(First of two parts)
Since March, we’ve been proposing to temper our enthusiasm for mass vaccination and administer it only to the elderly and high-risk population. In younger individuals, particularly those below 40 who are healthy, the benefit is uncertain and vaccination may do more harm than good.
Then till now, we’ve been accused of confusing the public with haphazard assumptions. The Department of Health (DOH), in some of its social media advisories, considers our advice and warnings as “fake news,” with big red Xs across our pictures or the things we say. But reviewing the things we predicted, compared to their pronouncements, our batting average appears to be better.
We predicted the Beta and Delta surges when the DOH announced that there was no evidence of community transmission yet. When the Delta surge was waning, we predicted another surge this month (January), although some experts were saying the Delta would likely be the last COVID-19 surge.
Two weeks ago, on Jan. 11, we wrote that Omicron is already the dominant variant in the Philippines, infecting around 70 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country. On the same day, the DOH said that documented Omicron cases was less than 1 percent, but a week later, the result of their genomic testing with samples taken on Jan. 13 showed that 68.9 percent of the samples showed the Omicron variant. We just missed it by two days and 1.1 percent.
They said at the start of the rollout that vaccination would be effective in controlling spread or transmission, so everyone—even young people—should get their jabs to protect the elderly and high-risk members of their households.
We argued that there was no data then to suggest this, and until such time we had clearer data, we should suspend vaccinating all aged 40 and younger, and also individuals younger than 60 year old with no comorbidities.
We raised serious concern over our vaccine-centric national strategy, and predicted it’s not vaccines but natural immunity that would lead us to herd immunity. We maintained that mass vaccination was getting us further away from our goal of effective population protection by possibly triggering the creation of variants.
A few months after the rollout, we raised a scenario wherein vaccine immunity would wane and may require regular booster doses, and asked how long we could sustain regular boosting. This is obviously fact now.
Decision makers of several highly vaccinated countries are now rethinking their strategies, and limiting their boosting to only the elderly and high-risk citizens. This was our proposal right from the start. That’s the beauty with publications, because everything one writes is published, dated and properly documented. The DOH should review all its pronouncements during the pandemic, and apologize for all the misinformation and false promises they have unwittingly given the public, just as we apologize when we make mistakes.
We’re not trying to say, “We’ve been telling you so!” We just want to be given a modicum of respect to be listened to after many or most of the things that we’ve been saying here turned out to be fairly reliable, and would have been helpful in the policies the government has made and will still make. Needless to say, we take offense at being labeled by the DOH as a purveyor of fake news and disinformation, when the opposite seems to be more reality-based.
We feel compelled to reiterate the serious safety concerns we’ve been saying about currently available vaccines because the government is about to start its “mini-rollout” of vaccination for children aged 5 to 11. If we could not spare the adults, we should at least spare our children so our country could still have a future to hope for, and not a future hinged on uncertainties. We believe that pushing through with vaccination on children is already pathologic vaccine-obsession.
We have to go back to our observation that vaccination in low-risk individuals, especially children, offers very little benefit and possibly carries a poorly appreciated ton of risks. It’s like sailing on uncharted territory with thousands of killer icebergs, only the tips of which we can see from afar. Though there seems to be a conscious effort—not necessarily a conspiracy—to trivialize negative data on the hazards of vaccination, the imminent explosion of alarming data from various countries in the world can no longer be suppressed.
These data suggest a strong temporal relationship between mass vaccination and excess deaths in the population. Excess death is defined as the number of deaths beyond what would be normally expected in the population had a crisis, such as this COVID-19 pandemic, not occurred. Based on available preliminary data, the excess deaths are much more than what could be accounted for due to COVID-19 deaths alone.
In the Philippines, for example, discounting the actual number of deaths due to COVID-19 as reported by the DOH, the graphs indicate that the spikes in excess deaths coincide with the rollout of mass vaccination last year. There were apparently more excess deaths, as reported by the Philippines Statistics Authority, as more vaccinations were given. No such magnitude of deaths was noted in the whole of 2020, and in January and February of 2021, when we were already grappling with several COVID-19 variants and surges, but no vaccination yet.
We reiterate that the data does not conclude that mass vaccination is definitely the cause of excess deaths, but it strongly suggests and mandates that any responsible public health official should not just ignore this or dismiss it outright as fake news. Our health officials should investigate thoroughly to determine what might have caused the excess deaths of more than 180,000 Filipinos from March to September 2021, based on government data. It boils down to one excess death for every 250 vaccine shots.
There is no data yet for the last quarter of 2021, but if the correlation of excess deaths with number of mass vaccination is maintained, and considering the ramped-up vaccination campaigns in the last quarter, an expert from the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) predicts that the excess deaths for 2021 could reach more than 450,000.
This is perhaps a righteous instance when President Duterte should defer to the sovereign welfare of his people by invoking the supreme law—salus populi est suprema lex (the health and welfare of the people are the supreme law)—and urgently mandate his health officials to look into this matter seriously, and defer mass vaccination until we get definitive answers as to what is causing such unprecedented excess deaths. So, it should be mandatory investigation for now, not mandatory vaccination.
Bienvenido Oplas Jr., a CDC PH colleague, first raised this concern in his column (“My Cup of Liberty,” Business World).
Another CDC PH colleague and an expert in health data analytics, but who requests not to be identified for security reasons, gathered more data, assembled more charts, and presented an objective analysis during last week’s CDC PH virtual huddle, which was attended by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who also described the data as alarming and requiring immediate serious attention.
The data was separately vetted by experts from the CDC PH and the Fame Leaders Academy, and the consensus was that the data, though not conclusive, eloquently speaks for itself. It raises a red flag on the actual impact of mass vaccination, which needs to be thoroughly investigated by an independent panel of experts. Meanwhile, mass vaccination, especially on healthy children, adolescents and adults—including nonseniors with no comorbidities—should be suspended until mass vaccination is ruled out as the cause of the excess deaths.
When asked what made her look at the data on excess deaths, the CDC PH expert said that since early in the pandemic, she was already conscious of the safety concerns with the use of a new vaccine product, developed platforms that hadn’t been used before widely in the population, and that had not gone through standard testing procedures long enough to ascertain intermediate and long-term safety. In short, the warp speed at which the vaccines were produced was already a red flag in itself.
“I was fully aware that the pharmaceutical industry has a very checkered history with regards to safety of their products,” she wrote in our email exchanges. She said “massive vested interests” might come into play.
She added: “The fanatical pushing of vaccination as the only possible solution to the pandemic, and pandemic management tactics that were clearly not assessed in terms of public health risk-benefits and which resembled psychological warfare more than science, and the ruthless quashing of any voice outside the ‘official mainstream narrative’ already further raised my hackles.”
Next week, we’ll discuss more revelations from our CDC PH expert, including the excess deaths in highly urbanized and vaccinated cities like Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo, and the effective depopulation of the country with excess deaths, coupled with decreasing birth rates starting last year. Depopulation seems to have evolved from a conspiracy myth to reality in our country.
(To be continued)