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by David Osborn, MH, L.Ac
Tuesday, December 21, 2021

In this second installment of my Lingering Questions About the COVID Pandemic blog, I take a closer look at the vaccination debate, and discuss the pros and cons of getting vaccinated – a personal medical decision that I leave up to the individual.

Introduction: Sage Advice from President Clinton

Several years back, I was watching the opening night of the Democratic National Convention; I don’t remember offhand which city it was being held in, or what the year was, but the keynote speaker was former US President Bill Clinton.  The most memorable line of his speech offered  some sage advice indeed; regarding politicians and their messages, said Clinton, don’t follow the guy who is peddling a message of fear.  Go with the guy who is offering a message of positivity and hope.  Again, I don’t quite remember who exactly was running for president in that year, or what particular problems and challenges our nation was facing, but that didn’t matter – this would be considered as sage advice for any situation, any time.  And it is particularly relevant to the situation we are facing with the COVID pandemic; I hate to have to say it, but the medical establishment is using a lot of fear and scare tactics to get everyone to take the COVID vaccine.  What fear does is it blinds a person, and robs them of their God-given powers of reason and common sense, as well as their innate powers of choice and self-determination.  Obviously, the medical establishment wants everyone to take the COVID vaccine, but they are using negative and fear mongering methods, mainly, to try to achieve this end, which is ethically questionable.

In this second installment of my latest COVID blog, we are going to explore various aspects of the great vaccination debate surrounding this pandemic.  The medical authorities want you to believe that it is a settled matter – that the science is solid and problem free, and you should just do your part and get the vaccine.  But the truth, as with many other things, is much more nuanced and complex.  And the whole question of whether or not to get vaccinated is by no means a settled issue, as I will reveal to you below.

Should Medical Freedom Be in the Bill of Rights?

On most political matters of the day, I am quite liberal or progressive, but there is one area in which I am of a much more libertarian persuasion, and that is when it comes to medical freedom of choice and the absolute sovereignty of the individual over his or her own body – what goes into or out of it, as well as what is done to it.  President Washington’s own personal physician, Dr. Benjamin Rush, was also a great believer in medical freedom of choice, and wanted a provision or article put into the US Constitution that would guarantee medical freedom for the average citizen.  In other words, the individual’s sovereignty over their own body should be inviolable and sacrosanct, and absolutely off limits when it comes to government intrusion.  This applies to both sides of the political equation: Conservative Republicans, usually of an evangelical Christian persuasion, want to ban abortion and deny an individual woman reproductive freedom and self determination – I think that’s wrong.  On the other side, liberal or progressive Democrats are in favor of a universal mandate for the COVID vaccine, as well as other vaccines; I believe that is equally wrong.

Philosophically speaking, you might say that there is somewhat of a conflict of interest going on between the basic precepts and principles of public health, as it is administered in the United States, and the principle of medical freedom and the rights of the individual to medical self determination.  Public health, as it is currently administered in our country, is based on the principle of “the greatest good for the greatest number”; in other words, this reduces health concerns down to a mere matter of statistical averages, which can ultimately deny the individual the power to make health choices for themselves.  Medical freedom, on the other hand, puts the individual first in their sovereignty over their own bodies.  In order to make a wise, informed decision, the individual also needs to have, ideally speaking, free and open access to medical information as it pertains to the choices they face.

As a firm believer in, and staunch advocate of, medical freedom of choice, I believe that forced mandates to get vaccinated, or to get any other medical procedure performed, should be against the law – or at least, that the individual should have recourse to a second medical opinion to obtain an exemption or waiver in their particular case, should they feel that it is necessary to do so.  Ethically speaking, both the issue of abortion as well as that of vaccination have ramifications that extend beyond the borders of the individual themselves.  Opponents of abortion rights are constantly reminding us that “It’s a life, not a choice”, and that, to them, abortion is murder.  Proponents of universal vaccination also advance the ethical notion that getting vaccinated is demonstrating active concern for the health and welfare of others in making sure that you yourself are not carrying or spreading the disease.  The stated goal of most proponents of universal COVID vaccination is to totally stop the spread of the dreaded virus, if not to totally eradicate it:  Look at what we did to smallpox, they say.  But the COVID vaccine is not the smallpox vaccine; each vaccine should be judged on its own merits.

Traditionally, Democrats have had more faith in the power of government to solve problems and better the lives of the people; consequently, they are naturally the party that would be more in favor of government intervention and mandates when it comes to things like vaccination.  Conversely, the Republican Party has come to be known as the party of small or limited government, and tends to be more in favor of protecting the rights of the individual from government intrusion or over-reach.  Naturally, with such a political philosophy, Republicans would be more in favor of individual freedom of choice when it comes to matters like vaccination.  Nevertheless, they seem to have no problems when it comes to giving government the power to intrude into women’s wombs.  Who’s on the right side?  Perhaps the best policy would be to give individuals the right to consult with their physicians and the power to obtain a medical exemption from receiving a certain vaccine, whatever it might be, if their personal physician feels that there would be significant risks of an adverse reaction to it.

Legal Issues Regarding the COVID Vaccine

An online article from the Health and Science department of CNBC dated December 17, 2020 had the following headline:  You can’t sue Pfizer or Moderna if you have severe Covid vaccine side effects.  The government likely won’t compensate you for damages either. 

“Heck – what a raw deal!” You might exclaim.  “Where’s the accountability???”  The opening section of the article lays things out in a bit more detail, and is worth quoting in its entirety:

If you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, lawyers tell CNBC that there is basically no one to blame in a U.S. court of law. 

The federal government has granted companies like Pfizer and Moderna immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines.

“It is very rare for a blanket immunity law to be passed,” said Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney.  “Pharmaceutical companies typically aren’t offered much liability protection under the law.”

You also can’t sue the Food and Drug Administration for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use, nor can you hold your employer accountable if they mandate inoculation as a condition of employment. 

Congress created a fund specifically to help cover lost wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses for people who have been irreparably harmed by a “covered countermeasure,” such as a vaccine.  But it is difficult to use and rarely pays.  Attorneys say it has compensated less than 6% of the claims filed in the last decade. 

The moral of this whole story should be clear to you by now, if you have half a brain to reason with:  Pfizer and Moderna don’t really stand behind their products, especially not if they enlisted the help of the US government to grant them blanket immunity from all potential liability claims; their actions show that they are much more interested in covering themselves legally.  In other words, their COVID vaccines can be seen as experimental drugs that have been approved by the government for emergency use in dealing with the COVID pandemic – and we’re all being used as guinea pigs in a game of medical roulette.  Now, if the vaccine manufacturers, as well as the American government, have abdicated any semblance of accountability in protecting the health and welfare of the American public, then who is left to protect your own health and welfare?  The answer should be self-evident – there is no one left but YOU, the individual, to assume that role.

Yet, as an exercise in extreme cognitive dissonance, right above the alarming headline of the article I just quoted, there is a beautiful photo of a vaccine being administered as the gateway to a video entitled: “How the coronavirus vaccine works and why Americans should trust it.”  What??  So, who are you going to believe – this video, or the words of the attorneys who have been quoted in the above article?  This could be seen as just one more concrete example of how firmly corporate America, which includes CNBC, stands behind the medical establishment; they wanted to also put something in that kept the vaccine manufacturers and the drug companies happy.  But if the attorneys are right, you should be looking to cover your own legal risks, and only submit to the vaccine if you are absolutely sure that you won’t get a severe adverse reaction from it – but how can you be absolutely sure of that, especially when the vaccine manufacturers themselves won’t stand firmly behind their own product?  As I said before, this is clearly an experimental vaccine, and the American public is all being used as guinea pigs.  I don’t know what the legal situation is with the COVID vaccine in other countries that have a better system of socialized medicine than we have, but that might be worth looking into.

If you wish to read this CNBC article in its entirety, just follow the link below:

You can’t sue Pfizer or Moderna if you have severe Covid vaccine side effects. The government likely won’t compensate you for damages either

The COVID Vaccine and the Basic Big Pharma Business Model

I remember well when my Western Medicine professor in acupuncture school, who was a Naturopathic Doctor by profession, told us that 80 percent of the pharmaceutical drugs in use today were not in use 20 years ago.  Why is that?  To understand this phenomenon better, we need to understand the Big Pharma business model.

First is the research and development stage for a new drug.  The goal is to make or concoct a new product or chemical compound that does not exist in Nature, one that you can own, and then patent.  This is considered to be an essential protection of the pharmaceutical company’s own financial interests.

The second stage is the testing and clinical trials stage.  The potential new drug is put through a series of grueling animal tests, followed by human clinical trials.  Then, when the new drug is found to be sufficiently free (but not totally free) of negative or adverse side effects after the clinical trials are over, it is then taken to market.

In the third stage, the new drug is marketed, and marketed very aggressively; the goal is to make ungodly amounts of money from it, and as quickly as possible.  Then, when the inevitable legal claims start to come in from deleterious effects of the new drug that somehow made it past the clinical trial stage undetected, the whole venture is considered a success by the pharmaceutical company if what they have made in the aggressive marketing of the drug exceeds the amount of money they have to pay out in legal claims and damages from the drug.  In other words, the whole venture of bringing a new drug to market is regarded as merely an ordinary moneymaking enterprise; if their profits outweigh the legal claims and damages they have to pay out, the whole venture is deemed a success – and it doesn’t really matter how many lives were ruined in the process from those who suffered irreparable harm from the drug.

This is how 80 percent of the pharmaceutical drugs in use today were not in use twenty years ago.  During those twenty years, most of that 80 percent of drugs were pulled from the market for one reason or another, usually due to major problems or negative side effects experienced by those who took those drugs.  Not a very good track record when you come to think of it.

The main difference between the usual scenario when it comes to Big Pharma taking its new drugs to market and the COVID vaccines is that, in the case of the COVID vaccine, the federal government has stepped in to grant the vaccine makers total immunity from any legal claims and liability pursuant to the use or administration of their product.  Just think – for the makers of the COVID vaccines, it is all up side, or profits subsidized by the government, with absolutely NO down side at all!  So – why wouldn’t they want to jab their vaccine into as many arms as possible to cash in to the max?  And so, we now have COVID vaccines for kids, and booster shot after booster shot – the bonanza never ends!

Applying a Little Logic and Common Sense to the COVID Vaccine

When the COVID vaccines first came out – and it really doesn’t matter which one you are talking about – Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, etc…, they were all held up to be a miracle cure, to offer 97 or 98 percent effectiveness against the COVID virus – that is, in making one totally immune to it.  But then the reports and the cases started to trickle in about people who had been fully vaccinated against COVID who were somehow catching it and testing positive for the virus, as we saw in our previous installment.  And so, the vaccine makers started to offer booster shots in the hopes that this would bolster one’s immunity after it had started to wear off.

But just wait a minute here, and take a little time to think things through:  If even those who have been fully vaccinated can catch COVID, one might assume that they can then pass it on to others as well.  And if that is the case, then it logically follows that even universal vaccination against the COVID virus, with the vaccines that are currently available, would not be able to ensure the total eradication of the COVID virus.  But this just in – an online article by OSF Healthcare dated November 1, 2021 states that current medical opinion, based on currently available data, suggests that the fully vaccinated, provided that they are basically in good health and are not seriously immunocompromised, are less likely to pass COVID on to others.  The reason for this seems to be that the vaccinated, who are otherwise basically in good health, tend to have a lower viral load for COVID if they do catch it, and test positive, and are therefore less likely to pass it on to others.  If the doctors are right, then mass vaccination may be able to significantly slow the spread of the virus.  To read the full article, just follow the link below:

Fully vaccinated less likely to pass COVID-19 to others

Nevertheless, there have indeed been negative or adverse reactions to the COVID vaccine; I personally know of two people who have even died from these negative reactions, and one who has gotten severe headaches as a result.  Again, use simple logic and common sense to think this through:  If their vaccines were totally safe and free of the potential for severe negative side effects or adverse reactions, why would the makers of the COVID vaccines need to enlist the help of the federal government to grant them full immunity from all legal liability?  An attorney quoted in the CNBC article above even admits that it is very rare for a blanket immunity law like this to be passed when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry.  If the COVID vaccines were perfectly safe and harmless, people would be lining up in droves to take them, and the government would not have to wage such a campaign of forcing and mandates.  Perhaps news of these severe negative reactions to the COVID vaccine has been able to travel rapidly by word of mouth, and that has a lot to do with the wariness and reticence of much of the general public towards taking the vaccine.  I don’t think that it’s merely a superstitious distrust of science; when science has served the people well, they have usually responded enthusiastically, without any undue reticence or hesitation.  Use your common sense.

Intrigued by the vaccine death toll and adverse reactions question, I decided to do a little more googling around on the internet.  Within the search results, I came upon a very interesting article.  Adverse reactions to vaccines are tracked by reports that come in to the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System), which is how the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) monitors vaccine safety.  Regarding the adverse events that are reported in to the VAERS system, the CDC issues a very interesting general disclaimer, which the article from, dated November 9, 2021, discusses in the excerpt below:

VAERS cannot and does not determine whether a vaccine caused something.  The CDC states this clearly in their disclaimer:  “A report to VAERS does not mean that the vaccine caused the adverse event, only that the adverse event occurred sometime after vaccination.”  The disclaimer continues, “The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental or unverifiable.”

Hmmm…  Very interesting!  Is this yet another, more basic way that the CDC lets vaccine makers off the hook, in addition to the blanket immunity they are getting for the COVID vaccine from the federal government?  Sure looks like it.  Let’s apply a little logic and common sense here:  “A report to VAERS does not mean that the vaccine caused the adverse event, only that the adverse event occurred sometime after vaccination.”  No qualifiers there, as in “not necessarily”, but simply, “does not mean” – period.  Sounds like a priori, ipso facto definition of a coincidence to me, a textbook case of circular reasoning.  In other words, this disclaimer is essentially calling all reports of adverse events, by definition, to be nothing but coincidences.  Consequently, the medical authorities are under no compunction to find out whether the vaccine caused the adverse event or not, if vaccine makers can use the cover of this disclaimer.  It seems like the makers of the COVID vaccine, then, have a double layer of protection insulating them from all potential liability claims connected with adverse reactions to their vaccines – the blanket immunity granted to them by the federal government, as well as this clever bit of sophistry from the CDC.

If you want to read the full article, I refer you to the link below:

Does VAERS list deaths caused by COVID-19 vaccines?

In conclusion, it seems to be a classic case of a conflict of interest between the interests of public health agencies in slowing the spread of COVID-19 versus the personal health interests of the individual in being able to get an exemption from taking the vaccine if they conclude that, in their case, the potential risks would outweigh the benefits.  Do we put the personal health interests of the individual first, or mandate that they be sacrificed on the altar of public health and pandemic control?  Sooner or later, the full truth will come out regarding the efficacy, and most importantly, the safety of the COVID vaccines currently being administered to the public.

The Bottom Line: COVID Vaccination Should Be a Personal Health Decision

You may have gotten the impression from reading this blog posting, as well as the first part or installment, that I am dead set against the COVID vaccine; that is not necessarily the case.  I think that it should be a personal health decision, entered into by the individual after duly weighing all the evidence, both pro and con.  One should also consult with one’s personal physician, and also get a second opinion from a holistically minded practitioner who is open to alternative and complementary healing modalities, to duly weigh the pros and cons in your own particular case.  Here again, the more informed you are about your body, and its inherent nature and temperament, its constitutional makeup, as well as the particulars and details of your own medical history as well as that of your family and close relations, the more able you will be to make a wise and appropriate decision.  Where exactly do your health vulnerabilities lie, and would COVID be debilitating, devastating, or even life threatening to you if you caught it?  If so, then the benefits of getting vaccinated may very well outweigh the risks.  But if you have learned anything from what I have written, it is that the COVID vaccine is not without significant risks, which must also be duly weighed and considered.

It is a proven fact that even the fully vaccinated can catch COVID, but even though current medical opinion might be that the fully vaccinated are less likely to pass COVID on to others, all that may change as new data continues to come in.  The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the first and primary reason to get vaccinated should be to protect one’s own state of health and wellbeing, if it should be necessary.  If you are a COVID survivor who has managed to survive a COVID infection on your own, or without any extraordinary medical assistance or intervention, this is usually a sign that your God given immune system has properly done its job, and has manufactured sufficient antibodies to the COVID virus to enable you to get over it.  If this should be the case, then your need for the COVID vaccine is not nearly as great.  But if you just managed to squeak by, or your COVID infection was a close call for you, you may want to consider getting vaccinated.  Listening to your body, and getting in touch with your own immune system, and how it responds in health as well as illness, is also highly advised.

In stating that whether or not to get the COVID vaccine should be a personal health decision entered into by you and your own personal physician, I am also taking the position that any kind of intrusion or forcing of that decision one way or the other, whether that be done by the government or by one’s own employer, is a violation of what I consider to be the bedrock principle of medical freedom and self-determination.  At the very least, the individual, in collaboration with their own personal physician, should have recourse to getting a medical exemption or waiver from getting vaccinated if the assessment of benefits versus potential risks should warrant it.  My hat goes off to those who are not self-employed, who have been forced to get vaccinated by the government, or their employers; you have bravely taken the risks and made these sacrifices for the sake of your families and your loved ones, and providing for them.

Conclusion: The Phantoms of Fear

Doctor Benjamin Rush – where are you now that we need you?  We really need that article in the US Constitution guaranteeing medical freedom of choice that you were in favor of.  But getting an article or amendment like that put into the Constitution does not at all look likely, given the huge amount of political power and influence enjoyed by the medical and pharmaceutical industries in our country today.  For four long years, America was suffering under the threat of good, old fashioned fascism, due to the presence of a seditious, autocratic demagogue in the White House.  “The Former Guy” as he is often called on the political left in our country, bungled up the response to the initial stages of the COVID pandemic in our country, and let things get out of hand; perhaps his mind was too preoccupied with trying to subvert the upcoming 2020 election.  Now, I hate to have to say it, we are under the threat of a new kind of fascism: vaccino-fascism, as way too many Americans are being denied their freedom of choice as to whether or not they will get the COVID vaccine.  Fear is being used to manipulate us as we reel from one fascist crisis to the next, with no space in between in which to catch our breath and regain our sense of inner equilibrium as a nation.