Hi, I’m Dr. Chad Larson. I just want to throw a little light on those who feel like they’re being bullied into getting what I’ll call the “pandemic shot.” They’re being bullied by their family and friends, by their work, and maybe even their doctors and healthcare providers. They’re bringing these concerns to me, and it’s an issue. A lot of people feel like they’re being forced to do something that they really don’t want to do. There are some valid reasons why somebody might be a little bit hesitant. The category they’re being put into is hesitant, as opposed to just trying to gather more information. Maybe they’ll end up getting the pandemic shot, maybe they won’t. There is the one box that they are calling “anti-vaxxers” and the industry has given up trying to convince them, but they’re putting heavy pressure on those who are “vaccine hesitant”.
Obviously, some people have made what I’d hope is an informed decision, and they’ve already gotten the pandemic shot. But for those who are in the “hesitant” category, there is quite a lot of pressure in a way that is probably not appropriate in some cases, and completely inappropriate in other cases. So I came up with a pretty long list of quite logical reasons that some hesitancy is acceptable. But let’s just talk about five.
Right at the top is informed consent. This is a really big one. Any time somebody’s considering a medical procedure, informed consent is right at the top of the list. As healthcare providers, we learn on day one that informed consent is extremely important. The patient has to know what the risks are, and that’s just not happening in the case of the pandemic shot. There isn’t comprehensive informed consent and that’s a problem.
-Dr. Chad Larson
Part of this problem is with some guidelines that come from the FDA. We’re supposed to know with a procedure like this, with a shot like this, that there is a statistic called relative risk reduction. And everybody’s been told that one. For one of the pharmaceutical companies that make the mRNA, it’s about 95.1% effectiveness, and the other one is 94.1% effectiveness — this is the relative risk reduction (RRR). From an efficacy standpoint, that sounds really good. But there’s a whole other statistic that tells a different story. It’s called absolute risk reduction (ARR), and these are 1.1%, and 0.7%. The difference is that absolute risk is more your real world chance of getting the worse outcome of the pandemic. So, those are different statistics, and most people are not being told those statistics at all.
Also there’s the question of what the studies show that the pandemic shot helped to do. It wasn’t to prevent death, although somehow that’s the story that’s being told. The benefit of the shot is to have milder symptoms. If a person does get infected, and they do develop symptoms, the pandemic shot really helps toward an outcome of milder symptoms. But the story has been kind of conflated in a way that isn’t what the studies show. These are informed consent reasons why some hesitancy is appropriate, and informed consent is very, very important when it comes to a pretty significant medical decision.
Another thing is the death statistics. There are death statistics, case statistics, and infection statistics. On the last check in the US, there had been about 603,000 deaths, and about 33.5 million cases reported. But what we don’t know is the infections. Out of deaths, cases, and infections, what we don’t have yet are the statistics on infections, until just recently. Within the last couple of days, there was a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, sharing findings of sero-surveys. “Sero” means testing blood samples, serum. There’s going to be a lot of sero-surveys over the next couple of years to gain a deeper understanding of how many people actually got infected. Whether or not they develop symptoms is a whole different situation; that would be case rates. And then the number of people who died, those are death rates. But the infection rate is really important because that’s what tells us the death rate as a true percentage of those getting infected. The numbers that we have now are not accurate because they don’t really account for the infection rate.
And the researcher in this latest study out of Science says that we really should take the case number and multiply it by five. So, take 33.5 million positive cases, multiply by five, and that’s the actual infection rate. That takes us up to nearly 168 million people infected. If we match that to 603,000 deaths, then the death statistics go down from 1.7% to .35%. That’s a really, really significant difference in the chance of death. And some epidemiologists actually say that at the end of this we’re going to be multiplying by ten or fifteen, not five as this paper suggests. But this is the earliest paper that I’ve seen so far with the sero surveys. And even multiplying by five makes a pretty significant difference because a 0.35% chance risk of dying is just a little bit higher than most years of the annual flu. So, to completely shut down the country and to bully people into the pandemic shot may not be appropriate considering these statistics because we’re not doing that with the flu. So from a hesitancy standpoint, that’s relatively appropriate,
Then we consider that the case definitions have changed over time. And unless you’re looking for this information, it’s not going to be explained in the mainstream media that there’s something that happens with the testing procedure, the PCR test, called cycling threshold. And if the cycling threshold is at a certain level, you can actually detect non-infectious, viral particles. You can take a very small component and through the PCR process, polymerase chain reaction, you can really increase that quantity to look for a certain amount of viral particle, and it’s quite sensitive. It’s amazing how they can find such a tiny amount of viral particle. But unfortunately they can find non-infectious, viral particles. A person may have such a small amount that there’s no way that they can develop symptoms themselves, and it’s unlikely they’re going to be spreading such a tiny amount of viral particle. So some of these cases that were described statistically probably weren’t really true pandemic viral death. A lot of these statistical deaths that were blamed on the pandemic virus were probably from other causes, but because the cycling threshold was set at a certain point, it picked up viral particles that were highly unlikely to actually be infectious and the true cause of death.
Within the death statistics, the numbers that I just talked about are assuming that it’s all accurate. But number three on the list is this cycling threshold. And I’ll also say that in this category of things to consider is the changing case definitions over time. That can really skew the statistics as well. Again, these are things that I think reasonable people think about, and they should be part of our overall decision making process.
Another one is that this vaccine, in technical terms, is unprecedented. It’s an unproven shot, a technology that’s never been done before. Some people love being early adopters when it comes to these things, and that’s awesome. They’re the ones first in line, and fighting to get their pandemic shot, and that’s awesome. Hopefully they made their own independent informed decision about it to the best of their ability, and that’s awesome. But again, for those who are falling in that kind of bullied hesitant group, it’s completely acceptable that you’re a little hesitant about something that’s never existed prior to a few months ago. Any kind of medical procedure, anything that’s going to get injected into your body, you want to feel like you fully understand it. And here’s the thing. This is not approved by the FDA. Remember, the current usage is under emergency use authorization. This is unapproved, so to have some hesitancy about something that’s completely new technology and currently not approved by the FDA, I think is appropriate.
Another concern that some people have shared with me is about how so many treatments for the pandemic virus have been suppressed. These are pharmaceutical treatments as well as natural medicine treatments. The thought is that maybe certain institutions, certain powers that be, really want to make sure that they get as many people as they can to get the pandemic shot. They have to suppress other treatments that would maybe get in the way of that pandemic shot reaching the greatest number of people. So that’s sort of number five on the list of acceptable, and I think, logical and appropriate reasons to have some hesitancy.
It doesn’t mean that people who are hesitant might not take all this information and go ahead and get the pandemic shot, and that’s all good. The whole purpose, the whole point that we all want to consider, and this is the message that I give my patients who ask me about it, is to make informed decisions. Take each case individually and consider all the details. I hope this helps those who feel like they’re being bullied. It’s perfectly appropriate to consider some of these topics and there are many other ones that can be considered as well. So, hopefully that’s helpful. I will keep reading the studies, and keep bringing the information to the best of my ability. Until then, keep it real.