Until the last couple of years, I doubt whether I’d ever spent even ten minutes thinking about vaccination issues, and probably a large majority of ordinary Americans fell into the same category. I’d had a few rounds of shots as a young child, supplemented by boosters every ten or fifteen years and an annual flu shot. I had no idea whether any of them worked, but except for having a sore arm for a day or so, none of them had produced any ill effects for me, nor for anyone I knew.
Everything changed in 2020, as the sudden Covid epidemic led our government to heavily promote a massive vaccination drive based upon a new mRNA technology. This quickly caused the once-obscure anti-vaxxing movement to grow enormously in size and visibility, suddenly moving to the center of political life. For a period of a year or more, the less mainstream portions of the Internet, including our own website, were awash with the outpourings of a vast number of fearful vaccine-skeptics, with the debate only subsiding after the February outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war diverted public attention toward an entirely different issue.
From the beginning I was extremely doubtful of all these anti-vaccine arguments and I presented my contrary views in a lengthy interview with Mike Whitney. Together with a couple of follow-up columns, it provoked some 4,600 comments totaling 850,000 words, the overwhelming majority of those responses being intensely hostile to my position:
- Are the Opponents of the Covid Injections “Anti-Vaxx Crackpots”?
Mike Whitney Interview with Ron Unz
The Unz Review • August 1, 2021 • 9,000 Words • 1,681 Comments
As more and more public health data came in, my skepticism of the anti-vaccination position hardened, and in January of last year I published an article summarizing it, followed by an additional article six months later
- Covid Deaths and Vaxxing Deaths
The Unz Review • January 17, 2022 • 2,800 Words • 1,409 Comments
- Vaxxing Conspiracies and 700,000 Rumble Views
The Unz Review • July 18, 2022 • 2,800 Words • 941 Comments
Although I certainly regard myself as a member of the anti-anti-vaxxer camp, I think my views on the issue are actually quite moderate, as I spelled out in a couple of early paragraphs in those two articles:
Anti-vaxxers come in a wide variety of different types, and I’d be the first to acknowledge that some of their arguments seem perfectly reasonable. The Covid vaccines were rushed into production without the usual lengthy testing period and the most popular versions used in the West rely upon an innovative new mRNA technology, so it seems quite plausible that the negative side effects have been far greater than from our annual flu shots. Billions around the world have now been vaccinated for Covid, and I would hardly be surprised if many, many tens of thousands have died as a consequence. But such losses would represent merely a tiny sliver of the 15 or 20 million killed by the disease itself, and if the medical experts are correct and vaxxing greatly reduces the risk of severe illness, the cost-benefit ratio is tremendously positive, at least for individuals who are middle-aged or older.
Mandatory vaccination efforts enforced by serious legal or employment sanctions are the explosive flashpoint of the anti-vaxxer movement, but these never made any sense to me. The vaccines appear ineffective in preventing infection or transmission, and their main benefit is to greatly reduce the risk of serious illness or death. So the vaccinated have little to fear from those who reject the needle, while the latter can make an informed—or perhaps emotional—choice in weighing the risks of a relatively untested vaccine against those of severe Covid illness. Given the extreme paranoia of a considerable slice of anti-vaxxers, heavy governmental pressure may even be proving counter-productive.
For years, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. had been one of the most prominent public figures in the anti-vaxxing movement, and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the positions he had taken in his massive #1 Amazon best-seller were equally moderate on the other side, as I had earlier noted in my strongly favorable review of his important book:
Surprisingly enough, and very contrary to my expectations, Kennedy’s stated position on vaccines seemed rather mild, quite different from the wild fear-mongering so regularly encountered on the Internet. He claimed that many vaccines weren’t properly tested, often had harmful side-effects, and were promoted mostly due to the profiteering of greedy pharmaceutical corporations and their subverted governmental regulators, accusations far more moderate—and far more plausible—than I had assumed he would make. While it’s not at all uncommon for wild-eyed anti-vaxxers to warn of millions—or even billions!—of deaths due to the current Covid vaccination drive, I didn’t see any such egregious claims in the carefully-documented chapters of this book…
Unlike some of his more extreme supporters, Kennedy seemed to fully admit that Covid is a dangerous disease, but correctly emphasized its extreme age-skew. He pointed out that the vaccines have proven far less effective than originally predicted, and he noted that they were rushed into widespread release without sufficient testing, which may eventually lead to major future health problems. The legal fig-leaf that allowed the normal regime of patient trials to be set aside was the claim that no other medical treatment existed, and this probably explains the widespread attacks on the use of IVM. Moreover, the vaccination of children or the youthful seems very misguided given mildness of the illness for those age-cohorts.
- American Pravda: Vaxxing, Anthony Fauci, and AIDS
The Unz Review • December 6, 2021 • 6,100 Words
It’s now been nearly six months since I last reviewed the Covid vaccination controversy, so I decided to revisit the topic, partly prompted by a new book I had recently received on the issue, published under the auspices of Kennedy’s Children’s Health Defense organization.
The title was “Cause Unknown” and the author was Edward Dowd, a highly-successful former Wall Street fund manager who had become a vocal public critic of the Covid vaccines in 2021. Although only released in mid-December and priced at a hefty $34.99, the book has already become quite successful, currently ranked #274 across all of Amazon’s millions of selections, while also having touched the #1 spot in the specific categories of virology, immunity, and vaccinations.
Kennedy contributed the Foreword, but the style and presentation was nearly polar-opposite to his own. The 2020 Kennedy book had consisted almost entirely of text, with its unusually narrow margins used to squeeze hundreds of thousands of words into just 450 pages, while lacking any index or even chapter-headings and having a stark cover of pure text.
In sharp contrast, the much shorter Dowd book was overflowing with the images of extracted news clips and photos, featuring hundreds of the alleged victims of the Covid vaccine. The physical quality was extremely high, including the heavy use of colorful graphs and charts, all tastefully arranged, and the design of the glossy pages had the lavish feel of a coffee-table style book but applied those high production values to a grim subject. Nearly all the news clips and quotes were coupled with scan-codes, allowing the reader to easily verify their original source, the first time I’d ever seen such that innovative feature so widely used in a printed volume.
Books are published for many different reasons, and I’m sure that the outrage of the anti-vaxxing community will be stoked by the hundreds of photos and news stories of youthful individuals or successful athletes unexpectedly struck down during the last couple of years, often felled by fatal heart attacks or strokes. Such readers will probably follow the author in automatically blaming the vaccines for this calamity, but as a skeptic of such theories, I was left completely unconvinced.
Billions around the world have been vaccinated against Covid, including at least a couple of hundred million Americans, and even the most ardent vaccine advocates would admit there would have been some who suffered ill-effects. Almost none of the cases cited in the book can be definitely ascribed to the vaccines, but even if every single example had that cause, the numbers involved would be totally negligible, perhaps a thousand deaths out of more than 220 million vaccinated Americans. When considering public health issues, we must rely upon statistics, and based upon my simple examination, the evidence hardly supports the book’s conclusions, instead pointing in an entirely different direction.
Near the beginning of Dowd’s Introduction he emphasized the huge rise in American mortality over the last couple of years, noting that during the latter half of 2021, the death rate for people of working age (18-64) was 40% higher than for previous years, an unprecedented increase that I’ve seen widely quoted across the media. But surely this is exactly what we would expect to see during a massive epidemic, and although he claims that most of those deaths were not directly attributed to Covid itself, it is easy to imagine that the virus might still have been the ultimate cause in many of the cases.
In particular, there is a great deal of evidence that individuals infected by Covid can have serious, lingering health problems long afterward—the so-called “Long Covid” syndrome—and if these conditions eventually lead to early death many weeks or months later, the lack of current Covid symptoms might easily produced a different diagnosis. Dowd explicitly dismisses that possibility “because we know that COVID is not a significant cause of death in young people”—but we don’t actually know that, only that the virus is far more dangerous to the elderly. The same question similarly applies to the widespread rise in disability claims that the author also mentioned.
Thus, while it’s certainly possible that the hundreds of mysterious deaths documented in the book were due to Covid vaccinations, it seems equally possible that they were due to the lingering aftermath of the Covid infection itself. The best means of separating out the two effects is to consider the timing of those increased fatalities.
The Covid epidemic itself began in the early months of 2020, while the distribution of Covid vaccines was only started on December 14, 2020 and several months passed before even 20% of Americans had received a single dose, so the mortality statistics from the year 2020 allow us to distinguish between the two factors. Dowd correctly emphasizes that total deaths are the most reliable metric to use, and drawing our data from the CDC website, we can display a chart showing the monthly totals from January 2020 to November 2022:
Only a sliver of our population had been vaccinated by the end of January. Yet the highest monthly death rates occurred prior to that date, and then declined quite rapidly during the months of heavy vaxxing and boosting that followed, before rising again to a similar peak in January 2022, and afterwards declining to the lowest rates since the beginning of the epidemic. So while it’s certainly possible that some of these deaths may have been due to the vaccines, the evidence seems to strongly point in the other direction: despite two years of heavy vaxxing and boosting, total American deaths have sharply declined since the beginning of 2022.
Since early 2020, such total death rates have been heavily distorted by the very large number of outright Covid fatalities, so we should carefully examine the trajectory of other mortality rates during this period. Vaccine critics seem to believe that most vaxxing deaths manifest themselves as fatal heart attacks and strokes, so these are the most important categories. Drawing upon official CDC statistics, the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker website provides the daily American fatalities broken down by cause, with the following chart showing the figures from January 2020 to September 2022:
Note that the first sizable increase in monthly heart attack deaths occurred around April 2020, right when the Covid epidemic and the lockdowns began; a second, broader rise came in December 2020 and January 2021, just as the vaccination drive was barely beginning, with deaths sharply declining in the months that followed, even as the vaccination drive moved into high gear; and finally another peak came in January 2022 followed by a much sharper decline during the rest of that year. Based upon these results, I see very little evidence that the vaccinations were responsible.
This conclusion becomes even more obvious if we consider at the overall annual figures for the years 2015 to 2022, which average away the peaks and valleys of individual daily results. A 2021 JAMA publication provided the totals for 2015-2020, while the 2021 and partial 2022 totals are available on the CDC website; the 2022 figures are only finalized for Jan.-Sept., so we should scale those last numbers up by 4/3 to produce the estimates for the entire year 2022.
These figures can also be displayed graphically:
Thus, we can see that there has indeed been a large rise in annual heart attack deaths, which are now running thirty to forty thousand a year higher than they had been in the past. But all of that increase came in 2020, after the Covid epidemic began but before there had been any significant amount of vaxxing, and the results have remained constant since then. This strongly suggests that Covid rather than the vaccines has been responsible for the increase in fatal heart attacks, and medical experts have made such suggestions. A somewhat similar pattern may be seen in the much smaller rise in stroke deaths, which mostly occurred in 2020.
(Also note the huge increase in fatal accidents during 2021, an obvious consequence of the social disruption produced by Covid and the end of the lockdowns, as well as the widespread racial unrest following the death of George Floyd in late May. Indeed, the George Floyd protests soon sparked the the largest increase in American homicides ever recorded. Since both accident and homicide victims tend to be relatively young, that almost certainly explained the unprecedented spike in youthful deaths during the third quarter of 2021 that Dowd heavily emphasizes.)
According to the official statistics, more than 1.1 million Americans have died of Covid, but since early 2020, fatal heart attacks have also increased by almost 100,000. That latter rise began with the epidemic and was totally unaffected one way or the other by the vaccination drive that began a year later. This strongly suggests that nearly all those extra fatal heart attacks were indirectly due to the aftermath of Covid infections, and the true total of American Covid victims is actually significantly higher than the nominal figure.
I haven’t done extensive research on this topic, and the figures I’m presenting are quite simple aggregates, but they certainly seem to point in a particular direction. It’s quite possible that some of the hundreds of named individuals whose deaths are presented in Dowd’s book died from vaccine side-effects, but based upon these striking findings, I think it’s far more likely that the cause had been the lingering effect of a previous Covid infection, perhaps one so mild that they barely even noticed it at the time.
Let me briefly summarize these results:
- Vaxxing only began on December 14, 2020, so it would have had almost no public health impact during that year.
- Except for homicides and accidents, nearly all the major changes in American death rates occurred in 2020, so these must have been due to Covid.
- Except for homicides and accidents, non-Covid death rates showed almost no change in 2021 and 2022, so the vaccines probably had no impact one way or the other.
- The social unrest sparked by George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 soon produced an unprecedented spike in homicides and fatal accidents, which probably explains most of the sharp increase in youthful deaths during the months that followed.
The problem of disentangling Covid deaths from vaxxing deaths is a very widespread difficulty elsewhere as well. Despite some implementation of strong public health measures, the vast majority of countries suffered substantial Covid outbreaks, and they then often opened back up and relaxed their disease controls soon after their vaccination drives had been completed. So it’s difficult to be decide whether the resulting deaths were caused by the virus or instead by the vaccine used to control it.
However, as I’d originally noted back in July, the case of New Zealand allows us to distinguish the two effects. Being a small but well-run island country, the government quickly implemented effective public health measures and a travel quarantine, thereby avoiding any serious Covid outbreak prior to the availability of vaccines. With strong government support, the population was overwhelmingly vaxxed with Pfizer, at a rate far higher than that of the U.S. Yet the very heavy vaccination drive during 2021 and early 2022 produced absolutely no change in the trendlines of the national death rate according to the Macrotrends website, suggesting that the total number of any vaccine-related deaths was too negligible to even show up in the public statistics. This strongly supports the conclusions we have already drawn from the American data.
I’m hardly an expert on public health issues, and my examination of these mortality figures has been quite cursory, so it’s perfectly possible that a more careful analysis would find obvious holes in my reasoning. But at this point, I doubt that the vaccines had any significant connection to the deaths that are the centerpiece of Dowd’s book. The author noted that the last couple of years have seen a huge rise in the number of sudden, unexpected deaths of youthful individuals, often from apparent heart attacks, or strokes, but I think that the Covid virus itself rather the the vaccines against it are much more likely to be responsible.
However, the one thing that all of us can certainly agree upon is that any such global public health disaster was a direct consequence of the Covid epidemic, prompting the massive vaccination campaign that so concerns Dowd and his allies. Yet over the last couple of years the true origins of that epidemic have attracted only a small fraction of the attention paid to its secondary consequences.
Fortunately, that may now be starting to change, and over the last few weeks, major websites in the alt-Covid community have begun running important articles on that topic, suggesting that the long Covid origins cover-up may be starting to collapse.
- How Did U.S. Intelligence Spot the Virus in Wuhan Weeks Before China?
Will Jones • The Daily Sceptic • December 12, 2022 • 3,200 Words
- What Is Crimson Contagion?
Jeffrey A. Tucker • The Brownstone Institute • December 22, 2022 • 1,300 Words
- U.S. Accidentally Proves It Could Not Have Spotted the Virus in China in November 2019
Will Jones • The Daily Sceptic • January 1, 2023 • 1,000 Words
Partly as a consequence of these developments, my own long series of articles on these same issues have gained renewed attention.
- Covid/Biowarfare Series
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • April 2020-December 2021 • 60,000 Words
As an example, several of my own podcast interviews from last February have picked up a total of more than 100,000 additional views in just the last week, solidifying their position as some of the most popular videos on Rumble.
Kevin Barrett, FFWN • February 16, 2022 • 15m
Geopolitics & Empire • February 1, 2022 • 75m • SoundCloud Audio
Red Ice TV • February 3, 2022 • 130m