I was not meant to be bitter for the first mRNA vaccines against Covid-19. My favorite coworking space in the heart of Bucharest is going to be closed tomorrow. Covid-19 affected many lives if it didn’t deprive us of lives. I’m not exceptional. However every piece of data about Covid-19 vaccines is overly lacking points even on the academic reports. We already have two problems in our hands. One is Covid-19, the other is a financial crisis. We cannot afford the third one.
When the Washington Post reported on Friday that the White House threatened FDA (Food and Drug Administration) chief to give the authorization to Pfizer’s vaccine, most other media ignored it or reported to defy it. Only Associated Press followed it (https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-business-mark-meadows-coronavirus-pandemic-0902fbb041b0459e55da86be75b1457a) and The New York Times partially followed. A few hours later, FDA gave an emergency authorization to Pfizer’s vaccine against Covid-19. The largest human experimentation in history has started. What is misleading about the general media coverage about this vaccine is that Pfizer did not test if their vaccine can prevent asymptomatic infection. For some reason, Pfizer tested only the patients with symptoms in their safety trials. It announced their vaccine significantly reduced the infections compared to the placebo group. However they did not test all the participants. “These data do not address whether vaccination prevents asymptomatic infection” is what is stated in the latest review published on The New England Journal of Medicine (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2034577?fbclid=IwAR2zhnzGi3g98sIyn5x5pF8h1LyGVxzmMo-hNW-Asi4zh71Yo90t2JJ-8VY#.X9Tyul_oYft.facebook). Simply, one can infect his family members even if he’s vaccinated.
Facebook labelled my post to be “misleading” instead. My post was about those 4 vaccinated participants who had Bell’s palsy in the safety trial. The Fact-check department of Facebook commented Bell’s palsy can occur on normal occasions. The problem here is that no one had Bell’s palsy in the placebo group (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03542-4). If it happens on normal occasions, why didn’t it happen in the placebo group? Pfizer is comparing the vaccinated group with two placebo groups. One is the placebo group, the other is so-called the normal occasion. When a problem also happens to the placebo group, they refer to the placebo group. When a problem doesn’t happen to the placebo group, they refer to the “normal occasions”.
The problem that also happened to the placebo group was deaths. According to Reuters, 2 participants died after vaccination but 4 participants died in the placebo group for unrelated causes. In total, there is no significant difference between the vaccinated group and the placebo group. About Bell’s palsy, Pfizer referred to the “normal occasions” because no one had Bell’s palsy in the placebo group, but about these deaths, Pfizer refers to the placebo group because 4 died in the group.
This was from the fact check article on Reuters. What really disappointed me was that Reuters became only the public relations department of Pfizer. Having called it a fact check, Reuters relied on just the documents of Pfizers via FDA (https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-pfizer-health-concerns/fact-check-clarifying-claims-around-pfizer-vaccine-deaths-and-side-effects-idUSKBN28K2R6?fbclid=IwAR3ByWp8lWRwiAlXmC4e5SN16iEJBm4tOr06BS49cFIS9xYOVqYnhODrbCI). Reuters did not interview the family of the dead participants or manufactures of the vaccine, etc. This court is going without witnesses, evidence or even the victims. There are only the defendant (Pfizer), his lawyer (Reuters), and the judge (FDA). As I wrote above, this judge is threatened by the White House. One might be interested in the friendship between the defendant and the White House. The question is where the prosecutor is.
According to Financial Times, FBI agents offered a courier service between the vaccine makers and FDA (https://www.ft.com/content/65d9f8c8-7ed4-44a0-a94f-8a97023e955a?desktop=true&segmentId=7c8f09b9-9b61-4fbb-9430-9208a9e233c8#myft:notification:daily-email:content). The article published on Sunday says the drug regulators took an unusual step to have vaccine data about Covid-19. Usually vaccine makers submit their vaccine data to FDA by the internet. However this time they downloaded it to USB stick and FBI agents carried it physically to FDA. Reportedly it was the measures to reinforce their cybersecurity against China and Russia, which are interested in the vaccine data. However actually, according to Reuters again, Astrazeneca is going to collaborate with Russia to implement their clinical trials (https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-astrazeneca-russia/astrazeneca-hitches-ride-with-russias-sputnik-in-vaccine-race-idUSKBN28L0YQ). Astrazeneca published their vaccine result in November. After that, it found out a group of the participants received only a half dose of the vaccine and it showed better protection. Astrazeneca was forced to start over their safety trial and this time Astrazeneca expects to test a combination with Russian vaccine named Sputnik V. Obviously they will share the vaccine data.