I WOULDN’T say it exactly went viral, but this tweet by one Reuben de Herdt, retweeted by Dr Anthony Hinton, saying: ‘Here is the editor of the BMJ raising the questions many of us have asked for over a year’ did receive a lot of attention across social media last Friday. The film so far has had more than 50,000 views.
It is hardly surprising. Suddenly someone we haven’t heard an awful lot from is given a proper platform. Peter Doshi PhD, editor of the British Medical Journal. used it very effectively. November 4 found Dr Doshi giving evidence to at an expert panel on Covid ‘vaccines’ held by Senator Ron Johnson in Washington DC. Ivor Cummins in another tweet describes his session as a truly incredible five minutes with the BMJ editor saying what we’re all thinking.
He certainly uncovered a few truths that could have done with being aired on the BBC. Amongst his choice comments and questions were these:
‘I found it fascinating to learn that Merriam-Webster changed its definition of “vaccine” early this year. mRNA products did not meet the definition of “vaccine” that has been in place for 15 years in Merriam-Webster, but the definition was expanded such that mRNA products are now vaccines.’
‘How would you feel about mandating Covid vaccines if we didn’t call them vaccines? What if these injections were called “drugs” instead?’
‘Would you take a dose of this drug every six months or so for possibly the rest of your life?’
‘Would you not just take this drug yourself, but support regulations mandating that everybody else around you take this drug?’
‘The trials did not show a reduction in death.’
‘My point is not that I know the truth about what the vaccine can and cannot do, my point is that those who claimed the trials showed the vaccines were highly effective in saving lives were wrong. The trials did not demonstrate this.’
You can watch the full session here.
As the reader who alerted me to it said, it raises a lot more questions. Did the majority just take the BBC’s word for the efficacy of the data? Did they make this critical decision about their health and safety just on hear-say? And if they thought they got advice from a ‘trusted’ source, did they ask whether that trusted source really knew what it was talking about? Have they actually researched anything about Covid vaccines properly? Because looking at these comments from Peter Doshi, the answer is no.
Here’s the complete transcript of what Peter Doshi said.
‘Hello, I’m Peter Doshi. For identification purposes, I’m on the faculty of the University of Maryland and editor of the BMJ. I have no relevant conflicts of interest and my comments today are my own. In pharmacy school I teach a required course on how to critically appraise the medical literature. We train students on how to go beyond a study abstract and start to pick apart and critically assess biomedical studies, not just take them at face value. I want to use my five minutes here to harness that spirit of critical thinking. I’m saddened that we are super-saturated as a society right now in the attitude of “everybody knows” that has shut down intellectual curiosity and leads to self-censorship.
‘So let me start with a few “everybody knows” examples that I’m not sure we should be so certain about. Everybody knows that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. But if hospitalisations and deaths were almost exclusively occurring in the unvaccinated, why would booster shots be necessary? Or why would the statistics be so different in the UK, where most Covid hospitalisations and deaths are among the fully vaccinated, as Senator Johnson said? There’s a disconnect there, there’s something to be curious about. There’s something not adding up and we should all be asking: “Is it’s true that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated? What does that even mean?” (Next slide please).
‘And then there’s this: Everybody knows that Covid vaccines save lives, in fact we’ve known this from early 2021. The clinical trials proved that to be the case, as you can see here [in the quote of a February article in the Journal of the American Medical Association]. But is it true? When that statement by prominent public health officials was penned, there had been just one death, one death across the 70,000 Pfizer and Moderna trial participants. Today, we have more data, and you can see that there were similar numbers of deaths in the vaccine and placebo groups.
The trials did not show a reduction in death. Even for Covid deaths, as opposed to other causes, the evidence is flimsy, with just two deaths in the placebo group versus one in the vaccine group. My point is not that I know the truth about what the vaccine can and cannot do, my point is that those who claimed the trials showed the vaccines were highly effective in saving lives were wrong. The trials did not demonstrate this. (Next slide please).
‘Now let’s talk about anti-vaxxers. Everybody knows you should discount what anti-vaxxers have to say. But what does the term mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as, quote, “a person who opposes use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccination”. The first part of the definition I expected, the second part stunned me. There are entire countries from the United Kingdom to Japan which do not mandate childhood vaccines. Both achieve high levels of vaccination, just not through regulations mandating vaccines. There are no mandates there and I would wager that a large minority, perhaps a majority, of the world’s population meets the definition here of an anti-vaxxer. Another definition worth checking is “vaccine”. (Next slide please).
‘I am one of the academics that argues that these mRNA products, which everybody calls vaccines, are qualitatively different than standard vaccines. And so I found it fascinating to learn that Merriam-Webster changed its definition of “vaccine” early this year. mRNA products did not meet the definition of “vaccine” that has been in place for 15 years in Merriam-Webster, but the definition was expanded such that mRNA products are now vaccines. I highlight this to ask a question: How would you feel about mandating COVID vaccines if we didn’t call them vaccines? What if these injections were called “drugs” instead? So here’s the scenario: We have this “drug”, and we have evidence that it doesn’t prevent infection, nor does it stop viral transmission, but the “drug” is understood to reduce your risk of getting very sick and dying of COVID. Would you take a dose of this drug every six months or so for possibly the rest of your life? If that’s what it took for the drug to stay effective? Would you not just take this drug yourself, but support regulations mandating that everybody else around you take this drug? Or would you say, “Hold on a sec”. Maybe you’d say that, “If that’s all the drug does, why not use a normal medicine instead? The kind we take when we’re sick and want to get better? And why would you mandate it?”
‘The point is, just because we call it a vaccine doesn’t mean we should assume these new products are just like all other childhood vaccines which get mandated. Each product is a different product, and if people are okay with getting something simply because “it’s a vaccine and we mandate other vaccines, so why shouldn’t we mandate this?”, I think it’s time to inject some critical thinking into that conversation and that is what I hope we are doing today.’
Peter Doshi is certainly consistent. He queried what the Covid vaccine trials were thought to be saying in October 2020. In September 2020 he queried just how new the coronavirus was, and asked whether population immunity was being underestimated.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that he never became a darling of Sage or found himself in the inner sanctum of government science advisers. They might have found his pursuit of the truth rather hard to stomach.
Tomorrow we will be featuring and commenting on the full Senator Ron Johnson Expert Panel on Federal Vaccine Mandates that took place on November 1st.