1/ We're now five months into the rollout of the #Covid vaccines - enough time to make some judgments of how they're working in the real world.

So let's talk honestly about the good, the bad, and the ugly. (I promise, no prion variants or shedding.)
2/ The good: At this point I think we have to agree the mRNAs are broadly effective at full protection. The Israeli and British data are too strong.

This assessment comes with two big caveats. Broadly effective does NOT mean 95% effective in the population most at risk...
3/ People are still dying in Israel (the equivalent of about 250-300 a week in the US) - and we are seeing breakthough infections and deaths here. Still, even 80% long-term effectiveness in the elderly would be a huge win for them and really end the death counting...
4/ The even more important caveat is that we do not know how long the protection will last. The companies are suggesting annual shots will be needed, which doesn't say much about their confidence. And we don't know if the side effects of a 3rd (or 10th!) shot will be tolerable...
5/ Nonetheless, the fear of January and February - that the vaccines simply wouldn't work in the elderly - has not panned out. And that is without doubt good news.

Okay, onto the bad: the vaccines DO cause a short-term spike in cases when they are first dosed.
6/ I don't think this is arguable either. It's been true essentially everywhere. If the vaccines offer 10 years of protection, I think the advocates have a case for ignoring the bump; but if they tap out after six months it is more relevant to the overall cost-benefit analysis...
7/ So it is still too early to tell how important a problem this will be.

Now the ugly.

Pharmaceutical therapies are supposed to be BOTH safe and effective. See that first word? SAFE? Effectiveness isn't all that counts.

And VAERS and EUDRA are throwing up massive red flags...
8/ The number of side effect reports, including death reports, is off the charts compared to other vaccines. The vaccine advocates can make excuses for this (anyone can report to VAERS, etc), but none of them begin to explain what we are seeing...
9/ Worse, the reports fall into a pattern. Many are strokes, embolisms, and other clotting and cardiac events - often in young people at low risk for such events. And researchers have raised concerns the Sars-Cov-2 spike protein can by itself raise the risk of such problems...
10/ The primary response from the vaccine advocate community has been

A) To point to the size of the clinical trials and the lack of cardiovascular safety signals in them

B) To argue that the spike proteins are largely contained near the injection site
11/ But neither of those answers is convincing. Not enough people under 40 were enrolled in the trials to be sure of catching serious risks, if they're age-stratified. How do we know? Because the trials DIDN'T catch the clotting problems of the @astrazeneca @jnjnews vaccines...
12/ The question if the spike proteins are contained locally near the injection site is complex and technical, above my pay grade. I do not claim to have an answer. But I will say European regulators reported "mRNA could be detected in all examined tissues except the kidney."
13/ That's in here, on page 47. So some mRNA is getting distributed through the body. Is enough spike protein leaking to matter? Again, I don't know. But the flat denials sound A LOT like the last year's denials that the virus could have come from a lab.

14/ The VAERS reports have other strange side effect clusters. Tinnitus is one. Does that make sense pharmacologically? Could it be related to the LNP shell around the mRNA? I don't know. Neither does anyone else.

But what I do know is that these are worth investigating...
15/ And that safety matters. But safety and effectiveness are opposite ends of the seesaw. We can tolerate considerable risk for a treatment for a disease that kills 10% of the people it infects (like #SARSCoV2 in 90 year olds)...
16/ But basically no risk for a treatment for a disease that kills so few people that accurate mortality figures can't even be offered (like #SARSCoV2 in 12 year olds).

So, five months and hundreds of millions of shots along, we know pretty much what we did in December...
17/ These vaccines make sense for people at high risk from #Covid (especially the elderly); their side effect profile should worry anyone at low risk (especially the young); and a lot of people in the middle have a choice that's harder than the media wants to pretend.


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More from @AlexBerenson

7 May
1/ I gotta new theory about the origins of the virus and it brings it all together!

The bats were mad at the Bat Lady, see. Because she kept bugging them in their caves. So they did a little light reading on furin cleavage and ACE-2 receptors and optimized spike proteins...
2/ And they got themselves some equipment, and they made a real good virus. Then they picked one heroic bat to stow a fast train to Wuhan and gave him special instructions not to infect anyone until he got close to the Bat Lady's lab...
3/ And the superbat did it! Then he came back from Wuhan. But he walked, so he wouldn't leave batprints in the air. He is now King of the Bats and sits atop a guano throne.

All to make sure the Bat Lady looked bad.

This theory is at least as plausible as zoonotic transmission.
Read 4 tweets
3 May
1/ This is as close as @DKThomp will get to apologizing to me.

It'll do.

"My thinking on this issue is motivated. I canceled vacations [and] my wedding [and] mostly stayed home. All that sucked. I am rooting (!) for the vaccines."

JOURNALISTS DON'T ROOT.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
2/ He then correctly captures Team Reality:

"No-vaxxers... [have] traveled, eaten in restaurants, gathered with friends inside, gotten COVID-19 or not gotten COVID-19... [and] survived while flouting the advice of the CDC, the WHO, Anthony Fauci, [and] Democratic lawmakers."
3/ "[No-vaxxers]... distrust public-health authorities who they’ve decided are a bunch of phony neurotics... [and] see the vaccines as a risky pharmaceutical experiment... In a nutshell: I trust my own cells more than I trust pharmaceutical goop."
Read 4 tweets
29 Apr
1/ Attention citizens! Your Dept. Of Pandemia is pleased to provide an updated vaccine Q+A, to lessen any fears you as an uneducated mouth-breather might have.

Q: I heard the vaccines were rushed to market?
A: False. The vaccines have been in development for thousands of years.

Q: Thousands? How is that possible?
A: We are counting from Hippocrates, the father of medicine (GENDER AND SEXISM BIAS ALERT!). No medicine, no vaccines.
Q: Oh. Wasn't he the one who said first do no harm?
A: That's never been proven.

Q: Okay, what about testing of these actual vaccines?
A: They have been tested for thousands of hours.
Q: And you're sure they're safe?
A: Absolutely. The trial revealed no serious side effects, except a few.
Q: How many?
A: It doesn't matter. Covid is way more dangerous.
Read 4 tweets
28 Apr
More personal stories from Dr. Anthony Fauci:

He loves learning.

"I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge."

He cares about details.

"I believe in striving for excellence. I sweat the big and the small stuff!"

And he's not sorry for it.

"I do not apologize for this."
2/ But wait there's more.

He cares about you. And you. And you too.

"My goal is to serve humankind. I have spent all of my professional life in public service."

3/ But along the way he's had some laughs.

"I sat down with the President and in his wonderful way, he said, “I want you to be the NIH Director.” And I said, “Mr. President, with all due respect, I think I can serve you and the country better if I stay where I am..."
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
1/ Things Dr. Anthony Fauci would like you to know about him:

He's a hard worker.

"I have a lot of responsibilities. I do more things than any one person should do."

"I work very hard. I work until late in the evening, go home, eat, and work some more. I work every weekend."
2/ However, he is also a family man.

"My children grew up having dinner with my wife and I every night even though it was very late."

AND a scholar.

"If I couldn’t choose medicine or science, it would almost certainly be in the arena of teaching, perhaps Latin or English."
3/ Yet he is modest. VERY modest. No one is more modest. Many people are responsible for his greatness.

"It is at the same time a great honor and a humbling experience to be recognized by one’s peers. It serves to remind me that I did not get here in a vacuum."
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
1/ I’m watching baseball tonight and out of nowhere the announcers start talking about the vaccine, how easy it getting it was, how great it is... and the stadium signage says “Take one for the team. Get vaccinated.” (Not exactly the message I’d send, but I digress.)...
2/ Two tiny tendrils of this overwhelming campaign, not just nationally but internationally coordinated on so many fronts - get vaccinated and fly to Europe or go to college or get free donuts -

And help me out here. I cannot think of another example remotely like this...
3/ Where democratic governments, NGOs, private companies, academia, and the media have massed to dictate an outcome to an obviously reluctant citizenry - but without quite compelling them. I mean, democracies used to draft soldiers, but that basically ended with Vietnam...
Read 5 tweets

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