Making the (Conservative) Case for Vaccine Passports

According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, at least 171 millon people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Of these individuals, 2,063 (0.0012 percent, or about one in 83,000) are known to have later died while being infected. But even this extremely low number understates the protective value of vaccines, because more than 20 percent of these vaccinated individuals were asymptomatic upon their death. And notwithstanding sensationally reported anecdotes involving young vaccinated people succumbing to the disease, 87 percent of the fully vaccinated Americans who’ve died from COVID-19 were aged 65 or older. As a recent Heritage Foundation analysis showed, the average fully vaccinated American is more likely to die from drowning, being shot, or choking on food than from COVID-19.

We have all seen articles and videos that highlight the real and supposed dangers associated with COVID-19 vaccines. And it is true that, as with many life-saving medical products, there are potentially dangerous side-effects for some groups, including a risk of heart problems in young men who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots. But the latest data amalgamated from US hospitals shows that these risks are small, and that the available vaccines continue to provide robust protection against COVID-19, including its delta variant. Certainly, on balance, the vaccines are many orders of magnitude less dangerous than COVID-19 itself.

Meanwhile, drugs that once were presented as hoped-for alternatives to vaccines—ivermectin, most notably—have shown little or no promise in high-quality studies. And some patients who’ve followed the advice of self-styled health experts have suffered dangerous adverse reactions. According to Mississippi’s health department, for instance, a majority of incoming calls to the state’s poison-control center now originate with patients who’ve taken ivermectin tablets intended for barnyard animals.

Given the documented benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, why are so many public health authorities having difficulty getting people vaccinated? No OECD country has yet surpassed an 80 percent full-coverage rate, and only a few have passed 70 percent. The United States, shockingly, has barely passed 60 percent, despite having had a glut of vaccines available for months.

In a detailed survey of Canadians who describe themselves as either “hesitant” or outright opposed to getting vaccinated, a variety of rationales were articulated, ranging from outright conspiracy theories (“COVID [is] a hoax”), to fear of discomfort (“I hate needles”), to a preference for “natural” cures. But by far the most commonly given reasons were rooted in distrust of government, as with “I hate government telling me what to do,” or the claim that deadly risks associated with the vaccines are being “covered up.”

Unfortunately, the problem of distrust in government (and its associated public-health apparatus) isn’t one that can be solved with a one-off public-awareness campaign during a pandemic. In the 1960s, when the first measles and mumps vaccines were being rolled out, more than 70 percent of Americans were telling pollsters that they “trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.” By 2019, that figure had dropped all the way to 17 percent. And so the idea that vaccine proponents can win the argument with anti-vaxxers merely by designing the right bus-shelter posters, footnoting the right peer-reviewed studies, or delivering the right zingers in social-media arguments, is misguided. In some cases, strident rhetoric exhorting people to get vaccinated may even encourage the sense of underlying distrust that animates many vaccine-hesitant individuals.  

Nor do we advocate national policies that force people to get vaccinated. Reasonable people can disagree on how far an unvaccinated person’s right to freedom of movement, commerce, and education can be extended without unduly compromising the right of others to protect their health. But at the very least, the presumption of personal bodily autonomy should extend to a mentally capable adult’s right to avoid unwanted medical interventions—including vaccines—so long as he or she behaves in a way that doesn’t put others at risk.

But some systematic means must be implemented to distinguish those who opt in from those who don’t, as one’s vaccination status (unlike mask usage and social distancing) isn’t discernible to third parties except by reference to otherwise private medical documentation. This is why, in recent months, many of us have spent so much time procuring, scanning, e-mailing, and uploading proof of vaccination to all manner of recipients, from schools and summer camps to employers and government agencies. In some countries, such as Canada, these documents are even required to move between certain regions.

As a means to create a uniform informational standard, many jurisdictions are setting up centralized “vaccine passport” databases (though they don’t always go by this name; and the word "passport" is something of a misnomer, as such systems are not, as yet, used to regulate international travel). In the Canadian province of Quebec, this takes the form of a quick response (QR) code that a person can flash from a phone to a participating service operator. A somewhat similar system will be implemented in the neighboring province of Ontario, where Premier Doug Ford had initially rejected the plan on the basis that it would create a “split society.” Ford changed his mind when it became clear that this was as much about economic necessity as public health. Toronto is home to five major professional sports teams, all of whose venues will require a quickly accessible means of testing fans’ vaccination status upon admission. A system that involves scanning a code from a phone obviously is preferable to one that requires service attendants to rifle through tens of thousands of fans’ (easily falsifiable) personally curated medical documentation.

In many parts of the world, the anti-vaccination cause is now closely associated with the right-leaning side of the political spectrum. And so it’s important to note that a strong commitment to mass vaccination isn’t necessarily inconsistent with traditional conservative principles. The pandemic has generated a massive increase in government spending in all advanced economies, as well as a thicket of public-health rules that restrict our freedoms in almost every area of life. The quickest way to roll back this unprecedented expansion of peacetime governmental power is to take private steps that help eliminate its pathogen-borne raison-d’être.

Excepting the most ideologically committed libertarians, moreover, conservatives generally will concede that governments have a proper role in creating and enforcing the various systems of standards and accreditation on which all private actors depend to protect their property, livelihood, and personal safety. We trust government officials to issue driver's licenses and passports, mint currency, indicate uniform systems of weights and measures, maintain property registers, and ensure proper labelling of medicines and foods. A system of vaccine passports is in keeping with these widely accepted government functions. Indeed, vaccine registries have existed for generations, in some form, as a means to ensure schoolchildren are protected from mumps, measles, rubella, and other diseases.

Ontario's new system, which takes effect September 22, will cover non-essential services such as gyms and indoor dining. But it is absolutely true that, once adopted, a system of vaccine passports could be leveraged as a means to enforce unacceptably draconian measures—such as, say, a rule that barred unvaccinated citizens from voting or using public transit. (Such concerns aren’t merely hypothetical: One Ontario judge already has ruled that unvaccinated individuals cannot sit on his juries—a decision we find objectionable.) But it is also true that a universally adopted system of vaccine passports could help empower private actors to adopt their own more flexible health standards, free of government diktat.

Passport skeptics have emphasized that vaccinations alone cannot entirely prevent a person from becoming stricken with COVID-19 (even if they greatly reduce the chance that such an infection will lead to hospitalization or death), or from communicating the disease to others. But even so, your vaccination status is important to the people around you, because vaccinated individuals are substantially less likely to be infected, and so, on a statistical basis, are less of a threat to spread the disease.

There is a libertarian alternative to vaccine passports, of course, which is to have small businesses, schools, sports leagues, churches, movie theaters, and the like all design and implement their own idiosyncratic systems of vaccine-status verification. But most such organizations are not well-equipped for this kind of task (let alone for storing and accessing personal medical information in a way that complies with applicable privacy legislation).

Moreover, the implementation of a vaccination-passport system could allow governments to drop one-size-fits-all public-health protocols that have been formulated with respect to the highest-risk (i.e., unvaccinated) component of the population. That's because employers, school board officials, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders would now be armed with the individualized information they need to tailor their policies to the constituencies they serve. Many employers, for instance, are choosing to let vaccinated and unvaccinated workers alike work in offices (so long as they follow otherwise applicable public-health measures, including the use of masks), while large-scale corporate conferences and other mass-attendance professional events are more likely to require attendees to be vaccinated.

Likewise, a clear-cut passport system would allow individual citizens more transparency about what they are, and are not, giving up by refusing to get vaccinated. A dedicated anti-vaxxer, for instance, may be willing to give up the non-essential services covered by a passport system—and perhaps even negotiate a work-from home arrangement, or seek a new job entirely, as a means to avoid submitting to vaccination. In regard to commercial and corporate interactions, likewise, customers, suppliers, and contractors would all be able to use a passport system to benchmark their own decisions. The necessity to submit to such trade-offs would remain politically contentious among anti-vaccination activists, of course. But at least the choices at play would be theirs to make.

Such a devolution in decision-making from government to private actors isn’t just a good way to rationally match public-health rules to local risk levels: It could even help encourage more people to get vaccinated—since anti-vaxxers who distrust faceless government bureaucrats may take a more sanguine view toward the vaccine requirements set by trusted co-workers, educators, neighbors, fellow religious congregants, and other people in their personal orbit.

Or, in other cases, these vaccine skeptics may submit to vaccination merely as an expedient to keep their jobs, or to continue accessing some prized service or amenity, all while continuing to voice their political opposition. In France, for instance, a “health pass” mandate imposed on workers with public-facing service jobs has correlated with a significant uptick in vaccinations vis-à-vis other EU nations. And in Ontario, vaccine bookings more than doubled on the day that the province announced its new certification system.  

But whatever the motivations at play, each person should be free to weigh the (substantial) benefits of vaccination against what they perceive to be its drawbacks. A government’s job is to make COVID-19 vaccines available, encourage their use, and reliably index the identity of those who choose to get them. And the faster that list grows, the faster we will put this pandemic behind us.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://quillette.com/2021/09/03/making-the-conservative-case-for-vaccine-passports/
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Nice article. The comments should be interesting.

Yeah, that boat sailed months ago, and is probably sunk by now. If not, it should be torpedoed so as to prevent any further waste of time and effort on that front.

Exactly. You make choices. You face consequences. Is there a more conservative reasoning than that?

A government-supported system (so as to prevent a patchwork of non-intercommunicating systems) availed to private business is the way to go, so that business owners can make business decisions, and consumers can make decisions that set the marketplace.

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The problem is that this argument is based upon the premise that vaccination can prevent SARS-CoV-2 from becoming endemic. It can’t. We know that vaccination only offers a 64% reduced chance of someone double vaccinated not becoming a spreader and passing the virus on. At face value, this may seem as though it would consign COVID to the rearview mirror of our daily lives, but anyone familiar with distributed networks with know that this simply isn’t enough to confer herd immunity, or even have anything than a minor effect on total daily case numbers (although it may well make infection spread less truncated, and ease pressure on critical care capacities). Simply put, we could have 100% vaccination of all citizens and we would still see substantial daily case numbers.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00396-2

This Nature article clearly shows that even before we had more extensive data on Delta, only 39% of immunologists, infectious disease researchers and virologists believed it was possible to eliminate COVID from some regions, and this was before Delta and the realisation that unlike previous variants of the virus, double vaccination doesn’t offer strong protection against passing the virus on to others.

Instead we need to focus upon the strong and effective protections vaccinations offers to individuals:



Crucially, double vaccination reduces your risk of being hospitalised if you catch COVID by 96%, and reduces you risk of dying if you catch it by 99%. But generally, the idea that getting vaccinated will somehow reduce the risks to other others is somewhat fallacious, for the simple reason that even if your immune system with vaccination reduces the risk of that you will personally pass the virus on to others, it is more likely than not that the people who you might potentially save through your own personal proactive measures, will simply catch the virus elsewhere- from someone who is both a spreader and is double vaccinated. Or at least that’s what the numbers from both the UK and Israel would tend to suggest.

What I would suggest is a major media campaign warning people who are healthy that if they have a family member of friend who is elderly or vulnerable, then vaccination might prevent them from endangering their life. I know there have been all manner of memes and articles about killing grandma, but in the era of vaccine hesitancy it is important that we make it personal and feature individual circumstances where this has actually happened. The one exception- don’t feature kids, because there is a growing body of literature which suggests that vaccination for children poses greater health risks than the virus itself, in all but the most extreme circumstances- in terms of their personal health.

I have seen sources which suggest that the risks of myocarditis to the young are higher, but generally the consensus is that the risks of myocarditis for those under 18 tends to converge at an estimate of 1 in 10,000. Given that the risks of COVID to children stands at around a 2 in 2 million chance of death in the UK, with these cases generally skewing heavily towards those with significant comorbidities, this should ring alarm bells for those insistent on vaccinating kids.

In particular, we need to consider the issue of child vaccination in terms of behavioural economics and choice architecture. This quote is especially salient:

Alexandre de Figeiredo, statistics lead at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Vaccine Confidence Project, added that there were ethical issues with offering vaccines to children that scientists must consider.

“You better be really bloody sure that the benefits to the individual child – not to society – outweigh the risks. Because what you don’t want to happen is a few children to get sick, or a few children to die, and then that will feed into the anti-vaccination movement.

“You’ll have parents wanting autopsies, other parents might have children that died recently of unrelated things. They might want autopsies, and all of a sudden you can get this vaccine hesitancy snowball.”

Thus far, the JCVI seems to be alone in the international community in prioritising the individual health interests of children over the threat virus carrying children may pose to society more broadly, although in recent weeks political pressure from Ministers has been mounting. Given that there is a pattern here- that in the cause of medical ethics, scientists, experts, clinicians and physicians in the UK have shown more stubborn integrity in insisting that clinical consultation is required in the case of trans kids (contrary to the views of those insisting that self-identification alone should be enough to allow puberty blockers and hormones)- I would be more inclined to trust the JCVI in relation to children than disease-related institutions in other countries.

There is also ample evidence to suggest that COVID deaths and hospitalisations amongst the double vaccinated are more prevalent amongst those who are immunocompromised, immunosuppressed or have weakened immune system of any kind- like the elderly. In the UK, this figure stands at roughly 500,000, a not inconsiderable portion of the population. A better public health approach which might ultimately save lives would be to more rapidly roll out booster shots to those for whom double vaccination didn’t confer the full benefits of immunisation.

As usual, my essays are available on Substack, and free to view and comment:

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It is a huge mistake for Quillette or anyone else to keep pushing the COVID-19 vaccine juggernaut as if it was the best solution - or even a solution at all - to the pandemic.

The best solution is raising most people’s 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to at least the 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) level the immune system requires for proper functioning: What every MD should know about vitamin D and the immune system https://vitamindstopscovid.info/05-mds/ . Quraishi et al. 2014 clearly shows that the innate and adaptive immune responses which protect against the primarily bacterial pathogens which cause hospital-acquired infections increasingly fail as the 25-hydroxyvitamin D level drops below 50ng/ml:

The second best solution is early treatment for all people newly diagnosed with COVID-19 or reasonably suspected of having been infected. The most important of these is (assuming their 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are half to a tenth of that their immune system needs, which is the case for most people who do not properly supplement vitamin D3). Bolus (single, high dose) D3 such as 10mg 400,000IU for 70kg bodyweight is a good approach, but the best is a single 1mg oral dose of calcifediol, which is 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This raises levels within about 4 hours, whereas D3 takes a few days due to its need to be hydroxylated in the liver. Retried New Jersey Professor of Medicine Sunil Wimalawansa (who I collaborate with), writes about this: 0.014mg calcifediol per kg bodyweight.

Ivermectin is an excellent early treatment. https://ivmmeta.com. So is melatonin Farnoosh et al. 10mg at night. Both ivermectin and melatonin are recommended by Dr Paul Marik, Dr Pierre Kory, Dr Joseph Varon and colleagues at the Frontline COVID Critical Care Alliance https://covid19criticalcare.com who lead the world in early and hospital treatment of COVID-19. (They also use zinc, vitamin C, other nutrients, quercetin and vitamin D - but their vitamin D usage is in too low a quantity for this clinical emergency.) In the next two weeks I should have a proper early treatment page at https://vitamindstopscovid.info including a detailed review of the 7 most significant ivermectin early treatment trials listed in the “with (meaning after) exclusions” table at http://ivmmeta.com . There is a campaign of misinformation about ivermectin - none of the unreasonable critiques engage with the best evidence for its effectiveness. The same is true of the numerous, ill-informed, dismissals of the importance of vitamin D.

The combination of vitamin D3 supplementation for most people to attain at least 50ng/ml 25-hydroxyvitamin D, early treatment at home for all those newly infected, and better hospital treatment for the few who need it (with either universal early treatment or D3, and especially with both) is far safer, more beneficial, less expensive and faster to deploy than “vaccines for all”.

Nonetheless, for people with co-morbidities - primarily obesity, diabetes, old age, lung damage etc. - no matter what nutritional status they attain and what early and hospital treatments they use, COVID-19 poses a serious enough threat to make the risks of vaccination (which are only partially recognised so far) a worthwhile choice.

Vaccines have never been the best solution to COVID-19 or even influenza. (For some diseases they certainly are - but not for these two, since they are transmitted and cause harm primarily due to people’s generally totally inadequate 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.)

After 2021-08-10, even the most ardent COVID-19 vaccine proponents should recognise that their benefits are primarily a reduction in symptom severity and that they are not a reliable method of reducing transmission. Evidence for this has been building and the question should be regarded as settled from that day by the admission of Prof. Sir Andrew Pollard, that no matter how many people are vaccinated, the COVID-19 vaccines cannot achieve herd immunity against the Delta variant.

This was in evidence to the UK Parliament All-Party Group on Coronavirus https://appgcoronavirus.marchforchange.uk Their website is not up-to-date, but the video is: Vaccines and the future of the Covid-19 pandemic - YouTube 19:40. Prof. Pollard is Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group: Andrew Pollard — Oxford Vaccine Group who co-developed the AstraZeneca adenovirus vector vaccine.

Here is a full transcript of what he said regarding what he referred to as “mythical herd immunity”:

"This virus is not measles. If you have 95% of the population vaccinated against measles, the virus cannot transmit in the population.

"We know very clearly with the coronavirus, that the current Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated - and that does mean that anyone who is still unvaccinated, at some point, will meet the virus. That might not be this month or next month - it might be next year. At some point they will meet the virus.

"We don’t have anything which will stop that transmission to other people.

"The one thing that vaccines might do - just like wearing masks and so on - they may slow the process down a bit about transmission. And the bit of evidence there is that people who have been vaccinated seem to be shedding for a slightly shorter period of time. That means there is a bit less opportunity for them to spread to someone else.

"So I think we are in a situation here with this current variant that herd immunity is not a possibility, because it still infects vaccinated individuals.

"I suspect that what the virus will throw up next is a variant which is perhaps even better at transmitting in vaccinated populations. So that is even more of a reason not to be making a vaccine program around herd immunity.

"So when we come to think about children, one of the strongest arguments that has been made is to vaccinate children to protect adults. But there are two issues. One is that vaccinating children is not going to completely block transmission - it doesn’t achieve that goal.

"And then of course, secondly we need to get our adults vaccinated. We have been doing pretty well at doing that here - but not elsewhere in the world.

"So once you have got a highly vaccinated adult population, even if children were a major vehicle of transmission, that is not the issue, because the adults are vaccinated.

"And in fact, mild infection in someone who is vaccinated will boost their immunity. It will likely broaden their immunity to future variants as well as the current ones, and will increase the amount of immunity they have. So as long as you are vaccinated and are fortunate to get mild infection, then you are protected.

"There’s one other thing we really need to recall here, which is that the vaccines aren’t 100% effective. Some people, for reasons we don’t know, don’t get good protection from vaccination. But there are some groups where we know that they will have less optimal protection or maybe none - and those are some of the immunocompromised individuals.

"For those people, we have to focus on improving the treatments in hospital, because as COVID becomes something we live with, there are going to be people who in the years ahead who still become seriously ill with the infection. So we need to ensure that the work (…) and it is happening, to improve those treatments, so that when people develop symptoms at the front door, they can be managed well.

"I think one other issue (around children) we should bring up is this big burden on the education system, for the children: missing school. That is largely driven by the testing policies. If you test a lot of children and show that there are some cases, then you are sending home their contacts, classes or even year-groups, that has a huge impact.

"Given the children have relatively mild infections compared to adults - largely the exceptions are going to be vaccinated in the current vaccination program anyway - we probably should be moving to a situation where we are clinically driven. So if someone is unwell, then they should be tested, but for those contacts in the classroom, if they are not unwell, then it makes sense for them to be in school and being educated.

“And I think if we look at the adult population, going forwards, if we continue to chase community testing and worry about those results, then we will end up in a situation where we are constantly boosting [??] to try and deal with something which is not manageable. And over time we need to be moving to clinically driven testing as well. Its people who are unwell who get tested, treated and managed rather than lots of community testing of people who have had very mild disease.”

The next person in the video - Prof. Devi Shankar - challenges the idea of children generally having mild infections. “Pediatric admissions in Florida and Texas are going up quite strongly.” Prof. Pollard is not thinking of the children and adolescents who develop Kawasaki disease or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, triggered by potentially mild COVID-19 infections. These are like sepsis - gross overly-inflammatory immune responses damaging the body, due primarily to our lack of helminths and very low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. He is surely unaware of Stagi et al. 2015 who showed that children suffering from Kawasaki disease had very low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. The patients were 21 girls and 58 boys, average age 5.8 years. Their average levels were 9.2ng/ml, while age-matched controls averaged 23.3ng/ml. In the children who developed coronary artery abnormalities, the average 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was just 4.9ng/ml - a tenth of what all humans need for proper immune responses.

He has surely never read McGregor et al. 2020 An autocrine Vitamin D-driven Th1 shutdown program can be exploited for COVID-19 https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.18.210161v1 (summary at https://aminotheory.com/cv19/icu/#2020-McGregor) who showed that Th1 regulatory lymphocytes from the lungs of hospitalised COVID-19 patients remain stuck in their pro-inflammatory startup program, never switching to their anti-inflammatory shutdown program due to their vitamin D based autocrine (inside each cell) signaling systems not working. The sole cause of this is inadequate supplies of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Every doctor in the world should read this research - the most important article ever written about the etiology of severe COVID-19.

Prof. Pollard portrays COVID-19 vaccines as being of limited value - primarily for reducing severity of symptoms. This is realistic and is no surprise to anyone who has not been taken in by the pandemic and government driven global mania which I refer to as the COVID Vaccine Juggernaut.

Governments, most doctors and essentially all immunologists, virologists and epidemiologists pushed the public very hard to accept COVID-19 vaccination as a barrier to severity of illness and more importantly as a barrier to infection and transmission. (Hence the term breakthrough infection.) In fact, COVID-19 vaccines are of marginal value for the latter two and of significant value only in terms of reducing severity and risk of death in general with the average population situation of very low vitamin D, no access to early treatment and hospital treatment which is generally profoundly deficient compared to what should be done.

Apart from a few autodidacts, the public is entirely dependent on the judgement of doctors - who depend very much on the knowledge of immunologists etc. since the body of knowledge doctors ideally acquire is inhumanly large. Much of it is in a state of flux and is subject to debate. Also the vitamin D research literature is sprawling and frequently does not highlight the crucial importance of vitamin D based autocrine signalling in immune cells and many other cell types. Still, since 2008, all MDs should have taken more notice of the 48 MDs/researchers who have been pushing for 40 to 60ng/ml (100 to 150nmol/L) 25-hydroxyvitamin D to be the accepted minimum standard, rather than the 20 or 30ng/ml most MDs currently think is sufficient. Scientists’ Call to D*action for Public Health - GrassrootsHealth

This is a global, single, point of failure, since the majority of these experts firstly do not understand these important fundamentals of human health and secondly are captive within their global professional echo chambers which makes them resist new information in this regard.

Most doctors have no idea of the importance of 50ng/ml or more 25-hydroxyvitamin D to the immune system. The same seems to be true of immunologists, whose job it is to understand the immune system to a molecular level. I just bought two immunology textbooks Abass 10th ed. 2022 587 pages and Janeways 9th Ed. Immunobiology 2017 904 pages. Neither mention vitamin D in their indexes.

The people leading the vaccine response are flying blind because they don’t understand vitamin D.

Governments should expect their doctors to fully understand this and to pursue all options for early treatment at home and for better hospital treatment. Instead - cheered on by an increasingly desperate majority of the public who were sold COVID-19 vaccines as a barrier - they are suppressing discussion of anything which is not vaccines and lockdowns.

The push for vaccine passports and mandates ignores the dangers of the vaccines (which are surely higher than what is currently recognised) and the fact that vaccine-acquired immunity is narrow and fades (boosters already, 8 months after the campaign began). Those advocating “vaccine passports” ignore the stronger, broader and longer lasting infection-acquired immunity in favor of a rolling, government-driven, population-wide program of booster injections and resultant immune system disturbance every 6 months or so to maintain this limited protection.

“Vaccinate everyone” really means vaccinating children, to some unspecified early age, because they keep being born!

Quillette’s position seems consistent with the views of the majority of some country’s populations who have been vaccinated, proudly proclaim the fact (including with cutsy little bandages in their social media photo emblems, profile frames etc.), from the position of “We made this sacrifice, including accepting non-zero risks, for the benefit of Society. Everyone else who is not a moron or a sociopath should do so as well - or not get the freedoms which are due to we-the-virtuously-vaccinated.”

The best thing you can do is educate yourself on vitamin D, the immune system and early treatment and then insist that your doctors - and all doctors in the world - do the same. You should protect doctors who criticise the current vaccines from government censure or censure by their colleagues. Likewise doctors and others who promote genuinely beneficial nutritional and early treatment approaches to dealing with COVID-19.

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Unfortunately the days of associating the right with conservatism are as dead as associating the left with liberalism as they both only use them when convenient. For the right, free speech in the form of criticism becomes ‘cancel culture’. Unwelcome facts & evidence become ‘institutionalised bias’. And most spectacularly of late, The US constitution can be subverted creating appalling authoritarian conditions when it fails to accede religious beliefs. See Texas abortion laws. So much for due process & equality under the law.
So please, cut the ‘loss of trust’ naivety & save the conservatism sell because these bad actors are just after their partisan ends at any cost & conservatism just gets in their way unless they can use it to their advantage.

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Here’s an interesting article about those risks:

Robin, why do you think so many researchers and regulatory agencies continue to advocate for vaccination when better and safer alternatives are available? You seem to think they’re ignorant of the benefits of vitamin D –

– but if the evidence in favor of vitamin D is as clear as you seem to think, why would experts continue to overlook this obvious solution to the threat posed by COVID? I’m always suspicious when laypeople claim to understand science better than people who have dedicated their careers to studying a discipline.

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Hi @Schopenhauer, The whole reason I write here or anywhere else is to encourage people to read the research for themselves. I am specifically asking you to do this rather than take my word for anything or rely directly on what I write for any of your healthcare decisions.

You will find numerous instances where perfectly good research of immense importance is simply not known, and apparently of little interest, to most MDs, immunologists, virologists etc. The reasons are many and varied. It would take multiple essays to explore this and one day I will at https://nutritionmatters.substack.com - where I am about to post an extended version of my comments here.

Doctor and other professionals in fields such as immunology are subject to intense groupthink conformity pressures. Doctors can have their entire career ended - or made unworkable - if they are perceived by their colleagues as having said or done something which violates the group’s understanding of reality.

One obvious problem with vitamin D, ivermectin, melatonin and other simple early treatments for COVID-19 is that no-one makes significant money from these generic compounds - so no-one promotes them as strongly as multinational pharma companies promote patented, far more expensive and profitable and generally less effective drugs. Regarding this, see veteran vitamin D researcher Bill Grant PhD: Vitamin D acceptance delayed by Big Pharma following the Disinformation Playbook: Vitamin D acceptance delayed by Big Pharma following the Disinformation Playbook .

Another problem is that the vitamin D researchers who discovered 25-hydroxyvitamin D based autocrine and paracrine signaling in immune and other cells have not written a good tutorial and review article on this vital subject. So I had to write something myself: Vitamin D autocrine signaling - illustrated tutorial , citing their work and adapting some of their diagrams.

Even the best known researchers write review articles:

which say vitamin D this, vitamin D that, all of which is true, without clearly referring to the fact that the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (made from 25-hydroxyvitamin D by the 1-hydroxylase enzyme) is made locally in the cell (autocrine signaling) or in a nearby cell (paracrine signaling) rather than just diffusing into the cell from the general (and far too low to have significant effect) hormonal level of circulating 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D which the kidneys closely control to regulate calcium bone metabolism. Then people blow into the field, repeat these errors, and other people read their articles which they assume were written by well-informed researchers. Some of the best vitamin D researchers can’t even use the term “vitamin D” consistently. In the same article they can use it to refer to the three compounds collectively, or just to D3, or as a loose term for one specific compound (D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) without specifying which one. In short, the vitamin D research literature is vast, sprawling, suffers from many low-quality review articles, is frequently excessively vague or just plain wrong (ignoring autocrine/paracrine signaling) and prone to using terminology which is both confused and confusing.

MDs have to learn an inhuman amount of information and for one reason or another, they only learn about the kidney, bone metabolism, hormonal role of the three vitamin D compounds at med school. This is important, but they known nothing about autocrine/paracrine signaling which was first properly researched in the late 2000s.

Another common problem which Prof. Sunil Wimalawansa reports, after assiduously researching vitamin D for twenty years, is that most MDs can’t imagine that something so simple could be responsible for so many types of ill-health. Yet it makes perfect sense when you realise that numerous cell types rely on good levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (twice or more what most people have) in order for their internal signaling processes to work - and this is a major part of how individual cells respond to their changing circumstances.

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There is not conservative case for a vaccine that won’t work in another 9 months as COVID evolves just like the Flu.

This is a logical fallacy, appeal to experts, that has been debunked numerous times. Things like Doctors promoting smoking. Even the experts got a ton of things wrong with the pandemic such as missing that it is an aerosol transmission, the efficacy of masks, etc. They also miss that we can’t eradicate COVID because you can’t vaccinate animals (where it came from) and there are studies now that dogs, cats, horses, can all carry it and that makes mutations guaranteed.

But I’ll stop there because I’m responding to a logical fallacy to begin with.

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Of course, I agree with you.

It appears to me that that the corona virus chimera Dr. Fauci and the Bat Lady cooked up in Wuhan has a case fatality rate in the US of .2%, which is about the same as the Asian and Hong Kong influenza out breaks of the 1950s and 60s.

The Fauci-Wuhan virus seems to target the aged who also are also obese and suffer from co-morbidities like COPD and diabetes. The average age of death the victims of the Fauci-Wuhan virus appears to be the same as the average age of death overall.

To my mind, these are not circumstances that warrant surrendering any rights or liberties to any government or non-governmental entity.

Once surrendered, rights and liberties are rarely recovered. In my living memory of more than 70 years in the US, no right or liberty that has been surrendered in the name of safety, public health or national interest has ever been recovered and I have never known the US government to be either truthful or even primarily concerned with best interest of the American people at large.

So, since I am neither diabetic nor obese nor suffer from COPD, I decided to run my chances and lost 20 pounds, took my vitamin D and exercise outside daily for an hour or so.

The rest of you can do what you want but you really should stop far short of anything the editorial staff of Quillette seems willing to tolerate. But they are mostly Canadians and Australians and we can all see that they seem to have a high tolerance for totalitarian responses; all in the name of doing good, mind you.

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And we can all see that those that don’t value universal health care or universal rights & responsibilities for that matter can have a high tolerance for hysterical defensive responses like dropping the T word whenever they are called upon to meet quid pro quo as per the protections of the social contract they signed up for all in the name of ‘liberty’ mind you…

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What you have discussed is biologic plausibility. Do you have causation evidence of benefit for ivermectin (other than that FLCCC nonsense which has been debunked) or for vitamin D?

" Though direct evidence of a link between vitamin D levels and covid-19 incidence or outcomes is lacking, indirect evidence of an immunomodulatory role of vitamin D in respiratory infections exists. Other indirect evidence includes the similarity of the risk factors for both vitamin D deficiency and severe covid-19: older age, obesity, and minority ethnicity. Also, the correlation between seasonal decline of serum concentrations of vitamin D and higher burden of covid-19 in high latitude countries.15 Taken together, existing evidence supports a compelling case for further research."

Pushing vitamin D now is no different than pushing ivermectin now. You may turn out to be right, but for all the wrong reasons.

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The case fatality rate in the US is about 1.6%, the infection fatality rate could only be as low as 0.2% if everyone in the US had had covid. Most studies put the IFR somewhere around 0.6-0.8%.

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I think the proper comparator of vaccine risk vs benefit here would be vaccine risk of causing myocarditis, vs risk of child getting covid AND developing COVID myocarditis, on a population level. I am not aware of such data being reported in this way anywhere. Comparing to “death” is not a valid comparison.

From one of, if not the, preeminent medical journals in the world. And I link to it more to show disappointment in the dearth of data on the question we both seem to have. It has reasonable data on the risk of vaccine induced myocarditis by age group, which is fine. THe problem is it then compares to COVID induced myocarditis WITHOUT separating by age group, which makes their “excess myocarditis risk from COVID” conclusion number meaningless for young people.

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This is surely true. The medical establishment is notable for its inertia and resistance to change.

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“Certainly, on balance, the vaccines are many orders of magnitude less dangerous than COVID-19 itself.”

Speaking personally, this statement is at the root of the issue. For those in whom COVID is most dangerous, this may be an accurate statement. But for those who are in the normal range of the COVID bell curve, no thank you. I’m also waiting for the comprehensive data sets that show the benefits of natural immunity… Still waiting. Still waiting.

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Don’t you guys have state of emergency declarations in response to natural disasters that give such powers to government? Aren’t those state of emergency declarations cancelled when the threat has passed?

During this pandemic hasn’t the same thing happened, when infection rated go up governments react with restrictions, when they go down the restrictions are withdrawn?

Didn’t you guys have conscription imposed during the Vietnam war, do you still have conscription in your country?

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Do you have the right or the liberty to trespass on someone else’s private or business property?

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I got .2% when I ran the numbers.

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You may be waiting a long, long time. I suspect we will not see anything like this addressed until preventative healthcare takes precedence. Lifestyle created disease is rampant/entrenched and the fallacies surrounding treating those who perpetuate poor lifestyle norms is ridiculous. We have to be firmer as a society with regard to basic disease prevention and enforce taboo around lifestyle choices that bring it about.

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