Covid-19 News

  • I'd recommend you all read this article carefully. Treat it as a critical thinking test.


    (1) What facts do you get from it?

    (2) What bearing do those facts (alone) have on your views as to whether the known side effects of COVID vaccines in the US are over or under reported by CDC?

    (3) Why?


    It is, from my POV, a masterpiece of contentless spin. Strongly indicating that there are problems with the vaccine not acknowledged by the authorities on zero evidence.


    I know that it bores people here: but the fact that some find it worthwhile and interesting to post such contentless and yet also, in terms of implication, harmful distortions, means it is maybe worth presenting the reason why they are that.


    I have not done that in detail with this one - it is so contentless - but should anyone feel it has any content (even slightly) that means something I will investigate further.

  • It is, from my POV, a masterpiece of contentless spin. Strongly indicating that there are problems with the vaccine not acknowledged by the authorities on zero evidence.

    Exactly! At first glance it seems to say something is wrong. But it is actually only indirectly implying there may be a problem. Sort of. You have to look at the data at a 35.4 degree angle under the light from a full moon at midnight. In a month with "R" in it.

  • The CDC has stated that based on a review of the relevant information, including the death certificates, medical records, etc., the agency has declared that there are no causal links between the reports and the vaccine. Hence the federal government is on record that there are no direct ties between the events.

    Wrong start of the sentence: The Free mason Rotary CDC round table has stated... ... Reason:: To protect fraudulent vaccine business of Pfizer,...


    You have to compare those 12,313 deaths to a similar group of people in an ordinary year who were not vaccinated.

    The control group is the 2020 flu vaccinated cohort of same size as the CoV-19 cohort. Guess what the CoV_19/flu vaccine death ratio is??

    Dr. Dvir Aran, an expert in health statistics from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, said he is concerned the Health Ministry is using “bad research” and allowing it to be presented without context.

    “The problems aren’t with the vaccine, they are with the data,” he said, branding as “false” the conclusions in the latest data and other research on how well the vaccine prevents infection.

    One more Pfizer agent?? A patient that is admitted to hospital is a seriously ill patient per definition, else he could be treated at home.

    But as usual no details are given. Small drop in Oxygen! Is this down to 90% 85% 80% ???

    The doctor of my uncle also thought whether he should send him with 89..90% to a hospital. Especially as he did use untested herbal medicament plus V-D, zinc.... But he still could walk up 4 stairs and never had any progress in symptoms...


    The vaccine mafia silently did change the agenda from 95% full protection to 90% asymtomatic protection to 80% protection from serious illness and soon -last resort / for 90% from death... the last stage of crap.

    Remember Ivermectin gives at least 98% protection from death.

    These victims are so ill educated they do not understand things I was taught in grade school. How can they "do their own research"!?! Telling them to figure this out for themselves is like handing a loaded gun to a small child.

    That's why Ivermectin for horses has apple candy taste...

    May be it's good for America to kill people in a hospital - without treatment. A system is always as bad as the ones that tolerate it.

  • Understandable they went after this homeopath, but I feel very uncomfortable with some of the DOJ's wording in the charges against her. This is a good example:


    Steering through the challenges presented by COVID-19 requires trust and reliance on our medical professionals to provide sage information and guidance,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California. “According to the complaint, instead of disseminating valid remedies and information, Juli Mazi profited from unlawfully peddling unapproved remedies, stirring up false fears, and generating fake proof of vaccinations. We will act to protect trust in the medical developments that are enabling us to emerge from the problems presented by the pandemic.


    Vague enough, that if the DOJ wanted to, they could easily expand the meaning of, and intent, beyond the obvious criminal acts of the homeopath, to include what we have debated here. They formed a large "COVID Task Force" to combat "fraud"...only, according to this press release:


    Attorney General Announces Task Force to Combat COVID-19 Fraud
    U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today directed the establishment of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the…
    www.justice.gov

  • FLCCC weekly update


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  • Vague enough, that if the DOJ wanted to, they could easily expand the meaning of, and intent, beyond the obvious criminal acts of the homeopath, to include what we have debated here.

    No, they cannot. Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. can only arrest or prosecute people for acts that the Congress and other lawmakers have designated are crime. Not just "obvious" criminal acts, but criminal acts designated as such by law. They cannot invent new crimes themselves. Homeopathy is legal, so they have to allow it. Where selling cannabis is legal, they cannot arrest you for it. Off-label use of ivermectin by doctors is legal, so no doctor can be arrested for it.


    There is an avalanche of quack cures, unemployment benefit fraud, and other illegal activity related to COVID. Law enforcement agencies have their hands full. They do not have time to go after imaginary crimes, unethical behavior, or the sort of things we have discussed here. See:


    FBI Urges Vigilance During COVID-19 Pandemic | Federal Bureau of Investigation
    As the United States and the world deal with the ongoing pandemic, the FBI’s national security and criminal investigative work continues. There are threats you…
    www.fbi.gov


    By far the worst crime relating to COVID are the acts by Fox News, the GOP and the ghoulish Death Cult Fanatics here. They are lying to uneducated fools, telling them that the vaccine does not work. This is killing ~300 people per day. That's ~100,000 Republicans per year. (Many fewer Democrats, fortunately.) I assume they do this at Fox News to boost their profit by 0.1%. The GOP is doing it to "own the libs" and boost their chances in midterm elections, although in the last few days some GOP politicians have noticed they are killing off their own voters, and they have started to backpedal. Anyway, lying to the public and killing people with misinformation is legal, and I am sure it will remain legal, as long as you are not a doctor and you have no legal or professional obligation to tell the truth. So there is no chance these Merchants of Death will be held accountable.


    (There is some confusion about the legality of killing people by lying about vaccines. In the U.S., it is protected by the First Amendment. Many forms of speech such as libel are not protected, but this one is. The government cannot stop you. However, Facebook is under no obligation to publish such lies. It is a private organization, not governed by the First Amendment. Any news organization can also choose to print the truth, or to publish nothing but lies, the way they do on Fox News. Any website, including this one or LENR-CANR.org, can choose to publish these lies, or not to publish them.)



    By the way, people who are 100% certain that homeopathy is a quack cure, with no scientific evidence, should read about Jacques Benveniste. THH thinks that homeopathy might work by the placebo effect. I do not think so, because I do not think the placebo effect exists. It was invented in the 1940s or 50s as I recall, and it is an error in statistics. The people who invented it failed to note that no treatment at all (not even going to a doctor or taking any medication) has the same results and cure rate as a placebo. In other words, the placebo itself does nothing. It has no positive or negative impact on the prognosis. When the placebo effect was first proposed many statisticians pointed out this error, including my late mother. The error has been rediscovered in recent years:


    Is the Placebo Powerless? — An Analysis of Clinical Trials Comparing Placebo with No Treatment


    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200105243442106


    See also:


    Study: Placebos Really Don't Work


    (Interestingly, intercessory prayer does have an impact on the prognosis of a serious illness, but only if you tell the patient someone is praying for him. It sometimes causes a worse outcome, probably because the patient worries that the illness must be serious if someone is praying for him. It has never caused a better outcome, in any study. The effect is small, because in general, a patient's attitude and optimism or pessimism has no impact on the prognosis or development of disease. (See, for example: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/opinion/25sloan.html) Increased fear and nervous tension caused by things like prayer or an upcoming operation can have a small negative impact. Attitude can contribute to a better outcome with behavioral diseases such as obesity and drug addiction, but not organic ones such as cancer.)

  • Anyway, lying to the public and killing people with misinformation is legal, and I am sure it will remain legal, as long as you are not a doctor and you have no legal or professional obligation to tell the truth.

    This is a complicated legal issue. Long ago I knew an Extremely Stupid Person. We're talking world-class stupid. He claimed there is no need to change the oil in an automobile. He said they sell you oil every few months but it is a scam. A waste of money. Naturally, one day his car engine ran out of oil, seized up, and was destroyed. If that fellow had been a mechanic, and he had told his customers, "you don't need oil" he would have been in trouble. I do not know if that would be illegal, but I am sure they would fire him and revoke his mechanic's license. Whereas if he told me that as a barstool blowhard, and I destroyed my own car, he could not be held accountable. This was long before the internet. Nowadays, millions of people can give you equally bad advice about any subject. They can, and they do. Unfortunately, many people cannot tell the difference between dangerous advice and good advice. This problem has been aggravated by the growing mistrust of authority in recent decades.


    One of the first victims of this social trend of distrusting authorities were the cold fusion scientists. They were experts, and they followed the rules and published in peer reviewed journals. Unfortunately, most of the public ignored them and believed the stuff written by idiots such as Morrison and Taubes, and by know-nothing reporters. The lesson of cold fusion is that experts are right; science works; peer-review and other institutions can be trusted. People think it is the opposite, but people are wrong. Often. Because they do not do their homework, and they try to "do their own research" -- a godawful suggestion for 99% of the population.


    By the way, you don't actually have to have a license to fix cars in Georgia, which is frightening:


    Georgia Automotive Mechanic Certification Requirements - ASE Certification Training HQ
    Georgia Mechanic's Licenses can Boost your Career and Earn You More Money! Click to learn more about Georgia mechanic requirements today!
    asecertificationtraining.com


    I am sure the mechanics at a mainstream dealer in Atlanta have licenses. The ones I know told me that.

  • THH thinks that homeopathy might work by the placebo effect. I do not think so, because I do not think the placebo effect exists. It was invented in the 1940s or 50s as I recall, and it is an error in statistics. The people who invented it failed to note that no treatment at all (not even going to a doctor or taking any medication) has the same results and cure rate as a placebo.

    Actually I will agree with you - almost completely. looking at the current evidence:

    • The way people feel is powerful, and can alter perception of chronic pain and many similar things.
    • The placebo effect in terms of mind effect on physical disease seems to have no evidnece.

    There can be indirect effects - e.g. the way someone feels changes, they alter exercise patterns, that changes immune response and (potentially) allows a cancer to be in remission, etc.


    I'm happy to change my views should there be any evidence.

  • Long ago I knew an Extremely Stupid Person. We're talking world-class stupid. He claimed there is no need to change the oil in an automobile. He said they sell you oil every few months but it is a scam. A waste of money. Naturally, one day his car engine ran out of oil, seized up, and was destroyed.

    That is actually a great parallel for much of the COVID misinformation "you don't need a vaccine, COVID is no worse than the Flu".


    Your ESP probably would still not believe car oil needed to be changed. He has no trust in experts, perhaps believes some internet site that has convincing stories about the evil oil-selling mafia. Maybe even that new oil contains an aditive designed to sedate drivers and make them more amenable to suggestion by an overbearing State.


    He would find reasons to explain away his or anyone else's car seizing up - other than the oil.

    • New
    • Official Post

    I would be careful with this one. People are digging into this story, and apparently some things do not add up.

  • The way people feel is powerful, and can alter perception of chronic pain and many similar things.

    Perception, yes. However, feelings do not appear to affect the outcome of serious disease. That's what some studies show. There has not been much research so it could be wrong. It is widely believed that a positive attitude itself directly contributes to good health, by some sort of mind-over-matter mechanism, but there have not been many rigorous tests to see if that is true, and the tests so far indicate it isn't true.


    Strictly from an evolutionary standpoint, it seems unlikely. If an optimistic attitude improved your chances of survival, then over millions of years, pessimistic people would go extinct. Yet here they are, still with us. Okay, that is an oversimplification, like saying that homosexuality should have gone extinct ages ago, because homosexuals do not often reproduce. It is more complicated than that.


    Attitude helps in obvious ways such as when depressed people buck up and take their medicine. Or, as I said, in behavioral diseases such as obesity or addiction. (In my opinion these are diseases, just as much as any other, but they are caused by behavior rather than, say, a virus.)


    There are also large differences in cultures and in eras. Decades ago, Japanese people were expected to be stoics. That was the cultural norm. They were not supposed to complain about disease or painful conditions. WWII vets were expected to shut up and not burden society with PTSD. In my experience, many people met these norms, even people who were not naturally inclined to be stoical. Nowadays, not so much.


    There can be indirect effects - e.g. the way someone feels changes, they alter exercise patterns, that changes immune response and (potentially) allows a cancer to be in remission, etc.

    That would be a change to behavior, like the example I just gave, where someone in a more positive state of mind takes his medicine. Or, as you say, exercises, which has a beneficial effect. As you say it is "indirect" or "secondary." It can be triggered by a change in attitude. Or it might be triggered by better insurance coverage, or marrying a rich person who pays for good nursing, or marrying a Canadian, or by your wife nagging you to take your medicine. Many changes in circumstances can help recovery.

  • I would be careful with this one. People are digging into this story, and apparently some things do not add up.

    Well, even if it is apocryphal, there are COUNTLESS similar news stories on record with videos of the doctors, patients and widows saying the same things. There is no doubt what she says is happening. A large fraction of the public believes the kind of thing the patients supposedly said, that it is a hoax or "just the flu." Heck, the Death Cult Fanatics right here say that constantly.


    COVID is killing 300 people a day, and it will soon be killing more, as the Delta variant spreads. Every one of the patients resisted getting the vaccine. Every one of them is sick or dying because they are idiots, or because they put politics and "owning the libs" ahead of their own lives and the lives and safety of their families. There is no doubt whatever that only 34% of the people in Alabama have been vaccinated, which means history will consider the other 66% to be suicidal lunatics, like the Japanese who insisted they should still fight the war even after the atomic bombs were dropped.


    Even if this story is not true, the reality of thousands of people dying every week because of fanatical political beliefs and right-wing GOP lies is right before your eyes, and more astounding than Dr. Cobia's report.


    Getting the disease does bring sanity to many people. Very few people who get seriously sick or die still believe that it was a good idea not to get vaccinated. Although there are few! Here's one, right on video. This is even worse than what Dr. Cobia reported:


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  • ivermectin in South Africa/Zimbabwe..

    unlikely to be reported in the Western media..


    Jackie Stone ivm at 600 mcg/kg in severe Covid... and much higher...

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  • Nach knapp 75 Mio. Impfungen: PEI meldet 10.000 schwere Impfreaktionen und über 1.000 Tote
    Thrombosen, Herzentzündungen, Blutungen, und mehr: Das Paul-Ehrlich-Institut meldet für das erste Halbjahr nach knapp 75 Millionen Impfungen 107.000…
    de.rt.com


    Germany June vaccination summary:: Nach knapp 75 Mio. Impfungen: PEI meldet 10.000 schwere Impfreaktionen und über 1.000 Tote


    About 37 mio fully vaccinated people so far 10'000 severe reactions = durable damage and > 1000 (1028 end of June) death. So Germany is in the world bandwidth of 20..40/mio vaccinated deaths with 27 death/mio disclosed. Also here it's assumed that at most 1/10 of the cases have been reported.


    Total Vaccines Pfizer 54'970'000 Astra 11'570'000 Moderna 6'470'000 J&H 3'060'000

    Total damages Pfizer 49'700 Astra 39'400 Moderna 15'150 J&H 3'060


    Source of data: Paul Ehrlich Instistute = the top German site for infectious diseases. About 8 month ago I sent them a "complaint" because they did spread single sided provaxx info. I did propose them to rename the Paul Ehrlich institute to Dr. Mengele Institute...

    RT.DE is the largest media group in Europe.


    Other facts::


    Worst vaccine :: Astra Second place Pfizer

    Most blood disorder/cloths deaths :: Absolute :: Pfizer 143 ; Astra 48 Moderna 5 . So moderna is here best. 3x better than Pfizer 5x better than Astra



    Bleeding (most nonstop menstrual):: Pfizer 31 death Astra 12 moderna 2 (these are absolute figures - moderna best)

  • There is no doubt whatever that only 34% of the people in Alabama have been vaccinated, which means history will consider the other 66% to be suicidal lunatics, like the Japanese who insisted they should still fight the war even after the atomic bombs were dropped.

    That should be food for thought for Americans. Many Americans who lived through WWII or look back on it think we would never be as crazy as the Japanese were. We would never be so fanatical. They say things like: "Why didn't they surrender after we burned Tokyo? We would never be so fanatical. We would never have kamikaze suicide planes." We don't say -- but I think we agree -- that the U.S. would surrender rather than see dozens or hundreds of cities destroyed by atomic bombs, whereas it is well known that some militarists in Japan wanted to fight on.


    The conventional and atomic bomb attacks killed ~400,000 people in Japan. The army and militarist fascists in charge of the government did not give a damn about that. They would have killed another 400,000 more, or 4 million, if the Emperor had not put his foot down and ordered them to stop. Their only concern was their own political power.


    After the war, ordinary people looked around and wondered what had gotten into themselves. Why had they made this terrible sacrifice? As one of them put it, "here we were attacking other people's countries, and for what???" What possible benefit could there be in occupying China and killing millions of people there? None. If they had negotiated an end to the war in China in 1941, the U.S. would have ended the embargo and there would be no need for them to attack Pearl Harbor. Anyone could see they were going to have withdraw from China sooner or later.


    And . . . now we see with COVID that American GOP leaders are just as willing to kill our own people as the Japanese militarists were. They stood by and did nothing while 500,000 people died for no reason. It could have been prevented for the cost of surgical masks and a few public service announcements by Trump and others. Other countries had 30 to 100 times fewer deaths per capita. Now they encourage their followers to die at the rate of 100,000 a year. 66% of the people in Alabama are as just as crazy as the Japanese population was. Just as willing to follow their leaders into hell. And for no reason!


    The GOP is happy to kill hundreds of thousands or even millions more people in the service of politics. Trivial, short term politics! Goals that have no benefit to anyone, like occupying China. To "own the libs," or win the next election, or to make a little more profit on Fox News. Mainly to preserve their own power, like the Japanese militarists. They are killing hundreds of thousands of people for reasons that will seem utterly trivial and insane in a few years.

  • The conventional and atomic bomb attacks killed ~400,000 people in Japan. The army and militarist fascists in charge of the government did not give a damn about that. They would have killed another 400,000 more, or 4 million, if the Emperor had not put his foot down and ordered them to stop. Their only concern was their own political power.

    This is exactly what happens in US, Europe now. The FM/R/XXX/B mafia kills Millions of people just to win the vaccine war. Be sure at the end all cats need vaccines too and even your Ficus...


    To buy food you need the weekly vaccine update same as your PC anti virus software needs it Thanks to the famous Bill bloodsucker gates that sells bugs as features...


    The viral age is coming the Ivermectinium is going...

  • The forum continues with the lodge members doing their job for their masters. Other than threat of ever leaving, I hope they serve some good food at the lodge?


    I've talked offline to many people, 70 year olds not having left the house for 18 months, literally afraid. The vaccine death cult has really done a number on the minds of people! Trudeau has 35 million boosters for next year, 30 million for 2023, and 60 million for 2024 on order... I guess they expect 5 million people less will "want it" in 2023?

  • COVID has risks

    COVID vaccines have risks


    unfortunately, balancing risk and choosing the lowest risk alternative, is not something humans tend to do.


    Those on this thread who continually hammer away at the (not certain) vaccine risks know this. Or perhaps they don't know this, but they are in the grip of the same psychological truth.


    I must be unusual - I am equally interested in COVID risks and vaccine risks - I try to compare them - though I don't claim I can do this with much certainty.


    But the health authorities are in a real bind. A precise estimate of COVID vaccine risks (which cannot now honestly be done, because they are still uncertain) would just convince people not to get vaccinated against their own personal interest



    Everyone on this thread understands with their mind that they should be comparing risks. But I believe from posts here that many are mostly motivated by perceived vaccine risk, in particular where uncertainties in risk are interpreted as much more damaging than the equally strong uncertainties in COVID risks, which are ignored.


    Fearing the disease or the vaccine: The case of COVID-19
    As studies indicate that people perceive COVID-19 as a threatening disease, the demand for a vaccine against the disease could be expected to be high.…
    www.sciencedirect.com

    • COVID-19 is perceived as a threatening disease.
    • The perceived risks of COVID-19 play a minor role for vaccination intentions.
    • COVID-19 vaccination intentions are strongly related to perceived vaccine safety.

    As studies indicate that people perceive COVID-19 as a threatening disease, the demand for a vaccine against the disease could be expected to be high. Vaccine safety concerns might nevertheless outweigh the perceived disease risks when an individual decides whether or not to accept the vaccine. We investigated the role of perceived risk of COVID-19 (i.e., perceived likelihood of infection, perceived disease severity, and disease-related worry) and perceived safety of a prospective vaccine against COVID-19 in predicting intentions to accept a COVID-19 vaccine. Three Finnish samples were surveyed: 825 parents of small children, 205 individuals living in an area with suboptimal vaccination coverage, and 1325 Facebook users nationwide. As points of reference, we compared the perceptions of COVID-19 to those of influenza and measles. COVID-19 was perceived as a threatening disease—more so than influenza and measles. The strongest predictor of COVID-19 vaccination intentions was trusting the safety of the potential vaccine. Those perceiving COVID-19 as a severe disease were also slightly more intent on taking a COVID-19 vaccine. Informing the public about the safety of a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine should be the focus for health authorities aiming to achieve a high vaccine uptake.


    Those who campaign to reduce vaccine uptake, like W here, also seek to minimise perception of COVID risks. Thus claiming that ivermectin will protect you is one way to do this - claiming that the real risks of COVID are not as they really are, or that delta is lower lethality than alpha (when all the evidence is that is the same or worse) - does this.


    It is ironic that they don't really need to do this. All they need is people to have a perception of high risk associated with the vaccine. That is enough to keep vaccination rates in places like Alabama low.


    What I do here - which is to look honestly at vaccine risks, is thus maybe killing some of you. This, for me, is a real bind. I don't think I can post dishonestly about vaccine risks, and they interest me. - unfortunately unless you count every death temporally associated with a vaccine as causally related - something we know overestimates deaths enormously - they will remain not easy to determine for sure. So just, to ease my conscience, try hard to do that risk comparison, rather than the more common human response of being controlled by perceived vaccine risk. And try hard to remember that the vaccine risk uncertainty is balanced by COVID risk uncertainty.


    One of the things about PR is that uncertainty - and balancing uncertainties - do not convince people. A passionate and continued effort to claim that the whole world is controlled by a Mafia downplaying vaccine risks and thereby killing 100s or 1000s of people is a simple and certain message. Easy to sell. A careful age-related comparison of known and unknown risks between vaccine and COVID - with the certainty that as more information comes in it will change - is the best we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Most people delegate that job to their physicians and the regulators, wisely knowing they would do it badly. Social media and expert mistrust has eroded that, to the disadvantage of everyone in situations like this. Blindly trusting medical experts is not helpful - and doctors have moved away from the doctor as a godlike figure who tells you what to do. But if you cannot trust good advice from a doctor you are accepting a role as a personal evaluator of medical papers that none of us are well-prepared to do. If you trust your favourite pseudo-experts on fringe web sites over your doctor you are at risk.


    One factor that has now changed - with delta - is the risk of COVID infection. Previously you could reckon that with care and living in a relatively isolated place you have a very good chance of not being infected for a year or so, after which maybe treatment will be better, risks of vaccines more understood, etc. Now if you reckon a 90% chance of staying COVID free, that only makes at most a 10X change in COVID risk for the luxury of delaying a decision - which is maybe 18 years of age equivalent risk change since COVID mortality is age related (long COVID maybe not). And we do not judge that well - we tend to think "it is unlikely - it will not happen".


    Anyway that is no longer a valid argument. Delta is so very infectious that everyone who is not a hermit disinfecting all food and living alone will either catch COVID or be vaccinated. In some cases both - but the risks of severe COVID or death look much much smaller if you catch it when vaccinated. The risks of COVID, for those in their 60s, remain quite low, maybe 1-2% mortality and 10-20% some nasty long-term effects. That is of course 100s of time higher than even the most pessimistic worst case risks from any of the vaccines.


    Why is it so hard to investigate the rare side effects of COVID vaccines?
    For the vast majority of people, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. But further research is needed to understand the causes of rare adverse events.
    www.nature.com

    Why is it so hard to investigate the rare side effects of COVID vaccines?

    For the vast majority of people, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. But further research is needed to understand the causes of rare adverse events.


    In mid-March, several European countries paused distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine made by the University of Oxford, UK, and the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, following reports that some people had developed blood-clotting disorders after receiving the jab.

    The decisions were based on a group of around 20 million vaccinated people in the United Kingdom and European Union, 25 of whom experienced serious blood clots associated with lowered platelet counts, resulting in 9 deaths. However, a review of the cases by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) could not say definitively whether the reported cases were linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, and concluded that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risk. The countries have since resumed vaccinations, although Germany has stopped giving the vaccine to those under 60 after its own safety-monitoring systems reported 31 severe blood clots in a group of 2.7 million vaccinated people.


    These events illustrate how fiendishly challenging it is to prove that a medical problem following immunization — known as an adverse event — was caused by the vaccine itself. Public-health officials must strike a “delicate balance” when communicating the risk of rare side effects alongside the dangers of severe COVID-19, says vaccinologist Kathryn Edwards at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Physicians worry about fuelling anti-vaccine movements that are already increasing vaccine hesitancy in some communities. At the same time, it is important not to dismiss the potential for rare but severe side effects until researchers can establish causality, a process that can take years.


    During the 2009 H1N1 influenza (or swine flu) pandemic, public-health agencies in Sweden and Finland raised the alarm about an increased rate of narcolepsy — a chronic and debilitating sleep disorder — in children who had received a dose of Pandemrix, an H1N1 vaccine.


    Incidents of narcolepsy were reported at a rate of about one case per 18,400 vaccine doses, significantly higher than would be expected by chance2. Public-health officials became concerned that a component of the vaccine used to increase the body’s immune response, called an adjuvant, could cause an unintended immune response that triggered the disease. If the adjuvant did contribute to the increased risk of narcolepsy, it would be an important consideration when designing future vaccines. Early studies suggested that Pandemrix did increased the risk of narcolepsy in certain age groups, but the results were too variable to draw broad conclusions.

    More than ten years after that pandemic ended, scientists still don’t fully agree about the nature of the link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy. In 2018, vaccinologist Steven Black at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio and a group of international colleagues published a study concluding that adjuvants alone are not associated with an increased risk of developing narcolepsy3.


    The researchers compared background rates of narcolepsy in seven countries with the rates reported for groups vaccinated with Pandemrix and two other H1N1 vaccines containing adjuvants. They controlled for prevalence of the H1N1 virus in each country, and considered that reports of narcolepsy increased across Europe after people became aware of its potential association with the vaccine. “We did not find any evidence of increased risk within the countries that we studied, except in Sweden where the signal had been originally detected,” Black says.


    However, a consensus report published after the International Alliance for Biological Standardization (IABS) 2018 meeting in Brussels concluded that the association between Pandemrix and narcolepsy was consistent in the countries where increased risk was reported4. An exact mechanism for the reaction has not been confirmed, although researchers at the meeting deemed it “very likely” that the disease arose from an unforeseen interaction between Pandemrix and the H1N1 virus, Black says.