To The Editor:
On the evening of October 25, several hundred people showed up for a medical freedom town hall, hosted by the Delaware Medical Freedom Alliance in a large-size ballroom at The Sands in Rehoboth Beach.
The emcee, local artist and business owner Abraxas Hudson, opened the panel discussion by expressing some of the disbelief shared by many of us in the room: how, after nearly two years of Covid, can a hospital standard of care continue to be the administration of Remdesovir and ventilators, when treatment outcomes may be actually worse for patients receiving such treatment? https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2781959 How is it that billions of dollars of research money in the USA has been funneled toward developing vaccines as The Covid Treatment, with barely some pennies spared for investigating anything else?
Now we’ve now got extremely fast-tracked vaccines for anyone (in the first world) who wants one, funded by our tax dollars, that are supposed to reduce symptoms and deaths in the persons who get them. But also meanwhile, our understanding of Covid has evolved, so we know it is MUCH less lethal than originally hyped for generally healthy persons. And many folks don’t currently want to try these experimental vaccines. Meanwhile, with splendid circular logic, these ideas and almost all other Covid treatments are branded “misinformation” without analysis.
Covid Vaccines (unlike most traditional vaccines) do not prevent transmission of the virus (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7031e2.htm?s_cid=mm7031e2_w and many other studies), and despite assurances from politicians, it is unclear whether they are reducing the spread of Covid in vulnerable populations in real life.
There are many, many factors to consider when making healthcare decisions, but it should be up for debate whether a freely available gene therapy prophylactic treatment - which does not prevent transmission - should be mandated for those who do not want it, and especially whether it should be mandated in the future for children. (Children have less risk of complications or dying from Covid than they do from the ordinary flu (or from drowning) https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01897-w ; there is little rationale for children receiving it from a herd immunity perspective; young people have so far disproportionately experienced injury from the covid vaccines as compared with other age groups; and all of this serves to increase any potential risks to children from a vaccine as compared with any potential benefits).
Why are vaccine mandates being pushed so very strongly right now, and why do so many feel that it is necessary to censor dissent? The founder of the Delaware Medical Freedom Alliance explained that he started the organization because he feels like it is important for people to be able to share information and engage in conversation.
On Monday night, a ballroom full of hundreds of people shared simple ideas and some rising anger: What is going on? Hands Off My Body! What happened to the concept of long term safety data and informed consent?! Let me continue to work at my job, where I used to be an “essential worker” but am now…fired. Let’s talk about human immunity, and risk/benefit calculations for different demographics (which are so very different from each other with Covid) and not slap mandates on top of disagreements. Let my children be a part of society without either injecting them or labeling them Unclean. In every other case of infectious disease (as well as right now with Covid in other countries), Natural Immunity is acknowledged as equivalent to or better than vaccine-induced immunity. Why not in the USA? (https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ , https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.01.21258176v2 , and others.) In super highly vaccinated populations such as Israel, the virus continues to spread. In general we are told that a regular booster schedule will be necessary (for life??); the vaccine is neither panacea nor should it be a reason to segregate and scapegoat. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34596015/
The woman next to me turned out to be a neighbor, a registered nurse who was fired last week after working at a local hospital for many years, because of her unwillingness to comply with mandates. This week, that same hospital is so short staffed that they are advertising for traveling nurses and offering a salary of $6000/week. No one is applying.
There is real pushback from the medical community now, even when compared to “regular” persons who don’t want the vaccine, and many hospitals are trying not to acknowledge this - but surgeries and routine procedures are being postponed. “There wasn’t even such staffing issues through all of 2020!” my neighbor explained. “I NEVER thought I would see something like this in my lifetime.”
Many medical professionals are seeing many other things: a standard of Covid care that is dictated by politics rather than health; a level of vaccine “reactions” that are both unprecedented and Not-acknowledged by the mainstream media nor most doctors in administrative positions - and neither the pharmaceutical companies nor the government are accepting liability/care for this latter category of damaged people.
Of course, not nearly all who get the vaccine will be hurt. There are those for whom, we hope, the vaccine is lifesaving. But it’s a criminal situation when suppression of discussion concerning the reasons people DON’T want a medical treatment is the general public health strategy from our elected officials.
I often hear criticism from those who say, “But these are extremist political groups having these conversations!” And it is true that conservative outlets are more likely to provide a platform for discussion right now. But most of us would be happy to attend a medical freedom rally sponsored by those of ANY political affiliation: where are my socialist and the liberal friends who will step up and host a town hall? Why on earth are we politicizing issues of basic public health? I don’t try to slap mandates against you for eating sugar or processed foods, even though it contributes to the worsening of your diabetes/NAFLD/autoimmunity/etc. that in turn contributes to your increased risk of dying from Covid and straining our collective healthcare system; why are you trying to turn me into a criminal for not-accepting a vaccine?
Mary Holland, president and general counsel for Children’s Health Defense, spoke articulately on the state of vaccine exemptions in the USA right now (basically: they are under attack on all fronts, but especially health and philosophical exemptions; religious exemptions in most places are the only options, except where these too have been revoked (like in California)).
Kelly Sutton, an MD from California, described how doctors are bullied with “disciplinary” actions by licensing boards and state attorneys, if they - for example - write a medical exemption for an immunization for a child who is - for example - at higher risk for encephalitis or epilepsy or asthma from a vaccine based on family or health history or both. Other doctors she knows are also facing the loss of their licenses and are investigating alternative ways of practicing medicine that would be temporarily out of reach of governmental authority (for example, creating a clinic where patient and doctor create private contracts for treatment, technically legal due to the primacy of “private contracts” in our legal system).
Christine Dolan was somewhat prone to hyperbole as an investigative journalist, and also well-traveled, -credentialed, and incredibly frustrated as she described the failure of mainstream media to acknowledge the existence of anything outside the corporate/CDC narrative. Follow the money, she explained, and you’ll find out what is published! Kill your Facebook account, Dolan implored, and don’t just make it inactive: download your personal photos and delete the account entirely. Her partner in journalistic endeavors, L. Todd Wood, added: we are letting corporations become ever more powerful every time we let them use our data. It’s incredibly valuable in aggregate, and Big Tech plus Big Pharma are making a very few people so incredibly rich while siphoning power away from everybody else.
Dolan and Wood attempted to buy a spot for a commercial to be aired on major networks in the DC area this week, to coincide with the FDA’s review of Covid vaccines for children. The ad was initially accepted, and then after one network rejected it, the others backpedaled. The thirty-second spot showed footage of a teenager who was injured by the Pfizer vaccine in the initial trials. She is now confined to a wheelchair with severe neurological symptoms. The voiceover intoned: Mr. Biden, this girl volunteered to test the vaccine because she wanted to help others. Now [referencing the fact that pharmaceutical companies nor the government nor insurance companies are liable to cover any effects of vaccine injury], the voiceover concluded: who is going to help this girl?
Kevin Jenkins, community organizer, had a lot to say on the Ill-health all around us, and the ways that we all need to fight for what is truthful and reclaim our health, our food supply, and our human rights. He noted: When people think about the civil rights movement, they often that it was a bunch of black people rising up. The reality, says Jenkins, was that a whole bunch of people - black and white - linked arms with their neighbors and worked together to get things to change. (And you know what happened seven years later, right? he reminded us. Much of that progress was reversed when people let down their guard!) Politics right now is full of smokescreens designed to get people arguing amongst themselves concerning gender, “Black Lives Matter”, and many other identity issues. And meanwhile we’re being driven apart by the corporations who oppress 99% of the rest of us, of all colors and genders and religions and orientations…
Jenkins’ isn’t the first critique of mandates and woke politics that I’ve heard lately, AND he was quite compelling - and over the past 18 months he has visited dozens of cities and spoken at dozens of community events in an effort to help people look around their own communities, reach out to each other, and stand up for what is right - while developing resilience to make it through the fallout, and clean up the mess, and preserve what is left of ecological stability before it’s too late.
It’s not that Jenkins was advocating for violence, not at all. But I couldn’t help thinking about Nelson Mandela, who gave nonviolence the old college try before spending many years schooling himself in the art of tactical offense. He brought down apartheid with amazing focus, after discovering that he couldn’t find any way to do so without some violence. I have never wished for nor condoned war, and yet…I do not see any clear path forward. Maybe we will decentralize our society into smaller groups? Maybe we can avoid violence AND totalitarianism if we do this quickly enough? Maybe there is another way to put people and our environment and our communities above profits.
Covid is just a piece of what is happening in the world. But vaccine passports also aren’t all about Covid, and these are coming quickly. Passports are about power and control and who has power and control over our money and our movements, and we, the folks sitting in the ballroom at the Sands on Monday, want no part of them.
The night concluded with a few remarks from state senator Dave Lawson, who entreated anyone and everyone in the audience to run for public office: You won’t know what goes on in politics until you come behind the closed doors, and believe me, it isn’t pretty! We need YOU to bring change to the system! It doesn’t take any experience at all except a desire to help people. If you have that, you will make a better politician than almost any of those currently “serving” the American people…
After one late evening like that, and five kiddos up early the next day, my sails had less wind in them. What will I do? Would I really run for office?? Can I find a cause I believe in so dearly, make an attempt to help society to the degree that I’d be willing to sacrifice most things for it? What is it that I CAN do, that would make a difference?? So far, I’ve generally tried to distance myself from institutions I find bloated and/or dangerous. But we are being pushed so hard now, all of us, that it’s hard not to feel like the institutions in which we live are crowding out more civil liberties than ever before. How much am I willing to put up with? How much are you?