Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations?

post by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-13T03:08:23.858Z · LW · GW · 72 comments

One month ago I clumsily tried to persuade my 74-year-old father that Tucker Carlson is probably wrong about Covid vaccines killing 3000 people, and if not, my father should get the vaccine anyway because he is in a high-risk group.

Well, move over lab-leak discussion, because this video is a tad more explosive: it alleges an ongoing and almost systematic censorship of information about vaccine side-effects, and it manages to do so in a way that fails to trip my BS detectors. While the LessWrong community isn't known for its expertise in vaccine science and epidemiology, it's usually pretty good about separating the true from the false, so here I am to ask for your comments. While the video is extremely long, the most controversial claims come near the beginning.

It's hosted by Bret Weinstein who (says Wikipedia) 'came to national attention during the 2017 Evergreen State College protests' and 'is among the people referred to collectively as the "intellectual dark web"'. The video description says Robert Malone is "the inventor of mRNA Vaccine technology"; he doesn't have a Wikipedia page, but he is mentioned on the page about mRNA vaccines as having 'developed a high-efficiency in-vitro and in-vivo RNA transfection system using cationic liposomes, which were used "to directly introduce RNA into whole tissues and embryos", as well as various cells types' in 1989. Finally there's Steve Kirsch, a red-tribey-sounding serial entrepreneur who mostly does tech firms but has been "researching adverse reactions to COVID vaccines". Steve frequently interrupts the other two, but at least seems very knowledgeable and well-connected (not to mention wealthy).

At first I was going to make this a 'question', but there's a lot to unpack and I think it could generate a lot of discussion, so I made it a 'post' instead.

Summary of the video's main points & discussions:

Edit: After reviewing everything, I'm seeing some signs of BS, mainly centered around Steve, who takes some rather extreme interpretations as fact (the summary above omits Steve's many interjections demonstrating this). One example is that he acts like it's crazy that everybody hasn't already accepted the greatness of ivermectin, even though the best evidence is said to be in a paper that hasn't been published yet. Also, his May 25 article (linked twice above already) has even more extreme claims than this video. And yet, Bret thinks Steve's article is great (assuming the URL at 2:17:34 is the one he gushed about in the beginning). While Dr. Malone occasionally disagrees, it's rare; for the most part he explicitly agrees, nods, or expresses no skepticism. So my main point of concern is that the three of them are very credulous about the strongest claims, and don't take seriously the possibility that they could be wrong. Plus, they show no interest in possible differences between the vaccines. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are both mRNA-based, but this hardly guarantees the same risks for both.

As I noted a month ago, it is required to report deaths after vaccine administration to VAERS, so if it's more common to give a Covid vaccine to elderly and ill patients than it was to give seasonal flu vaccines to elderly and ill patients, this could explain the VAERS data. If the reporting requirement is new or more publicized, that could help explain it too. And if a vaccine is causing these deaths, where are the lawuits? Alleging "the" vaccine has killed tens of thousands of people, with no sign of having considered any alternative hypotheses, is a big red flag and if Steve proves to be incorrect, his efforts will probably cause deaths, because surely there are many elderly people like my parents who have chosen to stay unvaccinated due to messages like this. If Steve is correct, it is still important to do a cost-benefit analysis of vaccination vs no vaccination, particularly in regard to high-risk groups like my parents, and Steve did not attempt to do that either in the video or on his blog.

Also important is how little evidence is directly presented; mostly it's just alluded to. Don't extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? They seem to think that they themselves having seen some evidence is enough, so there's little need to present it to their audience. Since the number of views has topped 350,000, I encourage interested people to see if they can debunk, support or clarify some of these claims. While I suspect the claims about vaccine deaths are overstated (perhaps dramatically), I think there's a lot of common-sense reasoning in this video that will stand the test of time.

The video was deleted for 'Violating YouTube's Terms of Service'. See below for alternate links.

P.S. Here are the results of Canada's voluntary Covid-19 vaccine safety survey. It would be nice if they offered more detail on the more major side-effects, but...


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by paulfchristiano · 2021-06-14T00:04:14.528Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read the start of Kirsch's article here since I'm slightly interested in vaccine skepticism and have never dug into it before. (I'm not sure if this is the article that Bret is gushing about.)

The first claim in the article is that there are many more deaths reported by VAERS. I ignored this because without some other context it seemed unsurprising and uninformative that VAERS is used more for the covid vaccine than for the flu vaccine (and the absolute numbers of deaths reported are negligible given the number of people who have taken the vaccine). The inference of "at least 20,000 deaths due to the vaccine" looks like it's probably bullshit but it would take a few minutes to establish that and so I moved on.

The next claim about harms was "82% miscarriage rate in first 20 weeks", which links here. But this number seems to be computed as "Amongst pregnancies that ended, how many were miscarriages?" The table was published in April 21 about people who were vaccinated December 14 - February 28, and it looks like there shouldn't have bee enough time for anyone to have a healthy live birth if they were vaccinated in the first 20 weeks.

The authors of the letter-to-the-editor acknowledge this as saying "We acknowledge this rate will likely decrease as the pregnancies of women who were vaccinated <20 weeks complete but believe the rate will be higher than 12.5%," but it's unclear why they believe this (the study reports 96 spontaneous abortions amongst something like 1000 people who were vaccinated in the first trimester, which seems like it may be right on track).  And of course that wouldn't make the 82% number less dubious.

So as far as I can tell this datapoint is very misleading, and this should have been obvious to anyone who took a cursory look before including it in an article. It's also such an extreme and bizarre claim that it should certainly have warranted a cursory look.

I didn't look into any of the other claims because it would probably be more valuable to instead read some more credible vaccine skeptic.

comment by MichaelLowe · 2021-06-13T11:42:11.107Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As others have said, I strongly dislike posting of 3 hour videos without any timemark or summary of the main points. This is making the community do the work of extracting the information; on top of that people will not watch most (or any) of the video before commenting, so  discussion quality will be low. 

To not be completely negative, I watched the section on "Vaccine suffers censored" (there are time marks in the description on youtube) where all three of them claim explicitly that there is no monitoring. This is clearly inaccurate, for example we know that Israel has recently reported that myocarditis might be occurring more often than expected in young men. In addition, I know that Germany has the SafeVac app to make it easier for people to report side effects after vaccination.   

Replies from: Vanilla_cabs
comment by Vanilla_cabs · 2021-06-13T13:03:56.542Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

there are time marks in the description on youtube

As timestamps go, I found these ones to be well-made and more useful than the usual:

00:00 Introductions
02:20 This must be discussed
03:13 Will herd immunity be reached?
07:58 Spike protein is very dangerous 
13:45 FDA knew it could be toxic if it didn't stay stuck
18:09 Vaccine sufferers censored
23:26 Reviewing the FDA data package 
26:41 Corners were cut
27:52 Steve looking at VAERS
32:37 Robert's friends at the FDA and the emergency use authorisation
37:38 Risk benefit and quality life years
40:18 Alternative to vaccines
44:19 Mask wearing RCT
45:28 Three anomalies around vaccines
46:05 Fluvoxamine trials
51:00 Two million dollar offer and the NIH
52:13 Robert's view of the NIH
53:00 Regulatory capture
54:41 Fauci's emails
56:30 Merck on Ivermectin
59:24 Emergent phenomenon
01:01:42 Vaccine deaths
01:03:24 Tess Lawrie's vaccine safety data
01:04:43 Difference between the gene therapy vaccines
01:06:40 Self reported deaths from vaccines
01:09:18 Adverse reactions
01:17:12 Robert on V-safe database
01:19:30 Social media censorship
01:22:20 Steve's experience with denial
01:24:17 Two teams
01:28:20 "Don't come back until your lips are blue"
01:30:52 "Treat people early with drugs"
01:32:11 Ignoring frontline doctors
01:35:39 Financial incentives
01:37:28 Response to demand for RCT on ivermectin
01:38:39 Robert's personal experience with repurposing drugs
01:40:52 Mink and ferrets lab research
01:43:53 Robert on animal model for COVID treatment
01:46:33 Ivermectin works
01:49:13 Repurposing drugs
01:52:17 Doctors ignoring treatments
01:55:31 Effective treatments for long haulers
01:56:45 Robert's response on incentives and hospital liability
02:01:42 Additional antiviral and Gilead overlooking it
02:03:13 Communication is forbidden
02:04:53 Using antivirals as soon as virus presents
02:06:41 Multiple drugs at once and Dr Drew
02:11:02 Trials with drug combinations
02:13:53 Criticism of Fauci and mechanisms of action for ivermectin
02:17:35 Pfizer data on where the vaccine spike protein goes
02:20:42 Spike protein in the ovaries and bone marrow
02:22:12 FDA signals of risk from vaccines and auto-immune issues
02:27:41 Bret summarises and discusses additional harms
02:28:31 Vaccines possibly causing escape mutants
02:31:56 Antibody dependent enhancement (ADE)
02:38:19 Why did Robert and Steve get vaccinated?
02:40:54 Summary of risks including coagulation problems
02:42:41 FDA, thalidomide, and reproductive toxicity
02:48:12 Vaccinating adolescents
02:50:00 Steve on vaccinating his children and the response he receives
02:56:38 Don't be a pioneer, you'll get arrows in the ass
03:00:01 Extended regulatory capture
03:01:10 Can Elon Musk save the planet?
03:05:17 Pharmaceutical industry offshore
03:08:59 Steve's solution, plea to big tech employees, and vaccine long haulers
03:13:41 Robert speaking to big tech employees
03:15:55 Wrap up

comment by gilch · 2021-06-13T07:22:37.626Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Don't know yet. I've watched about half so far. My first impressions are similar to DPiepgrass.

Typical conspiracy theorists are fairly easy to recognize. They seem to take the axiom that everything happens on purpose. They don't notice the inconsistencies in their own models, and their bald assertions often don't stand up to easy verification, if you bother to check.

These are not crazy conspiracy-theory types. (That doesn't make them right.) They understand scientific thinking, are using the biology vocabulary correctly, and are trying to use gears-level models. They understand how the vaccines work, and what might go wrong. They accept the possibility that this isn't happening on purpose, but is just a bad outcome of incentives, something we already believe happens [? · GW].

Kirsch (blue shirt guy) seems less careful than the other two, and may or may not be a crackpot. This doesn't necessarily make his concerns wrong. We should still try to verify their claims. Are these guys who they say they are? Do they have valid credentials? Does the spike protein break off so it could have systemic effects? How toxic is it? The vaccine might still win a cost-benefit analysis.

I've watched IDW videos before. They're an interesting bunch, some of them might even be rationalist adjacent, but this varies. They seem to like long conversations.

Whether or not this case has merit, the systematic censorship thing seems real to me. We've had measles outbreaks here in the U.S., despite having an effective vaccine. This is mainly due to the antivaxxers swallowing bullshit, and there's been a mainstream pushback. But Arguments Are Soldiers [? · GW], so even when the antivaxxers have a point, the mainstream isn't allowed to admit it, especially in the face of the clear and present danger posed by the current pandemic.

The media's recent about-face on the lab-leak hypothesis is a recent example of this effect: it was on the "wrong" side politically, even though it had merit. Weak evidence is still evidence, and the truth doesn't become a lie just because the Enemy says it. Social media has been (fairly) blamed for spreading conspiracy theories, and so under pressure to take responsibility, they're trying to control the damage using blunt instruments, even if that means causing some collateral damage themselves.

How is a rational scientist supposed to navigate this environment? Often the answer has been "study something that isn't (politically) radioactive instead". That's not good enough this time.

Replies from: ChristianKl, greylag
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-06-13T21:14:57.213Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Kirsch (blue shirt guy) seems less careful than the other two, and may or may not be a crackpot. 

We should still try to verify their claims. Are these guys who they say they are? Do they have valid credentials?

Without having watched the video my prior before this conversation from what Steve Kirsch did before:

Steve Kirsch was listening to Corona virus experts (experts that studied Corona viruses before the pandemic) and organizing funding clinical trials for the drugs those experts considered promising (and invested significant personal money into it). He's one of the few people who scored A+ in 2020 at fighting COVID-19 by being sensible.  

When we discuss whether he's a crackpot we should also discuss whether all those people in power who initially said masks don't work listening to think tanks instead of the most qualified experts should be considered crackpots. I think the case for Fauci being a crackpot is a lot better then for Kirsch.

Robert Malone wrote which is a paper about using mRNA from 3 decades ago. When it comes to inventing mRNA vaccines there were a lot of steps on the way and it's unclear whether any single person should be considered "The Inventor" but he seemed to played part in it. 

Replies from: gilch
comment by gilch · 2021-07-17T23:12:19.151Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How safe is the covid vaccine? is making me update toward Kirsch being a crackpot.

Replies from: ChristianKl, DPiepgrass
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-07-18T20:52:36.988Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's quite unclear why it makes you update about personal instead of the thesis. The vaccines likely don't do as much damage as Kirsch first claimed but that's not the same thing as he being a crackpot.

The article also makes some strange leaps. It assumes that death due to suicide couldn't be due to the vaccine. Lipid nanoparticles get used as a vehicle to transfer drugs through the blood-brain barrier so it's plausible that there are cases were the vaccine goes into the brain, a bunch of neurons expressing spike proteins, getting killed of by the immune system and that leading downstream to suicide in rare cases.

There's the general idea in the post that it's vaccines vs. no vaccines. To the extend that it is it's only because the US government and the EU is not willing to buy and approve Novavax and doesn't maximize vaccinating as many people as possible by giving different options. If the government would have been willing to engage in a non-tribalistic response Bred might have increased overall vaccination at the cost of pushing it back for a few months just like he convinced more people to take COVID-19 seriously.

Ideally the US would also just allow vaccines like RaDVaC but in contrast buying and approving Novavaxx would be easily possible if the NIH, CDC and FDA would be staffed by people who take the pandemic more seriously then tribal fights.

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-07-19T04:32:54.285Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I haven't seen Kirsch advocate for Novavax, does he? Might U.S. officials be thinking to themselves "we bought plenty enough vaccines for everyone already, no need to buy more"? How do you conclude that the mRNA vaccines cross the blood-brain barrier? Do you have safety concerns with the J&J vaccine?

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-07-19T10:23:54.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I haven't seen Kirsch advocate for Novavax, does he? 

In the linked video, it's quite clear that both Kirsch and Bret are generally pro-vaccine and object to new vaccine technology. They do say in the video that more conventional vaccine technology could be better. They don't speak explicitely about Novavax.

How do you conclude that the mRNA vaccines cross the blood-brain barrier? 

mRNA vaccines use lipid nanocoating. That same technology is used in other context to get drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier. 

Do you have safety concerns with the J&J vaccine?

Safety-wise I would expect that side-effects follow some distribution. A vaccine that's going to make a substantial portion of the people that take it too ill the next day to work is likely to have more serious bad effects then a vaccine that makes very few people to ill to work the next day. 

My safety concerns personally started with Stöcker having nobody of >100 people that he vaccinated being ill the next day. [LW · GW] was how I was trying to find out whether Novavaxx as a traditional platform manages to have less side-effects and it actually has.

I haven't read about the J&J vaccine side-effects specifically, but even if it would have less safety issues a single dose vaccine is not going to give you the same protection against COVID-19 and that matters.

Generally viral vector vaccines and the mRNA vaccine get your body to attack some of it's own cells in a way that a vaccine where the protein (or subsection) is injected doesn't. There are arguments that this is going to make the vaccine more effective as it allows the immune system to do additional things. It however comes at the cost of the vaccine having more side effects because a few of your cells get actually killed by your immune system. 

The results of Novavaxx suggest that this is not needed to have an effective vaccine for COVID-19.

Given the way the economics of drug development work, pharma companies are incentivized to push for a maximum in clinical effects at the cost of side effects because that increases the chances of drug approval. With vaccines that scientists do for their own protection like RaDVaC or Stöcker's vaccines the incentives are the other way around and safety is a primary consideration. It's quite ironic how the FDA's safety processes of requiring those trials give us less safe vaccines.

Might U.S. officials be thinking to themselves "we bought plenty enough vaccines for everyone already, no need to buy more"? 

Yes and that would be pretty stupid in a world where people might be willing to take a vaccine with less side-effects then the one's already on the market but not those already on the market.  

This both goes for the people who are afraid of missing a day of work after taking the vaccine and those who are concerned about the new technology platforms.

I will still get my second shot with the BioNTech vaccine this week but I'm annoyed that I can't have Novavaxx and might spend 1-2 days without the ability to do anything for no good reason. 

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-07-19T20:41:11.585Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

mRNA vaccines use lipid nanocoating. That same technology is used in other context to get drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier. 

I'm no biologist, but I know all kinds of things have lipid membranes (including bacteria), so I doubt that simply being lipid-covered is all you need to cross the barrier.

I haven't read about the J&J vaccine side-effects specifically

Well, it's important to Kirsch's position. After all, J&J has 568 deaths attributed to it according to OpenVAERS even though J&J is not mRNA-based (curiously, OpenVAERS is now reporting dramatically higher death numbers for Pfizer over Moderna, whereas they were ~equal one month ago [LW(p) · GW(p)]).

I calculated that according to the latest numbers, 3.9% of vaccines injected were J&J vaccines (which is 8% of people "fully vaccinated" since you only get one dose of J&J).

Now, if my thesis is correct that the VAERS deaths are ordinary deaths that would have happened anyway, then approximately 3.9% of the deaths should be attributed to J&J. In fact, OpenVAERS (updated July 9) assigns 5.2% of deaths to J&J. Does this mean that actually there is a greater chance of death associated with non-mRNA vaccine shots? (well, the numbers are probably 2-3 weeks out of sync with each other, as the VAERS data lags behind. Perhaps this could account for the difference. Historical data is available, but not in an easy-to-read form. So I used the Wayback Machine instead, and found that ... er, 3.8% of vaccine shots had been J&J on July 1. No significant difference.)

The same sort of hypothesis can be applied to non-death VAERS reports, of course, but I leave that analysis for someone else who cares enough to do it.

Yes and that would be pretty stupid in a world where people might be willing to take a vaccine with less side-effects then the one's already on the market but not those already on the market. 

Perhaps... but if I'm right, Novavax would end up getting VAERS death reports at roughly the same rate as other vaccines. If most people who are reluctant to take a vaccine are (like my father) getting their beliefs from people like Kirsch who harp on VAERS, Novavax might not end up being perceived as safer even if it is. So a relevant question, I think, is whether we could expect right-wing news outlets to effectively communicate "Novavax has less side effects / is safer" (because I don't think an article in The Atlantic would sway the likes of my dad. edit: so I just Googled "side effects" Novavax and the first result is a video subtitled "Kurt 'The CyberGuy' Knutsson tells ‘Fox and Friends Weekend’ how he accidentally joined the Novavax trial coronavirus vaccine and what side effects surprised him the most." The side effects weren't bad, but the anecdotal approach being taken is not encouraging.)

Edit: btw, I totally agree that FDA needs reform, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to deploy small amounts of Novavax to test demand.

Replies from: ChristianKl, ChristianKl, alexey-lapitsky
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-07-20T14:47:16.405Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When it comes to VEARS my main hypothesis is that VEARS used to be pretty bad at actually tracking side effects. One of the key arguments for it being bad is that if you look at history only a minute amount of the side effects that you would expect given what happens in clinical trials end up in VEARS. 

It's likely that some people who are responsible for VEARS thought that it's very important that it's good at picking up on side-effects given how we deployed the vaccines and the increased amount of VEARS cases is simply because the system was improved to get doctors to report cases more often.

Unfortunately, the sphere of people who are interested in making that argument is quite small given that it's about admitting past flaws in vaccine safety.

comment by ChristianKl · 2021-07-19T22:51:31.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think that Kirsch is as focused on VAERS as you assume. Kirsch is a VC for whom strong opinions-loosely held is central. That's why he could easily switch from running an NGO that has vaccination as part of it's mission to speaking up against the vaccines.

The article in The Atlantic won't convince your dad but "we should use Novavaxx instead of mRNA vaccines" is a contrarian position that's open to be argued especially when it's an actual choice for people to take. It won't be argued by real antivaxxers like Mercola but there's no reason for it not to be argued by Chris Martenson, Steve Kirsch or Bret Weinstein. It also makes a good story for Tucker (for Tucker it doesn't even need to be true to make a good story).

comment by Alexey Lapitsky (alexey-lapitsky) · 2021-07-21T18:39:51.297Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

even though J&J is not mRNA-based

The core point is that even J&J is not a traditional vaccine. It's also genetic (DNA-based) with a classic non-LNP delivery mechanism using an adenovirus. From what I understand, it penetrates a different subset of cells (using ACE receptors, afaik) that get killed by the immune system in the same way as with mRNA-vaccines.

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-07-18T01:52:19.331Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, particularly this bit:

Austin Walters issued a correction to his blog post, after seeing this problem. Steve Kirsch took 25 minutes of debate before giving some half-hearted concession that his claim probably isn’t true. He still hasn’t updated his own writing or videos, and continues to tell people that the vaccine is causing mass casualties.

I have been criticizing Kirsch (and Lawrie) for not considering more than one hypothesis that could explain the data. But it's likely to be much worse: that people are going to him with better explanations and he chooses to ignore them. Classic denier: one who does not respond to evidence (unless confirmatory).

But charitably, maybe nobody's going to him with good arguments. Like, I randomly listened to a little of that 5-hour debate with Avi. At 36:11 Steve asks Avi what caused those deaths in VAERS and Avi's first thought is to suggest that maybe there's lots of false reports, based on just one example of a false report? ugh. (I looked at 37 reports elsewhere in this thread and didn't suspect any of them were simply made up. I did wonder if sometimes multiple reports sometimes happened for the same person, but didn't try to check.) Edit: or extra charitably, Steve's totally found good answers to the issues I raised and I just never happened to see evidence of that.

comment by greylag · 2021-06-13T10:13:23.318Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whether or not this case has merit, the systematic censorship thing seems real to me... when the antivaxxers have a point, the mainstream isn't allowed to admit it


”Social media trying to tackle disinformation with blunt instruments and causing collateral damage” seems to me very much true. Censorship of information about side-effects…? Well, it seems like “the covid vaccine makes you feel terrible 24-48 hours afterwards for some people” seems like common knowledge; I’m sure I’ve been advised after the flu vaccine to stay still & nearby for ten minutes to check I don’t react badly to it. More pointedly, the low-but-detectable-risk-of-blood-clots problems with the adenovirus vaccines resulted in rollout of those vaccines being paused/delayed by some countries for certain demographic groups, and while there was controversy about what was justified (pause vaccine rollout? Only give those vaccines to older people at less risk of blood clots?), “systematic censorship” is not an accurate description of what was happening.

Replies from: gilch
comment by gilch · 2021-06-13T19:08:28.445Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Informed consent is important. I don't recall being informed about accumulation in bone marrow or ovaries, or the risk of myocarditis or the risk of brain fog at the time I got my shots. Maybe some of these side-effects weren't known at the time. But that the vaccine didn't stay in the muscle and therefore might have systemic effects was news to me, and they're asserting that this was known at the time.

I've been experiencing persistent palpitations recently. It had not occurred to me that this could be due to the vaccine until I watched this video. I believed the mainstream line that the vaccines are safe and effective. I still think they're effective. The evidence for that is very strong. I'm less confident that they're safe now.

Confirmation bias is a serious concern when reactions are this delayed though. People develop health issues all the time for all sorts of reasons. If they're primed to think the vaccine could have long-term side effects, they'd probably attribute all sorts of things to the vaccine that are mere coincidence. So individual anecdotes are pretty weak evidence, but this noisy data is still worth collecting to see if any patterns emerge. On the other hand, if we've all been primed to think the vaccines are safe (and we have been), then we won't make the connection at all and don't even report the data, and this is one of the main concerns from the video. The issue has become too politicized for society to be objective about it. Legitimate concerns get you labeled as an antivaxxer.

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-13T21:03:49.683Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, as I said in my letter to my dad: elderly people already die often (big number nationally), so if vaccines are being given to millions of elderly people, we should expect a tiny percentage to die soon afterward from natural causes. A key thing to look at is whether it used to be rare (and in 2021 became common) to give the vaccines to ill elderly people, which could explain the increase in VAERS.

Still, why are blood clots given lots of attention but not VAERS reports? And if the FDA is so understaffed, why?

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-06-15T00:10:53.807Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Blood clots are not independent from VEARS reports. VEARS reports are how the FDA gets the data about the Blood clots. 

The VEARS reports give them reports about many different kinds of issues and if there are many issues to look into and they are understaffed it's reasonable to put more attention on the blood clots issue then other issues given that blood clots in the brain are a serious issue. 

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-15T19:01:24.092Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How is it more reasonable to focus on VAERS blood clots than VAERS deaths?

Replies from: Lukas_Gloor, ChristianKl
comment by Lukas_Gloor · 2021-06-15T19:19:02.750Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One obvious candidate explanation: For the reason you explain in the letter to your dad – probably those deaths were roughly what you'd expect among the vaccinated demographic if the vaccine is benign. By contrast, the specific blood clots are generally rare. 

comment by ChristianKl · 2021-06-15T22:03:30.693Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because you rather focus on investigating the thing that causes the most deaths then investigating deaths in general.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2021-06-13T21:48:04.123Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

While I agree that there is insufficient attention paid to ivermectin as a possible treatment in Western nations, I have seen far too much shoddy and conflicting data in the studies that are brought forward proposing it as prophylaxis and think the hype is a spiral that has amplified nonsense into prominence.  People LOVE the idea of a panacea.  While there is quite possibly something interesting going on there it has been hyped to the moon and back in a way it should not be.

The animal data I have seen that I trust the most (since it avoids many of the pitfalls of observational trials, and few people are doing randomized trials that are actually good and not shoddy as hell after chloroquine sucked all the oxygen out of the room) suggests there could be something there, but not in a way that would block epidemics.  Animals that are infected and then dosed have no difference in viral levels but recover their sense of smell significantly faster and when you take tissue samples the levels of inflammatory and tissue-destroying signaling molecules are lower while the ones that are more classically associated with antiviral responses are higher.  Leans me towards the idea that it could decrease severity and odds of falling into downwards spirals.  I have been following the in vitro work on this from  the beginning and my conclusion is that you're probably looking at immunomodulatory effects that can help you not fall into the pathological attractors, and deal with long infections better, rather than doing anything about viral binding or replication, if any of it pans out.  

See, as an example,

This being said, given the safety profile of the drug I say the risk to reward ratio is pretty good if you pay close attention to contraindications and I see no reason for it to not be used and studied more.

With regards to repurposing drug studies being almost impossible, I am much much more angry that there are no good studies, and no studies at all outside India, for indomethacin.  A much more promising and well defined antiviral mechanism there against cytoplasmic RNA viruses via host factors that works STUNNINGLY well on canine intestinal coronaviruses in vivo, and sars and sars-2 in culture, and when you dig carefully through the literature being already on it by prescription is associated with much lower covid hospitalization risk.

Replies from: mngreen
comment by mngreen · 2021-06-14T03:49:22.747Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My reading on ivermectin is that the concentrations required to be effective outside of in vitro would be extremely high. For what it's worth, here are a few articles. Science is an evolving understanding of complex systems. Time and testing will tell.

"Laboratory studies using monkey cells in a test tube (as opposed to clinical studies in human patients) have shown ivermectin can shut down the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, within 24-48 hours of exposure to the drug.

Ivermectin is thought to inhibit the virus by preventing viral proteins moving in and out of the host cell’s nucleus, which is essential for replication of the coronavirus.

The problem is this process requires very high concentrations of ivermectin – well above the recommended dose for humans. This means ivermectin’s virus-killing powers would be unlikely to be harnessed inside the human body."

(there are several linked references from within the article as well)

This next link is excellent - it delves into the molecular science w/out becoming incomprehensibly dense and there are three updates appended to the end showing promise.

Another very useful article:


Replies from: CellBioGuy, Dentin
comment by CellBioGuy · 2021-06-14T19:14:14.301Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The mechanisms stopping growth in vitro at obscene concentrations I agree are probably not operative in vivo, or at the very best not in the same way.  However there are other bits of data regarding the drug as an immunomodulator in other viral infections, and this virus in particular has much of its pathogenesis having to do with badly regulated immune reactions.

Basically I am at the awkward position where I think the risk to potential reward ratio is favorable and that good research is needed while thinking most of the existing research is super shoddy.

comment by Dentin · 2021-06-14T20:41:56.871Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One other thing to consider is that even small differences in replication rate might actually matter.  Consider that it takes a week for the virus to really ramp up, and that's a large number of doubling periods.  Even just getting a larger or smaller initial dose seems linked to how sick people get.  Even a few percent difference may allow the immune system to stay ahead in the arms race, and result in a nonlinear change in death rate.

Note that I'm not saying this happens; I'm saying that because this is an exponential growth attacker (the virus) versus and exponential growth responder (the immune system), even small differences in growth rates might have a large impact.

comment by Vanilla_cabs · 2021-06-13T07:34:14.041Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could you make a digest of their main points? That might help get everybody on the same page to start the discussion.

Edit: Ok, TBH, I just don't feel like watching a 3-hour long video ATM. But others might prefer to have the original debate in full rather than a digest.

Edit 2: Thanks for listing noteworthy points. I'm in the process of passively listening to the video bit by bit.

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-13T11:31:27.960Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay, I'll review the video again and add a list of controversial and interesting bits.

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-17T00:26:44.844Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, I decided to head on over to OpenVAERS, do some searches and look at some reports. Here are the number of results for a few queries for deaths in 2021:

5997 results in 2021 (all vaccines)
5869 results in 2021 with Vax Name "covid19"

3607 results in 2021 for 65+ (all vaccines)
3543 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "covid19"
1673 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "moderna"
1691 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "pfizer"
165 results in 2021 for 65+ with Vax Name "janssen" (Johnson & Johnson)
1061 results in 2021 for <65 (all vaccines)

1023 results in 2021 for <65 with Vax Name "covid19"
406 results in 2021 for <65 with Vax Name "pfizer"
458 results in 2021 for <65 with Vax Name "moderna"

214 results in 2021 for <45 with Vax Name "covid19"
101 results in 2021 for <35 with Vax Name "covid19"
37 results in 2021 for <25 with Vax Name "covid19"

Edit: for comparison, the average annual death rate in the United States in 2018 and 2019 was 719 per 100,000 or 0.719%. Since the population is about 328 million, the expected number of deaths in a normal year is about 2,358,000, and in a typical week, 45,228. Now, 51.56% of the population has received at least one vaccine shot as of June 10 (one week ago). Therefore, if it were the case that someone filed a VAERS report for every death that was not caused by the vaccine but happened within one week of vaccine administration, we would expect to see much more than 5869 death reports, perhaps 23,300 (or higher, because some people have received multiple vaccine shots and because older people are more likely to have been vaccinated). This is relevant because I read that "FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS", which explains why we see e.g. two deaths by gunshot wound in my roundup below.

Since there are only 37 deaths nationwide for age 24 and under, I decided to summarize all of them. Because I could. At least in this category we can rule out age-related illness.

I have divided these deaths into mutually exclusive prioritized categories. This means that if a death was in both categories B and D, I only listed it under category B which is listed first.

  • Suicides: 4 (though in one case the person was also ill)
  • Other reports with indications that the death is probably not vaccine-related: 2
  • Death reports more than 14 days after vaccine: 4
  • No information about time between vaccine and death: 1
  • Death within 14 days, but serious pre-existing illness: 8
  • Death within 14 days, seemingly no serious pre-existing illness: 2
  • Death within 14 days, level of pre-existing illness unclear: 16

Most of the "within 14 day" reports were also within 7 days. I will put the summaries of these reports in a separate message in the hope that LessWrong's display algorithm will be more likely to "collapse" that information.

An interesting indicator would be how many people are getting each vaccine. If the numbers of deaths for each vaccine is exactly proportional to the number of people receiving each vaccine, it would suggest that the vaccines are all equally safe, and if so, the most probable safety level is "very safe". (wrinkle: if e.g. J&J is a 'rising star', the death report curve is likely to lag behind the vaccination rate curve.) But where do I find that data?

Replies from: DPiepgrass, sil-ver, DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-17T00:27:43.230Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Detailed summaries:


- 958443 - self inflicted gun shot wound
- 1243487 - VAX DATE: 13 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 21 April 2021 - Patient Committed Suicide with a firearm.
- 1307657 Death by suicide [4 days after taking vaccination]
- 1349598 VAX DATE: 19 April 2021 | ONSET DATE: 19 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 23 April 2021 - he was COVID positive... patient did not have COVID prior to vaccination [sic].... patient...received the first dose of...PFIZER...on 29Mar2021... headache, sore arm, lethargic.... 19Apr2021, the patient received the second dose, and the patient was sick that day, headache/tired, diarrhea. On Tuesday (20Apr2021), the patient slept all day, headache, chills, diarrhea, no appetite, said he didn't feel right.... Friday (23Apr2021) diarrhea - took his own life by hanging himself. The patient did not have history or signs of depression, anxiety, or mental illness.

Other reports with indications that the death is probably not vaccine-related

- 1166062 - DATEDIED: 20 March 2021 - patient received second dose of Pfizer vaccine on March 17, 2020 while at work... her 5 month old breastfed infant developed a rash and within 24 hours was inconsolable...developed a fever. Patient brought baby to local ER... passed away. Diagnosis of TTP. [It sounds like the baby did NOT receive a Covid vaccine]
- 1347547 VAX DATE: 15 April 2021 | ONSET DATE: 16 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 21 April 2021 - The injury that led to the death occurred within 1 day of the decedent receiving the vaccine

Deaths more than 14 days after vaccine

- 1076949 - VAX DATE: 29 January 2021 - Patient admitted on 2/21/21 and died in hospital on 2/22/2021. Patient had a significant, lifelong underlying medical condition. 
- 1074788 - [This report appears to be for a fetus that died more than a month after the mother received the vaccine]
- 1372120 - VAX DATE: 01 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 01 June 2021 | DATEDIED: 01 June 2021 - Pt called 911 for shortness of breath...Patient with sob, saying she can not breath , states it came on suddenly about a half hour ago and pt has not been feeling ill prior to this... became pulseless and apneic... no medical history other than anemia... J and J covid 19 vaccine recently. ... copious amounts of vomit, suction enroute to ed.
- 1366320 - VAX DATE: 10 March 2021 | ONSET DATE: 11 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 06 May 2021 - he died [Jesus Christ, that's all you have to say?]

No information about time between vaccine and death

- 1353097 - On an unknown date, the patient received second dose...Moderna...1 dosage form. On an unknown date, the patient experienced CARDIAC ARREST... It is unknown if an autopsy was performed... Follow up not possible as no contact details available

Death within 14 days, but major pre-existing illness

- 960841 - VAX DATE: 17 January 2021 | ONSET DATE: 19 January 2021 | DATEDIED: 21 January 2021 - 104.4 temp approximately 48 hours after being given the vaccine....treated with antibiotics, IV fluids, cooling methods...cardiac arrest on 1/21/21. HISTORY: ventilator dependent, anoxic encephalopathy, seizure disorder. OTHER_MEDS: Amantadine, clonazepam, clobazam, lovenox, dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, famotidine, gabapentin, keppra, robinul, polyethylene glycol, propanolol, sertaline, senna, valproic acid, vimpat, cefepime
- 1105115 - VAX DATE: 14 February 2021 | DATEDIED: 28 February 2021 - POC observed abscesses in the arm, groin, thigh and knees after the first vaccination. After the second dose, he was hypoactive. ...POC removed the sheet, she observed that her mouth and nose were full of secretions. HISTORY: Portal hypertension (secondary to portal vein thrombosis), Leukopenia, Thrombocytopenia, Epilepsy, Splenomegaly, Esophageal Varices, Asthma, Pancytopenia and Severe mental retardation.
- 1105146 - VAX DATE: 30 January 2021 | ONSET DATE: 30 January 2021 | DATEDIED: 02 February 2021 - 1/19 began vomiting and was hospitalized. On 1/30 he was discharged and later received the vaccine.... [later] He started coughing up foul-smelling secretions.... HISTORY: Epilepsy, Hydrocephalus, and Multiple Sclerosis
- 1199455 VAX DATE: 02 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 10 April 2021 - Patient reported difficulty breathing and chest pain... cardiac arrest... HISTORY: spina bifida, spinal meningocele, VP shunt, scoliosis, neurogenic bladder, constipation
- 1273475 VAX DATE: 28 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 29 April 2021 - Resident was checked at 1830 and found to be at baseline status. At approximately 1855, resident was found pulses and apneic.  CPR initiated... Resident expired 1939. CUR_ILL: Anoxic Brain Injury, History of MI, Uterine rupture, dysphagia, PEG TUBE, Tracheostomy. HISTORY: Anoxic Brain Injury
- 1343614 VAX DATE: 18 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 20 May 2021 | DATEDIED: 24 May 2021 - presented to ED dept confused, incr n/v, weakness. Received palliative care... deceased. CUR_ILL: fibrolamellar hepatic carcinoma with metastatic disease OTHER_MEDS: xarelto, methadone, morphine, prochlorperazine, lorazepam, ondansetron, protonix
- 1349127 - VAX DATE: 19 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 04 April 2021 - Concurrent medical conditions included Traumatic brain injury, Movement disorder, Seizures (since she was a baby at 11 months old) and Speech loss. Concomitant products included CLONAZEPAM, OXCARBAZEPINE (TRILEPTAL) and GABAPENTIN for an unknown indication.... cause of death was not reported. An autopsy was not performed.... death certificate said... natural causes.
- 1365075 - VAX DATE: 10 March 2021 | ONSET DATE: 12 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 19 March 2021 - father said his son began throwing up 2 days after injection. They took him to the ER and patient was given some medication to stop emesis... Patient was reported to throw up everyday until his death on day 9. HISTORY: Cerebral Palsy legally blind Epileptic Seizures deteriorating bones in hips Hydrocephalus Shunt in head

Death within 14 days, no major pre-existing illness

- 1121695 - VAX DATE: 10 March 2021 | 01 March 2021 (sic) significant past medical history...very severe diabetic ketoacidosis one week after receiving the vaccine...severe metabolic encephalopathy, aspiration pneumonia...
- 1255787 - DEATH; BLOOD COAGULATION...the patient was very not reported for...vaccination...On an unspecified date...patient developed blood coagulation...patient subsequently died 10 days after vaccination; the cause of death was not provided...

Death within 14 days, seriousness of pre-existing illness is not clear

- 1067765 - VAX DATE: 08 February 2021 | DATEDIED: 08 February 2021 - died in his sleep through the night; This is a spontaneous report from a contactable consumer received via a Pfizer sales representative... Medical history included muscular dystrophy. HISTORY: ...Muscular dystrophy [This report is confusing: it says he received the vaccine Feb 8 and died the same day, even though he died in his sleep?] 
- 1078352 - VAX DATE: 02 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 05 March 2021 - Developed fatigue, body aches, headache 1 day after vaccination on 3/3. The morning of 3/5 complained of chest pain. Took Tylenol at 8:30 am. At 10:30 am his family found him unresponsive.
- 1140258 - VAX DATE: 26 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 27 March 2021 - Patient contacted 911 complaining of not feeling well and difficulty breathing... patient was found by EMS in cardiac arrest.
- 1187918 I am the PICU attending who cared for the patient after her cardiac arrest which we believe was about 3-4 days after her second Moderna Vaccine
- 1198540 VAX DATE: 01 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 11 April 2021 - Patient...unresponsive and not breathing...outside on the grounds of the campus. A rented scoter was next to him... There was no sign of trauma.
- 1204016 VAX DATE: 09 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 13 April 2021 - HE DIED SUDDENLY !!!!! JUST COLLAPSED !!!! [that's the entire description]
- 1206323 VAX DATE: 10 April 2021 - Pt received vaccine at 1130 on 4/10... Awoke at approx 0100 4/11, reported not feeling well, vomited, returned to bed. Found by housemate at appox 2100 4/11 unresponsive.
- 1209903 VAX DATE: 06 March 2021 | DATEDIED: 13 March 2021 [no symptoms, story or history provided]
- 1225942 VAX DATE: 19 March 2021 | ONSET DATE: 28 March 2021 - cardiac arrest at home... Patient placed on ECMO and imaging revealed bilateral large pulmonary embolism
- 1242573 VAX DATE: 18 April 2021 | ONSET DATE: 19 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 20 April 2021 - Heart failure
- 1243791 - VAX DATE: 10 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 12 April 2021 - found his home. HISTORY: History of clotting disorder at age 16 with Xarelto treatment and hospitalization
- 1261766 VAX DATE: 08 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 10 April 2021 - increased body temperature, seizure, death
- 1321517 VAX DATE: 30 April 2021 | DATEDIED: 01 May 2021 - He did not told me about any symptoms. He just died the next day of the vaccine.
- 1346657 VAX DATE: 18 February 2021 | DATEDIED: 19 February 2021 - deceased in bed, no known symptoms, undetermined cause and manner of death
- 1355039 VAX DATE: 22 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 23 May 2021 | DATEDIED: 25 May 2021 - Cardiac Arrest
- 1372338 - VAX DATE: 21 May 2021 | ONSET DATE: 21 May 2021 | DATEDIED: 22 May 2021 - HISTORY: Asthma Anxiety/Depression/Panic

comment by Rafael Harth (sil-ver) · 2021-06-19T11:22:36.641Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is relevant because I read that "FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS"

How does this square with OpenVaers's claim that only about 1% of injuries are reported?

Without knowing the reporting rate, it's difficult to interpret the data. If we take the 1% and 5869 numbers at face value, it implies that the vaccines killed about 560.000 people, whereas if we assume 100% reporting rate, it looks like they're an amazing preventer of unrelated causes of death. Is there any reasonable way to estimate what % to use?

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-19T19:26:51.599Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Google led me to the HHS VAERS FAQ which says

Healthcare providers are required by law to report to VAERS:

Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to report:

  • Any adverse event that occurs after the administration of a vaccine licensed in the United States, whether or not it is clear that a vaccine caused the adverse event
  • Vaccine administration errors

Vaccine manufacturers are required to report to VAERS all adverse events that come to their attention.

Covid vaccines aren't explicitly mentioned in the PDF so the final list of reporting requirements seems to apply ("Any new vaccine recommended by the [CDC] for routine administration to children"):

A.Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (7 days)
B. Vasovagal syncope (7 days)
C. Any acute complication or sequelae (including death) of above events (interval - not applicable)
D. Events described in manufacturer’s package insert as contraindications to additional doses of vaccine (interval - see package insert)

Interesting, this isn't as clear as the CDC's statement that "FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death..." Now, if the FDA/CDC/HHS sent memos/bulletins/checklists to hospitals/clinics, these might be the sorts of instructions that front-line staff pay the most attention to. But, don't know how to see those.

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-18T00:24:55.451Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

An odd fact: search results on OpenVAERS disagree with this claim:

4561 deaths for "covid vaccines", <210 for every year before 2021

It says there were 4561 deaths for "covid vaccines" as of May 28 and less than 210 every year before 2021. But as of June 17, OpenVAERS disagrees (note: OpenVAERS says its data is "through June 4, 2021"):

In OpenVAERS there is an upward trend since 2012 that peaks at 605 deaths in 2019. So while the covid death counter has increased 29% in this dataset (possibly due to the passage of time), it also shows 234% more deaths in 2019. Not sure what to make of this.

Replies from: ndr
comment by ndr · 2021-06-18T09:58:39.648Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thy disagree, but in which direction? The second chart seem to report numbers higher than the first chart but I'm not sure they are about the same data. What's your read? Can you put some links for the second graph source?

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-18T21:54:17.952Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I constructed the second graph manually, by recording the number of results of 22 queries at OpenVAERS. OpenVAERS (which I learned about through Steve K) says it provides the same data as the government.

comment by ndr · 2021-06-16T09:36:10.256Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The whole video is painful to watch, it gets more bearable after the 2:11 mark when Kirsch (the blue shirt guy) slows a bit down.

The following is a recap of what I've understood them saying and some unpacking. I'm not educated in anything medical and still have a bunch of open question. If you spot any error or know the answer to these questions please let me know.


They seem to be making 3 main points:

  1. Ivermectin prevents and treats SARS-CoV-2. It's extremely safe, common and cheap.
  2. Vaccines were rushed. Long term adverse reactions are unknown, some adverse reactions are now noticeable and worrying.
  3. Pharmaceutical companies have economical incentives to push for new drugs/vaccines and against out of patents ones. These incentives are skewing media reporting, social media policies and basic research to push pro-vaccine content, and to censor warnings on vaccine safety or potentially safer drug alternatives that might result in vaccines losing their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Bret Weinstein's idea to solve the issue is to find some deep-pocketed sense-making individual or set of people who can buy the pharmaceutical companies out. He thinks that would kill the economical incentives and allow sense to be made.

That was, I think, a fair representation of what they were trying to say and I don't necessarily buy any of it.

Before I try to unpack it note that I've listened to Bret (the host) a fair bit, and he has a positive influence on my priors.

Robert Malone: I didn't know anything about him until I watched this. He sounds balanced, knowledgeable and well connected. His historical involvement with mRNA vaccinology checks out. His recent gigs are way less transparent.

Steve Kirsch: sounds obnoxious and cranky. I'd tend to be dismissive but both Malone and Weinstein seem to see past his style and to agree on his content. From the conversation it seems he's well off and financed some trials on Fluvoxamine out of his own pocket.

1. Ivermectin

It's many smallish studies, and if you think their biases cancel out you come out thinking an effect cannot be there by chance. I don't know of any big study, but at this point I buy that IVM is unreasonably good.

The probability that an ineffective treatment generated results as positive for the 55 studies to date is estimated to be 1 in 23 trillion (p = 0.000000000000043). The consistency of positive results across a wide variety of cases has been remarkable. It is extremely unlikely that the observed results could have occurred by chance.

Source: The mechanisms of action of Ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2: An evidence-based clinical review article, on Nature's The Journal of Antibiotics, quoting which collects a bunch of studies.

Other resources:

2. Vaccines

Lack of animal trials

Malone claims the current vaccines skipped animal trials. Humans are the first animals. Some animal testing would have shown the spike protein is an actual active agent, in lack of this knowledge FDA just gambled it wasn't.

On LinkedIn he wrote:

Second big inconvenient truth is that the spike protein is the actual active agent, in terms of eliciting an immune response. And in the case of the traditional vaccines, the dose of spike protein is defined relatively precisely. With the genetic vaccines, it is not (to the best of my knowledge). I know of no data wherein the mean, median, range etc of total amount of spike protein produced in a patient after administration of the COVID genetic vaccine has been defined. Usually, the FDA is quite persnickety about such things, but I am not aware of this key variable having been determined. Therefore, the range and severety of adverse events potentially attributable to the level of expressed spike protein may reflect patient to patient differences in genetic transfer efficiency and subsequent spike expression.

Is the spike protein toxic?

I don't know.
They say "we now know", but I can't tell.
There's a bunch of papers that mention cytotoxicity but I'm not quite sure of what that means. Most of the related points they make seem speculations on top of this point, see next point

Free spike protein?

They claim the vaccine antigen/debris is supposed to stay around the injection point. I don't know why that would need to be the case.
They found circulation (paper), and the worry seems to come from their claim that now you have the toxic S protein circulating.
That could explain coagulation problems, even though the mechanism is not clear to me.
They are particularly worried about the accumulation in bone marrow and ovaries 48h after taking mRNA vaccines.
They mention a cautionary tale, Thalidomide, Malone denounces the lack of reproductive toxicology.

They claim that the circuation wasn't originally made public say they originally found this via FOIA request to some Japanese authority (pdf).

Pfizer vs Moderna: dosage

Phase 3 trials are optimized to prove efficacy, not to find the minimal dose to have sufficient effect. I find this reasonable on its own.
Malone recommends Pfizer over Moderna as it has lower dosage and similar efficacy. Presumably because adverse reactions are proportional to dosage?

Antibody-dependent enhancement? (ADE)

ADE are new behaviors that viruses get after they bind to antibodies.
In particular the "tail" of the antibody can bind to things that virus alone can't bind to, so if you have circulating antibodies bound to the virus you can circulate the virus in many more places. This happens in Dengue, you get a minor disease up on first infection, and risk a much worse one on re-infection.

Malone claims we don't yet see ADE induced by vaccines (which is good), but that all previous attempts to create an anti-coronavirus vaccine failed due to ADE.
I had no way to verify this yet.

Should you get vaccinated?

Kirsch has a post about this, collecting much of the material, the tone is similar as in the video.
In the video they go as far as saying that if you're young or a woman the risk/benefit seems to be against vaccination.

3. Pharmaceutical companies

The analysis sounds like a conspiracy.

One of the most glaring point in their favor is the standard that was applied to Remdesivir, a still-under-patent repurposed drug. FDA required a single study (n=1063) to give it EUA, which is a much lower standard than applied to IVM.

Of course it doesn't mean there is a conspiracy, but it might very well be the net-resulting force of one sided nudging.

This ended up much longer than I anticipated. I didn't like the style of all of this, but the content seems interesting.

Replies from: dachamian
comment by dachamian · 2021-06-22T18:50:04.596Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I mentioned in my post, blog posts by David Gorski systematically address most of the issues you've highlighted (


"The mechanisms of action of Ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2:" this paper is explicitly critiqued, not least the sensational claim of a 1 in 23 trillion chance of the positive effect being random. (this isn't how statistical analysis works, apparently...) 

There's also criticism of the Bryant and Lawrie paper.

On twitter recently Malone has acknowledged his mistake having been presented with evidence of dosing analysis by Pfizer (

The key paper that shows cytotoxicty from the spike protein is with regards to the spike protein found in sars-cov-2, according to Gorski and the papers he cites the s-protein created via the mrna vaccines is modified to attach to cells in the muscle rather than freely circulating. (Its since been found that there are circulating levels of spike protein post mrna vaccine but in extremely small quantities, far lower than you'd get via an infection, and that the clearance of the protein is as expected for the proper functioning of the vaccine. ( ) )

The Japanese biodistribution data is also debunked, the study is in rats, the percentage build up in the ovaries is exceptionally small and studies have been completed looking specifically at ovarian function post mrna vaccine with no issues found. The Japanese data is at the center of Byram Bridle's claims, which is systematically debunked here

I'm also unware of any info on ADE. 

I've been vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer with no side effects. I'm waiting on the imminent CDC emergency panel on myocarditis to gauge whether it makes any sense getting a second dose.

There's a lot of talk about the molnupiravir being invested in (a Merck product I believe) and concerns about an Alzheimer's drug that the FDA have recently approved despite apparently scant evidence and evidence of toxicity.   

Replies from: DPiepgrass, ndr
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-27T01:59:02.929Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I may not have time to read through all of that, but thanks for the links. I quickly learned some new things by following a few links there + googling around.

Most notably, some key evidence presented by Steve K that took center stage in the video, both evidence of the dangers of "the vaccines" and evidence of the effectiveness of ivermectin, comes from groups led by the same person, Theresa Lawrie. 

  1. Lawrie apparently founded a web site for ivermectin advocacy (registered March 7, 2021) after presenting evidence on Ivermectin's efficacy on January 13 (to "13 clinicians" and 7 others)
  2. Lawrie is the director of a group of 4 people calling itself "The Evidence-Based Medicine Consultancy" that called for "an immediate halt to the [Covid] vaccination programme" on June 9
  3. Lawrie published the meta-analysis Steve was raving about (with 6 co-authors), which found "Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin" (published June 17 but, obviously, completed earlier)

Now, is Lawrie just one of those productivity superheroes vying for a Nobel prize? Or is there something suspicious about too much evidence and advocacy coming from the same person?

What makes me the most suspicious is that

  1. the anti-vaccine document performs no cost/benefit analysis before concluding that all three vaccines are too dangerous to use.
  2. it includes no analysis of base rates (the number of adverse health events that would normally occur in a large population in the absence of any vaccines).
  3. Edit 1: seriously, what are the chances that all three vaccines are both dangerous and equally so? Has that ever happened in history? I think not. (4 different vaccines are implicitly demonized by the video since it talks about US and UK data, but this document is UK-specific; the UK and US have used 3 vaccine brands each)
  4. Edit 2: I don't say this enough, but one must also consider the reaction of other experts. Large numbers of other experts think the vaccines are safe (safe enough to deploy widely, anyway) and that ivermectin is an interesting treatment but unproven. When experts in high places thought there was a risk of rare blood clots, they were often willing to halt the use of a vaccine even when doing so would lead to a larger number of overall Covid deaths. And of course, while regulatory agencies were understandably in a hurry, separate phase-3 trials were completed on each vaccine (in multiple countries) and showed adequate safety as usual. So the idea that these same experts and agencies are ignoring a wide variety of side-effects, including death, seems preposterous. The only argument I've seen against these numerous other visible experts comes from my father, who claimed the media is hiding information because they are controlled by George Soros, and from this video, which explains it as groupthink & social norms. As if scientists but not conservatives do groupthink & social norms.

I only skimmed the document, but I don't see any lip service paid to any of these issues or objections. And these are obvious objections, aren't they? So why wouldn't they be considered?

In the absence of other information, I assume that the lack of care demonstrated in this document is typical for Lawrie.

Unfortunately, my post ended up doing something I disapprove of: it listens to a handful of outspoken scientists (one in particular, it turns out) while utterly ignoring the majority who disagree. I hoped other LessWrong users would tell me how other scientists/experts are arguing the other side, but I got less of that than I hoped.

Replies from: ndr
comment by ndr · 2021-06-27T15:59:37.807Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  1. seriously, what are the chances that all three vaccines are both dangerous and equally so?

Malone/Weinstein say they seem to have minor differences, at least in mechanism/effect. Their point being that if you get the S p circulating you're in trouble. All the three seem to produce that effect.

  1. One must also consider the reaction of other experts [...] When experts in high places thought there was a risk of rare blood clots, they were often willing to halt [...]

Well done, this is a very well put and good point. I don't know what drove the craze on blood clot (very few instances too?) against AZ and J&J. It's weirdly inconsistent with the reaction on myocarditis for mRNA vaccines, they only (reasonably?) halted on young population? It looks like a different standard than for AZ/J&J.

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-27T20:36:12.629Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Moderna and Pfizer's are both mRNA-based, but presumably different in some ways because they were made by different teams (and I thought I saw Bret or Dr. Malone say he would have preferred Pfizer over Moderna, though it's not in my summary). But AstraZeneca and J&J are "adenovirus vector vaccines", using chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1 and serotype 26 (HAdV-D26) respectively; the latter was "under investigation as [a] protective platform against HIV, Zika, RSV infections and are in Phase-III clinical trials for Ebola" in early 2019. Now, adenovirus vector technology is pretty new. Even so, it would be an impressive coincidence if the risks were both substantial and the same for a ChAdOx1-based vaccine, a HAdV-D26-based vaccine and both RNA vaccines. Sure, they all use the spike protein in some way — probably it's necessary for the immune system to recognize the spike protein — but (i) eventually our bodies will encounter the spikes, either via SARS-Cov-2 or via vaccine, and I've seen no one make a case that a live, replicating virus is safer, and (ii) the evidence/argument for the protein itself being dangerous hasn't been made clear in any of the stuff I've seen.

But my main point is the seeming lack of interest from Lawrie, Dowswell, Kirsch et al. in the question of relative safety, because this is a known failure mode of anti-vaxxers all the way back to the Wakefield study. That infamous paper apparently linked the MMR vaccine to autism, yet many anti-vaxxers acted like there was some fully general link between all vaccines and autism.

comment by ndr · 2021-06-23T19:45:18.313Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's also criticism of the Bryant and Lawrie paper.

What's an actual criticism of that paper from that article? That meta-studies are garbage-in-garbage-out? That's weak at best, the author seems to have spent no time in spot checking any of the papers included to check whether this actually happened.

The Japanese data is at the center of Byram Bridle's claims, which is systematically debunked ...

... by a nameless "Concerned Scientist". I don't want to play ranking authorities, but it's obvious someone is mad at Bridle enough to steal his name to put up that website. It's hard to read that website assuming good faith, at least Bridle seems courageous enough to argue his points in the open under his own name, like any "Scientist" should do, especially "Concerned" ones.

Regarding the spike protein toxicity, my understanding is that the claim is a bit more nuanced. A recent tweet from Malone says:

The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is cytotoxic. That is a fact. Who says so? Multiple peer reviewed references. The Salk Institute.
It is the responsibility of the vaccine developers to demonstrate that their expressed version is not toxic. Show us.

And then links to this Salk article.
Basically claiming that we know SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is cytotoxic and unless proven otherwise it's fair to assume the version expressed by vaccines is similarly cytotoxic.

All the "fact-checker" linked from that website are "we have no evidence that [...]", and this is very much a case in which absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

comment by Vanilla_cabs · 2021-06-18T08:21:56.211Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aaaand the video's gone.

Edit: Available at either,-Robert-Malone,-Steve-Kirsch,---Bret-Weinstein:5

Replies from: philovivero, DPiepgrass
comment by philovivero · 2021-06-18T20:12:08.753Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One of the main take-aways I got from the video is that the censorship around this issue has gotten out of hand. I wonder why the video is gone? One hopes not due to censorship. Did the speakers have a change of mind, and remove the video?

Replies from: devin-brenton
comment by Devin Brenton (devin-brenton) · 2021-06-18T20:56:28.665Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It was removed for violating youtube's "terms" and the channel was given a strike. Same thing happened to another video on the channel about the research and data on Ivermectin.

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-18T21:36:36.485Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Meh. It won't do much to harm the popularity of the video's message, since Tucker Carlson was promoting "Covid vaccines dangerous!" a more than month before this video arrived. And since the video was at 350K views last I checked, I'd guess it reached 500,000 by the time it was taken down.

While "Covid vaccines killed 20,000 people!" doesn't have good evidence behind it and, I think, will get people killed, I'm not sure taking down the video is actually helpful. Many viewers will notice that the censorship they were warned about has come to pass. Distrust of Big Tech, the MSM, and Covid vaccines will be bolstered.

But if you're YouTube, what do you do? Get into the debunking business, post a response video? Nah—there's no profit in it. Deleting is easy, and they don't even have to give a clear reason.

comment by huey · 2021-06-19T10:14:37.660Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is an interview with Edward Mills, who is running trials on repurposed drugs.

He seems more measured in his assessment of Ivermectin. Ultimately, he thinks there will be a small positive treatment effect, but not one that merits calling it a "miracle drug." 

Contrast that with Bret Weinstein or Pierre Kory, who think this will end the pandemic. 


comment by philovivero · 2021-06-16T14:58:00.416Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From another comment:

When we discuss whether he's a crackpot we should also discuss whether all those people in power who initially said masks don't work listening to think tanks instead of the most qualified experts should be considered crackpots. I think the case for Fauci being a crackpot is a lot better then for Kirsch.

From You:

Don't extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? They seem to think that they themselves having seen some evidence is enough, so there's little need to present it to their audience.

They seem to be advocating for the type of science and evidentiary methods from 2019 and earlier. It seems to me, the extraordinary claims are originating starting around February 2020 from some folks who have a lot of friends in mass media. Masks absolutely do not work, and you will be banned from public discourse if you disagree. This was the ordinary claim made with ordinary evidence, and we all agreed with it and abided by it because we had to.

A few weeks later, the ordinary claim made with ordinary evidence was masks are absolutely required. Some time later, two masks are better than one. I still remain unconvinced.

If I have to choose between the enforced beliefs-from-above mass media controllers and these three guys, with their... "extraordinary claims" without "extraordinary evidence," I'm going with these three guys. Would prefer some sane discussion, though, since this is a somewhat serious disease causing somewhat serious problems for our global society.

Related, although I have sympathy with Kirsch's position and views, when I read his "paper" or whatever it is, it reads like a manic schizophrenic. And as another commenter pointed out, I think he is too quick to include some anecdata or shoddy studies into his mountain of evidence, which is a huge "conspiracy theorist" tell. I'm not sure I want Kirsch on my side, save for the fact that he has collected all this stuff together, while no-one else did. I suppose the flawed hero is better than no hero at all.

Replies from: mngreen
comment by mngreen · 2021-06-18T03:19:27.286Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Without relying on mass media, i've seen far too many simulations and demonstrations (various camera and imaging types) and far too many detailed articles specifying particle size, mechanisms of viral distribution, viral load and the like to convince me that there is sufficient efficacy to warrant their use.

Yes, this includes discussions with people I know that work or who have worked in front-line medical positions. Yes, how the wearer uses / fits a mask, touches / adjusts it, disposes / reuses, which type of masks and how much other protocols are followed will all influence the degree of mask effectiveness.

Yes, there are no large double-blind, peer-reviewed studies to support mask use (non that I could find anyway). I'm not a "chicken little". I do believe there has been far too much conflation by some of prudence to mean cowardice, panic or being overwrought.

Re: the video ... I found far too many instances of where the other two were putting words into Malone's mouth, or were quick to over-interpret something he said.

I really would love for someone who understands the deep bioscience to take a very hard look at their ppl virology claims. At face value, the assertions would be very concerning, and while I would prefer for them to be wrong, I would rather see analysis as to whether they are or not. Pseudoscience is based on a whole lot of very very credible information and takes a sudden turn that is virtually impossible for non-specialists to unravel.

comment by CraigMichael · 2021-06-14T22:15:59.710Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • 28:47 "Nobody knows about [the VAERS system] and people aren't reporting" and "we've had reports reversed without the doctor's consent"

I don't buy this. I got a hand out about the VAERS system, created and account and reported everything that happened (and I did have weird side effects). 

Replies from: ndr
comment by ndr · 2021-06-15T22:17:33.532Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nobody is very likely an exaggeration, I suspect is severely under used, but I have no idea about the reversals.  

Did you report to VAERS yourself or via your doctor?
How do you know whether your report made it through? 

Replies from: CraigMichael
comment by CraigMichael · 2021-06-17T02:34:07.341Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I might have been mistaken. I was thinking VARES was part of vSafe, but they may be different. I did for sure report it to vSafe.

comment by gilch · 2021-06-15T23:20:10.759Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've watched the whole thing now, at 2x speed. We've also got your summary with time index.

There are a lot of points in there, and we could try to verify each one. Anything particularly salient that you'd like us to focus on first?

To call the vaccines harmful on net, we have to compare that to the alternatives. Even if we accept (for the sake of argument) that the vaccine is toxic, presumably an actual infection has the potential to be much worse, since it produces the same spike protein. In my view, a lot of this case hinges on the availability of an effective prophylactic option as an alternative to the vaccines, or on the possibility that mass vaccination is somehow worse than the risk of infection.

So, in particular,

  • is Ivermectin (or some cocktail containing it) effective enough to be a viable alternative to vaccination?
  • Is the risk of female reproductive harm from the vaccines any worse than the risk from infection?
Replies from: mateusz-baginski, DPiepgrass, ndr
comment by Mateusz Bagiński (mateusz-baginski) · 2021-06-16T07:22:01.184Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As far as I understand, they claim think that since spike proteins in the actual virus particles are embedded in the particle (as opposed to "free"/"detached" when produced after getting the vaccine), they do not accumulate in the tissues, at least not to the same extent. Possibly, after a virus particle has been destroyed, some of its spike proteins circulate freely (or attached to some smaller segments of the virion) and then can get into tissues and accumulate.

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-16T21:54:55.757Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The thing I wonder most is how we can work out whether or not the VAERS deaths can be mostly attributed to natural causes, and secondarily, whether there's some way to tell if there is a strong underreporting of deaths (contrary to FDA regs) as Steve alleges (and, says Steve, OpenVAERS).

comment by ndr · 2021-06-16T13:27:42.697Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is the risk of female reproductive harm from the vaccines any worse than the risk from infection?

That is a brilliant question. Data from Israel and UK (both high vaccination rates) should reveal useful, but I do wonder how much data is required to make that claim.

In the UK (ONS) 1.7 males died for each dead female in the 15-45 age bucket. It's 2.3 in the 20-25 age bucket. This suggests female (young especially) are less prone to be badly affected, but it says nothing of other fertility-related adverse reactions.

Regarding Ivermectin, see my top level reply [LW(p) · GW(p)].
Also from the FLCCC website, it looks like there is still no data about taking IVM during pregnancy.

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-07-19T05:10:26.023Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One of the Ivermectin-supporting studies included in Lawrie's metastudy has been retracted due to glaring issues. This study (Elgazzar et al 2020) was the 5th largest study on Ivermectin by sample size (N=200) listed in the Bryant & Lawrie metastudy. Based on Figure 3 it looks like Elgazzar et al was one of only two studies that favored ivermectin without including the no-benefit line in the confidence interval.

Meanwhile, 6 other studies appeared to favor ivermectin but included the no-benefit line in their confidence interval, 1 study favored the control group and 2 studies sat in the middle. One of those, Fonseca 2021, had an especially narrow confidence interval centered around zero effect. This was not achieved via large sample size (N=167), but Fonseca 2021 was one of the few studies that ticked all the boxes for avoiding bias in Figure 2.

Now, it's well known that there is often a positive publication bias in science, but Dr. Malone put his weight behind the claim that in this case there's a negative publication bias. So, it's still plausible that ivermectin helps, but it hardly looks like a slam dunk based on the metastudy's Figures (I don't have time to read the text so much).

Replies from: ndr
comment by ndr · 2021-07-19T18:13:03.563Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

See a reproduction of Lawrie's metastudy here [LW(p) · GW(p)].
Even without both of those constributions the result doesn't meaningfully change.

comment by Rafael Harth (sil-ver) · 2021-06-19T11:28:27.703Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is the video, right? You could link to that instead of the removed youtube link.

comment by dachamian · 2021-06-22T18:14:00.505Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am a big, long time fan of Bret Weinstein, was impressed by the stoicism and apparent knowledge of Malone, and alarmed at the extreme claims Kirsch made. I've been following the ivermectin story over the past month or so, listening also to Dr John Campbell's seemingly sober and impartial analysis. I'd reached the point where I believed there was financially motivated suppression of ivermectin research, believed that it likely had generic antiviral properties (via "blocking" the ACE2 receptor), believed that adverse reactions to mRNA vaccines were under-reported and were likely caused via the human cell generated spike protein circulating in the body, that the particularly serious adverse reactions could be plausibly explained by accidental intravenous injection of the vaccine, and that Dr Tess Lawrie's BIRD group meta-analysis and Dr Pierre Kory's meta-analysis were being unfairly rejected by top journals. I find Bret's evolutionary argumentation compelling and I don't have a background in biology let alone virology. I imagine I'm not alone in coming to that position.

I became increasingly skeptical once Goa dropped ivermectin from its home kits (after being touted as an ivermectin success story). Then I came across an interview by The Halifax Examiner with the leader of the TOGETHER trial on repurposed drugs for covid treatment in Canada, Dr Edward Mills. In it he dampens enthusiasm for ivermectin's efficacy, its still part of their ongoing trial but he, without naming him, criticizes the intensity of Kory's invermectin advocacy:

"That particular group who authored that article [Kory's meta-analysis in The American Journal of Therapeutics]  have a well understood agenda promoting ivermectin, and no amount of evidence is likely to change their mind — whether that be favorable or negative evidence — I don’t think it’s going to change their mind. So one of the problems with the ivermectin topic is that the advocate groups around ivermectin have overcalled the importance of this drug. You can’t go around promoting a drug, calling it a miracle drug that will end the pandemic, when you don’t even have a good clinical trial to support it, and that’s exactly what they did. If indeed this drug has a treatment effect — and I am very optimistic that it will — it will just be one component of the interventions that we need. It’s not going to end the pandemic. And that’s illustrated in India at the moment where Goa did recommend ivermectin, and just over the last few days it was recommended that it actually should stop being used."

This opened cracks in my confidence in the various narratives supported by Bret around covid and ivermectin, I started reading the comments to his recent tweets looking at the pushback he receives and so came across Dr David Gorski, whose blog posts on systematically debunk the claims made around ivermectin, the toxicity of the spike protein (the one generated in human cells after mrna vaccination, not sure what the technical term is to distinguish it from the spike protein from sars-cov-2) and the lab leak hypothesis. I don't think its settled, but to me the criticisms made my Gorski are robust and would be of interest to people trying to reason about these issues for themselves. ( I'd also be interested if people are aware of good faith counter-arguments to Gorski's counter-arguments. 

Replies from: drobbs
comment by drobbs · 2021-06-28T08:27:05.561Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem is, Bret is one of the few non-conspiracy adjacent vanguards fighting against the established "science". Because of his prior experiences being driven off campus by mob politics, he's become "anti-fragile" so to speak, willing to fight because he has found success by being true to his set of values & principles, which is admirable. But, the burden should not fall on him, we should have a system that welcomes open debate. To me, this is obvious. Truth wins through proving something to be true, not through conjecture, mass manipulation, and isolating anyone with a hint of skepticism. The dangers are obvious, America is in ruins from this rapacious empire, we have a seriously destructive society. It's impossible to not blame media for the state of the country (who are heavily influenced by various governmental & business actors).

That's what is so angering to me about this entire situation, never in the history of the world has there ever been a propaganda machine quite like the United States, its the most powerful element to the American empire. Its been able to hold the veneer of political credibility through "democracy & openness", when its really a lightly managed democracy, whose leadership class will use fear & deception to rule. Its not a "right-left" thing either, there is no doubt a class of oligarchs who move between the two parties seamlessly (ahem, Bloomberg). They are all entirely open about their desire to control humanity with vaccine passports, digital currency run by the IMF out of Switzerland, and an entirely new surveillance economy in the West to compete against China's surveillance economy. 

I've slowly become totally distrustful of any established narrative, because the longer you live, the more obvious it becomes just how powerful the propaganda machine in America is. They have managed to lie the country into endless wars, lied the country into a mass surveillance program with the Patriot Act, allowed the Financial Crisis to play out where millions lost their homes & nothing happened to those at fault, to now the complete nonsense ever since Covid broke out. Its just impossible to believe the state of the country represents anything remotely close to truth or reality. Now, the way people put up signs in their laws saying "In this house we believe in science", its just feels like something out of a totalitarian society. Somehow they've turned this blind faith in "the science" because the media says so, into a full blown religion among a certain upper class of society. It's just so creepy & makes me believe people like Bret are probably far closer to the truth than Fauci & his cronies are. 

comment by Marve Flexnes (marve-flexnes) · 2021-06-19T11:46:50.808Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"And if a vaccine is causing these deaths, where are the lawuits?"

Vaccine manufacturers are actually exempt from such lawsuits. 

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by Jonathan_Graehl · 2021-06-14T20:33:58.687Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

'If this were true, where are the lawsuits against the vaccine makers?'

Surely they've been shielded from liability so there won't be any.

Replies from: TAG, DPiepgrass, DPiepgrass
comment by TAG · 2021-06-14T22:12:45.072Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Throughout the world?

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-16T21:58:03.630Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If that's true (??), I guess lawsuits would be directed at the FDA instead. It'd be shocking if everybody involved had immunity (against lawsuits, I mean).

Replies from: philovivero
comment by philovivero · 2021-06-18T20:16:48.184Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whether or not you agree with the people who were concerned about the USA 2020 election irregularities, one thing you absolutely can conclude is that an entire class of people can have their lawsuits ignored with "lack of standing," if there is any political will. This goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

Those who aren't happy with the vaccines largely overlap with that previous group who were summarily kicked out of the judicial system. I predict there will be no lawsuits, whether or not millions of people desire there to be.

Replies from: DPiepgrass
comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-06-18T21:50:11.751Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you're saying that a Supreme Court with two-thirds Republican appointees won't give popular Republican ideas a fair shake, and that the concept of "standing" has been corrupted by "political will". Political will in the judicial branch? How does this work exactly?

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-07-07T17:39:29.409Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is possibly outdated, but I saw a publication by "National Research Council (US) Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention" from 1985 stating that "A manufacturer who produces and sells a defective vaccine that creates a risk of significant injury to the recipient is liable to any person injured by that defect under the principles stated in section 402A of the Restatement of Torts. This is thought to be the law in every American jurisdiction".

comment by DPiepgrass · 2021-07-21T14:53:05.174Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The claim that the concentration of LNP (lipid nanoparticles) is highest in the ovaries after 48 hours appears to be not only false, but a "pants on fire" kind of lie: the linked source shows the concentration as being 259 times higher at the injection site, and 170 times higher in the liver.

The chart showing the concentration as being highest in the ovaries simply leaves out the data for the injection site, for the liver, and for the spleen (which has over 10x higher concentration than the ovaries).

Edit: I had been investigating the claim about ovaries on Austin G. Walters' blog, which is the first thing Steve Kirsch links to his own post. It claims "after a 48 hour period, the Pfizer mRNA vaccine will have the highest concentration in the ovaries and bone marrow". However, although Steve himself shows the same chart as Austin, and the same chart was also featured in the Bret W / Steve K video, Steve's blog post shows another chart that includes Liver and Spleen (but still excludes injection site!) Oddly, this chart shows only 2x concentration in liver and spleen after 48 hours (rather than 170x). Note that in both cases the data is from rats.

So, why the difference? Well it turns out that both numbers are correct, and I used incorrect wording above. While the amount of LNPs is 259x higher at the injection site, 170x higher in the liver, and 10x higher in the spleen, the concentration of particles is only 13x higher at the injection site and 2x higher in the liver and spleen. The liver is way bigger than the ovaries, so a 2x higher concentration translates to a 170x higher total amount of LNPs.

Something else that I noticed is that Austin's and Steve's posts each link to the other, each one giving readers the impression that the link to the other is evidence for a claim. Which is... pretty weird.

comment by cata · 2021-06-13T06:57:58.976Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's really hard to take seriously a thesis that is only presented in the form of a 3-hour YouTube hangout conversation, presumably because the participants are more interested in promoting their brand than communicating information to anyone.

If these guys give a shit maybe they should write down their opinions.

Replies from: ChristianKl, SolAlium
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-06-13T21:10:57.321Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is an unfounded allegation. Kirsch writes down his position at and that's linked in the video description. This video is not the only time they talk about it. 

comment by SolAlium · 2021-06-13T11:13:20.667Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Criticising the fact that it isn't written down seems unfair. The video has been viewed over 200,000 times, and I imagine that fewer than a few hundred would have read even a heavily edited summary. If they "give a shit" about getting their message out, they seem to be doing a reasonable job.

Out of interest, if they were to release a shorter, more carefully edited / scripted video summarising the thesis, would you stand by your post?

comment by Robert Lynn (robert-lynn) · 2021-06-27T15:19:56.121Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been following news on ivermectin since April 2020, and I am a long time listener to Bret Weinstein.

First thing I would note is that in science nullius in verba - only data speaks.  You do not need to understand how something works to observe that it works or even to figure out how to take advantage of its function and through trial and error optimise its use (this is true of almost all human technological advancement prior to the renaissance).  For last year I've seen a lot of public statements from medical researchers dismissing ivermectin on the basis that it could not be an effective antiviral at such low doses, I even asked one pharmacology professor in a forum I frequent (with links to data) to a similar angry response.  Now it may be true, but the human body is an incredibly complex system with huge number of interactions and mechanisms at play - and ivermectin was known to have immuno-modulatory effects as an anti-parasitical, so to have establishment scientists dismiss it in the face of so much positive trial data was jarring.  That is not my understanding of how science is supposed to work - observe first, hypothesize mechanism after.  Dismissing data that doesn't match your priors is the opposite of science.

There have been a huge number of positive trials; over 60 to date, more than 20 before October2020, almost all with very encouraging risk reduction - particularly when used early (75% reduction in death) or as a prophylactic (85% reduction in death), and a majority with confidence intervals that did not extend to 'no benefit'.  Many of these were randomised control trials (31). How would it be possible for so many independent trials from all over the world to come to a similar positive result in error?  Some (laughable) vast international conspiracy or a huge number of researchers all risking their careers by torturing their data (for what gain)?  That this corpus has been so glibly dismissed by 3 letter health agencies is again jarring - a far higher standard of proof has been established by this large number of independent experiments (as all the meta-analyses confirm) than was required to get ineffectual (but highly profitable) Remdesiver approved for use against Covid, or more recently the scandal surrounding the approval of aducanumab for Alzheimers - the system is prima-facie rotten.  Ivermectin has really attained a level of proof far higher than most new drugs - and already has a 40 year history of safe use.  The gatekeepers cry has been "unproven benefit, needs large scale randomised controlled trial in a western country" which is statistical (and bigoted) nonsense when there are so many trials from around the world coming to the same conclusion.  This is clearly an excuse being used by gatekeeping institutions of the west - who are the only ones who can fund large western RCTS to the tune of $10's of millions required for an out of patent drug, and yet until recently steadfastly refused to.  It points to malign influences at play.

So as of now (and indeed 9 months ago) I don't see a lot of evidence to counter the assertion that Ivermectin is very low risk and at least somewhat effective at reducing risk of death, and given low cost and long residence time in the body it seems like any rational leadership would have adopted it as part of the Covid response by about Q4 2020 (when some 3rd world countries and western groups of doctors like FLCCC did).  Globally it would have potentially saved several millions of lives.  Now that the vaccine roll out is nearly complete the dam appears to finally be breaking on accepting data on Ivermectin.  I really can't understand why it has taken so long.  Is it institutional inertia, adapting to weight of accumulated data, or a political result of growing number of lay-people aware of issue, or could it be that the majority of populations are now vaccinated (and profits banked) so institutional resistance is fading?

Vitamin D is a similar head scratcher - large numbers of analyses around the world going back to mid 2020 point to it having a strong impact upon risk of death from Covid, having good levels can halve risk of death, yet governments in the west have almost all failed to promote taking extremely safe and cheap Vit D supplements even while compelling people to spend even more time than usual indoors. Why?  Are they incompetent?  Or was it also a threat to the vaccine emergency use authorisation?

If Ivermectin and other less well evaluated drugs that appear to be even more effective (proxalutimide, fluvoxamine et al) as well as vitamin D supplements were all to match up to existing trial data then risk of death from covid might be dropped by as much as 90%, assuming there is some compounding benefit to taking several preventatives.  Vaccination drops it by not much more, ~95%.  At that point Covid infection fatality rate would be no worse than influenza and a large proportion of the younger adult population, who have very low risk from covid anyway,  would likely be better off not taking vaccines with their unknown long term health risks (without clear data on the impact being released the report on concentration of vaccine spike proteins in ovaries is somewhat alarming, it would be tragic if this impacted long term fertility) and instead waiting a couple of years for non-experimental vaccines with more proven safety.

To finish; my abiding impression of the Covid crisis is that our 'expert' institutions have been shown to be not fit for purpose.  Govts and their health agencies reacting late and with poor assessment of threat, slow to quarantine, slow to lock-down  (I bought supplies anticipating lock-down in January based on news from Wuhan, but my country (NZ) didn't lock down until late March), pushing unnecessary measures like outdoor masks in low density neighbourhoods while ignoring cheap safe repurposed drugs like hydroxychloroquine (impressive safety record and very effective in trials when taken early yet was 'killed' for seemingly purely political reasons) ivermectin and vitamin D, and promoting weight loss.   The co-opting of media as willing propagandists - treating everyone as children to be manipulated and kept in the dark (suppression of discussion on covid origins and about possible life saving drugs) is dystopian.  Has this always been the playbook for government, have they become less competent, or has this crisis just shone a light on what has always been the case?