The Deceptive Campaign for Bivalent Covid Boosters. By Allysia Finley in the WSJ.
You might have heard a radio advertisement warning that if you’ve had Covid, you could get it again and experience even worse symptoms. The message, sponsored by the [US] Health and Human Services Department, claims that updated bivalent vaccines will improve your protection.
This is deceptive advertising. But the public-health establishment’s praise for the bivalent shots shouldn’t come as a surprise. Federal agencies took the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.
The idea of updating mRNA Covid shots every season originally held promise. … Hence the bivalent boosters targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants along with the original Wuhan strain.
But three scientific problems have arisen. First, the virus is evolving much faster than the vaccines can be updated. Second, vaccines have hardwired our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralise variants targeted by updated vaccines. Third, antibodies rapidly wane after a few months. …
The original Covid vaccines and boosters trained our memory B-cells to produce antibodies against the Wuhan variant. As the University of Pennsylvania’s Paul Offit explains in a New England Journal of Medicine article, previously vaccinated people who received the bivalent booster were “primed” to respond to the Wuhan strain and mounted an inferior antibody response to other variants.
The studies’ findings contradict November press releases from Pfizer and Moderna asserting that their bivalents produced a response to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants four to six times that of the original boosters. These claims are misleading. Neither vaccine maker conducted a randomised trial. …
The vaccine makers designed their studies to get the results they wanted. Public-health authorities didn’t raise an eyebrow, but why would they? They have a vested interest in promoting the bivalents. …
The CDC published a study in November that estimated the bivalents were only 22% to 43% effective against infection during the BA.5 wave — their peak efficacy. As antibodies waned and new variants took over later in the fall, their protection against infection probably dropped to zero. …
Wish they had, would have been better
Many of the same experts who trashed observational studies supporting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin now flog intrinsically flawed studies on bivalent boosters. After zealously promoting the bivalents, they may be seeking vindication. But science isn’t about vindication.
Covid vaccines mitigated severe illness while most Americans gained immunity through natural infection, which substantially boosts protection. There’s a growing consensus that we need better vaccines and treatments to protect those still at risk. But we also need honest public health leaders.
Our society is becoming more incompetent and dishonest, a trend that has become impossible to deny in the last couple of decades.
hat-tip Stephen Neil