Response to "Mass Vaccination in a Pandemic- Benefits versus Risks: Interview wiht Geert Vanden Bossche

I’d like to make a general statement about my post from yesterday & the discussion that’s ensued. I am not a scientist, hence, my reason for posting a video of an interview between 2 scientists for discussion. I don’t get the impression that the majority of you who interacted on this thread even watched the video or read any of this guy’s research; instead, you wanted to argue with me the same old arguments about the vaccines. That’s fine, I guess- I’m not opposed to back and forth with the limited knowledge that I do have so I’ve engaged a good bit. Here’s why I even bothered to post the video in the first place: I’m EXTREMELY concerned about this approach to the pandemic & the safety of the vaccine and, to be perfectly honest, it’s been a spiritual discipline for several months for me to put aside this debate and simply trust my Creator who knows best. I’m keeping abreast of current events, to a degree, but I’m not seeking this information out, letting it consume my mind or posting things on social media about it. I received this video in an email from a health podcast I listen to & trust. I didn’t post it on Facebook, where I could have gotten some support from likeminded people but also argued with people who disagree, but are, for the most part, probably less scientifically trained than many of you on this forum. But my goal wasn’t to pick a fight or be confirmed in my beliefs- it was to get this information in front of people who might be able to look at it, analyze it and possibly make a difference in the trajectory of things. Also important to me, is that this is a group of believers and, with as ugly & emotional as these arguments get, I feel a conviction not to have them in front of non-believers. What I found here was closemindedness, sarcasm & an assumption that I’m an anti-vaxxer with 2 hours of internet research under my belt who would be happy for children to die or be disfigured from preventable disease. I may not be a scientist but I do have a masters degree- I’m not an idiot. Tim Keller, the very one pictured & quoted on the homepage of Biologos, is my favorite Christian teacher. I’m not from some backward, anti-science, snake handling church community. When I first came across the Biologos organization, I was impressed by the amount of information and lack of snark as compared to Answers in Genesis. I wish I could say the same about the forum but some of the attitudes on here may push me right into the arms of the snake handlers. Would you like to know the root of my vaccine skepticism? It goes back to the tender age of 12, probably. I learned young that doctors have no – absolutely zero- interest in finding out the CAUSE of anything that’s wrong with you. They’re happy to give you a prescription for something that may help but also may (very likely in my case) cause other health issues and that their number 1 priority is to get you out the door as quickly as possible. I know this is a matter of training (look at the funding of medical schools and it makes perfect sense) but even as a child, this all seemed very backward to me. My health journey only went downhill from there until I was forced to go rouge, taking my problems to the internet, and after much trial, error & experimentation, finally started getting some help there. I’m feeling better at 37 than I’ve ever felt in my life NO THANKS TO OUR “HEALTHCARE” SYSTEM, which is really a sick-care system. This fact alone makes me a skeptic, but let’s consider a few other facts: we in the US pay more for healthcare than anyone else in the world and get the worst outcomes of the developed world (U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2019 | Commonwealth Fund – to summarize: we spend almost twice as much as other developed countries yet have the lowest life expectancy, highest rates of suicide, obesity & chronic disease. This is a terrible system and the burden of proof is on them to convince me they’ve gotten anything right, to be honest), the pharmaceutical industry gives billions of dollars to our government via lobbying (what could go wrong there?!), childhood vaccines have tripled since I was born in 1984- corresponding with the pharma companies receiving immunity from lawsuits (what horrendous diseases were American kids in the 80’s experiencing that needed to be eradicated with many, many more vaccines? I also heard recently that approximately 70 more sit waiting for approval), reports such as this one from Cochrane (Featured Review: Three updated Cochrane Reviews assessing the effectiveness of influenza vaccines | Cochrane ) have these damning things to say about years of flu vaccine data: “The evidence for a lower risk of influenza and ILI with vaccination is limited by biases in the design or conduct of the studies. Lack of detail regarding the methods used to confirm the diagnosis of influenza limits the applicability of this result. The available evidence relating to complications is of poor quality, insufficient, or old and provides no clear guidance for public health regarding the safety, efficacy, or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older. Society should invest in research on a new generation of influenza vaccines for the elderly” and this “We await to see whether anyone has the interest or the courage to develop effective ways to control upper respiratory viral syndromes. Meanwhile our reviews will remain as a testimonial to the scientific failure of industry and governments to address the most important clinical outcomes for patients.”. So, based on that, should I also get the flu vaccine to “love my neighbor”? I’m not saying it’s all bad. I wouldn’t know my father had he not received chemotherapy and radiation for the aggressive cancer that was discovered when I was 8 months old. Once again, before someone types the word “polio”, is it possible that, yes, we’ve accomplished some wonderful things but have started to drift off course because of our highly capitalistic society? What about issues like EMF’s- has anyone looked at that research and wondered why our government is doing nothing to protect us from those ill effects if they’re so concerned about our health and wellbeing? You ask for nuance from Christians when you address the sentiment “science changes all the time- why would we trust what is says about climate change or COVID?”- I hear this on the podcast all the time. I would say this group could also use some nuance in their thinking; to assume that I don’t care about other people or that I’m against all vaccines just because I’m questioning- and asking you to question- an EXPERIMENTAL, developed-at-warp-speed treatment, is not nuanced. It’s also not very Christian nor scientific. I’m regularly enraged by the injustice of our “healthcare” system. It’s bankrupting people while often making them sicker. People are sick, depressed, overweight, on a multiple medications for chronic disease and yet “trust the science!” . . .I know you’re sensing anger & sarcasm from me at this point. I am angry because I care a lot about the suffering people are enduring at the hands of our systems. I hope the COVID vaccine is a good thing, truly. I pray all the time that God will have mercy on us, whatever form that takes. But I’m begging you to stop talking down to people who disagree with you, to try to overcome your bias and at least look at the opinions of scientist who disagree with the prevailing line instead of assuming they’ve got some angle to make money, to acknowledge that we have legitimate reasons for skepticism & that there are differing opinions on how best to love our neighbors in this situation.

3 Likes

Sorry that you perceived people not taking you seriously or lumping you in with people you shouldn’t be lumped it with. Not that it excuses treating people disrespectfully, but we get a ton of anti-vax conspiracy nonsense thrown our way from people who are not good faith actors and are downright abusive to the scientists and doctors who participate on our forum, and it makes treating every new person who comes with a video link as a good faith actor a challenge.

We also don’t have time to personally fact check the details of every video people ask about. We assume that scientists and doctors who are working directly on this problem are aware of the most reliable information and that if a You Tube video doctor has stumbled on something of merit, then they would hear about it.

On the thread, you got responses from Steve Schaffner, who is one of the country’s most respected researchers involved in vaccines and also a Christian and T_Aquaticus who is a researcher in a lab that is working on coronavirus. JPM and Randy are MDs. Pevaquark is a PhD college physics professor and Mervin is a science teacher. “The same old arguments about vaccines” might actually be reliable information that you should accept, in the opinion of the experts you were asking for advice.

Thanks for clarifying where you are coming from.

5 Likes

My sister is an antivaxxer, and with some reason, because of a reaction with one of her children. But she didn’t (and still doesn’t) know how they work, and that there will be the improbable outliers (that’s redundant, I expect :slightly_smiling_face:).

Something I learned here from one of the docs (sorry I don’t remember which one) was this:

2 Likes

We are actually working on adenovirus, for the record.

4 Likes

The most alarming piece of data so far is that white evangelicals are the least likely group to consider their impact on their community when deciding whether or not to get a vaccination or not. And that is why many people have chosen to frame the vaccine with this “loving your neighbor” approach. Because Christians should care about their communities, but the data really says they’re not taking it into consideration.

And you are obviously doing so, in having concern about long term effects! But unfortunately, I believe you are in the minority there. And the danger of that (which is addressed in this week’s podcast), is that the share of this group of people is so large in the US that it could shatter the hopes of “enough” people getting vaccinated in order to protect those who don’t.

I’m sorry that you have experienced such grievances at the hands of less-than-compassionate or inattentive physicians. It is truly a grievance many share that breeds lots of mistrust, and I wish there was a quick way to weed out those who give poor care.

Thanks for encouraging us all to take a step back and listen to each other here. It’s a reminder I think many of us regulars at the Forum need from time to time. It can get exhausting to constantly be the scouts of misinformation and sometimes we can get overzealous.

4 Likes

First off, I really hope your health improves and you stay healthy. Best wishes.

My first reaction is that you should find a better doctor. I work with infectious disease docs, so I may be a bit biased, but I have always found they are very curious as to the cause of their patients sickness and strive to find a cure.

At the same time, I do understand how bad experiences can cause someone to lose trust in an institution. I’m hoping that your experiences with the healthcare system in the future are better than the ones in your past.

We pay more because we have a profit based health care system with no governmental control to drive prices down. Obesity is a problem in the US because of what we eat and our sedentary lifestyles, not so much our healthcare system.

Going from here, the recommended vaccinations starting in 1985 to 1994:
Diphtheria*
Tetanus*
Pertussis*
Measles**
Mumps**
Rubella**
Polio (OPV)
Hib

The recommended vaccinations for 2019:
Diphtheria*
Tetanus*
Pertussis*
Measles**
Mumps**
Rubella**
Polio (IPV)
Hib
Hepatitis B
Varicella
Hepatitis A
Pneumococcal
Influenza
Rotavirus

Just some stats . . .

The additions look to be Hepatitis B and down. Hepatitis A and B account for about 15,000 deaths in 2018 in the US. Chicken pox is milder as a child, but it can produce serious infections later in life and once you have been infected you are susceptible to shingles which can be very painful. Pneumococcal infections killed 1 million children worldwide in 2005. Influenza is, of course, a nasty virus. Rotavirus kills 350,000 to 600,000 children a year world wide, according to the CDC.

EMF in the radio wave spectrum are orders of magnitude less powerful than the EMF coming from the Sun and the lightbulbs in your house. EMF is not ionizing, so it won’t cause mutations or DNA damage. The worst EMF can do is warm your body by a tiny bit.

The mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades now. It just so happens that the technology was finally ready for human testing just as the coronavirus hit.

I am right there with you, sister. The financial side of the US healthcare system is a travesty. I would hope that you get to meet some of the wonderful people in the healthcare system that care just as much about the health of their fellow citizens as you do. I am really sorry if you have had a bad experience, and hope it turns around soon.

6 Likes

I should have specified non-native EMF. Of course there are natural sources of EMF that our bodies are designed to deal with. I’m very sensitive to non-native EMF and it causes me a great deal of muscle pain and tension- I had a pain in my left shoulder for 5 years that was starting to seriously affect my quality of life & mental health. It was non-native EMF induced. I also believe it either weakens my immune system or causes similar symptoms to routine cold/flu for me. Mitigating the effects of non-native EMF has been a huge piece of my healing journey. It does a lot more than warm up your body.

Glad we can agree on that! I have friends and relatives in traditional healthcare jobs. I don’t think they’re bad people or ill-intentioned. I believe they got into it to help people and I don’t blame doctors for any of this mess.

1 Like

Thank you very much. I am doing really well now!

I am sure you are aware of the debate swirling around that topic, but in keeping with the spirit of this thread I will leave it there. If you do want to discuss it further please let me know.

The respect I receive might be a wee bit exaggerated here. To be clear, I am not an immunologist, nor do I work on developing vaccines. But I am a competent scientist and I have spent years studying viruses, viral outbreaks, viral mutations, and natural selection, all of which are relevant to the video in question.

7 Likes

I take nothing back. :wink:

1 Like

Thank you, Christy. I realize that people don’t always have time to watch long videos or whatever- trust me, I have a sister that sends plenty my way and it feels like a homework assignment that’s been dropped on my plate against my will. No one is required to watch anything I post on here and it won’t hurt my feelings if they don’t. My objection/request would be, just don’t engage with the post if you don’t have time to watch it. I wasn’t asking for advice, just thoughts on a unique view from a scientist.

1 Like

I’ve been aware of vaccine court for years and never got the impression from anyone that it was a secret- just that it’s nearly impossible to prove injury/get a favorable ruling. I supposed a tiny fraction of the money that the government collects from the pharma manufacturers goes towards the payouts. So yes, I have an unfavorable impression of vaccine court (though not through personal experience) but I’ve never heard that anyone is trying to keep it a secret.

Thanks, Hillary.

If obesity is such a huge problem for Americans’ health, don’t you think doctors should receive more training in nutrition? From my understanding, they receive about an hour or 2. And I’m guessing that’s based on our terrible food pyramid- the history of which is a blight on the scientific community and our government (they were well-intentioned on this- it was an effort to help undernourished poor children, but they took the word of 1 scientist even though there were dissenting opinions because they just needed to get on with the program). A cynical view is that, perhaps, those with a controlling stake in doctor’s education because of their large financial contributions, don’t want nutrition addressed because fat people need more drugs. Also, real life story, a doctor asked ME - in an appointment for ME- how she should lose weight.

If you keep scrolling down on that same page you’ll see the section “Vaccines for Adolescents: A new generation of vaccines” that adds to the number

Doctors (and indeed most of us) already know what’s good (and not good) for us, don’t we? It seems to me that this is a different order of problem. It’s like thinking that most smokers would easily quit if only they just knew that smoking was bad for them. The problem isn’t (for the most part) their lack of knowledge. It’s … getting themselves to quit. Doctors may need a psychology degree to navigate those motivational waters.

[Not to mention … I’ve heard it said that “fatism” is now the last acceptable ‘racism’ … how should doctors navigate those tricky waters?]

2 Likes

Jessica, you make some good points. We tend to jump on things a little to quickly without considering the individual. In our defense, there is a lot of underlying anger at how false reports and websites have wasted resources and resulted in the death and disability of our friends and neighbors. To be fair, the language and phrases you use indicates you have spent quite a bit of time down the rabbit hole, which probably blinds me and others to looking past that to see your true position. Sorry for that mistake on my part.

The one that affected me personally was invasive Hemophilus influenza. In the days of my med school training and residency, it was not uncommon to see young children die from epiglottis and meningitis due to this pathogen (bacterial, not related to viral influenza despite the name) which is now essentially eliminated by the Hib vaccine given in childhood.

4 Likes

To be honest, I haven’t looked at much actual research on the EMF issue & I wasn’t aware of debate around the topic. When you get desperate enough to get well, you sometimes just try stuff to see if it helps. This is what you do when doctors have failed to address your concern- I know this is an affront to those in the scientific and medical community. I do not say this to insult or irritate anyone. This is my experience with the world. I’m guessing you think the improvements I’ve felt are a placebo effect. And trust me, I’m a massive believer & subscriber to the mind-body connection- it’s why I meditate. But I’ll just share one fact on this front: the first EMF-mitigating device I purchased (a scalar wave emitting plug-in) I bought out of concern for my hormones. I had just tested very, very low on progesterone, didn’t want to go on hormonal medication and had heard that EMFs can affect hormones among other things. Even the EMF-concerned crowd doesn’t talk about muscle pain as a symptom so it never occurred to me it might help with that. Within an hour of plugging this device in at my house, my shoulder- which had plagued me for 5+ years to the point of depression- started feeling different/better. This was not an expected benefit for me so I don’t think it was placebo. Acupuncture has also helped me with this because it taps into the electrical nature/paths of our bodies (this is my rudimentary understanding). Anyway, if you are interested in research, this site has a long list of studies that show EMF harm- interestingly, it looks like they’re all from other countries: Top 30 Studies on EMF Radiation - EMF Empowerment

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.