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Are doctors the new antivaxxers?
A new study finds that roughly one tenth of US primary care physicians don't think vaccines are safe, effective or necessary. Say what?
Judging by reader feedback on last week’s post, Why you need to stop saying “I’m not an antivaxxer, but…”, the rollout of inadequately-tested experimental injections that have patently failed to end the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to begin questioning the safety and efficacy of the standard vaccination schedule.
Here are a few examples:
Just as Drs Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff feared, the fanaticism of the COVID injection-pushers has fuelled vaccine hesitancy, scepticism, resistance and outright rejection.
Really, that shouldn’t surprise anyone with two functioning brain cells left. If you have to use free donuts, beer, marijuana joints, million dollar lottery tickets, college scholarships and sessions with a prostitute (bring your son – boys as young as 14 permitted, as long as they are accompanied by an adult!), or fines, prison sentences, travel bans and dismissal from their jobs to persuade people to take your product, it’s probably not a great product.
But here’s the real surprise: It’s not just members of the public who are wondering whether vaccines are truly as safe, effective and important as we’ve been told. Many doctors have their doubts too.
A study published on 20 April 2022 in the journal Vaccine has confirmed the worst fears expressed by anthropologist Heidi Larson in a speech delivered to the World Health Organisation’s Global Vaccine Safety Summit on 3 December 2019 – just weeks before the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China.
Larson is the director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, which is backed by pharmaceutical companies, the secretive globalist think-tank Chatham House, and a gaggle of not-for-profits and NGOs with deep ties to Big Pharma. She warned the audience of “vaccine safety stakeholders” that her organisation’s research was identifying worrying signs of declining confidence in vaccines among health care professionals (beginning at 1:16:20 in the final video block):
“The other thing that’s a trend and an issue is not just confidence in providers, but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional front line that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day… the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider, and if we lose that, we’re in trouble. And we haven’t lost it yet, but… when the front line professionals are starting to question, or they don’t feel like they have enough confidence about the safety to stand up to… the person asking them the questions… I mean in medical school you’re lucky if you have a half day on vaccines, never mind keeping up to date with all this.”
More than two years on, it doesn’t look like that front line is any less wobbly.
According to the newly-published study in Vaccine, titled ‘Imperfect messengers? An analysis of vaccine confidence among primary care physicians’, roughly one tenth of primary care physicians in the US do not believe that vaccines – that is, vaccines in general, not just COVID-19 vaccines/injections – are safe, effective or important.
Specifically, out of a demographically-representative sample of 625 US physicians working in family medicine, internal medicine, or general practice, who were surveyed in mid-May 2021,
10.1% of primary care physicians (PCPs) do not agree vaccines are safe;
9.3% of PCPs do not agree that vaccines are effective; and
8.3% of PCPs do not agree that vaccines are important.
As startling as these data points may be to people who have only ever encountered rabidly pro-vaccination doctors, it’s even more fascinating to compare the opinions of doctors to those of the general public. The authors of the new study did just that, juxtaposing the results from a nationwide phone poll conducted in 2018 that asked identical questions of 983 Americans, with the results from their survey of doctors. Take a look:
It’s notable that far fewer physicians than average Joes and Josephines were undecided on vaccine safety, efficacy and importance. And more than three times as many physicians as members of the general public strongly disagreed that vaccines are effective, while more than twice as many strongly disagreed that they are important.
Delving into the factors associated with a lack of confidence in vaccines, the researchers found that having a politically conservative orientation was associated with a decreased probability of holding the opinion that vaccines are safe and effective:
“While the predicted probability that extreme liberals strongly agree that vaccines are safe is 78%, the likelihood that extreme conservative PCPs feel the same way is just 59% – a 19% difference across the full range of the ideological spectrum… Extreme liberals were predicted to be 18% more likely than extreme conservatives to strongly agree that vaccines are effective.”
Wealthier doctors were more likely to believe that vaccines are safe than those who earned less. Given that doctors can earn significant bonuses for meeting insurance company targets for fully vaccinating children in their practice, this link between high confidence in vaccine safety and income may well be a living embodiment of Upton Sinclair’s famous maxim:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
The only other factor that predicted physicians’ views on the safety, efficacy and importance of vaccines – again, referring to vaccines in general rather than COVID-19 vaccines – was whether they themselves had had COVID-19:
“We find that while the predicted probability of strongly agreeing that vaccines are safe is 70% among PCPs who had not had COVID-19, it was only 54% among those who had… While the predicted probability that PCPs who had not had COVID-19 would strongly agree that vaccines are effective was 77%, it was only 64% for those who had… PCPs who contracted COVID-19 are significantly less likely to believe in vaccine importance.”
Almost 95% of the physicians surveyed had received a COVID-19 injection. Around 70% of them expressed strong confidence in the safety of the Moderna and Pfizer shots, whilst less than a third felt the same way about the Johnson & Johnson injection. However, physicians who had contracted COVID-19 themselves were significantly less likely to prefer the Pfizer vaccine over the J&J vaccine.
After presenting their findings, the researchers go on to discuss the implications. And that’s where the study gets interesting. Very, very interesting.
Before I share those implications though, let’s take a side step to look at who the researchers are, and why that matters. Six out of the eight authors are faculty members of Texas A&M, a public land-grant university which, back in 2012, “won an immense federal contract to become a national hub of vaccine production and bioterror preparedness”. The following year, Texas A&M received a $176 million grant from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, to build an influenza vaccine production plant in collaboration with pharma behemoth GSK. And in July 2021, the university was awarded $10 million in federal funding to administer the Texas Vaccine Outreach and Education Grant program, the stated aims of which were to “support the implementation of COVID-19 vaccine outreach and educational activities aimed at boosting vaccination rates and increasing public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.”
The seventh author is from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. You might remember the Milken Institute from my article Novavax – hope or hype?, as the host of the October 2019 conference in which New Yorker staff writer, Michael Specter, shared his wet dream of an infectious disease crisis which would “blow the system up”, smashing barriers to the acceptance of novel vaccine technologies.
And the eighth is the author or co-author of papers with titles such as ‘How Right-Leaning Media Coverage of COVID-19 Facilitated the Spread of Misinformation in the Early Stages of the Pandemic in the U.S.’, ‘Knowing less but presuming more: Dunning-Kruger effects and the endorsement of anti-vaccine policy attitudes’, ‘Parent psychology and the decision to delay childhood vaccination’,’Correcting Misperceptions about the MMR Vaccine: Using Psychological Risk Factors to Inform Targeted Communication Strategies’ and ‘Could concern about climate change increase demand for a Lyme disease vaccine in the U.S.?’ (boy, he sure hopes so).
Given the conflicts of interest and strong partisan leanings amongst the authors of the paper, their interpretation of the study findings is hardly surprising.
They fret that primary care physicians may not be the enthusiastic spruikers of COVID-19 injections that the government and media are counting on, and wonder whether a little well-targeted re-education may be required to make them fulfil this role:
“While the majority of primary care physicians are confident in mRNA vaccines, 9.5% and 8.6% of PCPs are only ‘somewhat confident’ or ‘not at all confident’ in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, respectively. To the extent that physicians are most likely to pursue promotion activities when they have complete confidence in the vaccines, our findings suggest that a troubling share of physicians may not want to engage in these efforts…
A troubling proportion of primary care physicians lack high levels of vaccine confidence. These physicians may not be well positioned to actively promote COVID-19 vaccination even as political and media narratives push physicians to lead this effort. Interventions aimed at improving vaccine confidence among some physicians may be needed so that all physicians can fulfill needed roles as trusted vaccine communicators.”
The authors are disturbed that doctors are letting the side down (whose side? Big Pharma’s, I guess) when it comes to pushing vaccines for other infectious diseases too:
“It may not always be possible to rely on physicians to encourage vaccination for COVID-19, let alone other vaccine preventable diseases.”
And the idea that politically conservative patients in rural areas may consult conservative doctors who share some of their doubts about vaccine safety and efficacy fills them with dread:
“Conservatives (in the public) with vaccine hesitancy, served by physicians who share their political views, may therefore miss out on opportunities to be presented with information about the benefits of vaccination; especially in rural areas where both hesitancy and self-identification with right-leaning political views are particularly high.”
Oh no, won’t somebody please think of the country bumpkins? I’m sure they’ve never had the good fortune to encounter information about the benefits of vaccination before, given that it’s plastered across the walls of every pharmacy, medical practice and hospital they’ve ever walked into, not to mention on their TV screens and radio airwaves.
And god forbid that they should exercise the right to choose a health care provider who doesn’t sack them from their practice for declining a medical intervention.
The authors are also gravely concerned that these unbelievers will erode the government’s coercive policies to force jabs on virtually everyone, willing or not:
“We cannot take it for granted that all physicians are well positioned to serve as vaccine promotors and furthermore, that interventions may be needed to increase vaccine confidence among some physicians. This is particularly true because these physicians could have an outsized impact on public health, with a single physician lacking trust in vaccine safety capable of writing large numbers of medical exemptions from non-COVID-19 vaccination, reducing the effectiveness of vaccine mandates.”
Oh, say it isn’t so – a doctor who considers it their duty to follow the CDC’s guidelines for screening for medical contraindications before jabbing their patients? The horror! The horror!
Pay close attention to the words chosen to describe conformity to, and deviance from, the officially-sanctioned narrative about the safety and efficacy of vaccines in the following excerpts (my emphasis):
“Vaccine confidence as defined by the CDC reflects the trust that individuals (or providers) have in recommended vaccines and the belief that the processes and policies that lead to new vaccines will create vaccines that are safe and effective.”
“Can we trust physicians to serve as vaccine champions given the low COVID-19 vaccine confidence that exists among some health care workers?”
“Physicians who got COVID-19 after getting vaccinated could potentially have less faith in the COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines in general.”
“Trust”. “Belief”. “Faith”. “Vaccine champions”. Are these appropriate words to use when discussing scientific matters? I don’t know about you, but I don’t care two hoots about whether a doctor has “faith” in a medical procedure or “believes” that it works. And any professional who earnestly believes that their role is to “champion” the products of the industry that has paid out the second-highest total fines for criminal and civil offences of any on earth instantly loses my respect.
What I look for in a medical practitioner is the ability to read scientific literature and the willingness to discuss it, rationally and objectively. Needless to say, I’ve encountered very few such individuals – at least until the manufactured COVID crisis launched me into the orbit of those whom I regard as the last remaining good doctors: dedicated professionals who prioritise the well-being of their patients above the dictates of the state or their own financial and professional aggrandisement.
It’s notable that not once in the entire article was there any discussion of the actual data on the safety or efficacy of any vaccines, including COVID-19 injections. The authors’ implicit assumption is that vaccines – all of them, without exception – are safe and effective as long as the CDC endorses them, and any doctor who isn’t 100% on board with these assertions is misinformed and in need of re-education (which I’m sure they’d be only too happy to provide, if the government and/or Big Pharma – if there’s even a difference between those two entities at this point – would kindly toss them some of that lovely grant money).
In other words, it is an article of faith within the Church of Modern Medicine that vaccines are safe, effective and important, and anyone who doesn’t devoutly believe and piously recite this catechism is a medical heretic who must be hauled before the medical inquisition and forced to recant.
And that is no basis for the practice of medicine. Dave Sackett, the father of evidence-based medicine, famously said:
“Half of what you’ll learn in medical school will be shown to be either dead wrong or out of date within five years of your graduation; the trouble is that nobody can tell you which half—so the most important thing to learn is how to learn on your own.”
Doctors who don’t swallow whole the nostrums of public health “experts”, and who bridle at the notion that their highest duty is to shill for the pharmaceutical industry, are not in need of corporate/government re-education. They’re professionals who take Dave Sackett’s admonition to learn on their own seriously.
And academics such as the authors of the Vaccine paper are a clear and present danger not just to the ability of such doctors to practise medicine according to their best judgement and conscience, but to all members of the public who rely on them to make treatment decisions that are in their patients’ interests, not those of the public health-industrial complex.
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