The Problem with the COVID Narrative

The “great common” of pandemics, as far back as the Black Death that wiped out one-third of Europe in 1347, is that science post-dates narratives — and those narratives create cognitive dissonance and “group think” driven by power figures of the day. The difference with COVID-19 is that it did not need to be that way: the science of COVID was known through experience with influenza and knowledge of compartmentalised mucosal immunology. The power of the pharmaceutical industry and its pervasive influence at every level of political and medical decision-making was underestimated.

Together with a political structure desperately needing a narrative, the world was powered by the belief that genetic vaccines would save the day. Anyone compromising vaccine roll-out had to be “cancelled” and demonised as well, just for good measure, irrespective of the quality of the person, their expertise or the logic of their argument. “False news” was a term used to ensure compliance with the vaccine narrative, supported by government, regulatory organisations, professional bodies, journals and individual health professionals. The world press fell into line to “combat the spread of harmful disinformation”. None could demonstrate their “belief” to be to fact, nor would they debate those who questioned the narrative. A comprehensive critique of censorship and suppression of argument opposing the narrative, Censorship and Suppression of COVID‑19 Heterodoxy: Tactics and Counter‑Tactics, places particular focus on bad behaviour by media organisations.

Two recent personal experiences illustrate the global abnegation by professionals upon whom we traditionally depend for scientific guidance.

First, I approached the Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI), an international body for the study of immunity at mucosal surfaces, including viral infection of the respiratory tract, and the body best placed to educate in regard to the science of COVID-19 infection. I was one of six founders of the SMI, and the Asian-Pacific representative for many years. There was no response to the proposal  that our society had a responsibility to provide leadership in understanding COVID, vaccination and management. No surprise, perhaps; the SMI “gold sponsor” was Pfizer.

Second, an approach to the College of Pathology (of which I was a Senior Fellow, a foundation Professor of Pathology, and past-Chairman of the College committee for undergraduate pathology education) emphasising the unique opportunity for an across-country study to determine whether COVID vaccination was responsible, or not responsible, for the spate of reports of an increase in unexplained deaths occurring in the Western world  — excess death above expected background rates of death, where Australian excess deaths during 2021/22 are now exceeding 17 per cent. The College, I suggested, could use its network in Australia and New Zealand developed for quality-control programmes to coordinate a standardised protocol for a post-mortem study to answer what is arguably the most important question facing medicine. After two approaches there was a reply: take your question to the Therapeutic Goods Administration!

These examples are important, as they reflect the failure of professional bodies to support debate or science conflicting with a narrative that has enabled the persecution of health professionals questioning its validity.

Two basic truths were ignored or not understood.  The first was that the natural history of COVID-19 as an infection of the respiratory tract was determined by the outcome of a host-parasite relationship (the interaction between the infecting virus and the immune response) involving the mucosal immune response. The second was that introduction of an experimental genetic vaccine to prevent an infection of a mucosal space was unnecessary, limited by the biology of the infection, and fraught with potential for unpredictable adverse events.


The muscosal immune response dictates the outcome of COVID-19 infection

Pandemic infection by a respiratory virus, be it influenza or a corona virus, occurs when mutation enables escape from the mucosal compartment to the gas-exchange apparatus of the lungs, where outcome is determined by the systemic immune response. That outcome reflects the balance of viral antigen and IgG antibody: “antigen excess” leads to viral pneumonia, while “antibody excess” (due to previous infection or vaccination) reduces severity of disease. Infection of the mucosal tissues induces profound immune suppression by “suppressor”  T reg cells that dominate net immunity in both local and systemic tissues – a physiological mechanism to prevent a profound inflammatory response to the myriad of microbes colonising mucosal sites. This is the forgotten hallmark of mucosal immunology.

How should immunisation against COVID-19 infection be understood within this framework?

First, systemic vaccination (ie injected vaccines) will only stimulate systemic immunity (the IgG antibody system). It will protect against virus that has escaped the mucosal compartment but have essentially no impact on the mucosal site of primary infection.

Early clinical studies of COVID vaccines indicated little to no effect on preventing infection, but a reduction in more serious disease due to escape of virus into the gas-exchange apparatus. This has become less clear over time as the Delta sub-type virus the vaccines developed in 2020 failed to recognise the antigen variants inherent in the Omicron strain.

More importantly, repeated antigen dosing from vaccination, often in combination with intercurrent COVID infection, activates T reg cells, specifically suppressing immunity to COVID infection. This led to “reverse immunity” with more infections and more severe disease reported in multi-vaccinated subjects, so that COVID has now become a pandemic of the vaccinated.

Now vaccination has no significant effect on virus spread as it doesn’t stimulate mucosal immunity. Indeed the multi-vaccinated excrete virus for longer periods, due to the suppression effect discussed above. None of this should surprise, as “desensitisation” (multiple antigen shots for allergy subjects) effectively suppresses allergic reactions for about five years, via activation of the same T reg cells.

The implications for COVID are concerning, as protracted suppression of specific immunity through poorly spaced boosters predicts a predisposition towards more severe disease for a considerable time. Natural immunity from COVID infection is broader and more durable than that following vaccination, while immunisation post-infection adds to the risk of impaired immunity due to specific immune suppression.

Two issues follow. First, systemic immunity to any respiratory tract infection will be less effective and less durable than the protection to which we are accustomed from vaccines used to prevent systemic infection (such as measles), because of its tie to immune suppression. This fact has been neglected by those making vaccination decisions. Second, genetic vaccines are liable to dysregulation and unpredictable outcomes, as synthesis of spike protein (the antigen) is not localised, but present throughout the body, with spike protein manufacture lasting weeks to months. The amount of antigen and the dynamic of its production is uncontrolled, creating critical dose-response parameters that influence the net immune response, underpinned by reports of poor vaccine quality control with variations between lots. These factors promote net immune suppression.

The influenza vaccine model – imperfect though it may be — predicted all the above findings for genetic COVID vaccines: short duration, variable low level community protection (20-60%), but favouring protection against more severe disease. Experience led to annual pre-season influenza immunisation emphasising the critical importance of spaced vaccination, to avoid immune suppression.

Influenza vaccine history emphasises the myth and aura that has spread about the “innovative technology” of genetic vaccines: both mRNA and DNA vector vaccines have been ineffective in earlier limited human studies, with no evidence of advantage over antigen-based vaccines (including a recent study comparing a mRNA influenza vaccine with a split antigen vaccine); development of the COVID vaccine took twice as long to market compared to appropriate influenza antigen vaccines in earlier Influenza pandemics; and they incorporated untested delivery systems capable of dysregulating genetic information, that being the holy ground of human biology no vaccine should dare enter. Genetic vaccines were hoisted on the world at “warp speed” with no idea of their biologic impact, or the adverse event profile. They had great patents creating a huge commercial opportunity which converted into historic and extraordinary windfall profits. It’s as simple as that.

An important difference between influenza vaccination and genetic COVID vaccines is the observation that, following influenza vaccination, there is a 10% reduction in overall mortality in the vaccinated population. That compares with the finding of “increased community deaths of about 10%” across the COVID-19 vaccinated world –  correlating with vaccination dynamics.

Clearly controversial, and of  concern, is data correlating increased deaths with post-COVID severe adverse event reports from government reporting bodies. The have been more reports of severe adverse events for COVID vaccines than the combined total for all other vaccines over 20 years!  Estimates of under-reporting severe adverse events at 40-fold are claimed.

The appearance of myocarditis as an example of a post-vaccine adverse event exemplifies the evolution of understanding. Initially, rare cases were reported in teenage boys. Recent prospective studies using troponin levels find 2-3% of mRNA vaccinations are followed by myocarditis in both women and men. The long-term impact of myocarditis is unknown, though three- to six-month follow-up studies suggest many have persistent damage, with scars from healed myocarditis suggested as the cause of an increase in sudden deaths in athletes. The finding of spike protein in tissue lesions associated with T cell infiltrates, identified in myocardial biopsies and in post-mortems following sudden unexpected deaths, suggest pathogenicity of the spike protein induced by COVID-19 vaccination as the probable difference between post-vaccination mortality experiences reported with influenza and COVID vaccines.

These short-term adverse events following genetic vaccines have led to ratios being calculated showing significantly more deaths following genetic vaccines than lives saved from COVID by vaccination. These ratios are higher in children who rarely develop severe disease. Longer-term disease possibilities that must be investigated further include integration of spike protein genetic coding into DNA, and prion sequences within spike protein that may cause amyloid deposition in neural tissue.

The message of potential damage, reduced protection, and need to rationalise immunisation strategies is slowly learnt. Denmark has stopped routine vaccination in those under 50, and mandates are quietly being dropped.



Replacing a narrative driven by commercial interests with science is surprisingly difficult. But it must happen.

Review of existing data for both efficacy and safety of genetic vaccines by professional organisations, mainline journals and the media has been a “no-go” area. Denial and ignorance fall in line with a narrative, with those who ask questions excluded from participation in the discussion by methods which have ranged from accusations that the offenders are “anti-vaxers” to the de-registration of health professionals. Recently, recognition of limitations and concerns with respect to genetic vaccines and the consequent failures to impact public health policies has begun to seep into the mainstream press.

Calls have been made for drawing a line under earlier decisions irrespective of how wrong they were based on “the uncertainty at the time”. The point of this essay is that there should have been very little uncertainty at the time.

The immunologic framework was known, the influenza vaccine model had been studied since the 1940’s, and concerning data not released by the pharmaceutical companies was available through the FDA and review by Prof Peter Doshi in the British Medical Journal. Red flags were all over the use of completely untested genetic vaccines. These “certainties” were reviewed with outcomes predicted, in a Quadrant– Online article as early as January 17, 2021: COVID-19: A realistic approach to community management.

Under camouflage of a pandemic, a different form of medical care was imposed on Western society. This in a manner outside of all the honed and traditional norms of clinical practise: the rule of science, and the doctor-patient relationship based on informed consent.

Numerous legal challenges current across the Western world may be the only way to bring clarity and sense to the table, with reversion to a tested pattern of safe, science-based medical practise, based on the relationship between doctor and patient that evolved from the time of Louis Pasteur.

Robert Clancy is Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle Medical School. He is a member of the Australian Academy of Science’s COVID-19 Expert Database. He has also written on aspects of the COVID pandemic in Quadrant‘s July-August and October issues

19 thoughts on “The Problem with the COVID Narrative

  • sfw says:

    Excellent informative article. Seems that the the medical ethicists also refuse to think about what was done. How was so much of the medical establishment compromised and captured so quickly, and why?

    • bradlaferlita says:

      I’ll tell you how…

      We were all threatened with losing our jobs if we were not vaccinated.
      And if anyone tried to speak out, they were attacked and cancelled.

      And that’s at the coal-face, clinical level. I’ve no idea how researchers and administrators were cajoled, though I have an idea…

      As for politicians, they were just politicking.

  • Jackson says:

    “…the world was powered by the belief that genetic vaccines would save the day”.
    ““False news” was a term used to ensure compliance with the vaccine narrative”.

    “Was”?! Still Is!
    The scales (of wilful blindness) have not yet fallen from our dear leaders’ eyes (there is too much at stake for them!). But maybe that day is now not too far away…
    I like the optimistic tone of your article, Robert. It provides hope that the “science [which] post-dates the narrative” is on its way, that the truth will out, and that there will be a day of reckoning.
    Thank you for your assiduous and persistent devotion to the cause of truth and common-sense throughout the Great Covid Overreaction, no doubt at great personal and professional cost. I look forward to your continued contribution to the cause.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Thanks again Professor Clancy. Coronaviruses form up to 30% of the annual URTI’s globally on an annual basis. Between those highly analogous viruses and Influenza we had proxy biological models that were already highly informative as to what to expect at the outset of this ‘Panicdemic’. Any suggestion that we were in the ‘dark’ is an excuse of pure ignorance by those looking to cover their intellectual and moral failings, and whose inherent instinct is to totalitarian overreach at the first sign of a collective human challenge. The only element of the novel COVID-19 variant that stood it above the crowd was its highly transmissible nature, which is strong pointer to its ‘engineered’ origins.

    Add to this, the psychological phenomenon of the ‘hero’ complex which is so evident in the issue of AGW along with the COVID response. All and sundry (especially the bureaucratic, political and MSM journalist classes) are here to ‘save the world’ despite being highly complicit in the concocted perceived threat from which we are all meant to be saved. In regards to COVID, this complicity is by mere virtue of existing as a potential host and reservoir to the virus that could never be mitigated against by all the masks in the world and by ineffectual and dangerous mRNA vaccines. We already knew this from Influenza. In AGW it is through living an essentially unaltered lifestyle filled with all the trappings of modernity while pointing the finger at everyone else to change their ways. Of course, the irony is that these people cannot even save themselves from their intellectual and moral fraudulence let alone the rest of the world from an ‘existential crisis’. I suspect the core of the ‘hero’ complex stems from an inability to reconcile mortality and the tilt to postmodernist perspectives that place each individual at the centre of their own universe. A new ‘Dark Age’ awaits us.

    • Stephen Ireland says:

      Thanks again Prof. Clancy and CK
      A classic example of how the ducks, or perhaps lemmings, line up and also perhaps why Prof. Clancy could get no support from the professional bodies that he has been associated with seems to me can be seen in this link:
      Of particular interest are the statements of support from the 18 eminent American professional associations chosen.
      No guesses as to who posted this link to the Mocker’s article on COP27 Grifters in the Oz yesterday.

  • lbloveday says:

    The Australian has an article “Norman Swan apology for Covid tie to Kimberley Kitching and Shane Warne deaths”. Just two of the many lies about Covid emanating from The ABC.
    In a short while the rare announcement about a new article appeared “This article is now closed for commenting”. Can’t have people making negative comments about their ABC in the ever increasingly Left Murdoch press.

    • Jackson says:

      Indeed, lbloveday.
      I wrote a comment on TheOz article and attempted to post it, only to receive the message, “Comments are now closed”. At that time, only about a dozen comments had been made. I see now that none of the original comments are extant; only the bare article remains, uncommentable-on. The comments that I did get to see were largely of the ABC-bias/ABC-bashing variety – deservedly so, of course. There were no comments published enquiring as to whether the unexpected deaths of the subjects of the article might have been attributed to an *unmentionable* cause. Was I the only one to venture such a suggestion? I’ll bet not. I’ll further bet that there were in fact a deluge of such comments – all rejected of course – such that TheOz’s comments algorithm (or a human moderator) shut the whole shebang down. For the record, here is the comment that I wrote. I am sure it would have been rejected in any case, despite my best attempts to couch it in the most reasonable and objective terms possible:

      Quote from TheOz article: “Dr Swan cited a joint study by British universities that found the Covid pandemic may have led to an extra 10,500 cases of heart issues in England and Wales, including heart attacks, strokes and blood clots”.

      My attempted comment: In the interests of “the Science”, and a genuine search for the truth, would Dr Swan (or even this august broadsheet) also support studies to investigate possible causal links between a certain pharmacological intervention in 90% of the population over the last 2 years, and various excess morbidities and mortalities? Callooh! Callay! That would be a frabjous day!

      • lbloveday says:

        There was one comment supportive of the ABC and Swan – from “Tallulah”, no surprise there!

        • Jackson says:

          Ah, yes, “Tallulah”.
          So stereotypically woke are his/her comments, I have often wondered whether he/she is a genuine subscriber, or an Oz-insider tasked with injecting a far-left perspective to spice up debate in what is otherwise a predominantly conservative echo-chamber of commenters…

          • ianb says:

            I have long surmised that “Tallulah” is an account used by the staffer of a green/left politician. No other explanation fits the profile of such a persistant and frequent commenter.

          • William Pierce says:

            Exactly. Tallulah is one commenter who receives an inordinate amount of space in the Australian, and is plainly far left. He/She recently said she was a lefty, in one of her own comments. On warming, she recently (and accurately) quoted an AEMO study showing renewables are (or will be) very much cheaper (around 10 times more so) than coal or gas). Sure; no effect on cost at all of needing to replace blades and panels or the need to have gas or coal backup at enormous expense. No rational person could conclude that the AEMO study represents a scientific and reasonable conclusion.

        • Rebekah Meredith says:

          My family once spent a short night (we were on the road) in Tallulah, Louisiana (the spelling may be different).

        • guilfoyle says:

          Ha! You all are familiar with “Tallulah”! Yes she is no doubt what the Americans call a “shill”. It seems that “Russ” has disappeared – the Australian did an article on him! (Was that deliberate?)

          There have been three commenters in the Australian who are suspicious. Tallulah’s woke reposts always so conform to the narrative and they are always backed by amateurish/superficial research that is supposed to “so there!” any opposition. They appear to be the pushing of agendas by someone with figures or research papers provided to them – not figures or analysis based on any deep knowledge or by practice in any specific area.

          If any readers familiarise themselves with the testimony of Russian defectors from the KGB during the time of the Cold War, you will find that the infiltration of the KGB into journalism and the insertion of commentary in support of Soviet interests was huge business. Yuri Besmenov stated that disinformation constituted 75% of the (huge) KGB budget.

          So, it would be naive to assume that the constant commenters who spend their energies arguing political viewpoints that obviously push ideological agendas in a completely predictable narrative are actually genuine and involved only because of their sincerely held political beliefs.

      • MargieCJ says:

        Thank heavens for the rare media like Quadrant and Epoch Times which allows discussion of the “unmentionable” and discloses the corruption of the professional bodies, the government, public servants, Big Tech and the Left wing main stream media. They have a lot to answer for especially the mandated experimental mRNA covid inoculations which they call vaccines.

  • rosross says:

    Professor Clancy, thanks to Quadrant in particular, has long been a frank, informed and courageous science-medical voice on this issue.

    Unfortunately most science-medical professionals have said nothing and done nothing., A few are now backtracking but most remain silent as their P/Harma Lords demand.

    There is nothing in this article which a number of science-medical professionals, decried and censored and silenced, have not said from the beginning. That is the tragedy.

    Science-medicine has totally failed the people it professes to serve. But no industry which operates in the name of profit before people serves anyone but itself.

    On the plus side, more people in the world, including nearly half of Americans, now question vaccination in general. And rightly so. A child now receives more than 50 vaccinations within the first five years of life, beginning within hours of birth if not, as we see now, in utero. Such meddling in natural function not only betrays the very basis of good medicine and safe science, it betrays the natural wisdom of the human organism which will always be more powerful than any pill or potion delivered in any way.

    This artificial, genetic meddling, synthetic interference with natural immunity and body function represents probably the most dangerous treatment, masquerading as medicine in all of human history. Much of modern allopathic medicine, while giving full credit to the impressive mechanical skills in surgery and crisis/trauma, remains ‘snake oil’ albeit in more sophisticated form.

    One thing is certain with all of the medical intervention humans are not healthier but more sickly and worse in children. Only a fool keeps doing the same thing and expecting a different result and only a committed fool keeps falling for the same lies proffered in the name of pharmaceutical profit.

    We need less medical meddling and more attention to the way the human body develops and maintains health. Sure, little money in that but at least a future for humanity and better health along the way.

    And other great minds, also ignored said the same thing half a century ago.

    Macfarlane Burnet, Nobel Prize laureate for immunology, suggested over half a century ago that genetics, nutrition, psychological and environmental factors (ecological medicine) may play a more important role in resistance to disease than the assumed benefits of artificial immunity induced by vaccination procedures (Burnet 1952 p106).

    He suggested that in years to come society may have to reassess the belief scientists were placing in vaccination.

    He considered that genetic deterioration of the population may be a consequence of universal mass vaccination campaigns and he postulated that ‘some of our modern successes in preventative and curative medicine may on the longest view be against the best interests of the state’ (Burnet 1952 p107). Burnet (1952) believed that genetic constitution was the most important hidden variable in disease statistics.

  • gareththomassport says:

    Thank you again on an excellent synopsis Prof Clancy.
    Unfortunately the entire narrative was run by vested interests (Big Pharma), channeled through sycophantic or gormless technocrats (TGA funded by Big Pharma, or CMO’s with only a brief career in clinical medicine before moving to lucrative public service positions), legislated by Machiavellians (politicians, none of whom have the vaguest notion of the scientific method), and cheered on by fools (MSM and Twitterati).

  • coggancreek says:

    Thank you again Professor Clancy.
    There MUST be a Royal Commission.
    No professional review will address the problems here because too many people have too much blood on their hands. The professional reviews must come after the Royal Commission.
    BTW. Your addressing of a critical essay to “The Class of ’65” was exquisite in the circumstances. Thank you for that, too.
    From an old retired farmer.

  • padmmdpat says:

    My brain doesn’t click with science, medicine or mathematics, so this article is beyond my understanding. But I note that more and more opinions are being expressed that we have gone through a period of misinformation and overreaction. My little brain suggested as much to me when I was caught up in the panic in Verona on waking up one morning to find that Italy was in lockdown. I got back to Australia about two weeks later and observed the panic. As then, and still now, I asked myself, why are so many people enjoying this? Enjoying this. Yes. Enjoying this. After decades of political correctness and conditioning so many were ripe for falling into line with what they were told to do, because their lives were so dull, and along came a bit of excitement to ginger up their existence. Did you ever notice the smug self satisfied look on the faces of people, dare I say it, usually women, as they held up their hands while they ‘sanitised’ them at the entrance of shops, supermarkets and cafes? I think it’s called virtue signalling. Recently I saw a clip of a disturbing pattern of behaviour of a significant number of sheep who walked in a circle for many days non stop. I thought, ‘ Just like the covid response. ‘ What’s that tune in Handel’s ‘Messiah’? “All we like sheep have gone astray…..”

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