Here are the main reasons, in summary form, why I’m not taking any of the COVID-19 jabs. These points correspond to the 6 chapters listed in the table of contents.
1. At my age (35) I have a vanishingly small chance of severe symptoms or death from COVID-19
2. If a disease poses no threat to me, I prefer to gain immunity naturally because it will be more sophisticated and longer-lasting than any conferred by a man-made intervention. I may also already be immune, in which case a vaccine would be useless at best
3. There are already numerous safe and effective treatments for COVID-19
4. The ‘vaccines’ are not vaccines, strictly speaking, but experimental new technology which has never before been used at scale on humans
5. Efficacy claims based on the clinical trials for the ‘vaccines’ are misleading, and we don’t know whether the jabs prevent deaths or serious illness from COVID-19
6. These ‘vaccines’ are still in phase 3 trials until 2023, and we do not - can not - know their medium- or long-term effects
These are the bones – the essential points – of my reasoning. What follows is an expansion of each point for those that wish to understand my thinking and logic. The aim of this document is not to prove anything ‘once and for all’ but to ask questions, outline concerns and to explain my caution and hesitation. I am not a doctor, nor do I have any special training in a scientific field. I am merely a concerned person and citizen. I am not qualified to give medical advice and this document is not meant as such. The point here is not to tell anyone what to do, but rather to say: these are all the reasons why I'm not taking it. If my reasoning makes sense to you and seems truthful, then it may be helpful in making your decision (or deciding for your child). If you don't agree, then you will perhaps at least have a little more awareness of the risks involved so as to make a more informed choice. If you read the entire thing and it helps you not at all, or you completely disagree, then let us merely part ways, but amicably, and as fellow men and women wishing the best for one another.
I will add to or modify this document as I see fit – if, for example, new, relevant information comes to light. I expect however that the basic principles below will remain for the foreseeable future. Any significant changes will be noted at the bottom of the document.
My basic rule of thumb for any medical intervention is: does the risk of treatment outweigh the risk or the damage or pain of the ailment for which I am seeking treatment?
Only a fraction of people who contract the virus will experience anything more than a mild cold or flu-like illness. John Ioannidis of Stanford has done a meta-analysis of seroprevalence studies for SARS-CoV-2. Seroprevalence studies count infections according to whether a person has antibodies or not. From this meta-analysis, he calculates a global average infection-fatality rate of 0.15% for SARS-CoV-2 1 2. For comparison, seasonal influenza is something like 0.1% 3.
The median age of death from COVID is 82.4 years, which is 1 year higher than the median age of death from all causes 4.
If you rank the last 30 years in order of the age-standardised all-cause mortality rate, with the highest mortality at the top, the year 2020 comes 19th out of 30 5.
Here are some figures from the ONS death counts for 2020 to illustrate the risks to people of my age and younger. Of the 9,278 deaths of people under 35, 259 died ‘with COVID-19’ (2.79%). Of the 5,035 deaths in the under 25s, 57 died ‘with COVID-19’ (1.11%). Of the 3,185 deaths in children under the age of 15, 8 were ‘with COVID-19’ (0.25%) 6. Expressed in reverse, at least 97.21% of deaths under-35s are from something other than COVID-19, and that goes up to 98.89% for the under-25s and 99.75% for the under-15s. If you are one of the extremely rare people who die under the age of 35, it’s almost certain to be from anything but COVID-19. Note that these 259 deaths 'with COVID-19' in the under 35s are out of a population of 28 million, so that puts the risk of death in that age bracket 'with COVID-19' at 0.000925%, or 1 in 108,000. Note also that dying ‘with COVID-19’ means COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate and does not mean that the person died as a direct consequence of COVID-19, in the same way that a person with advanced cancer may have influenza at the time of death but not in fact be killed by it. The actual numbers of COVID-caused deaths are likely to be even lower than the figures quoted above.
Without diminishing the undoubted suffering caused by severe cases of COVID-19 and the many deaths that followed, we have to admit that at a statistical level this was not an abnormal year for mortality, nor does COVID-19 pose a significant threat to the overwhelming majority of people, even the elderly, most of whom survive it.
A more personalised illustration of the risk can be found at https://qcovid.org/Calculation, a tool built by Oxford university to calculate the risk of either hospitalisation or death from COVID-19, based on age and other health factors. I ran this for myself and found that I had a 1 in 125,000 (or 0.0008%) risk of dying and about a 1 in 4,500 (or 0.02%) chance of being ill enough to go to hospital for treatment. For me, that is nowhere near sufficient risk to warrant guarding against (beyond all the things I already do to keep myself fit and healthy), so I would not deem it necessary to take even a perfectly safe and completely effective medicine either prophylactically (to prevent me getting ill) or curatively (to alleviate symptoms or cure disease should I get ill). To put this in some context, I am 3.4x more likely to die in a car accident. I don’t ignore the risk of a car accident completely - I will wear a seatbelt, seeing as it doesn’t inconvenience me in the slightest and offers only benefit - but I wouldn’t consider never using a car to avoid such a minuscule risk. Nor do I deem it necessary to take drastic action against a virus which I (as a 35 year old man) am almost certain to experience as nothing more than a bad flu, if I experience it at all.
I think it is reasonable to assume that naturally-acquired immunity is likely to be far more sophisticated and comprehensive than any triggered by a human intervention. Put another way, I trust my millions-of-years-old immune system more than a few months of human effort along similar lines. To think otherwise is hubristic to say the least.
Patients who contracted the original SARS were tested in 2020 for T-cell immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and all were found to be immune. This immunity had lasted 17 years, and it was from a disease only 80% similar to SARS-CoV-2 7. I think it’s reasonable to extrapolate from this that immunity triggered by SARS-CoV-2 itself would be similarly effective and long-lasting 8, and would be protective against even substantial mutations of the virus.
Before taking a vaccine or any immunity-triggering treatment, I would first want to know whether I had this natural immunity, because if I did, it would be pointless to get vaccinated, unless we are making the argument that the months-old ‘vaccines’ give some kind of special immunity that the ancient immune function doesn’t.
Because I am at such low risk, I would probably not seek treatment for COVID-19. Even if I got ill from it, I would likely just bear the disease, stay in bed and drink fluids, like I would with flu (and flu can be pretty horrible). I would take all the normal precautions to avoid infecting anyone else and I'd wait for it to pass, trusting that once I've had it I will have some immunity and be better (or at least not worse) for it. However, if I were to consider some form of treatment or prophylaxis for COVID-19, it would make sense to know all the various treatment options so as to make a reasonable decision about what course to follow.
The website https://c19early.com is a repository of many early-intervention trials of various treatments for COVID-19. Multiple trials have shown Ivermectin to reduce incidence of death in patients by 81%. Ivermectin is cheap (being out of patent), has been around for decades, and, from what I can find out, is generally acknowledged to be safe. One study published in American Journal of Therapeutics even claims that it could ‘end the pandemic’ 9. Similar improvements in mortality are reported from studies on Vitamin D 10, Zinc 11, and Hydroxychloroquine 12.
It is reasonable to ask: can we trust these studies? Could they be wrong? But then it behoves us to ask the same question of all claims around COVID-19 ‘vaccines’ (more on that later), and especially so in the latter case because these studies were done by the manufacturers themselves who stand to make a great deal of money if their product is believed efficacious. Doesn’t scientific rigour require us to acknowledge that a manufacturer studying their own product, from which they stand to make huge profits, is at least at risk of designing the study in such a way that it shows what they want it to show? By contrast, in whose interest is it to prove that cheap drugs like Ivermectin or compounds like Vitamin D are effective treatments? Nobody is likely to make a great deal of money out of these. I am not alleging anything - I’m not qualified to - I am merely suggesting that our scepticism be apportioned correctly and logically. In any case we have accepted the ‘vaccines’ as they are and we have completely ignored other treatments despite reasonable claims of efficacy. This to me warrants at the very least investigation.
If there are cheap, quick, simple, safe and effective treatments already available for COVID-19, which might have saved up to 80% of the lives lost, why have we been so hesitant there, and why has there been hardly a mention of these, and only talk of and eagerness for vaccines? Perhaps one cause of the lack of public discussion on this front is the fact that such discussion is being censored. Youtube for example does not allow anything that 'claims that Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments for COVID-19' 13.
A personal story. In 2018/19 I kept getting endless colds and viral infections, so I went for a blood test. This was as comprehensive as can be done on the NHS (according to the doctor) and the results showed that everything was within normal levels except for vitamin D, levels of which were at 26nmol/L. Greater than 50nmol/L is apparently considered normal, and below 25nmol/L is considered deficient, so I had insufficient vitamin D, bordering on deficiency. The doctor put me on a high dose of vitamin D - 40,000 IUs once a week for 7 weeks. Since then I have not had a single cold or flu-like illness. Of course this could be coincidence. But given Vitamin D is known to support immune function 14 15 16 that seems unlikely. And there is at the very least a considerable correlation between vitamin D deficiency and severe outcomes from COVID-19 17, so it seems that maintaining Vitamin D levels could alone offer significant protection against severe or even moderate COVID-19.
None of these treatments is a panacea of course. Whatever we do, we will not save everyone from a virus by drugs, vaccines or anything else, but when choosing between a nutrient (like Vitamin D) that is anyway vital to my body and a complex and experimental medical treatment that is not in the least vital (and possibly the opposite), I would hesitate to choose the latter. It would be foolish to choose the ‘vaccine’ if there was something else just as effective if not more so.
There seems to be at least as much evidence in favour of these treatments as with the ‘vaccines’, and far fewer risks and unknowns. At the very least, why could we not make all effective treatments available, and allow people – doctors, nurses, individuals – as well-stocked an armoury as possible with which to fight this disease?
Traditionally a vaccine is composed of a weakened form of a particular pathogen (e.g. influenza) which, when injected into a person, triggers an immune response equivalent to that of the ‘real’ pathogen, but theoretically/hopefully with much lower risk.
The Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna ‘vaccines’ designed to deal with SARS-CoV-2 are a different technology following an entirely different logic, which can be summarised as follows: you are injected with a form of RNA called mRNA which is designed to find its way into your cells. When a unit of mRNA gets inside a cell, it instructs that cell to build what is referred to as the ‘spike protein’ of SARS-COV-2 on its surface, effectively causing the cell (which could be a blood cell or any cell that the RNA finds its way into) to somewhat mimic SARS-CoV-2. Your body then produces an antigenic response against these cells and attacks them (i.e. attacks your own cells), which supposedly creates a form of immunity.
These two processes are wholly different, connected only by the vague notion of somehow triggering an immune response. The latter process has until now never been used at scale on human subjects. There are many questions we must ask that I do not think have been answered satisfactorily.
Do we know how far the RNA or the produced spike proteins can travel in the body? The EMF report on the Pfizer trials for example found that in rats the mRNA found its way to the liver, spleen, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes 18, presumably carried there by the bloodstream. The cells in any of these organs could theoretically be instructed to produce spike proteins. What are the medium- and long-term consequences of this?
Can either the mRNA or the produced spike protein cross the blood-brain barrier?
Is it safe to turn our own cells into cells that the immune system will attack? Is this not what we would in other situations call an auto-immune response?
The spike protein is only 1 part of SARS-CoV-2. How do we know that this is enough to trigger sufficient immunity even if the technology is safe and effective?
Is the spike protein as benign as claimed? There seems to be mounting evidence that it isn’t 19, and that it could in fact be the cause of the blood clots and other adverse events related to the vascular system in particular which have occurred both in severe COVID-19 cases and as a result of vaccination 20. Researchers from the Salk Institute and the University of California studied the effects of the spike protein on vascular cells and found that it alone (without the virus) has a “major damaging effect” on vascular cells because it is able to bind to the ACE2 receptor (which is how SARS-CoV-2 binds to cells) 21 22. We are therefore injecting into the muscle tissue instructions for producing the very cause of some of the more serious consequences of COVID-19. And it seems far riskier to inject a potential toxin than to breathe it in. Whatever we breathe in must first get past, in the mucous and other systems of the lungs, our 'first line of defence'. We bypass this defence with an injection.
Is it wise in principle to program cells to do our bidding, especially when we are not used to the practice and have no idea of the long-term consequences, subtle or otherwise? It may be that the mRNA technique long-term will show promise, but I am inclined not to think so. I think this kind of medical technology is wading into dangerous waters, and we are incautious to roll it out en masse when there is so little experience of it ‘in the wild’. The human body is not a simple machine like a computer that we can fully map and program to our design, it is a vast sea of mystery whose operations and details we only superficially grasp, and we meddle with it at our peril.
Pfizer claims its ‘vaccine’ is 95% effective. Where does this figure come from and how is it calculated? In the 43,448 test subjects of the Pfizer clinical trial, 170 COVID-19 ‘cases’ occurred (about 0.4%). Of these, 8 occurred among the 21,720 vaccinated and 162 among the unvaccinated control group of 21,728 23. The 8 cases in the first group equal 5% of the 162 in the second, hence the claim of 95% efficacy. This is what is called the relative risk reduction, or RRR, and of course it sounds very impressive.
Another way of describing the difference would be to say that 0.0368% of the vaccinated had COVID-19 symptoms vs 0.746% of the unvaccinated. The absolute risk reduction (ARR) therefore based on the study mentioned above would be more like 0.71% 24. We can also state this as follows: with an ARR of 0.71%, 141 people would have to get jabbed to hypothetically protect 1 person from developing a 'case' of COVID-19.
How was a ‘case’ defined in this study? Any one of a set of respiratory symptoms including a cough or sore throat plus a positive PCR test. Severity of symptoms was not compared between the vaccinated group and the control group. In addition, no participants died during the trial. The study therefore could not measure whether the ‘vaccines’ prevent death or severe cases of COVID-19. In other words, the Pfizer ‘vaccine’ might reduce the risk of the average person in the population getting symptoms of COVID-19 (including cough and sore throat) by a mere 0.71%. We do not know from the clinical study whether the genuine and severe cases of COVID-19 or associated deaths will be reduced at all, which are arguably the two things we do really need to know.
These ‘vaccines’, being new medical products unlike, e.g., the latest incarnation of a preexisting flu vaccine, are still in what are known as ‘phase 3’ trials, Pfizer until May 2, 2023 25, Moderna and AstraZeneca til 14th of February 2023 26. All these treatments are currently under 'emergency use authorization'; they do not have full approval 27.
Phase 3 trials are larger-scale and longer-term trials used to better judge the overall risk vs benefit of a new drug or medical treatment. Only a minority of treatments survive this final stage of testing 28. This is the trial that all COVID-19 ‘vaccines’ are currently in. Anyone who takes any of the currently available 'vaccines' is taking a medicine still in trial.
Usually vaccines take 10+ years to reach approval and delivery 29. The time required for the trials alone can take many years 30. In this case, there have been only a few months between design and manufacture of these injections and temporary regulatory authorisation. It is sometimes argued that because of the sheer scale of the mobilisation against COVID-19, more resources and money were poured into the process than usual, and this sped things up. There may be some truth in this, but even if so, what cannot be sped up, by definition, are long-term safety studies.
I'd rather wait until long-term safety data is in before taking any medical treatment, unless the risk from the disease is so great that the risks and unknowns of the treatment are acceptable by comparison. History is certainly not empty of medical disasters only discovered years after.
The drug thalidomide used to be given to pregnant women as a treatment for morning sickness. Later it was discovered to be the cause of shortened or missing limbs, facial disfigurement, brain and organ damage, and other impairments in newborn babies. The drug was first developed in 1954. The first thalidomide-affected baby was born in Germany in 1956. The drug was introduced into the UK in 1958, 2 years later. Not until 1961 – 5 years after the first birth defect and 7 years after the product was first developed - was the link between thalidomide and birth-defects finally established publicly, causing the drug to be withdrawn from use in this context 31.
There are plenty more examples where expedience or simple lack of knowledge led us to do things that later were discovered to be wrong or dangerous. Until the mid-20th Century, we seemed to believe that smoking was healthy, and tobacco companies found plenty of doctors to endorse their products 32. We are even sometimes blind to dangers that have been known in the past. Pliny the Elder wrote 2000 years ago of the dangers of Asbestos 33, yet we still used it until only a few decades ago 34.
It would be unwise in my view to assume that problems with new medical treatments (or any technology) are impossible, or that where they occur we have the collective wit to spot them easily or quickly.
There is a puzzling asymmetry between our approach to the dangers of COVID-19 and the immediate dangers of the ‘vaccines’. There is a reporting system known as the ‘yellow card’ system, which records adverse events, such as bells palsy, blood clots, heart problems, death. As of the 14th of July 2021, this has over 300,000 adverse events recorded from the COVID-19 ‘vaccines’, including 1,483 deaths 35. If we were treating these statistics as we treat COVID, we would have a daily tally in large type front and centre of every major newspaper. It would be regularly mentioned on BBC news (‘the latest death toll from the vaccines is…’). Of course it could be said (and often is) that the adverse events from the vaccines cannot be proven to be connected to the vaccine. This seems to be almost naively optimistic. If a death or an unusual adverse event occurs shortly after vaccination, it at least strongly suggests a causal link which warrants investigation.
It is estimated that only as little as 1% of adverse events are reported 36, so the number of adverse events may be significantly larger than tabled in the Yellow Card system.
I do not know for sure how many of these adverse events are coincidental, nor do I know how many more events there are than the ones reported, but it seems reckless to assume there is nothing to investigate or be cautious about, and only sensible to hold off on taking the jab until and unless these many serious short-term consequences can be proven unrelated.
One argument goes that by getting vaccinated you are ‘doing your bit’ to ‘get the country back on its feet’. Without wanting to delve too far into the moral argument against lockdowns and masks etc (which I have done at https://notesonreading.com/risks-and-harms-the-consequences-of-our-response-to-a-virus), I will just say that the decision to end lockdown is a political and a human one, not some law of physics or biology that follows from vaccinating a certain percentage of the population. So let us ignore that argument. It is only the route out of lockdown if we decide it is. We can decide differently if we wish. We chose lockdown last year, and it is us, not mother nature, who must choose to come out of it. We may decide that we won’t come out of lockdown until everyone has been vaccinated, but let us not delude ourselves with the thought that won’t means can’t.
The idea that I must get vaccinated to protect others has a curious logic about it. If the vaccine is effective, are the vaccinated not generally protected? If however the vaccine is ineffective, what is the use of any of us taking it?
Let’s say instead the argument is a bit subtler, as follows. Say that the vaccine won’t work for everyone, however effective it is, therefore the more people get vaccinated the less the virus will be able to spread and therefore those who are vaccinated (but in whom the vaccination happens to be ineffective) or those who can’t get vaccinated for some reason are more likely to be protected. This seems to be the only form of the argument worth considering.
The first thing to ask is: what exactly is the benefit to others if I take the risk (or how much is their risk reduced)?
But there are many related questions.
What is the nature and severity of the risk I am taking?
How sure am I that my action will reduce risk overall and not worsen it?
Do the ‘vaccines’ stop the spread of SARS-COV-2?
Will we save (or improve) more or fewer lives by jabbing tens of millions of people who don’t really need it but who might suffer a range of adverse reactions from it, including death and lifelong disability?
I cannot answer with confidence any of the above questions. Now add to this all the other concerns and questions raised so far in this document. If I am to take a risk upon myself to benefit others, I must be able to clearly assess both the risk and the benefit. To the extent that I can assess this balance, which involves so many unknowns, I see too many risks to myself with no guarantee of benefits to others. It is one thing to, say, take on a job that you dislike but which pays for you to feed and clothe your family. In that case the value of the sacrifice is clear, even if it requires some heroism. Whether jabbing myself will have even a slight benefit to anyone is not at all clear to me.
Now if we consider children: some are suggesting that we vaccinate children to protect adults from COVID-19. Given that children are at virtually zero risk from COVID-19 and much less likely to spread the virus in the rare event that they do catch it 37, I cannot see any moral validity to this suggestion. It would almost certainly cause more harm than good: we would be sacrificing children to notionally protect adults.
The term ‘anti-vax’ or ‘anti-vaxxer’ rears its head with increasing frequency. The risk in such a term is that it simplifies the subject into a binary – you’re either for or against vaccination. It elides partial and specific criticisms into rejection of an entire medical principle or technology. There may be very good reasons to be wholly in favour of vaccination or wholly against it, but I don’t know enough to commit myself either way. It seems possible that some vaccinations are effective and worthwhile, but even were this true of every vaccination so far invented, this would be no reason not to apply scrutiny, caution and scepticism to every new one that appears. If I accept that many drugs have life-saving properties, I am under no obligation to trust that all drugs are perfectly safe, effective and worthwhile, and to do so would be foolish. The important question is not ‘are drugs good?’ but ‘does this specific drug have a net benefit in this circumstance?’
The same principle applies in many areas of life. If I am hesitant to buy a house which was hastily built this year, which uses very new and unusual building materials never before used in residential constructions, which the builder takes no responsibility for, and which the estate agent is trying to pressure me to buy, this I think would not mean I was against houses, or against the building trade, or against the principle and practice of building, but that I merely had reservations in a particular case and want to exercise caution before parting with a great deal of money which I will not get back.
If I reject a single vaccine, while accepting all the others, am I an ‘anti-vaxxer’? If so, then if I accept only a single vaccine while rejecting all the others, does that make me a ‘pro-vaxxer’?
Hopefully it is clear from all the above that there are numerous reasons to be concerned. These vaccines are unlike other vaccines (so much so that it is doubtful whether we can accurately call them such). The world response to COVID-19 has been unlike prior responses to pandemics. Any one of the above concerns discussed would likely be enough to put me off these injections. We have been very hasty this last year, accepting radical interventions with little forethought, planning, or consideration of the costs. I am choosing what I believe is the careful, cautious route.
https://www.hartgroup.org – An organisation of UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts who have come together to criticise and offer alternative views on the situation from a scientific perspective
https://www.covid19assembly.org – Assessment and news around the government measures, and legal support for public sector whistleblowers
https://www.laworfiction.com – A group of lawyers who analyse the measures from a legal perspective to separate law from non-binding guidance presented as law
https://trialsitenews.com – News about clinical trials, drugs and medical treatments
http://covid-context.com/ – A useful starting point for statistics and information around COVID-19
https://dailysceptic.org – Round-ups and sceptical analyis of news around COVID
https://c19early.com – A repository and meta-analysis of trials of various treatments for COVID-19, including Ivermectin, Vitamin D and Hydroxychloroquine
https://notesonreading.com/risks-and-harms-the-consequences-of-our-response-to-a-virus – My essay on the moral case against lockdowns and other measures
The point of this section is to be as transparent as possible about any significant changes made to this document over time (e.g. admitting and documenting any correction of errors) while keeping the document itself accessible and clear (i.e. not bogging the main argument down with references to changes)
Version 1.2 (25 July 2021)
—Expanded section on spike protein in light of further research
—Expanded section on safety trials
—Added a conclusion
—Added some external links for further reading
Version 1.1 (9 June 2021)
—Correction: removed reference to thalidomide as ‘discredited’ and revised that paragraph to make clear that the drug is still used in certain situations, though still never given to pregnant women.
—Minor changes to phrasing here and there to improve grammar or clarity
—Added the ‘post-scripts’ to table of contents as ‘addenda’
—Fleshed out the ‘getting vaccinated protects others’ section
—Added more references to strengthen some points in the section about Ivermectin and other drugs to treat COVID-19
Version 1 (5 June 2021)
—Initial completed version