‘Research and development only takes place to the extent that it empowers or enriches those who sponsor it. In much of the world, independent academic research is a thing of the past, with the university laboratory now a sponsored, branded profit centre dependent on industry or government agencies’ (Shelley,T Nanotechnologhy)
The growing, frenzied calls for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations, are deeply disturbing, especially when they come from doctors who seem to have forgotten the real meaning of health. There is no good reason to make vaccination mandatory, as it does not stop transmission of the virus, and forcing it on people who do not want it may impact negatively on their health. Science is an open system which should be characterized by transparency, but important debates among leading overseas scientists, and even negative reports about vaccines, and the dubious conduct of manufacturers, receive scant – if any – coverage in local media. Important questions about long term safety of these vaccines remain unanswered. All efforts to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory must be opposed on both ethical and health grounds, and because giving an increasingly authoritarian government, and its dysfunctional health system, any further power would be a slippery slope to further health abuses, as happened during the apartheid regime.
Why forcing people to undergo medical procedures may cause them harm
Health is ‘a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (WHO definition). A vast library of anthropological research confirms this holistic view of health, Body and Mind in Zulu Medicine, by the late Dr Harriet Ngubane being one of many local publications. Modern, allopathic medicine, too, acknowledges that even expectations of benefits of treatment may improve reactions to medication, and hence the use of placebos in clinical trials. Conversely fears of harm may themselves lead to adverse events (Nocebo), including by raising stress levels. That high stress levels can fuel serious illnesses is well known. (In rare cases entrenched beliefs about harm may even lead to what is termed Voodoo death). As former editor of science journal Nature, Jo Marchant notes in Cure : A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body, ‘If we feel safe, cared for and in control………..We feel less pain, less fatigue, less sickness. Our immune system works with us rather than against us’
People are dying after being vaccinated, but our Regulatory Authority, SAHPRA, offers no explanation for why it believes these deaths are not vaccine-related, so families believe that they are. Elderly, but fit, Mrs M had avoided Covid-19 but became ill with flu-like symptoms within days of being vaccinated. She died soon afterwards. Like most South Africans, her family depends on the public health system, and proper monitoring of vaccinees is not happening. Surely the M family’s fear of vaccination is not unreasonable? Some of the blame for the low vaccine uptake must be laid at the door of this dysfunctional department, where many patients are treated disrespectfully, and medical records are inadequate, or even missing. It even failed to follow up after Rural Women’s Network leader, Sizani Ngubane, already showing Covid-19 symptoms, tested positive, despite pleas from her hospitalized son. She died a lonely, agonizing death, dehydrated and alone, at her home. Empirically-based community health policies formulated by progressive health professionals were ignored by the 1994 government, which preferred to waste many millions of rand on its Cuban allies with no experience of local health dynamics. .
Vaccination does not stop transmission of the virus
It seems that insufficient attention is being paid to what is happening in highly vaccinated populations in Europe, where the infection rate is soaring. The comprehensive UK data is particularly useful, and easily accessible. For a four- week period in October/November, more vaccinated people per 100 000 over the age of thirty were becoming infected than were unvaccinated people. On 9 November, when the under eighteen age group is excluded, seventy six percent of reported Covid cases had been vaccinated. The most recent figures, however, show that infections in those over seventy are higher for the unvaccinated than the vaccinated, which is probably linked to the uptake of third booster shots. Hospitalization and deaths remain higher among the unvaccinated, but Public Health England cautions that other unknown variables may play a part in illness and deaths. Among those tested, more people have antibodies than have had the virus.
High rates of infection are conspicuous in other European countries where two thirds or more of the population have been vaccinated. In Portugal, where ninety percent of people have been double vaccinated, a provisional analysis (still subject to confirmation) suggests that the country may have more new cases per day per million of its population than does South Africa.
From their recent Lancet editorial, it appears that local scientists acknowledge that these virus variants are likely to arise in what they term ‘a high transmission, environment’ where vaccine coverage was high. What seems obvious is that, whether vaccinated or not, it is masks, social distancing and cleanliness that are the crucial weapons in the war against Covid-19.
Divided scientific opinion, Big Pharma, and more questions than answers
Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier is among leading overseas virologists and immunologist who have raised questions about potential problems with the rapid vaccine roll out (he has also been misquoted about it). He (and others) takes issue with the short duration of trials compared with norms about the years required for testing vaccine safety. He is vindicated by a recent article in the British Medical Journal which confirms that the Pfizer trial used to gain permission for the American roll-out falsified data and failed to follow up on adverse events. He also believes that mass vaccination could drive more harmful mutations of the virus. There has been one mutation after another in the year since roll-out, but there is no way of knowing whether they are vaccine linked. Particularly worrying, though, is his warning that these vaccines, unlike most others we are familiar with, are associated with Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE). ADE leads to vaccine-induced antibodies which rapidly decrease, facilitating further infection. In August 2021, the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) warned that they were seeing reduced protection against moderate infection, and that even protection against severe disease and hospitalization could diminish (italics added). We thus become increasing vaccine-dependent, which could conceivably compromise our own immune systems. Nor is there any consensus on the long-term consequences of nanotechnology used in the biotech vaccines, for adverse events (as with asbestos) could manifest only many years later. Recent epigenetic revelations about intracellular influences on DNA transcription processes also pose unanswered questions. As prominent physicist Paul Davies puts it in The Demon in the Machine, his brilliant attempt to link quantum physics, information theory and biological processes, ‘Cells are beginning to look like bottomless pits of complexity’.
Few of these issues are publicly debated in South Africa. and even medical doctors who raise their voices against prevailing orthodoxy are ridiculed as ‘anti-vaxxers’ or conspiracists. Like those of scientists labelled ‘denialists’ in South Africa in the 1990s because they differed in their views about HIV, the important questions the so-called conspiracist doctors raise remain unanswered. It should also be borne in mind that experts who exert influence on health policy have an ethical duty to disclose any conflict of interest linked to funding they receive, which does not seem to happen. There were no screaming headlines about the whistleblower revelations about Pfizer trial fraud – described by a British doctor as ‘devastating’ – despite it being published in a prestigious journal. (While not mentioned in the BMJ article, they had also allegedly embargoed a Japanese rodent study which suggested that mRNA vaccine particles are not as short-lived in bodies as the manufacturers claim). Nor have vaccine-related adverse events and deaths elsewhere, including in the American Pfizer trials on children, received much attention, despite the local drive to vaccinate teenagers. (children’s immune systems are usually stronger than those of adults). Another problem is the apparent lack of choice of vaccines for children, as some people find the familiar modified virus type of vaccine more acceptable than those using biotechnology. Should we not be very worried about reports that three Vietnamese children have died, and dozens have been hospitalized, following Pfizer jabs? Should we not also ask whether our government’s failure to ensure that there is full investigation of apparently vaccine-related deaths has anything to do with avoiding potential liability claims on the South African fiscus? While details of agreements signed by the government with vaccine providers remain secret (which is unacceptable in a constitutional democracy), they reportedly include a liability waver against the manufacturers.
Why are businesses and scientists encouraging the march of authoritarianism in South Africa?
On different continents, large crowds are protesting about their governments using Covid-19 as an excuse to abuse their power, and telling them that ‘enough is enough’ In South Africa, despite government heavy-handedness and abuses during lockdowns, and bans on tobacco and alcohol sales which saw police and other government employees among those continuing to sell these products, business leaders and others are actively demanding that government curtail one of the most fundamental of our freedoms – for health and life are intertwined – and for no good reason, since vaccination does not stop transmission. Have they forgotten how dysfunctional and corruption-riddled our health system is? A case in point relates to the responsibility of the then MEC for Health in KZN for the painful, preventable, deaths of countless hundreds of cancer patiens, because of gross corruption in oncology procurement. Despite prima facie evidence of his having breached the Anti-Corruption legislation, the SAHRC, the Hawks, and the ANC have covered up for him, and he has been rewarded with promotion to the position of Deputy Minister of Health. Is it not madness to even consider giving this government even more power over us than it already has?
Mandatory vaccination for Covid-19 is a slippery slope for, should it be made law, an extremely dangerous precedent would be set, especially as global warming promises further outbreaks of dangerous diseases. Have the lessons of apartheid’s chemical warfare programme not been learnt? When the National Health Act, which makes informed consent for any medical procedure mandatory, was passed, those Nazi-Germany-type abuses were fresh in people’s minds, even though the TRC hearings had been embargoed (and attempts to declassify them, and other material, had been, stopped by the apartheid generals). While key perpetrators were named, but never brought to justice, countless others working covertly in laboratories were never even publicly identified, and no steps were taken to ensure that any such activities stopped. The stripping away of informed consent for any medical procedures, and a lack of transparency – which is already an increasingly serious problem – could well facilitate similar abuses in the future.
Dare we hope that common sense will prevail, and that medical doctors supporting mandatory vaccination will revisit the oath they took to first do no harm?