in the US, with 40 peer reviewed publications on Covid treatments, has alleged in his interview on the 19th of May 2021, that the US government along with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Gates Foundation and vaccine pharma companies have deliberately suppressed clinically proven combination treatments for Covid such as Vit C, Vit D, Ivermectin, Hydroxycholorquine and others, in order to prime populations to accept vaccines as the only solution.

He has pointed towards a disturbing policy response to the pandemic, that may prove to be the greatest “malpractice and malfeasance” in the history of medicine and public health.

As the vaccine drive progressed, there have been many credible independent physicians and medical scientists and their bodies which have sounded the alarm about the universal vaccination program.

Three kinds of vested interests are now operating to drum up fear around the pandemic in order to promote lockdowns and vaccines.

On the one hand we have pharma companies and those heavily invested in them, such as Bill Gates, the CDC, Fauci’s NIH and the National Institute of Allergic and Infectious Diseases (which jointly holds many patents with vaccine companies), and on the other hand big technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and many others who have profited and stand to profit from lockdowns as they induce people to spend their time at home using technology platforms for communication and entertainment.

Media companies also grab more eyeballs and TRP by promoting fear in society. But what about scientists, we are asked, who are telling us that lockdowns, masks and vaccines are the only way to combat Covid.

Unfortunately today, most scientists and researchers working in the field of pharmacology, virology and immunology are funded directly or indirectly by vaccine companies or funds with deep pockets like the Gates Foundation, GAVI, etc which have deep connections and financial links with pharma companies and in the USA by the NIH, NIAID and CDC, which also have several vaccine patents and deep links with vaccine companies.

Since jobs and funding of most of these scientists is ultimately dependents on pharma companies and their cohorts, most of these scientists tow the establishment line spelt out by big pharama companies. Thus, I am always intrigued and skeptical when I find the establishment driving an orthodox view, which is ostensibly supported by many “establishment scientists”.

It is in this spirit that I began my journey to look at Covid vaccines. As I dug deeper, I came to learn much that alarmed me, especially the adverse impact on long term health, in view of the mass vaccination campaigns. To put it simply, many of these vaccines were employing novel gene-based technologies (mRNA/DNA vector technology), that have never received regulatory approval for mass rollout in humans.

They remain experimental until Phase 3 trials have been completed. Efficacy of these vaccines, more importantly, harmful side effects, especially long term side effects have not been studied and yet, because of the panic response of governments to this pandemic (driven by big pharma and media misinformation), they have all been given emergency use approval.

To cap this, there has been close to no transparency in clinical trial data from these trials, for scrutiny by independent scientists and researchers, in violation of all norms of ethical clinical research.

But what was shocking and rung alarm bells for me, was the drive to vaccinate people indiscriminately, irrespective of whether they were Covid recovered (which has far superior and broad spectrum immunity to Covid than vaccine immunity), and even children, when it has been established that healthy children are at almost no risk from Covid-19, with risk of death as low as 1 in 2.5 million (Ghisolfi et al, 2020).

Vaccinating children with untested vaccines, when phase three trial results on adults are due only in 2023, and thus without studying the potential adverse, long term effects on fertility, carcinogenisis, heart disorders, neurological and immune system disorder, is unethical and must be immediately halted.

The CDC itself has reported that “Since April 2021, increased cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported in the United States after mRNA Covid-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), particularly in adolescents and young adults. There has been a similar reporting pattern observed after receipt of the Janssen Covid-19 Vacicine (Johnson & Johnson).

There are many reports of abnormal increases in myocarditis of vaccinated children in the US. By not referring to peer-reviewed science, the grant of approval based only on interim analyses of clinical trials, that too by the pharma companies themselves, is unethical.

Studying these effects takes years to fully establish safety or efficacy. When the swine flu vaccine was granted emergency approval, it resulted in 1000 cases of necropsy in children and teenagers across Europe and the eventual withdrawal of the vaccine.

Recently Italy has banned the Astra Zeneca Covid Vaccine for under 60s after a teen death. For children and young people the risk from the Covid vaccine is far greater than any benefit.

An open letter from UK doctors to the MHRA, UK regarding safety and ethical concerns surrounding COVID-19 vaccination in Children states “The current available evidence clearly shows that the risk versus benefit calculation does not support administering rushed and experimental COVID-19 vaccines to children, who have virtually no risk from Covid-19, yet face known and unknown risks from the vaccines…we conclude that it is irresponsible, unethical and indeed, unnecessary, to include children under 18 years in the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout.”

The myth that children were at great risk from Covid in the second wave has been busted by a recent study by AIIMS which shows that the proportion of children affected by Covid in the first and second waves was similar and very small.

Many scientists have pointed out the serious adverse effects which are already visible in AEFI directories of various countries, with the US itself reporting more than 6000 deaths and the UK reporting more than 1145 deaths associated with the Covid vaccines.

A study shows that adverse events from drugs and vaccines are under-reported. Less than .03% of all adverse drug events and 1- 13% of serious events are reported to the FDA. Likewise fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.

Many others have pointed out that contrary to what the mRNA vaccine manufacturers stated, the spike protein induced by the vaccine does not remain only in the muscle around the vaccination site, but gets absorbed and circulates in the blood stream and to various vital organs of the body.

This highly toxic pathogen causes various problems including myocarditis, damage to endothelial cells of blood vessels and lymph glands, leading to blood clots, etc. Some of them have also pointed out the serious possibility of the vaccine affecting the DNA and thus causing serious intergenerational consequences.

A study conducted by AIIMS recently claimed that the presence of the Covid 19 Delta variant is predominantly found even after the first dose or both doses of the vaccine have been administered, raising serious concerns regarding the effectiveness of these vaccines against variants.

Two groups of medical scientist including doctors from AIIMS and those in the national expert committee on Covid have also warned against indiscriminate vaccination and that the vaccines themselves could be giving rise to the more infectious variants of COVID.

And the National Institute of Health (NIH) after pressing these vaccines in collaboration with big pharma for months, has now publicized results from a study funded by it that the immune system of more than 95% of people who are recovered from COVID-19 has durable memories of the virus up to 8 months after infection and hoping that vaccinated people would develop similar lasting immune memories after vaccination.

In a report published on its website it states, “Several months ago, our studies showed that natural infection induced a strong response, and this study now shows that the responses last…We are hopeful that a similar pattern of responses lasting over time will also emerge for the vaccine-induced responses.”

Given this finding, there is clearly no need to administer the vaccine to Covid recovered people. Now consider, our homegrown Covaxin (given emergency use authorization by the Drug Controller General of India in shocking haste) with over 2 crore people in India having taken this vaccine – it has been refused emergency approval by the FDA for use in the US, is not yet on the WHO’s “emergency use list” nor does it have similar approval from the EU’s European Medicines Agency.

Critical phase three trials for these vaccines are yet to be completed. We have filed a petition seeking transparency in the clinical trial data for vaccines given emergency use authorization in India and against mandating such vaccines for accessing any services.

Simultaneously, Bharat Biotech has begun trials on a small cohort of children across hospitals in India raising concerns by experts about the small size of trail participants as well as that the trial doesn’t use a placebo arm.

Besides, there is no historical precedent where a viral pandemic has been successfully controlled or mitigated by mass vaccination.

The question therefore is; can the views of all these credible doctors and medical scientists questioning the use of these vaccines, appealing and cautioning governments to halt these vaccine campaigns, be dismissed as crack-pot conspiracy theories?

Do they not merit serious examination? Should they be censored by social media platforms and dismissed as cranks? What has happened to our critical thinking in the time of this pandemic? I think the time has come for those of us who have taken the ‘vaccine frenzy drug’ to wake up and smell the coffee.

(Prashant Bhushan is an activist and public interest lawyer at the Supreme Court of India)

Views expressed are personal