Public Health

COVID-19: Where Are We Going?

In an article in Quadrant Online in January this year, twelve months into a pandemic with a level of devastation unknown to our generation, I described Australia as an island nation, isolated in an artificial and unstable bubble from a sea of COVID-19 causing 15,000 deaths across the world each day. At that time Australia was recording a daily count of ten new cases of COVID infection, with only three deaths in the preceding three months. Yet at least the first half of the nightly news was all COVID-19 while the “experts” who filled our screens found the post-truth world a comfort zone.

The political imperative was zero tolerance for COVID-19, which, taken to extremes with lockdowns, gave political capital but at a cost of compromising broader health challenges and considerable economic damage. The plan appeared to be maintenance of a COVID-free environment within controlled borders, backed by strict hotel quarantine and public health principles, until the pandemic has faded, or to open the borders on the achievement of immunity via the vaccine roll-out that was about to be launched. The strength of confidence in this outcome within the political-medical-media “elite” was such that science regarding additional strategies was remarkably, and without precedent in modern times, replaced by an ideology reminiscent of pandemics of earlier times. The extreme of this arrogance was the rejection of several cheap and safe repositioned drugs, notably hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ivermectin (IVM), both of which have been shown to reduce admission to hospital and death by around 60 to 70 per cent. The role of Big Pharma in denigrating these drugs and supporting the political mantra at a time when they were taking hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants to produce patented and high-profit drugs for early COVID-19 treatment was indefensible.

The gist of my January article was that pandemics rarely fade; that COVID-19, an infection of the airways mucosal compartment, will not produce sterilising immunity; and nor will injected vaccines. While vaccines are the backbone of long-term management, current examples are essentially experimental, with only months of study. There was still much to be learnt about efficacy and safety. The influenza vaccine was offered as a model, given similarities between influenza and COVID-19. These comments were not what politicians wanted, and not what most “experts” advised.

Eighteen months into the pandemic, where do we stand in terms of clinical progress and the impact of the vaccines? Perhaps the best way to examine current thoughts is in terms of a five-step management program to take Australia through the pandemic:

♦ Develop a vaccination program using the best available vaccine, with the objective of immunising 80 per cent of the population.

♦ Initiate a vaccine development program based on annual boosters to cover emerging mutants, and to re-stimulate waned immunity.

♦Maintain, at the highest level, community testing, tracing and quarantine.

♦ Identify and quarantine all high-risk subjects arriving from countries with residual COVID-19.

♦ Deliver prophylactic and early drug treatment, where appropriate, using HCQ or IVM, as backup and supplement to the vaccine program.

I will restrict comment to my area of expertise—immunology and early clinical management—while recognising the importance of public health involvement in community and quarantine control, and the commercial contribution to maintaining antigenically appropriate vaccine production.

 

The pandemic and the impact of vaccines

First, a comment on the progress of the pandemic, its relevance to Australia, and evidence that vaccination can influence disease patterns. By mid-May 2021, 165 million cases of COVID-19 had been registered worldwide, with 3.5 million deaths. This is, of course, an under-estimate, perhaps by a large figure, especially in developing countries with limited diagnostic and medical facilities. The pandemic has been progressing for nearly eighteen months, with a background death rate of around 5000 to 6000 per day, and occurring in up to three waves: August 2020, November–February 2020-21, and April 2021. Every country has its own profile.

The current wave has been devastating in India, which was little affected earlier. In April and early May 2021, over 4000 new cases a day were recorded in India, flooding health services that could not cope with even the most basic of services in many areas. These desperate situations, highlighted in the Australian media, as many Indian-Australian citizens strove to return to Australia, were typical of many countries where public health facilities were unable to cope with the pressure of infection.

More threatening to Australia is Papua New Guinea, due to our porous northern border. Few cases were recorded before March 2021, but in the next two months the pandemic exploded out of control, with under-recording of cases and deaths. The official figure of 15,000 cases with 150 deaths is inaccurate, with a low testing rate. Facilities are inadequate, with a negligible vaccine program.

If we look at three countries with previous high rates of infection (the UK, US and Israel) with more than 40 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, very little third wave was observed. This is consistent with a combined effect of vaccination and a high level of post-infection immunity, further supported by a low observed “breakthrough” infection rate, recorded in the US at 0.15 per cent.

A large study in US aged-care homes compared vaccinated and non-vaccinated subjects, to show low but similar infection rates. Although explained as evidence for herd immunity in an isolated population, it is equally possible the data reflected poor protection due to immune senescence. An overview of all post-vaccination data suggests protection against severe disease, with around 70 to 80 per cent protection against all episodes, and a shift towards asymptomatic infection. Around 25 per cent of breakthrough infections are asymptomatic.

All vaccines have shown less activity against various mutants, and in some studies breakthrough infections are mainly caused by variant strains of virus. Follow-up studies are too short to estimate duration of protection, but the value of the influenza model is gaining ground.

 

How safe are the vaccines?

The key question is not whether the vaccines work, or even how well they work. It is whether they are safe. Pandemics call for decisions to be made quickly. Vaccines are usually developed over a decade. The Ebola vaccine development time of four years was considered hasty. The COVID-19 vaccines, after two months clinical study, were available for roll-out in one year. This was unprecedented in terms of speed of development and regulatory assessment. The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines used novel technology. The “vaccine” was genetic material, encoding information that instructed cells taking up the mRNA molecules (Pfizer, Moderna) or DNA vector (AZ), to make the “spike protein” antigen, the virus anchor that binds to the ACE-2 receptor to allow viral cell entry.

Both the mRNA and DNA vector delivery systems had a shaky past—no previous vaccine using these technologies had survived limited clinical study. No evidence has shown these “clever” vaccines to be better than traditional “antigen” vaccines, where a minute amount of antigen stimulates immunity in local lymph nodes. The concern with the genetic vaccines is that they instruct production of an unknown amount of spike protein throughout the body. Interaction between uncontrolled spike protein production and existing immunity and a link to systemic “acute inflammatory” reactions has become a focus of attention in the northern hemisphere. These acute responses appear to be the targeting of cells expressing the spike protein on their surface, by sensitised T cells, or an outcome of antibody/antigen interaction.

The Australian public’s attention to adverse events came not with “systemic inflammation” due to uncontrolled spike protein production, but rather with life-threatening clots associated with a low platelet count. This is due to the DNA and mRNA carrying a net negative charge, creating an identical syndrome to one seen rarely with prolonged therapeutic use of heparin—again due to its negative charge. This adverse event changed vaccine allocation in Australia, with those aged under fifty offered the Pfizer (mRNA) vaccine and those aged over fifty, the AZ (DNA vector) vaccine. It is hard to follow the logic of this decision, as both the mRNA and the DNA vector vaccines can cause clots and at an average age a little over fifty, indicating older subjects have a similar chance of getting a thrombotic complication. A cynic may suggest the real reason for change is the high rate of reported deaths in the elderly from mRNA vaccines in the northern hemisphere.

Given the experimental nature of these vaccines it is not surprising that unexpected adverse events occur. Risk perspective can be understood by noting that thrombosis/thrombocytopenia complicating heparin therapy—an everyday event in clinical medicine—occurs 500 times more frequently than it does after COVID-19 vaccination.

The panic reaction, where major changes in vaccine policy are made on the basis of thrombosis occurring in one in 250,000 (with a mortality of one in 1,000,000) must be balanced against the risk of getting COVID-19. This is more complex in Australia and New Zealand where there is negligible COVID-19 in our community. In the northern hemisphere the maths is easier. The US and UK have respectively had 33.2 million and 4.5 million documented COVID-19 patients. Currently 20 per cent of blood donors in the US have anti-COVID-19 antibodies.

Using modelled data for deaths avoided by vaccination and deaths reported as adverse events (discussed below) in the USA, an approximate index can be calculated as a guide to vaccine use. For mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) the ratio of deaths prevented over deaths reported as adverse events under fifty years is 4 to 5, and over fifty years is 35, giving strong support for vaccinating older subjects. Ratios for the same age bands with a DNA vector vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) were 2 and 25, again strongly supporting the value of vaccinating older subjects. These are at best indicative figures relevant to the USA with its high background numbers of recovered COVID-19 subjects, and current deaths at 200 to 600 per day (the lowest since late March 2020) and 40 per cent fully vaccinated. These statistics reinforce an imperative to continue vaccinating the more vulnerable as claims are made that the USA is approaching a degree of herd immunity, where immunity in a high proportion of the community resists the spread of infection to non-immune subjects, is attainable.

Circumstances could not be more different in Australia, where COVID-19 immunity from infection is essentially non-existent and we are a long way from any consideration of herd immunity.

Australia’s current level of community vaccination is about 10 per cent, and we present a population vulnerable to catastrophic COVID-19 infection resembling the horrors experienced in the northern hemisphere. As this article is written, another concerning community spread of virus with a fourth lockdown is occurring in Victoria, with associated economic and health issues on show, reminding us of our vulnerability. Vaccination will not prevent ongoing pockets of community infection but will support public health measures to limit their extent and give confidence to those making community decisions.

The other reason for community vaccination in Australia is that without significant community immunity, the relaxation of border controls would lead to a devastating and uncontrolled spread of infection, of the order experienced elsewhere.

Drugs used on a prophylactic and early treatment basis must be included in the strategic response to COVID-19 (discussed below).

If vaccination of at least 80 per cent of the community is accepted, as it should be, the question becomes, “Which vaccine?” The idea that influenza vaccination would be a model is, in my view, becoming likely: COVID-19 vaccines will prevent serious disease to a greater extent than acquired “infection”, with a shift towards mild disease and asymptomatic infection, but with ongoing and variable loss of protection against mutants. There will be less protection in the elderly. A limited duration of effect plus the appearance of vaccine-resistant mutants will mean annual booster shots matched to circulating variant virus will be required. Natural protection following COVID-19 disease is around 90 per cent at six to seven months, which means those with a history of infection do not need to be vaccinated (indeed, should not be vaccinated, as adverse events are more frequent for them).

Most countries have an official referral system for reporting adverse events following vaccination. In the US this is VAERS. Considerable controversy always surrounds such systems that can both under-estimate and over-estimate vaccine causation for reported events. VAERS has been criticised for having only 1 to 10 per cent of adverse events reported. Again the influenza model gives guidance, with the highest post-vaccine death rate at one in 1,000,000 reported for a batch of H1N1 vaccine in 1976, leading to this vaccine being removed from the market.

This contrasts with figures for mRNA vaccines recorded by VAERS at thirty to forty deaths per million for completed vaccinations, which is highly concerning. Adverse event reports are valuable only as indicative of a problem, with the weight of proof of a causative relationship depending on identifying a mechanism and analysis of epidemiological parameters.

The major cluster of deaths is in the first days after vaccination, due to a systemic inflammatory response, mainly in older subjects who appear to have had COVID-19 infection prior to vaccination. The cause of death is likely antibody and sensitised T cells, generated from previous infection or vaccination, reacting with high levels of the spike protein, encoded by the mRNA or the DNA vector vaccine, being expressed on cell surfaces, and circulating in blood, following injection of a genetic vaccine. This is consistent with severe adverse events reported more frequently with the second vaccine injection. Recent studies show spike protein persists in blood for at least two weeks after vaccination, with its production by cells throughout the body ensuring a systemic distribution of antigen. A possible second mechanism may be a direct toxic effect on small blood vessels, of the spike protein circulating in blood. This has been documented in laboratory studies and would account for the leakage of fluid from damaged capillaries seen in some of those with severe adverse events, following vaccination and also in COVID-19 disease.

Several epidemiological observations also support a causative relationship. First, similar high mortality rates of around thirty to forty per million are described in Europe, the UK and South Korea—all areas with high numbers of COVID-19 infections. Second, a Canadian epidemiologist, Jessica Rose, has completed a careful analysis of the VAERS data base, using the Bradfield Hill Criteria for Causality. She concluded that her analysis strongly supports a causative relationship. Third, the frequency of reported events short of death, but expected if vaccination was causative of death, was found to be commensurate: admissions to hospital of eighty-five per million vaccinations; emergency care 200 per million; and medical office visits 260 per million. Rose extended her analysis to the occurrence of spontaneous abortions, given reported concerns with respect to vaccination of pregnant women, and found a “time ordering” relationship suggestive of causation. Another group that requires further analysis is young children, given reports of cardiac involvement with myocarditis following vaccination.

 

Why are safe and effective drug treatments rejected?

The most difficult issue to understand in the COVID-19 saga has been the rejection by much of Western medicine of the value of cheap, safe and effective re-purposed therapies. This extraordinary situation and its driving factors of ideology and Big Pharma, have pervaded society from early in the pandemic. My 13-year-old grand-daughter says hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a “hoax drug”.

An updated summary of clinical studies for HCQ identifies 245 studies of 368,128 patients, with 64 per cent improvement in twenty-six early treatment trials. Some of these studies are short of perfect— which is to expected in the chaos and urgency of a pandemic. The scream of the armchair “experts”, none of whom seem to be caring for sick people, for Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT) should be (but strangely are not) accepting a significant 46 per cent improvement in six early treatment RCTs. Every study showed improvement. Thirteen studies showed 72 per cent lower mortality. Meta-analysis of thirty-four pre-exposure prophylaxis studies gave 28 per cent improvement (P < 0.001).

Ivermectin (IVM) has seen more recent interest because of the political connections of HCQ. Of thirty-seven studies, there was 81 per cent and 96 per cent lower mortality respectively for early treatment and prophylaxis, which included all of seventeen RCTs. All these results are statistically significant, and details are available on the public record.

Equally interesting results have been published for inhaled steroids and colchicine, both drugs with a long history in treatment of numerous diseases.

HCQ has little role in hospital (late) treatment, whereas IVM does appear to have a role in late treatment. Experienced clinicians stress the value of multi-drug therapy, especially adding a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as tetracycline, and zinc and vitamin D, for optimal impact.

Combining HCQ and IVM with zinc, vitamin D and tetracycline, Peter McCullough, of Baylor University in the US, treated 869 high-risk early-disease subjects over the age of fifty, finding 87 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively, in reductions to admission to hospital and death (P < 0.0001) compared with untreated controls. This is dramatic data, yet “experts” continue to insist on “more studies” for such therapy, while accepting the use of patented Remdesivir, from Big Pharma, at about $4000 a course, as useful therapy, following a single RCT showing the only benefit is four days less in hospital. These marginal results for Remdesivir could not be repeated in three subsequent RCTs.

Numerous regions in South America, Mexico and India (Goa) have introduced IVM or HCQ across the board for their residents, with impressive reductions in COVID-19.

To the question, “How could one expect these old drugs to have such a global effect against so many diseases?”, the answer is that all these drugs affect intracellular processes involved in handling macromolecules including microbes and autoantigens. They block assemblage of intact virus by different mechanisms, rather than having a specific “antiviral” effect of the type seen with base analogues. Combined with the capacity to buffer the inflammatory response, they have invaluable roles in treating a wide range of infections and chronic inflammatory diseases, COVID-19 included.

 

So where are we in mid-2021?

COVID-19 is a constantly moving challenge. We do not know all the answers, but a pathway to living with the virus can be identified, spelt out in a five-step program, listed above. There will be amazing discoveries before this pandemic is over—but that may not be for some time to come. In the meantime, we have to live with what we have. We should control local viral spread and move to open our national borders safely. Maintaining quality public health measures is a given. Then select an efficient and safe vaccine capable of modification to match relevant mutations.

Whichever vaccine is chosen, it will have limitations imposed in part by the biology of mucosal compartment infection and will have characteristics of the influenza vaccines. Current evidence suggests that it is unlikely any vaccine will stand out as being more efficacious than another. This includes the two Chinese inactivated virus vaccines with short-term protection at 73 per cent and 78 per cent in Phase 3 data just released.

There are high levels of serious adverse events for both mRNA and DNA vector vaccines that have attracted little attention. These reactions are probably caused by uncontrolled systemic antigen synthesis following vaccination, interacting with antibody from previous infections or immunisation. Deaths reported in the US from “systemic inflammation” within a day or two of vaccination at thirty to forty per million is unacceptable in the long term. It is thirty to forty times the death rate from thrombotic complications, which have been front-page news in recent times. These data are from countries with high background incidence of COVID-19 infections, unlike Australia. It is unlikely Australia will see these levels of post-vaccine death during the current first round of vaccination as the condition of immune priming does not exist. Second injections and future booster shots could create very different outcomes. Monitoring adverse events following second mRNA vaccine shots must be obsessive, with post-vaccination systemic reactions requiring hospitalisation an index of concern. Those recovered from COVID-19 do not need to be vaccinated and should not be given vaccine unless they are seronegative. Antibody screening should be put in place to assess changing community immune status, and to identify relative risk.

With respect to COVID-19, Australia is on a knife edge. Genetic vaccines are needed for the current Australian challenges of protecting the community from the ever-present threat of quarantine leak and out-of-control community infection, and to facilitate opening national borders. However, the risk of genetic vaccines must be understood and monitored. Mortality and morbidity data from the northern hemisphere signals the importance of care in future vaccine selection, and pressures from vested interests must be resisted.

Science and common sense strongly suggest that for the near future, three factors must be considered and acted upon.

First, alternative vaccines based on “classic” antigen formulation should be accessed and assessed as potentially safer options for the future. The good news is that Australia has acquired 51 million doses of the NovaVax “modern” antigen vaccine. This vaccine is a recombinant cloned spike protein, embedded in the surface of a nanoparticle, giving a clever formulation known as a virus-like-particle. In 15,000 subjects in the UK, it gave 89 per cent protection with no significant adverse events. This trial and another in South Africa gave good protection against two mutant strains that were less vulnerable to existing vaccines. The technology can rapidly be adapted to emerging mutants, which is important for long-term vaccine strategy. The point of difference for NovaVax is that there is no uncontrolled systemic synthesis and distribution of spike protein, avoiding life-threatening “systemic inflammatory disease”.

Recent publication of Phase 3 data from two Chinese trials, testing “classic” inactivated virus vaccines in 40,000 subjects, confirmed the efficacy of “antigen” vaccines, with no “systemic inflammatory” complications. As antigens are not negatively charged in the fashion of nucleic acids, thrombotic events are also unlikely. Of course, real-life experience can always surprise us, as seen with the genetic vaccines, although 100 years of experience with “classic” antigen vaccines with depot adjuvants reduces such concerns.

Second, local Australian control of vaccines makes much sense. Current thinking by government encouraging local manufacture of mRNA vaccines, is to say the least, concerning and premature. The efficacy/adverse event relationship of all vaccines, as well as technical issues, must first be resolved. For many years we have guaranteed supply with local production of an antigen-based vaccine (influenza) adapted to contemporary virus mutants. At this stage data and science favour antigen vaccines over genetic vaccines. Early evidence that genetic vaccines can re-model the immune apparatus, with hypersensitivity and autoimmune complications in the short term, together with localisation of spike protein in the brain, heart and other tissues, predicts possible long-term complications involving brain, heart and other tissues. Monitoring of both adverse events and virus genotype is central to long-term vaccine strategy.

Third, immediately establish safe and effective early treatment, and pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, protocols to complement the vaccine program. These regimens, based on overwhelming science, should include HCQ and IVM. In the absence of sterilising immunity, there will always be a need for effective early therapy, and prophylaxis as back-up to vaccination, to protect individuals and reduce the community spread of virus. Such simple treatment saves lives and could be immediately in place.

Professor Clancy is a practising clinical immunologist with interests in autoimmune disease, immunisation and mucosal inflammatory disease. He was Foundation Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle, where he established the Newcastle Mucosal Immunology Group, identifying mechanisms of airways protection and the pathogenesis of mucosal disease, and discovered new methods of disease control

38 comments
  • Lewis P Buckingham

    ‘Circumstances could not be more different in Australia, where COVID-19 immunity from infection is essentially non-existent and we are a long way from any consideration of herd immunity.’
    It was with a cold chill that I heard Boris Johnson declare that the UK had a day without any deaths from Covid 19.
    One could congratulate one self on this observation, but the mechanism of preventing further loss was not explained.
    In animal pandemics this just means that all the vulnerable have died leaving the survivors with sufficient immunity to live on.
    Think walking into a paddock and finding all the yearling sheep dead without a mark on them, or entering a 20,000 bird broiler house one morning and all the broilers have died overnight.
    So if you keep your borders open like in the UK and let the pandemic rip on, then in the absence of isolating the vulnerable, the vulnerable all die.
    Because in Australia we have no latent or derived vaccination immunity, the death toll would be horrible if we went for the natural herd immunity ‘model’.
    It is refreshing to see Prof.Clancy’s sober contribution to the ‘debate’.
    Judging from the above, the quicker we revert to ‘classic’ vaccination the better for us all. This must be made a National politically supported decision.
    Vaccination of those who have had the disease has been practiced.
    A friend who works on the docks had the disease but was not diagnosed and after much antibiosis and severe respiratory disease, recovered at home. This occurred before Covid 19 was recognised here by GP’s.
    Once vaccination became available, he was tested and found to be free of the disease but having recovered .
    Despite this he was vaccinated.
    This appears to be a port authority protocol.
    From the above it would be better if he next received a ‘classic’ vaccination.
    Since this is a condition of work, it behoves the Federal Government to make sure such people are safely vaccinated when the booster is required.

  • nfw

    Lewis P Buckingham – 27th June 2021

    Nothing like having a vet’s view on human problems.

    Nobody in Australia says “docks”; they work on the “wharves”.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    nfw : Not if you were a member of the old Federated Ship Painters & Dockers Union and work at Port Botany.
    Anyhow, I come from a seafaring nation.
    English is my second language.
    My first, now dead, was Norfolk Broads, an English dialect.
    The more mature a language, the shorter the words with fewer vowels.
    By the year 2050 we should aim to have ‘wharves’ replaced by ‘docks’ as a national tripartisan commitment.

  • Charles

    Great article that contains much useful information and helps joins a few dots for me. It should also be much more widely disseminated when compared to the catastrophism that passes for medical advice that you hear on the MSM each day.

    Insofar as why IVM and HCQ have failed to become mainstream treatments I think this is entirely due to conflicted interests protecting their investment in vaccines and that apparently includes Alphabet (owner of Google) among many significant others. It is however a serious issue when our gormless public heath officials just go along for the ride with Big Pharma (classic examples being Jeanette Young and Brett Sutton) and I note with interest that the Indian Bar Association has taken WHO to court for recommending against IVM and causing unnecessary deaths to occur. There should be more of this public accountability and hopefully it will occur in Australia.

    It is also interesting to note that since India has pursued the widespread use of IVM among its population it’s pandemic has reduced significantly (70-80% reduction in fatalities and infections).

    As for the future, I would like to see where the most vulnerable be vaccinated and if they think vaccine is too dangerous then they should be provided with HCQ or IVM. I think all health workers and aged carers, etc. should be on daily courses of IVM, HCQ plus Zn and Vit D when the virus is in the near vicinity. I also think that we should use some of the rapid tests (e.g. pinprick 15 min tests) that are available, and anyone testing positive should immediately move onto a course of IVM/HCQ plus Zn at least until the infectious period has expired.

    If we do that we can still have a functioning society instead of this on/off mess that we are currently in

  • DG

    I’m glad we’ve swung around to port-talk. I vote for ‘dock’ as well. We ‘dock’ our ships, we do not ‘wharf’ them. We also dock dogs’ tails, or used to. But that’s OK. Dogs seemed always pretty fine with the idea, despite that they looked silly. Dock is also easier to say.

  • Doubting Thomas

    DG, I’m with you. My first reaction was that nfw must be very young. Both words have been in common, virtually synonymous, usage in Australia for the many years of my now rather longish life.

  • Peter Marriott

    I’m from the Burdekin in North Queensland but in my travels spent some years as an Engineer in the British Merchant Navy and I certainly used both expressions. Docks & Dockers, Wharves and Wharfies but I must admit in the English Merchant Navy the common usage was Docks and Docker. They both have English origin of around the mid C16th. and meant pretty much the same, with variations, one of which for Dock was, of course, an enclosure in a criminal court.

  • en passant

    Can we skip the semantics and return to the subject?
    I am not sure how well the table below will survive posting to the QoL website, but it is really hard for this septuagenarian to maintain the required level government mandated terror and fear. I have been living in the Oz gulag for 420 days (about 1.6% of my lived life and perhaps 20% of that remaining. I do not want a vaccination (and my old International Yellow Card shows I had 23 different ones, so OI am not anti-vax per se).

    Selected Deaths in Oz 1/1/20-27/6/21

    Cause of Death Total 2020 2021 2020% 2021% Total%

    Heart Disease 35,033 23,528 11,505 41.47% 42.14% 41.69%
    Stroke 15,988 10,737 5,251 18.92% 19.23% 19.02%

    Dementia 21,593 14,501 7,092 25.56% 25.98% 25.69%
    Influenza 5,783 3,883 1,900 6.84% 6.96% 6.88%
    Suicide 4,732 3,178 1,554 5.60% 5.69% 5.63%

    Covid 910 909 1 1.60% 0.00% 1.08%

    84,039 56,736 27,303 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

    18 people in hospital today, ONE death (with covid, not necessarily OF covid) in 8 months 26,400,000 people oppressed …. There are now 12+ strains of Covid. How does the vaccine handle that?

    There were 1,846 deaths due to influenza and pneumonia recorded from 1 January to 27 October 2020. The average number of deaths recorded over the same period from 2015 to 2019 was 2,885.
    Why are we not locked down annually for influenza? And there is a new strain requiring a new vaccine every year.
    https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/selected-deaths-vs-covid-19-australia
    Unfortunately, there are no statistics for deaths caused by Deadly Dan Druff, meteorites and alien abductions which, if accurately reported, might have an effect on the climate …
    Wake me when I can leave Australia without a vax.

  • Harry Lee

    enpassant -my respect to you for your comment re semantics.
    There are far too few people who can make a strategic assessment of where best to spend valuable resources, even when the wolf is inside the door and has command of the living room, the kitchen, and even the bedroom.
    And the stats you provide on causes of death demonstrate the dominance of the hysteria and consequent bad decisions within all relevant institutions. And I think there is more than hysteria at play. We are seeing the consequences of the utter evil of marxist/anti-free enterprise public servants, including persons with the title of “scientist” and “doctor”, advising clueless and/or marxist politicians.
    The method in this madness: These anti-Westernist public servants (commissars) and marxist-inspired politicians are testing various tactics of population control and taking notes on critics, resistors and rebels.
    And this current Chinese Plague will be followed by more similar, and some far worse.
    These drills are perfect smokescreens for the actual threat to Australian lives and our future well-being, namely:
    The infiltration of all Australian institutions by agents of the CCP, by agents of Islam, and by agents of several other lethal anti-Westernist foreign forces.

  • pgang

    en passant, nobody cares about those sort of stats anymore, not even the experts. In spite of Robert Clancy’s learned words, most of which makes sense (apart from the overriding corporate acceptance of covid-hysteria), all that this amounts to is that people have been brainwashed into the fear of dying from a specific cause. There is no requirement to reference facts or good sense – just look at the fear of global warming killing us all. We are a culture that is afraid of everything, but especially death, and therefore easily manipulated.

  • ianl

    >”The concern with the genetic vaccines is that they instruct production of an unknown amount of spike protein throughout the body.”

    Thanks to Dr Clancy for the succinct clarity in that sentence.

  • Stephen Due

    The vaccines have long-term risks for adverse effects that are untested and therefore unknown. The short-term adverse effects are known, and are bad enough. Rolling out ‘the jab’ to billions of people is therefore unethical (stronger language could be used).
    For at least a year there has been ample testimony from practising physicians that early treatment with repurposed drugs like Ivermectin can prevent deaths and hospitalisations from Covid-19. Their results may not be reproducible in larger trials. Nevertheless, people should not be denied access to these treatments, especially considering that governments have nothing better to offer.
    Finally, Australia and NZ are in the unique position globally of implementing an impractical ‘zero Covid’ policy. This policy – difficult, uncertain, unplanned and unprecedented – has been implemented with systematic fear-mongering, deceitful propaganda, tyrannical regulations, and enforcement of the crudest and most offensive kind. In the process, the authorities have caused vast economic destruction and incalculable social and psychological harm.
    In the normal course of events, with even moderately effective early treatment at home based on published protocols, Covid-19 would be no worse than influenza. Yet the response by Australian governments has been extremely damaging – far more so than the everyday incompetence and bungling we expect from them as a matter of course, and laugh about.

  • Michael Waugh

    “Ivermectin has seen more recent interest because of the political connections of HCQ”. Is this a coy reference to the fact that President Trump encouraged the treatment of Covid 19 by HCQ (in combination with other drugs) ? Have we been deprived of these treatments merely because President Trump publicly supported their use ?

  • Lo

    What do we want? A vaccine. When do we want it? Now

  • Tezza

    Great article. Scary that only Quadrant will publish it.

    Answer to Michael Waugh: “Yes, coupled with the vested interests of big pharma who don’t want to support off-label use of out-of-patent generics.”

  • en passant

    Harry, pgang, et al,
    I have long since found out that facts matter not. The Brownshirts and Blackshirts proved that in the 1930’s & and even Climategate could not sink the Climate Con. However, it is always worth reminding the few sane people left among the detritus of humankind that when they see lies, distortions and breathless propaganda endlessly repeated that they are not alone and still sane in the asylum around them.
    Today’s latest headline: “ONE new case in Brisbane: Lockdown to be extended for two weeks.”
    I noted the Tucker Carlson comment:
    “On D-Day 1944 thousands of soldiers stormed ashore with an expectation of having a very high chance of dying that day. In 2021 whole populations cower in fear of a disease which they have a 99.9% chance of surviving”
    No longer my Australia.

  • mkctoohey

    Great Article and well written. I would like to add a couple of links which support the authors views but go beyond his expertise in regards to vaccinations and immunology as well as the public health and political implications. They are heavy on science but well worth listening to and reading. The people concerned in these discussions especially Dr. Robert Malone was the inventor of the mRNA technology that went on to be developed by big pharma into the current available vaccines for SARS COVI-2 he has also worked alongside DOD in the US and is well versed in gain of function research with a contact in Wuhan.The other discussions are in the second attachment as well as a plethora of scientific evidence regarding the use of alternative treatments (Ivermectin, Flufoxamine and hydroxychloroquine + zinc along with others). Dr Pierre Kory who testified in front of the US senate in relation to the pandemic is the main driver of the FLCCC (Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care alliance). I’m sure the author along with the critically thinking and scientifically informed people in this comment thread will find it intellectually stimulating. ENJOY!

    https://thehighwire.com/videos/mrna-vaccine-inventor-calls-for-stop-of-covid-vax/
    https://covid19criticalcare.com/

  • pbw

    I am puzzled by this:
    “The gist of my January article was that pandemics rarely fade; that COVID-19, an infection of the airways mucosal compartment, will not produce sterilising immunity; and nor will injected vaccines.”

    From my reading of the original article and this follow-up, the point about “sterilising immunity” seems to be this: that such immunity prevents re-infection. Prof. Clancy points out that neither a survived infection not a vaccine prevents re-infection. I was surprised to hear how extensive re-infection was, in Prof. Clancy’s estimation.

    The contention seems to be that the “immunity” conferred is an immunity against _symptoms_, rather than against infection, which is why these are non-sterilising. If this is the case, it renders the notion of “vaccine passports” not merely offensive to democratic sensibilities, but outright absurd.

    It seems from reading this, that the Covid-19 infection is to be regarded like a more dangerous than influenza. It will present new forms regularly, and will require new vaccines. Vaccines are the holy grail of public health, in this view.

    Prof. Clancy seems to be more positive concerning the vaccines, perhaps because we now have more data, and the comparison of benefit and cost from the vaccination is favourable compared to the un-vaccinated scenario. In the original article, Prof. Clancy says, “any chance of approaching “herd immunity” depends on a near 100% vaccination rate.” In this article, he proposes, “Develop[ing] a vaccination program using the best available vaccine, with the objective of immunising 80 per cent of the population.” Good luck with that. Maybe it could be made compulsory.

    Prof. Clancy usefully illustrates the difference between blood-borne viruses and mucosal viruses, and the difference between systemic immune response to the former, and the mucosal immune response, which is different. The mucosal immune response is actually fired from within the gut, and the antibodies make their way to the mucosa, (presumably in the blood.)

    It seems to be this indirect response that allows the virus to infect the mucosal tissues even in the presence of vaccine- or disease-mediated antibodies.

    If this is supposed to clarify the situation for the layman, I’m not optimistic. It obviously is not going to have any effect on the powers-that-be, except perhaps for some encouragement to continue with the “best available vaccine.”

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    What a mess!

  • lbloveday

    Pbw wrote:
    Prof. Clancy points out that neither a survived infection not a vaccine prevents re-infection. I was surprised to hear how extensive re-infection was, in Prof. Clancy’s estimation.
    .
    From the Wall Street Journal June 27:

    At least 10 of the 26 doctors in Indonesia who died from Covid-19 this month had received both doses of the vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a medical association said, raising questions about the Chinese-made shot that is being used in many parts of the developing world.

    The Indonesian Medical Association’s Covid-19 mitigation group is still working to verify the vaccination status of the 16 others, said Dr. Adib Khumaidi, who leads the group. According to the group’s latest figures, over a five-month period, at least 20 doctors who were fully inoculated with Sinovac’s vaccine died from Covid-19, accounting for more than a fifth of total fatalities among doctors during that time span.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-killed-26-indonesian-doctors-in-juneat-least-10-had-taken-chinas-sinovac-vaccine-11624769885

  • gareththomassport

    Darwinian viral evolutionary theory suggests isolation, distancing, etc will produce more infectious mutations.
    Not necessarily more lethal, as respiratory viruses require mobile and socialising vectors. Our best option has always been protect the vulnerable, allow normal human interaction, and use proven treatments whilst working towards a safe vaccine

  • Alice Thermopolis

    RC: “Early evidence that genetic vaccines can re-model the immune apparatus, with hypersensitivity and autoimmune complications in the short term,”
    Imagine my surprise – and discomfort – on coming down with another coronavirus, just weeks after my first AZ shot.
    Discovered I have a Rhino in my Hippocampus last Saturday. Two species with no love lost on each other. One likes water, the other prefers the plains.
    Coincidence or just low immunity at the winter solstice?
    Whatever the case, with all the focus on Covid-19, few folk mention the poor old Rhinovirus, also a coronavirus, aka the “common cold”
    Few folk mention also there’s no prospect for a vaccine. There are just too many variants running wild and free out there.
    BTW don’t underestimate the Rhino. Try to make friend with it if it wanders into your life one day.
    For if it gets angry it can kill some people, especially the young.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    lbloveday
    If this is to be believed there is no difference between using the Chinese vaccine and sterile saline.
    The point about not ‘preventing reinfection’ is that holds for all vaccines. The patient has to get the disease again to then mount an antibody/interferon response. The outcome is that the disease kills the patient, or the patient fully recovers or the disease continues and the patient becomes a chronic carrier, shedding the virus.
    The trick is to make a vaccine that makes the patient sick without the patient feeling bad about it and then the patient throws the disease off.
    Its a paradox, however that Australia waiting a bit has meant that other countries have been doing the ‘field trials’ of all the vaccines for us.
    Hence the excellence of the above summary.
    Its ironic that the Chinese first patented their vaccine in record time and had a lead on everyone.
    Wonder how that happened?
    The Indonesian experience could just be a whole lot of cold chain failures.
    Some years ago I was involved in an AI program for some rare cattle, which failed.
    The semen was kept in a Dewar flask in liquid nitrogen and imported from Canada.
    The boss had the semen examined on entering the country and found that there were no active sperm.
    Cold chain is essential for vaccines.

  • Stephen Due

    I would urge everyone to read Prof. Clancy’s last paragraph several times.
    It tells you there are known treatments for early Covid-19, also useful for prophylaxis. One might add that those treatments could eliminate, according to a reliable source, 86% of hospitalisations and deaths from the disease.
    Think on that! Such treatments ,if widely available, could eliminate fear of the disease in the general population. They could remove the need for lockdowns, social distancing, masks and the whole political apparatus of repression. They could, potentially, render mass vaccination unnecessary.
    Why then have doctors, health authorities and the medical colleges failed to communicate information about these medicines to the public? Why has the ABC not broadcast the good news? Surely they could not have decided that mass vaccination must be pursued at any price, even if it means depriving people of lifesaving medicines?

  • Harry Lee

    I ask Australians, during this time of the current Chinese Plague, not to use the national flag as a snot rag and dribble catcher.
    PM Morrison uses the flag for this purpose, and to me, it’s as bad as burning the flag -as an anti-Westernist anti-Australian, home-grown or imported, would do.
    (And I ask that the flag not be used for soaking up snot and drool under any circumstances, Chinese Plague periods or otherwise.)

  • pgang

    Alice we are on our second Rhino for the winter in this house. It has been unrelentingly cold on on the East Coast this year (but you’re not allowed to talk about that). You dare not tell anyone you have the sniffles these days. Being sick is banned!
    I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – the AstraZeneca jab is dangerous – no way is it worth the risk. I know two people whom it has hospitalised, (if that’s the correct grammar). Now that I know a little more about Pfizer I won’t be touching that one either – I’ll wait for Moderna.

  • pgang

    en passant I’m with you on that. Not my Australia. I’ve just been reading a book about the AIF in 1918. Makes you want to weep when you compare those people with us. I have selected a new name for this place, which I quietly use to myself: Dickhe_distan, the nation of …
    I rarely watch PM but I thought he was good last night. His focus on the real data is a smart move.

  • pgang

    “The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst,” wrote Singapore’s trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, finance Minister Lawrence Wong and health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in an editorial in the Straits Times last week.

    “Every year, many people catch the flu. The overwhelming majority recover without needing to be hospitalised, and with little or no medication. But a minority, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities, can get very ill, and some succumb.

    “We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza or chickenpox, and get on with our lives,” the trio said.”

    Wow! Where did these politicians come from?? They sound like….. people!

  • Elizabeth Beare

    “We are on a knife-edge”. Yes, we are, an unexposed population with very little vaccination. Viral evolution however may be in our favour: the Delta variant seems far more contagious but less virulent – so we hope anyway. Better vaccines and more proven treatments, including HCQ or Ivermectin combos look essential for 2022, but in the meantime …. a modified Singapore option? I note today that vaccine shortage is being reduced by yet again redefining who can have Astra-Zenica Well, we got ourselves into this extinction mode and now we have to accept getting ourselves out of it for the rest of this year by accepting some more vaccine traumas. Some will not take that risk, so please, release Ivermectin for those who don’t yet want a vaccination. Disclaimer, as oldies my husband and I are both getting vaccinated this week with AZ. Thank you, Professor Clancy for a very informative article, especially re the issue of the possible vax risks for those who already have had this infection and so have antibodies already.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    Rhino. Don’t mention it to anyone with children or grandchildren in day-care. Little infection machines who bring home every variant. Yet who can resist helping out when they’re sick and giving them a cuddle? Not me. Atishooo.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    en passant, pgang–We can be very displeased with what’s going on without swearing at our country. Surely we still love AUSTRALIA, no matter what most current AUSTRALIANS are doing.
    Then, too, when one’s country is under attack a patriot fights to defend her. What have we who gripe on this platform really done to try to save Australia from her present dictatorship? It’s hard to know what we even CAN do–what is RIGHT to do–but it strikes me that there should have been something of a resistance. It’s almost nonexistent.
    Where are our Sons of Liberty–our White Russians–our freedom fighters? As parts of every state and territory but Tasmania (at least, last I knew) grinds through some form of increased restrictions, what are we–who, unlike most of the population, DO know better–doing to fight back?

  • Stephen Due

    There is an argument that the vaccination of billions of people with a vaccine that has not undergone long trials and therefore carries unknown long-term risk is unethical. Just because something is called a “vaccine’ does not automatically sanctify it. There is a further argument that giving a vaccine of this type to pregnant women may be particularly harmful and therefore should not be happening in any case. Giving expensive vaccines to people who have already been infected with the virus and have recovered would appear to be wasteful if nothing else.
    There is an excellent argument to the effect that health departments which are indiscriminately vaccinating people with an experimental vaccine should have a rigorous and comprehensive adverse events detecting and recording system in place, though in most countries this is non-existent, or only voluntary and therefore inadequate.
    A case can be made that mass vaccination for a mild disease (such as Covid-19) for which there are proven, cheap, safe and effective medicines (as with Covid-19) is unethical. And finally, there is the Hippocratic oath, which appears to preclude vaccinating people with something that can kill them.
    It is tempting to conclude that the current global mass vaccination program is primarily driven by greed (pharmaceutical companies), politics (governments), and a combination of woke ideology and fear (general public).

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    Interestingly now that the delta or Indian variant is the most active virus in the UK, it is being alleged that because the Covid deaths have stopped, the delta variant is not causing much disease or death.
    The suggested corollary [AKA proof],is that the delta variant is harmless because it does not kill people.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtOu7jx3snQ
    However another interpretation is that with over 80% of the British population carrying detectable antibodies for the disease and the aged and weak all having died already, this variant has no one left to kill.
    For us in Australia this is a danger sign.
    As expressed in this review, we are not vaccinated and there is no ‘herd immunity’.
    Few have the antibodies.
    If this or any variant rips away, the aged and weak are still sitting ducks.

  • rosross

    It is good to read an informative and relatively balanced article on the issue. My question would be, regarding these genetic vaccines in particular, and given the inadequate testing involved with them, is it ever wise to subject young people and particularly children to such an experiment, regardless of what people believe Covid might do or become? Particularly since the evidence suggests children and the young face the least threat from this virus and may well be killed or permanently injured by these experimental vaccines and genetic treatments.

    I understand as a scientist there is no way that these vaccine experiments could be truly challenged, but there is enough doubt expressed and concern, in this article, to make it clear that we may well be risking vastly more from the vaccine treatments than we ever did or would from the Covid virus.

  • rosross

    The following statements would suggest that vaccination/genetic treatments should be restricted to the risk group and the remainder of society, particularly children and young people, should not be subject to the experiment. More critically, participation in the vaccine experiment should never be mandatory.

    There is enough concern, gently voiced in this article from an expert in the field, to make many people think that, if this goes wrong, it is likely to be a disaster far beyond anything Covid might have done and one which could put the survival of humanity at risk.

    While the human condition is remarkably resilient, even in the face of science-medical meddling, these treatments are taking science-medical experiments into new and dangerous realms, which, by the time their dangers are recognised, may be too late. Surely erring on the side of caution is not just wise but a responsibility we owe to future generations?

    ……………………

    How safe are the vaccines?
    The key question is not whether the vaccines work, or even how well they work. It is whether they are safe. Pandemics call for decisions to be made quickly. Vaccines are usually developed over a decade. The Ebola vaccine development time of four years was considered hasty. The COVID-19 vaccines, after two months clinical study, were available for roll-out in one year. This was unprecedented in terms of speed of development and regulatory assessment. The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines used novel technology.

    ………………

    The “vaccine” was genetic material, encoding information that instructed cells taking up the mRNA molecules (Pfizer, Moderna) or DNA vector (AZ), to make the “spike protein” antigen, the virus anchor that binds to the ACE-2 receptor to allow viral cell entry.

    ……………………………………….

    Both the mRNA and DNA vector delivery systems had a shaky past—no previous vaccine using these technologies had survived limited clinical study. No evidence has shown these “clever” vaccines to be better than traditional “antigen” vaccines, where a minute amount of antigen stimulates immunity in local lymph nodes. The concern with the genetic vaccines is that they instruct production of an unknown amount of spike protein throughout the body. Interaction between uncontrolled spike protein production and existing immunity and a link to systemic “acute inflammatory” reactions has become a focus of attention in the northern hemisphere. These acute responses appear to be the targeting of cells expressing the spike protein on their surface, by sensitised T cells, or an outcome of antibody/antigen interaction.

    …………………………….

    Again the influenza model gives guidance, with the highest post-vaccine death rate at one in 1,000,000 reported for a batch of H1N1 vaccine in 1976, leading to this vaccine being removed from the market.
    This contrasts with figures for mRNA vaccines recorded by VAERS at thirty to forty deaths per million for completed vaccinations, which is highly concerning.

    …………………………

    It is unlikely Australia will see these levels of post-vaccine death during the current first round of vaccination as the condition of immune priming does not exist.

    ………………………….

    Second injections and future booster shots could create very different outcomes. Monitoring adverse events following second mRNA vaccine shots must be obsessive, with post-vaccination systemic reactions requiring hospitalisation an index of concern.

    …………………………….

    However, the risk of genetic vaccines must be understood and monitored.

    …………………………….

    Mortality and morbidity data from the northern hemisphere signals the importance of care in future vaccine selection, and pressures from vested interests must be resisted.

  • rosross

    It should also be pointed out that the ‘vaccine’ is not genetic material but SYNTHETIC genetic material, designed to trick the cells into producing a fake spike protein, i.e. acting in error. Now, all vaccines are designed to trick, confuse, manipulate immune function but this takes it a step further, where, as Bill Gates said, the cells are turned into ‘vaccine producing factories’. What could go wrong with that?

    Given the rush and the poor testing for this genetic vaccine, how on earth can the science-medical experts know what they might do? Short answer, they don’t.

    Act in haste; Repent at Leisure! Well, those left alive can repent.

  • rosross

    Abstract
    Background: COVID-19 vaccines have had expedited reviews without sufficient safety data. We wanted to compare risks and benefits. Method: We calculated the number needed to vaccinate (NNTV) from a large Israeli field study to prevent one death. We accessed the Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) database of the European Medicines Agency and of the Dutch National Register (lareb.nl) to extract the number of cases reporting severe side effects and the number of cases with fatal side effects.
    Result: The NNTV is between 200–700 to prevent one case of COVID-19 for the mRNA vaccine marketed by Pfizer, while the NNTV to prevent one death is between 9000 and 50,000 (95% confidence interval), with 16,000 as a point estimate. The number of cases experiencing adverse reactions has been reported to be 700 per 100,000 vaccinations. Currently, we see 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations, and the number of fatal side effects is at 4.11/100,000 vaccinations. For three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination.
    Conclusions: This lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.
    Conclusions
    The present assessment raises the question whether it would be necessary to rethink policies and use COVID-19 vaccines more sparingly and with some discretion only in those that are willing to accept the risk because they feel more at risk from the true infection than the mock infection.
    Perhaps it might be necessary to dampen the enthusiasm by sober facts? In our view, the EMA and national authorities should instigate a safety review into the safety database of COVID-19 vaccines and governments should carefully consider their policies in light of these data. Ideally, independent scientists should carry out thorough case reviews of the very severe cases, so that there can be evidence-based recommendations on who is likely to benefit from a SARS-CoV2 vaccination and who is in danger of suffering from side effects.
    Currently, our estimates show that we have to accept four fatal and 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations in order to save the lives of 2–11 individuals per 100,000 vaccinations, placing risks and benefits on the same order of magnitude.
    The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy
    MDPI.COM
    The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy
    by Harald Walach 1,2,3,*,Rainer J. Klement 4OrcID andWouter Aukema 5OrcID
    1
    Poznan University of the Medical Sciences, Pediatric Hospital, 60-572 Poznan, Poland
    2
    Department of Psychology, University of Witten/Herdecke, 58448 Witten, Germany
    3
    Change Health Science Institute, 10178 Berlin, Germany
    4
    Department of Radiation Oncology, Leopoldina Hospital, 97422 Schweinfurt, Germany
    5
    Independent Data and Pattern Scientist, Brinkenbergweg 1, 7351 BD Hoenderloo, The Netherlands

  • Stephen Due

    Here is a recent online video, which I would title “Monica Smit meets Peter McCullough” (8 mins).

    Watch it now before YouTube takes it down.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ytCCr1HE_k

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