Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines

I was recently sent an interesting video (published on June 16, 2021) entitled, “Concerned Adventists and World-Renowned Scientist Discuss Liberty and COVID Vaccination Safety” (Link).  It was put together by “a brand new self-supporting ministry that has come into being: Liberty and Health Alliance” – “Hosted by Scott Ritsema, moderated by Dr. Lela Lewis, we feature Pastor Wyatt Allen (on liberty of conscience) and the world-renowned MD, professor and scientist, Dr. Peter McCullough (on COVID vaccine safety).”

The basic thrust of the video is that the vaccines against COVID-19 are extremely dangerous, so far having caused more than 50,000 deaths and untold injuries in the United States alone. After watching this video, I must say that I do very much sympathize with those with little if any medical background or training of their own who might walk away from watching something like this more than a little confused.  After all, here are two well-educated physicians telling people that the vaccines against COVID-19 are extremely dangerous – much more dangerous than the virus itself at this point in time. Who is one to believe if well-known doctors like this are making such sensational claims? Then we have Pastor Allen and lay evangelist Scott Ritsema claiming that these same vaccines are being “forced” upon people against their will with the use of government bribery, extremely biased media advertising, and shaming. Ritsema, in particular, claims that their primary goal is to present “both sides” of this issue. However, this particular video is not balanced or even-handed with the available evidence but is strongly biased and sensational, even conspiratorial, in the claims being made.

Well, for those who haven’t already made up their own minds on this topic, here are a few of my own thoughts on the key claims made in this video and what appears to me to be very strong evidence that effectively falsifies most of the claims made and puts a few that have some truth to them into a more balanced perspective – at least for me.

Dr. Peter McCullough:

I was particularly interested in this video because of the inclusion of Dr. McCullough – a well-known consultant cardiologist and Vice Chief of Medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX.  Dr. McCullough has also become well-known for speaking out against the COVID-19 vaccines – especially following his testimony to the Texas Senate HHS Committee in March, 2021 (Link). So, I was interested in what he would say in this particular video:

VAERS:

Dr. McCullough put a great deal of emphasis on the VAERS reporting system (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System – maintained by the CDC and the FDA), noting that over 5,000 deaths had been reported to VAERS following vaccination against COVID-19 with 40% of these deaths occurring within 3 days of vaccination (around the 53:00 mark in the video).  He then went on to explain that this is likely an underreport of the true number of deaths following vaccination by a factor of 10.  In other words, Dr. McCullough believes that the COVID-19 vaccines are likely responsible for over 50,000 deaths so far – calling it one of the worst national disasters ever.

This sounds horrible!  How could the government be allowing this sort of catastrophe to be happening in this country?! Well, things aren’t always as they may seem on the surface – even for a doctor like Dr. McCullough.  It has to do with the nature of the VAERS reporting system.  People can report anything to VAERS without any kind of demonstration of a causal link to a vaccine or anything else.  The fact of the matter is that even if I were to simply wave my hand over the foreheads of a population the size of the United States that nearly 8,000 people would die that very same day (Link). So, it only stands to reason that, out of the 178 million Americans who have currently received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 (54%) that many tens of thousands of people would have died, for various reasons, within three days of being vaccinated. Here’s another commentary to illustrate this point:

There were 293 deaths reported to VAERS during the last week of April. That sounds like a large number, particularly when, averaged out, it translates to 41.9 deaths per day. But is it? How many people received COVID-19 vaccines that week? By subtracting the April 23 statistic from the April 30 statistic, I come up with 7.66 million people receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during the last week of April, or 1.1 million/day. How many deaths would we expect in a week in a population of 7.66 million in a week, based on the CDC’s pre-pandemic statistics? Using the aforementioned yearly incidence of death pre-pandemic of 868.7 per 100,000 in a year, we can say that in a population of that size there would be 66,619 deaths in a year, or 182.5 deaths per day or 1,278 deaths in a week… Think of it this way. Never before in the history of VAERS has there been a mass vaccination program like that for COVID-19. The population initially targeted vaccination was exactly the population that has the highest baseline death rate, meaning that by random chance alone we would expect to see a seemingly large number of deaths within days of vaccination.

But there’s yet another factor. Those who have received a COVID-19 vaccination know that all those who receive COVID-19 vaccines are given instructions to sign up for V-Safe, a monitoring system that works by text message. Basically, if you sign up for V-Safe, you will receive periodic text messages, starting as daily text messages that become less frequent over time. I note that, even though I completed my vaccination series in January, I still receive V-Safe texts periodically. This basically turns a passive surveillance system into a quasi-active surveillance system. And, remember, the more you look for something, the more you will find. Always.

The law of large numbers says that, whenever an intervention is administered to huge numbers of people, there will be large numbers of adverse events that happen after that intervention by random chance alone. The way scientists determine if there is a safety signal in those adverse events is by comparing them to the expected baseline rate of each adverse event. The bottom line is that, fear mongering articles by RFK Jr. and reports of a “vaccine Holocaust” to the contrary, there is no evidence of deaths above and beyond what one would expect based on known baseline rates of death in the US population. Although RFK Jr. might not be expected to know this, someone like Dr. McCullough, who has an MPH in addition to his MD, should really, really, really know better. That he promotes antivaccine disinformation based on fear mongering about reports to VAERS of deaths and adverse events tells me one of two things. Either his MPH education failed him, or he’s lying. Take your pick. .

David Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS, May 10, 2021

 

So, for Dr. McCullough to claim that the vaccines are clearly responsible for deaths reported to VAERS following vaccination is clearly misguided.  The fact is that he has no evidence whatsoever that the vaccines were responsible for these deaths.  Rather, the intended purpose of VAERS is to detect patterns that occur above and beyond normal background levels for large populations – like the US population. And, so far, the vaccines against COVID-19 have proven themselves to be not only very effective against COVID-19, but also very safe.  While some serious risks have been detected, these risks are very rare (Link).

But what about the graph shown by Dr. McCullough that demonstrated a dramatic increase in the number of deaths reported to VAERS since the beginning of vaccinations against COVID?  After all, the usual number of deaths reported to VAERS is less than 200 per year.  Why, all of a sudden, is there a spike of reported deaths to VAERS in 2021 of over 5,000 deaths?  Well, this could be for a number of reasons (as Dr. Gorski pointed at above).  It could be that the worldwide nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strong promotion of the vaccines to help fight it simply makes people much more aware and vigilant when it comes to events surrounding vaccines against COVID-19.  Everyone is aware of the situation we’re in and all of the unusual restrictions.  This issue has become very political instead of just a medical/scientific question – and has become very divisive as a result.  It is no wonder, then, that there has been a sudden increase in reported deaths to VAERS following the COVID-19 vaccinations in particular. The very consistent V-Safe Texts also contribute to this heightened awareness for those who’ve been vaccinated. However, this doesn’t prove or even suggest, by itself without additional evidence, a correlation with the vaccines.

This is what a lot of people don’t understand – including some of those with an M.D. or a Ph.D. behind their names.  There is a world of difference between causation and correlation.  And, sometimes, it can be very hard to tell the difference.  That is why very careful scientific studies and investigations are required to determine if there is, or isn’t, a true connection between two events.

Brand New Technology:

Dr. McCullough, although noting that he is not against vaccines in general, having personally received two different vaccines just this year, also brings up the common claim that the vaccines being used against COVID-19 are based on “brand new technologies”.  The fact of the matter is, however, that the mRNA vaccines are not “experimental” in how they fundamentally work. They’ve been around for over 30 years and we know very well how they work (Link). Sure, they’ve just recently been authorized to be used as vaccines against COVID-19 (and Pfizer / Moderna vaccines will likely receive full FDA approval within the next few months), but that doesn’t mean that they are unknown or are “experimental” in nature as most people understand that term. The mRNA vaccines were extensively tested via double-blinded placebo-controlled trials in both humans and animals and were found to be both very safe and very effective – and this safety and effectiveness continue on after the trials – even after millions of people around the world have now been vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines.

Spike Protein and Lipid Nanoparticles Dangerous to the Human Body:

What is particularly interesting to me is McCullough’s claim that the viral “spike proteins” (that are located on the surfaces of the COVID-19 virus) are “dangerous to the human body”.  McCullough, therefore, believes that an infection by the COVID-19 virus is harmful – and even potentially lethal.  Why then does he have a problem with the vaccines against COVID-19?  Well, it’s because the vaccines cause the body to produce the spike proteins – which McCullough says are themselves harmful to the body and are produced by the body for up to two weeks and sometimes up to 60 days. Now, the claim that the spike proteins produced by the vaccines are themselves harmful to the body is not unique to Dr. McCullough.  Many others have made this claim as well.

Dr. Byram Bridle:

This same claim was made by immunologist Byram Bridle (Link) in an interview on May 28 (Link) with Canadian broadcaster Alex Pierson (Link, Link).

Bridle asked listeners to brace themselves for “scary” findings that he assured were “completely backed up by peer-reviewed scientific publications”. He said: “We made a big mistake… we thought the spike protein was a great target antigen, (but) we never knew the spike protein itself was a toxin and a pathogenic protein.”

Bridle referenced a paper published by Ogata et. al. (May 20, 2021) that showed that the spike proteins produced by coronavirus vaccines could linger in the bloodstream for a couple of weeks and cause cardiovascular damage. The problem here is that the authors of the paper quoted by Birdle don’t agree with him.

“Bridle is over-interpreting our results,” David Walt, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the study’s co-author, said in an email to USA TODAY. The study measured proteins in plasma samples from 13 participants who received two doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. It found that spike protein “was detectable in three of 13 participants an average of 15 days after the first injection. But those results don’t indicate the coronavirus vaccines are dangerous. It suggests the vaccines are working as designed. Our study simply validated that the mRNA vaccine is translated into the protein it is designed to encode. Because our method is 100-1000 fold more sensitive than others, we detected VERY low concentrations of the protein in most vaccinated individuals… the levels are incredibly low in the blood, suggesting this shouldn’t be a concern.” (Link)

“Bridle is suggesting that a study that noted minuscule quantities of spike protein in blood after first dose represent a health hazard,” David Fisman, an epidemiology professor at the University of Toronto, said in an email. “That is poppycock: biologically implausible and not data-based.”

The second source Bridle cited during his interview is a “biodistribution study” obtained from the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (Link, Link in English). He said the study shows how the coronavirus spike protein circulates in the bloodstream of vaccinated individuals and accumulates in their organs. First off, this particular study didn’t deal with the spike proteins at all, only with the distribution of lipid nanoparticles – which Bridle completely misses, claiming instead that this paper deals with the distribution of the spike proteins. Beyond this, Bridle also doesn’t seem to understand what the paper is actually saying about the distribution of the lipid nanoparticles from the vaccines either.

“The document is a real (common technical document), though it’s not leaked – it’s part of the submission data applied by Pfizer to PMDA (Japan’s version of FDA) for its review,” Kit Longley, senior manager of science media relations, said in an email. “The document is about the pharmacokinetics overview seen from lab studies and we can confirm it’s not about spike proteins from the vaccine resulting in dangerous toxins that linger in the body.” (Link)

Vaccine Lipid Nanoparticles Accumulate in the Ovaries of Women:

The common claim (among anti-vaxxers lately) that the lipid nanoparticles accumulate specifically in the ovaries of women, producing infertility, is based on this same Japanese Biodistribution Study (also mentioned by Dr. McCullough), but is also inaccurate and very misleading.

The biodistribution study found that the injection site retained the highest concentration of lipid nanoparticles, not the ovaries.

This data was obtained by injecting rats with a mix of lipid nanoparticles, which are identical to the ones used in the COVID-19 RNA vaccines, that carry a radioactive “label” (deuterium). Researchers then then measured the level of radioactivity in tissues at different time points after injection. The level of radioactivity acts as a proxy measurement for how much lipid nanoparticle is present in a given tissue. Changes in the level over time provide scientists with an idea of how long it takes for the body to eliminate the particles.

The article’s interpretation of the biodistribution data is inaccurate. As Abraham Al-Ahmad, an associate professor in pharmacology at Texas Tech University, pointed out in a blog post, the data showed that the injection site had the greatest accumulation of lipid nanoparticles, followed by the liver. Specifically, the peak concentration at the injection site was 52.6% of the administered dose at one hour post-injection. That of the liver was 18.1% of the administered dose at eight hours post-injection (see Table 1). A microgram is one-millionth of a gram.

However, instances of this claim, as seen in the TrialSite News article, tend to omit the table containing the data for the liver and injection site, instead drawing attention only to the data for the ovaries.

The peak concentration in the ovaries, occurring at 48 hours post-injection, was just 0.095% of the administered dose (see Table 2). [or less than 1:1,000 of the total dose of lipid nanoparticle. 50% was metabolized by liver. Brain peak was 0.02% (1/5000 of the total dose)]

Apart from the inaccurate interpretation of data, another critical aspect of the biodistribution experiment that TrialSite News failed to consider is the amount of lipid nanoparticles administered in the rats and its relevance, or more precisely, its lack thereof to the amount present in RNA vaccines given to people.

The study administered 50 micrograms of lipid nanoparticles to each rat. As explained by David Gorski, a professor of surgery at Wayne State University and editor of Science Based Medicine, this would effectively translate to a much higher dose in rats than in humans [a does of ~18-35x higher than the typical adult human dose]. This is due to the large difference in body weight:

In other words, the dose administered to rats was far higher than the dose used in people. There isn’t evidence showing that COVID-19 RNA vaccines are causing fertility problems.

Source of Claim: , 25 May 2021

Rebuttle of Claim: HealthFeedback.org – 24 Jun 2021 | Editor: 

Also, why would lipid nanoparticles (tiny fat droplets) be harmful to the human body?  The fats that we eat are absorbed and generally distributed and used throughout the body as well – without any problems. What is so concerning about the lipid droplets used in the mRNA vaccines? Where is the evidence that they would or could cause any negative effects on the ovaries? – or any other organ system within the human body?

There have been actual studies of COVID-19 vaccines and ovarian function. In one such study, for example, researchers studied women undergoing oocyte retrieval for in vitro fertilization. They found no detrimental effect on ovarian follicular function. Another study of women undergoing in vitro fertilization demonstrated that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has no detectable effect on the percentage of clinical pregnancies resulting from the procedure. Yet another study has shown that vaccination against COVID-19 has no effect on immunological tolerance of the fetus by the mother. Still another study failed to find any effect on embryo implantation rates between SARS-CoV-2 infection seropositive, SARS-CoV-2 vaccine seropositive, or seronegative women. (Link)

Bridle’s own colleagues at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College say the immunologist’s claims are wrong.

“The bottom line is the vaccine contains an altered protein that is designed to prevent full activation, and it circulates for a short period of time at levels that are far below what would be a concern,” W. Glen Pyle, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, said in an email.

J. Scott Weese, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology, said in an email that all evidence suggests the coronavirus vaccines are safe. Misinformation about the safety of the vaccines appears to be aimed at “creating fear and confusion during a critical time in this pandemic,” he said.

“The efficacy and safety of mRNA vaccines is astounding, to me, particularly for a virus we’ve only known for a year and a half,” Weese said. “mRNA vaccines have been used on millions of people, including extremely high rates of vaccination in high-risk populations (elderly, patients with other diseases), with incredibly low adverse event rates.” (Link)

Very Few Spike Proteins Make it to Bloodstream:

Again, the basic facts here are that the vast majority of the spike proteins produced by the vaccines against the COVID-19 virus remain local at the injection site.  Very few make it to the bloodstream, and those that do circulate in the bloodstream are not toxic because of three reasons:

  1.  There just aren’t enough of them to produce toxicity.
  2.  The few spike proteins that do make it into the blood are almost all filtered out by the liver.
  3.  The spike proteins produced have been modified to reduce bioactivity within the body.

Some of the vaccine dose is going to make it into the bloodstream, of course. But keep in mind, when the mRNA or adenovirus particles do hit cells outside of the liver or the site of injection, they’re still causing them to express Spike protein anchored on their surfaces, not dumping it into the circulation. Here’s the EMA briefing document for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – on pages 46 and 47, you can read the results of distribution studies. These were done two ways – by using an mRNA for luciferase (and thus looking at the resulting light emission from the various rodent regions!) and by using a radioactive label (which is a more sensitive technique). The great majority of the radioactivty stays in and around the injection site. In the first hours, there’s also some circulating in the plasma. But almost all of that ended up in the liver, and no other tissue was much over 1% of the total…

In the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, J&J, and Novavax vaccines, the Spike protein has some proline mutations introduced to try to hold it in its “prefusion” conformation, rather than the shape it adopts when it binds to ACE2. So that should cut down even more on the ability of the Spike protein produced by these vaccines to bind and produce the effects noted in the recent papers. (Derek Lowe, May 4, 2021)

The S1 protein started showing up as early as the first day after vaccination, peaked at around day 5, and was undetectable by day 14… The mRNA from the vaccine starts being picked up and translated into protein almost immediately, as is clear from the quick detection of S1 protein. That’s there because it’s been cleaved off the full Spike protein, but the reason that the Spike itself isn’t found (at least at the limits of detection in the assay, and it’s a really good assay) is because it’s bound to the cells where it’s produced, by the transmembrane anchor region (discussed in that earlier post I referenced above). The reason that no S1 protein is found after the second vaccination is clear – by then, a robust antibody response to it has had a chance to develop, and the protein gets rapidly cleared from the blood, just like it’s supposed to…

It seems clear from all these human trials and the clinical experience to date that the circulating levels of the S1 protein (or the Spike itself) that are sufficient to induce a protective immune response are not in themselves toxic. The animal studies demonstrate that the Spike or S1 can indeed have bad effects on living cells and tissues all by themselves, but the conditions under which this was demonstrated are not those that obtain after vaccination.

And this latest paper showing circulating S1 protein after vaccination? Coupled with the previous paper from the same group, it in fact provides strong evidence that such blood levels are not by themselves the cause of coronavirus symptoms and tissue damage. No, if you want to try for severe, permanent damage, you will need to get infected by real SARS-CoV-2 itself and take your chances. Try your luck, if you like, with the short-term symptoms and with “long Covid” symptoms as well. See if you stay out of the ICU, or if you retain your sense of smell – try  them all. If you would rather not spin that wheel, and you shouldn’t, then my strong, heartfelt advice is to get vaccinated. Because then you will be protected.

(Derek Lowe ref: Ogata et. al. May 20, 2021)

In short, this claim simply isn’t based on what most medical scientists would call reasonable information.

Infant of Vaccinated Mother Dies after Breastfeeding:

Given this information, the claim of Dr. McCullough that an infant died after breastfeeding from a vaccinated mother is also completely baseless. The story itself is apparently based on a Facebook post where neither the identity nor the actual condition of the infant or mother could be verified.  The nurse who posted the story to her FB profile said that the story came from VAERS. Yet, no such record could be located in VAERS – or anywhere else (Link). Another similar report of a baby dying the day after the mother was vaccinated (likely of SIDS) can be found here: Link

Again, given that only around 1% of the mRNA ever gets beyond the local injection site, it is extremely unlikely that any significant quantity of the spike protein could actually enter the breast milk of a breastfeeding woman, much less cause any damage to the infant.

“During lactation, it is unlikely that the vaccine lipid would enter the blood stream and reach breast tissue. If it does, it is even less likely that either the intact nanoparticle or mRNA transfer into milk. In the unlikely event that mRNA is present in milk, it would be expected to be digested by the child and would be unlikely to have any biological effects,” said the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine in a December statement. (Link)

What is encouraging about breastfeeding is that it is actually protective to the infant of a vaccinated mother.

New data on the vaccine’s safety in breastfeeding women is emerging, and it’s showing COVID-19 vaccination protects not only the mother but the child as well.

A recent study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found vaccinated nursing mothers may pass on protective, anti-coronavirus antibodies to their babies through breast milk for at least 80 days after vaccination. Antibody levels in the breast milk of five nursing mothers – children’s ages ranging from 1 month to 2 – were measured before vaccination and on a weekly basis until the 80 days after their initial dose. (Link)

Antibody-Dependent Enhancement:

There is a very real concern for antibody-dependent enhancement (or ADE) when developing any new vaccine – where the vaccine can result in the production of antibodies that make an infection worse rather than effectively fight against it. This concern was front and center for the development of the vaccines against COVID-19 as well – that the ADE problem could be overcome.  And, the ADE problem was overcome for the vaccines against COVID-19 (Link).  However, Dr. McCullough claims that following the first shot of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) that there is a period of two weeks or so where the antibodies that are initially produced by the body show some features of ADE – making any COVID-19 infection worse than if no vaccine had been given.  Again, the problem here is that the evidence in hand just doesn’t back up this claim.  While I can find no published data on ADE within the first two weeks following vaccination, certainly beyond two weeks there is no such risk based on the data in hand.  Just the opposite is true.

The dramatic plots of the data after even one dose of the vaccines speak for themselves: the trials did hardly saw people getting infected at all after vaccination, and most certainly not with even more severe disease. To the contrary: one of the big features of the vaccines is that across the board they seem to almost totally wipe out the appearance of severe coronavirus symptoms. We’re still collecting data on transmissibility after vaccination and so on (things are looking good, though), but what seems to be beyond doubt is that the vaccinated subjects, over and over, show up with no severe coronavirus cases and no hospitalizations. (Link)

The research, published in the medical journal The Lancet, followed 7,214 staff members at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, a government-owned facility, who received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination between Dec. 19 and Jan. 24. Scientists from the medical center found that the vaccine was 85 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 within 15 to 28 days after the shot was administered. (Link)

In any case, it seems as though getting the vaccine is far better than getting the actual COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 Survivors Don’t Need the Vaccine:

But what about those who have already been infected by COVID-19? – and have developed “natural immunity” as a result? Do these people benefit from the vaccines? A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic (Shrestha, et. al., June 05, 2021) showed that individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection do not get significant additional benefits from vaccination, indicating that COVID-19 vaccines should be prioritized to individuals without prior infection. Interestingly, no significant difference in COVID-19 incidence was observed between previously infected and currently unvaccinated participants, previously infected and currently vaccinated participants, and previously uninfected and currently vaccinated participants (observed for five months).  There was, however, a steady increase in infections among those who were unvaccinated and previously uninfected. Another recent study showed similar results (Cohen, et. al., April 27, 2021). This is good news as it suggests that “herd immunity” may be achieved through immunity gained via natural infection as well as via vaccinations.  There are, however, a few caveats.

Cohen [lead author of the second study] pointed to another Fred Hutchinson-led study with which she was involved. It did show that people who previously had covid-19 benefited from also getting vaccinated, because there was a significant boost in immune response, especially against variants.

The COVID-19 variants that are coming along that seem to be much more infectious and spread more rapidly and even cause more severe symptoms (such as the “Delta Variant” that started in India and has now spread rapidly around the world), seem to highlight some key differences between naturally acquired immunity and immunity via vaccines.

Shane Crotty (a professor at the Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology who has published numerous peer-reviewed studies on natural immunity against covid-19) said such immunity particularly protects against hospitalizations and severe illness.

While that is good news, Crotty said, there are three points of caution.

  • First, though natural immunity appears to be very effective against the current dominant U.S. variant (known as alpha), it also appears weaker than vaccine immunity against some of the variants circulating, such as the delta variant, first detected in India. That means if those variants eventually become dominant in the U.S., people relying on natural immunity would be less protected than those who are vaccinated.
  • Second, there is a lack of data about whether natural immunity prevents asymptomatic transmission and infection. Several other studies, though, show vaccines do.
  • Third, Crotty said his studies have shown that levels of natural immunity can vary widely in individuals. His team even found a hundredfold difference in the number of immune cells among people.

“If you thought about the immune system as a basketball game and you thought about that as a team scoring 1 point, and another team scoring 100 points, that’s a big difference,” said Crotty. “We’re not so confident that people at the low end of immunity levels would be as protected against covid-19. But those who receive a vaccine shot have a much more consistent number of immune cells, since everyone receives the same dose amount,” said Crotty.

The arguments of Dr. Crotty are also backed up by additional research that was done on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein (Greaney et. al., June 8, 2021).  Here’s a recent review of this research by Dr. Francis Collins (June 22, 2021):

By closely examining the results, the researchers uncovered important differences between acquired immunity in people who’d been vaccinated and unvaccinated people who’d been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Specifically, antibodies elicited by the mRNA vaccine were more focused to the RBD compared to antibodies elicited by an infection, which more often targeted other portions of the spike protein. Importantly, the vaccine-elicited antibodies targeted a broader range of places on the RBD than those elicited by natural infection.

These findings suggest that natural immunity and vaccine-generated immunity to SARS-CoV-2 will differ in how they recognize new viral variants. What’s more, antibodies acquired with the help of a vaccine may be more likely to target new SARS-CoV-2 variants potently, even when the variants carry new mutations in the RBD. (Link)

With all that in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that those who previously had covid-19 should get vaccinated and receive both doses of a vaccine, whether it’s the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

New Treatments are More Effective than the Vaccines:

Dr. McCullough also argues that the odds of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus are about 1 to 100 now, and the odds of actually getting infected even when exposed are about 1 to 100 at this point.  So, the overall odds of getting sick with COVID-19 are about 1 in 10,000.  Given these odds, McCullough claims that vaccines simply aren’t helpful at this point in time – that the pandemic is effectively over.  And, besides, the medical treatments for those infected with COVID-19 have improved so much that there just isn’t any real practical advantage to getting the vaccine.

The problem here is that the pandemic isn’t over yet. Sure, the rates of infection, and especially the death rates, have been reduced significantly in the last few months (in no small part to the use of vaccines in this country). However, the real problem now is that new mutational variants of the COVID-19 virus are on the rise around the world, including within the United States – with some of these variants being much more infectious and causing more severe sickness in people (Link).  And, as it turns out, those who are vaccinated are more resistant to these varients as compared to those who have achieved natural immunity after being infected by the COVID-19 virus. So, while natural immunity is certainly helpful, it is not the best way to end this pandemic and save the most lives and prevent the most injuries.  In short, the vaccines against COVID-19 still have a very important role to play if people would only take advantage of the miraculous gift that we’ve been given.

Additional False and/or Misleading Claims:

Dr. Peter McCullough has made numerous false and/or misleading claims about the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 in various venues (LinkLink) and is evidently in support of the anti-vaxx work of the very well-known conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Link). In short, I just don’t find him to be a credible source of information on this topic given the vast weight of evidence that we currently have that strongly and convincingly supports the efficacy and relative safety of the vaccines against COVID-19 – particularly with regard to the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna).

Dr. Lela Lewis:

Dr. Lewis, as the moderator for the discussion, didn’t really present too many claims or arguments beyond what was presented by Dr. McCullough. Of course, she didn’t hold back with her praise and admiration for Dr. McCullough or attempt to hide her full support for the claims that he was making. I did find it interesting that she said that she was just about to get a vaccine for COVID-19 when she came down with strep throat and ended up not getting vaccinated – as if she was spared from the horrors of the vaccine by strep throat. Elsewhere, however, she says that she was advised not to get the vaccine because of an autoimmune condition of hers known as polymyositis (Link). She had previously been accepted into the Novavax COVID Phase 3 clinical trials, but when she showed up for her first shot she was told that her autoimmune condition put her at too much risk for the vaccine.

This time, however, when he asked about the autoimmune history, and I answered the same as previously, he seemed greatly alarmed and concerned. After leaving the exam room and returning with the Investigational Supervisor, I was warned it was unsafe for me to get vaccinated, given my autoimmune condition. (Link)

For those interested, the Novoavax vaccine against COVID-19 is based on injecting nanoparticles comprised of the same spike proteins produced by the mRNA and DNA vaccines. The only difference is that the spike-proteins in the Novavax vaccine are pre-formed before being directly injected (a standard type of vaccine). (Link)

It was at this point that she started to inquire as to why others might not be taking the vaccines and learned of Dr. McCullough and his claim that the spike proteins used in the vaccines are themselves extremely harmful and dangerous to the human body – and she clearly believes him.  Evidently, she is unaware of the quality research that effectively falsifies this concern.

Pastor Wyatt Allen:

Pastor Allen’s main concerns are with personal and religious freedoms which he claims are being attacked by the government – which is “forcing” people to get vaccinated.  How, exactly, is this being done since the documents I signed before getting my own Pfizer vaccines said that it was completely voluntary?  Well, Pastor Allen explains that the government is heavily advertising in favor of the vaccines and using coercive tactics like “bribery” or “shaming” – telling people that if they don’t get the vaccine that they don’t “love their neighbor” and are not interested in the “greater good”.

The bribery argument is interesting.  Since when, though, is bribing someone to do something equivalent to “forcing” them to do something?  I mean really, if you accept a bribe to do something, you still acted freely.  The popular saying, “The Devil made me do it!” is nonsense.  The Devil can tempt with appealing bribes to do what one knows is wrong, but the Devil does not force one to sin.  The same is true when it comes to accepting bribes to get vaccinated – or for any other reason.  Accepting a bribe means that you really don’t have a fundamental moral problem with what you accepted a bribe to do…

And, when it comes to “loving one’s neighbor”, by all means, we are called, as Christians, to help and protect our neighbors – even if we must put ourselves at some risk to do so.  After all, this is what the whole story of the Good Samaritan is all about (Luke 10:25-37). But what about those who believe that the vaccines are true poisons? Should they be forced to do something that they believe will cause injury to their own bodies? – and likely not really help their neighbors either?  Well, that’s a bit of a different issue.  If one honestly believes that the vaccine is poisonous and won’t help them or anyone else, then no, that person shouldn’t be forced to take the vaccine – with a few exceptions.

The exceptions to personal liberties are in regard to situations where one’s personal liberties directly affect other people.  A person may sincerely believe that a vaccine against COVID-19 is poisonous – and that’s fine as a personal belief.  However, if that person wants to work or be around other people who are at risk of COVID-19 infection, like in a hospital setting for instance, then that person must abide by the rules of what the hospital deems necessary to protect the patients being treated in that hospital.  Now, a person is always free to work somewhere else if they don’t like the rules. However, personal liberty does not mean that a person can just do anything that he/she wants when their actions involve other people.  Even the Bible outlines limitations to personal liberties, particularly when transmissible illnesses or diseases are involved. A sick person, with a transmissible disease, should be declared “unclean” and quarantined – according to the Bible (Leviticus 13:1-40).  And, it didn’t matter what a person thought or believed contrary to this biblical mandate. If you were living in that society, those were the rules.

Pastor Allen also mentions the use of fetal cells related to the vaccines.  However, neither of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) use fetal cell lines, or any other type of cell line, since they are synthetically produced and don’t require cellular cultures to create these vaccines.  So, if a person has an ethical problem with the use of fetal cell lines, the mRNA vaccines are a very good option for them.

Pastor Allen then cites the biblical prophecies regarding End Time Events where governments around the world will force people to break the Laws of God – particularly regarding the Sabbath.  Well, this is very different for at least a couple of reasons.  First off, personally keeping the Laws of God, as defined by the Bible for the follower of Jesus, doesn’t put anyone else at risk of death or injury.  Beyond this, getting a vaccine isn’t breaking any Law of God for the Christian.  Also, no one is preventing those who aren’t getting vaccinated from “buying or selling”. The types of “force” being used are, again, not remotely equivalent here.  Bribery to get the vaccine simply isn’t comparable to preventing someone from buying or selling goods or services. Again, if someone actually gives in to a bribe, then that person really never had any serious moral qualms with the issue to begin with.

Scott Ritsema:

Scott’s main concerns are very similar to those of Pastor Allen – primarily dealing with personal freedoms and liberties that Scott believes are being taken away and undermined by the government.  He is particularly concerned about the influence of the media on the public and the biased way that the media is promoting the vaccines against COVID-19 without explaining the extreme risks of the vaccines (according to Scott).  As an academic, Scott says that he’s a big fan of presenting “both sides” of a topic – even if he personally doesn’t agree with one of the sides.

“I believe that everybody needs to hear both sides. My background in academics was in history. I was a history teacher. I got into ministry later in life… but I come from that academic background of dialogue and inquiry. And, as a history teacher, whenever I notice that maybe one side was getting a little more play and imbalance, and the other side had some valid and interesting things to bring to the table, whether I agreed with them or not, I would always want to give air to that other side – to let people think and evaluate for themselves and grant people that they are capable, that they are individuals with a mind, and can evaluate the evidence for themselves.” (Scott Ritsema, June 16, 2021)

Of course, Scott isn’t exactly evenhanded in his dealing with this topic either – dwelling on all the risks that he sees with the vaccines without mentioning the abundant, I would say overwhelming, evidences for the miraculous efficacy and relative safety of these modern vaccines – particularly the mRNA vaccines. He didn’t, for example, have a medical or science expert, like the well-known Adventist pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult, on the side of vaccines as part of the discussion in this video that he himself produced – despite his own complaints that the public media does the very same thing. Immediately after saying all this about being all even-handed with presenting a topic, he says that in this particular video, he’s “Looking forward to hearing another side of this discussion” – without actually presenting and/or discussing both sides for his audience to “evaluate the evidence for themselves”. I don’t know. This just seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Others, of course, would argue that since the promotion of vaccines has been so prominent in this country, that’s it is only fair for Scott to personally present the anti-vaxx arguments to “balance things out”.  And, that’s fine for most people – but not for someone claiming to be an “academic” who personally strives to “always” present both sides of a story, regardless of if he personally agrees or not, for his listeners to then “make up their own minds”.

Bio of Dr. Sean Pitman

Dr. Sean Pitman is a pathologist, with subspecialties in anatomic, clinical, and hematopathology, currently working in N. California.

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40 thoughts on “Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines

  1. Sean, you write above, “However, this doesn’t prove or even suggest a correlation with the vaccines.”

    Isn’t that going too far? I agree that, from a scientific standpoint, this doesn’t prove a correlation. But to say that the numbers don’t even suggest a correlation seems to go too far. It’s like an evolutionist trying to claim that there is no evidence for creation.

    According to the WSJ article “Are Covid Vaccines Riskier Than Advertised?” posted at https://www.wsj.com/articles/are-covid-vaccines-riskier-than-advertised-11624381749 or https://oltnews.com/are-covid-vaccines-riskier-than-advertised-the-wall-street-journal and written by a Yale professor of epidemiology and a UCLA professor of medicine, concerns arising from the VAERS data isn’t just about the #’s of thrombocytopenia, myocarditis, deep vein thrombosis, and death happening within days of getting a covid-19 vaccine. For example, “Vaers records 321 cases of myocarditis within five days of vaccination, dropping to almost zero in 10 days.”

    Certainly that does suggest a correlation, for the numbers to be that high within 5 days and that low in 10 days. Proven? No. Suggest? Most certainly.

    Really, your discussion needs to deal with this issue. Certainly people die every day. But if numbers for those four specific adverse events rise soon after a vaccination and then drop, those facts must be addressed. Why the drop?

    As far as folks surrendering their civil and religious liberties go, I still think it is unethical for any entity, including a hospital, to coerce employees or others to receive an unapproved medical treatment, a treatment not yet approved by the FDA. Sure, the FDA might soon approve one of the vaccines, but none of them have been approved yet, based on what I could find yesterday at the FDA’s website.

    About signing a statement that says one is receiving it voluntarily after coercion and shaming, I just don’t think such a statement is going to work in the court of God. Sure, it happens all the time on earth. A car dealer or whoever makes all kinds of claims, and then you sign a statement that says you understand that nothing of what you were told is binding. But it’s not honest.

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    • I’m not saying that vaccines are risk-free. All vaccines, including the vaccines against COVID-19, come with certain risks. However, while real, serious risks are apparently quite rare – based on the abundant data that we have in hand so far. They are nothing at all like the risks claimed by Dr. McCullough where he claims that more than 50,000 people have been killed by these vaccines. That’s just not true at all. This claim cannot be supported by the VAERS data by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, this is exactly what Dr. McCullough is doing – as well as throwing in scary anecdotal unsubstantiated stories about breastfeeding babies of vaccinated mothers dying, women becoming infertile, lending credibility to the work of RFK, Jr., etc. No good scientist does that sort of thing. He just ruins his own credibility by doing such things.

      But what about the risk of myocarditis? Sure, that does seem to be a true risk based on the data and the number of cases above background levels – especially for young people for some reason. Again, however, this risk is very rare – only 323 cases of heart inflammation have been verified in people who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine out of millions of people vaccinated so far. The cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been seen mostly in teens and young adults between 12 and 39 years old — mostly after the second vaccine dose. Most people who have experienced this side effect have recovered from symptoms and are doing well, according to data presented Wednesday at a public meeting of the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee. Of the 323 cases, 295 were discharged from the hospital, nine remained hospitalized as of last week and 14 were not hospitalized at all. Outcome data was missing for five of the cases. No deaths have been associated with this side effect. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19 (up to a third of young people who get COVID-19 end up with myocarditis), and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.

      The risk of thrombocytopenia (ITP) is also a real risk (especially for young women getting one of the DNA vaccines). However, yet again, this risk is very rare. Still, I would recommend getting the mRNA vaccines to reduce this risk even further. Also, as with the other risks involved here, the risks for thrombocytopenia/ITP is much much higher for those getting infected by the COVID-19 virus itself. You have to consider the true odds of a particular risk. While the vaccines are not entirely risk-free, they most certainly are much much less risky than playing Russian Roulette with the actual viral infection when it comes to the very same type of injury. Even if a person doesn’t die after getting infected by COVID-19, the long-term risks are pretty high and are significant. Many end up with long-term damages to their bodies that may not ever completely heal. One of my close medical colleagues is currently suffering long-term neuropathy that is gradually getting worse over time since he was sickened by COVID-19. He may eventually have to stop practicing because of this problem. Another of my staff workers, a woman in her 40s who was otherwise healthy, has long-term lung and heart damage because of COVID-19. Her heart stopped and she had to be resuscitated before making it to the hospital. She was in the MICU for two weeks and has been on long-term sick leave for months now. She had to have a pacemaker placed because of the damage to her heart and she still has breathing issues as well (has to use oxygen at home). She will never be the same. Several of the members of my church also have long-term injuries from COVID-19. On the other hand, very very few of those who have been fully vaccinated have any such long-term problems. The comparison isn’t remotely close – not at all! And, this isn’t even mentioning the dozen friends of my own family that have been killed by COVID-19.

      As far as the WSJ article you reference citing the concerns of Drs. Risch and Ladapo, this article is fairly benign relatively speaking, and mostly accurate. I would say that it is a bit overdone, but not too bad. Dr. Risch does have a history, however, of significantly overstating the risks for vaccines. Back in April he made this claim:

      “What clinicians are telling me is more than half of the new COVID cases that they’re seeing to treat is people who’ve been vaccinated. They’ve estimated 60% of new patients they’ve been treating have been people who’ve been vaccinated.”

      The problem is that Risch’s claim, which was anecdotal, did not line up with what the actual data showed about COVID-19 cases among those who have been vaccinated. Back in April (2021) the CDC reported that more than 87 million people in the country had been fully vaccinated. Out of that number, just 7,157 breakthrough cases, or cases in which a person gets sick with a disease after vaccination, were reported. That’s a tiny fraction of what Risch claimed was going on.

      Dr. Ladapo, on the other hand, says that, “It’s true that serious adverse effects appear to be uncommon, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.” (Link) His main concern is that the public doesn’t know what to believe since the media isn’t being entirely honest about the risks of vaccines – despite their relative rarity. This results in people doubting everything that they are being told by the media and by the government, which, in turn, results in many not getting vaccinated – especially those who are most vulnerable to risks of COVID-19 infection.

      In any case, my main point here is that using VAERS like Dr. McCullough is using VAERS is malpractice. The VAERS data simply cannot be used as he is using it. It’s primary purpose is to detect patters that are above and beyond the usual background levels in large populations. That’s what it’s used for.

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      • Think it at all possible that clinicians, plural, located somewhere, at some point in time prior to the interview, did indeed tell Dr. Risch that? It doesn’t seem to me that aggregate data at the CDC can be used to prove that no clinicians told him such a thing.

        One obvious problem is that averages for the whole country can’t necessarily tell us what specific locations have experienced, but it does give us an idea of what the probability ought to be.

        If no clinicians really did tell him such a thing, and he really did make that statement, then there ought to be consequences.

        Is there anything that hinders reporting break-through infections? Another question might be whether there is less testing of vaccinated people than unvaccinated people, and whether that results in under-reporting break-through asymptomatic cases.

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        • Dr. Risch may have been told something wrong by some clinician(s) at some point in time. However, he still has a responsibility to at least try to verify what he may hear from this or that clinician somehow before he goes into a public forum with a lot of viewers and promotes what he’s heard in passing as “true”. It’s a problem when “experts” pass off hearsay as the gospel truth.

          As far as “break-through infections” are concerned, it’s primarily symptomatic infections that we’re talking about. So, when it comes to symptomatic infections, no, I see no reason or good evidence to conclude that there is significant underreporting. In fact, as of May 1, 2021, the CDC is only focusing on breakthrough cases that result in hospitalization or death:

          As of May 1, 2021, CDC transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause. This shift will help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance. (Link)

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  2. The NAD aired their own one-sided symposium on the Covid vaccine saying that it’s safe, everyone should get it and it’s their moral obligation to do so, The group that this article attacks simply offered the other side of the story so that an individual can make their own choice. I guess the suggestion that people should hear both sides of the argument and be left to make their own choice is unpalatable for the author of this article.

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    • I just find it a bit hypocritical that those who complain about others only presenting one side of the story are guilty of the very same thing…

      Beyond this, if I had a problem with considering and sharing both sides of this story, why would I be advertising and reviewing a video that goes against what I personally think is true?

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      • Sean,
        It’s sad that you find humor in a topic that is this polarizing and important; that you say its hypocritical for someone to present another side of things without representing the already over-prominent and one-sided perspective that is being presented everywhere you look. That is the whole point of what Scott and company were doing. They are presenting a side of things that most people in the country have no access to easily hear about because of the extreme censorship and silencing of anyone that has a different opinion or perspective contrary to the narrative being pushed by Fauci and other leaders as well as nearly every media platform including social media. This is far from hypocritical. The coercive push for vaccination and the endless representation of the “safety” and “efficacy” of these vaccines is heard everywhere you go and on nearly every major news source. This side is beyond represented. This side needs no further representation. If there is anything hypocritical taking place here, it is the shocking and disturbing way that the voices of individuals like Scott, Dr. Lela Lewis, Dr. Peter McCullough, and others have been attacked and silenced through extreme censorship. These people have boldly voiced their opinions and perspectives and have done so at great risk. There is nothing bold about toeing the line and following the masses. It takes guts to speak out against the powerful and influential voices of people in leadership. This country and this world need more bold people like Scott and company that are not afraid to take a stand and raise their voices. I feel sorry for anyone who is choosing to toe the line out of fear, coercion, or lack of thorough knowledge obtained from hearing the full story.
        I also find it concerning that you call them hypocrites and tear away at their personal and professional characters because you think their numbers are off. What about the COVID numbers themselves? What about the COVID deaths? I worked on the front lines in COVID ICUs for months. I witnessed, first-hand, the falsification of data taking place. We were told that all deaths were to be recorded as COVID deaths regardless if a patient even had COVID or not. This took place all over the country. This is not even hypocritical. This is the illegal falsification of medical documentation. How can you justify this and tear down Scott and company for simply presenting an alternative view?

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        • I don’t mind someone speaking their mind, even if I disagree with them. My issue with Scott Ritsema in this particular video of his, and it’s a very minor issue, is that he complains when others don’t present both sides of a story, but then fails to do so himself. Now, if he just straight up said, “Hey look, I’m only going to present one side of the story here because I feel that the other side of the story has been overrepresented”, then fine. I’d have no problem with that at all.

          Now, as far as your claim that the COVID-19 numbers and deaths have been falsely increased, that just not true either. I can’t speak for your personal experience, but I personally work in multiple hospitals and known many doctors around the country as well. There just isn’t this medical conspiracy to inflate COVID deaths like you claim. If anything, the COVID deaths in this country have been underreported. How can I possibly say this? Because, as noted already in another comment, the overall “all-cause” death rate in this country spiked back in March of 2020 way way above background levels. What on Earth caused such a spike in the all-cause death rate at this time? – a spike in deaths that goes well beyond what has been directly attributed to COVID-19? If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, what else has killed off more than 600,000 people so far in this country alone (3.9 million worldwide)? – beyond what would usually be expected? (Link)

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        • Yeah, well, it might help to actually understand the primary data one is looking at before one makes up his/her mind… which Dr. McCullough clearly doesn’t understand – particularly when it comes to the meaning of the VAERS data.

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      • It is surprising and even more hypocritical that you expected Scott Ritsema to organize for the so called ‘balanced presentation’ when even you have not responded with a balanced article!

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        • Scott Ritsema is the one who claimed to always strive to be “balanced” in discussions – not me. I don’t care if he is or if he isn’t. I’m surely not, nor have I ever claimed to be (when it comes to an unbiased presentation of both sides of a position). I just pointed out that Scott isn’t actually doing what he claimed to “always” do. He’s just as biased as I am. And, that’s Ok – except for his claim that he isn’t doing what he’s actually doing…

          At least I present the best arguments for the “other side”, as clearly and completely as possible (given reference to the full video in this case) before I present my own reasons as to why I think the best opposing arguments are mistaken – point by point. At least, in this way, I do offer “both sides” for consideration – even though my own personal bias is quite clear.

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  3. I find it so interesting that we are to believe that there is nothing wrong with the vaccine, and that possibly 5,000 people have not died from taking the vaccine, yet, we are to believe that over 500,000 people have died from Covid19!!! (Which I believe is an absolute lie). You can’t have it both ways!

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    • Why else do you think that the “all-cause” death rate has gone up so much in this country since March of 2020? – and in every other country around the world? If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, what else has killed off more than 600,000 people so far in this country alone (3.9 million worldwide)? – beyond what would usually be expected? (Link)

      You’ve got to be blind if you think that we haven’t been going through a real and truly serious pandemic. I’ve personally had a dozen family friends die from COVID-19. I have many more friends who have been seriously and permanently injured by COVID-19. If you know no one who has died or been seriously injured by COVID-19, consider yourself very fortunate. Have you not been in hospital MICUs filled with patients sickened by COVID-19 struggling to live on ventilators? – to include young people who were otherwise healthy? because I have seen this with my own eyes. Many have died in the hospitals where I personally work.

      Now, while the vaccines are not entirely free from some serious risks, these risks are very rare compared to the risks of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus and potentially spreading it to others around you. For me, the fear of spreading the virus to others was even greater than the fear of being infected by it personally. That’s the biggest reason why I chose to be vaccinated…

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    • Dr. McCullough said that there were over 5,000 cases of death reported to VAERS following vaccination, but that he believes that the true number to be 10 times greater – or over 50,000 deaths caused by vaccines…

      Again, however, this is based on a misunderstanding of the nature and appropriate use of VAERS.

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  4. “ the fear of spreading the virus to others was even greater than the fear of being infected by it personally. That’s the biggest reason why I chose to be vaccinated…” Appreciated the reasoning based on the evidence, but you lost me when you based your getting vaccinated on “fear”. But I get that we are the most unhealthy country on the planet and so we were ripe for a virus like this. My hope is the health message Adventism has thrown out of its mainstream health institutions will make a comeback. Dr Seheult does present solid evidence based treatments to prevent or lessen symptoms on C-19 if you opt out of the vaccine. God’s methods are tried and true! “Perfect Love casts out fear.”

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    • Perfect love casts out all fear of the second death – not the fear of, or concern for, possibly injuring others in this life. It is healthy to have a fear of, or a strong desire to avoid, hurting someone else. That’s only normal for the Christian. Jesus pointed out Himself that, in this world, we will still have trouble (John 16:33). And, it is the job of the Christian to try to lessen this trouble for one’s neighbors as much as is possible. That’s what the story of the Good Samaritan is all about (Luke 10:25-37).

      Ellen White herself, our source of the health message, vaccinated her own children and approved of her son, William White, being vaccinated as an adult against smallpox (Link). Her personal secretary for over 13 years (D. E. Robinson) said that she was herself personally vaccinated against smallpox during an outbreak (Link). Ellen White also lost two of her own sons and a husband to illnesses that could have been prevented with modern medicine if it had been available to her in her own day. She would no doubt have used these gifts that we currently have in had if she had only known about them. She most certainly feared for the lives of her own husband and children and was devastated when they died. It is only right, after all, to “fear” or “care” for the lives and prosperity of one’s loved ones, friends, neighbors, and even strangers.

      While the Adventist Health Message is important and very helpful, it is not a replacement for all of modern medicine. Dr. Roger Seheult, a brilliant and well-respected Adventist pulmonologist has been invaluable in his promotion of numerous natural remedies and resources in this country’s efforts (and the efforts of many other countries around the world actually) to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (Link). And, while there is no doubt that these are all very helpful, they just aren’t helpful enough to remove the need or benefits of the mRNA vaccines in particular. In other words, we need to take full advantage of all of the miraculous gifts and information that God has given to us to keep us healthy – to include the Health Message as well as the modern vaccines. The story behind the development of the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 is truly miraculous. Also, as my brother-in-law, I happen to know that Dr. Roger Seheult and his wife have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the very same reasons that I and my own wife have been fully vaccinated – along with all of our parents.

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  5. Um, Sean, pretty sure Scott said multiple times in the first five minutes that his forum was for the purpose of giving the other side an opportunity to be heard. How is that being a hypocrite? Running a smear campaign on good people just makes you look bad.. and I know your better then that.

    As a old combat medic I remember the last time we pushed one of these experimental “miracle” vaccines on people. Go look up the results of the anthrax vaccine on the troops. If you want to take it that’s cool, you do you but maybe be a little less confrontational my friend.

    Curious if you leveled accusations of hypocrisy at NAD when their video came out; they actually claimed to provide a “conversation,” but then proceeded to only let one side of the conversation be heard.

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    • If Scott had just left it at that, that he’s just giving an opportunity for the “other side to be heard”, then fine. However, that’s not all he said. He specifically said that he has a personal problem with those, like the media for instance, who only present just one side of the story – which is exactly what he’s doing himself.

      As far as the anthrax vaccine, I’ve personally taken it five times when I was in the army in S. Korea. While it’s not an easy vaccine to take by any means, what are your options when you’re dealing with trying to counter weaponized anthrax?

      The mRNA vaccines, in comparison, are not “new” or “experimental” in nature. They’ve been around over 30 years. We know very well how they work. They were also extensively tested with double-blinded placebo-controlled trials on animals and 70,000 humans before general public release. That’s more testing than is done for most medications or vaccines. And, the results were nothing short of miraculous with regard to efficacy and relative safety.

      Now, does this mean that these vaccines have absolutely no risk to them? No. All vaccines and medications, including the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 have certain risks that may be serious – to include the risk of death. However, these risks are far far less than the risk of exposing one’s self to infection by the actual COVID-19 virus – especially variants, like the Delta variant, that are coming online now. So, you have to pick your poison. Nothing is entirely risk-free here…

      As far as the NAD, they never said they were presenting a two-sided “conversation”… which is something that Scott says that he doesn’t like – except when he does the very same thing.

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  6. Sean,
    where did Scott claim to be providing a neutral platform? A quote from the video would be helpful. This is what I heard in the video… at 4:34 Scott says “I believe everybody needs to hear both sides” and he says that when a side has something to say and isn’t being heard he wants to “give air to that other side… I’m looking forward to hearing another side of this discussion that maybe you haven’t heard much of.” He’s totally transparent that he’s giving the other side a hearing since they’ve been silenced elsewhere. If you’re going to accuse somebody of being a hypocrite, you should quote where he says every forum on the covid vaccine needs to provide both sides.

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    • That’s just it. Scott didn’t claim to “be providing a neutral platform”. He just complained about others not doing so, and then didn’t do so himself. He said that,

      “I believe that everybody needs to hear both sides. My background in academics was in history, I was a history teacher. I got into ministry later in life… but I come from that academic background of dialogue and inquiry. And, as a history teacher, whenever I notice that maybe one side was getting a little more play and imbalance, and the other side had some valid and interesting things to bring to the table, whether I agreed with them or not, I would always want to give air to that other side – to let people think and evaluate for themselves and grant people that they are capable, that they are individuals with a mind, and can evaluate the evidence for themselves.”

      Yet, immediately after saying all this about being all even-handed with presenting a topic, he immediately says that in this particular video, he’s “Looking forward to hearing another side of this discussion” – without actually evenhandedly presenting and/or discussing both sides for his audience to “evaluate the evidence for themselves”.

      Again, I don’t mind if someone wants to present one particular side of a discussion. However, when someone states, upfront, that they are an “academic” who is all into presenting data on both sides of an issue so that people can make up their own minds, it comes across as a bit non-academic when only one side is then presented without any time given for anyone on the other side to address and give their own take on the claims being made.

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      • Sean,
        we don’t need to beat this horse to death. Your readers can read the quote from Scott and hear him in the video saying he’s giving air to THE OTHER SIDE; he repeated that twice. Then you put words in his mouth that he is claiming to be “into presenting data on both sides,” which he didn’t say; he said the exact opposite – that he is into presenting the “the other side” because “the one side was getting a little more play.” Those are his actual words; he never said he or any individual platform should be expected to present both sides. Just let his own words speak for themselves without your construction put on them.

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        • If you’re going to just present one side of an issue, just do that. Don’t bother citing your “academic” credentials and history of “always” trying to present a balanced perspective. And, don’t complain about others, like the mainstream media, doing the very same thing that you’re doing – presenting only one side of an issue.

          Beyond this minor point, have you nothing of real substance or interest to say about the actual primary claims being made? about all the scientific data that appears to strongly counter the sensational claims that Dr. McCullough’s presented in this video?

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      • How about this as a truce, Sean:

        1. Opinion blogs and videos like yours and Scott/Lela’s video – go ahead and share one side of the argument; everybody does this and we collectively allow all sides to be heard.
        2. Opinion journalism – same. Share your opinion. No pressure to give equal time to the other side. All sides get heard.
        3. Supposedly neutral platforms like social media or news programs that claim to be objective – allow all sides to be heard on your platform, because you claim to be a commons of ideas.
        4. Medical forums (like the NAD video) that claim to be a “conversation” – either allow both sides or drop the pretense of providing a “conversation.”

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        • Then don’t complain about others doing exactly what you’re doing…

          Anyway, the real issue with the video is that the main claims are almost all completely false and those that are true are presented in a very misleading manner – which has the potential to harm or even kill people. That’s the real problem.

          Now, I know that you’re a registered nurse and lifestyle director of the Eden Valley Institute of Wellness in Loveland, Colorado. And, that’s great! I would suggest to you, however, that excellent health would also help someone do very well with the mRNA vaccines. But why not just rely on excellent health alone? Doesn’t the Adventist Health Message completely negate the need for vaccines? Well, no, it doesn’t. I know of several very healthy vegans who have been seriously sicked by COVID-19 with some having sustained permanent and progressive injuries – and some have even died. So, I would suggest to do both – to follow the Health Message as carefully as possible and to take the mRNA vaccines. This will provide the greatest level of protection possible to our Adventist brothers and sisters. It’s certainly what Mrs. White advocated in her own day when smallpox was killing many people. She certainly wasn’t opposed to the smallpox vaccine and supported her own son William White getting vaccinated, along with his staff and associates (Link). And, her own secretary (D. E. Robinson) wrote that Mrs. White was also vaccinated for smallpox (Link).

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  7. Sean, I think you are what you call others — hypocritical. Speak to what Dr. Marcus of Biblical Prescriptions is saying who is giving both sides — unlike you. Dr. Marcus, SDA, has videos on well-rounded topics — natural immunity (and where to get tested), informed consent for an emergency use authorization injectable, treatments if you start to get sick (rather than go home and come back when you can’t breathe). Talk about your objections to Dr. Marcus — Here is his video on why he has not gotten the vaccine yet — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_bXtcsJP9o

    Sean, you are so one-sided . . . loses credibility with me. Blinders on . . . one-world-order SDA with no regard to our health message — and to Revelation’s warning — “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries (pharmakeia) were all nations deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Revelation 18:23-24

    Also, those who died after getting the vaccine, including young men, are just so ho-humm. Tragedies in the quest for the greater good — with no options allowed discussed. The censorship speaks volumes.

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    • First off, it’s Dr. Marcum, not “Marcus”. Secondly, the “natural immunity” he speaks of was the result of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus. Sure, the antibodies against COVID-19 that his immune system produced after his infection are helpful in preventing future infections with the alpha variant, but, unfortunately, not so much when it comes to the delta variant (Link). The fact of the matter is that the best and safest way to educate the human immune system to effectively resist the delta variant is via the mRNA vaccines. Why on Earth people believe that getting infected by the COVID-19 virus is somehow safer than exposing one’s immune system to a tiny inactive part of the virus is beyond me. Upon what rational basis do you believe this? Where is your scientific evidence or medical mechanism for this notion of yours?

      Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m at all opposed to the Adventist Health Message. Since the very beginning of this pandemic I’ve promoted good health, diet, exercise, vitamin D, etc as a great place to start to improve one’s immune system (Link). Unfortunately, however, for many this just isn’t enough. I have very good SDA friends who live very strictly according to the Adventist Health Message, yet they still got very sick and many died. Even some young SDA friends of mine in their 30s and 40s who didn’t die almost did die and some have permanent injuries from their COVID-19 infections.

      The problem is that the COVID-19 virus attacks the lining of blood vessels throughout the body, even for many very good and very healthy SDAs. This results in long-term injuries and organ damage – to include damage to the lungs, heart, and even the brain. It can even permanently reduce your IQ (Link).

      Regarding Revelation 18:23, in particular, the term “pharmakeia” is best translated as “sorcery” here. There is no intended advice at all against modern medicine in this passage. What, are you suggesting that medications like antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or insulin to treat diabetes are evil “sorceries”? Again, such arguments only make the Christians who say such things look sensational and irrational – which puts the Gospel Message itself into a bad light for those who are considering following Christ. (Link)

      This isn’t to say that vaccines are without risks. As with pretty much everything in life, the mRNA vaccines have various known risks, including a very very small risk of death. Of course, these risks are all very minimal compared to the very same risks for getting infected by COVID-19 – which are much much MUCH greater with the COVID-19 infection than with the vaccines. The odds of dying due to an mRNA vaccine are less than the odds of getting hit by lightning! The same cannot be said for the odds of dying and/or getting permanent serious injuries from a COVID-19 infection. The odds of death from COVID-19 double for every seven years one is older than the age of 20. By the time you’re over the age of 75, your odds of death are 32 times greater than someone in their 20s. I have spoken to the various relative risks of the vaccines in this forum many times. It’s not like I’m trying to hide anything. I want all the cards to be on the table. Why would I want to hide anything? The unvarnished truth is, again, that even though there are real risks to vaccines, these risks are minimal compared to the much MUCH greater risks of getting infected with the actual COVID-19 virus – when it comes to every single type of risk one can imagine (Link, Link). You mention “heart inflammation” in young men, for an example. And, that’s indeed a real risk of the vaccines. However, this risk is minimal at around 1 in 200,000 – with no deaths or evidence of long-term injury resulting from this particular type of risk (Link). Compare this with the risk of myocarditis from getting infected by the actual COVID-19 virus at around 30%. That’s right, around a third of otherwise healthy young people who get infected by COVID-19 will get heart inflammation (Link). Again, the risk of COVID-19 infection far FAR outweighs the very same risk for the vaccine. This is true for every other valid risk that you or anyone else can list.

      Why then would you choose to expose yourself and those close to you with the much riskier option that is available to you?

      Regarding censorship, I’m not a fan of government censorship of free speech. While I do agree that misinformation on this topic is, in fact, killing people, I also believe that free speech is fundamental to this country and to the very fabric of our society. That doesn’t mean that I have to provide a platform, however, for speech that I consider to be dangerous. The same is true for others who provide platforms for various forms of conversation. They are also free to promote whatever they want on the platforms that they own.

      In any case, I have yet to see a medical or scientific argument coming from you that I can actually understand as offering some reasonable support for your claims or that effectively undermines anything that I’ve said in favor of the mRNA vaccines. Really then, what do you have as a solid empirical basis for your position? – beyond your personal feelings? – or your appeals to various authority figures who are making claims that you personally haven’t investigated as to their actual scientific basis? Do you have any scientific background or medical training or understanding at all? Where is your weight of empirical evidence that might help a pathologist like me actually understand the validity of your position?

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  8. Thank you, Sean, for your calm and scientifically valid approach. A little item worth remembering is that the smallpox vaccination that EGW did take was also not without risk. She apparently recognized that vaccination was the lesser risk. Similarly today when we look at data it is clear that vaccination is a lesser risk than actually getting Covid-19 variants.

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  9. Pingback: Review of “The Surge” with Dr. Lela Lewis and Friends | Educate Truth

  10. Pingback: Common Questions Regarding COVID-19 and the mRNA Vaccines | Educate Truth

  11. Pingback: Dr. McCullough at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church | Educate Truth

  12. Pingback: Dr. McCullough at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church | Educate Truth

  13. Hi Sean, I’ve briefly looked over the presentation by Dr Peter M. I wish I’d have more time to fully research your presentation. My thought is in regards to the risk reward of taking the COVID vaccine. I’m 37 yrs old, with no medical conditions. so I’d have approx 0.05% of death from COVID. the Pfizer vaccine has a approx efficacy of 16% after 7 months (based on Israel data). Considering we don’t know the long term (if any) side effects of this vaccine- it just dosnt sound like a good idea for me to take. Unless I’m an older person and expect to be exposed to COVID within the very near future I can’t see how it’s a good idea? Correct me if I’m wrong. Thank you

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    • A healthy 37yo man has about a ~0.3% risk of dying once infected by COVID-19 (including the Delta Variant). That may not sound like much, but those odds are pretty high, actually, and that’s not even considering the substantially higher risk of long-term injury from a COVID-19 infection (up to 25%). And, odds are, that eventually, you will get infected. So, it would be worth it to try to get some protection, which the mRNA vaccines do offer.

      Sure, as you point out, the effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines against infection decreases over time. However, what’s really important is that the effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines against hospitalization/death remains high. Here are the latest details:

      According to a report from Israel’s Health Ministry (July 20, 2021), Pfizer’s general effectiveness at preventing infections decreased as the time before exposure increased: efficacy was 79% for those who received their second dose in April, 69% for March, 44% for February, and 16% for people who were fully-vaccinated back in January – with an overall average of 42%. The average is higher for Moderna (76%) since Moderna uses more than triple the dose of mRNA compared to Pfizer (Link). The prevalence of the Delta Variant is greater than 93% in Israel now, which suggests that Pfizer’s efficacy here largely reflects effectiveness against the Delta Variant.

      More importantly, regardless of the time between vaccination and exposure to any variant, the Pfizer vaccine has proven to be over 95% effective at preventing severe disease leading to hospitalization or death. The same is true for Moderna (Link).

      But what about the risks of the mRNA vaccines? Well, for someone your age with good health, serious risks are very rare. Your risk of dying from an mRNA vaccine is similar to one’s risk of getting killed by lightning. It happens, but it’s very rare. It’s far Far more likely to get seriously injured or die via COVID-19. Also, as an added bonus, the mRNA vaccines continue to reduce the transmission of the virus. So, odds that you would make someone else sick, without realizing it, are reduced (Link).

      Overall, then, I would strongly recommend betting in favor of getting fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna.

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  14. Pingback: Dr. Peter McCullough’s COVID-19 and Anti-Vaccine Theories | Detecting Design

  15. What has been left out of the entire discussion is what would have happened if from the very beginning hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were highly recommended early in every case instead of covered up with the help of Dr “Mengela” Fauci. Bet the death rate would be nill and the vaccine info wouldn’t have to be used to violate our right to work, live, eat, and get an education and mostly legally and fairly choose the real 2020 election winner, Donald J Trump which by data I’ve heard 8-15 million mail in ballets are unaccounted for along with China hacking and likely altering voting data in all 50 states. See cyberforum by Lindell, Frankspeech.com. YOUR RISK for dying and losing all your freedoms have gone up astronomically by this left wing and right wing Rhino fraud, likely a much greater risk to your life in the long term than the coronavirus especially if the terrorists getting in from the southern border, and China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea want to challenge a feckless corrupt Biden administration with Nukes, etc. I was in the Navy when the HIV epidemic started and no one forced gays or drug addicts at high risk to get tested. In fact it was against the law. At the time there was no treatment but testing would have potentially prevented them from infecting others. No I haven’t taken the vaccine. But I will immediately demand the above drugs if infected. I learned a lot about the mechanism of action of the vaccines and potential side effects and statistics on morbidity and mortality here. But I don’t think that anyone not taking the vaccine is harming someone if they wear a mask and distance. If anyone is concerned, take the vaccine. Others, maintain your right to chose and not be coerced by globalists, left wing anarchists, greenies, and even religious harlets who disgrace gods creation. I too am a pathologist and once practiced in Northern California. The devil controls California but there is an opportunity to take it back with the lifelong conservative black man Larry Elder. Spread the word and support him.

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    • As I pointed out in my article, there was initial hope that IVM and HCQ would be helpful to treat COVID-19 infections if given early. Well, this has now been scientifically tested with double-blinded placebo-controlled trials. And, unfortunately, no significant benefit was detectable – despite early treatment. That’s the reality of the situation and it doesn’t matter how many anecdotal stories you might have heard. Such stories simply don’t trump the actual science here. The same is true when it comes to all the “stories” one might have heard about the dangers of the mRNA vaccines. None of these stories actually trump the abundant science that is available that shows them to be very effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths as well as being much MUCH safer than getting a COVID-19 infection – especially for someone in your age category.

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