Ethics Alarms has to comment on the truly irresponsible and destructive ideological posturing by the two ends of the political spectrum regarding the Wuhan virus vaccine. The intellectually dishonest sniping from the Left and the Right would be humorous if it wasn’t so potentially destructive. Here is a brief summary of the situation, which nobody seems capable of stating clearly.
Because of many factors. the United States allowed a virulent virus to devastate its economy, education, politics and culture in ways that, like those old Chinese finger traps, make it difficult to back out of. This should not have happened, but it did, and that’s all that matters. The situation as it is cannot be sustained, so it is crucial to minimize the threat of the pandemic as quickly as possible. This means that either a cure or an effective preventive measure must be available, and since no cure seems on the horizon, a vaccine is the nation’s best shot (no pun intended.) The damage to the country and culture worsens every day, so the vaccine has been rushed into production and use far more quickly than usual health protocols would normally require. It is a utilitarian trade-off, and the appropriate one.
The more people vaccinated, the better. It’s as simple as that. And since all vaccines kill a small percentage of people, the more Americans who are vaccinated, the more people are going to die. It’s also as simple as that. AND because this vaccine (actually vaccines, plural) have not been as thoroughly tested as vaccines normally are, a higher percentage of those vaccinated for the Wuhan virus will probably die than with other vaccines. That’s simple too. Unfortunate, but simple.
So the responsible, patriotic, rational act is to get vaccinated.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have been unreasonably suspicious of all vaccines, and many more have become quite reasonably suspicious of the CDC and government health edicts, not to mention the hysterical news media, during the pandemic, because, to be blunt, their advice, statements and demands have been too frequently dishonest, hypocritical, mistaken or wrong. The Left—Democrats, progressives and the news media—being increasingly inclined to totalitarian methods these days and reliant on telling the peasants to trust them when they appear to be more untrustworthy than ever, are deliberately refusing to be transparent about the Wuhan vaccine risks in order to maximize the number of American willing to take it. The Right—including conservatives, libertarians, flat earthers and a lot of Republicans—are reacting to their ingrained distrust of the Left—not that it isn’t deserved— by resisting the vaccine and sliding into conspiracy theories. Conservative media, playing to their market, are encouraging this, because that’s how they get eyeballs and clicks….and money. All of this threatens to cause the damage wreaked by the pandemic to persist, or even get worse.
Yes, it’s an Ethics Train Wreck, a sub-train wreck of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck, which I hereby dub the Pandemic Vaccine Ethics Train Wreck.
With that, here are eight ethics observations on Fox News provocateur Tucker Carlson’s’ recent phillipic about the vaccine. The full text of Carlson’s statement follows them.
1. In his usual whiny style, CNN hack Brian Stelter accused Fox News and Carlson of trying to sabotage the vaccination effort. “Worst of all, I’ve heard Tucker Carlson repeatedly say that many Americans are dying after getting the shot. And he said it with the implication that the shots are to blame with no evidence at all,” sayeth the phony media ethicist. “Many” is a meaningless word in this context, and if Stelter doesn’t know that, then he’s an even bigger idiot than I thought. And of course there is “evidence”—some people are dying after getting the vaccine. We knew that would happen. It had to happen, and it was predictable that more people would have bad reactions to this vaccine than others.
2. Carlson’s main point is ethical and valid: American have a right to know the real risks of taking the vaccine, and the government and the news media are going to great lengths to keep that information from them, while attacking anyone who looks into the matter.
3. Like Stelter, Carlson then plays the misleading “large numbers of people” card, but for the opposite purpose. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System ( VAERS) which is managed by the CDC and the FDA, estimates that 3,362 people have “apparently” died after getting the vaccines. Is that a “large number of people” considering 260 million doses? I don’t think so. Carlson then goes on to say that the real number may be much more. OK. That’s worth knowing. But it is neither as alarming as Carlson pretends it is or as outrageously inflated as Stelter alleges.
4. Then Carlson really does begin fear-mongering. “What we’re seeing now as the single deadliest mass-vaccination event in modern history,” he says. Again, OK. That was predictable, under the circumstances, and as Tucker began by noting, vaccinations aren’t very dangerous. Neither is this one, but it’s more dangerous than the others. Tough bunnies, as they said on my old playground. If you have no options, you have no problem, and getting the nation back to normal is the only option. Some unlucky people will die.
5. Carlson said, “Health Authorities are pretending that everyone’s health and risk potential is exactly the same as everyone else’s. That’s why Joe Biden has demanded that 70 percent of all American adults — regardless of age, regardless of health condition, regardless of pre-existing antibodies — get the COVID shot by the Fourth of July two months from now, or else. This might be an acceptable policy – it would never be an ethical policy – but it might be acceptable to the country if COVID vaccines we could show conclusively came with no risk, and if we truly understood the long-term effects of those vaccines. But neither one of those things is true.”
Of course it would be an ethical policy. It’s pure utilitarianism, and an excellent example at that. “No risk” is an absurd condition, and if Carlson doesn’t know that, then HE’S dumber than I thought. As for understanding the long-term risks, that’s also an impossible and unreasonable requirement. There isn’t time to assess the long-term risks. Carlson knows that, too.
6. Carlson is right to condemn those who attack the people who ask tough questions about the vaccines—like him. Yes, this is more totalitarianism in action. Our Elected Masters don’t think we can handle the truth, so they are attempting to keep the truth from us. The sad part is that too many Americans can’t handle the truth—they don’t understand numbers, or risks, or much else. Well, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to know what they can’t understand. They do.
7. Carlson, however, is pandering to the ignorance of those very people. After all, it’s Fox News’ prime audience. He should be explaining the risks and reasons why they are necessary. Instead, he’s doing the opposite.
8. Then, after flying from the reasonable to the irresponsible and back again, Carlson ends with this:
“If American citizens are going to be forced to take this vaccine or any other medicine, they have an absolute right to know what the effects of it might be. And they have an absolute right to ask that question. Without being silenced or censored or mocked or given the finger. No amount of happy talk or coercion or appeals to false patriotism can change that. Period.”
How many Americans have died after taking the Covid vaccine?
How many Americans have died after taking the COVID vaccines? Not Americans who’ve been killed by the virus, that’s a huge number, but how many Americans have died after getting the vaccines designed to prevent the virus? Do you know the answer to that question? Do you know anything about the downside? We know a lot about the upside of the vaccine. We’ve been completely in favor of vulnerable people taking vaccines.
But what about the potential risks? You’d think you would know more about that than you do. We talk about vaccines constantly, not just on this show, but in this country. Joe Biden was on TV yesterday talking about vaccines. He wants you to get one. Everyone in authority wants you to get one. In fact, you’ve probably already had your shot, and good for you. If you haven’t had your shot, you’re under enormous pressure to get your shot. You understand that soon you may not be able to fly on commercial airplanes or go to work at the office or send your children to school if you don’t have the shot. Meanwhile, the social pressure is enormous. Friends may have already informed you that you’re not welcome at their parties or weddings if you haven’t been vaccinated. There is a lot of pressure to comply. At some point, you probably will comply. It’s just too difficult not be to vaccinated in this country.
But before you make the appointment: do you know anything about the potential risks? Probably you don’t know much. We all assume the risks are negligible. Vaccines aren’t dangerous. That’s not a guess, we know that pretty conclusively from the official numbers. Every flu season, we give influenza shots to more than 160 million Americans. Every year, a relatively small number of people seem to die after getting those shots. To be precise, in 2019, that number was 203 people. The year before, it was 119. In 2017, a total of 85 people died from the flu shot.
Every death is tragic, but big picture, we don’t consider those numbers disqualifying. We keep giving flu shots, and very few people complain about it. So the question is how do those numbers compare to the death rate from the coronavirus vaccines now being distributed across the country? That’s worth knowing.
We checked today. Here’s the answer, which comes from the same set of government numbers that we just listed: Between late December of 2020, and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccines in the United States. Three thousand, three hundred and sixty-two — that’s an average of 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23. We don’t have numbers past that, we’re not quite up to date. But we can assume that another 360 people have died in the 12 days since. That is a total of 3,722 deaths. Almost four thousand people died after getting the COVID vaccines. The actual number is almost certainly much higher than that — perhaps vastly higher.
The data we just cited come from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System — VAERS — which is managed by the CDC and the FDA. VARES has received a lot of criticism over the years, some of it founded. Some critics have argued for a long time that VARES undercounts vaccine injuries. A report submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 concluded that “fewer than one percent of vaccine adverse events are reported” by the VARES system. Fewer than one percent. So what is the real number of people who apparently have been killed or injured by the vaccine? Well, we don’t know that number. Nobody does, and we’re not going to speculate about it. But it’s clear that what is happening now, for whatever reason, is not even close to normal. It’s not even close to what we’ve seen in previous years with previous vaccines.
Most vaccines are not accused of killing large numbers of people. The Menveo vaccine, for example, is given to people around the world, often children, to prevent bacterial meningitis. In this country, only one person died from that vaccine in the entire period between 2010 and 2015. One. So, compare that to what’s happening now. In just the first four months of this year, the U.S. government has recorded more deaths after COVID vaccinations than from all other vaccines administered in the United States between mid-1997 and the end of 2013. That’s a period of fifteen and a half years. Again, more people, according to VAERS, have died after getting the shot in four months during a single vaccination campaign than from all other vaccines combined over more than a decade and a half. Chart that out. It’s a stunning picture. Now, the debate is over what it means. Again, there’s a lot of criticism of the reporting system. Some people say “well, it’s just a coincidence that someone gets the shot and then dies, possibly from other causes.” No one really knows, is the truth. We spoke to one physician today who actively treats COVID patients. He described what we’re seeing now as the single deadliest mass-vaccination event in modern history. Whatever is causing it, it is happening as we speak. So you’d think someone in authority might want to know what’s going on.
If the vaccine injury reporting system is flawed — and it clearly is flawed — why hasn’t it been fixed? And more to the point, why has there not been an independent vaccine safety board to assess what’s happening. And reassure people who stumble across official government numbers on the internet. But amazingly, none of that has been done. No one even mentions the numbers. And in fact, you’re not allowed to. You’ll be pulled off the internet if you do. The people in charge do not acknowledge them. Instead, they warn us about what might happen if we don’t take the vaccine.
“People who are not fully vaccinated can still die every day from COVID -19,” Biden said. As a factual matter, that is true. But it’s also misleading. Not all Americans are at a similar risk of dying from COVID-19. Some are at relatively high risk: the old and the sick. They might want to get vaccinated, and most do. Some are at very low risk of dying: the young and the healthy. Others appear to be at essentially no risk at all: anyone who’s had COVID and recovered. Virtually all of those people are immune. That’s true for many viruses. Those second two categories — the young and healthy, and the previously infected — may add up to hundreds of millions of people in this country. The funny thing is, the White House – the official policy-makers who are designing the vaccine rollout – do not acknowledge that those categories even exist.
Health Authorities are pretending that everyone’s health and risk potential is exactly the same as everyone else’s. That’s why Joe Biden has demanded that 70 percent of all American adults — regardless of age, regardless of health condition, regardless of pre-existing antibodies — get the COVID shot by the Fourth of July two months from now, or else.
This might be an acceptable policy – it would never be an ethical policy – but it might be acceptable to the country if COVID vaccines we could show conclusively came with no risk, and if we truly understood the long-term effects of those vaccines. But neither one of those things is true. We know that according to the government reporting system, thousands of people have died after getting the shot. That is true in this country, where it’s hotly debated when it’s talked about at all, but it’s also true in European countries, whose record-keeping is, if anything, more reliable than ours. Many thousands of other people appear to have been injured after getting the vaccine. VAERS records nearly 900 non-fatal heart attacks in people who just received the shot. 2,700 people reported unexplained chest pain. In all, the vaccine, according to the government reporting system, appears to have contributed to at least 8,000 hospitalizations.
Some of the side effects defy explanation. Researcher Alex Berenson has noted that coronavirus vaccines now account for almost one-third of all tinnitus reports in the VAERS database. That’s the ringing in your ears. The American Tinnitus Association says it’s received “many questions” on the link.
Researchers at Oxford and UCLA have begun tracking coronavirus vaccine side effects across eight separate countries. They found, that “Women aged 18 to 34 years had a higher rate of deep vein thrombosis than men of the same age.” They also found that heart attacks were “common” in people aged 85 and older who had taken the vaccine. They found serious potential side effects in some children, “anaphylaxis [and] appendicitis were more common in young people.”
Vaccines are complicated medicines, and as with any drug, it can take a long time to get it precisely right. The dosage, for example. And this is not the first time people have been hurt during a vaccination campaign. That is bound to happen. What’s different this time, and so striking, is the reaction to these numbers. Here’s a contrast for you: in 1976, the U.S. government vaccinated 45 million people with a vaccine for the swine flu. Fifty-three people reportedly died after getting that shot. The U.S. government immediately halted the vaccination program. Authorities decided it was too risky, it wasn’t worth it.
Contrast that with what is happening now. This time, our health authorities have reserved their energy for anyone who dares to question vaccines. LifeSiteNews, a nonprofit news organization, just found itself permanently banned from Facebook. Why? Because it reported government numbers from the VAERS database.
When Joe Rogan asked whether healthy young people ought to get the vaccine, the media treated him like a criminal.
Almost everything they said was a lie that obscured a very simple and potentially relevant question that he asked, which is: should healthy young people receive the vaccine? We’re not precisely sure what the risks are. It is a lie to say there are no risks. There are risks in everything, including in getting a vaccine. So why not rationally weigh the risk/reward ratio, as we do with every decision we make. For that, he was denounced as an anti-vaxxer kook. A danger to public safety.
One of the very few elected officials in the country who has said a word about any of this, who has asked the obvious questions, not attacking vaccines, wondering about their effects, is Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Last week, Johnson asked Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, why so many Americans seem to be dying after the shot.
Maybe there’s a good answer for that, Collins wouldn’t even acknowledge that was happening. Instead, Collins fretted if the population focused too much on the harm from vaccines, people might be hesitant to get them.
“I challenged his use of the term ‘Vaccine Hesitancy,’” Ron Johnson told us in a conversation today. “I told him that based on the VAERS deaths, and my conversations with people who have chosen not to get vaccinated, a better description would be: ‘People who are hesitant to be coerced into participating in the largest drug trial in history.’”
Exactly. There’s a reason many states have more vaccine doses than they can use. Some people just don’t want the vaccine. That’s their right. Period. Not all of them are crazy. Health decisions used to be considered personal choices. We didn’t ask about them. They were considered personal as recently as last fall. In September of 2020, at the height of the presidential campaign, a CNN reporter asked Kamala Harris whether she’d be willing to take the coronavirus vaccine once it became available.
“Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us,” Harris responded. “I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump.” A month later, at the vice presidential debate, Harris was if anything more emphatic on the subject. “If Donald Trump tells us we should take” the vaccine, she declared, “I’m not going to take it.”
Kamala Harris has, of course, since changed her mind. She’s no longer skeptical of the vaccine, nor does she tolerate the skepticism of others. Instead, she’s an enthusiastic participant in COVID theater.
Just today, Harris and her husband made a point of kissing each other in front of photographers while wearing masks. They did this despite the fact they’re married, that they live together, that they were standing outside at the time and despite the fact that they both have been vaccinated.
It doesn’t make you laugh. It makes you nervous. Why are they talking to you that way? Why are they giving you the finger on TV? No matter how many fingers they give you, it doesn’t change what remains true for the country: If American citizens are going to be forced to take this vaccine or any other medicine, they have an absolute right to know what the effects of it might be. And they have an absolute right to ask that question. Without being silenced or censored or mocked or given the finger. No amount of happy talk or coercion or appeals to false patriotism can change that. Period.