Two days ago I put up an article: Unvaccinated People, Conscience, Condescension, & Coercion (A Vigorous Group Discussion Among Equally Committed Orthodox Catholics). Robert W. Woodman objected to my stated position in the combox and a debate ensued. His words will be in blue.
I flatly disagree that the objections of your conscience trump the need to protect the health and safety of society writ large from this pandemic. The idea that we need to be sensitive to people’s consciences when the public health and safety is at risk strikes me as absurd. Furthermore, I am unpersuaded by the moral arguments in favor of not being vaccinated. Moreover, the United States has a rather long history of compulsory quarantine and vaccination. If it were up to me, I would bring back compulsory vaccination or quarantine.
The problem here is that you are a Catholic (far as I know) and the Church gives me precisely the right of conscience that I claim, which I proved in the paper from the Catechism and a moral theologian. If you thumb your nose at Church teaching, then you are a functional Protestant, or Catholic dissident. That’s not good.
No one in my family has gotten this virus. Unlike folks like President Obama, Queen Bee Pelosi and our beloved Michigan Governor, we’ve followed all the rules in public (even when we disagreed with them). We have strong natural immunity, from years of clean living and eating (no drugs, no alcoholic excess, health food, vitamin supplements, etc.). I even get a cold only about every three years. I’ve never been to the hospital ever, for any physical condition (not counting getting my tonsils removed as a child and one time with a wrist sprain and a concussion; in other words, not an ongoing condition). So I’m not giving it to anyone and I don’t need the vaccine, even if I didn’t have several principled objections to it.
Now, if I was getting the virus every few months (which doesn’t happen anyway, because one obtains immunity after getting it) and going around and not giving a damn about spreading it, you would have at least one valid point. But since I’m not . . .
1. I am a Catholic, a convert since 1996.
2. You claim a privilege for your conscience, which, I grant, the Church teaches, but you stake your claim upon an erroneous understanding of the vaccine. Consequently, the judgment of your conscience is impaired.
3. It is unclear whether the origin of HEK293 was an elective abortion. Circumstantial evidence suggests that it was, but direct evidence proving that point is lacking.
4. Apart from your conscience, you justify your refusal to get vaccinated on fallacious claims that no one in your family has gotten the virus, strong natural immunity, clean living, etc. etc. Frankly, none of those claims are sound or logical, and in any event, the virus doesn’t know or care about healthy immune system or clean living; the only thing the virus wants to know is if you constitute available real estate, that is, your immune system isn’t primed to prevent the virus from infecting you and using you as a platform to spread to others. Moreover, your justifications exclude the possibility that you or a family member had an asymptomatic case of COVID-19, which a recent JAMA report estimates to be about 24% of COVID-19 transmissions. Reference:
Johansson, M. A.; Quandelacy, T. M.; Kada, S.; Prasad, P. V.; Steele, M.; Brooks, J. T.; Slayton, R. B.; Biggerstaff, M.; Butler, J. C. SARS-CoV-2 Transmission From People Without COVID-19 Symptoms. JAMA Network Open 2021, 4 (1), e2035057–e2035057.
5. Where does “love your neighbor as you love yourself” come in? I see no love of neighbor in this position of refusing to get a vaccine. As long as you don’t have an immune system already primed against SARS-CoV-2, you constitute a health risk to others, particularly those who cannot be vaccinated or who have weakened immune systems for whatever reason.
6. People can get recurrent infections with SARS-CoV-2, just like they can with other endemic coronaviruses. Several reasons exist that may make a vaccine superior to infection-based immunity, but your claim that you can get COVID-19 only once is simply erroneous. References:
(1) Chen, D.; Xu, W.; Lei, Z.; Huang, Z.; Liu, J.; Gao, Z.; Peng, L. Recurrence of Positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA in COVID-19: A Case Report. Int J Infect Dis 2020, 93, 297–299.
(2) Adrielle Dos Santos, L.; Filho, P. G. de G.; Silva, A. M. F.; Santos, J. V. G.; Santos, D. S.; Aquino, M. M.; de Jesus, R. M.; Almeida, M. L. D.; da Silva, J. S.; Altmann, D. M.; Boyton, R. J.; Alves Dos Santos, C.; Santos, C. N. O.; Alves, J. C.; Santos, I. L.; Magalhães, L. S.; Belitardo, E. M. M. A.; Rocha, D. J. P. G.; Almeida, J. P. P.; Pacheco, L. G. C.; Aguiar, E. R. G. R.; Campos, G. S.; Sardi, S. I.; Carvalho, R. H.; de Jesus, A. R.; Rezende, K. F.; de Almeida, R. P. Recurrent COVID-19 Including Evidence of Reinfection and Enhanced Severity in Thirty Brazilian Healthcare Workers. J Infect 2021, 82 (3), 399–406.
(3) Garg, J.; Agarwal, J.; Das, A.; Sen, M. Recurrent COVID-19 Infection in a Health Care Worker: A Case Report. J Med Case Rep 2021, 15 (1), 363.
(4) Galanti, M.; Shaman, J. Direct Observation of Repeated Infections With Endemic Coronaviruses. J Infect Dis 2021, 223 (3), 409–415.
7. Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC, who is also on the Patheos platform, has a strong background in moral theology, and he’s currently working on his doctorate in moral theology from Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He has written several articles on the morality of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. One of those articles is titled, “12 Things Less-Remote Cooperation in Evil than COVID vaccines.” If you haven’t read the article, you should, and you should afterwards consider how much of your daily routine involves cooperation with evil.
You claim a privilege for your conscience, which, I grant, the Church teaches.
That was my primary and strongest argument, and you concede the point. The other things I just mentioned in passing, and are secondary reasons, but I don’t claim nearly as much for any of them as I do on the objection from conscience (as is obvious from my article above: even in its title). So yes, reasonable and equally upstanding people can and do differ on those matters (as your well-argued comments above indicate).
Fr. Matthew Schneider is a friend of mine. We had lunch together a while back when he was in town. His articles are uniformly excellent. I’m not sure he deals with the issue of conscientious objection in his articles. I long ago granted the validity of accepting the vaccine based on the remoteness of cooperation with evil, so that is a moot point in this discussion (where I am concerned). That’s why I have never dissuaded anyone else from receiving the vaccine, and have always said that it is overall a very good thing. I wrote on 2-9-21:
I didn’t say a word about the virus: its nature, etc. I haven’t questioned anything about it. I simply explained briefly (originally in a PM) why I will not be receiving the vaccine. Moreover, in the combox . . ., I didn’t knock the vaccine in and of itself. I didn’t tell anyone else not to take it (I was neither legalistic nor conspiratorial), and I said it would have a good overall result as a result of people taking it.
I wrote in my article, that was censored by Facebook, shortly before that date:
What both the pope and Church leaders are teaching concerning it is that Christians are not responsible if in the past any portion of these vaccines was drawn from aborted babies. It’s a question of “how remote a thing can be before we are not personally responsible for it.”
As an example, we all buy many things made in China because so much is! Does it follow that in purchasing a shirt or a video game from China, that we therefore are supporting slave labor, prison re-education camps or forced abortion that occur there? No. We’re not required to not buy things from China. On the other hand, it might be good to further reflect on cutting down, based on these same reasons.
Yet my own conscience won’t allow me to receive a vaccine that includes use of aborted babies in research and/or implementation. In the past, His Eminence Lord Fauci (in his self-contradictory opinion #464) strongly objected to mandatory vaccination (this is all now conveniently forgotten). Thus, my position even has a secular as well as theological basis:
You don’t want to mandate and try and force anyone to take a vaccine. We’ve never done that. You can mandate for certain groups of people like health workers, but for the general population you can’t. [added in context, from another similar article: We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population.]
It would be unenforceable and not appropriate. (“COVID-19 vaccine won’t be mandatory in US, says Fauci”, MedicalXPress, 8-19-20)
As noted in a WebMD article (a standard medical site), Lord Fauci was even more definite:
I don’t think you’ll ever see a mandating of vaccine, particularly for the general public. . . . [I’d be] pretty surprised if you mandated it for any element of the general public. . . . [people] have the right to refuse a vaccine. If someone refuses the vaccine in the general public, then there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot force someone to take a vaccine. (“COVID-19 Vaccine Likely Won’t Be Mandatory”, Carolyn Crist, 8-20-20)
There is growing evidence that at least some people who receive the vaccine, die shortly afterwards: possibly because of the vaccine itself. I’m not saying it is “many” or a “lot”; just (undeniably) “some”. Lest anyone conclude that this is “right wing conspiracist garbage” don’t just believe me (who detests false conspiracy theories as much as any liberal), take it from “mainstream” media news outlets:
“Investigation Underway After Elderly Man Died Shortly After Receiving COVID Vaccine At Javits Center” (CBSNewYork, 2-9-21)*“A Few Covid Vaccine Recipients Developed a Rare Blood Disorder” (The New York Times, 2-8-21)*“Health care worker dies after second dose of COVID vaccine, investigations underway” (The Orange County Register, 1-26-21; updated 2-4-21)*“Gloucester resident dies within hours of receiving Pfizer vaccine” (WTKR.com, 2-3-21)*“No Link Found Yet: Auburn Woman Warns She Saw Grandfather’s Aid Die After COVID Vaccine” (CBSSacramento, 1-25-21)
“Coroner reviewing Florida doctor’s death 2 weeks after vaccine” (Associated Press, 1-11-21)
The famous baseball player Hank Aaron received the vaccine on 5 January 2021: seemingly healthy at the time. He died on 22 January, just 17 days later. Just a coincidence? I suspect not. I kept looking to see what the claimed cause of death was, and all one can ever find is “natural causes.”
It is unclear whether the origin of HEK293 was an elective abortion. Circumstantial evidence suggests that it was, but direct evidence proving that point is lacking.
Let’s examine that question more closely.
[my original citation has been removed because — as Robert protested — the writer mistakenly referred to the “liver” of a child who died (some question as to how), rather than “kidney”]
There are much better articles on the morality of using HEK293 cells in:
(1) Wong, A. The Ethics of HEK 293. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 2006, 6 (3), 473–495.
(2) The National Catholic Bioethics Center. Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Fetuses. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 2006, 6 (3), 541–550.
Very well, then. Let’s look at your first article cited [link]:
Could there have been any chance that the “abortion” referred to in the FDA document might mean a naturally or spontaneously aborted (i.e., miscarried) fetus? The context certainly sounds as if it referred to a routine-induced abortion, with no qualifications mentioned. In examining the issue further, it appears that in all probability the cells were obtained from the embryo of a willfully induced abortion. Not only is it easier administratively to receive cells from induced abortions of normal pregnancies than from spontaneous miscarriages, it may also be scientifically more advantageous to use tissue from induced abortions, which are “healthier,” since the majority of fetuses are usually genetically normal and aborted for social reasons. In the FDA proceedings, Dr. van der Eb admits that the fetus was “completely normal.” He later gives testimony to the development of PER.C6 (human embryonic retinal cells), in which the evidence that it was obtained from a willfully induced abortion is undeniable. Again, it was a “healthy fetus.” PER.C6 is used for similar purposes as HEK 293 in the field of gene therapy. . . .
Since Dr. van der Eb does admit to working with tissue from induced abortions, even if there may have been one or more occasions of working with tissue from spontaneous abortions, it seems more likely that the tissue would be from an induced abortion. The convenience of getting tissue from routine, elective abortions compared to waiting for an unforeseen miscarriage supports this likelihood.
Furthermore, there seems to be an ongoing industry in this area, where obtaining fetal tissue from routine abortions becomes a standard procedure. The use of aborted fetuses in the development of cell lines had begun as early as the sixties, looking at the well-known WI-38 and MRC-5 lines. The WI-38 cell line was developed in July 1962 from lung tissue taken from a therapeutically aborted fetus of about three months’ gestational age, while the MRC-5 cell line was developed in September 1966 from lung tissue taken from a fourteen-week-old fetus aborted for psychiatric reasons from a twenty-seven-year-old physically healthy woman. The likelihood that the source of HEK 293 was a direct abortion must be considered in this context. In short, the possibility that the HEK 293 kidney cells come from a directly procured and deliberately willed abortion is extremely high. . . .
It is already known that the cells are embryonic in origin, so there is a high probability that they are from an induced abortion. . . .
To summarize, we do not have moral certainty about the source of HEK 293. There is no information assuring the end user of the moral licitness of its source. The obligation is on those who developed and distributed HEK 293 to demonstrate without a doubt that the cells were obtained in a morally licit manner, and not for the end user to prove the opposite. I argue that we must assume HEK 293 was developed from a willfully aborted embryo. The Pontifical Academy for Life’s recent statement on vaccines is consistent with this position. [bolding added]
The word “conscience” appears 13 times in this article. Dr. Wong cites the Pontifical Academy for Life:
“However, in this situation, the aspect of passive cooperation is that which stands out most. It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the ‘culture of death’ which underlies them. From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing. Furthermore, on a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way. Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.” Pontifical Academy for Life, “Moral Reflections,” 547–548. [bolding added]
American Life League has weighed in on the issue (“Unethical Vaccines: From HeLa to COVID-19”, Leslie Sholly, 8-24-20):
Sweden, 1962: A baby girl was conceived. Overwhelmed by the several children she was already raising with little help from an often-absent and alcoholic husband, her mother sought an abortion. The procedure was legal, but finding a doctor willing to perform it took awhile. The baby’s life ended around four months’ gestation.
However, the tragic end of that baby girl’s life was not the end of her story. Her lungs were dissected at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm then flown to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. She is known only as WI-38—a name created by biologist Leonard Hayflick to identify her cell line. So let’s call her Wendie.
Unlike Henrietta’s cells, Wendie’s were healthy, thus ideal for Dr. Hayflick’s research in culturing cells. Dr. Hayflick hoped to provide himself and other researchers with cell lines that would grow continuously in the lab. The lines could then form the basis for all kinds of scientific research. He had his own experiments to conduct as well—for example, studying the relationship between viruses and cancer. . . .
Wendie’s [cells] have been used for all types of medical research. In fact, you can buy a vial of the cell line derived from Wendie’s initial donation online for just over $400. And while you may not realize it, Wendie’s involuntary sacrifice has almost certainly benefited you: Her cells were used to develop vaccines against rubella, chicken pox, shingles, and adenovirus.3 Yet, she was not the only one whose cells were used.
England, 1966: A 27-year-old woman aborted her healthy preborn son—we’ll call him Malcolm—for “psychiatric reasons.” Malcom’s lung tissue became the source for the MRC-5 cell line, available online for $257. Malcolm’s donation was used to develop vaccines administered in the US and Canada for hepatitis-A, chicken pox, shingles, rabies, and polio.4
In addition to Malcolm and Wendie, the remains of many, many other preborn babies were used in earlier stages of vaccine development. At least 99 elective abortions were involved in the creation of the rubella vaccine alone. . . .
[T]he prospect of using a vaccine created as a byproduct of an abortion is understandably distasteful, and many of today’s parents who know about vaccine origins have chosen to exercise conscience and religious exemptions not to vaccinate against diseases that few of them have ever experienced and that their own parents had accepted as a normal part of childhood. . . .
In April, American Life League president Judie Brown wrote a letter to President Trump and to all 535 members of Congress regarding federal funding of such a vaccine, calling on them “to only fund an ethical vaccine that is NOT derived from aborted fetal cell lines.” Brown warned that “millions of pro-life individuals across the nation will not allow themselves to be injected with unethical vaccines.”
A number of other pro-life leaders, including several bishops, also penned a letter to the Trump administration to insist on the development of an ethical vaccine. Addressed to Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, the letter was copied to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II.
Signed by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities; the heads of three other bishops’ conference committees; and leaders of many other groups, the letter stated that “it is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: No American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience.” . . .
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is currently partnering with several companies that are working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine: Merck/Germany, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson. COGL’s research indicates that, of these five, only Sanofi’s vaccine is being developed without the use of fetal cell lines, although there are several other companies pursuing ethical vaccines.
Is that true about Sanofi? No, according to “The Catholic Answer to Vaccines” (MyCatholicDoctor, updated 3 August 2021):
Pfizer: Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus/COVID vaccine known as “BNT162b2” was developed using genetic sequencing on computers without using fetal cells. The HEK-293 abortion-related cell line was used in research related to this vaccine, but not the testing of the vaccine. This cell line originated from kidney cells from a fetus that was aborted in 1973. No cell line, fetal or otherwise, is required for the ongoing production of this vaccine. This vaccine is currently in use and requires two doses.
Moderna: Moderna’s “mRNA-1273” vaccine does not require aborted fetal cell lines for production, but aborted fetal cell lines were used in both the development and testing of this vaccine. This vaccine is currently in use and is easier to distribute than Pfizer due to cooling requirements. It also requires two doses.
Johnson & Johnson: The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, “JNJ-78436735” does use the abortion-related PER.c6 cell line for ongoing production. This cell line was also used in the development and testing of the vaccine. PER.c6 is a proprietary cell line owned by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, developed from retinal cells from an 18-week-old fetus aborted in 1985. This vaccine is currently in use. This is a single-dose vaccine, unlike other COVID vaccines which require 2 doses.
AstraZenica: The AstraZenica/University of Oxford vaccine “AZD1222” does use the HEK-293 cell line for production. This cell like was also used in both development and testing of the vaccine. The AstraZenica vaccine is not approved in the United States.
Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline: The Sanofi/GSK vaccine is not associated with aborted fetal cell lines for production. GSK produces this vaccine using a modified virus cultivated on insect cells. The HEK-293 cell line was used in the confirmatory testing of the vaccine. It is unclear if and when this vaccine may become available to the American public, it is currently in phase 3 trials. The Sanofi company is also developing a different COVID vaccine that did use the HEK-293 abortion-related cell line in the research phase.
This article is a goldmine of information as to the Catholic, pro-life perspective on these matters. And it also discusses matters of conscience:
Meanwhile, the Vatican also made statements on the COVID-19 vaccines. On December 21st, 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith released a “Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines.” In this document they reiterate the concepts from the prior documents, stating that it is licit to use COVID-19 vaccines that are associated with aborted fetal tissue if no reasonable alternatives exist, and that “the licit use of such vaccines does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses. Both pharmaceutical companies and governmental health agencies are therefore encouraged to produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience for either health care providers or the people to be vaccinated.”
Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC, . . . has written several articles on the morality of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
In fact, Fr. Schneider recognizes that a Catholic can refuse these vaccines, based on conscientious objection:
Thus, it comes as a surprise that the Colorado bishops write, “We continue to support religious exemptions from any and all vaccine mandates,” and a “Person should follow their conscience [if it says not to take these vaccines], and they should not be penalized for doing so.” This makes sense if applied to a universal mandate[.] But applying this line to a mandate for hospital or nursing home staff is contrary to the common good. . . .
Vaccines should not be mandatory for all, but it would appear acceptable for smaller mandates in higher-risk situations like hospital and nursing home staff. (8-9-21)
Pope Francis has endorsed (as he must, because it is solidly established Catholic teaching) the right to conscientious objection:
I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection. But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.
Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’ It is a human right. It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right. (September 2015)
We see every day that the powerful countries create laws that force us to go through this path … a nation that doesn’t follow these modern laws, these cultures, or that at least doesn’t want to have them in its laws, is accused, is politely persecuted. It’s a persecution that robs man of his freedom, even from conscientious objection! Conscientious objection is a right, and part of the body of all human rights. If we want to make peace, we must respect all rights. (April 2016)
Moreover, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith produced on 12-21-20: Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines. At the end it states:
The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 17 December 2020, examined the present Note and ordered its publication.
This papal approval included the following, from section 5:
5. At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary. In any case, from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good. In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed. Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent. In particular, they must avoid any risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, and who are the most vulnerable. [my bolding; italics in original]
“On vaccination, NY archdiocese tramples the rights of the faithful” (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, 8-5-21)
“Two Catholic groups: No vaccine mandate without conscience protections” (Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, 8-2-21)
As to immunity after COVID infection:
1) “Study Suggests Lasting Immunity After COVID-19, With a Big Boost From Vaccination” [JAMA. 2021;326(5):376-377. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.11717]:
Nussenzweig predicted that variants will not cause serious illness in most people who have recovered from COVID-19. Nevertheless, he said, they should be vaccinated “because they become bulletproof when they do so.”
2) “Rand Paul: The science proves people with natural immunity should skip COVID vaccines” (Sen. Rand Paul [an ophthalmologist who does surgery], Courier Journal, updated, 5-29-21):
To dictate that a person recovered from COVID-19 with natural immunity also submit to a vaccine — without scientific evidence — is nothing more than hubris. If you have no proof that people who acquired natural immunity are getting or transmitting the disease in real numbers, then perhaps you should just be quiet.
People are not getting re-infected in large numbers. And that’s not me saying so, that’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, quietly admitting that on its website.
One thing they also admitted, while at first trying to hide it, was that there are no studies showing that getting the vaccine if you already have natural immunity is of any benefit at all. They can’t show that, because it has not yet been studied. It took my friend Congressman Thomas Massie to make them admit this, by the way. They originally denied their own studies on this.
So, when I go out to the media and say that I, as a recovered COVID patient, will not get a vaccine that is not proven to help me nor proved I even need — the science deniers, bureaucrats and media typically go nuts.
But facts are facts. I’m no more likely to get or transmit COVID than someone who is vaccinated.
We know this. Doctors know this. Scientists who design vaccines know this. Vaccines are created to attempt to replicate the immunity we get from having been infected with a disease.
I want all the science deniers to read that again. Vaccines are a replacement for natural immunity. They aren’t necessarily better. In fact, natural immunity from measles confers lifelong immunity and the vaccine immunity wanes over a few decades.
I choose to follow the science with COVID, rather than submit to fear-mongering.
We are simply not seeing any numbers that tell me otherwise.
In a recent British study, David Wyllie and others found no symptomatic re-infections from COVID-19 after following 2800 patients for several months. In fact, there have been no reports of significant numbers of re-infections after acquiring COVID-19 naturally.
Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, concludes from his experiments that, “The amount of (immune) memory (gained from natural infection) would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years.”
In this study which was published in Science, Crotty showed that antibody levels stayed relatively constant with only “modest declines at 6-8 months.”
Crotty reported that “Notably, memory B cells specific for the spike protein or RBD were detected in almost all COVID-19 cases, with no apparent half-life at 5 to 8 months after infection.” In other words, Crotty found significant evidence of long-term immunity after COVID infection.
Furthermore, Crotty noted, “B cell memory to some other infections has been observed to be long-lived, including 60+ years after smallpox vaccination, or 90+ years after infection with influenza.”
We have begun to study this, though we already know the answer — natural immunity against COVID 19 appears to be at least as good as vaccine immunity.
In one extensive recent study in The Lancet, Dr. Florian Kramer of the Icahn School of Medicine noted: “the findings of the authors suggest that infection and the development of antibody response provides protection similar to or even better than current used SARS COV-2 vaccines.”
Rather than being pessimistic toward people gaining immunity after they’ve had COVID, studies argue for significant optimism. Because what we do know is that there have been no scientific studies arguing or proving that infection with COVID does not create immunity.
There have also been no studies showing significant numbers of reinfection. Of the 30 million Americans who have had COVID, only a handful of reinfections have been discovered.
Additionally, a recent study shows that vaccines and naturally acquired immunity do effectively neutralize COVID variants. Participants who had previously been either vaccinated or infected were exposed to four variants of the coronavirus.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that for the participants they “found neutralizing activity of infection- and vaccine-elicited antibodies against 4 SARS-CoV-2 variants, including B.1, B.1.1.7, and N501Y. Because neutralization studies measure the ability of antibodies to block infection, these results suggest that infection and vaccine-induced immunity may be retained against the B.1.1.7 variant.”
And just this week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky publicly said that, “our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”
Their website offers similar information for those who have natural immunity.
That’s great news for everyone except the bureaucrats who are running out of ways to control every aspect of your life!
We should be excited, throwing away our masks, and celebrating after hearing about these real scientific studies.
Whether you have natural immunity or vaccine immunity.
Of course, what this means, if Dr. Paul is right (and it seems that he is, because he backs himself up with several reputable journal studies) is that all these people now getting infected (because of states opening up, I am assuming) — with extremely few dying — , will be subsequently immune. Therefore, the combination of their immunity and the natural immunity of millions of others such as myself, who never got the thing, plus the immunity of the vaccinated, will combine to create an overall herd immunity, whereby the incidence will greatly reduce in the not too distant future.
This is why Lord Fauci and other overlords used to speak in the same way: if 60-70% of the population get vaccinated, herd immunity will take care of the rest. Then they changed their tune later on, because of the usual liberal intolerance and scapegoating of anyone who doesn’t share their own political opinions. The science remains the same, regardless of the political machinations and monthly revised “truths” of Lord Fauci and the Democrats.
Lord Fauci, remember, is a guy who was in favor of funding the research at the Wuhan Laboratory: the very origin of the pandemic in the first place. And somehow he can lecture us about how to ethically proceed, when arguably he has several million deaths on his own conscience?:
See: “Sen. Rand Paul: Fauci not honest about Wuhan Lab funding, COVID-19 origins” (ABC 13: WBKO, Brandon Jarrett, 7-22-21):
Brandon Jarrett spoke with Dr. Paul during a one-on-one interview to ask him what he knows, “officially”.
“Well, you know, we presented a significant amount of evidence, we presented research from 2017. From Dr. Shi, she’s the bat scientist, that’s prominent, that leads the lab in Wuhan. In her research, she acknowledges that Dr. Fauci and NIH gave her money. In fact, she lists the grant number. So there’s no question that the NIH was funding her research,” said Paul. “The only real debate is over whether or not it was gain of function. But in the research, we presented the evidence that she took two viruses, the genes for the S protein to two viruses, bat viruses that she found in a cave, and she melded them or merged or recombined them with the backbone of a virus called the SARS virus. Now the SARS virus is like the one we’re dealing with now. COVID-19 was a virus from 2004 that had 15% mortality. It wasn’t very transmissible, but it was much more deadly than what we have. So she’s experimenting with a virus that had a 15% mortality, merging it with two new viruses she found in a cave to create a virus that does not exist in nature. And then she proves that it can infect human cells.”
We asked Dr. Paul why his definition of Gain of Function research differs from Fauci’s.
“I think he has self-interest and not being attached to this research, because more and more of the evidence is pointing towards the virus having come out of that lab, if it did, you can see how moral responsibility or culpability attaches to Dr. Fauci because he had the poor judgment to fund this lab. So I think it was a mistake to fund the lab in Wuhan period, because I don’t think the Chinese government or military has been very forthcoming,” said Dr. Paul. “There are reports that the Chinese military has actually been working on weaponizing viruses. So I think it was a poor judgment. Even as much as a month ago, Dr. Fauci was asking the Judiciary Committee whether he still trusted the scientists and the Chinese scientists. And he says, Oh, of course, he was also asked in 2012, if a bug should escape, if a virus should infect a researcher, escape and become a pandemic, what then? And he said, Well, the science and the research is worth it, even if a pandemic should occur.”
“So this to me shows incredibly poor judgment, not wisdom, poor judgment. And really, there’s a possibility we are suffering from his poor judgment. This research still goes on in the United States, we should want to know, you know if the NIH is still funding this type of research in North Carolina? And in Galveston, do we want this to occur? Are we worried that we could have the worst virus leak out of the lab? So these are important questions, and instead of really answering any of the direct questions I had, it became sort of an ad hominem attack with him simply calling names,” said Paul. . . .
“So there was a lot of covering up, there was a lot of belief that you know, guilt would attach to them. If it looked like it came from the labs, this is a very organized effort all along. Now they’ve tried to find out if this came from animals, naturally, they’ve tested 80,000 animals from the wet market to see if it came from the wet market, not one of them tested positive for COVID-19. They’ve also taken COVID-19 and tried to infect bats. And they found that it doesn’t infect bats very well, it seems to be most adapted to infect humans,” said Paul.
Q: “Dr. Rand Paul, you recently told Fox News that you will ask the Department of Justice for a criminal referral over Dr. Fauci his testimony and that Dr. Fauci is possibly responsible for 4 million people dying because of this pandemic? Talk about that accusation?”
“You know, we have laws in Section 1001 of the Criminal Code that says you can’t lie to Congress. So I think there needs to be repercussions. I gave him every chance to retract or modify a statement, it would have been very easy for him to say, well, there is some debate over whether or not this was gain of function. But I tend to decide with those in my administration and said it wasn’t. He just acted as if there’s no way it can be gain of function, and then call me a liar. So he really didn’t respond to the specific arguments or whether it’s gain of function or not,” said Paul.
Lord Fauci used to talk about herd immunity. Here he is doing so in an article dated 15 December 2020:
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s senior official for infectious diseases, predicts the United States could begin to achieve early stages of herd immunity against the deadly coronavirus by late spring or summer. And if that happens, Fauci anticipates, “we could really turn this thing around” toward the end of 2021.
In a wide-ranging interview Tuesday on Morning Edition, NPR’s Rachel Martin asked Fauci how many Americans need to receive the vaccine to have an impact on the number of COVID-19 infections.
“I would say 50% would have to get vaccinated before you start to see an impact,” Fauci said. “But I would say 75 to 85% would have to get vaccinated if you want to have that blanket of herd immunity.”
Herd immunity occurs when enough people become immune to the disease that the spread of the virus from person to person becomes unlikely. Fauci pointed to polio and measles as examples of herd immunity. (“Fauci Predicts U.S. Could See Signs Of Herd Immunity By Late March Or Early April”, Brakkton Booker, NPR)
Lord Fauci actually publicly admitted that he was being deliberately deceptive in his talk about herd immunity; cynically waffling and equivocating:
Late last week, Fauci told the New York Times that new science had changed his thinking on the herd immunity threshold — but he also admitted that his statements were influenced in part by “his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.”
Specifically, the fraction of people who would need immunity to SARS-CoV-2 (either through vaccination or recovery from prior infection) to extinguish the spread of the virus was initially estimated to be 60% to 70%. In recent weeks, Fauci had raised the percentage: from 70% to 75%, and then to 75%, 80%, and 85%.
Allow me to quote verbatim from the article, titled “How Much Herd Immunity Is Enough?”:
“When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,” Fauci said. “Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”
Of course, the herd immunity threshold is just an estimate, and the precise figure is contingent on population mixing and a host of other assumptions that may vary from location to location. The same threshold may be different in Rome than in Montana. For these reasons, Fauci has some wiggle room. But, the two undeniable admissions in the Times article are 1) Fauci is, to some degree, basing his statements on what he thinks the public will accept, and to what degree his rhetoric might help vaccination efforts, and 2) this is the absolutely stunning part, he is admitting this openly to a reporter for the New York Times!
This is not the first instance when Fauci made a public statement while considering, in part, what he believed people would do with the information. The first instance concerns masks and occurred during an interview on “60 Minutes” in March. (“Op-Ed: Why Did Fauci Move the Herd Immunity Goal Posts?: Scientists play a dangerous game when they tailor factual statements to promote policy goals”, Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH, MedPage Today, December 29, 2020)
I don’t know what causes people to think that SARS-CoV-2 is going to be different from other coronaviruses. Yes, it might be, since SARS-CoV-1 abruptly disappeared around May 2003 after first exploding onto the scene in November 2020. However, many coronaviruses repeatedly infect people 1-2 years after their initial infection. There’s no reason yet to think that SARS-CoV-2 is different in that respect. Each virus is different, and rather than compare SARS-CoV-2 immunity to smallpox, polio, or chickenpox, it is more reasonable to ask whether it is more like other coronaviruses, where we know that reinfection is possible. The questions of reinfection and degree of protection conferred by infection or vaccination are important ones to know, and answering them begins by asking relevant questions.
Do you have any response to my many and multi-faceted answers in reply to you, or is this over (as is so often the case) just as it begins to be interesting to dialogue about?
You gave a response so lengthy that to read all the sources, identify the errors, find the counterpoint references, and write a coherent response would take more time than I currently have. Professionally, I’m a biochemist, and most of the time, I’m incredibly busy. At the moment, I’m at home, sick, but I expect to be back at work tomorrow. In the meantime, sick or not, I’ve been asked to log in remotely and work.
That’s fine. As you know, this is my work. If and when you get the time and desire to counter-respond, I’ll be here, and I will add whatever you reply to in the future, and likely offer a counter-reply. Certainly you understand that if you provide a vigorous critique, I’m going to defend myself (or concede, where required: one or the other). But it always takes much more ink to defend oneself against what one believes to be inaccurate or unjust charges, than to make the charges. Hence, my length.
I always write as much as I deem necessary and relevant to the issue at hand, so that it is thoroughly dealt with. Some think it’s too much. Not my problem. If I didn’t think something was necessary, I wouldn’t have included it. In your case, I had to do so all the more, knowing that you are a scientist. So I produced many scientific studies backing up aspects of my overall view, just as I had already produced authoritative Catholic sources to back up my conscientious objection.
That said, lack of time is perfectly legitimate. You are free to respond whenever you have some spare time. I hope you do. Your challenges so far have provided great stimulation for me to defend my views far more than I had previously. So I’m grateful for the opportunity.