First off, it’s Dr. Marcum, not “Marcus”. Secondly, the …

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

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?

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

Pastor Doug Hardt: Vaccines, Liberty and the Bible
A term promoted by Dr. Robert Malone? – borrowed from Mattias Desmet? – attempting to make parallels with Nazi Germany and the rise of Hitler in the 1930s? where millions of people have been “hypnotized” into believing mainstream ideas about COVID-19, including steps to combat it such as testing and vaccination? Yes, I’ve heard of it. What nonsense (Link).

Just because you’re swimming against the crowd, just because you’re in the minority, doesn’t mean that you’re right. Occasionally, the consensus opinion of medical scientists, experts in their fields of study, who have devoted their lives to studying such things as pandemics and vaccines, is actually right.

Pastor Doug Hardt: Vaccines, Liberty and the Bible
I think he’s seriously mistaken regarding pretty much all of his major points (Link).

Pastor Doug Hardt: Vaccines, Liberty and the Bible
Oh, I have, but this “Religious Liberty Weekend” was full of misinformation and outright falsehoods regarding COVID-19 and the vaccines against it – which I’ve discussed in this forum in some detail already.

The talk of Conrad Vine, which you directly link to here, doesn’t make sense to me. He’s discussing a GC position on vaccines published in 2015 – well before the current pandemic began. His claim that the GC ADCOM exceeded its authority by releasing a position statement on immunization in 2015 just doesn’t fly for a number of reasons. I particularly agree with David Hamstra where he addressed Vine’s argument on liberty of conscience regarding vaccines:

As far as I can tell, Dr. Vine’s line of reasoning that makes every health choice a matter for claims of conscience makes every potential choice into a matter for a claim of conscience, for which domain of human activity does the Holy Spirit not want to guide? And if every choice deserves protection for conscience’s sake, then no choices can be given protection for conscience’s sake because sinful human beings would become ungovernable. (Link)

In short, I think one’s personal liberty of conscience ends where the nose of someone else begins. I see this as the very basis of reasonable civil governments and the enforcement of reasonable civil laws – ordained by God Himself (Link). So, unless you’re living on an island, by all means, the civil laws of the land, which Paul claims has Divine Authority to set up civil laws that may in fact restrict individual liberties for the good of society as a whole, should be obeyed unless they directly violate a clear command of God to the contrary. No such Divine command exists regarding vaccines – which I see as nothing short of a gift of God to combat diseases that have long plagued humanity with endless suffering and death – having historically killed off billions of people in this world. Thanks to vaccines, many of these diseases have either been completely eliminated or significantly reduced.

Natural vs. Vaccine-derived Immunity
I’m biased here since I’m a physician myself. While I personally do not favor vaccine mandates for the general public since I think that they are largely counterproductive, I personally feel that medical providers are in a different category and that medical providers (like doctors and nurses and nursing home workers) should be required to be vaccinated since they deal directly with those who are sick and most vulnerable to serious infection. Timely boosters should also be required for medical personnel since boosters have clearly been shown to improve immunity after 6 months since the previous vaccine was given.

As far as “Long-COVID”, it is a real risk following a COVID-19 infection, but isn’t a risk following vaccination. The vaccines have not been associated with the symptoms of Long-COVID since vaccines are not based on the use of a live virus that invades the entire body. In fact, there are some research studies that suggest that many Long-COVID cases are likely related to persistent COVID-19 infections (Link). This is probably why many of those who have Long-COVID improve following vaccination.

Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
Ouch! 😉