Vermont – The Most Vaccinated State – Sets Single Day COVID Case Record

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • A new paper in the European Journal of Epidemiology that analyzed 68 countries and 2,947 US counties found that higher vaccination rates were not associated with fewer COVID-19 cases.

    • Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country.

    • Among those 65 years and older, 99.9 percent are fully vaccinated, and 74 percent of those 18-64 are fully vaccinated in Vermont.

  • Reflect On:

    How effective are vaccines for reducing the transmission of COVID? Why is science that calls into question the effectiveness of COVID vaccines ignored and in some cases ridiculed?

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Data has emerged since the rollout of COVID vaccines regarding their effectiveness.

One key observation is the fact that the vaccines do not reduce transmission. Some scientists, like Johns Hopkins epidemiologists M. Kate Grabowski and Justin Lessler, argue that despite the fact that vaccinated individuals can still get and transmit the virus, the vaccines do indeed help reduce its transmission. Others aren’t so sure, and there’s data that explains their doubts.

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A new study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology looked at 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States and found no relation between vaccination level and fewer COVID cases. Perhaps this is why, despite having the highest vaccination rate in the country, Vermont recently set its single-day case record for the entire pandemic. Their seven-day average case rate was 30 per 100k.

99.9 percent of the citizens in Vermont over the age of 64 are fully vaccinated, and 74 percent between the ages of 18-64 are fully vaccinated according to the data.

This should come as no surprise, multiple studies have shown that COVID- 19 positive vaccinated individuals can carry just as much viral load as COVID-19 positive unvaccinated individuals.

In the United Kingdom, infection rates among the fully vaccinated are now higher than those of the unvaccinated in all age cohorts greater than or equal to 30. Both the vaccinated and unvaccinated get infected and spread COVID in all age groups.

But according to the CDC, a growing body of evidence suggests that COVID-19 vaccines also reduce asymptomatic infection and transmission. Substantial reductions in SARS-CoV-2 infections (both symptomatic and asymptomatic) will reduce overall levels of disease, and therefore, SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission in the United States.

The study explains that,

Vaccines currently are the primary mitigation strategy to combat COVID-19 around the world. For instance, the narrative related to the ongoing surge of new cases in the United States (US) is argued to be driven by areas with low vaccination rates. A similar narrative also has been observed in countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom. At the same time, Israel that was hailed for its swift and high rates of vaccination has also seen a substantial resurgence in COVID-19 cases . 

The Harvard researchers expressed that we’re going to have to learn to live with COVID and its variants just as we have done the same for various viruses that already kill tens and millions of people a year, like previous coronaviruses, for example.

In summary, even as efforts should be made to encourage populations to get vaccinated it should be done so with humility and respect. Stigmatizing populations can do more harm than good. Importantly, other non-pharmacological prevention efforts (e.g., the importance of basic public health hygiene with regards to maintaining safe distance or handwashing, promoting better frequent and cheaper forms of testing) needs to be renewed in order to strike the balance of learning to live with COVID-19 in the same manner we continue to live a 100 years later with various seasonal alterations of the 1918 Influenza virus.

What we do have to be careful about is how far we are willing to go with other mitigation strategies. Does the threat of COVID justify measures like masks, vaccine, and lockdown mandates? These interventions and emergency powers given to governments, like lockdown mandates, have ruined the lives of millions and have perhaps killed more people than COVID itself. For example COVID related hunger alone due to lockdowns may kill more people than COVID itself. Making these measures optional is what many people believe should be done.

Approximately one year into the pandemic, Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson went through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID.

Given the survival rate of COVID and how similar it is to what we’ve already been dealing with prior to its arrival, like over-capacity hospitals, we must ask ourselves, what is the pandemic really about? And what is happening here and why?

Proponents of vaccine mandates argue that the vaccines help reduce severe COVID as well as deaths from COVID, thus reducing hospital numbers. There is data showing this. But are ICU’s and hospitals full because of the pandemic, or has the pandemic simply added to an inadequate healthcare system that was already dealing with over-capacity issues?

For example, here in Ontario, hospitals have long been at over-capacity. In 2017 half of the hospitals in the province were well over 100 percent capacity, this has always been a norm, and it’s always been a global phenomenon.

A study published in April of 2021 suggested that 63 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in U.S. hospitals were occupied prior to the pandemic.

Hospital resources are already limited. For example, per 100,000 population, there was substantial variability in provincial capacity across Canada, with a mean of 0.9 hospitals with ICUs (provincial range 0.4-2.8), and only 10 ICU beds capable of providing mechanical ventilation (provincial range 6–19), and 15 invasive mechanical ventilators (provincial range 10–24).

This is not new information, it’s well known. COVID simply added to this issue. Should we be looking to prevent hospitalizations and strain with a vaccine when this strain was already present before COVID? Or is it our healthcare system that needs a re-evaluation?

What data from hospitals do we have from the first year of the pandemic that might show another perspective on hospitalizations? Not much, but a new study has suggested that almost half of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have mild or asymptomatic cases.

“The study found that from March 2020 through early January 2021—before vaccination was widespread, and before the Delta variant had arrived—the proportion of patients with mild or asymptomatic disease was 36 percent. From mid-January through the end of June 2021, however, that number rose to 48 percent. In other words, the study suggests that roughly half of all the hospitalized patients showing up on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for another reason entirely, or had only a mild presentation of disease.”

“Our Most Reliable Pandemic Number Is Losing Meaning.” The Atlantic.

What about a focused protection plan like the Great Barrington Declaration has advocated for since the beginning of this pandemic? If the survival rate for healthy people under the age of 65 is so high, how much more protection from severe disease and death can be offered? After all, the clinical trials did show a very low absolute risk reduction for COVID vaccines when it comes to even contracting COVID.

Things just aren’t making sense, and science and data that exposes these measures as harmful continues to go unacknowledged, ignored and ridiculed. This is not proper scientific debate, it’s flat out censorship, as pointed out in the British Medical Journal with regards to who is doing the “fact checking” on social media platforms.

Sure, the vaccine does reduce ones chances of death and serious illness, but how does that justify mandating them as a requirement to work and travel for those who do not want to take it? How is an unvaccinated person such a threat to a fully vaccinated person in this case? Why hasn’t natural immunity, which has now been shown to be stronger than the vaccine, been included in health policy? This also reduces chances of catching COVID, or having a severe infection that results in death. Natural immunity also lifts burdens on hospitals.

There are so many unanswered questions.

Open and honest discourse is critical for science and public health. As scientists, we must now tragically acknowledge that 400 years of scientific enlightenment may be coming to an end. It started with Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei and René Descartes. It would be tragic if it would end up as one of the many casualties of this pandemic.

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Harvard Medical Professor

Vaccines Inability To Stop Transmission Is Nothing New

Vaccine effectiveness waning is fairly a common phenomenon for some vaccines. For example, in 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study on waning immunity after two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The results, published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, show:

  • About 35% of vaccinated 7-year-olds are susceptible to subclinical infection with measles virus.
  • About 60% of vaccinated 15-year-olds are susceptible to subclinical infection with measles virus.
  • By age 24–26, a projected 33% of vaccinated adults are susceptible to clinical infection.

Consequently, nearly 50% of school children and most adults vaccinated with the MMR vaccine can still be infected with measles virus and spread it to others, even with mild or no symptoms of their own. So as to not strike up fear, these viruses are not serious and have incredibly low death rates.

Early on in the pandemic, a study  published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions” explained,

A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

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