In the context of the vaccine passport debate related to churches, it is concerning to see Christians suddenly joining politicians in asserting unvaccinated individuals are a danger to others given the paucity of evidence.
We see a Christian doctor, making the same bold claim on the basis of just two pre-print, also known as, non-peer-reviewed, articles that clearly state ‘not to be used as evidence to guide clinical practice and yet to be evaluated’.
It is, therefore, misleading to state as settled science, “In fact, … double vaccination reduces the chance of onward virus transmission by 40-60%” which is from one pre-delta study.
As we know, delta changed everything. The world is still reeling in shock from the large outbreaks in highly vaccinated countries, such as Israel, after the glib and erroneous April announcement from the director of the CDC claiming ‘vaccinated people do not carry the infection.’ This was followed by early indications that the viral load of vaccinated and unvaccinated is the same for delta and that there is very little difference in viral shedding between the two groups over time.
But our resident Christian doctor has no qualms stating categorically that: “The reason for reduced onward transmission is that there is significantly less virus detectable in vaccinated people.”
However, the very pre-print she quotes had already been updated at the time of her writing and clearly stated that waning vaccine efficacy even three months after vaccination meant that, “because during the current surge only a small fraction of the patients are within their initial 2 months post-vaccination period, considering the entire population as a whole, there is only a very little viral load difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups (0.26 [CI: 0.02-0.51], Figure 1b).”
So, unless you want boosters every five months indefinitely, despite key vaccine advisors stating boosters are too great a risk, the threat from the unvaccinated is highly questionable.
And all discussions to date are ignoring the fact that the unvaccinated will eventually encounter COVID, and, following infection, will then have natural immunity and not be a threat, but will still be threatened with every indication that, without large-scale public resistance as seen in the UK, vaccine passports in Australia look set to be long-term.
As for natural immunity, according to the world’s largest scale observational study of natural versus Pfizer-induced immunity that does deal with the delta strain, although is yet to be peer-reviewed, “Vaccinated individuals with no prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 had a 13.06-fold increased risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant. In addition, there was a 27-fold elevated risk for symptomatic COVID-19 compared to those with natural immunity.” This was qualified by the fact that in those first few months after vaccination, the increased risk for the vaccinated drops to only about a six-fold greater risk of breakthrough infection and about seven times the risk of symptomatic infection.
The double standard in all this should be obvious. If we are about to segregate a whole society based on precious little science, we might as well be taking ivermectin and throwing our masks in the bin. After all, “Seventeen treatment and prophylaxis studies were critically analysed (9 of which were Randomised Controlled Trials). Moderate Certainty Evidence” in RCTs showed IVM reduced death by an average of 83% (65-92. 95% confidence limits).”
Conversely, masks, are enforced despite the fact that “Randomized control trials have found little to no evidence that masks work to prevent viral transmission—either from the wearer to others or vice versa. In fact, some significant evidence from RCTs indicates that masks increase transmission [through constant touching of the mask]. … In attempting to justify the mask guidance on its website, the CDC has relied almost entirely on observational studies while studiously disregarding RCTs.” (For those still confused, surgeons wear masks to block the largest and heaviest aerosols that would naturally drop straight down and not pose a risk to those nearby but would pose a danger of bacteria getting into the open wound directly below the surgeon’s face.)
So, let’s take a look in detail at the transmission studies around – with one exception all pre-prints. The noteworthy thing about these studies/articles is that they basically fall into one or more of the following categories which makes them very weak indeed. So when you see claims, click on the link to the original study and see which category(s) the study falls into.
1. Small sample size (in these cases, under 200 individuals)
2. Competing interests being so great as to invalidate the study.
In the above China-based study, every researcher was receiving honorariums from the major vaccine companies.
3. Conclusions state that there was a difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated but failed to mention it was so slight as to be of little practical relevance – a matter of a couple of days more viral shedding in one instance (Kissler et al. above).
The Singapore Study concluded a faster decrease in viral shedding amongst the vaccinated but notably, there was almost no difference in the first six days when they were more likely to be asymptomatic and ‘dangerous’ and there was no information about how recent the vaccination was to note if the same results would occur a few months later with waning efficacy.
4. Studies pre-dating delta and so not relevant to the current situation.
V Shah AS, Gribben C, Bishop J, et al. Effect of vaccination on transmission of COVID-19: an observational study in healthcare workers and their households. medRxiv 2021: 2021.03.11.21253275.
Harris RJ, Hall JA, Zaidi A, Andrews NJ, Dunbar JK, Dabrera G. Effect of Vaccination on Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in England. New England Journal of Medicine 2021.
Regev-Yochay G, Amit S, Bergwerk M, et al. Decreased infectivity following BNT162b2 vaccination: A prospective cohort study in Israel. The Lancet Regional Health – Europe 2021; 7. This latter study was peer-reviewed.
5. Failing to highlight facts in the same study that actually showed the vaccinated could potentially be more of a real-world risk.
From the Singapore study again, “Importantly, people who had had both doses were significantly more likely to be asymptomatic, with 28.2 % of fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections showing no symptoms compared to only 9.2% of the unvaccinated group.”
In real terms, the unvaccinated are at home safely in bed with a fever and cough, while the vaccinated individual who is infected is more likely to be sitting next to you. So, arguably, the vaccinated are the greater threat in real life.
People then quickly prop up the argument with the idea that the vaccinated are less likely to become infected in the first place though. Again, there just isn’t the science to back this claim. In reality, vaccination doesn’t operate like an electric fence to keep out intruders but more like a flame retardant once the flames enter and you are infected. It can’t read your badge saying ‘vaccinated’.
Instead of simply accepting vaccine passports with the ethical and moral implications that such endemic paranoia and division will have for our society, not to mention that of greater enduring government surveillance of people’s every move, we, as Christians, concerned for people’s welfare, should be the first to be calling on our governments to quantify the relative risk (if any) posed by the unvaccinated before such a thing is even considered.
Politicians read the public mood. By our apparent unconcern and silent acquiescence, we give them the nod. If we think our chance of influence is slight then why are we not petitioning the King of kings in days of church-wide prayer and fasting and treating this as seriously as it deserves?