Vaccination: What’s Trust Got to Do With It?

Vaccination: What’s Trust Got to Do With It? by Barbara Loe Fisher for Mercola

As the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) prepares to host the three-day, three-night Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination that will be broadcast online October 16 through 18, 2020, the theme we have chosen is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century,” because at no time in modern history has it been more important for all of us to take a stand and do just that.

This year, the orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the emergence of a new coronavirus has been unprecedented, and has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people.1

By mid-September 2020, there were about 29 million cases of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) reported worldwide with about 925,000 associated deaths.

The United States, the third most populated country in the world at 330 million people, had recorded over 7 million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people, which is a higher death rate per million people than Sweden,2 where health officials have refused to order masking or lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity to the virus.3,4

Overall COVID-19 Mortality Is Less Than 1%

According to the World Health Organization, the overall infection mortality rate for the new SARS coronavirus causing COVID-19 is about 0.6%,5 although some scientists say it is lower,6 while others estimate it can be as high as 1 to 2% in some parts of the world.7

Compared to Ebola with a 50% mortality rate8 or smallpox that killed 30%,9 or tuberculosis that still is a deadly disease killing 20% to 70%,10 or diphtheria at 5% to 10%,11 or the 1918 influenza pandemic with a 2.5% mortality rate,12 COVID-19 is near the bottom of the infectious diseases mortality scale with a less than 1% mortality rate in most countries.

Those at highest risk for complications and death include the elderly and those with one or more poor health conditions.13

The CDC recently reported that only 6% of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94% of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart, lung or kidney disease; high blood pressure; diabetes, or another underlying poor health condition.14 Most studies suggest it is rare for children to suffer complications and die from COVID-19.15

But seven months after the World Health Organization (WHO)16 declared a coronavirus pandemic,17 and public health officials persuaded lawmakers to turn the world upside down, a lot of people are asking questions and so are doctors who disagree with each other about the facts. Questions like:

Where did the new respiratory virus come from?

The most popular narratives about the mutated coronavirus is that it either jumped out of a bat or another animal in a Chinese wet food market18,19 or escaped out of a biohazard lab in 2019,20,21 but scientists continue to argue about which scenario is more likely.22 And this question:

If I wear a cloth facemask, does it really prevent me from getting infected with or transmitting COVID-19?

There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about whether it is a good idea for all healthy children and adults to wear cloth masks when they leave their home.23 In March 2020, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered the American public to stop buying and wearing masks because “they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus”24 and “actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” which was the position of the World Health Organization.25

But in April, the CDC walked back its “do not mask” order and urged all healthy Americans to voluntarily wear homemade cloth face coverings when entering public spaces.26

In June, the WHO was continuing to say that, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider … Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19.”27

But by June, a number of state Governors and local governments had mandated facemask wearing and an epidemic of mask shaming had begun,28,29 which led to public protests against masking mandates.30 In August, the CDC doubled down and expanded face masking directives to include all children over the age of 2,31 while the WHO warned that children under the age of 6 should not wear masks but children over age 12 should.32

So, confusion reigns. While some scientists are saying that if all healthy people are forced to wear face masks it will not stop the coronavirus pandemic and gives a dangerous and false illusion of safety,33 other scientists are demonizing the refusers, alleging that people refusing to mask up are “sociopathic” and have lower levels of empathy.34

About 30 U.S. states require masking for young children and adults who enter public spaces,35 and some states are leveling steep fines of up to $1,000 or threatening jail time for anyone who fails to comply.36

Washington state has made not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor crime37 and central Texas officials say they wish they could put people in prison for refusing to wear a mask.38 More than 50 countries in the world now require people to cover their faces when they leave home and some do fine and imprison people who go outside without wearing a mask.39

So, what about getting tested for COVID-19? The CDC says that people should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the infection. There is also an antibody test to identify whether or not you have been infected in the past.40 But lab tests are not always reliable and people are asking this logical question:

If I get a lab test, will it accurately identify if I am currently infected or have been infected with COVID-19 in the past?

Unfortunately, it’s not clear how accurate any of the tests are, especially the antibody test for past infection because the presence of antibodies may not be the only way to measure immunity.41 The best guess is that the range of reported false negative results for the nasal swab test is between 2% and 50%, and the reported false negative results for the antibody blood test is up to 30%, depending upon when during or after the infection testing is performed.42

In July, a state lab in Connecticut admitted that 90 out of 144 people tested during a 30-day period — most of them nursing home residents — were inaccurately informed they were infected because of faulty, false positive lab tests.43 In August, 77 football players in the National Football League were given false positive test results when, after retesting, all the tests came back negative.44 People are also wondering what happens after they get COVID-19, asking this question:

If I recover from COVID-19 will I only get temporary immunity or will I have long-term immunity against reinfection?

The CDC says it is unknown how long immunity lasts or whether you can get the new coronavirus infection twice.45 However, last spring researchers found that out of 68 uninfected persons, the blood from one third of them contained helper T-cells that recognized the mutated SARS coronavirus.

They concluded the presence of these defensive helper T cells gives evidence for some residual immunity that may have been produced after common cold infections caused by other types of coronaviruses. This, the scientists said, “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity.”46

Another important study was published in the medical literature in August providing evidence for robust memory T cell immune responses in people who had recovered from even mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, but had no detectable virus-specific antibodies.47

If people can have strong immune responses without symptoms and traditional antibody tests for proof of immunity don’t apply to COVID-19, public health officials may be underestimating the extent of population-level herd immunity that already exists in the U.S., where there have been more cases reported than anywhere else.

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