Back like the Undead: The Media Narrative on “Vaccinating Our Way Out of the Pandemic”

For many years before the pandemic I knew people who complained of receiving biased medical care from doctors who had failed to find any physiological cause for their symptoms. These doctors tried very hard to diagnose what appeared to be an immunological, cardiovascular, or neurological problem. They tried everything to diagnose the problem but found no indication of stroke, heart problems, cancer and so on. In the end, the patients were told it was stress-related or just something mysterious that would clear up with some rest and relaxation. Female patients in this situation were resentful about the doctors’ inability to listen to and diagnose them and wondered if they, and the entire medical system, were biased toward diagnosing men and were likely to conclude that women’s symptoms were psychosomatic—just a medical mystery that would hopefully clear up with time.

The issue of gender bias in medical treatment was intensely researched in the years before the pandemic, but ironically, this critical attitude toward biased medical care faded during the pandemic, especially after the vaccines appeared. The same people who had rightly seen a failure of the system were now eager to give the system a pass and dismiss vaccine skeptics as “antivaxxers,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “dangerous spreaders of misinformation through social media”. This is evident in the way media platforms ignored or downplayed the phenomenon of thousands of people complaining of such things as cardio-vascular, neurological, and menstrual disorders soon after being injected with the mRNA vaccines.

In the summer of 2021, CTV News in Canada reported in a long article and video report that most of the adverse reactions could be explained away as Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).[1] This disorder is studied in association with Systemic Low-grade Inflammation (SLI) and Conversion Disorder (CD)—the phenomenon of inexplicable symptoms appearing after stressful events, often in mass outbreaks that spread like a contagion among people who share social bonds, the stressful experience, and information about it. 

The CTV News article explained:

But the disorder isn’t a side effect of the vaccine—and as doctors work to understand and identify cases, they are also fighting against misinformation and conspiracy theories spreading online. Functional neurological disorder (FND) is a complex, but common neurological condition. Often FND happens after trauma, stressful life events, injury, or car accidents, with people developing neurological symptoms that have no physical cause… Since vaccine rollouts began, videos have appeared on social media of people ascribing tremors, seizures, and paralysis to their recent COVID-19 vaccination, while racking up thousands of views in the process. But researchers in the U.S., Europe and now a study in Canada have confirmed that these are not adverse reactions to the vaccine, but rather manifestations of FND. (Emphasis added)

Thus these serious neurological symptoms are dismissed as mysterious stress-induced phenomena, caused by ghosts or malignant vapors, perhaps. It is peculiar that medical scientists, in this case, can dismiss the possibility that there are material causes of symptoms. Usually, medical science is materialistic. There is a chemical mechanism behind every symptom we experience subjectively and every sign of disorder that is apparent to medically trained professionals. There are no magical forces working upon us.

The dismissal of the problem as stress-related is intellectually lazy because anyone with medical training knows that chronic stress provokes disruption of the endocrine system that can have effects on the immune system, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and so on. There has to be a chemical disruption somewhere in the body, and the people who imposed the stresses of the pandemic response are guilty of (i.e. morally and legally responsible for) having contributed to causing FND in possibly millions of people. One cannot dismiss the possibility that substances in the vaccine cause, or add to, biochemical disruptions in people already suffering from stress-related disturbances of the endocrine system. If the causal link remains undiscovered or unacknowledged, that does not mean conclusively that it does not exist. By such logic, one would say insulin didn’t exist before 1921 because no one had discovered it.

The writer of the CTV News article also failed to find, or deliberately ignored, research published four months earlier that identified a material cause of FND. I found it quite easily, as it appeared as the fourth item in an internet search for “causes of functional neurological disorder”.[2]

This is how the authors of the article summarized the results:

The study showed active involvement of patients despite high clinical illness burden and disability, neurocognitive symptoms, childhood adverse experiences (ACE) [chronic severe stress in childhood] and current life events. The study provided valuable knowledge regarding the feasibility of conducting a study in these patients that will inform future study phases. In the sample there were elevated levels of IL6, IL12, IL17A, IFNg, TNFa and VEGF-a, suggesting systemic low-grade inflammation. Also, microRNAs involved in inflammation and vascular inflammation were correlated with TNFa and VEGFa respectively, suggesting proof of concept for an epigenetic mechanism. Owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the patient sample was limited to 15 patients. (Emphasis added)

I don’t pretend to know what all of the above means, but it is obvious that these researchers are, quite sensibly, looking for and starting to find the biochemical mechanisms that cause SLI, CD and FND. MicroRNAs are not to be confused with the term “mRNA” that describes some of the vaccines used against Sars-Cov-2, but they play a role in immune responses to viruses and vaccines.

If you don’t find my argument convincing by this point, then you have to admit that the anxiety explanation cuts both ways. If anxiety accounts for adverse reactions to the vaccine, then it also accounts for severe outcomes from infection by the corona virus. Among those extremely rare cases (less than 0.5% infection fatality rate) who died, and among many of those who suffered severe symptoms, there must be many whose immune systems collapsed due to all the fear of the virus that was generated, and indeed promoted, by governments and their obedient media organizations. If you are suffering from long Covid, it must be all in your head. But of course we hear nothing about Functional Neurological Disorder arising from pandemic-induced anxiety. The “anti-vaxxers” are the only allowable target of criticism.

The reply I have in mind for the righteous and incurious attitude of the CTV News writer is based on two famous lines from Hamlet:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

The lines are spoken by Hamlet after he has been told by the ghost of his father that he wants justice for his murder. Modern audiences tend to think that because the characters are in pre-modern times, they all believe in ghosts and accept the appearance of the ghost as normal. In fact, Hamlet, and his creator, show more psychological sophistication than the average producer and consumer of modern media content. It is likely that people in 1600 believed in ghosts about as much as people in 2000. The topic has always fascinated humans, but everyone knows that if you really believe that you saw a ghost and you tell people around you, you will be treated as mad. Hamlet knows that no one will believe him, and he will be deemed mad if he talks about a ghost spreading a conspiracy theory. He also knows that what he saw may be an illusion. Three centuries before Freud, he shows some awareness that the ghost and its message may just be a manifestation of his subconscious mind. What is “not dreamt of in our philosophy” are the mysteries of the mind. Hamlet knows that the ghost may just be a manifestation of unpleasant repressed information coming to the surface. He has known all along that his father was murdered, but he hasn’t been able to say it out loud or even say it to himself. He tells Horatio in Act I that he does not accept the ghost as real necessarily, nor does he totally accept its assertion that his father was betrayed by his wife and killed by his brother. He tells us in Act I that he is going to gather evidence before acting. It is his lasting doubt and inability to act that lead to his tragic end. The story also has something to teach us about how the purported need to gather evidence—endlessly—and not listen to our intuitions and common sense, can become an excuse for procrastination. Does early treatment with that inexpensive off-patent drug work? Hmmm. Let’s wait for more studies to be done.

In the case of SLI, CD or TNF, we have modern investigators who, in order to be done with an inconvenient reality, are willing to accept a ghost theory; that is, a belief that there can be neurological symptoms that have no physical cause. Millions of people may be experiencing neurological disorders as a consequence of being vaccinated unnecessarily with mRNA vaccines, but they need to banish the thought that this is happening.

The rational thing to do, even as early as August 2021, was to face the emerging facts about the virus and the mRNA vaccines, such as:

  1. They haven’t stopped the spread of the pandemic or led to lasting individual immunity or herd immunity, as admitted now by the CDC and the WHO and other health agencies.
  2. They may be contributing to the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants.[3]
  3. They have produced a high level of adverse reactions, some of which are debilitating or deadly.[4], [5], [6]
  4. Death from all causes (not only from Covid-19) after mRNA vaccination suggests that there was no significant life-saving effect from the mRNA vaccines, but other vaccines developed for Covid-19 did seem to have a positive effect on all-cause mortality.[7]
  5. Most people can survive the infection without serious consequences, and the risk-benefit analysis for healthy individuals shows that the Covid-19 vaccines should have been used like annual flu shots have always been used—in a targeted way to protect the vulnerable and left as an option for everyone else.[8]
  6. Inexpensive, off-patent effective treatments were suppressed. See the research published at the website “COVID-19 early treatment: real-time analysis of 1,714 studies”.[9]
  7. Immunity acquired through infection provides lasting and sufficient protection.[10]
  8. Diet and behavioral modifications that benefit health should have been promoted as a responsible way to decrease the burden on the health care system and stop the spread of the virus. Unhealthy people carry a larger viral load for a longer time and make up the majority of patients requiring hospitalization.
  9. Mandatory and coerced vaccination policies were never justified by “the science”, but they were maintained and promoted long after government agencies knew, or should have known (because of point 1 above), that they were unnecessary and destructive. The policies have been maintained because of bureaucratic inertia and the enormous cost to politicians (legal and political liability) of admitting to such consequential errors. Refer to the Great Barrington Declaration for further discussion.

Admission of these facts and possibilities would have done much to put the pandemic behind us so that the process of evaluating the disastrous mistakes could begin, but instead we see desperate attempts to revive misguided vaccination policies and maintain hatred toward “the unvaccinated.”

With a new world war grabbing the attention of the masses, one might have thought that this witch-hunt would be abandoned, but the zombie is back. CTV News has doubled down on its dreadful science reporting eight months after the above-mentioned report. In spite of all the official pronouncements from the WHO and other government agencies—backed up by published research—saying that vaccination did nothing to stop the spread of the corona virus, CTV News reported uncritically on a scientific paper that claimed the opposite.[11] They are trying to put the narrative back to where it was when the mRNA vaccines first came out, claiming that the unvaccinated do increase the rate of spread of the virus and that vaccination should not be left as a personal choice. The unvaccinated really are selfish bastards after all, allegedly.

The most stunning thing about this research is that it is based on modeling and simulations.[12] That’s right: a computer model just like the Imperial College study that kicked off the global pandemic response by predicting a fatality rate that was enormously higher than what it actually was.

Modeling studies like this are worse than useless because they actually cause tremendous harm. Governments throw resources in the wrong direction, and the panic and social divisions they cause have devastating costs for people.

Modeling studies, however, are excellent tools for producing research that is needed to support a predetermined desired outcome. If you want to prove that the unvaccinated accelerate the spread of a respiratory virus, just base your model on your preferred parameters and make the necessary assumptions. Keep tweaking the variables until you get what you need in the output. The authors of this “study” might as well have designed a video game called “anti-vaxxer hunter: search and destroy”.

In this model, the authors assumed that vaccination is harmless and poses no need of a risk-benefit analysis by those who should be forced into it. It discounted the extent and effect of immunity acquired through infection. It assumes no waning of vaccine efficacy, and it ignores, like most of the vaccine follow-up studies, the high number who get infected within two weeks of vaccination (see the graph below). People are not counted as vaccinated until two weeks after the second jab. The authors admit that their study is based on no real-world observations, yet they don’t admit how deficient this makes their work. They use the words “modeling” and “speculation,” yet in their concluding remarks there is no sign of the usual humility that comes at the end of a scientific paper. There are no tentative remarks about the obvious limitations of the modeling or an admission that “further research is necessary.”

Rate of positive result by RT-PCR Sars-Cov-2 by week in 129 Patients Infected by the Omicron Variant After Vaccination

Source for graph at this endnote: [13]

The CTV News  report on the project was uncritical of what was obviously a very flawed methodology—one that should be consigned quickly to the “garbage in; garbage out” dustbin of useless research. Instead, the science writer took up the findings eagerly as a way to revive discrimination against the unvaccinated.

It is a mystery as to why this campaign has to be revived now after the social divisions that came to the surface during the trucker protests in Canada. Would it not be wiser to put this dreadful episode behind us? Isn’t everyone sufficiently distracted by “the next thing”—the war in Ukraine? But perhaps that narrative is also falling apart, so it’s time to whipsaw everyone back to the first thing.

The real-world observations show the opposite of what this useless modeling and simulation exercise demonstrated, so it is telling that a legacy media dinosaur like CTV News had to resort to such a desperate measure. Perhaps it is a sign that the other side has won the argument because if the legacy media had any good research on hand, they would use it.

My discussion here of the modeling study barely scratches the surface of how bad it is. I’m not a doctor, and there is no medical advice here, but you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. If readers want to see a vaccine specialist’s analysis of the modeling project, they can go to the thorough critique published by Dr. Bryam W. Bridle on April 27, 2022. He too noted it amounts to “garbage in; garbage out,” saying it is a tremendously shameful failure by the authors, the peer reviewers, the Canadian Association of Medicine Journal, and the media that reported on it.[14]

Further reading on gaslighting in medical care and the inability of medical practitioners to treat iatrogenic illnesses:

Why Can Doctors Not Diagnose Medical Injuries?” by ‘A Midwestern Doctor,’ May 2, 2022.

Notes


[1] Avis Favaro, “What is functional neurological disorder and is it connected to COVID-19 vaccines? Experts explain,” CTV News, August 21, 2022.

[2] C.D. Feltz-Cornelis et al. “Assessment of cytokines, microRNA and patient related outcome measures in conversion disorder/functional neurological disorder (CD/FND): The CANDO clinical feasibility study. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity-Health 13, May 2021.

[3]Mass vaccination during pandemic historical blunder: Nobel laureate,” Telegana Today, May 25, 2021.

[4] Meryl Nass (MD), “COVID persists, but the COVID vaccine narrative has taken on so much water, the powers that be have stopped bailing, and are going to let these vaccines slowly sink,” Substack, April 17, 2022.

[5] C.L.F. Sun, E. Jaffe, E. & R. Levi, “Increased emergency cardiovascular events among under-40 population in Israel during vaccine rollout and third COVID-19 wave.” Scientific Reports 12, 6978 (April 2022). From the abstract: “An increase of over 25% was detected in both [emergency] call types during January–May 2021, compared with the years 2019–2020. [These] counts were significantly associated with the rates of 1st and 2nd vaccine doses administered to this age group [16 to 39 years of age] but were not [associated] with COVID-19 infection rates… the findings raise concerns regarding vaccine-induced undetected severe cardiovascular side-effects and underscore the already established causal relationship between vaccines and myocarditis, a frequent cause of unexpected cardiac arrest in young individuals. Surveillance of potential vaccine side-effects and COVID-19 outcomes should incorporate EMS and other health data to identify public health trends (e.g., increased in EMS calls), and promptly investigate potential underlying causes.”

[6] Tobias Boettler et al, “SARS-CoV-2 vaccination can elicit a CD8 T-cell dominant hepatitis,” Journal of Hepatology, April 20, 2022. Lay summary: “Liver inflammation is observed during SARS-CoV-2 infection but can also occur in some individuals after vaccination and shares some typical features with autoimmune liver disease. In this report, we show that highly activated T cells accumulate and are evenly distributed in the different areas of the liver in a patient with liver inflammation following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Moreover, within these liver infiltrating T cells, we observed an enrichment of T cells that are reactive to SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that these vaccine-induced cells can contribute to the liver inflammation in this context.”

[7] Christine Stabell Benn et al, “Randomised Clinical Trials of COVID-19 Vaccines: Do Adenovirus-Vector Vaccines Have Beneficial Non-Specific Effects?The Lancet (preprint), April 5, 2022:  “The two major RCTs [randomized clinical trials] of mRNA vaccines, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, included 74,193 adults (>16 or >18 years of age) among whom there were 61 deaths (31 vaccine-recipients, 30 placebo recipients). These vaccines were not associated with lower overall mortality…”

[8] See The Great Barrington Declaration, or refer to this video interview with two professors of medicine who organized the declaration: Doctors Smeared by Fauci Speak Out Against Lockdowns & Mandates (1hour, 22 minutes), The Jimmy Dore Show, January 31, 2022.

[9] COVID-19 early treatment: real-time analysis of 1,718 studies.

[10]Natural immunity was more potent than vaccines during US Delta wave—study,” Times of Israel, January 21, 2022.

[11] Morgan Lowrie, “Being with unvaccinated people increases COVID-19 risk for those who are vaccinated: modeling study,” CTV News, April 25, 2022.

[12] David N. Fisman, Afia Amoako and Ashleigh R. Tuite, “Impact of population mixing between vaccinated and unvaccinated subpopulations on infectious disease dynamics: implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, April 25, 2022, 194 (16).

[13] Didier Raoult, “Vaccins et Omicron (Vaccines and Omicron),” IHU Méditerranée, Marseille, January 5, 2022, (8:00~).

[14] Bryam W. Bridle, “Fiction Disguised as Science to Promote Hatred: Disinformation Must Be Called Out,” Substack, April 27, 2022.