I’m not saying that vaccines are risk-free. All vaccines, …

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

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.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

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


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


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


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
I’m just saying is that if you think that what you say on blog sites like this one doesn’t really affect people, especially when you present yourself as an MD, you’re mistaken. I know that people have been influenced against taking the mRNA vaccines by what you’ve said here in this forum. You’re not simply being neutral in what you’ve posted. You do, in fact, come across as being opposed to the mRNA vaccines – also noting that you didn’t get vaccinated yourself and chose to get infected by the live COVID-19 virus without pre-established vaccine-based immunity. You’ve also come across as being strongly against any response by me to the articles that you’ve referenced where I point out how these papers really do not actually undermine the efficacy and/or the relative safety of the mRNA vaccines. Clearly, you don’t come across as being neutral on the topic.

And, such comments have an effect on people – they really do. While that upsets me, again, it’s more important to me to allow for those who disagree with me to also post their comments rather than to only allow what I personally think is true to be posted.

Beyond this, no one is twisting your arm to post our comments here. You can post or not post as you wish. That’s entirely up to you. But, don’t expect that I won’t push back when you post comments that I think will increase the risk of those who read what you have to say…


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
The difference between us is that I see people in the ICU, as does my brother-in-law Dr. Roger Seheult (a pulmonologist in S. Cal.). You might see the occasional person die from COVID-19, but those who work ICUs in larger medical centers see far too many people die from COVID-19 – to include young people (not just those in nursing homes). You might offer the vaccine to those whom you see, but if you present arguments to them like the ones you’ve presented here, such advice most certainly does result in increased injuries and even death. For me, that’s a big deal. You might call it “weird and overly dramatic” if you want, but for me the effort to save lives and reduce injuries is neither “weird” nor “overly dramatic”. I mean, that’s why I do what I do…

Now, you say, “The discussions that I have on blogs like this are my personal thoughts and concerns. They don’t reflect the way that I actually practice primary care medicine on a daily basis.”

That would be great if this were a private conversation, but it isn’t. It is a public conversation and your words have an impact on the hundreds who read this blog every day. I mean, in a very real sense, especially given that you include your title “MD” with your name, and often point out that you are a medical doctor when you post to this blog, you are, in fact, practicing medicine when you post public comments like you do. You cannot simply say, “I don’t actually follow my own advice that I post in blogs when I practice primary care medicine on a daily basis.” Your influence simply isn’t limited to what you do face-to-face with patients in your clinic. Your influence also extends to what you say and do in front of people outside of your daily medical practice.


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
Well, I’m glad you go at least this far… although I still think that the kinds of arguments you present here really do put people’s lives and health at increased risk. I know you don’t agree, but that’s how I see things from my own perspective.

Now, I’m fine with you, and those who think like you, having the ability to freely share your opinions – despite how mistaken and damaging I personally think these opinions may be. That’s just the nature of living in a free society – which I think is far more important than restricting the freedom of speech.


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
Yes, I’ve been reviewing these particular evolutionary arguments for over 20 years myself: Link, Link

Again, however, when it comes to active retrotransposons in normal human cells, naturally, the expression of LINE sequences is repressed in most cell types. Its RNA is mainly heritable during early embryogenesis because of its enrichment and high retrotransposition activity in early embryos (Grow et al., 2015). That’s why the Swedish research team used a tumor cell line where LINE-1 sequences where more strongly expressed.

On the other hand, it does seem to be true that cells infected by live SARS-COV-2 viruses do show enhancement of expression of retrotransposons:

In our study, we analyzed publicly available transcriptome data of human cells infected with coronavirus MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, and observed enhanced expression of TEs including several retrotransposons, as well as inflammation, immunity, and apoptosis related genes. We further noticed potential fusion of SARS-CoV-2 RNA with retrotransposon transcripts especially LINEs and SINEs… One of the major mechanisms for LINE-1 silencing is DNA methylation, and we examined expression of genes encoding DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and Ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzymes mediating active DNA demethylation. We observed that Tet genes were generally upregulated after coronavirus infection (Figure 2D), and upregulated DNA demethylation activity may lead to demethylation of retrotransposon promoters. This result supports that increased retrotransposon expression was caused by genome-wide DNA demethylation. We obtained similar results in MERS-CoV/SARS-CoV infected MRC5 cells which are noncancerous human lung fibroblast cells (Figures 2A–D)… SARS-CoV-2 infection also causes upregulation of TET gene expression (Figure 2D). Similarly, SARS-CoV-2 was identified to have the capability of infecting human intestinal organoids (Figure 2E) and increased retrotransposon expression can also be observed post infection in a time-dependent manner (Figure 2F)…

Coronaviruses are RNA viruses and are not supposed to integrate into host genome by themselves. However, it was reported that several RNA viruses have capacity to recombine with retrotransposons to invade host genome (Geuking et al., 2009)… This demonstrates high efficiency of LINE family especially LINE-1 in forming chimeric transcript with SARS-CoV-2 RNA. LINE-1 is autonomous retrotransposon with retrotransposition activity, and RNA-RNA ligation mediated by endogenous RNA ligase RtcB was previously reported for LINE-1 to carry other types of RNA for host genomic invasion (Moldovan et al., 2019), so similar mechanisms may apply for SARS-CoV-2 transcripts. Further examination of human genome from SARS-CoV-2 infected human cells or biopsies will be particularly important to identity existence of integration of coronavirus RNA into human genome.
(Link)

So, you see, if anything, infection by live SARS-COV-2 viruses puts a person at higher risk of cellular genetic modification compared to the mRNA vaccines. This only adds to the reasons to get vaccinated against COVID-19 rather than to gain “natural immunity” the hard way – i.e., via a live SARS-COV-2 infection. Yet again, the risks are simply far higher here for the natural infection vs. vaccination.


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
I think everyone’s knowledge of retrotransposons is limited when it comes to how they might possibly pose any kind of real risk for the use of mRNA technology – for vaccines or any other use. If you think otherwise, by all means, do share with me how retrotransposons reasonably create such a risk? This paper from Sweden that you’ve most recently forwarded certainly does no such thing.

As far as what kind of “weight of evidence” it would take to change your mind about mRNA vaccines, you say that you don’t require “absolute knowledge”, but it certainly seems as though you’re raising the bar far far higher than is reasonable – to the point of preferring to get sick with a COVID-19 infection, putting yourself at a far higher risk of long-term injury and even death, rather than take an mRNA vaccine. Given the evidence that is currently in hand, I find that position to be rationally untenable – especially when it comes to trying to convince others to do the same thing during a time when those who are getting very sick and dying, still thousands every day, are almost all unvaccinated.

Now, I’m glad that you personally survived, but spreading misinformation like this has cost and is still costing many lives. I have a problem with that and I do not at all apologize for my strong recommendation that pretty much everyone who has access to the mRNA vaccines get vaccinated against COVID-19.