Biden is doubling down on vaccines with new mandates affecting a huge percentage of Americans, even as recent evidence indicates the efficacy of the vaccine wanes over time and the vaccine itself isn’t as effective against new strains like Delta. Why is this evidence being ignored and where do we go from here?
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a major push to increase vaccination rates among Americans including sweeping mandates for federal employees and any private employer with over 100 associates. He began his remarks by claiming, “If we raise our vaccination rate, protect ourselves and others with masking and expanded testing, and identify people who are infected, we can and we will turn the tide on COVID-19.” Throughout, Biden continually harangued the unvaccinated, claiming “Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated.” He made bold claims about the protections of the vaccine, “we read about, we hear about, and we see the stories of hospitalized people, people on their death beds, among the unvaccinated over these past few weeks. This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
President Biden then took aim at what he considers his political opponents, essentially anyone that disagrees with endless masking and vaccine mandate policy. “And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they’re ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities. This is totally unacceptable.” He even made an attempt at providing some statistics, claiming that only 25% of the country hasn’t gotten at least a single shot, but these hold outs are dangerous to us all. “That’s nearly 80 million Americans not vaccinated. And in a country as large as ours, that’s 25 percent minority. That 25 percent can cause a lot of damage — and they are. The unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals, are overrunning the emergency rooms and intensive care units, leaving no room for someone with a heart attack, or [pancreatitis], or cancer.”
Lastly, he reiterated the standard talking point that vaccines are the miracle cure for all of our woes. “I want to emphasize that the vaccines provide very strong protection from severe illness from COVID-19. I know there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation. But the world’s leading scientists confirm that if you are fully vaccinated, your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is very low.” To add credence to this claim, Biden cited a completely unsupported number, one I can’t find anywhere, from any source, “In fact, based on available data from the summer, only one of out of every 160,000 fully vaccinated Americans was hospitalized for COVID per day. These are the facts.”
Ultimately, these recalcitrant anti-vaxxers, many of them rural or minority Americans, won’t do the right thing on their own and so the government must force them to with mandates that will apply to the great majority of the population. Setting aside any concerns about your right to make your own healthcare decisions and whether or not these mandates are legal in the first place, the question before us is simple: Is increasing the vaccination rate going to be effective in controlling the virus? Or is the vaccine simply not as effective as advertised?
Many have pointed out the obvious: Year over year, there are about three times as many reported coronavirus cases in the United States, despite that there was no vaccine at all in 2020 and now, according to Biden’s own figures, only 25% of Americans haven’t gotten a dose. How is that possible? To put this in perspective, if this really were a pandemic of the unvaccinated, we would have about four times as many cases as we have now if there were no vaccine, meaning that somehow year over year, the pandemic would have increased twelve times. These numbers are very hard to add up logically. How can one quarter of the population alone produce three times as many cases?
Unfortunately, data on the breakthrough infection rate is hard to find. Biden, backed by the supposed public health experts, claim that the unvaccinated are solely to blame for the pandemic, but they’ve presented precious little information proving that is the case. Incredibly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t even tracking the complete data. CBS News reports that “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance, doesn’t have good data on how many people catch COVID-19 after being vaccinated, as it decided in the spring to track only serious, symptomatic breakthrough cases.” The United Kingdom does track this data, however, and a study was recently published in The Lancet. While the findings support the conclusion that the vaccines offer significant protection, it’s far from the panacea Biden and others are selling.
The British study found that vaccinated people who contracted the virus were twice as likely to have no symptoms compared to the unvaccinated, and were two thirds less likely to be hospitalized. In addition, long term symptoms lasting more than a month were cut in half by vaccination. This is definitely significant, but if the entire country was vaccinated, we’d still have almost as many people in hospitals as last year. According to CBS News, who reported on the findings, “It’s the latest dataset to offer convincing evidence that the vaccines work as intended.” How they arrived at that conclusion when we were promised 95 percent plus efficacy against developing any symptoms at all is unclear. In addition, the study itself is somewhat misleading, given that most of it occurred before the rise of the Delta-variant. The data was gathered, self-reported data mind you, from December 8, 2020 to July 4, 2021, meaning it might look quite a bit different if it was conducted exclusively on the Delta-variant.
Call me a cynic, but why there is no study on the vaccine and Delta specifically remains a mystery. We’re readying booster shots later this month, despite that we don’t really know for sure whether the protection from the virus wanes with time or the vaccine simply isn’t as effective against Delta and potentially other future strains. The situation in Israel might be instructive in this regard: They were the first country in the world to vaccinate a majority of their citizens with more than half the population of approximately 9,000,000 vaccinated by March 25. As of last week, 66.5% of the population has received at least one dose and 61% are fully vaccinated, placing them near the top of the world for vaccination rates. If any country is protected from Delta, it should be Israel, but they’re also one of the world’s biggest coronavirus hotspots right now. The numbers have declined a bit in the past week, but the country went from a 7-day average of 10 cases per day on June 9, with no cases actually reported on that day, to an average of 10,050 cases on September 3.
According to NPR, “Israel paid a price for the early rollout. Health officials, and then Pfizer, said their data showed a dip in the vaccine’s protection around six months after receiving the second shot.” Read that again: They paid a price for aggressively vaccinating their population? This is the precise opposite of what the health experts were saying earlier this year. In March and April, Israel was the gold standard, yet now they’re paying a price for it. Meanwhile in Sweden, long the gold standard for going in their own direction, much to the dismay of the experts, the natural immunity strategy seems to be much more effective, at least so far. After the winter peak, they had a spike in April to 6,316 cases per day, but since then cases have declined by a factor of more than six, to 1,070 per day. Sweden is highly vaccinated, however, with 68.5% of their population having one dose, 59.9% fully vaccinated.
At the same time, this does give some credence to studies that indicate natural immunity, or natural immunity plus the vaccine, is orders of magnitude more effective than the vaccine alone. An Israeli study of over 32,000 people, half vaccinated, half previously infected, found a whopping 13 fold increase in protection. Out of 257 cases recorded during the study, 238 were in the vaccinated group, only 19 were in the natural immunity cohort. The data were even starker when it came to cases with symptoms, where 191 in the vaccinated group and only 8 in natural immunity developed symptoms after their infection, a 27 fold difference. One wonders why the Biden administration has yet to even mention natural immunity to my knowledge. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others continue to dismiss these stunning findings, pretending the vaccine is all there is. Speaking just last week with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Dr. Fauci claimed, “The one thing that paper from Israel didn’t tell you is whether or not — as high as the protection is with natural infection — what’s the durability compared to the durability of a vaccine?” Perhaps needless to say, he didn’t mention that there are concerns, likely warranted, about the durability of the vaccine as well.
Whatever the cause, there does not seem to be the sort of correlation one would expect between vaccination rates and the virus. Canada for example has high vaccination rates, with 68.3% fully vaccinated and 74.45% vaccinated, but their case rate has increased from a low 7-day average of 382 cases on July 16 to 3,838 cases on September 10, climbing over 10 times. Singapore has seen a recent spike as well, though the numbers are still low. Cases in Spain, a country even more vaccinated than Canada, have been declining in recent weeks after reaching a peak in July. Generally speaking, in every country, independent of vaccination rates, coronavirus has swept the population in waves, building, peaking, and then receding with no direct, established corollary to vaccination rates.
Sadly, we don’t really know why this is so. Perhaps, countries with higher rates will not see another wave this fall and winter. Perhaps no country has rates high enough to stop the spread, or perhaps the vaccine wanes over time and/or just isn’t as effective against new strains. It should not be surprising that this data is unclear so early in the process, nor should this be construed as a recommendation not to take the vaccine. There is no doubt it offers significant protection for at least some period. The question is whether mandating even more of it is going to end the pandemic, assuming the pandemic can even be ended. I believe the Biden Administration’s myopic obsession with vaccines and the now pending mandates are not likely to have the impact they are claiming, which will further erode their credibility. Putting this another way, do you really think increasing our vaccination rate by a few percentage points is going to solve the problem? If not, what, precisely, is the plan this winter if vaccination rates are up and the virus is still around?
At this point, the plan appears to be pushing endless booster shots, despite that their effectiveness is completely unknown and no booster is even officially on the market yet. While they haven’t come out and said it out loud, we can assume these vaccine mandates would apply to each and every booster in perpetuity, meaning their plan is to keep you getting shots and providing your papers to be a good citizen, forever, regardless of whether or not the shots are as effective as they claim. There will come a time when people will start to wonder, what’s the point? If we’re on our four or fifth shot, and the virus is still here, when do we step back collectively and say maybe there just isn’t all that much further we can do?
Alas, we shouldn’t be socked if that turns out to the base: There has never been a vaccine for a coronavirus, ever, and vaccines for the flu, a strain of viruses that also comes in a wide variety of variants and mutates quickly, aren’t effective enough to wipe it out. Once upon a time, Biden claimed he would “shut down the virus.” What if it can’t be shut down at all? As early as February, a poll of scientists in Nature found that 89% believe the virus will ultimately become endemic and remain a part of life indefinitely, continuing to circulate globally far into the future. The administration and public health sector are insisting vaccines are the one and only answer, based on data that is inconclusive at best. I certainly can’t see into the future myself and maybe coronavirus will fade after Delta, but, in the meantime, they are putting themselves in yet another box and it seems unlikely these mandates will deliver us from the disease anytime soon. What then?