Who isn't getting infected?

It has been nearly two years since the first inklings of a respiratory infection in China that would turn the world upside-down.  In a rational society, this would be the point where we realized that our attempts to vaccinate against this infection have failed.  Yet we persist in our devotion to the sacred serum that will deliver us from our distress.

Currently, 60% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated.  That's not nearly enough, say the pro-vaccinators.  But exactly 0% of the population was vaccinated in 2020, and the number of deaths was lower.  That is a profound fact that cannot be ignored.

The truth is, there have been multiple attempts to create vaccines for coronaviruses.  The efforts have been uniformly unsuccessful.  First, these are respiratory viruses, which tend to be somewhat more difficult to immunize against.  One big problem is that if you create a strong immune reaction in the lung tissues, where the virus resides, the patient can develop respiratory failure.  This is what happens in severe cases of COVID-19, and sometimes post-vaccination.  A second problem is called antibody-dependent enhancement, which is a phenomenon where waning vaccine effectiveness allows the virus to actually infect the killer cells meant to target the infection.  This effect makes a subsequent infection much more severe.  These issues have apparently been insurmountable in the past.  It looks as though that is true again.

Up to August 2021, the CDC defined vaccination as follows:

Vaccine: A product that stimulates a person's immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.

Vaccination: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.

On September 1, the CDC surreptitiously changed these definitions as a result of the failure of its efforts against the coronavirus.  One definition now reads:

Vaccine: A preparation that is used to stimulate the body's immune response against diseases.

This was done to fit the new mantra, that the vaccines reduce the severity of your COVID infection.  So now let's think.  Remember having your mild measles infection?  I sure as hell don't.  When you step on a nail, does your tetanus toxoid permit you to have only a mild degree of paralysis?  I'm very glad I have only a few pustule scars from my benign smallpox case.

Obviously, none of this is true.  Up to now, the goal of vaccination was to prevent infection for at least a significant period of time.  Anything less is a failure.  Yet we push these failed products while around us the case numbers are increasing.

In the first year of COVID, the disease killed many of the most vulnerable people in society.  Typically, the year after a bad influenza outbreak, fewer people die from the disease because many of the most fragile are no longer with us.  This effect alone should have reduced deaths in 2021.

So you say "we just need more people to get vaccinated."  Let's look at Gibraltar.  One hundred percent of the adults have been vaccinated since March, and many of them have had boosters.  Yet in mid-November, they had a serious outbreak that caused them to cancel public events and Christmas celebrations.  Ditto Ireland and Singapore, where there were similar problems despite very high inoculation rates.

So who isn't getting infected?  It's the people who had the virus, who, in multiple studies, have been shown to have far lower breakthrough infection rates than the merely vaccinated.

You need a new strategy to deal with this disease.  First, we need to demand that authorities permit the use of proven, cheap, and safe medications such as hydroxychloroquine and, particularly, ivermectin, in combination with other medications and vitamin therapy.  Because there is money to be made, I believe they will promote the use of newer therapeutic agents from Pfizer and Merck.  That's great (but likely expensive) if they're effective and safe.  There needs to be a nationwide push to ensure that the populace has adequate Vitamin D levels, which have been shown to prevent serious disease.

If someone wants to be vaccinated, fine.  Just stop the mandates.

If the recent omicron variant is as mild as it appears, then this may prove to be a blessing.  An infection with this virus, treated with appropriate therapeutics, might well be quite benign and confer durable broad-spectrum immunity for the future.

We need to stop doubling down on failure.  If not, we will never emerge from this cycle of infection.

Henry F Smith Jr., M.D., FCCP is a pulmonary physician.  He has been boarded in internal medicine pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.  He currently practices in northeastern Pennsylvania.  He blogs at Henrysmithscottage.com.

Image: Marco Verch.

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