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Reforms Needed in COVID-19 Response

It is important to assess and re-think if responses to COVID-19 can be improved. — Bharat Dogra


One of the most significant questions before the world today is whether the response to COVID-19 can be improved in important ways. Certainly there are many distinguished medical scientists ( and those from related fields ) as well as reputed doctors who have questioned the official and establishment  response to COVID 19.

The simmering discontent wihin a significant section of the medical community recently found an expression in the International COVID Summit (ICS) held from September 12-14 in which a large number of eminent medical scientists, researchers, doctors as well as lawyers helping them issued a Physicians Dclaration. Wihin a few days, at the time of writing, this has ben endorsed by nearly 8000 doctors, scientists, researchers and related professionals from around he world. This declaration has been very critical of the official response to COVID and to the suppression of scientific dissent for profits and power.

It is unfortunate that several eminent scientists and doctors have faced unjustified criticism and even victimisation for expressing critical views. When you search for their views on net, it is sometimes easier to first find severe trashing of their criticism than their original views, even though the views were expressed in sceintific, well-referenced terms by distinguished professionals. This is sad –years of recognized and respected professionl competencce and achievements should not be attacked just because someone voices critical views on widely debated issues.

Clearly there is a need for much more democratic debate on the response to COVID-19 in which criticisms and alternative views can be voiced much more freely.

It is useful to study some aspects of the debate in western countries as the data base appears to be stronger there and the debates there appear to have a wider impact.  One of the aspects being discussed is whether the response should have been based more on treatment protocols and whether treatment and research relating to treatment have suffered from neglect. 

When Dr. Peter McCullough, MD,  regarded as one of the most published and cited scientists in the areas of his expertise. He is credited with publishing 46 peer-reviwed papers on COVID-19. He gave a testimony along these lines to the Texan Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. He also said that this is a strange case of a disease which has been discussed so much but there is very little emphasis on treatment and there are hardly any research papers on this, while the discourse is dominated predominantly by vaccines. Dr. McCullough has argued in favor of treatment protocols established by him and his collegues which have been demonstrated by them to reduce possibilities of hospitalization and death related to COVID 19 by as much as 85%.

Following this testimony it was reported that some reforms have been introduced in Texas and a lot of appreciation for this viewpoint has been expressed by people in general. The video of his testimony has received much appreciation, as also his paper  titled Pathophysiological  Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection. 

Several other eminent scientists and doctors have come out individually and in groups against the present response to COVID 19 which is based on aggressive and rapid spread of mass vaccination drive at global level. In this context the recent statement of 57 scientists and doctors can be seen, as also the earlier letter sent by Doctors for COVID Ethics (written by nearly 13 eminent scientists and doctors, and endorsed by nearly 100) to the regulatory authority European Medicines Agency  (and the subsequent exchange), plus the letter sent by Dr.Tess Lawrie to the regulatory authority MHRA. Views of Dr. Robert W. Malone, who had the main role in inventing  mRNA vaccine core platform technology regarding how essential precautions have been ignored in taking ahead vaccines very rapidly should be widely known. He had an important role in the recent Physicians Declaration as well.

While important contribution of vaccines to public health is well-recognized, COVID vaccine development and mass vaccination campaign at world level has taken place in unprecedented hurry. So concerns have been raised repeatedly by several senior doctors and scientists if the safety precautions could not be duly observed in the great hurry to prepare and market various COVID-19 vaccines. Hence, much more than in the case of other vaccines, there is a clear need to monitor more carefully the side-effects of COVID vaccines.

One way of doing this is to compare the official data for per month deaths following COVID vaccines with the longer-term data from the same comparable official source for per month deaths following all other vaccines. This reveals that in the USA the average number of monthly deaths following Covid vaccines are found to be around 71 times higher than the combined per month average deaths following all other vaccines reported earlier. Since this is a rather startling and very worrying finding, let me hasten to explain how this easily verifiable  result has been reached. 

The source of all this data is obviously the much quoted VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) which has been recording adverse events, serious injuries and deaths following vaccinations for several years in the USA. This is a system which has official recognition. There are frequent criticisms, supported by studies, that what gets recorded in VAERS may be a serious under-estimate but still it is the best available data base we have, particularly if longer term comparisons have to be made requiring similarity of source base. Of course it must be stated clearly that the VAERS does not establish a cause and effect relationship. It merely tells us, in terms of the experience for a certain number of days following vaccine, a certain number of adverse events including deaths that were reported and recorded.

The VAERS system tells us that for the roughly sixteen and a half  year period (198 months) from July 1997 to December 2013, counting all the various vaccines that are administered in the USA, many adverse events were recorded which included 2149 deaths. This figure is available in a paper titled Deaths Reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System 1997-2013, United States, authored by Pedro L. Moro, Jorge Arana , Mario Cano and others. This paper, (Clin. Infect. Dis 2015 Sep.15; 61(6), reproduced by National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, link given below) is based on what was recorded in VAERS. According to this paper nearly 69 per cent of these deaths were of children. Among adults most deaths were caused by inactivated influenza vaccine  given alone. Overall deaths showed a declining trend. (Link for this is given at the end of this article). 

By  dividing 2149 by 198 we find that on average per month 11 post-vaccine deaths were recorded, counting all the various vaccines administered in the USA.  

Now let us look at the post-vaccine deaths recorded only for COVID-19 vaccine in the USA under the VAERS since this vaccination started in December 2020. (This can be seen directly in VAERS data , or in summary form in the Defender, Children ‘s Health Defense) During the ten months period from December 14 2020 to October 15 2021,  a total of 7,848 deaths have been recorded This works out to an average  of about  784 deaths per month. This has been recorded at a time when the total number of vaccines administered has been 406 million.

In the context of COVID vaccine, till mid-October 2021 VAERS data, 15 per cent of deaths took place within 48 hours of vaccination and 28 percent took place due to illness which started within 48 hours following  vaccination.

Hence it is clear from this data that the number of post-vaccine  deaths recorded per month for just COVID-19 vaccine up to October 15 2021 (784) is 71 times of the deaths per month that were recorded earlier for all vaccines combined (11), as revealed in a longer-term study of VAERS records for 198 months, years 1997-2013. 

While calculating this we have used the much lower adjusted estimate which excludes deaths following COVID vaccine attributed to ‘foreign reports’ deaths.  However if a calculation based on those official estimates which include ‘foreign reports’  is made then the number of deaths is 17,128 in 10 months. This means an average of 1712 deaths per month or 155 times the deaths recorded for all vaccines per month earlier.

Another study mentions that total deaths following all other vaccines in VAERS data over a longer period of 30 years (or 360 months) were 8673, or about 24 per month.Even if we take this figure, this would show that per months deaths following COVID vaccine have been higher by 32 to 71 times compared to deaths following the sum total of all other vaccines earlier. This study) by  Josh Guetzkow, PhD in the Defender, Children’s Health Defense September 29, 2021)  also says that deaths following all other vaccines during 2010-20 per million vaccines administered were 1.6, or less than 2,  while for COVID- 19 vaccine this figure is 40.

It will be useful if similar calculations are made for other OECD countries, plus any other countries for which similar comparable data is available. I have tried to follow the data for some developing countries and found that the recording of all adverse events, serious injuries and deaths here is much, much weaker than even the VAERS system. Hence in the case of many of these countries a proper appraisal of COVID vaccine side effects cannot be made just now.

Although the focus generally has been on mortality data, attention should also be given to data relating to serious injuries and other adverse events, particularly the former as these can lead to expensive and troublesome hospitalization as well as longer-term complications and even disabilities. During the period of about ten months following COVID-19 vaccine December 14 –October 15 , in the VAERS system of USA, after excluding foreign reports data,  a total of  612,215 adverse events including  50,525 serious injuries were recorded. If we include  foreign reports data the numbers are significantly higher at 818,044 adverse events including 117,399 serious injuries. Here it should be repeated that earlier studies have clearly shown how only a small percentage of adverse events manage to get recorded in the VAERS. Also the various possibilities of longer-term impact which have not yet manifested are necessasrily excluded in the data given above and available at this stage.

The seriousness of such high mortality and serious injuries following COVID vaccination deserves careful attention of public health experts and policy makers.  The response to COVID 19 should be based on careful and unbiasal evaluation of all such evidence from various parts of world. After all the ultimate aim is the welfare and well-being of all people and therfore it is important to carefully go by the actual evidence. This writer will be the happiest person if the adverse side-effects of COVID-19 vaccine are found to be zero. But one cannot turn away one’s eyes from the evidence.

It is completely irrational to talk in terms of vaccine –supporters and vaccine opposers. Everyone has to give the deepest consideration to the health and well-being of people. Those with a known record of working for public welfare all their life should not be criticized and harassed just because their understanding of the issue is different from that of the official position. In a democracy they too, guided by public welfare, will like to be heard.  In fact public interst demands that all voices, including diisenting ones, should be given a fair hearing. Clearly the COVID-19 response needs important reforms.              qq

The writer, a journalist and author, is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Man Over Machine (Gandhian Ideas for Our Times) and Planet in Peril. 

Links: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26021988/

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