But whatever the reason, mask mandates were a fool’s errand from the start. They may have created a false sense of safety — and thus permission to resume semi-normal life. They did almost nothing to advance safety itself. The Cochrane report ought to be the final nail in this particular coffin.
There’s a final lesson. The last justification for masks is that, even if they proved to be ineffective, they seemed like a relatively low-cost, intuitively effective way of doing something against the virus in the early days of the pandemic. But “do something” is not science, and it shouldn’t have been public policy. And the people who had the courage to say as much deserved to be listened to, not treated with contempt. They may not ever get the apology they deserve, but vindication ought to be enough.
Almost £1 billion of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on an anti-Covid drug that does not work, The Telegraph can disclose.
Less than two per cent of the 2.23 million courses of the antiviral drug molnupiravir procured by the Department of Health have ever been prescribed to patients, analysis by The Telegraph shows.
The rest are unlikely to ever be used after research found the drug makes no difference to hospitalisation or death rates.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the UK drugs watchdog, recently said molnupiravir should not be routinely used. In November, the drug was added to its draft “not recommended” list for treatment
Jefferson and his colleagues also looked at the evidence for social distancing, hand washing, and sanitising/sterilising surfaces — in total, 78 randomised trials with over 610,000 participants.
Jefferson doesn’t grant many interviews with journalists — he doesn’t trust the media. But since we worked together at Cochrane a few years ago, he decided to let his guard down with me.
Interestingly, 12 trials in the review, ten in the community and two among healthcare workers, found that wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to influenza-like or Covid-19-like illness transmission. Equally, the review found that masks had no effect on laboratory-confirmed influenza or SARS-CoV-2 outcomes. Five other trials showed no difference between one type of mask over another.
There is uncertainty about the effects of face masks. The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect. The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection. Hand hygiene is likely to modestly reduce the burden of respiratory illness, and although this effect was also present when ILI and laboratory‐confirmed influenza were analysed separately, it was not found to be a significant difference for the latter two outcomes. Harms associated with physical interventions were under‐investigated.
Moderna and the Food and Drug Association (FDA) have been accused of concealing data during the approval process for the pharma giant’s bivalent Covid booster.
Vaccine advisors who signed off on the updated shot late last year claim they were not shown trial data that indicated the booster was actually less effective at preventing Covid than the older vaccine it was meant to replace.
While the early trial results had substantial limitations, ‘disappointed’ and ‘angry advisors say its omission from panel discussions shows a remarkable lack of transparency.
The vast majority of cases occur in young men, ages 16 to 24, according to the CDC. The agency did not have data available on the total number of cases in young adults 24 and younger, but it estimates there have been 52.4 cases and 56.3 cases per million doses of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, respectively.
Symptoms of myocarditis include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart
A study by Canadian researchers published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that men younger than 40 who got the Moderna vaccine had the highest risk of heart issues, usually within 21 days after the second dose. The study was observational, meaning it doesn’t prove cause and effect but it is one of only a few studies to compare the risk of myocarditis between the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2 (95 % CI −0.4 to 20.6 and −3.6 to 33.8), respectively. Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 vaccinated (95 % CI 2.1 to 22.9); risk ratio 1.43 (95 % CI 1.07 to 1.92). The Pfizer trial exhibited a 36 % higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group; risk difference 18.0 per 10,000 vaccinated (95 % CI 1.2 to 34.9); risk ratio 1.36 (95 % CI 1.02 to 1.83). The Moderna trial exhibited a 6 % higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group: risk difference 7.1 per 10,000 (95 % CI –23.2 to 37.4); risk ratio 1.06 (95 % CI 0.84 to 1.33). Combined, there was a 16 % higher risk of serious adverse events in mRNA vaccine recipients: risk difference 13.2 (95 % CI −3.2 to 29.6); risk ratio 1.16 (95 % CI 0.97 to 1.39).
The excess risk of serious adverse events found in our study points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses, particularly those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes. These analyses will require public release of participant level datasets.
Naomi Wolf graduated from Yale in 1984 and was a Rhodes scholar at New College, Oxford University. She is the author of the bestselling feminist books, “The Beauty Myth”, “Fire with Fire”, “Promiscuities” and “Misconceptions”. The New York Times called “The Beauty Myth” one of the 70 most significant books of the century. More recently, Naomi has written books critiquing the establishment’s advances in censorship, Covid-19 vaccinations and many more issues which she addresses with James.
Note: Title editorialised.
Japanese trading and pharmaceutical company Kowa Co Ltd said on Monday anti-parasite drug ivermectin has been found effective for treating the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in a Phase III trial.
In the pages of The BMJ a decade ago, in the middle of a different pandemic, it came to light that governments around the world had spent billions stockpiling antivirals for influenza that had not been shown to reduce the risk of complications, hospital admissions, or death. The majority of trials that underpinned regulatory approval and government stockpiling of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) were sponsored by the manufacturer; most were unpublished, those that were published were ghostwritten by writers paid by the manufacturer, the people listed as principal authors lacked access to the raw data, and academics who requested access to the data for independent analysis were denied.
FDA report shows Pfizer’s clinical trials found 24% higher all-cause mortality rate among the vaccinated compared to placebo group.
The clinical trials of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine found that the all-cause mortality rate of the vaccinated group was higher than that of the control group, months after the trials were launched, according to a recently released FDA report.
According to the report, which was released by the US Food and Drug Administration to provide background information on its August 2021 decision to grant full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine after offering limited emergency authorization of use in last December, six months after the vaccine’s clinical trial began, the total number of deaths reported in the vaccinated group was nearly one-quarter higher than the number of deaths in the placebo group.
Peter Doshi, PhD, is an editor of the BMJ and on the faculty of the University of Maryland.
- Most hopitalisations in the UK are among the fully vaccinated
- Pfizer trials did not show a reduction in deaths–the evidence is flimsy
- These mRNA products are qualitatively different from standard vaccines
- The definitions for vaccines ahve changed
- We shouldn’t assume the new [mRNA products] are like other childhood vaccines which get mandated [in the US]
This is a short clip of the video archive at: https://evidencenotfear.com/vaccine-mandates-expert-panel-highlights-senator-ron-johnson/
Vaccine Mandates Expert Panel Highlights on Senator Ron Johnson’s channel.
BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH (in partnership with Pfizer Inc.) submitted a Biologics License Application (BLA) STN BL 125742 for licensure of COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA. The proprietary name of the vaccine is COMIRNATY. COMIRNATY is a vaccine indicated for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine is administered intramuscularly (IM) as a series of two 30 μg doses (0.3 mL each) 3 weeks apart.
For commentary, see FDA report finds all-cause mortality higher among vaccinated – Israel Nation News.
Revelations of poor practices at a contract research company helping to carry out Pfizer’s pivotal covid-19 vaccine trial raise questions about data integrity and regulatory oversight. Paul D Thacker reports
In autumn 2020 Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla, released an open letter to the billions of people around the world who were investing their hopes in a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine to end the pandemic. “As I’ve said before, we are operating at the speed of science,” Bourla wrote, explaining to the public when they could expect a Pfizer vaccine to be authorised in the United States.1
But, for researchers who were testing Pfizer’s vaccine at several sites in Texas during that autumn, speed may have come at the cost of data integrity and patient safety. A regional director who was employed at the research organisation Ventavia Research Group has told The BMJ that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer’s pivotal phase III trial. Staff who conducted quality control checks were overwhelmed by the volume of problems they were finding. After repeatedly notifying Ventavia of these problems, the regional director, Brook Jackson, emailed a complaint to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ventavia fired her later the same day. Jackson has provided The BMJ with dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails.
Poor laboratory management
On its website Ventavia calls itself the largest privately owned clinical research company in Texas and lists many awards it has won for its contract work.2 But Jackson has told The BMJ that, during the two weeks she was employed at Ventavia in September 2020, she repeatedly informed her superiors of poor laboratory management, patient safety concerns, and data integrity issues. Jackson was a trained clinical trial auditor who previously held a director of operations position and came to Ventavia with more than 15 years’ experience in clinical research coordination and management. Exasperated that Ventavia was not dealing with the problems, Jackson documented several matters late one night, taking photos on her mobile phone. One photo, provided to The BMJ, showed needles discarded in a plastic biohazard bag instead of a sharps container box. Another showed vaccine packaging materials with trial participants’ identification numbers written on them left out in the open, potentially unblinding participants. Ventavia executives later questioned Jackson for taking the photos.
Early and inadvertent unblinding may have occurred on a far wider scale. According to the trial’s design, unblinded staff were responsible for preparing and administering the study drug (Pfizer’s vaccine or a placebo). This was to be done to preserve the blinding of trial participants and all other site staff, including the principal investigator. However, at Ventavia, Jackson told The BMJ that drug assignment confirmation printouts were being left in participants’ charts, accessible to blinded personnel. As a corrective action taken in September, two months into trial recruitment and with around 1000 participants already enrolled, quality assurance checklists were updated with instructions for staff to remove drug assignments from charts.
In a recording of a meeting in late September2020 between Jackson and two directors a Ventavia executive can be heard explaining that the company wasn’t able to quantify the types and number of errors they were finding when examining the trial paperwork for quality control. “In my mind, it’s something new every day,” a Ventavia executive says. “We know that it’s significant.”
Ventavia was not keeping up with data entry queries, shows an email sent by ICON, the contract research organisation with which Pfizer partnered on the trial. ICON reminded Ventavia in a September 2021 email: “The expectation for this study is that all queries are addressed within 24hrs.” ICON then highlighted over 100 outstanding queries older than three days in yellow. Examples included two individuals for which “Subject has reported with Severe symptoms/reactions … Per protocol, subjects experiencing Grade 3 local reactions should be contacted. Please confirm if an UNPLANNED CONTACT was made and update the corresponding form as appropriate.” According to the trial protocol a telephone contact should have occurred “to ascertain further details and determine whether a site visit is clinically indicated.”
Worries over FDA inspection
Documents show that problems had been going on for weeks. In a list of “action items” circulated among Ventavia leaders in early August 2020, shortly after the trial began and before Jackson’s hiring, a Ventavia executive identified three site staff members with whom to “Go over e-diary issue/falsifying data, etc.” One of them was “verbally counseled for changing data and not noting late entry,” a note indicates. At several points during the late September meeting Jackson and the Ventavia executives discussed the possibility of the FDA showing up for an inspection (box 1). “We’re going to get some kind of letter of information at least, when the FDA gets here . . . know it,” an executive stated.
A history of lax oversight
When it comes to the FDA and clinical trials, Elizabeth Woeckner, president of Citizens for Responsible Care and Research Incorporated (CIRCARE),3 says the agency’s oversight capacity is severely under-resourced. If the FDA receives a complaint about a clinical trial, she says the agency rarely has the staff available to show up and inspect. And sometimes oversight occurs too late.
In one example CIRCARE and the US consumer advocacy organisation Public Citizen, along with dozens of public health experts, filed a detailed complaint in July 2018 with the FDA about a clinical trial that failed to comply with regulations for the protection of human participants.4 Nine months later, in April 2019, an FDA investigator inspected the clinical site. In May this year the FDA sent the triallist a warning letter that substantiated many of the claims in the complaints. It said, “[I]t appears that you did not adhere to the applicable statutory requirements and FDA regulations governing the conduct of clinical investigations and the protection of human subjects.”5
“There’s just a complete lack of oversight of contract research organisations and independent clinical research facilities,” says Jill Fisher, professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and author of Medical Research for Hire: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials.
Ventavia and the FDA
A former Ventavia employee told The BMJ that the company was nervous and expecting a federal audit of its Pfizer vaccine trial.
“People working in clinical research are terrified of FDA audits,” Jill Fisher told The BMJ, but added that the agency rarely does anything other than inspect paperwork, usually months after a trial has ended. “I don’t know why they’re so afraid of them,” she said. But she said she was surprised that the agency failed to inspect Ventavia after an employee had filed a complaint. “You would think if there’s a specific and credible complaint that they would have to investigate that,” Fisher said.
In 2007 the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General released a report on FDA’s oversight of clinical trials conducted between 2000 and 2005. The report found that the FDA inspected only 1% of clinical trial sites.6 Inspections carried out by the FDA’s vaccines and biologics branch have been decreasing in recent years, with just 50 conducted in the 2020 fiscal year.7
The next morning, 25 September 2020, Jackson called the FDA to warn about unsound practices in Pfizer’s clinical trial at Ventavia. She then reported her concerns in an email to the agency. In the afternoon Ventavia fired Jackson—deemed “not a good fit,” according to her separation letter.
Jackson told The BMJ it was the first time she had been fired in her 20 year career in research.
In her 25 September email to the FDA Jackson wrote that Ventavia had enrolled more than 1000 participants at three sites. The full trial (registered under NCT04368728) enrolled around 44 000 participants across 153 sites that included numerous commercial companies and academic centres. She then listed a dozen concerns she had witnessed, including:
-Participants placed in a hallway after injection and not being monitored by clinical staff
-Lack of timely follow-up of patients who experienced adverse events
-Protocol deviations not being reported
-Vaccines not being stored at proper temperatures
-Mislabelled laboratory specimens, and
-Targeting of Ventavia staff for reporting these types of problems.
Within hours Jackson received an email from the FDA thanking her for her concerns and notifying her that the FDA could not comment on any investigation that might result. A few days later Jackson received a call from an FDA inspector to discuss her report but was told that no further information could be provided. She heard nothing further in relation to her report.
In Pfizer’s briefing document submitted to an FDA advisory committee meeting held on 10 December 2020 to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency use authorisation of its covid-19 vaccine, the company made no mention of problems at the Ventavia site. The next day the FDA issued the authorisation of the vaccine.8
In August this year, after the full approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, the FDA published a summary of its inspections of the company’s pivotal trial. Nine of the trial’s 153 sites were inspected. Ventavia’s sites were not listed among the nine, and no inspections of sites where adults were recruited took place in the eight months after the December 2020 emergency authorisation. The FDA’s inspection officer noted: “The data integrity and verification portion of the BIMO [bioresearch monitoring] inspections were limited because the study was ongoing, and the data required for verification and comparison were not yet available to the IND [investigational new drug].”
Other employees’ accounts
In recent months Jackson has reconnected with several former Ventavia employees who all left or were fired from the company. One of them was one of the officials who had taken part in the late September meeting. In a text message sent in June the former official apologised, saying that “everything that you complained about was spot on.”
Two former Ventavia employees spoke to The BMJ anonymously for fear of reprisal and loss of job prospects in the tightly knit research community. Both confirmed broad aspects of Jackson’s complaint. One said that she had worked on over four dozen clinical trials in her career, including many large trials, but had never experienced such a “helter skelter” work environment as with Ventavia on Pfizer’s trial.
“I’ve never had to do what they were asking me to do, ever,” she told The BMJ. “It just seemed like something a little different from normal—the things that were allowed and expected.”
She added that during her time at Ventavia the company expected a federal audit but that this never came.
After Jackson left the company problems persisted at Ventavia, this employee said. In several cases Ventavia lacked enough employees to swab all trial participants who reported covid-like symptoms, to test for infection. Laboratory confirmed symptomatic covid-19 was the trial’s primary endpoint, the employee noted. (An FDA review memorandum released in August this year states that across the full trial swabs were not taken from 477 people with suspected cases of symptomatic covid-19.)
“I don’t think it was good clean data,” the employee said of the data Ventavia generated for the Pfizer trial. “It’s a crazy mess.”
A second employee also described an environment at Ventavia unlike any she had experienced in her 20 years doing research. She told The BMJ that, shortly after Ventavia fired Jackson, Pfizer was notified of problems at Ventavia with the vaccine trial and that an audit took place.
Since Jackson reported problems with Ventavia to the FDA in September 2020, Pfizer has hired Ventavia as a research subcontractor on four other vaccine clinical trials (covid-19 vaccine in children and young adults, pregnant women, and a booster dose, as well an RSV vaccine trial; NCT04816643, NCT04754594, NCT04955626, NCT05035212). The advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to discuss the covid-19 paediatric vaccine trial on 2 November.
Provenance and peer review: commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Competing interests: PDT has been doubly vaccinated with Pfizer’s vaccine.
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.
* Bourla A. An open letter from Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla. Pfizer. https://www.pfizer.com/news/hot-topics/an_open_letter_from_pfizer_chairman_and_ceo_albert_bourla.
* Ventavia. A leading force in clinical research trials. https://www.ventaviaresearch.com/company.
* Citizens for Responsible Care and Research Incorporated (CIRCARE). http://www.circare.org/corp.htm.
* Public Citizen. Letter to Scott Gottlieb and Jerry Menikoff. Jul 2018. https://www.citizen.org/wp-content/uploads/2442.pdf.
↵Food and Drug Administration. Letter to John B Cole MD. MARCS-CMS 611902. May 2021. https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/jon-b-cole-md-611902-05052021.
* Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of clinical trials. Sep 2007. https://www.oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-01-06-00160.pdf.
* Food and Drug Administration. Bioresearch monitoring. https://www.fda.gov/media/145858/download.
* FDA takes key action in fight against covid-19 by issuing emergency use authorization for first covid-19 vaccine. Dec 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-key-action-fight-against-covid-19-issuing-emergency-use-authorization-first-covid-19.
Original article: https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2635
An article by Toby Rogers, Ph.D.
I was reading the CDC’s “Guidance for Health Economics Studies Presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2019 Update” and I realized that the FDA’s woeful risk-benefit analysis in connection with Pfizer’s EUA application to jab children ages 5 to 11 violates many of the principles of the CDC’s Guidance document. The CDC “Guidance” document describes 21 things that every health economics study in connection with vaccines must do and the FDA risk-benefit analysis violated at least half of them.
Today I want to focus on a single factor: the Number Needed to Vaccinate (NNTV). In four separate places the CDC Guidance document mentions the importance of coming up with a Number Needed to Vaccinate (NNTV). I did not recall seeing an NNTV in the FDA risk-benefit document. So I checked the FDA’s risk-benefit analysis again and sure enough, there was no mention of an NNTV.
Julian Charles of The Mind Renewed podcast interviews Diny Fielder-van Kleeff from The Vaccine Control Group.
We are joined by the author Diny Fielder-van Kleeff, co-founder of the Vaccine Control Group—or, more fully, the SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Control Group—for an in-depth interview on the aims and objectives of this intriguiging and potentially highly significant “community cooperative” study.
“The Vaccine Control Group is a worldwide independent long-term study that is seeking to provide a baseline of data from unvaccinated individuals for comparative analysis with the vaccinated population, to evaluate the success of the Covid-19 mass vaccination programme and assist future research projects. This study is not, and will never be, associated with any pharmaceutical enterprise as its impartiality is of paramount importance. The VaxControlGroup is a community cooperative, for the people. All monies raised will be re-invested into the project and its community.”—VaxControlGroup
Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but in 2020, scientists embarked on a race to produce safe and effective coronavirus vaccines in record time. Researchers are currently testing 100 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and 32 have reached the final stages of testing. More than 75 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.
Governments commonly fund research with specific applications in mind. Such mechanisms may facilitate ‘research translation’ but funders may employ strategies that can also undermine the integrity of both science and government. We estimated the prevalence and investigated correlates of funder efforts to suppress health behaviour intervention trial findings.
One in five researchers in this global sample reported being pressured to delay, alter, or not publish the findings of health behaviour intervention trials. Regulation of funder and university practices, establishing study registries, and compulsory disclosure of funding conditions in scientific journals, are needed to protect the integrity of public-good research.
Dr. Tess Lawrie is a world-class researcher and consultant to the World Health Organisation. Her biggest clients happen to be those who are involved in the suppression of repurposed drugs. She has decided to speak out in protest against the current medical establishment at considerable personal risk.
She co-founded the BiRD Group; an international consortium of experts dedicated to the transparent and accurate scientific research of Ivermectin, with particular emphasis on the treatment and prevention of Covid-19.