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WSJ Takes on Biden Admin, Vaccine Makers for 'Deceptive' Booster Campaign

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

There are times it's preferable to drive in silence these days. Turning on the radio here in northern New Jersey is more like tuning into the vaccine propaganda network. You flip through the stations, but all you manage to find are ads pushing the latest booster shots, paid for by the federal government or New York's health authorities. Got COVID and think you'll be OK if you get it again? You need the booster because the next time…well…it could be far, far worse for you. Trust us. I'm paraphrasing, of course. You've all likely heard the spiel.

It's nauseating, particularly when you consider how "safe and effective" they are, hence the need for the nonstop campaign.

But now, thanks to Wall Street Journal editorial board member Allysia Finley, we know why this is happening. In a recent column, she explains the "deceptive advertising" continues despite the updated bivalent vaccines' track record because "federal agencies took the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them" and then recommended them "without data supporting their safety or efficacy." 

While the original idea to have updated mRNA COVID shots each season was promising, three problems arose. The virus moved quicker than scientists could update the shots, the vaccines have "hard-wired our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain," and antibodies wane very rapidly after a short period of time. 

She backs up these claims with recent studies published in one of the world's most influential medical journals. 

Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine this month showed that bivalent boosters increase neutralizing antibodies against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but not significantly more than the original boosters. In one study, antibody levels after the bivalent boosters were 11 times as high against the Wuhan variant as BA.5.

The authors posit that immune imprinting “may pose a greater challenge than is currently appreciated for inducing robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants.” This isn’t unique to Covid or mRNA vaccines, though boosters may amplify the effect. Our first exposure as children to the flu—whether by infection or vaccination—affects our future response to different strains.

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 randomized trial. They tested the original boosters last winter, long before the BA.5 surge and 4½ to six months after trial participants had received their third shots. The bivalents, by contrast, were tested after BA.5 began to surge, 9½ to 11 months after recipients had received their third shots. (WSJ)

She holds nothing back in explaining why this happened: "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."

Finley says the FDA ordered the drug companies to produce the updated shots but didn't wait for the data to be available before giving them the green light. Noteworthy CDC studies also failed to control for important factors, such as that those who received the booster were likely to follow other health precautions or use anti-viral treatments. 

She concludes: 

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. (WSJ)

Social media users were glad to see WSJ finally coming around on the issue.


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