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Anti-Vaxxers: Give Us Liberty or Give Us Death
And thanks to the rabid right, it’s entirely possible to attain both.
AS A NEW COVID-19 VACCINE is being made available across the land, the World Council for Health is sounding an alarm.
“Growing international concerns about vaccine regulatory processes and vaccine safety have emerged following the widespread regulatory failure of Covid-19 vaccines,” declared the group in a recent statement. “The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated that regulatory bodies, once public watchdogs, are now at best incompetent and at worst have been deeply corrupted by pharmaceutical industry interests.”
Among other things, the statement asserted:
“Several research studies now indicate that vaccinated children have far worse health outcomes with higher rates of many chronic diseases than non-vaccinated children.”
“Modern society is experiencing unprecedented rates of autism, asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and more, for which the root cause/s have not been established.”
“National regulatory agencies have been turning a blind eye to the mounting evidence linking childhood vaccination with autism that has emerged since a possible link was first suggested in 1998.”
“Independent experts and official international databases show that the Covid-19 vaccines are not effective and are not safe …”
The statement sparked an urgent article last week in the ultra-right news site WND and republished by at least one local media outlet, ClarkCountyToday.com in Oregon. The article by WND reporter Bob Unruh described the World Council for Health as a “major medical group.” It warned that the government “is approving the rollout of a whole new list of COVID shots, even though the strain now circulating is far more mild than those of years gone by.” Unruh offered some perspective on why the government wants to expose millions of Americans to the grave danger of perpetual vaccination:
It is important for some in the elite levels of government to continue to have the public in fear because it is a way to exercise vast controls over the American population: No shot? No airline ticket. Or no meeting in public. Or no access to schools. Or this is the only process for you to vote. And worse.
The article attributed the statement from the World Council for Health to one of its resident experts, Peter McCullough. It said he was a “major influencer in the medical world” who has been “censored repeatedly” for questioning “the rush-job shots that actually now have been documented as causing significant injury to many.”
No such warnings are offered about the danger of COVID-19, which remains one of the nation’s leading causes of death.
THE WORLD COUNCIL FOR HEALTH, whose name seems to deliberately echo that of the World Health Organization, is described by Wikipedia as “a pseudo-medical organization dedicated to spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and promoting fake COVID-19 treatments.”
The group runs a slick website that conveys respectability, offering everything from recipes to bereavement advice to arguments against mask wearing and ominous warnings about vaccination. “There is sufficient evidence of adverse events relating to Covid-19 vaccines to indicate that a product recall is immediately necessary,” says one report.
McCullough, an American cardiologist, contended last year that the World Council for Health had triggered a global recall on all COVID-19 vaccines after they had caused the deaths of more than 40,000 people. The fact-checking group AFP found that no such recalls had taken place and no data showed a causal link between COVID-19 vaccinations and tens of thousands of deaths.
In 2021, the World Council for Health, in a since-deleted post captured by the Wayback Machine, claimed there was a “new complex multi-system inflammatory syndrome” caused by injections of the COVID-19 vaccine. A review by the Australian Associated Press found “no credible evidence that such a syndrome exists,” noting that one expert dismissed the group’s claims as “a garbled mixture of misinformation.”
Speaking of which, the group’s website includes several videos featuring Robert F. Kennedy, the anti-vaxxer now seeking the Democratic nomination for president. (Kennedy’s anti-vaccine organization, Children’s Health Defense, is listed as one of World Council for Health’s “coalition partners.”) In one video, from January 2022, Kennedy speaks in dark terms about the world that pro-vaxxers were trying to create. It is a world in which “all of [your] rights become privileges that are contingent upon your obedience with government diktats.”
Kennedy gives an example of life in this horrid new world:
Let’s say . . . everybody has to wear a mask and everybody has to social distance. You’re only allowed to leave your house for necessities. And you violate that. You get too close to your girlfriend. You go outside without a mask. Well, they’re going to know it because you’re going to be seen on facial recognition, they know where your GPS is. Now they can tell you, Okay, you are on probation. And you have to say two weeks at home, and guess what: Your credit card is only going to work in grocery stores that are half-a-mile radius from your house. You can’t buy a plane ticket. You can’t buy gasoline. You can’t drive from L.A. to San Francisco. Your money won’t work there.
What a nightmare! Thanks, RFK Jr., for staying vigilant.
IN AN ARTICLE LAST YEAR, VICE News identified the World Council for Health as a key purveyor of disinformation about COVID-19. But the group, it noted, is not alone: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, a growing number of organizations, new and old, have devoted themselves to creating the perception that there are legitimate medical bodies who question the basic science of mask-wearing, social distancing, and vaccination.”
As a result, vaccine skepticism and fabulism has spread like—well, a virus, moving rapidly throughout the right-wing biosphere. Even without Tucker Carlson on hand to spew his signature brand of casual nonsense, Fox News continues to make anti-vaccination proselytizing a key component of its daily drivel.
In July, when Bronny James, the son of basketball great LeBron James, suffered cardiac arrest during a practice session and ended up in the hospital, commentators including Fox News luminaries Laura Ingraham and Martha MacCallum immediately speculated that the COVID-19 vaccine was to blame. Wondered Ingraham on her prime-time program: “Why do so many otherwise healthy young men, especially, seem to be collapsing with heart issues?”
As the watchdog group Media Matters noted, a heart-related vaccine side effect known as myocarditis has been “linked to roughly 55 cases among young men aged 18-24 out of every million vaccine doses.” However, experts with the American Heart Association agree, an actual COVID-19 infection is a “substantially higher” risk factor for this condition. Moreover, James’s family disclosed that his attack likely owed not to myocarditis but to the congenital heart defecthe’s had since birth.
“But,”observed Media Matters senior fellow Matt Gertz, “the revelation that they were peddling bullshit hasn’t led the perpetrators to reflect or apologize—they have largely just ignored the debunking.”Similar baseless speculation about the deadly consequences of getting vaccinated followed the on-field cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin and the heart-related deaths of “fitness influencer” Larissa Borges and musician and actress Lisa Marie Presley.
News of President Joe Biden’s call in late August for fresh funding for a new coronavirus vaccine shot recommended for all Americans sent Fox News hosts and guests into a tizzy.
“This is another huge scam and no one is going to go along with another shot, especially if it’s mandated,” shrieked Jesse Watters on his prime-time program on August 28. That same night, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, as the chyron blared “DEMS BRINGING BACK COVID HYSTERIA,” contributor Tomi Lahren deemed it point-blank ridiculous to think there was any public health basis for this development:
If the Biden administration and leftists everywhere were that concerned about a new Covid strain, a new Covid variant, that southern border would be closed. But it’s not. So that tells us once again this is about control; that’s why they want the face diapers, the face muzzles, the face masks. They want them back on your face. They want to impose more mandates and restrictions. And if the American people are ever dumb enough to fall for this again, we deserve to fail as a country. But I don’t believe we are dumb enough to fall for it again. Not this time.
Responded Hannity, in full agreement: “Everything they said was wrong.” While telling his audience “I am not a doctor, I’m not giving you medical advice,” he offered his own learned view: “I’m not listening to them. I don’t believe a word they say. They’ve been proven wrong again and again and again.”
Actually, it is the anti-vaxxers who have been caught getting it wrong, again and again. And again.
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT vaccinated children experience worse health outcomes than unvaccinated ones. There is abundant evidence that childhood vaccinations do not lead to autism. The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven overwhelmingly safe, and they are also effective—not at preventing transmission, but at minimizing the severity of the disease.
Through September 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pandemic has led to 6,308,630 U.S. hospitalizations, and through September 9, it has claimed 1,141,782 Americans lives. A study by the Commonwealth Fund calculated that, just between November 2020 and November 2022, COVID-19 vaccines prevented “more than 18.5 million additional hospitalizations and 3.2 million additional deaths” in the United States.
In June, Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene chided Rochelle Walensky, the now-former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for her agency’s chutzpah in asserting that the COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective. She asked about the “35,000 deaths associated with the COVID-19 vaccine” reported by the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.
Walenski replied by pointing out, to Greene’s annoyance, that VAERS collects data on all deaths that occur following a vaccination, regardless of whether it’s causally related, in order to over-report such events, which is done to provide a larger body of data available for medical researchers to comb through as they search for any potential issues. “If you got hit by a truck after you got your vaccine, that was reported,” she said, adding, “I’d be happy to have our staff educate your staff on the matter.” “I don’t want my staff educated,” Greene replied.
Greene also lambasted the CDC’s approval of the vaccine for use by pregnant women, citing “the amount of miscarriages and stillbirths that increased drastically due to your advice to get vaccinated.” But studiespublished by medical journals have found no evidence for this whatsoever.
In contrast, there is overwhelming reason to believe efforts to discourage vaccination have had a deleterious impact. As an article published in May on the website Infection Control Today concluded: “One cannot spend the past three years discouraging compliance with public health strategies by expounding their ineffectiveness … and expect them to be successful.”
In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 infections has been on the rise. Researchers have forecast that the resurgent virus will claim 45,000 lives between September and April—more than the toll Greene falsely attributes to vaccines since they became available.
An investigation this summer by the New York Times looked at what happened in Florida between July and October 2021, when the Delta variant struck. Republican governor Ron DeSantis had ended mandatory vaccinations and reopened the state’s restaurants, bars, and schools the previous fall. The Times report found that the state, which has less than 7 percent of the nation’s population, accounted for 14 percent of its COVID-19 deaths during this time. That added up to 23,000 Floridians, 9,000 of whom were under age 65.
Anti-vaxxers are literally dying for their beliefs—and for the disinformation that’s being thrust upon them.