Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in vaccine related legislation that impacts every person.
More vaccines have been mandated for children in school and daycare and adults in the workplace, vaccine exemption rights have been restricted or removed, emergency powers have been expanded, vaccine tracking and enforcement and vaccine exemption rate disclosure programs threaten choices and health outcomes, and parental and informed consent rights have been weakened or removed all together.
This has all happened under the backdrop of unprecedented censorship of information questioning the safety, efficacy or necessity of the dozens of vaccines being mandated for use and the hundreds of vaccines in development.
Public shaming, marginalization and the bullying of those who don’t agree with accepting every single dose of every federally recommended and state mandated vaccine has become not only commonplace but socially sanctioned by those promoting “no exceptions” vaccine policies and laws.
In addition, with the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, plans to roll out a national vaccination program loom on the horizon. If the COVID-19 vaccine becomes state mandated, it has the potential to alter life in America in ways we never thought could be possible.
Citizen involvement in the legislative process to protect the human right to exercise informed consent to vaccination increased to unprecedented levels in 2020. In many cases, it matched and overcame the relentless attack by mandatory vaccination proponents on the ability of individuals to decline vaccination.
In this 2020 Annual Report on U.S. State Vaccine Legislation, the non-profit educational charity National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports that during the 2020 legislative session, NVIC analyzed, tracked and issued positions on an unrivaled 232 vaccine related bills in 39 states and the District of Columbia through the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
This was the highest number of bills in the history of NVIC’s advocacy program, despite many shortened state legislative sessions due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Working to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education since 1982, NVIC is the largest and oldest U.S. consumer-led non-profit organization disseminating information about diseases, vaccines and informed consent to vaccination.
NVIC provides well-referenced, accurate information to the public about vaccine science, policy and law but does not make vaccine use recommendations. In 2010, NVIC launched the NVIC Advocacy Portal (NVICAP), a free online vaccine choice advocacy network, for the purpose of securing and defending informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws.
Over the last decade, the NVIC Advocacy Program has analyzed, tracked and issued positions on well over 1000 vaccine related bills and has worked alongside and shares legislative information with many health freedom groups that support NVIC’s almost four-decade call for the protection of vaccine informed consent rights in America.
The NVIC Advocacy Portal team, including key NVIC Advocacy directors in many states, works with families and enlightened health care professionals to educate legislators and protect vaccine informed consent rights. NVIC issues action alerts and sends them through email, posts them online and shares them through social media and our text alert program.
At the time this report was prepared, vaccine-related bills are still pending in California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Action to support the good vaccine-related bills and oppose bad bills is still needed. Bills referenced in this report are published on the NVIC Advocacy Portal and registered users can obtain a more detailed bill analysis, including current status, NVIC’s position on the bill, and recommended action.
There were significant positive take away points from the outcome of the 2020 legislative session:
13 bills in 10 states [CT, FL, IA, IL, MA, NJ, PA, VT, WA, WI] were filed to eliminate vaccine exemptions. None passed.
Out of 10 bills filed across eight states [CO, FL, MA, NJ, NY, OK, PA, VT] to restrict vaccine exemptions, only one passed. Colorado SB 163 requires a vaccine provider signature or the completion of an online re-education module for religious or conscientious exemptions.
Out of the 123 vaccine-related bills that NVIC opposed, only eight bad bills passed!
The 2020 legislative session featured 99 bills worthy of NVIC’s support, which is more than any legislative session since the launching of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal in 2010. This is up from only 18 good bills NVIC supported in 2016. The ratio of the total bills supported compared to total bills opposed has gotten better and better. Two of these positive bills passed.
Proposed administrative rules to either add vaccine mandates or restrict exemptions in four state that NVIC opposed were withdrawn or amended to take out the offending sections.
There were only three states with more than 10 vaccine related bills filed in the 2020 session. Iowa led states in most positive bills introduced with 16 bills worthy of support and only three that required opposition. New Jersey had four bills worthy of support and 13 deserving opposition. The informed consent rights of New Yorkers were attacked by more bills than any other state with 27 bills needing opposition and only eight that deserved support.
The remaining vaccine-related bills for the 2020 session are broken out and described below by category.
The four main areas that NVIC focuses on when tracking proposed bills are:
Some bills may be included in multiple categories. For example, a proposed bill attempting to mandate a vaccine may also have a requirement for vaccine tracking so it would be counted in both categories but only counted once in the total bill count.
The NVIC Advocacy team provides referenced, accurate vaccine information and talking points for NVICAP users to background legislators. Some of the position statements NVIC posted on the Advocacy Portal in 2020 were listed as bills to “watch.”
This is done because our analysis indicated that either the bill was well intentioned but contained some problems needing amending before we could support it or the bill contained sections that were highly vulnerable to amendments that could conflict with NVIC’s mission.
The breakout and analysis of bills in these different categories identifies trends across the states and serves as a guide if you want to become active by joining the NVIC Advocacy Portal and educating your state legislators and community in 2021 about why it is so important to protect vaccine informed consent rights.
In a positive turnaround from previous sessions, out of the 138 vaccine-related bills filed in state legislatures in 2020 having components affecting vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights, NVIC opposed 56 of the proposed bills, but supported 78 and “watched” four. This is the first session where NVIC has supported more exemption and informed consent bills than opposed.
The mainstream media tended to hype the bills attacking exemptions so much that it may come as a surprise that there were more bills to expand exemptions and informed consent rights than there were to eliminate or restrict those rights.
This can be directly credited to positive action taken by forward thinking state legislators, who were given fact-based information about vaccines, exemptions, and diseases by concerned citizens who took the time to make one-on-one personal contact with their elected representatives.
There was a noticeable drop in bills filed in 2020 to either remove or restrict exemptions: 23 in 2020 versus 40 in 2019. There were 13 bills in 10 states (Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin) that were filed to eliminate vaccine exemptions. None passed.
Notable in these defeats was Connecticut HB 5044 attempting to remove the religious exemption, which broke all records for online testimony that gripped the country overnight and lasted over 21 hours into the next morning. This bill did not pass.
Florida SB 64 to remove the religious exemption was filed by Senator Lauren Book in 2019 before the 2020 legislative session even started. This prompted families around the state to fight back by attending local pre-session delegation meetings asking for the bill’s defeat.
Health Freedom Florida hosted a rally featuring presentations by NVIC and Children’s Health Defense the first week of session to educate citizens about the bill. This proactive strategy was effective. SB 64 failed to pass and did not even get a hearing.
New Jersey’s religious exemption removal bills (A969/S902) drew more in person protests than any vaccine bill had done before with many thousands showing up to oppose the exemption removal. Legislators inside the capitol building could hear protesting parents chanting for hours outside. This bill came the closest to passing of all the exemption removal bills. The strong showing by New Jersey families helped provide support to the brave legislators opposing this bill.
Out of 10 bills filed across eight states (Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Vermont) to restrict vaccine exemptions, only one passed. Colorado SB 163 requires a vaccine provider signature or the completion of an online re-education module for religious or conscientious exemptions.
Bills pending to remove or restrict vaccine exemptions that deserve continued strong opposition are still active in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. These bills need to continue to be opposed.
It is critical that vaccine choice advocates in every state register for and regularly check in to the NVIC Advocacy Portal. The most important thing you can do if you care about this issue is to establish relationships with and educate your legislators now and into next year so you can be ready to counter bills that will restrict or eliminate exemptions and get good bills filed to protect and expand vaccine exemptions.
There is nothing more important that you can do to protect or expand your right to delay or decline vaccines without penalty or harassment than talking to your legislators in person and establishing a positive, respectful relationship with them.
The trend to publicly disclose vaccine exemptions to shame schools with higher exemption rates has continued in 2020 where nine bills were filed in seven states. This year none of these bills passed.
Promoted by those who seek to ultimately eliminate vaccine exemptions, these public disclosure bills threaten and place pressure on students with vaccine exemptions by requiring schools to publish vaccination and/or vaccine exemption rates online.
These bills are promoted under the false pretense of transparency, but they are really about government-sponsored shaming of schools with students who have vaccine exemptions.
The real goal of school shaming bills is to create centralized repositories of specific community level vaccine usage data that the media and public health employees use to identify and locate those who decline to receive every vaccine recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Media will use these reports in a biased manner to reflect negatively on schools with more exemptions in an attempt to solicit support for further restricting or eliminating vaccine exemptions.1
Setting up schools to be designated “winners” and “losers” in the myopic quest for a 100 percent vaccination rate with all federally recommended vaccines, these types of bills add more layers of pressure and coercion with every single dose of every single vaccine and create an environment that pits parents, children, schools and districts against each other.
Arizona has had a bill filed every year since 2015 to post vaccine exemption rates. Fortunately, they have all failed to pass thanks to proactive citizen advocacy and brave legislators, who have held back these bills from moving forward.
Even though these bills don’t authorize the release of individually identifiable information, the numbers of children utilizing vaccine exemptions are so small that bills like these puts the exposure of children’s identity at risk and sets them up for harassment, discrimination, and bullying. These bills need to continue to be opposed.
A very troubling area of proposed legislative changes are bills that allow minor children to be vaccinated without the knowledge or informed consent of their parents. A child is less likely than an adult parent to understand their personal and family medical history, including a history of vaccine reactions, allergies and autoimmune or neurological disorders.
Minor children do not have the same kind of critical thinking skills or emotional maturity required to make a vaccine benefit-risk decision compared to an adult. In addition, if a child receives a vaccination without a parent’s knowledge or informed consent and then experiences a vaccine reaction, a parent might not recognize the potential cause of their child’s sudden decline in health.
This lack of knowledge by parents could be life threatening for the child. None of the 21 bills introduced in eleven states (Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia), which attempted to grant minor children the ability to consent to vaccines on their own without parental knowledge or consent, passed.
In 2019, Congress held two vaccine hearings, one on February 27th2 and another on March 5th3 and one focus of the hearing pitting children against their parents.
Veteran vaccine safety and informed consent advocates with nearly four decades of experience, including time spent serving on federal advisory committees, were denied the ability to testify, but a teenager with no experience other than recently opposing his mother on social media4 for not vaccinating him was invited to testify.5
The ill-conceived concept of minor children consenting to vaccination without their parents’ consent appeared in media6 stories more frequently following the congressional hearing and used the teen’s testimony to advocate for this policy change.
Medical trade groups also advanced the concept. Doctors, who are frustrated with having to spend time talking with educated parents during routine “well child” visits to answer questions and concerns about vaccines, have identified minor consent as a way to coerce children into consenting to vaccines on their own.
Adolescents are vulnerable to peer and authority-figure persuasion. An opinion piece was published in The New England Journal of Medicine7 and the American Medical Association passed a resolution8 supporting state laws to allow minors to consent to vaccination.
This coordinated effort resulted in 13 bills introduced in 2019 and a big jump to 21 bills introduced in 2020. Fortunately, legislators listened to parents and rejected all 34 minor consent bills filed in 2019 and 2020. Federal legislative history provides evidence that Congress never intended for a minor child to make decisions to get a vaccine without parental knowledge or consent.
When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act9 of 1986 was passed, the Act clearly stated that before the administration of certain vaccines,10 a health care provider shall give a copy of the CDC’s vaccine information materials to either the, “the parent or legal representative of any child to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine …”
The CDC asserts the requirement that the VIS sheet is provided to the parent/legal guardian prior to vaccination of a minor child on their Q&A page on VIS sheets:11 Under the question “Is there a requirement to verify that parents/legal representatives have actually received and reviewed the VIS,” the answer is a clear and undebatable “YES.”
There is no justification for the state to override a parent’s legal right to make an informed benefit and risk decision about vaccination on behalf of their minor children and hand that legal right to doctors and medical workers, who have no liability or accountability for what happens to the child after vaccination.
These types of bills are a violation of parents’ constitutional right to raise their children without undue interference from the state, and each one of these bills that surfaces in state legislatures should be strongly opposed.
Hard working vaccine and health freedom advocates and open-minded legislators came together in 2020 to advocate for 78 bills in the following 25 states to expand vaccine exemptions and enhance informed consent rights:
This is a big jump from the 58 bills of this kind filed in 2019. In response to expanding vaccination schedules and overzealous forced vaccination polices implemented by day care and schools, legislators filed 20 bills in the following 12 states to expand vaccine exemptions:
Most of the bills filed added religious or conscientious exemptions. While no bills adding vaccine exemptions for children to attend daycare and school were passed, Delaware passed a bill (HB 214) to allow veterinarians to exempt animals from rabies vaccines if the veterinarian concludes the vaccine would endanger the animal’s health.
Legislators are increasingly recognizing problems created because parents are not provided enough information about potential vaccine risks and contraindications.
In response, 30 bills were filed in 16 states tackling the issue of improving vaccine informed consent rights. California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia all had bills filed to require additional information to be provided prior to vaccination.
Nine states had legislators wanting to get better information about the increased prevalence of vaccine reactions. 11 bills were filed to require vaccine reactions to be reported to the legislature directly or through a state agency. Iowa, New Hampshire and Missouri each had a bill introduced to require death certificates to include information about vaccines administered.
Also addressing gaps in informed consent, 9 bills were filed in the 7 states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania that would require parents to be informed of the availability of vaccine exemptions. Often, parents do not know they have the legal right to take a vaccine exemption.
Some schools don’t readily share this information and parents may be incorrectly told there is a “no shots, no school” policy that prevents unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children from enrolling in school. This can result in a child, who may be at high risk for suffering a vaccine reaction, getting vaccinated under false pressure that can lead to the child suffering a serious reaction.
Other bills filed required the disclosure of certain vaccine ingredients and risks, and several bills added steps like requiring specific written permission before any vaccine could be administered. One broad groundbreaking bill in Florida entitled the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” would have provided civil remedies for those whose religious or political speech was censored by a social media website.
While none of these bills passed, over 1,000 state legislators were educated about the failures in the informed consent process to vaccination. This education can serve as a deterrent to passing other bad bills that remove or restrict informed consent rights from being introduced in the future.
An encouraging new trend is that more legislators are recognizing the significant problems caused by discrimination against those who choose to delay or decline vaccination and are willing to support legislation to stop this discrimination and bias.
A total of 32 bills tackling different aspects of discrimination head on were filed. The majority of bills filed were trying to protect adult employees from any kind of penalties for refusing vaccines. This category of bills will be extremely important in 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out and potential legislation is introduced to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations.
It is critical to protect people from sanctions by employers, insurance companies, medical providers, retail establishments, and interstate travel opportunities for refusing to take a vaccine. It is not too early to talk to legislators about prefiling bills to prevent this type of discrimination ahead of the 2021 legislative session.
Six bills were introduced this session to specifically prohibit insurance companies from penalizing doctors or patients when the patient did not take a recommended vaccine, while one bill in Wyoming prohibited doctors from expelling patients for vaccine refusal, and another Wyoming bill prohibited hospitals from refusing to treat individuals based solely on their vaccination status.
Iowa and Michigan filed bills that would prohibit denying a foster care license based on the vaccination status of the family. Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon also tried to join the ranks of Texas with bills that prohibit either abuse claims or custody restrictions based on vaccine refusal, and Colorado’s efforts were rewarded with the passage and governor’s signature on HB 1297.
This clarified that delaying or declining a vaccine by itself is not child abuse or neglect. This bill enjoyed notable bipartisan support. Colorado demonstrated that it is important not to prejudge legislators based on party affiliation for their support or opposition to a bill and it is important to sincerely educate and treat all legislators respectfully.
In 2020, only three of the 42 bills filed to add vaccine mandates passed. Two bills were in New Jersey. Annual flu vaccines are now required for health care facility employees in New Jersey and meningococcal vaccines are now mandated for residential students at four-year colleges in New Jersey.
The third and worst vaccine mandate bill to pass in 2020 was Virginia HB 1090. It gave the Governor-appointed Board of Health the authority to add federally recommended vaccines to the schedule required for school attendance (with the exception of requiring annual influenza vaccinations) without a public hearing or vote by the legislature.
It also expanded the current list of required vaccines to add HPV vaccines for boys to the existing requirement for girls and added rotavirus, hepatitis A, and meningococcal conjugate vaccine requirements in conformance with recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
This puts Virginia school children at risk of being required to receive a mandated COVID-19 vaccine once it is licensed by the FDA and recommended by ACIP for children. The Health Commissioner of Virginia has already stated that he intends to mandate12 that all Virginians get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available.
Mississippi had a failed attempt to pass a bill to mandate annual flu vaccines for school employees with no religious exemption, and New York still has two pending bills attempting to mandate flu vaccines for children in school and daycare, A2316 and S2776, that need to be watched and opposed.
Five states — Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia — had bills filed to specifically mandate HPV vaccines for students that have not passed. New Jersey, New York, and Ohio attempted to add other adult vaccine mandates. NVIC opposes all adult mandates as a condition for employment. Vaccines are already available to those who want them.
New York attempted a bill to mandate vaccines for children’s camps with no religious exemptions allowed, but it has not passed.
NVIC supported 20 bills in 13 states that would have restricted vaccine mandates. While none of these bills passed, many legislators were educated about the harm vaccine mandates can cause, and this education helped hold back the passage of dozens of bills enacting more forceful mandates.
Eight bills were filed in Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio to protect employees who want to refuse vaccination requirements. These types of bills need to be filed and passed in every state.
Michigan had two bills, HB 5135 and HB 5136, that would have prohibited new vaccine mandates to be issued by agency rule making. Oklahoma passed a bill in the House, but not the Senate, to require legislative approval when new vaccine mandates are added for school by the department of health.
Given the threat posed by unelected and unaccountable state employees having the power to expand vaccine mandates, lawmakers in state legislatures, who have punted the responsibility of setting the vaccine schedule to health agency employees, need to take their legislative authority back so the people these mandates affect have a voice and can participate in the democratic process.
Iowa and Michigan set their sights on prohibiting a requirement that foster care families vaccinate their families. While the Iowa bill died, the Michigan bill is still pending, and support could help tip this good bill over the edge to pass.
Two exciting bills were introduced in Arizona (HB 2050) and South Dakota (HB 1235) to eliminate vaccine mandates, and people should consider talking to their legislators about filing this kind of bill in their own states.
Brave legislators in these states recognized that vaccines are pharmaceutical products that can cause injury or death, and families should be allowed to make voluntary decisions about their use without being coerced and forced by law to vaccinate. These bills were filed as a direct result of people talking to their legislators about the harm that vaccine mandates have caused their families.
Forced inclusion, forced reporting, and opt-out electronic vaccine tracking registries and enforcement systems continue to threaten the medical privacy of citizens and their legal right to refuse federally recommended vaccines without being subjected to harassment or punishment.
On the positive side, legislators are also becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of reporting and tracking of serious vaccine reactions and are trying to take steps to put this information in front of more government officials.
The 2020 legislative session included 37 bills in the category of vaccine tracking and reporting that NVICAP analyzed, posted and monitored.
Eighteen bills tried to expand vaccine tracking in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Three of these bad bills passed. This is a big improvement from 2019 where nine bills expanding vaccine tracking passed.
Colorado passed SB 163 which, in addition to restricting vaccine exemptions, adds a hefty dose of increased vaccine tracking and electronic surveillance. Health care providers are required to submit all vaccines administered and also all vaccine exemption information to the state operated electronic vaccine tracking system, CIIS.
Now, there is no way for public and private school students and children attending daycare to not be tracked by the health department in Colorado. Indiana passed HB 1210, which expands the current vaccine tracking system in Indiana to include additional personal health information, including newborn screening and blood lead screening.
Nebraska passed LB 1183, which enacted government vaccine tracking through the Population Health Information Act. The bill was initially introduced to deal with prescription drug monitoring, but it was amended to include vaccine tracking in this new state electronic database.
There is no requirement for opt-in informed consent to participate in this registry and the bill provides for any health care entity to access this information. Alabama, New Jersey and West Virginia had four additional bills that would have required vaccine providers to report to the registry, but fortunately they did not pass.
All 50 states now have vaccine tracking systems13 for children and many states have expanded their systems to include adults. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has created a new term for vaccine tracking, surveillance, and enforcement registries so people don’t focus on and become concerned about how they are actually being used.
The CDC now calls them Immunization Information Systems (IIS),14 which makes them seem to be more passive and less threatening. In reality, IIS represent one of the largest threats to being free to refuse any vaccination, including upcoming vaccines for COVID-19.
Federal agencies are working with public health trade groups to link the registries all together15 to be able to create and access a complete personalized vaccine profile on every U.S. citizen. The Network for Public Health Law16 recently held two webinars about data sharing to support each “jurisdiction’s role in mass vaccination for COVID-19” using the Immunization (IZ) Gateway.17
The IZ Gateway is sponsored by the CDC Immunization Information Systems Support Branch and led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Chief Technology Officer.
Its purpose is to facilitate the sharing of everyone’s immunization status through multiple private and government entities in real time to create a virtual national immunization registry so that wherever you are, government and health care providers will know your vaccination status.
This presents a huge problem for people who don’t want to have their vaccination status tracked by government or anyone else. Many states have mandatory tracking where consent is unfortunately assumed and there is no way to get out.
This is sometimes initiated with the state sharing birth records to the immunization registry without a parent’s knowledge or consent for the purpose of initiating a registry file on every newborn. Some states automatically put everyone in the system but claim someone can either opt-out, or opt-out of data sharing.
This is problematic for two reasons. First, because of data interoperability, every system that has access to each state registry can pull an individual’s vaccination status, store it, and release it even further before someone may have a chance to opt-out. Even if someone opts-out, the data is already out there and can’t be taken back.
Second, opting-out of data sharing does nothing to protect your vaccination status from the health department who operates the registry itself. It only prevents other entities like insurance companies, health care providers or schools from accessing the information. This does little to reassure people who are concerned the information will be used to force vaccination.
Many people are more concerned about what public health officials will do with this information now and in the future as the vaccine records in most IIS can never be removed. The only way to guarantee your vaccination status won’t get tracked in existing vaccine tracking registries by your state and used to penalize you or enforce vaccination is for your state to legislate explicit opt-in consent for inclusion into the registry and for the release of data out of the registry.
Also, the option for complete personal vaccine data purging from the registry and all other health department files should be enacted for those who want their personal information removed from the registry after it has been included.
Texas and Montana are the only states that require opt-in informed consent.18 If you do not live in either of these states, laws need to be changed to prohibit any collection or sharing of your medical/vaccine records without your expressed written informed consent. With impending controversial COVID-19 mass vaccination programs, limiting personal health information that is collected and shared with IIS is critical.
Strong opposition to mandatory inclusion, assumed consent, and opt-out vaccine tracking systems is needed. Reaching a 100% vaccine compliance rate by all children and adults is the goal of these electronic vaccine tracking systems.
On the other side in a positive new trend, there were 14 bills requiring the reporting or recording of vaccine reactions. California, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington had 11 bills requiring that reports of vaccine reactions be sent to the legislature or the state.
Iowa, New Hampshire and Missouri took on the heart wrenching topic of infant deaths following vaccination and had three bills requiring vaccine information to be recorded on death certificates or to be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
While none of these bills passed, legislators were educated about the lack of public transparency about real vaccine reactions and deaths and these bills were a great first step at trying to change that.
Arizona and Pennsylvania had two bills that attempted to expand emergency powers by the state but they did not pass. In 2021, we can expect many more bills trying to expand emergency powers, as well as curtail abuses of emergency powers, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. These bills will need to be watched carefully.
Most states lack sufficient vaccine exemptions to protect citizens from forced vaccination in times of declared public health emergencies. Now would be a good time for people to review their state emergency powers laws to look for problems and talk to their legislators about filing bills before the 2021 legislative sessions to expand vaccine exemptions for all state residents during a declared public health emergency.
This is especially important for those who have concerns about potential mandates for COVID-19 or influenza vaccines.
One of the most successful areas where we worked with families in the states was in the area of bills that proposed to expand the authority to pharmacists and others to administer vaccines to children.
There were 22 bills filed in 14 states (Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin) to allow pharmacists and other types of medical professions to administer vaccines to young children.
Four of the 22 bills attempted to expand vaccine administrators to other professions outside of pharmacists. Ohio had a bill trying to allow podiatrists to give flu vaccines to anyone 7 years old and up, Oklahoma tried to get paramedics to give vaccines, and Wisconsin tried to give authority to dentists to administer vaccines.
Fortunately, none of these bills passed but it is easy to see how other professions want a piece of the almost $18 billion U.S. vaccine market in 2020,19 and how that could lead to more “gatekeepers” instituting policies that refuse services to the unvaccinated.
In terms of expanding a pharmacist’s ability to give vaccines, both New Hampshire and New York passed controversial futuristic bills allowing pharmacists to vaccinate for COVID-19 once a vaccine becomes available.
Other than the two COVID-19 expansions bills, the only other bill of this type that passed was in Florida, but the offending language allowing pharmacists to vaccinate children was completely removed from the bill thanks to strong opposition.
Unfortunately, the federal government stepped in and overrode the states on the issue of pharmacists being given the authority to vaccinate young children. State legislatures were completely circumvented by an action taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar.20
On August 24, 2020, the Federal Register published Mr. Azar’s amendments21 to the declared emergency for COVID-19 issued under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19.
Countermeasures include vaccines for ACIP-recommended vaccines and this amendment now allows pharmacists to administer every ACIP-recommended vaccine to all children 3 years old or older, regardless of what each state law limits. This is a significant abuse of federal power.
States have been deliberately cautious about limiting the types of vaccines and ages of children which pharmacists are allowed to vaccinate. The actions of Mr. Azar, who is a former CEO of the U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and a former pharmaceutical lobbyist,22 illustrate the problems created by the revolving door between the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies.
Pharmacists administering vaccines in the corner drug store or grocery store pharmacy to minor children and toddlers trivializes very real vaccine risks and the potential for serious reactions.
Pharmacists are not doctors and 20 hours of required training23 for pharmacists to be able to administer all childhood vaccines cannot substitute for the knowledge and practical experience that doctors and nurses have administering vaccines. Pharmacists are not as knowledgeable about diagnosing the difference between cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis and fainting and most pharmacies don’t have lifesaving defibrillators.
The limited training pharmacists get in vaccines will not be able to cover all the contraindications for the 57 different unique vaccines available24 now in the U.S. or the nearly 260 vaccines in development.25
Ensuring informed consent and accurate screening to consider family and individual medical histories will be challenging in the back of a pharmacy or a grocery store. Certain allergies, fevers, weakened immune systems, seizures, pregnancy, Guillan-Barre Syndrome and other reactions post vaccination are all reasons listed on the CDC’s Vaccine Information Statements indicating a possible reason to not vaccinate.
It is also a stretch to think pharmacists are going to report reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)26 or warn parents about the statute of limitations and instructions for filing a claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program,27 which has paid out over $4.4 billion28 to vaccine victims.
Administrative rules, while not law, carry the same effect as law. State legislatures delegate rule-making authority to the state agencies, boards of health, or health commissioners tasked with implementing state law, however, they are not supposed to change or add to what is in statute.
As more concerned citizens have made significant impact in stopping bad vaccine bills, some state health departments have turned to the rule process to add more mandates or restrict vaccine exemptions.
Additionally, there has been a trend in recent years for some state legislators who are influenced by the medical trade lobby to move the task of setting vaccine mandates or setting the criteria for vaccine exemptions completely out of the legislature and into the hands of state employees.
It is a widespread problem that many state agencies abuse their power and write rules that go beyond the scope of the state statute they are implementing. Many state’s administrative procedures acts do not give the average citizen sufficient opportunities to give feedback that will be sincerely considered.
Because state employees are not elected, state residents don’t have any recourse to remove them from their jobs as they are able to do with elected legislators who restrict or eliminate rights.
In the 2020 legislative session, NVIC Advocacy tracked and issued action alerts on proposed administrative rule changes in four states, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. NVIC Advocacy team members and like-minded groups worked together in these states to stop these four rule changes.
The Oklahoma rule change would have restricted vaccine exemptions by requiring the completion of a mandatory health department educational presentation in order to obtain a religious or personal belief exemption. Strong opposition to this attempted restriction to exemptions helped ensure that the rule was amended to remove this burden on exemptions in Oklahoma.
Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming proposed new vaccine mandates through rule. Local vaccine informed consent and health freedom groups came through in large numbers attending public comment sessions and submitting comments, engaging more families concerned about expanding vaccine schedules and communicating with legislators to ask them to oppose the rule changes as well.
This resulted in all of these proposed rule changes for new vaccine mandates being withdrawn. Proposed rule changes are typically published in state registers. It is important to watch the state health and education agency registers for proposed rules regarding vaccine requirements and exemptions.
Links to these state registers are available on the NVIC law pages. Sometimes contacting your legislators about proposed rules that force more vaccines or restrict vaccine exemptions can be helpful if the legislator contacts the agency and ask them to back off.
Legislators, especially those who sit on powerful appropriation committees setting state budgets, can have more of an influence than the average citizen. NVIC is opposed to unelected unaccountable state employees setting required vaccine schedules.
A good bill to file in states where the legislature has abdicated its power to control what vaccines are mandated on its citizens would be to repeal these laws and return control back to legislators who must face voters at the ballot box.
232 bills represent the most proposed vaccine-related bills NVIC has recorded in the history of the NVIC Advocacy Portal, surpassing the previous all-time high of 221 bills introduced in 2019. It is important to note that four states (Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas) meet biennially to consider new bills and do not hold a legislative session in even years.
It is remarkable that this record number of vaccine-related bills were proposed with these four states not participating in the 2020 legislative session. The number of states proposing bills in 2020 that affected NVIC’s mission remained similar to last year: 39 and the District of Columbia compared to 40 and the District of Columbia in 2019.
There were fewer bills that NVIC opposed in 2020 compared to last year (123 versus 137). There were more bills filed that NVIC supported in 2020 than in any other session. NVIC supported 99 bills this session, which is 22 more positive bills than the previous record-breaking number of 77 bills NVIC supported in 2019.
Enlightened legislators are not only listening to concerned constituents in greater numbers, many more are continuing or beginning to resist aggressive lobbying efforts by the vaccine industry, medical trade and other groups, whose positions and profits benefit from laws that force children and adults to use every vaccine sold by pharmaceutical companies and recommended by public health officials.
Only eight bad vaccine bills passed out of the 123 that NVIC opposed in the 2020 legislative session, which was 10 less than the 18 bad vaccine bills that passed last year. Individual citizen involvement in the legislative process, through personal communications and education of legislators, continues to make a significant impact year after year on the outcomes of vaccine related bills in state legislatures.
NVIC predicts that the continued attack on vaccine exemptions and bills to expand emergency powers and mandate fast tracked COVID-19 vaccines after they are licensed and recommended by the federal government will drive even more Americans in every state to get more involved in the legislative process at every level in the years to come.
NVIC expects that the vaccine industry and their medical trade association partners will step up lobbying efforts to restrict or remove vaccine exemptions in 2021 since so many of their bills failed in 2020.
Please become a registered user of the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal and check in often to learn about ways to personally educate your legislators when vaccine bills that affect your rights are moving in your state. Please encourage your family and all of your friends to do the same.
Clearly your efforts are making a much more significant difference than the mainstream media and those pushing “no exceptions” forced vaccination policies and laws are willing to admit, and your active participation is vital to protecting informed consent rights and vaccine choices in America. If you see inaccurate information in the media, please take the time to respond by making a constructive comment online.
You can also email the journalist or call the media outlet and provide accurate, well referenced Diseases and Vaccines information and accurate state vaccine law information, which you can find on our website NVIC.org. NVIC’s illustrated and fully referenced Guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law is another good vaccine education tool for legislators and friends and family, too.
The same holds true if you are censored online for providing accurate information about vaccination, infectious diseases and health. Contest it and educate those doing the censoring. The information seeds you plant today can make a difference tomorrow and into the future.
Yes, the challenges are great but so are the opportunities to educate and empower legislators and residents of every state to defend vaccine freedom of choice. NVIC is committed to continuing to make that happen and we look forward to working with you through the NVIC Advocacy Portal to help you protect vaccine informed consent rights in your state in 2021 and beyond.
While most mainstream media pundits and American health authorities remain mum about the influence of nutrition and lifestyle on the risks of COVID-19 and its prognosis, more than a dozen states in Mexico have decided to combat the pandemic by banning the sale of junk food to minors.
As reported by NPR, September 14, 2020:1
“First Oaxaca's state legislature passed a ban on selling or giving out high-calorie packaged foods and sugar-sweetened drinks to minors on Aug. 5. Less than two weeks later, Tabasco state approved a prohibition, too. Now at least a dozen other states are considering similar legislation.
‘I know it can sound a bit drastic but we had to take action now,’ says Magaly López, a lawmaker in Oaxaca's Congress who spearheaded the ban. More than 70,000 Mexicans have died from COVID-19, the world's fourth-highest recorded death toll, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.
Two-thirds of those who died in Mexico had an underlying medical condition such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular problems, according to Health Department officials. That has led to a new urgency to change diets so that the younger generation doesn't suffer those ailments.”
Adults are also urged to cut back their consumption of junk food to curtail their risk of COVID-19 and other health issues. This includes the consumption of soda, which assistant health secretary Hugo López-Gatell has referred to as "bottled poison."2,3
Legislators are still pondering how to enforce the ban, but according to NPR, punishment for sale of junk food to minors could potentially include fines or even jail time.
López-Gatell is reportedly considering making the ban a permanent law in order to protect the health and well-being of Mexican youth moving forward. This would be no easy task, he admits, considering the powerful commercial interests at play. Critics also point out that, in all likelihood, the ban will simply shift business from grocery stores to unregulated street vendors.
Interestingly, when NPR interviewed teenagers around Mexico City and Oaxaca state, they found most “knew about health problems related to junk food” and seemed receptive to the ban. One 16-year-old girl said, “I'd be frustrated at first if I couldn't buy a Coke, but I'd adapt. And maybe I'd think twice and buy fruit or something healthy instead."
As reported in “Junk Food Companies Responsible for COVID-19 Susceptibility,” underlying health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes have emerged as key factors in COVID-19 fatalities.
In one study,4,5 more than 99% of people who died from COVID-19-related complications had underlying medical conditions. Among those fatalities, 76.1% had high blood pressure, 35.5% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease.
Another study6 revealed that among 18- to 49-year-olds hospitalized due to COVID-19, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition, just ahead of hypertension. Processed foods, junk foods and soft drinks are key culprits in the development of these chronic diseases, and therefore have a key role to play in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
London-based cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra has been among those warning that poor diet can increase your risk of dying from COVID-19. He told BBC that ultraprocessed foods make up more than half the calories consumed by the British, and if you suffer from obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure — all of which are linked to poor diet — your risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases tenfold.7
Malhotra also noted8 that eating nutritious foods for even one month could help you lose weight, put Type 2 diabetes into remission and improve your health considerably, thereby improving your chance of survival should you contract COVID-19.
Dr. Robert Lustig, Emeritus Professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, has also been outspoken about the connection between diet and COVID-19 risks, stating:9
"I've heard COVID-19 referred to a beast, because it doesn't distinguish. In point of fact, it doesn't distinguish who it infects. But it does distinguish who it kills.
Other than the elderly, it's those who are Black, obese, and/or have pre-existing conditions. What distinguished these three demographics? Ultra-processed food. Because ultra-processed food sets you up for inflammation, which COVID-19 is happy to exploit ... Time to rethink your menu."
Importantly, even mild obesity can have significant implications for COVID-19. According to Italian researchers who analyzed10 data from 482 COVID-19 patients, “Obesity is a strong, independent risk factor for respiratory failure, admission to the ICU and death among COVID-19 patients,” and the extent of risk is dependent on your level of obesity. In a press release, lead author Dr. Matteo Rottoli stated:11
"Health care practitioners should be aware that people with any grade of obesity, not just the severely obese, are a population at risk. Extra caution should be used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients with obesity, as they are likely to experience a quick deterioration towards respiratory failure, and to require intensive care admission."
Specifically, patients with mild obesity had a 2.5 times greater risk of respiratory failure and a five times greater risk of being admitted to an ICU compared to nonobese patients. Those with a BMI of 35 and over were also 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19.12
Similarly, a July 2020 report13 by Public Health England described the results of two systematic reviews,14 one of which showed that excess weight worsened COVID-19 severity, and the other that obese patients were more likely to die from the disease compared to nonobese patients. Here too, the risk of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and death all progressively increased along with BMI. Compared to healthy weight patients, patients with a BMI above 25 kg/m2 were:
Yet another study15,16 published May 2, 2020, on the preprint server medRxiv found obesity doubles your risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19. According to the authors:17
“These findings suggest that modification of lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and could be a useful adjunct to other interventions, such as social distancing and shielding of high risk.”
In an editorial18 published in the BMJ, three researchers cited the role of the food industry in driving up rates of obesity and ultimately causing more COVID-19 deaths. According to the authors, “It is now clear that the food industry shares the blame not only for the obesity pandemic but also for the severity of COVID-19 disease and its devastating consequences.”
They not only called on the food industry to stop promoting unhealthy food and drinks immediately, but also called on governments to force reformulation of junk foods to better support health.
As noted by Bill Maher in the video above, obesity has always killed us, albeit slowly. “Mixed with COVID, it kills you fast,” he says. So far, Mexico appears to be the only nation that has taken the matter seriously enough to actually implement an all-out ban on junk food for children and teens.
Other noteworthy exceptions include the town of Huntington, New York, where town officials have urged residents to “go on a diet because [with] COVID-19, you’re twice as likely to have a poor outcome if you’re obese.”
The U.K. is also targeting obesity as part of the country’s coronavirus prevention strategy by restricting junk food ads.19 July 23, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he intends to ban TV junk food advertising before 9 p.m. and limit in-store promotions. Online ads for unhealthy foods may also be banned.20
Two additional studies are worthy of note. The first, published in the May 2020 issue of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences,21 points out that “Optimal nutrition and dietary nutrient intake impact the immune system, therefore the only sustainable way to survive in current context is to strengthen the immune system,” and that “A proper diet can ensure that the body is in proper state to defeat the virus.”
To optimize your chances of surviving COVID-19 and minimizing its symptoms, the authors provide both dietary guidelines and good food practices to minimize the risk of food contaminants. Included in the dietary guidelines are recommendations to:
Unfortunately, the guidelines include the recommendation to avoid healthy saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil, cheese, ghee and cream, and to use unsaturated fats only. While some unsaturated fat sources are perfectly healthy, such as avocados, fish and nuts, others really should be avoided.
Industrially processed seed oils are fats to be diligently avoided and this includes oils like soybean oil, canola oil and corn oil. The second study, published in the July 2020 issue of Brain, Behavior and Immunity, notes that:22
“The high rate of consumption of diets high in saturated fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates (collectively called Western diet, WD) worldwide, contribute to the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and could place these populations at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 pathology and mortality.
WD consumption activates the innate immune system and impairs adaptive immunity, leading to chronic inflammation and impaired host defense against viruses.
Furthermore, peripheral inflammation caused by COVID-19 may have long-term consequences in those that recover, leading to chronic medical conditions such as dementia and neurodegenerative disease, likely through neuroinflammatory mechanisms that can be compounded by an unhealthy diet.
Thus, now more than ever, wider access to healthy foods should be a top priority and individuals should be mindful of healthy eating habits to reduce susceptibility to and long-term complications from COVID-19.”
It really did not take long before it became apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic was illustrative of a far more widespread pandemic, namely that of insulin resistance.
All of the comorbidities that dramatically increase your COVID-19 risks (including your risk of symptomatic COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and complications resulting in death) are rooted in insulin resistance. Remove the insulin resistance, along with vitamin D deficiency, and very few people — except for very old and frail individuals — would be at significant risk from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
So, it really is high time to start looking at how we can improve our health in general, and avoid insulin resistance in particular. A healthy population simply isn’t going to be as vulnerable to infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Aside from the general dietary recommendations listed above (with the exception of the recommendation to replace saturated fats with soy, canola and corn oils), I recommend:
• Adopting a cyclical ketogenic diet, which involves radically limiting carbs (replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein) until you're close to or at your ideal weight.
This includes avoiding all ultraprocessed foods and also limiting added sugars to a maximum of 25 grams per day (15 grams a day if you're insulin resistant or diabetic). This will allow your body to start burning fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary fuel and increase the sensitivity of your insulin receptors.
Once you have regained your ideal body weight, then you can cycle carbs back in a few times a week. One of the best books written on this subject is my classic “Fat for Fuel.”
• Restricting your eating window to six to eight hours each day, making sure to eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime. This is known as time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting, and is a powerful intervention to reduce insulin resistance and restore metabolic flexibility.
Additionally, get regular exercise each week and increase physical movement throughout your waking hours, with the goal of sitting less than three hours a day. Making sure you’re getting sufficient sleep (typically eight hours for most adults) and tending to your emotional health are also important factors that can influence your weight, general health and immune function.
Over the past few months, several investigations have highlighted the apparent influence of vitamin D in COVID-19 incidence, severity and mortality. Interestingly, recent genetic analysis has produced a novel hypothesis1 that helps explain the unusual disease progression of COVID-19.
The hypothesis,2 published in the journal eLife in July 2020, specifically identifies bradykinin, a blood pressure regulating chemical controlled by your renin-angiotensin system (RAS), as a primary culprit.
As reviewed in greater depth in "Bradykinin Hypothesis Explains COVID-19 Complexities," the lethality of COVID-19 may be due to the virus' ability to induce a bradykinin storm. The effects of the virus on your RAS also adds further support to the recommendation to optimize your vitamin D.
In fact, the researchers who came up with the novel bradykinin hypothesis stress the usefulness of vitamin D, as it plays an important role in the RAS system3,4,5,6 and suppresses the biosynthesis of a compound called renin (REN), thereby preventing a deadly bradykinin storm.
Conversely, if you are vitamin D deficient, your renin expression is stimulated, and based on the latest data, that may render you more prone to bradykinin storm. Other studies have also emerged in recent weeks, showing that raising patients' vitamin D levels has a dramatic and beneficial effect on COVID-19 outcomes.
Among them is a pilot randomized clinical study7,8,9 published online August 29, 2020, which found hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Spain who were given supplemental calcifediol (a vitamin D3 analog also known as 25-hydroxycholecalciferol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D) in addition to standard of care — which included the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin — had significantly lower intensive care unit admissions.
Patients in the vitamin D arm received 532 micrograms of calcifediol on the day of admission (equivalent to 106,400 IUs of vitamin D10) followed by 266 mcg on Days 3 and 7 (equivalent to 53,200 IUs11). After that, they received 266 mcg once a week until discharge, ICU admission or death.
Of those receiving calcifediol, only 2% required ICU admission, compared to 50% of those who did not get calcifediol. None of those given vitamin D supplementation died, and all were discharged without complications.
In the video above, NBC News interviews Michael Osterholm, virologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, about the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19.
According to Osterholm, we likely have another 12 to 14 months of "a really hard road ahead of us." While Swedish statistics suggest the virus can and is dying off naturally, Osterholm believes cases will again rise as we move into fall and winter. Even if a vaccine does become available, it will take months to vaccinate the population, he notes.
Chief epidemiologist in charge of Sweden's coronavirus response, Anders Tegnell, has stated12 he does not believe Sweden will see a second wave with widespread contagion as the country is seeing a rapid decline in positive tests, indicating herd immunity is being achieved.13
That said, there are still open questions as to how long natural immunity might last.14 Some evidence points to months,15 while other data point to several years.16 Then there are the data suggesting herd immunity for COVID-19 occurs at much lower rates than normal.
As reported17 by Dr. James Hamblin in The Atlantic, infectious disease modeling by Gabriela Gomes, who specializes in nonlinear chaos dynamics, "selective depletion" of individuals susceptible to infection can rapidly reduce viral spread, and in the case of SARS-CoV-2, models suggest the threshold for herd immunity may occur below 20% of the population.
Yet other data18,19,20,21 suggest certain antibodies against other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, appear to provide some protection against SARS-CoV-2 as well, such that a majority of people may already have some level of immunity. So, there's a variety of "moving parts" that still need to be nailed down before we can come to any firm conclusions about future risks.
While Osterholm22 and other health officials are still focused on getting people onboard with vaccination, both against influenza and COVID-19, no one at the federal level has as of yet addressed the elephant in the room, which is vitamin D deficiency and its impact on these infections.
Importantly, influenza vaccination has been shown23,24 — by the Department of Defense, no less — to increase the risk of subsequent coronavirus infections by 36%. If we are to follow the science, as Osterholm says, then we should not be so quick to overlook such findings.
Then, of course, there's the issue of whether a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is achievable. I've discussed the reasons for why I believe COVID-19 vaccines will fail in several previous articles. Vitamin D optimization, in contrast, is already known to be both safe and effective against not only influenza but also COVID-1925,26,27 and other respiratory infections.28
According to a 2017 systematic review29,30,31 published in The BMJ, vitamin D supplementation protected against acute respiratory tract infection. The number needed to treat (NNT) was 33, meaning 33 people had to take the supplement in order to prevent a single case of infection. Among those with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, the NNT was 4.
Meanwhile, a systematic review32 by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that to prevent one case of influenza-like illness (defined33 by the World Health Organization as an acute respiratory infection), the NNT for inactivated vaccines was 40. To prevent a single case of confirmed influenza, the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) was 71.
In a November 1, 2020, commentary34 in the journal Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, JoAnn Manson and Shari Bassuk call for the elimination of vitamin D deficiency to effectively squelch the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that 23.3% of the total U.S. population have insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels, with people of color having disproportionately lower levels than non-Hispanic whites.
They list several types of studies showing vitamin D deficiency is "an important modifiable risk factor for COVID-19," including:35
• Laboratory studies that demonstrate how vitamin D helps regulate immune function and the RAS, and modulate inflammatory responses to infection.
• Ecologic studies showing populations with lower vitamin D levels or lower UVB radiation exposure have higher COVID-19 mortality,36,37,38 and the fact that people identified as being at greatest risk for COVID-19 hospitalization and death (people of color, the elderly, nursing home residents and those with comorbidities such as obesity, vascular conditions and chronic kidney disease) also have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
• Observational studies showing low vitamin D levels are associated with a greater risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and contracting acute respiratory infections.
According to a September 3, 2020, JAMA study,39,40 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were 1.77 times more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than those who tested negative for the virus — a statistically significant difference.
CTV News, which reported the JAMA results, also pointed out that:41 "The connection between vitamin D and other respiratory illnesses is well known.
According to the World Health Organization,42 vitamin D deficiency has been linked to pneumonia, tuberculosis and bronchiolitis," and that "research43 out of New Orleans found 100% of its sickest COVID-19 patients were deficient in vitamin D."
• Randomized clinical trials showing vitamin D inhibits respiratory tract infections, especially in those with lower vitamin D levels at baseline.
A 2020 GrassrootsHealth study published in the journal Nutrients44 describes how vitamin D can reduce the risk of both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 infection by lowering the viral replication rate and reducing the pro-inflammatory cytokines that damage the lungs, leading to pneumonia.
Vitamin D also helps increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines that may help protect your lungs. The researchers recommended those at risk for COVID-19 take:
"10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/L)."
Vitamin D may also help protect against COVID-19 by beneficially impacting many of the comorbidities associated with poor COVID-19 prognosis. In an August 2020 paper45 published in the NSF Journal, the authors review the "fatal relationship" between vitamin D deficiency in combination with comorbidities in COVID-19 patients, noting that:
" … low vitamin D status is common in Europe with the exception of the Scandinavian countries. The calculated COVID-19 mortality rate from 12 European countries shows a significant inverse correlation with the mean 25(OH)D plasma concentration.
This raises the question whether insufficient vitamin D supply has an influence on the course of COVID-19 disease? An analysis of the distribution of COVID-19 infections showed a correlation between geographical location (30–50° N+), mean temperature between 5–11 °C and low humidity.
In a retrospective cohort study (1,382 hospitalized patients) 326 died … The mortality of COVID-19 (cases/ million population) shows a clear dependence on latitude. Below latitude 35, mortality decreases markedly. Indeed, there are exceptions … however, the management of the pandemic may increase infection risk …
Older age and comorbidities are linked to an insufficient vitamin D supply. Over 60 years of age, a reduction in the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin becomes apparent, which further increases getting older …
Based on a meta-analysis including 30 studies with 53,000 COVID-19 patients, co-morbidities are risk factors for disease severity … Comorbidities and old age show a relationship with Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosteron-System (RAS), vitamin D status and COVID-19 infection."
This brings us back to where I started. While this NSF Journal study does not make reference to bradykinin storm being part of the disease progression and lethality of COVID-19, it does review how vitamin D impacts your RAS (which regulates bradykinin), and how your RAS in turn plays a role in the progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection:46
"Infection with SARS-CoV-2 causes the virus spike protein to come into contact with ACE2 on the cell surface and thus to be transported into the cell. This endocytosis causes upregulation of a metallopeptidase (ADAM17), which releases ACE2 from the membrane, resulting in a loss of the counter regulatory activity to RAS.
As a result, proinflammatory cytokines are released extensively into the circulation. This leads to a series of vascular changes, especially in the case of preexisting lesions, which can promote further progression of cardiovascular pathologies.
SARS-CoV-2 not only reduces the ACE2 expression, but also leads to further limitation of the ACE2/Ang 1–7/Mas axis via ADAM17 activation, which in turn promotes the absorption of the virus. This results in an increase in Ang II, which further upregulates ADAM 17.
Thus a vicious circle is established turning into a constantly self-generating and progressive process. This process may contribute not only to lung damage (Acute respiratory distress syndrome - ARDS), but also to heart injury and vessels damage, observed in COVID-19 patients …
Several studies have shown increased plasma renin activity, higher Ang II concentrations and higher RAS activity as a consequence of low vitamin D status. The same applies to the decreasing Renin activity with increasing vitamin D levels. There is an inverse relationship between circulating 25(OH)D and renin, which is explained by the fact that vitamin D is a negative regulator of renin expression …"
The NSF Journal paper goes on to review the connections found between the RAS, vitamin D levels and a list of comorbidities shown to worsen COVID-19 outcomes, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and ARDS. It also reviews how vitamin D levels, RAS function and cytokine storms are interconnected. The authors state, in conclusion:47
"There is ample evidence that various non-communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes, CVD, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often concomitant vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events.
Much more attention should be paid to the importance of vitamin D status for the development and course of the disease. Particularly in the methods used to control the pandemic (lockdown), the skin's natural vitamin D synthesis is reduced when people have few opportunities to be exposed to the sun.
The short half-lives of the vitamin therefore make an increasing vitamin D deficiency more likely. Specific dietary advice, moderate supplementation or fortified foods can help prevent this deficiency. In the event of hospitalization, the status should be urgently reviewed and, if possible, improved."
To summarize what the NSF and eLife journals tell us, when your vitamin D is low, your risk of COVID-19 complications and death increases because your renin expression is stimulated.
High renin increases both cytokines and bradykinin, placing you at risk for increased inflammation and oxidative stress resulting in both cytokine storm (as discussed in the NSF paper48) and bradykinin storm (as discussed in the eLife paper49).
Considering cytokine and/or bradykinin storms are key factors in COVID-19 mortality, it seems reasonable to conclude that anything that can help modulate and prevent these devastating storms would be of significant value. As of right now, the one thing we know can do that is vitamin D.
In addition to that, vitamin D lowers viral replication,50 boosts your overall immune function by modulating both innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces respiratory distress,51 improves overall lung function and helps produce surfactants in your lungs that aid in fluid clearance.52
Vitamin D also lowers your risk of comorbidities associated with poor COVID-19 prognosis, including obesity,53 Type 2 diabetes,54 high blood pressure55 and heart disease.56 In my view, there's every reason to believe vitamin D optimization will help lower your risk of COVID-19 complications and death, and no reason to dismiss this strategy.
My #StopCOVIDCold campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of vitamin D optimization to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
As temperatures and humidity levels drop — two factors that influence the viability of the virus in air and on surfaces — it's quite likely we'll see a reemergence. But a surge in positive tests, by itself, should not be cause for panic.
Remember, a vast majority of so-called "cases," meaning positive tests, remain asymptomatic. I believe raising vitamin D levels among the general public can go a long way toward increasing the number of people who have no symptoms or only mild illness.
Now is the time to check your vitamin D level and start taking action to raise it if you're below 40 ng/mL. An easy and cost-effective way of measuring your vitamin D level is to order GrassrootsHealth's vitamin D testing kit and learn more about vitamin D and its impact on your health.
From the beginning, researchers and scientists have been scrambling to find answers to a multitude of questions that affect patients with SARS-CoV-2. Scientists want to know how the virus infects human cells, how it is spread and what might be done to effectively treat a population that does not respond consistently.
In other words, there are some people who are either asymptomatic or have a mild illness and others who develop significant disease and die from the virus. Experts are asking what causes one person’s immune system to go out of control and not others’?
The body uses type 1 interferon in response to many viral infections.1 As scientists have gotten a clearer understanding of how the virus affects the human immune system early in the disease, they have begun to theorize that interferons may be able to counter the process and prevent the development of severe illness.2
Interferons are a family of proteins produced by the immune system. Human-type interferons have also been commercially produced using recombinant DNA for treatment against viral infections, some cancers and multiple sclerosis.3 The objective is to change the immune system’s response to bacteria, cancer and viruses.
Natural interferon regulates the action of genetic material that secretes cellular proteins affecting growth.4,5 The theory is that building a stronger immune system will result in directing a strong defense against the virus and alleviating the cytokine storm.
In the 1990s interferon was used to treat hepatitis C. However, the cure rate was 30% or less and the side effects were significant, including psychiatric issues, liver problems and depression that sometimes led to suicide.6 Other side effects included fever, muscle aches, headaches and other flu-like symptoms.7
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), calls interferon “the best soldiers, as it were, of the innate immune system."8
Several trials are currently underway to evaluate the effectiveness of interferon in patients with COVID-19. These trials are the result of studies demonstrating that individuals with the worst cases of coronavirus have the weakest interferon response.
One team conducted an immune analysis on 50 patients who presented in various stages of the disease. They found that those with severe and critical illness had an impaired interferon type 1 response.9 Another group from New York's Mount Sinai Hospital reported similar results in the journal Cell after studying the virus in infected cells in the lab, humans and ferrets.10 Their data showed low levels of interferon types 1 and 3 were associated with higher levels of chemokines.
One team used immune cells from the blood of individuals who had severe disease. Using mass cytometry, they assessed the immune response in patients with confirmed disease.11
As reported in the Washington Post, when the immune cells were challenged with bacteria and viruses the normal reaction of producing defense of molecules, including interferons, did not occur.12
British company Synairgen published In a July 2020 press release, British company Synairgen suggested results from a randomized clinical trial using inhaled interferons could be used to reduce the potential risk of developing severe disease.13 While these results are promising, it's important to note that the trial was limited and the results have not yet been peer-reviewed or published.
One month later, the NIAID announced they were sponsoring a clinical trial to test interferon in hospitalized patients.14 Scientists are currently recruiting for the trial and hope to evaluate data from 1,000 patients across 100 hospitals worldwide.
The patients in the study will be getting remdesivir, the antiviral approved by the FDA in spring 2020. Fauci commented on the combination:
“What you’re likely going to see, as more antivirals come along and then the monoclonal antibodies come along, will be a propensity to treating as early as you possibly can to prevent people from getting into the hospital.”
Researchers are seeking answers as to whether interferon will give added value to the antiviral agent remdesivir. However, not all scientists think there may be positive results. Marta Gaglia is a microbiologist at Tufts University. She spoke with a reporter from The Washington Post, saying, “In principle, you could think, why don’t we just give it to everybody who has a viral infection ever. But in reality, it has proven less effective than we would like.”15
The results from remdesivir studies have not been positive, either. For instance, in one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the endpoint measurements were changed throughout the study.16 At the conclusion the single primary outcome measure was the number of days to recovery.17 All other criteria were moved to secondary outcome measurements.
This trial was also funded by the NIAID, which Fauci directs. Although the release generated enthusiasm, there were significant issues with the design and consequently the data, which I discussed in “The New COVID-19 Medication Isn't Backed by Results.”
A second study published in The Lancet concluded the drug was “not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits.”18 As the head of NIAID, Fauci has a vested interest in the development of the antiviral drug remdesivir. As it was, when he declared the results of the NEJM study to be “highly significant,”19 it suggests he should have also declared a conflict of interest in the use of the drug in the U.S.
When he was asked about the results of the study, which was stopped because of serious adverse events related to the drug, Fauci disregarded the evidence as “not adequate.”20
Despite scientists' concerns over the veracity of the studies, the U.S. FDA issued an emergency use authorization for it May 1, 2020, which opened the door for compassionate use of the questionable drug.21
One reason interferon may have a more positive result in the treatment of COVID-19 than they had with SARS or MERS is the potential that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not completely responsible for the severe disease that affects a small percentage of the population.
In my interview with cellular and molecular biologist Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., she discusses the potential that the SARS-CoV-2 virus activates a retrovirus in the body. You can see the interview in my article, “Judy Mikovits Suggests Retroviruses Play a Role in COVID-19.”
The genetic code for a retrovirus is in ribonucleic acid (RNA), rather than in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The virus uses an enzyme, reverse transcriptase, to transform the single strand of RNA into a double strand of DNA.22 The enzyme is in the host cell where the virus replicates and then spreads throughout the body. As Mikovits describes, the key to health is to keep these viruses silent.23
She believes her data show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not the cause of COVID-19 but rather the catalyst to its expression, as it activates a dormant XMRV retrovirus found in some people. XMRV stands for “xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus.” Xenotrophic refers to viruses that only replicate in cells other than those of the host species.
So, XMRVs are viruses that infect human cells yet are not human viruses.24 In my interview with her, Mikovits describes how many of the current vaccines may be contaminated with this retrovirus.
As some vaccine viruses are grown in contaminated animal cell cultures, the retroviruses are then transferred to the genetic material of the vaccine virus. This may well explain the varying effect the virus has, creating severe disease in some and asymptomatic or mild illness in others.
In addition to hand-washing and maintaining overall health, there are further strategies to consider. These are approaches you can use to help reduce the risk you'll get sick or reduce the severity of the illness if you do get sick, without depending on prescribed medications.
As I've written before, optimizing your vitamin D level is probably the easiest, least expensive and most beneficial strategy you can use to minimize your risk of COVID-19 and other infections. Unfortunately, there's a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency across all age groups.25,26,27
The report I wrote on vitamin D and the prevention of COVID-19 is a resource to help you understand the importance of optimizing it for healthy immune function. Evidence continues to be published demonstrating that vitamin D levels are an independent indicator of the risk for infection and hospitalization.28
There are many health experts who are getting significantly positive results using hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc and azithromycin.29 However, you have access to a similar combination at home using quercetin and zinc. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory30 that also functions as a zinc ionophore.31
In other words, it helps zinc to enter the cells and stem the tide of viral replication. This works not only in lung tissue but also in endothelial cells, which affect symptoms outside the pulmonary system.32
Zinc deficiencies are commonly found in older adults and in those who are obese, have diabetes or atherosclerosis.33 Likely not by coincidence, these are some of the same populations who have a higher risk of severe disease.34
I recently interviewed Dr. David Brownstein, who has a clinic outside of Detroit. He has successfully treated more than 100 patients with COVID-19 using nebulized hydrogen peroxide. You can see the interview in “How Nebulized Peroxide Helps Against Respiratory Infections.”
I first wrote about using nebulized hydrogen peroxide in April 2020 and since then have received some impressive testimonials of its effectiveness from friends and acquaintances who got severely ill and used it. Brownstein was an early adopter of both vitamin D optimization and nebulized peroxide.
He's been using nebulized peroxide in the clinical setting for 25 years and with each revision of his protocol, his patients have appeared to fare better than those before them. For a couple of months, Brownstein posted some video interviews with his patients in which they told their story.
However, he removed them after receiving a warning letter from the Federal Trade Commission in which they stated that since there was no established prevention, treatment or cure for COVID-19, any mention thereof is in violation of FTC law.
As the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) prepares to host the three-day, three-night Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination that will be broadcast online October 16 through 18, 2020, the theme we have chosen is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century,” because at no time in modern history has it been more important for all of us to take a stand and do just that.
This year, the orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the emergence of a new coronavirus has been unprecedented, and has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people.1
By mid-September 2020, there were about 29 million cases of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) reported worldwide with about 925,000 associated deaths.
The United States, the third most populated country in the world at 330 million people, had recorded over 7 million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people, which is a higher death rate per million people than Sweden,2 where health officials have refused to order masking or lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity to the virus.3,4
According to the World Health Organization, the overall infection mortality rate for the new SARS coronavirus causing COVID-19 is about 0.6%,5 although some scientists say it is lower,6 while others estimate it can be as high as 1 to 2% in some parts of the world.7
Compared to Ebola with a 50% mortality rate8 or smallpox that killed 30%,9 or tuberculosis that still is a deadly disease killing 20% to 70%,10 or diphtheria at 5% to 10%,11 or the 1918 influenza pandemic with a 2.5% mortality rate,12 COVID-19 is near the bottom of the infectious diseases mortality scale with a less than 1% mortality rate in most countries.
Those at highest risk for complications and death include the elderly and those with one or more poor health conditions.13
The CDC recently reported that only 6% of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94% of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart, lung or kidney disease; high blood pressure; diabetes, or another underlying poor health condition.14 Most studies suggest it is rare for children to suffer complications and die from COVID-19.15
But seven months after the World Health Organization (WHO)16 declared a coronavirus pandemic,17 and public health officials persuaded lawmakers to turn the world upside down, a lot of people are asking questions and so are doctors who disagree with each other about the facts. Questions like:
Where did the new respiratory virus come from?
The most popular narratives about the mutated coronavirus is that it either jumped out of a bat or another animal in a Chinese wet food market18,19 or escaped out of a biohazard lab in 2019,20,21 but scientists continue to argue about which scenario is more likely.22 And this question:
If I wear a cloth facemask, does it really prevent me from getting infected with or transmitting COVID-19?
There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about whether it is a good idea for all healthy children and adults to wear cloth masks when they leave their home.23 In March 2020, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered the American public to stop buying and wearing masks because “they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus”24 and “actually can increase the spread of coronavirus," which was the position of the World Health Organization.25
But in April, the CDC walked back its “do not mask” order and urged all healthy Americans to voluntarily wear homemade cloth face coverings when entering public spaces.26
In June, the WHO was continuing to say that, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider … Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19.”27
But by June, a number of state Governors and local governments had mandated facemask wearing and an epidemic of mask shaming had begun,28,29 which led to public protests against masking mandates.30 In August, the CDC doubled down and expanded face masking directives to include all children over the age of 2,31 while the WHO warned that children under the age of 6 should not wear masks but children over age 12 should.32
So, confusion reigns. While some scientists are saying that if all healthy people are forced to wear face masks it will not stop the coronavirus pandemic and gives a dangerous and false illusion of safety,33 other scientists are demonizing the refusers, alleging that people refusing to mask up are “sociopathic” and have lower levels of empathy.34
About 30 U.S. states require masking for young children and adults who enter public spaces,35 and some states are leveling steep fines of up to $1,000 or threatening jail time for anyone who fails to comply.36
Washington state has made not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor crime37 and central Texas officials say they wish they could put people in prison for refusing to wear a mask.38 More than 50 countries in the world now require people to cover their faces when they leave home and some do fine and imprison people who go outside without wearing a mask.39
So, what about getting tested for COVID-19? The CDC says that people should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the infection. There is also an antibody test to identify whether or not you have been infected in the past.40 But lab tests are not always reliable and people are asking this logical question:
If I get a lab test, will it accurately identify if I am currently infected or have been infected with COVID-19 in the past?
Unfortunately, it’s not clear how accurate any of the tests are, especially the antibody test for past infection because the presence of antibodies may not be the only way to measure immunity.41 The best guess is that the range of reported false negative results for the nasal swab test is between 2% and 50%, and the reported false negative results for the antibody blood test is up to 30%, depending upon when during or after the infection testing is performed.42
In July, a state lab in Connecticut admitted that 90 out of 144 people tested during a 30-day period — most of them nursing home residents — were inaccurately informed they were infected because of faulty, false positive lab tests.43 In August, 77 football players in the National Football League were given false positive test results when, after retesting, all the tests came back negative.44 People are also wondering what happens after they get COVID-19, asking this question:
If I recover from COVID-19 will I only get temporary immunity or will I have long-term immunity against reinfection?
The CDC says it is unknown how long immunity lasts or whether you can get the new coronavirus infection twice.45 However, last spring researchers found that out of 68 uninfected persons, the blood from one third of them contained helper T-cells that recognized the mutated SARS coronavirus.
They concluded the presence of these defensive helper T cells gives evidence for some residual immunity that may have been produced after common cold infections caused by other types of coronaviruses. This, the scientists said, “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity.”46
Another important study was published in the medical literature in August providing evidence for robust memory T cell immune responses in people who had recovered from even mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, but had no detectable virus-specific antibodies.47
If people can have strong immune responses without symptoms and traditional antibody tests for proof of immunity don’t apply to COVID-19, public health officials may be underestimating the extent of population-level herd immunity that already exists in the U.S., where there have been more cases reported than anywhere else.
While doctors debate the science, it is becoming clearer that the response to the new coronavirus infection by government health officials has been a public relations disaster. The anxiety, fear and chaos created by regulations instituted by most governments after the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic this year has torn the fabric of societies and affected public opinion about public health laws and vaccination.48
Now the people are being told that there is one — and only one — simple solution to resolving the crisis and getting back to normal: that is, the only way we can take off our masks and touch, hug, kiss or come close to each other again49,50,51,52,53,54 is for every person living in every country to get injected with one of the liability-free COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to market.55,56,57,58,59
In April, WHO officials at the United Nations launched a global initiative “to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” proclaiming that “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”60 By May, they were warning that if every person in the world doesn’t get injected with a COVID-19 vaccination, the virus “may never go away.”61
The WHO,62 U.S. government63,64,65,66 and lawmakers in the European Union,67 along with wealthy and politically powerful nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like the Gates Foundation,68,69,70 GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance,71 and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)72 have given the pharmaceutical industry tens of billions of dollars to develop and fast-track experimental coronavirus vaccines to market and promote their universal use.73,74
At the same time, governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people.75,76 The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are NOT buying it.
Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40% and 70% of people living in the U.S. and Europe do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed.77,78,79,80,81,82 Populations in developed countries are resisting the siren call for “solidarity,” as doubt about COVID-19 vaccines is becoming more common in developing counties, too.83
The pushback by a wary public has taken government officials by surprise. Apparently, they were banking that the economic and social deprivation, fear and chaos surrounding lockdowns would produce a bull market for experimental mRNA and DNA COVID-19 vaccines using technology that never has been licensed for humans.84
It is widely acknowledged now that a solid two-thirds of Americans or more will “just say no” to getting injected with a vaccine containing lab altered parts of a new coronavirus that scientists admit they still don’t know much about,85 vaccines that preliminary clinical trials have revealed may well cause more than just a few minor reactions.86
A frustrated top U.S. health official has name-called Americans who refuse to go along with public health policies and laws, calling them “anti-science” and “anti-authority.”87,88 The truth is, people in this country and many others just don’t have confidence in the quality and quantity of the science or government health officials they are being told to trust.89
Angry that a growing number of people are reluctant to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine that is being rushed to market at “warp speed,” public health officials,90 billionaire Silicon Valley technocrats,91,92,93 doctors, attorneys and bioethics professors94,95,96,97,98 and politicians99 are beating the drum for swift enactment of “no exceptions” mandatory vaccination laws as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are licensed.100
Already, some cheerleaders at leading universities are banging that drum for approving and using experimental COVID-19 vaccines even before testing is done,101 and are calling for young, healthy people to be the first to get the vaccine because it is their “civic duty” to protect everyone else.102
They warn that “herd immunity may not be achieved if people refuse to take the coronavirus vaccine,”103,104 and say that, in order to keep society “safe,” laws must be passed to threaten and coerce you and your minor children to get vaccinated or face crippling social sanctions that will effectively take away your liberty and destroy your life.105
This summer, huge public demonstrations defending freedom in Berlin,106 London,107 Paris108 and Copenhagen saw tens of thousands of citizens gather to protest masking109 and other oppressive coronavirus lockdown policies, which have severely restricted normal physical contact between people, caused widespread unemployment,110 and harmed their physical, mental and emotional health.111
Like in Europe, people living in Canada,112 Australia113,114 and New Zealand115 also are resisting months of social distancing policies that have eliminated fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.
The U.S. has seen similar but smaller public demonstrations opposing forced masking, social distancing and lockdown laws and defending freedom in Virginia,116 Pennsylvania,117 Wisconsin,118 Michigan,119 California120 and other states, as record numbers of Americans struggle with unemployment,121,122 the destruction of small middle class businesses,123 mortgage defaults124 and bankruptcy filings;125 steep increases in anxiety and depression,126,127 drug and alcohol addiction,128 child and spousal abuse,129 and divorce.130
The punishing social sanctions being talked about if you refuse a COVID-19 vaccination are likely to be enforced using government-operated electronic tracking systems linked to digital “immunity passports” that require you to “prove” you are immune to the new SARS coronavirus before you are allowed to work in an office building or enter other public spaces.131,132,133,134
These social sanctions for failure to vaccinate may closely resemble the types of social interaction restrictions enforced in the U.S. and other countries over the past year.
In the U.S., most public health laws, including vaccine laws, are enacted by the states,135 while the federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and can mandate vaccines for people crossing national or state borders. Local city and county governments also can impose their own public health regulations.136 That is why some states and cities have seen very restrictive COVID-19 pandemic masking137 and lockdown regulations138 and others have been more open.139
So, whether or not you will be punished for refusing to get a COVID-19 shot next year primarily will be determined by your state’s governor and the representatives who have been elected to make laws in your state capitol.140
Depending upon where you live and the political philosophy of the majority of representatives in your state legislature, after the COVID-19 vaccine is licensed by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the CDC for use by all children and adults,141 if you refuse to get a COVID-19 shot, you could be blocked from:142
Being employed and going to work in an office
Getting an education
Obtaining a driver’s license or passport
Boarding a train or other public transportation
Attending a sports game or concert
Entering a store, restaurant, bar, coffee shop or nail salon
Booking an appointment with a doctor
And you could be prohibited from checking into a hospital for surgery, or visiting a family member in a nursing home, or blocked from obtaining private health insurance and Medicaid or Medicare.
In other words, if you refuse to get a coronavirus vaccination, you could be subjected to the kinds of punitive social sanctions I have been predicting and publicly warned about since 1997,143,144,145,146 sanctions that are already being applied to Americans who decline to get or give their children dozens of doses of CDC “recommended” liability-free vaccines147 and already are being denied an education, medical care and employment.148,149
Doctors and public health officials wondering why people don’t trust what they say about infectious diseases and vaccination, including coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, only have to look in the mirror to answer the question.
Since 1982, parents of vaccine injured children have been begging doctors to do the kind of science that will explain why so many highly-vaccinated children, who don’t get measles or chicken pox anymore, are "stuck on sick" and suffering with brain and autoimmune disorders that never go away.150 For four decades, we have been asking doctors and government health officials to stop sweeping casualties of inhumane one-size-fits all vaccine policies, under the rug.151
What we get from medical professors in universities receiving lots of money from the government and pharmaceutical companies, and from doctors developing vaccines, and from public health officials pushing “no exceptions” vaccination policies are threats, name-calling, bullying and punishment if we try to exercise informed consent to vaccination.152,153,154 There is no other word for it but abuse.
They order us to obey them but refuse to take responsibility for what happens when we obey the orders they give. They expect us to trust them and refuse to care about the victims of vaccination when the benefits do not outweigh the risks.
Instead, they act to protect the power and profit-making of their business partners: the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade associations, multinational media corporations and Silicon Valley billionaires, and leave vaccine victims to take care of themselves. What’s trust got to do with it?
Broken trust has everything to do with why the majority of people in the U.S. and Europe do not want to roll the dice and find out whether the odds of surviving a COVID-19 vaccination are in their favor.
It is during this extraordinary time of great challenge and opportunity that NVIC is sponsoring the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination. Our conference will create an expanded base of knowledge about vaccine science, policy, law and ethics brought to you by more than 40 distinguished speakers, who will empower you with information you need to become an effective vaccine freedom advocate.
Go to NVIC.org and register today for this historic conference celebrating freedom of thought, speech and conscience and gain permanent online access to this valuable video library of information. It’s your health, your family, your choice. And our mission continues: No forced vaccination, not in America.
The Health and Human Services' Operation Warp Speed pledges to deliver 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by 2021.1 However, developing a safe and effective vaccine normally takes years and begins with animal studies. Given the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine makers are rushing into human clinical tests and circumventing lengthy animal trials.
Such fast-tracked vaccines pose unknown risks to humans, which are magnified because governments are granting COVID-19 vaccine makers immunity from liability for all vaccine injuries and deaths that occur after the vaccines are recommended (or mandated) by public health officials.2
In August, AstraZeneca announced that most countries it expects to supply with COVID-19 vaccine will grant the pharmaceutical company liability protection when people are harmed by the new vaccine.
In the U.S., vaccine makers already have something of a "free pass" when it comes to vaccine injury liability and lawsuits through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 19863 and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, passed in 2005 (more on those later.)4
The main concern is that the combination of COVID-19 vaccines being fast-tracked to market at "warp speed" with minimal testing, together with blanket liability protection for Pharma for injuries their products cause, is a public health nightmare waiting to happen.
When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act became law in 1986, it gave vaccine manufacturers partial liability protection from lawsuits and did not protect doctors or other vaccine providers for vaccine injury malpractice claims.
The 1986 Act established a federal no-fault vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) as an administrative alternative to a lawsuit for injuries caused by vaccines recommended by the CDC for children.
Contested vaccine injury claims are adjudicated by U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., and there is a Trust Fund out of which claims are paid, sparing insurance companies representing vaccine makers and vaccine providers from costly payouts for vaccine injuries and deaths.5
According to Legal Talk Network, the purpose for the 1986 Act was to induce vaccine makers wary of costly vaccine injury lawsuits to stay in the vaccine manufacturing business and create and market vaccines with impunity and no fear of being sued.6
Unfortunately, the bottom line is that, today, if you receive an FDA-licensed and state-mandated vaccine that injures or kills you or your child, the vaccine maker and the health care practitioner who administered the vaccine are protected from being sued in civil court. But the story behind it goes far deeper.
Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, worked closely with Congress7 for years before the 1986 Act became law. In the historic federal legislation that was characterized by the pharmaceutical and medical care industries as badly needed "tort reform," the U.S. government acknowledged for the first time that:8
1. Federally licensed and recommended vaccines mandated by states for children to attend school can and do cause injury and death
2. Vaccine safety should be a priority for health agencies, vaccine manufacturers, doctors and other vaccine administrators
3. Individuals injured by government recommended and mandated childhood vaccines should have access to a federal vaccine injury compensation program administrative alternative to filing a vaccine injury lawsuit in civil court. Furthermore, they should have access to the civil court system in cases where:
• Federal compensation is denied or is inadequate
• There is evidence a pediatrician or other vaccine administrator negligently administered a vaccine
• A vaccine manufacturer engaged in criminal fraud or negligence
• A vaccine manufacturer could have made a vaccine less harmful (design defect)
According to NVIC, the safety and compensation provisions in the 1986 law have been chipped away to the point that the law has been fatally compromised. At the time the Act was passed:9
"Although vaccine product liability for manufacturers was restricted, it was not completely eliminated, and manufacturers continued to be liable for design defect.
In 1987, medical trade organizations successfully lobbied for inclusion of a one-sentence amendment in an Omnibus funding bill that broadened liability protection for pediatricians and other vaccine administrators, but did not broaden liability protection for vaccine manufacturers when there was evidence the company could have made a vaccine less harmful."10,11
The erosion of the law continued in 2011 when, in a split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court:
"… blocked the legal right of vaccine injured persons to hold drug companies liable for design defect and failing to improve an FDA licensed vaccine to make it less harmful.12 This means that, today, even if a drug company could have improved a government licensed and mandated vaccine to make it less reactive, a vaccine injured person cannot sue the company in a civil court in front of a jury of peers."
According to NVIC:13
"Neglect and lack of congressional oversight on the Act for more than 30 years has enabled DHHS and the Department of Justice to turn what was supposed to be a non-adversarial, expedited, less expensive, fairer and more predictable federal vaccine injury compensation program, which Congress promised parents in 1986, into a highly adversarial, lengthy, traumatic and unpredictable imitation of a lawsuit in front of a one-person jury."
With the threat of vaccine injury lawsuits removed, more pharmaceutical companies have entered the lucrative vaccine business. For the past three decades, the global vaccine industry has been busy creating hundreds of new experimental vaccines, pushing for some of them to be fast-tracked, even before the recent push for a COVID-19 vaccine.
It doesn't matter how sloppy their work is or whether there is a lack of safety testing because, with no liability, there is no reason for safety testing, Robert Kennedy Jr., founder and chairman of the board of directors of the Children's Health Defense, says in a video.14
Their biggest cost, "paying liability at the back end," is not there, Kennedy says. "There's no reason to make [vaccines] safe because nobody can sue [them] … there's no consequence of giving you a really dangerous vaccine … it's a goldmine. If you can get a vaccine on the CDC schedule, it's worth a billion dollars a year typically to your company."
Moreover, the public has no redress against potential harm from the vaccine companies. "You cannot sue them for redress," says Kennedy. "There's no discovery; there's no depositions; there's no medical malpractice; there's no class actions."
In 2005, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) was passed as part of Bioshield legislation addressing potential bioterrorism threats after 9/11. The PREP Act shields vaccine makers from lawsuits for injuries caused by vaccines created and used during a declared public health emergency (such as the COVID-19 pandemic).
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the PREP Act provides immunity from "claims of loss caused" by countermeasures or treatment of:15
"… diseases, threats and conditions determined by the Secretary to constitute a present, or credible risk of a future public health emergency to entities and individuals involved in the development, manufacture, testing, distribution, administration, and use of such countermeasures.
A PREP Act declaration is specifically for the purpose of providing immunity from liability, and is different from, and not dependent on, other emergency declarations."
Like the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2005, or Prep Act, facilitates the administration of potentially inadequately tested, risky vaccines and drugs by releasing drug manufacturers from all liability for covered "countermeasures."
Moreover, it gives the Secretary of HHS the power to detain, examine and quarantine indefinitely any individual thought to be infected with a communicable disease.
When the Act was passed in 2005, it paved the way for then HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius to impose quarantines and mandatory vaccinations if deemed necessary for the swine flu pandemic occurring at the time. Today, of course, the PREP Act allows those same scenarios as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marketing of a COVID-19 vaccine is developing rapidly, especially in the U.K., where the government has signed vaccine supply pacts with AstraZeneca and Oxford, Pfizer, BioNTech, Valneva, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.16 Yet, a recent article in Stat News asked "would vaccine manufacturers be willing to roll out vaccines on such a slight evidence base" without a liability shield? It's a good question that the article really didn't answer.17
Experts admit that "fast-tracking" to licensure an experimental vaccine like COVID-19 at "warp-speed" has never been done and is problematical for public safety. In an interview with Harvard Business School, Ken Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., said:18
"I think when people tell the public that there's going to be a vaccine by the end of 2020, they do a grave disservice to the public … first of all, it takes a lot of time. I think the record for the fastest vaccine ever brought to market was Merck in the mumps vaccine. It took about four years. Our most recent vaccine for Ebola took five and a half years …
And here we [don't] even understand the virus itself or how the virus affects the immune system. We're starting there. We're starting with a spike protein as the antigen … we're hoping … to create a vaccine that we can study quickly that can be both safe and effective and … durable … if you're going to use a vaccine in billions of people, you better know what that vaccine does."
Officials at AstraZeneca, the U.K.'s second-largest drug maker, acknowledge that the risks of a hastily-marketed and tested vaccine necessitate a shield from risk which they have sought.
"This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in … four years the vaccine is showing side effects," Ruud Dobber, a senior AstraZeneca member, told Reuters.19 "In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest," he said.
The history of vaccines against coronaviruses has not been encouraging — a paradoxical effect has been seen. Rather than fighting the infection, they can actually trigger what's known as paradoxical immune enhancement.
What this means is that, despite a robust antibody response when you're exposed to the actual virus, rather than protecting you, the vaccine actually enhances the virus' ability to make you sick or even kill you.
This paradoxical effect means that "the most hazardous hurdle for the inoculation is … challenging participants with wild COVID infection," says Kennedy.20 "Past attempts at developing COVID vaccines have always faltered at this stage as both humans and animals achieved robust antibody response, then sickened and died when exposed to the wild virus." He gives a chilling example:
"They tested it [a coronavirus vaccine] on about 35 children, and … the children developed a champion antibody response, robust, durable. It looked perfect, and then the children were exposed to the wild virus and they all became sick. Two of them died. They abandoned the vaccine. It was a big embarrassment to FDA and NIH."
Research published in the Journal of Translational Autoimmunity confirms that treatment with a vaccine may increase the risks associated with a wild type virus rather than protect against it. The researchers call the process pathogenic priming.21
"The problem, highlighted in two studies, became obvious following post-vaccination challenge with the SARS virus. [They] found that recombinant SARS spike-protein-based vaccines not only failed to provide protection from SARS-CoV infection [COVID-19], but also that the mice experienced increased immunopathology with eosinophilic infiltrates in their lungs.
Similarly [research] found that ferrets previously vaccinated against SARS-CoV also developed a strong inflammatory response in liver tissue (hepatitis). Both studies suspected a 'cellular immune response.'"
The pathogenic priming is consistent with other autoimmunity actions including the release of proinflammatory cytokines creating a storm, states the research. It has been seen in coronaviruses similar to COVID-19:22
"Similar to the SARS-CoV animal studies found that mice vaccinated against MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) develop[ed] exaggerated pulmonary immunopathology when challenged with the MERS virus following vaccination.
They reported that lung mononuclear infiltrates were observed in all groups after virus challenge, and that increased infiltrates that contained eosinophils and the eosinophil promoting IL-5 and IL-13 cytokines were observed only in the vaccinated animals."
Why would the recombinant vaccines create a greater risk for wild type viruses rather than protect against them? Because, according to the research, immunogenic peptides in viruses have "high local homologous matching"23 to human proteins, meaning they closely resemble each other allowing opportunistic invasion. The immunogenic peptides have:24
" … a large number of opportunities for expected disturbances in the immune system itself, targeting elements of MHC Class I and Class II antigen presentation, PD-1 signaling, cross-presentation of soluble exogenous antigens and the ER-Phagosome pathway."
The research concludes that such similarity between viruses and human proteins, called homology, likely explains the previous failure of SARS and MERS vaccines in the past and dooms a COVID-19 vaccine as well.
There is another risk with at least one of the new COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which uses a type of technology never before used in human vaccines, called mRNA.
According to Dr. Andrew Kaufman, a forensic psychiatrist who formerly served as clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University,25 RNA vaccines actually change the genetic makeup of our own cells in a form of gene therapy.26
While news outlets claim to have debunked27 Kaufman's evaluation, the fact remains that this is a type of vaccine that has never been licensed for use in humans before — so how do the debunkers know for certain that it doesn't change your DNA?
Conventional vaccines train your body to recognize and respond to the proteins of a particular virus by injecting a small amount of the actual viral protein into your body, thereby triggering an immune response and the development of antibodies. But, mRNA vaccines are designed to co-opt your body to force it to produce its own viral protein, which, theoretically your immune system should then attack.
As I said, the danger is that no previous vaccines have had your own cells produce the viral proteins responsible for producing immunity and no one can predict what will happen, especially for individuals genetically and epigenetically predisposed to developing autoimmune disorders.
What might go wrong when you turn your body into a viral protein factory making antibodies on a continual basis? Again, no one knows since no mRNA vaccines are on the market and their first users will be guinea pigs. But, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University.28
"Potential safety concerns that are likely to be evaluated in future preclinical and clinical studies include local and systemic inflammation, the biodistribution and persistence of expressed immunogen, stimulation of auto-reactive antibodies and potential toxic effects of any non-native nucleotides and delivery system components."
When looking at other research the scientists also worried about blood clots and edema, and some of these effects, such as systemic inflammation and blood clots, resemble severe symptoms of COVID-19 itself. Since the changes work at the genetic level, could this vaccine technology create long-term or even generational effects in the human genome?
To repeat, mRNA technology has never been approved for use in human vaccines that will function very differently from traditional vaccines. The mRNA technology is not like other viruses where a vaccine is inactivated or simply weakened. In a video Kaufman says:29
"They have to use a special technology. It is not like a regular vaccine where there's just a syringe with one needle and a liquid containing whatever is in the vaccine. This has three needles so the needle in the middle is the typical type that the material would flow through but the other two needles on either side are actually electrodes."
The electrodes generate an electric current inside of our cells called electroporation:
"… the electricity causes the cell membranes to create little holes called pores and then the genetic material can enter the cell through those pores whereas normally the cell membrane would be a barrier."
The bottom line is, Kaufman says, not only is the source of the genetic material found in the vaccine undetermined, but the brave new vaccines could be used for "all sorts of purposes that we may not know about."30
Extending protection from liability to vaccine-makers allows the irresponsible sale and marketing of vaccines that have been poorly tested and formulated because the manufacturers have "nothing to lose." If the mRNA vaccine technology found in many COVID-19 vaccines harms us and permanently alters our genes, unaccountable vaccine manufacturers will be totally off the hook.
1 SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to increase production of hyaluronic acid in the lungs. When combined with fluid buildup, which of the following occurs?
2 Profusa, backed by DARPA, is seeking FDA approval for which of the following?
3 According to CDC statistics released the last week of August 2020, what percentage of COVID-19-related deaths have SARS-CoV-2 infection listed as the sole contributing cause of death?
4 Gain-of-function or dual-use research was once known as:
5 Which of the following has been shown to increase expression of ACE2 receptors in bronchial epithelial cells, potentially increasing your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection?
6 Which of the following is a key component of totalitarian rule?
7 Which of the following U.S. states passed a bill in 2020 requiring a vaccine provider signature or completion of an online education module for religious or conscientious exemptions?
Although more people talk about zinc during cold and flu season, and it's one of the important supplements you can use to thwart a COVID-19 infection, it’s also an essential mineral found throughout your body. Zinc is the second-most abundant trace mineral found in the body, while iron is the first.1
Zinc is a cofactor in 3,000 proteins.2 Although it’s crucial to many biological processes and plays a vital role in the structure of nearly every cell, the body does not store the mineral.3 Instead, you must consume it every day to meet your body's requirements.
Zinc is important to your immune health as it not only helps halt the replication of viruses inside the cells,4 but also functions as a signaling molecule for the body's T-cells, which are white cells tasked with destroying infected cells.5 Zinc protects the hippocampus from inflammation that is triggered by emotional stress, and thus is considered an important factor in the treatment of depression.6
Zinc also plays a role in releasing thyroid hormone; low levels are associated with thinning hair.7 The mineral is important for wound healing and your sense of taste and smell.8 As with many other vitamins and minerals, the average daily recommended amount is based on avoiding a deficiency rather than maintaining optimal amounts to support good health.9
However, as Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D., points out, it is possible to get too much zinc, which can actually depress your immune system and negatively affect your health.10 Despite the numerous reasons you'll want to ensure your levels of zinc are adequate, the trace mineral has become important in the fight against COVID-19.
A team of doctors from New York University who were using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin in patients with COVID-19 began adding zinc sulfate. To determine the effectiveness to the protocol, they completed a retrospective observational study comparing outcomes between the two groups.11 The physicians declared no competing interests, and they received no funding for the study.
Data were collected on patients who were admitted to the hospital in the period of March 2, 2020, through April 5, 2020. People who were given experimental drugs were excluded. The doctors found that those who received zinc sulfate were discharged home more frequently and were less likely to need a ventilator.
Overall, members of this group had lower risk of mortality due to the virus and lower chances of needing hospice or the ICU. They concluded, “This study provides the first in vivo evidence that zinc sulfate in combination with hydroxychloroquine may play a role in therapeutic management for COVID-19.”
The results of these observations support the findings of other physicians throughout the world. For example, in one international poll of more than 6,200 doctors across 30 countries, 37% rated hydroxychloroquine as the “most effective therapy” for COVID-19 from a list of 15 options.12
The poll was done by Sermo, self-described as the world's largest health care data collection company and social platform for physicians. The drug combination was commonly used in Spain by 72% of doctors who chose to participate. Additionally, 75% of the respondents from Spain indicated that it was the most effective therapy.
Inside the U.S., the drug was more commonly used for high-risk, diagnosed patients, but in other countries it was prescribed for people exhibiting mild to severe symptoms.
French prize-winning microbiologist and infectious disease expert Didier Raoult is director of a research unit at Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire in France. As soon as someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, he uses the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat them. Raoult reports that this combination has led to the recovery and nondetection of SARS-CoV-2 in 91.7% of 1,061 patients within 10 days.13
One of the side effects of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin is the risk of cardiac toxicity. However, in his patients there was no toxicity when a dose of 200 mg was given three times a day for 10 days, with 500 mg of azithromycin on Day 1 followed by 250 mg daily for the next four days.
While some scientists working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation14 are not convinced of the efficacy of a drug — which has been approved and used in the U.S. for 65 years15,16 — the Swiss Policy Research group reports that U.S. doctors who are using the combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc have:17
“… an 84% decrease in hospitalization rates, a 50% decrease in mortality rates among already hospitalized patients (if treated early), and an improvement in the condition of patients within 8 to 12 hours. Italian doctors reported a decrease in deaths of 66%.
US physicians also reported a 45% reduction in mortality of hospitalized patients by adding zinc to HCQ/AZ. Another US study reported a rapid resolution of Covid symptoms, such as shortness of breath, based on early outpatient treatment with high-dose zinc.”
In a study published May 22, 2020, in The Lancet, researchers declared that HCQ used alone or with a macrolide was associated with a reduction in survival and an increase in ventricular arrhythmias. Soon after, the World Health Organization stopped their use of the drug in COVID-19 protocols and the leaders of several drug trials announced that the investigations were being terminated.18
The results of the study published in The Lancet were so alarming that it initiated a closer look by other scientists, 200 of whom published an open letter concerning the integrity of the data collection.19 They identified 10 points in the research that were suspect, including:
After it was revealed that the database used in the study was not available to independent peer reviewers, the article was retracted.20 However, by this time, others had joined the outcry against the low-cost medication with a known positive track record.
As more physicians spoke about the evidence from their own practice using hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc and azithromycin, state medical licensing boards and congressional representatives began issuing threats.21
Dr. Vladimir Zelenko is another physician who has been vocal about this, and who published22 the positive effects he's been getting using a protocol with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc sulfate.
Del Bigtree from The Highwire quotes Raoult from a previous interview as saying failure to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to a COVID-19 patient “should be grounds for malpractice.” During an interview with Bigtree July 3, 2020, Zelenko said,23 “People are not dying from COVID-19. They are dying from politics. It's called death by politics.”
In answer to the question of how history will look at the story of the pandemic in relationship to HCQ, Zelenko answered:
"In my personal opinion, anyone who got in the way of access to care, who got in the way of access to patients having medication, committed crimes against humanity and are guilty of mass murder."
During the interview Bigtree pointed out that the large doses of hydroxychloroquine being used in the Oxford Recovery Trial and the WHO Solidarity Trials were called “potentially fatal doses” by Dr. Meryl Nass.24 Nass added:
“Excessive, dangerous HCQ dosing continues to be used in WHO's Solidarity trials. These trials are not, in fact, testing the benefits of HCQ on Covid-19, but rather are testing whether patients survive toxic, non-therapeutic doses.
The high dose regimen being used in these trials has no medical justification. The trial design, with its limited collection of safety data, makes it difficult or impossible to identify toxic drug effects, compared to a standard drug trial. This is completely unethical. Excessive dosing makes it impossible to assess therapeutic benefit, if any, of HCQ.”
When asked if the 2400 mg of hydroxychloroquine used in the Recovery trial was lethal, Zelenko responded, “Not if you’re treating a very fat elephant.”25
Zelenko also shared that if people cannot get HCQ to move zinc into the cells, then quercetin is a second option.26 He is using it as “Plan B” for patients who have a contraindication for hydroxychloroquine or otherwise cannot take it.
In the Zelenko protocol, hydroxychloroquine functions as a zinc ionophore, moving zinc into the cells where it halts the replication of the virus. This allows him to prescribe lower doses since zinc is the key component of the treatment.
A study published in 2014 evaluated the efficacy of quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) as zinc ionophores.27 To prove their hypothesis these flavonoids were transporting zinc cations into the plasma membrane, researchers designed a lab study with hepatic carcinoma HEPA 1-6 mouse cells.
The goal was to confirm whether the polyphenols move zinc across the cell membrane using quercetin, ECGC or clioquinol. ECGC is a polyphenol commonly found in tea28 and clioquinol is a quinoline with antibacterial and antifungal properties used to treat skin infections.29
The results showed a rapid increase in detectable intracellular zinc in the presence of quercetin, EGCG or clioquinol. The researchers concluded that the natural flavonoids may be used to modulate zinc homeostasis and regulate biological pathways.
As Zelenko points out, the combination of zinc and a zinc ionophore can be used preventively to reduce the risk of acquiring a COVID-19 infection. Although zinc deficiency is common in the developing world, estimates are that 12% of the U.S. population and as many as 40% of the elderly are at risk for zinc deficiency.30 Unfortunately, zinc levels are not always tested. You may be deficient if you have these signs:31
In much the same way Zelenko uses hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a preventative against COVID-19, you have access to quercetin and zinc to perform the same function. However, as Masterjohn correctly points out, too much zinc can negatively affect your immune system as it can offset your zinc and copper balance.32
This lowers superoxide dismutase activity, which is an important antioxidant in immune function. If you are taking zinc prophylactically for COVID-19, he suggests restricting your daily intake to 150 mg per day or less except for short-term use when you're sick.
The U.S. Health and Human Services' Operation Warp Speed has pledged to deliver 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by 2021,1 if not sooner.2 However, developing a safe and effective vaccine normally takes years and begins with animal studies. The COVID-19 vaccines are all being rushed straight into human clinical tests, forgoing lengthy animal trials altogether.
Such fast-tracked vaccines pose unknown risks, which are further magnified since governments are granting COVID-19 vaccine makers immunity from liability for all vaccine injuries and deaths that occur after the vaccines are recommended (or mandated) by public health officials.3
At the end of July 2020, AstraZeneca announced4 most countries it expects to supply with COVID-19 vaccine will grant the pharmaceutical company complete liability protection if people are harmed.
In the U.S., vaccine makers already have something of a "free pass" when it comes to vaccine injury liability and lawsuits through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 19865 and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, passed in 2005.6
The main concern is that the combination of COVID-19 vaccines being fast-tracked to market at "warp speed" with minimal testing, together with blanket liability protection against vaccine injuries could be a public health nightmare in the making.
Early warning signs that something might be amiss have already started emerging. As detailed in “Gates Tries to Justify Side Effects of Fast-Tracked Vaccine,” results7 from Moderna’s Phase 1 human trial revealed 100% of volunteers in the high-dose group suffered systemic side effects. Side effects included fatigue, chills, headache and myalgia (muscle pain); 21% suffered “one or more severe events.”
According to Bill Gates, those side effects are largely due to the high dosages Moderna had to use in order to achieve desired antibody levels. But, if high dosages are required to create a robust-enough immune response, and higher dosages also cause systemic side effects in nearly all people, just how safe will this vaccination campaign be?
In July, it was reported8 that the 100-mcg dose vaccine — despite its 100% side effect ratio after the second dose — would proceed to Phase 3 trial assessment. In a May 26, 2020, article9 in STAT news, Ian Haydon, one of the Phase 1 study participants who suffered severe side effects requiring hospitalization, stated that while he recovered, the inoculation left him feeling “as sick as he’d ever felt.” As noted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:10
“Three of the 15 human guinea pigs in the high dose cohort (250 mcg) suffered a ‘serious adverse event’ within 43 days of receiving Moderna’s jab. Moderna … acknowledged that three volunteers developed Grade 3 systemic events defined by the FDA as ‘Preventing daily activity and requiring medical intervention.’
Moderna allowed only exceptionally healthy volunteers to participate in the study. A vaccine with those reaction rates could cause grave injuries in 1.5 billion humans if administered to ‘every person on earth.’ That is the threshold that Gates has established for ending the global lockdown.
Moderna did not explain why it reported positive antibody tests for only eight participants. These outcomes are particularly disappointing because the most hazardous hurdle for the inoculation is still ahead; challenging participants with wild COVID infection.
Past attempts at developing COVID vaccines have always faltered at this stage as both humans and animals achieved robust antibody response then sickened and died when exposed to the wild virus.”
Other signs of trouble include reports that Moderna has no legal rights to a key patent for its vaccine delivery system, and that company executives are now dumping their stocks. There are also questions emerging as to whether Moderna had some sort of foreknowledge that a coronavirus pandemic might be in the making.
In the video above, independent journalist Ben Swann reports Moderna filed a patent amendment in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 pandemic started, stating there was a need for this vaccine technology out of concern for “reemergence or deliberate release of the SARS coronavirus.”
The amendment was done to a patent application that had been repeatedly rejected since its initial filing in 2015. The March 2019 amendment stressed the importance of obtaining this patent due to concerns of a beta coronavirus pandemic. Of all the viruses in the world, why would they suspect a coronavirus pandemic?
In December 2019, the U.S. Patent Office issued a final rejection of Moderna’s patent application, yet when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, Moderna was among the first to state they had the ability to address the problem.
It wasn’t until May 2020, months after it had already entered into partnership with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop the vaccine, that Moderna was finally issued the patent for it. And, even then, a key patent for the technology already belonged to another company. The NIH also holds many patents on the core mRNA technology used by Moderna.
David E. Martin, Ph.D., a national intelligence analyst featured in Swann’s video report, points out that even though Moderna “very clearly did not have the legal right, and they did not have the contractual rights, they didn’t have the licensing rights” required to enter into a federal contract, they were still somehow pushed to the front of the line by the NIH and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“This is a situation in which the horse that was being bet on, Moderna, is actually not even qualified to run in the race,” Martin says.
Martin goes on to explain how both Moderna and the NIH are essentially engaged in patent infringement, as a core part of the technology — the lipid nanoparticle technology that is part of the vaccine delivery system — belongs to another company.
Moderna sought to invalidate the patent owned by Arbutus Biopharma, but lost the challenge at the end of July 2020.11,12 As a result, Arbutus might be able to make a royalty claim in the vaccine, and news of the failed patent challenge caused Moderna’s stock to drop by 9.5%.13
As reported by NPR14 September 4, 2020, executives at Moderna have also cashed in stock options, raking in tens of millions of dollars of personal profit in the process. Considering the patent problems now emerging and the lingering safety and efficacy questions, this move has raised significant concerns among financial experts:
“’On a scale of one to 10, one being less concerned and 10 being the most concerned,’ said Daniel Taylor, an associate professor of accounting at the Wharton School, ‘this is an 11.’ Taylor said Moderna's stock-selling practices appear well outside the norm, and raise questions about the company's internal controls to prevent insider trading.
Since January, CEO Stéphane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock held by himself or associated investment funds; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million …
Advocates have questioned whether it's appropriate for executives to privately profit before bringing the vaccine to market, especially when American taxpayers have committed roughly $2.5 billion to the company's vaccine development and manufacture.”
Importantly, NPR discovered that several of the executives appear to have made “questionable modifications to stock sale plans” shortly before key announcements were made about the vaccine — in some cases just a single day ahead of the announcements.
In order to be legal, prescheduled stock sale plans must be made at a time when no confidential inside information is available that may influence their sales decisions, so the timing of their modifications appears suspicious.
What’s more, as a general rule, corporate best practices call for leadership to maintain stock in the company to ensure they have sufficient incentive to improve company performance. Two Moderna executives, however, have sold all of their stock holdings, and its general counsel has sold “nearly all” of hers, NPR reports.15
Why would executives unload their stocks before the vaccine is even launched? Do they suspect or know something has, or is about to go awry? As of right now, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the company’s novel vaccine will actually work, let alone be safe. According to NPR:16
"Friday, March 13, three Moderna executives adopted new 10b5-1 plans, according to records reviewed by NPR: Zaks, Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer Juan Andres, and then-Chief Financial Officer Lorence H. Kim …
On Monday, March 16 — one business day later — the company announced that it had given a participant the first dose of their vaccine as part of its phase 1 trial. The stock ended that day up 24% compared to the previous day's close …
’Every company and individual is entitled to the presumption of innocence. That said, from the public's perspective, this trading behavior looks very problematic,’ said Taylor … who first pointed out the timing of these changes to NPR.
‘If I put on my SEC enforcement hat, I would certainly be asking, 'What caused you to change the plan on a Friday?'’ said Kurt Wolfe, who works as a defense attorney in securities cases for the firm Troutman Pepper. ‘I don't think it's a good fact pattern.’"
As I’ve discussed in several previous articles, COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have several hurdles to overcome, as coronavirus vaccine development has been notoriously challenging. In the 20 years that vaccine makers have tried to develop a coronavirus vaccine, efforts have failed due to dangerous, many times lethal, side effects.
Adding to the problem is that many of them are relying on novel mRNA technology that has never been used in vaccines before.17 Making matters even worse, the vaccines are not safety tested against inert placebo, as is the gold standard for drug safety research. Oxford University’s mRNA vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, for example, is being compared to a meningitis vaccine.18
As discussed in “Dangerous Placebos Used in Medical Trials,” using an active substance such as another vaccine destroys any hope of a valid safety study. This is just one way in which vaccine makers cheat in their safety studies to minimize the appearance of adverse effects.
In the case of a COVID-19 vaccine, establishing safety is of utmost importance, as previous coronavirus vaccines have caused paradoxical immune enhancement — a situation in which the vaccine actually makes you more susceptible to severe illness and death once you’re infected with the actual virus.
Kennedy explained this in my interview with him, featured in “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Explains Well-Known Hazards of Coronavirus Vaccines.” A short clip of that interview is included below.
Aside from the possibility of a paradoxical immune response, mRNA vaccines may in and of themselves be problematic. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University:19,20
“mRNA vaccines have potential safety issues, including local and systemic inflammation and stimulation of auto-reactive antibodies and autoimmunity, as well as development of edema (swelling) and blood clots.”
September 8, 2020, STAT News reported21 that AstraZeneca has temporarily halted its Phase 3 vaccine trials due to “a suspected serious and unexpected adverse reaction” in a British participant.
The company did not divulge the nature of the adverse reaction. The New York Times claims22 “a person familiar with the situation, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity” said the individual ”had been found to have transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and is often sparked by viral infections.”
AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, is conducting Phase 2/3 trials for their mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a chimpanzee adenovirus modified to carry and deliver coronavirus genes into human cells) in the U.K. and India, as well as Phase 3 trials in Brazil, South Africa and the U.S.23 According to STAT News:24
“The [AstraZeneca] spokesperson described the pause as ‘a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.’ The spokesperson also said that the company is ‘working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline.’”
Like the Moderna vaccine, the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine also appears to come with a shockingly high rate of side effects. Results25 from one of its Phase 1/2 studies published August 15, 2020, revealed a clear majority of participants experienced side effects. Results showed:26
“Fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported systemic reactions. Fatigue was reported in the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group by 340 (70%) participants without paracetamol and 40 (71%) with paracetamol …
Headaches were reported in the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group by 331 (68%) participants without paracetamol and 34 (61%) with paracetamol … Other systemic adverse reactions were common in the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group:
If you’re concerned about the possibility of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, be sure to attend the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) — an online event held October 16 through 18, 2020.
This year’s theme is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century.” The conference will bring together well-known speakers from around the world — including yours truly — who will present information on vaccine science, policy, law, ethics and civil liberties and will feature formal presentations, panel discussions and live chat rooms.
NVIC has held four previous hotel-based conferences in the Washington, D.C., area but, this time around, the conference will be held online due to the unpredictability of government regulations related to COVID-19, including travel and social distancing restrictions that may still be in play in October.
Also, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal. It’s a free service that will keep you informed and up-to-date about proposed vaccine-related legislation happening in your state that could further restrict or eliminate your legal right to make voluntary vaccine decisions for yourself and your children.
This week, we celebrate our 10th anniversary of Vaccine Awareness Week. In this video, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), summarizes the high and low points we’ve experienced over the past year, and shares the details about NVIC’s international public conference on vaccination.1
Due to fluctuating social distancing rules and COVID-19-related travel bans, for the first time, this three-day conference will be held entirely online, October 16 through 18, 2020. The theme of this conference will be “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century.” I invite you to attend by registering now. Since the conference is virtual, you now have the rare opportunity to attend no matter where you live.
“I was so excited to see how many credentialed scientists and physicians, state senators, authors, human rights activists — how many people agreed to participate,” Fisher says.
“We have more than 40 high-caliber speakers who are going to be presenting at this three-day conference. It also features two films ... We have kept the ticket price really low to try to allow families around the world to be able to see this conference … [It’s just] $80 for three days and three nights of knowledge.”
The conference is divided into four primary themes:
Following are the scheduled speakers and the topics of their presentations:
Chris Exley, Ph.D. — Aluminum Toxicity and Human Health
Jacob Puliyel, M.D. — Redefining Vaccine Reactions to Erase Evidence of Harm
Dennis Rancourt, Ph.D. — From Masking to Mortality Rates: COVID-19 and What the Science Tells Us
Vicky Pebsworth, Ph.D., R.N. — Novel Technologies Driving the Creation of COVID-19 Vaccines
Alan Kassel — Consensus Science Is Not Science Because Science Is Never Settled
Malcolm Kendrick, M.D.— Manipulating Science to Endorse Policy and Market Products
Meryl Nass, M.D. — From Anthrax to COVID-19: What You Need to Know About One Company Making a Coronavirus Vaccine
Sin Hang Lee, Ph.D. — Risks and Failures of HPV Vaccines for Cervical Cancer Prevention
Theresa Deisher, Ph.D. — Ethical Vaccines and The Use of Human Fetal Cells to Make Vaccines
Rodney Deitert, Ph.D. — Why the Microbiome Matters
Richard Deth, Ph.D. — Inflammation, Epigenetics, Autism and Lessons for COVID-19 Vaccines
Dawn Richardson — U.S. Vaccine Mandates in State Legislatures Since 2010
Ted Kuntz and Rocco Galati, J.D. — The Lobby to Remove Vaccine Choices in Canada
Kris Gaublomme, M.D. — The European Experience with Mandatory Vaccination
Michael Farris, J.D. — Why Homeschooling Is Under Attack and What You Can Do About It
Rabbi Michoel Green — Ethical Questions on Mandatory Vaccination: Respecting Life and Guarding Your Soul
Bishop Joseph Strickland — Rejecting the Culture of Death to Embrace the Sanctity of Life
Eric Metaxas — The Role of Freedom of Conscience for Martin Luther and the Protestant Religion
Stephanie Christner, D.O. — The Shrinking Medical Vaccine Exemption Handcuffing Doctors and Increasing Vaccine Risks
Alvin Moss, M.D. — Why and How Vaccine Mandates Violate the Ethical and Legal Right to Informed Consent
Larry Palevsky, M.D. — The Physician's Duty to First Do No Harm
Bob Sears, M.D. — When Public Policy Invalidates Professional Judgment: A Pediatrician's Experience
David Brownstein, M.D. — Since When Did It Become a Crime to Support the Immune System?
Eric Plasker, D.C. — Raising Healthy Families the 100-year Lifestyle Way
State Sen. Scott Jensen, M.D. — Censoring Freedom of Speech: If It Can Happen to Me, It Can Happen to Anyone
Ronnie Cummins — Grassroots Rising
Joseph Mercola, DO — How To Take Back Control of Your Health
Barbara Loe Fisher — Defending Life and Liberty in the Vaccine Culture War
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., J.D. — Pharmaceutical Companies Must Be Held Legally Accountable for Vaccine Injuries and Deaths
Odette Suter, D.V.M. — What Veterinary Science Tells Us About Pet Vaccines
Steven Rubin, Ph.D. — What Has Happened to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System?
Twila Brase, RN, PHN — Electronic Health Care Records Tracking You from Birth to Death
Marco Cáceres — Tyranny of the Experts: Who's Fact Checking the Fact Checkers?
Sherri Tenpenny, D.O. — Mandatory Vaccination: Adults are Next
Kevin Jenkins — Knowledge is Power
State Sen. Heidi Sampson — Under the Influence: The Vaccine Mandate Lobby Influencing State Legislatures
Andrew Wakefield — Past is Prologue: What the History of the 1986 Act Reveals
Sheila Ealey — When Mothers are Silenced, Children Suffer
Andrew Kaufman, M.D. — Psychological Warfare in the COVID-19 Era
Vera Sharav — Doctors Guilty of Medical Atrocities: From Auschwitz to Tuskegee, Willowbrook and Beyond
Del Bigtree — Walking the Highwire: You Never Walk Alone
Obviously, the biggest event over the past 12 months has been the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ultra-rapid development of a pandemic coronavirus vaccine which may or may not become mandatory around the world. Fisher has put together a special report on COVID-19, which she continues to update.
“Certainly, the polling is confirming — not just in the United States, but around the world — that people are losing faith in the vaccine system; they are losing faith in vaccine safety and effectiveness. A lot of it has to do with what has happened this year,” she says.
"This has been a public relations disaster, in my opinion, for the public health profession. They are the ones that have advised politicians around the world, lawmakers, to institute these draconian restrictions, the social distancing, isolation, deprivation — restrictions on people for an infection that at this point has a mortality [rate] of less than 1%.
It doesn't even compare to some of the infectious diseases that have plagued humans in the past, most notably Ebola, which has a 50% mortality rate, smallpox 30%, diphtheria 10% to 20%.
It's just so outsized [and[ out of balance what they've done, and caused a lot of protests all around the world, and a lack of trust in the system. So, it's their own fault for making people more skeptical.”
Through it all, the NVIC has continued to monitor legislation in the U.S. Many state legislatures have been working remotely, not allowing people to come into the state capital buildings. As a result, many more Americans are now using the free online NVIC advocacy portal to email and to call their legislators — which is what it’s there for.
“We also have been encouraging people to meet one on one with their legislators, which is the most effective way that you can talk with people and convince them that they need to take a look at these vaccine laws that don't allow exemptions,” Fisher notes.
"What I learned when I worked on Capitol Hill was the people who really run the place are the legislative aides. They're the ones [who] really create the legislation. They're the ones [who] recommend to the member what they should do. I think a lot of people don't realize the power that people have who work for congressmen and senators at the federal and state level.
So, if you're not able to meet with your actual member, don't be upset. You need to meet with the people who are advising him or her and make sure that you are clear about where you stand, and, of course, a legislator wants to get reelected. So, you have to make your voice heard.”
So far, this year, and we’re only in September, NVIC has issued positions and tracked 232 vaccine related bills in 39 states. That's the highest number of vaccine-related bills ever to have been introduced in state legislatures in one year. There were 13 bills in 10 States that sought to eliminate vaccine exemptions. None passed.
Of 10 bills filed across eight states to restrict vaccine exemptions, only one passed (Colorado) requiring a vaccine provider signature or completion of an online education module for religious or conscientious exemptions.
In total, there were 99 bills that NVIC supported — bills expanding vaccine exemptions, the right to make vaccine choices, and offering protection against vaccine tracking systems and a few of these good bills did pass. Of the 123 vaccine bills NVIC opposed, only eight bad vaccine bills passed.
“That's a remarkable statistic,” Fisher says. “It is absolutely a tribute to the people who are using the NVIC advocacy portal. They are taking the guidelines and the analyses that we publish, they're looking at the information, they're getting their facts straight, and they're contacting their legislators. This is true grassroots advocacy …
In 2015, there were only 19 bills that NVIC supported. So, in five years, we've gone from 19 bills that were good in 2015 to 99 good bills in 2020. That also shows you the power of really encouraging people to stand up for their rights and to communicate with their legislators …
There was a very bad vaccine bill [that] passed in Virginia, one of the worst that has ever been passed. That is a bill that would codify into law the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendations without public hearings, without input really to the legislators, without a vote by the legislator.
Whenever the ACIP makes a recommendation that children should use a certain vaccine, in Virginia it will automatically be put onto the state mandated list [of vaccines] for children to attend school.
The Board of Health will do a review, but the Board of Health is politically appointed. So, basically, what Virginia did is they cut the people out of the process. No longer will there be a vote. So, all the advocacy work that we're encouraging, that's how they're going to try to cut it off.
I predict they're going to try to go state by state with this legislation they passed in Virginia and make every state that way, cutting the people out of the legislative process, which is a direct threat to democracy.”
Fisher is convinced any COVID-19 vaccine, which makes it through licensing approval by the FDA and is eventually recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, will eventually be mandated by state governments for all children. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic is unquestionably one of the greatest threats to freedom and liberty we’ve ever faced in modern history.
“The way that they will do that is [through] social sanctions. They will try to get businesses to make it a requirement that you have to have a COVID-19 vaccine in order to work in an office. They will make it mandatory for anyone entering a public space. That's what their goal is. Whether they achieve that or not is up to us. It's up to the people ...
What they have done is unprecedented. This has never occurred in the history of the world and what is so remarkable is that, when you take a step back and look at it, you see that it is highly orchestrated.
How in the world did all the governments, including the U.S. government, decide to shut down their societies — causing widespread, catastrophic, global economic ruin, unemployment at unprecedented levels, small businesses being destroyed?
They [small businesses] will never come back, or it's going to take a long time to come back. Mental health issues and suicides are up, anxiety and depression rates are up, child abuse and spousal abuse rates are up. Hotlines are not able to manage all of the callers because people are in a state of shock and they're suffering — for what?
Yes, you can die and you can be injured by this COVID-19 infection, just like any other infectious disease. But the fear and anxiety that has been created, the pathological fear of being near anybody, ‘Don't touch anybody. Don't be near anybody.’ You would think it was Ebola and people were literally bleeding out in the streets.
This is like influenza or other respiratory infections. But look at Sweden’s per million death rate. They did not lock down. Their chief epidemiologist said, ‘We need to allow controlled herd immunity to take effect. This is an infection. It's going to go through the population. You cannot stop it. You have to manage it, but let's get herd immunity.’2
They [in Sweden] have a lower per million death rate than the United States where we tried to lock everything down. So, the science is not all in and, yet, they're rushing to bring these vaccines out using messenger RNA and DNA technology that has never been licensed for humans. There are all these calls to mandate, to make sure that every man, woman, child takes this vaccine.
This is a coronavirus, it's in the family of coronaviruses that cause the common cold. There are studies showing that it looks as if you can have a mild case of COVID-19 and still get T-cell memory helper cells that are resisting the COVID-19 infection … They also know that you can have a mild case, and it looks as if you can get immunity without even having high antibody levels.3 To me, this is a game changer.
They are having clinical trials and the standard, the measurement they're using to measure proof of immunity, is antibody titers, when the truth is — for this virus — you can have T-cell immunity and no antibodies, but still be immune!4
The other issue is, we could have herd immunity already in the U.S. A lot of asymptomatic people won't be counted as being COVID-19, so you could have herd immunity in this country already, or getting close to it, but they simply aren't measuring for it.”
There’s no shortage of historical precedents when it comes to devastating pandemic vaccine campaigns. Aside from the 2009 pandemic swine flu vaccine campaign, which led to thousands of children and teens developing narcolepsy5 in Europe6 caused by the Pandemrix vaccine, there’s also the 1976 swine flu fiasco, detailed in this 1979 “60 Minutes” episode.
Fearing a repeat of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, all Americans were told to get vaccinated. According to “60 Minutes,” 46 million Americans were vaccinated against the swine flu at that time. Over the next few years, thousands of Americans filed vaccine damage claims with the federal government,7 severely marring the public’s perception of flu shots.8
According to a 1981 report9 by the U.S. General Accounting Office, as of October 2, 1980, 3,965 claims and 1,384 lawsuits had been filed. Of the 3,965 claims filed, 316 claims were settled for $12.3 million. Considering the COVID-19 vaccine is using novel RNA and DNA technology, it seems foolish not to assume there will be significant adverse consequences.
“We don't know what's going to happen when you give a vaccine to someone who has already recovered from COVID-19. We don't know how the immune system is going to react to rechallenge. We don't know what's going to happen to people who have underlying medical conditions, people who have severe allergies, autoimmune disease. Everybody's different,” Fisher says.
"This one size fits all approach has always been dangerous. And the ignoring of vaccine reactions, writing them off as coincidences, this has become a pattern in vaccine clinical trials. Whenever a serious event happens, or a death event happens, the investigators write it off as not associated.
What's that about? It's not being truthful. They don't know if it's related or not. But who makes that decision and why are they making those decisions? That skews the way the vaccine safety profile is being presented to the public.
You really have to look at the data. You have to look at the studies and understand the methodology they used, before coming to a conclusion about whether they've proved to safety and effectiveness. That's what we try to do at NVIC, and put it out in lay terms so that people understand it.”
As in previous years, during Vaccine Awareness Week, we will match donations made to the NVIC dollar for dollar, so it’s a great time to leverage your charity. You can make a tax-deductible donation here.
This year, the best bang for your buck is to purchase a ticket to the NVIC’s international public conference on vaccination.10 Any profits generated from the event go to support NVIC’s work through public education to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths and to protect vaccine choices and civil liberties, including freedom of thought, speech and conscience.
For just $80, you get access to 40 speakers — that’s just $2 per lecture — plus viewings of two full-length films!
You also can offer your personal support for this historic event by becoming an NVIC conference sponsor with a one-time donation of $250 or more, which gives you two tickets plus your family or organization name recognition. It also grants you permanent access to the conference speaker presentations online. The NVIC would not have been able to keep the general admission ticket price affordable had it not been for the generous support of conference sponsors.
Dr. Mercola Interviews the Experts
This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.
Travis Christofferson has written three books on metabolic health optimization. His third and latest one is “Ketones, The Fourth Fuel: Warburg to Krebs to Veech, the 250 Year Journey to Find the Fountain of Youth.”
Interestingly, optimizing your metabolic health appears to be an effective way to mitigate the severity of a COVID-19 infection. The reason for this is because when you're metabolically flexible, you're not insulin resistant, and insulin resistance and diabetes are significant risk factors.
The ketogenic diet was a standard of care in the 1920s for pediatric epilepsy, but once antiseizure drugs came out in the '30s, it was shelved and eventually forgotten. Fasting encountered the same fate. As noted by Christofferson, therapeutic fasting was huge in the '60s, yet the benefits of this strategy eventually fell by the wayside of medical history as the low-fat movement took hold.
“[Nutritional ketosis] made this remarkable resurgence by the year 2000, and people began to recognize that ketones were essentially a fourth fuel, and had these incredible therapeutic side effects,” Christofferson says.
Today, as we face epidemic levels of insulin resistance and its associated health effects, including diabetes, heart disease and increased vulnerability to viral infections, nutritional ketosis could not be more pertinent.
The four fuels are carbohydrates, fats, proteins and ketones. Carbs and fats are the two primary ones. Proteins are primarily used as building blocks, but they can also be broken down and be burned as fuel. They just cannot be stored for anything other than emergency starvation fuel.
Protein can also be converted back into glucose through gluconeogenic pathways. When you fast, protein can be used as an alternative fuel, but the ideal fuel is ketones. Christofferson explains the metabolic difference between carbohydrates, fats and ketones as follows:
“For some reason, life chose glucose as a primary fuel. Carbohydrates all enter the same sort of glycolytic pathway and get burned or processed through 10 enzymatic steps into Acetyl-CoA, which enters the Krebs cycle. It then spins off substrates that feed into the electron transport chain to generate energy.
How we burn fat is very dependent on insulin. So, when you're eating a lot of carbohydrates, when you're releasing insulin throughout the day, you're essentially shutting down fat processing and turning on the lipogenesis, which is fat building, and it all centers on insulin.
So, when insulin is high, it shuts down the process of fat burning, which is beta-oxidation. When insulin is low during a state of fasting or a ketogenic diet, it turns on beta-oxidation. So, fats will come in and get processed. What makes fats unique, and this doesn't get talked about a lot, is that they're extraordinarily energetic. There's tons of energy imbued in that fuel source.
So, the body really has to come up with a way to process it without blowing up the mitochondria. The way it does this is, some of the fat is processed through Complex II of the electron transport chain, which tones down or dampens the energy within fat so it can be processed without exploding the mitochondria.
Then the Acetyl-CoA enters the Krebs cycle and just goes through normal metabolism. The important point is that fat burning gets turned off by too much carbohydrate. When you enter this state of ketosis, fat burning gets turned on, and when beta-oxidation occurs, when we're burning fats, it is tethered to the process of generating ketones.
So, low insulin tells adipose cells (fat cells) to release triglycerides, stored body fat, that enters the circulation that goes into the cells, and then beta-oxidation begins. Within the liver — this is the central part of ketosis — liver hepatocytes are the manufacturing line for ketone bodies.
As beta-oxidation is ramped up, oxaloacetate, the last metabolite of the Krebs cycle, is being pulled out to generate glucose, because the body has to maintain a baseline level of glucose. The Acetyl-CoA cannot combine with the last substrate of the Krebs cycle, so it builds up in hepatocytes.
And then there's an enzyme waiting for this massive buildup of Acetyl-CoA. This enzyme begins to transfer that into acetoacetate, which then gets converted to beta-hydroxybutyrate, which now enters the bloodstream as a fourth fuel, a preferred fuel, and an extraordinarily efficient fuel. So, that's the metabolic difference between these three fuel sources.”
The problem is that with today's standard American diet, most people never reach this state of fat burning and ketosis. They’re constantly feeding their bodies carbohydrates, and in this high-insulin state, they simply cannot burn fat. Over time, it wears out your metabolic machinery, resulting in insulin resistance and weight gain.
As explained by Christofferson, glucose is a very rigid planar molecule, and when in your blood, it damages your epithelial cells, nerves and just about everything else. For this reason, your body has to get rid of it quickly. The insulin tells your cells to take up the glucose to lower the glucose level in your blood.
It then tells the cells to process it by turning on the last step of glycolysis, the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, so that the glucose can be processed. When those two “machineries” wear out, you develop insulin resistance. What this means is your cells no longer respond well to insulin, and as a consequence your blood glucose remains elevated.
You’re also burning less fuel, which diminishes all metabolic processes. This is in context to a state of insulin resistance: Less glucose is able to enter the Krebs cycle and ATP production slows. For example, the efficiency by which your body makes antioxidants and neurotransmitters decreases. The beautiful thing about ketone metabolism is it completely bypasses all this pathology. It doesn't depend on insulin pathways.
So, when you're generating ketones and your blood ketone levels go up, the ketone enters the cell through a model carboxylic acid transport protein. Even without a rise in insulin, the cells are efficiently fueled.
Ketones also do not need pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Instead, ketones go directly into the Krebs cycle. So, all of a sudden, diminished metabolic pathways spring back to life and you’re able to generate energy, antioxidants and all the rest. Your brain also gets the fuel it needs for optimal function.
Ketones have a number of specific benefits. For starters, they’re thermodynamically and metabolically efficient, meaning they burn cleaner than glucose, thus creating far less free radical damage and inflammation in your body. Christofferson explains:
“Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a metabolically superior fuel. It's thermodynamically imbued with more energy per two carbon unit than glucose. So that sets the stage. When you burn it, it widens this gap in the electron transport chain between Complex I and the Coenzyme Q couple.
The electron transport chain, what it does is, when you burn fuel, the electrons are stripped through, and they go through a series of complexes in the electron transport chain. When it does this, it injects a proton into the inner mitochondrial membrane space. That gradient of protons then generates ATP.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate widens this gap … There's more energy … to capture. One thing that does is, it supercharges our metabolism.
When Veech and Krebs were studying these four metabolic hubs, these coenzyme couples, where ATP is one of them, that drive all metabolism, they realized that if there was a way to increase the energetic potential of all these nucleotide coenzymes, it could therapeutically have immense benefit for metabolism.
They just didn't know a way to do this. When Veech merged with Cahill and began studying this, they realized that beta-hydroxy did exactly this. It was metabolically imbued with the ability to increase the amount of energy in ATP, NADP, NADPH and Acetyl-CoA.
Then you look at what that does … for example, the manufacturing of internal antioxidants … is dependent on the charge of NADPH. Under ketosis, that charge is dramatically increased. So, we're able to process free radicals much, much better.”
The concept of NADPH is profoundly important and not widely appreciated. It’s probably every bit as important as NAD+, especially with respect to recharging endogenous intracellular antioxidants. As explained by Christofferson, the only thing that determines the antioxidant status of a cell is the redox ratio of NADPH, and the only known way to change that redox ratio is through burning beta-hydroxybutyrate.
There’s a pervasive belief that you can diminish free radicals simply by consuming antioxidants, but that has never actually been proven. As noted by Christofferson:
“Krebs wrote Linus Pauling about this, saying, ‘You don't understand what you're talking about with regard to Vitamin C.’ The example I try to give in the book about this is, all these antioxidants … have to be recycled by NADPH. So, the NADPH ratio alone is dictating the way all these antioxidants work.
If you eat antioxidants, it's just like having a full grocery store. There are 10 cash registers, and there's 10 checkers. The rate limiting step in how fast people get checked out is the 10 cash registers. If you add 20 cashiers, it doesn't help. Those 10 cash registers are the thing that determine how many people in the grocery store get checked out.
It's the same thing with antioxidants. You can eat antioxidants and add to the pool of intracellular antioxidants, but they're not being recycled any faster. So that’s a huge misconception about how antioxidants work. When you shift to ketosis, there's profound therapeutic consequences with regard to antioxidants production.”
Christofferson cites research showing that when you give mice ketone esters after dosing them with radiation, the chromosomal damage incurred is reduced by 50%, compared to mice fed a normal carbohydrate diet. He believes taking ketone esters is therefore advisable when getting X-rays or when flying, for example. Ketone esters may also help counteract the normal ravages of aging.
“One of the theories that's stood the test of time is the Harmon free radical theory of aging, which is that we really do produce a lot of, just endogenous free radicals, just by normal metabolism. And that has always been considered the proximal cause of aging, because it's the main damaging event within the cell,” he says.
“One of the ways to mitigate this constant endogenous free radical production is through ketosis, keto metabolism, beta-hydroxybutyrate. It slows the production of free radicals …
Beta-hydroxybutyrate metabolism in ketosis will also dramatically increase the levels of NAD in our bodies … So, exogenous NAD precursors, ketogenic diets, fasting or ketone supplements are ways to really slow this pernicious process of epigenetic aging.”
Beta-hydroxybutyrate also activates FOXO3a, which is perhaps one of the most important pathways for antiaging. FOXO3a in turn changes the expression of hundreds of other genes.
Some of those genes regulate internal antioxidant production such as catalase and superoxide dismutase. These are not like traditional antioxidants that have to be recycled by NADPH. They operate by traditional ketolysis, where superoxide is changed into hydrogen peroxide and then water.
Christofferson also reviews how ketone esters can improve athletic performance and recovery:
“Another good real world application of this is Tour de France riders. They discovered ketone esters back about 2012 … The reason they're so important is, by the third week of this grueling bike race, the primary reason you're not recovering is because you're generating so many free radicals by this massive intake of oxygen and exercise.
When they take this ketone ester, they say they have an unprecedented ability to recover, and it's because it's blunting this free radical generation and massively increasing their ability to cope with all these free radicals that are damaging tissues and grinding them down as this race occurs.”
There’s also some data suggesting ketone esters can be beneficial for certain health conditions.
“In somebody that's showing the beginning signs of dementia or Alzheimer's, the [ketone] esters are able to increase levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate to druglike levels. You get these enhanced pleiotropic effects of ketone esters.
Another effect … is it inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome, the initial complex that kicks off inflammation. So, beta-hydroxybutyrate at higher levels can suppress inflammation. [It can also] act as an epigenetic reprogrammer. It inhibits HDAC proteins, which are proteins that install the tags on histones, to change the genetic expression.
The initial data show that people in the throes of some disease process may benefit more from an ester than somebody that's healthy and just looking for enhanced quality of life. That being said, it's a natural compound, it's a fuel source. It's really eating food, in a way.
If you are exercising a lot, or about to have an X-ray or flying, I think a ketone ester is a perfectly reasonable thing to take for that … But nobody suggests it's a replacement for the most important strategies, which are a good diet, exercise and fasting — those kind of global intrinsic ketone-producing [strategies].”
Another therapeutic option is to use MCT oil, as this type of fat lends itself readily to ketone production. I consume about 6 ounces of caprylic acid a day, as I require many calories due to my daily exercise. I need at least 3,500 to 4,000 calories a day. I get more than 1,000 calories a day from MCT oils, which works out well for me as I obtain the metabolic benefits discussed here.
MCT oil is also far less expensive than ketone esters. That said, 6 ounces is far more than most people would be able to tolerate. To start, begin taking 1 teaspoon and work your way up from there. Be careful to take them with loads of other fats and don’t take more than 4 tablespoons at once — otherwise you will likely get nauseous.
“MCTs are a hack to get into ketosis [as] they bypass these control pathways,” Christofferson explains. “Typically, you have to have low insulin, which releases triglycerides, which then get processed in hepatocytes to beta-hydroxybutyrate.
MCT oils go directly into the cell and force this production, because they radically increase the amount of Acetyl-CoA. That then creates beta-hydroxybutyrate. They even cross the blood-brain barrier, which most fatty acids don't.
So, neurons will directly produce ketones in the brain. One of the main pathologies of Alzheimer’s is insulin resistance in the brain. So, your brain is starving of energy. It can't process glucose. MCT oils will go directly into the brain. Or they'll produce ketones in the blood, go directly in the brain, bypass all that pathology and fill that energetic gap.”
While many believe it’s best to remain in nutritional ketosis continuously and indefinitely, I strongly disagree with such advice. I believe it can be highly counterproductive to remain on a continuously low-carb diet.
While it’s important to remain on a low-carb diet until you are metabolically flexible and insulin sensitive, which can take months or even years for some really heavy people, once you reach that state, you’ll want to increase your carbohydrate level (depending on your exercise level) to 100 or 150 grams once or twice a week, especially around the times you're exercising.
Doing so will actually further improve your metabolic flexibility, as you want to have the ability to seamlessly switch between burning fat and glucose. As mentioned, glucose is the universal fuel, so we have to be able to use that. We just don't want to use it all the time. Christofferson agrees, saying:
“You need to remember; your body is in a continual state of … breaking down [or] repair. If you're constantly breaking down, you don't give your body the chance to repair, to be anabolic.
Glucose raises insulin, and insulin is — if you're in a high-insulin state all the time — a terrible thing. But it's also an anabolic hormone that kicks off IGF-1 and all these antibiotic pathways, for repair.
So, I think … the most optimal strategy will be one of cycling, going back and forth. I think that probably mimics what our ancestors went through. We probably had times of deprivation. In the winter, there were very few carbohydrates or none. And then, in times of abundance, when there was plenty of carbohydrates, it was a time to repair and regenerate.
I think that in the end, that strategy will be exactly the correct one. And we don't know — even an occasional fast may be enough for people that are generally healthy.”
Lastly, optimizing your metabolic health through nutritional ketosis, which is best done through time-restricted eating and a cyclical ketogenic diet, will help you move forward with greater confidence and less fear in this post-COVID world. As noted by Christofferson:
“Looking at the data, and what this virus is doing, it's a no-brainer. Health officials talk about these proactive measures of social distancing and mask wearing, but it just doesn't seem like the one thing that's staring us in the face is ever addressed, which is metabolic dysfunction.
We could have said, ‘One way you can potentially mitigate the severity of the disease is by eating right; starting doing these things and come out strong.’ But that message has not been delivered …
[Metabolic dysfunction] was a crisis before the virus. It was there, and we failed [to address it]. The virus exposed that [failure], and we still have to really address that publicly.
It really shows the profound biases in human thinking, and the way we react to problems, without doing full cost accounting. When you do a dispassionate look at the full cost accounting of the economic dislocations of lockdowns versus what we're getting out of that, with the virus, it's disproportionate. We’ve got to find a way to balance that reasonably.
This virus disproportionately kills older people. What it costs per 80-year-old is over $1 million, using full cost accounting, and if you could take that $1 million, you could save hundreds of lives of younger people. So, I think our response is, in a way, absurd, and just doesn't look into the problem in the right way.
The take-home point for me is, look at health care and how we parse up and spend enormous amounts of money on each disease and make almost no progress, year after year.
We have this basically free, intrinsically installed health care therapy [i.e., ketones] installed in every one of us … It's really empowering, and that's what I want the take-home message to be: how potent this is, and how readily available. You can access it at any time you're ready.”
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of Christofferson’s book “Ketones, The Fourth Fuel: Warburg to Krebs to Veech, the 250 Year Journey to Find the Fountain of Youth.” This really is the information you need right now, so the timing of the publication of this book couldn’t be more appropriate.
In the interview, Christofferson also reviews some of the history of the key doctors and scientists responsible for identifying and understanding ketone metabolism — including Otto Warburg, Hans Adolf Krebs, George Cahill and Richard Veech — so for more details, be sure to listen to the interview.
If you’re a fig lover, this next sentence may be hard for you to swallow. The figs you’re eating could have a dead wasp stuck in them. I know that probably makes you squirm, but it sounds more dramatic than it is. You may think the idea of wasps inside a fig is gross, but it’s actually pretty amazing to see how nature knows exactly what it needs to do to allow both plant and insect species to survive.
Figs and fig wasps have a mutually beneficial relationship — something that’s officially called mutualism1 — that developed over millions of years of evolution. They need each other to survive. Fig wasps help pollinate figs and, in turn, the figs provide a safe place for the wasps to lay their eggs. This relationship is crucial to a balanced ecosystem and is also crucial to you enjoying a fresh fig or that fig jam you love.
So, don’t let this tidbit of information make you shy away from eating figs. The fruit, or technically flower, is full of resistant starch, potassium and other nutrients such as magnesium and choline, that help keep you healthy.2 Plus, you’re probably already eating a lot of bugs without even realizing it. Read on to see what I mean.
Figs are often eaten as a fruit, but they’re actually inverted flowers with a fascinating biology.3 Unlike other flowers that bloom and expand outwardly, fig flowers bloom inside the fig’s pod. Because the flowers are on the inside, they require a special system for pollination — and that’s where the female fig wasps come in.
Each flower produces a single fruit called an achene that’s composed of a single shell and a hard seed. Because several flowers grow inside the fig pod, there are also several of these hard-shelled fruits. That’s what gives fresh figs their seeded inside and signature crunch.
Female fig wasps enter a fig through small passageways called ostioles. The ostioles are so narrow that the fig wasps actually lose their wings and antenna when traveling through them.4 Because of this, they can get in the figs, but they usually cannot get out. That’s OK with them, though, because their sole purpose is reproduction.
There are female and male figs. The female figs are the ones we eat, while the male figs serve solely as a place for fig wasps to reproduce. Once inside a male fig, the females lay their eggs. Eventually the eggs hatch and then the baby male wasps dig tunnels through the fig so that the baby female wasps, covered in pollen, can escape and continue the cycle in another fig.5
However, if a fig wasp enters a female fig, she can’t lay her eggs. Instead, she pollinates the flowers inside the fig, but then stays behind, living out the rest of her maximum 48-hour life cycle,6 and dying inside the fig.7
The short answer to whether or not there are dead wasps inside your fig is: Maybe. Most figs grown in the U.S. are self-pollinating, which means they don’t need the wasps to grow. Karla Stockli, CEO of the California Fig Advisory Board, points out that more than 95% of the figs produced in California are self-pollinating and most of the figs that you can buy in the U.S. (100% of dried figs and 98% of fresh figs) come from California, which has the highest quality standards in the world.8
That’s one bit of good news. The other thing that may ease your mind is that the figs actually contain an enzyme called ficin that breaks down the exoskeletons of the wasps and turns them into protein. Technically, when you eat a fig, you could be eating protein that comes from a wasp, but you’re not likely to find an intact wasp carcass in the fig.
Even if you did find an intact wasp, it’s not like the wasps you’re probably picturing. Fig wasps are really small9 — about 1.5 millimeters in size — so you probably wouldn’t even notice them. For reference, a typical yellowjacket worker wasp is around 12 millimeters, while the queen can grow to about 19 millimeters.
The other thing that may ease your mind (or not, depending on how you look at it) is that if you eat fresh fruit and vegetables, you’ve likely eaten thousands of bugs already.
According to a report by Terro, a pest control company in Pennsylvania, the average person can consume up to 140,000 insect parts each year.10 That’s because the FDA allows certain amounts of insects into the food supply. For example, a half-cup of frozen berries is legally allowed to contain two whole insects.
And those hops used to make beer? They get the go-ahead with 25,000 whole insects in a half-cup. While this may make you squirm, insects are actually a regular part of the diet in many places. Approximately 80% of people worldwide eat one or more of the different 1,700 edible insects as a source of protein.11 Some parts of the world, especially tropical countries, even consider them delicacies.12
They’re only considered gross in Western societies because we’re not accustomed to eating them and categorize them as pests instead of food. With animal agriculture, we also don’t really have a need for alternate protein sources, so we tend to shy away from edible insects.
If you can get past the idea the idea that some of the figs you eat may have a wasp in them, there are a lot of reasons to include them in your diet. One medium sized fig is approximately 40 calories and provides 1.5 grams of fiber, in addition to an abundant amount of magnesium and choline, as well as vitamin B6, copper, pantothenic acid and folate. It’s also rich in beta carotene.13
Figs are a good source of potassium, which your body uses to control blood pressure and balance the sodium potassium ratio, and calcium. As you might expect, the nutritional value increases by weight as the fruit is dried. For instance, 100 grams provide 35 mg of calcium when fresh14 but 162 mg of calcium when dry.15
Since figs are high in fiber, they may act as a natural laxative. High-fiber foods also provide a feeling of fullness and one of the types of fiber in figs — resistant starch — acts as a natural prebiotic to support pre-existing beneficial bacteria in your gut.16 Resistant starch also helps control blood sugar, protect the kidneys and help the body use certain vitamins, like vitamin D — a combination that can help control diabetes and reduce diabetic complications.17
Resistant starch also increases satiety, helping to control body weight and reduce the risk of obesity. In one animal study, researchers found adding resistant starch to the diet of obese rats helped reduce body weight by as much as 40%.18
Another animal study evaluated the effects of figs, dates and pomegranates on neuroinflammation.19 They found daily administration of a supplement containing these three fruits decreased inflammatory cytokines and delayed formation of senile plaques. The researchers concluded the fruit mediated the reduction of cytokines and may be one mechanism that can help protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Fig leaves may be as important nutritionally as the fruit itself as they have unique health benefits, including an ability to regulate blood sugar. In one study, patients given a decoction of fig leaves for one month were able to lower their average insulin dose by 12%.20
An animal study evaluating hypertriglyceridemia in rats used an administration of fig leaf decoction. While total cholesterol levels were unaffected, the fig decoction had a clear positive effect on lipid molecule breakdown.21
Figs, including the fruit, skin, leaves and pulps are also rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds.22 These compounds help combat oxidative stress and can protect against age-related and chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome and obesity.23
August 28, 2020, the Children's Health Defense, led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., launched a European branch of the organization. In a press conference1 announcing the new branch, Kennedy discussed how governments are using fear to control and manipulate the population.
Acting as quasi-government agencies, public health organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are pushing vaccines using the same fear tactics, while simultaneously removing the regulatory oversight that used to ensure vaccines are properly safety-tested.
Corruption in the political system, however, has destroyed the trust these agencies need to get people to willingly take these fast-tracked vaccines, and this despite the fact that the media keep regurgitating the prescribed propaganda. Kennedy also highlights how people like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates are helping to promote this global vaccination agenda.
As a result of all this corruption, there's no independent, unbiased buffer between greedy corporations and the world's most vulnerable populations — our children. This is a global problem, Kennedy says, and the press is facilitating it by helping to create so much fear in the peoples' minds that they will obey whatever the health agencies say, no matter how illogical the demands.
Kennedy explains how he ended up spearheading the fight for vaccine safety. He runs the largest water protection group in the world, the Waterkeeper Alliance. In the early 2000s, he was involved in lawsuits over mercury discharges by coal burning power plants.
Around the same time, he learned of the presence of mercury in vaccines, and that this source was a much larger source of mercury exposure than contaminated fish was. Initially, his goal was simply to get the mercury removed from vaccines, but as he dug deeper, he realized "there were larger problems with vaccines."
One of the biggest problems was, and still is, the fact that vaccines in the U.S. are not safety tested. "They have an exemption that is not available to any other medical product," Kennedy says, explaining that when the vaccine program was initially launched, the goal was to make sure vaccines could be rapidly developed and deployed in response to biological attacks by foreign countries.
As a result, regulatory impediments — including safety testing vaccines against placebos, which the gold-standard in medical safety testing — were removed.
"My very narrow purpose in starting the Children Health Defense was to address this problem and to get vaccines properly safety tested, because if they're not safety tested, nobody can tell you with any medical authority whether that vaccine is injuring more people than it's saving," Kennedy says.2
"As we continued on with this advocacy it became very clear that there were other problems as well. There [were] problems with the corruption in our political system.
The pharmaceutical companies had not only corrupted our politicians with huge amounts of lobbying money, they had captured the agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from public health threats: the CDC, the FDA, the HHS. They had captured the press in our country by huge influxes of advertising dollars which had neutralized the press.
They had effectively subverted American democracy by neutralizing all of those institutions that the Founding Fathers of our nation had created to stand between a greedy corporation and a vulnerable child.
The Congress had been corrupted. The regulatory agencies were captured; they had become the sock puppets for the industry they're supposed to regulate. The press had been sidelined.
And worst of all, they had passed a law in our country in 1986 that gave pharmaceutical companies complete immunity from liability. So, there was no incentive for any of those companies to make vaccines safe …
If we win this battle in just one nation, the United States, we're still going to lose it globally. So, we need people of good will, people who have courage, people who have a nonconformist way of thinking, who understand that we are being lied to, that the entire political structure today is saturated in pharmaceutical propaganda."
As noted by Kennedy, totalitarian nations have always used the power of fear to make citizens comply with authoritarian rule. Without fail, it's been shown that all you have to do to engineer compliance, no matter how horrific the ramifications, is to tell people they have something to fear, and that they will be safe if they follow your lead.
"Point a finger at that source of their fear and you can make human beings do anything you want. You can make them go to the slaughter like sheep; you can make them obey," Kennedy says.
A famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt is "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He understood that fear is ultimately what strips us of our human rights and drives a society into totalitarianism, and that the only way to circumvent such a fate is to bravely resist fear. Today, one of the biggest threats (or so we're told) is global pandemics.
"Governments love pandemics the same way that they love wars because it gives them power; it gives them control and it gives them the capacity to impose obedience on human beings," Kennedy notes.
Today, we also have something no previous tyrant has had, namely the technology to track, trace, control and manipulate individuals wherever they live. Most people are surrounded by electronics and wireless devices that harvest every imaginable data point about your personal life.
Digital currency will complete the net of tyranny. Once all cash economies have been abolished, "they have absolute control over us because they will be able to tax every transaction," Kennedy says. A digital currency economy will also ensure total compliance by the masses. If you disobey, they can simply restrict or shut down your bank account.
"Many people argue that this pandemic was a plandemic, that it was planned from the outset, it's part of a sinister scheme," Kennedy says. "I can't tell you the answer to that. I don't have enough evidence.
A lot of it feels very planned to me. I don't know, but I will tell you this, if you create these mechanisms for control, they become weapons of obedience for authoritarian regimes no matter how beneficial or innocent the people who created them. Once you create them, they will be abused; 100% guarantee that they will be abused."
Kennedy goes on to stress that the pushback seen around the world against mask mandates, vaccines, social distancing and lockdowns are not because there's a willful ignorance of science, but that no real science is being presented; science is actually being withheld and suppressed.
"What we know is that we're not being dealt with honestly," he says. "We're being told, 'This is the science,' but it's an appeal to authority. It's science because Tony Fauci and Bill Gates tell us it's science.
We want to see the studies. We want to see the studies on hydroxychloroquine. We want to see the studies on whether the lockdown is killing more people than the coronavirus. We want to see real science and real risk assessment.
My father told me when I was a child, 'People in authority lie.' If we are going to continue to live in a democracy we need to understand that people in authority lie. People in authority will abuse every power that we relinquish to them, and right now we are giving them the power to micromanage every bit of our lives.
Twenty-four hours a day they're going to know where we are, they're going to know the money that we spend, they're going to have access to our children. They're going to have the right to compel unwanted medical interventions on us."
As noted by Kennedy, this is precisely what the Nazis did to prisoners during World War II. After the war, the world was so horrified by the atrocities of the Nazi camps, including and especially the medical testing that took place, the Nuremberg Code,3 which details the ethical framework for medical experimentation, was enacted.
"We all pledged … we would never again impose unwanted medical interventions on human beings without informed consent," Kennedy says. "Yet in two years, all of that conviction has suddenly disappeared. People are walking around in masks when the science has not been explained to them. They are doing what they're told.
These government agencies are orchestrating obedience, and it is not democratic; it's not the product of democracy. It's the product of a pharmaceutical driven, biosecurity agenda that will enslave the entire human race and plunge us into a dystopian nightmare where the apocalyptical forces of ignorance and greed will be running our lives and ruining our children …
The launch of this organization, Children's Health Defense, in Europe is a beachhead; it's an announcement to the world that we are not going to take it. We are building institutions to fight your institutions. You have global institutions and we now have a global institution …
We are not going to let you take our democracy away. We are not going to let you take our health away. We are not going to let you take our freedoms away. We are not going to let you take our children away."
In the Ron Paul Liberty Report above, former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul interviews4 Kennedy about who really killed his father and uncle, and why. In summary, the evidence suggests his father, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated by a CIA agent hired as a security guard.
Kennedy reviews some of the history of the CIA — how it was initially established as an espionage organization tasked solely with intelligence gathering, only to transform into a paramilitary agency engaged with the overthrowing of democracies around the world and other nefarious and antidemocratic activities.
He also touches on the infamous CIA program called MK Ultra, in which individuals are brainwashed to carry out orders, including murders, against their own will.
The conversation eventually turns to vaccine safety and the folly of ignoring published science showing there are significant problems — problems that the medical establishment is refuting without any actual counter-evidence.
They also discuss data suggesting the COVID-19 lockdowns may have caused more deaths than the virus itself, as well as the civil rights issues involved. "I think the data are really clear, that quarantine is going to kill far more people than COVID-19" Kennedy says.
He cites research from the 1980s that looked at the impact of unemployment on human life. This kind of research flourished in the wake of American industries increasingly being shipped overseas, causing rising unemployment.
The most famous of these studies, Kennedy says, found that for every one-point rise in unemployment there were 37,000 excess deaths, 4,000 excess imprisonments and 3,300 excess admissions into mental institutions.
"In addition to that, we have disruptions to medical supply chains and food supply," Kennedy notes. "There are millions of people starving around the world because of the quarantines. We've lost, already, about 50,000 minority businesses, permanently, in [the U.S.] What is that going to do?"
Kennedy cites a report from a hospital in San Francisco that stated they saw one year's-worth of suicides in a single month, a 1,200% increase. He also cites British research showing that while there were 30,000 excess deaths in nursing homes during a five-week period during the lockdown, only one-third of them were due to COVID-19.
In other words, the death rate from isolation was double that of the virus itself. People didn't get the proper medical care for chronic conditions and so on. Kennedy also rightly points out that what we will see — and are already seeing — is the obliteration of the middle-class and the shift of wealth from the poor to the already ultra-rich.
Then there's the rapidly approaching question of vaccination. Children and young adults under the age of 20 basically have a zero risk of dying from COVID-19, so are we going to force them to gamble with their future health by taking a fast-tracked and unproven vaccine in the name of protecting the elderly who are at greatest risk of dying from COVID-19? "That is a very dicey ethical question," Kennedy says.
"This is like an apocalyptical battle; it's really something I never thought would happen in my lifetime, where all the values of our country are being eroded," Kennedy says, pointing out that in 1968, there was a bird flu pandemic5 that had a higher mortality rate than COVID-19, "and we all went to Woodstock. It was just part of life."
Today, pandemics have become a tool of tyranny, and the "biosecurity" agenda is a globalist agenda that ultimately seeks to gain total control by stripping away human rights and the rights of countries. As noted by Kennedy, the fear level is totally out of proportion to the real threat of COVID-19, as are the government-prescribed responses.
If you have breathing troubles, nitrates — a compound found in beets — may be able to help. Previous studies have shown that nitrates can help improve muscle function by optimizing the way the muscles use calcium. Since the diaphragm is a muscle, researchers from the University of Florida wanted to see if those benefits could be translated to the diaphragm.
For the study,1 researchers split old mice into two groups. One group was given drinking water that contained sodium nitrate daily for 14 days. The other group was given plain water.
After the study period, they measured the isometric force and peak power of the diaphragm muscles in the mice and found that both significantly increased in the group of mice given nitrates in their drinking water.
This increase in force and power translated to improved contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which can then improve lung function and breathing. The increased power in the diaphragm could also help older people clear the lungs more effectively, which may help reduce the risk of developing infections. For reference, the mice used in the study were 24 months old, which is equivalent to about 70 years of age in humans.
This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic for two reasons. The first is that severe symptoms disproportionally affect the older population. We already know that respiratory muscle function declines with age, contributing to breathing troubles, impaired airway clearance and a decreased quality of life. Since nitrates can improve muscle function of the diaphragm, it may help improve the outlook for older populations with respiratory infections like COVID-19.
The study's author, Leonardo Ferreira, also points out that one of the problems with weaning COVID-19 patients off ventilators is respiratory muscle dysfunction. If dietary nitrates can help improve that muscle function, it may make the transition from ventilators to independent breathing more successful.2
The nitrates in beets have also been shown to help improve oxygen uptake by dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles, like the diaphragm, and other cells.3
But beets aren't only good for your lungs. Other studies have shown that red beets may also:
Lower your blood pressure — Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points.4 The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Another study5 found drinking 8 ounces of beet juice per day lowered blood pressure by an average of nearly eight points after the first week, which is more than most blood pressure medications.
Boost your stamina — If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16% longer.6 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
Fight inflammation — Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.7 As reported by The World's Healthiest Foods:8
Stave off cancer — The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.9
Provide valuable nutrients and fiber — Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese10 (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
Support detoxification — The betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process,11 which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.
Almost 80% of dietary nitrates come from vegetables.12 Beets are one of the richest sources, containing more than 250 milligrams of nitrates per 100 grams. Other foods with high nitrate content include arugula, celery, cress, chervil, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, fennel, endive, kohlrabi, mustard greens, leeks and parsley.
Keep in mind that naturally occurring nitrates are different from the nitrates found in processed foods, such as bacon or sausages. The nitrates that you get from vegetables are converted to nitric oxide (NO) in your body.
NO has potent health benefits, as described in "Why You Need to Try the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout." However, when nitrates and nitrites from processed meats react with the gastric acid in your stomach, it forms nitrosamines, harmful compounds that have been linked to several different types of cancer.13,14
The reason meat-based nitrites don't boost NO production but rather turn into harmful N-nitroso compounds has to do with the presence of proteins and heme15 (an iron-containing compound that makes up part of the hemoglobin molecule in blood) and the absence of antioxidant compounds.
On the other hand, plants contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and polyphenols that impede the formation of harmful nitrosamines. The presence of these compounds helps ensure that the nitrites are converted into NO once they reach your stomach rather than harmful N-nitroso compounds.16
Unlike processed meats like bacon, most plant foods are also not cooked or fried at high temperatures, which further minimizes the chances that harmful substances will be produced.
If you're new to beets, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy them:
Please note that if you're interested in buying beets to make your own juice, the industry has gone the way of so many crops in the U.S. — toward genetic engineering, according to the Organic and Non-GMO Report.17 This is particularly true with sugar beets.
While the table beets most people eat are not currently genetically engineered, they're often grown in close proximity to sugar beets, which are often GE, and cross-pollination is known to occur. So, when choosing beets to eat, opt for organic varieties whenever possible.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are dangerous for humans on a number of levels. GMOs may alter DNA, potentially cause cancer, and may trigger other "less severe" problems like organ failure, liver and kidney damage.
Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week. Beetroot juice, however, should be consumed in moderation.
Make sure you also eat the beet greens, which are loaded with valuable nutrients, including phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium and iron.18
Will smoking raise your risk of severe COVID-19 and risk of dying from the disease?1,2 Interestingly, much of the research looking at conventional smoking has found mortality rates tend to be lower among smokers than nonsmokers. Results are not entirely homogenous, though, as some studies have come to the converse conclusion.
Vaping e-cigarettes, on the other hand, appears to increase risks to young adults, who are otherwise at very low risk of COVID-19. It's still unclear what might account for the differences between conventional cigarettes and vaping, although several hypothetical mechanisms for why conventional smoking doesn't increase COVID-19 severity and lethality have been proposed.
June 14, 2020, a study3,4 posted on the preprint server medRxiv reported that national smoking rates inversely correlated with COVID-19 mortality. To avoid confounding by temperature (heat tends to lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection), the researchers looked at 20 of the hottest and 20 of the coldest nations, and compared mortality rates for COVID-19 among smokers and nonsmokers in those countries. According to the authors:5
"A highly significant inverse correlation between current daily smoking prevalence and COVID-19 mortality rate was noted for the group of hot countries, cold countries, and the combined group …
In hot countries, for each percentage point increase in smoking rate mortality decreased by .147 per 100,000 population. This resulted in mortality rates several-fold elevated in the countries with the lowest smoking rates relative to the highest smoking rates. In the combined group, mortality decreased by .257 per 100,000 population.
These findings add support to the finding of an inverse relationship between current smoking and seriously symptomatic COVID-19. However, we conclude that the difference in mortality between the highest and lowest smoking countries appears too large to be due primarily to the effects of smoking per se.
A potentially beneficial effect of smoking is surprising, but compatible with a number of hypothetical mechanisms which deserve exploration:
• Studies show smoking alters ACE2 expression which may affect COVID-19 infection or its progression to serious lung pathology.
• Nicotine has anti-inflammatory activity and also appears to alter ACE2 expression.
• Nitric oxide in cigarette smoke is known to be effective in treating pulmonary hypertension and has shown in vitro antiviral effects including against SARS-CoV-2.
• Smoking has complicated effects on the immune system involving both up and down regulation, any of which might alone or in concert antagonize progression of COVID-19.
• Smokers are exposed to hot vapors which may stimulate immunity in the respiratory tract by various heat-related mechanisms (e.g. heat shock proteins)."
An earlier meta-analysis6,7 published in May 2020, which reviewed five different studies, also failed to find a link between conventional smoking and COVID-19 severity.
A second systematic review and meta-analysis8 of 22 studies, however, found smoking modestly increased the risk of more severe symptoms among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, especially among younger nondiabetic patients. As reported by Healio9
"They found that overall, smoking modestly increased the risk for severe COVID-19 (OR = 1.34 …). However, the researchers found a difference in the relationship between smoking and disease severity between Chinese studies (… OR = 1.48 …) and American studies (… OR = 0.65 …).
'This difference may be explained by the higher age and diabetes ratio of the non-Chinese population, which we showed to be important risk moderators, or could be due to further differences in comorbidities and care,' the researchers said.
Specifically, among studies in which less than 15% of the patients had diabetes, smoking increased the risk for severe disease (OR = 1.66 … ). However, among studies in which 15% or more had diabetes, 'there was a trend for a negative association' (OR = 0.7 …) according to the researchers.
Karanasos and colleagues also reported that smoking was not significantly associated with increased mortality from COVID-19. After restricting their analysis to studies 'explicitly reporting current smoking,' the researchers said the association between smoking and disease severity was no longer statistically significant."
I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that smoking provides any particular benefits, though. A third meta-analysis10 of 19 studies, published in the September 2020 issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, throws these inverse findings into question, showing that smoking may have some negative effects after all.
Here, they found patients with a history of smoking (either current or former) had, on average, a 91% higher odds ratio (OR) of suffering more severe COVID-19 illness than patients who had never smoked. According to the authors:11
"A total of 11,590 COVID-19 patients included in our meta-analysis, 2,133 of whom (18.4%) experienced disease progression and 731 (6.3%) with a history of smoking. A total of 218 patients with a history of smoking (29.8%) experienced disease progression, compared with 17.6% of nonsmoking patients.
The meta-analysis showed an association between smoking and COVID-19 progression (OR 1.91 …). There was moderate heterogeneity among the studies … and no significant evidence of publication bias."
Teens and young adults who either vape exclusively or smoke both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes are also at far greater risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and exhibiting symptoms of the illness, although it's unclear whether it actually increases the risk of COVID-19 severity in this age group as the data was obtained via online surveys, not hospital or medical data.
Research12,13,14,15 by Stanford University researchers published online August 11, 2020, in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found teens and young adults who smoked conventional and/or e-cigarettes were 2.6 to nine times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. Those who vaped were also five times more likely to exhibit COVID-19-related symptoms and receive a COVID-19 diagnosis than nonusers.
(For clarity, testing positive does not mean that you are actually ill. A vast majority of people testing positive remain asymptomatic.) In a press release, lead author and postdoctoral scholar Shivani Mathur Gaiha, PhD., stated:16
"Young people may believe their age protects them from contracting the virus or that they will not experience symptoms of COVID-19, but the data show this isn't true among those who vape. This study tells us pretty clearly that youth who are using vapes or are dual-using [e-cigarettes and cigarettes] are at elevated risk, and it's not just a small increase in risk; it's a big one."
In all, a total of 4,351 participants between the ages of 13 and 24 completed the online surveys, which included questions about vaping and conventional smoking habits, and whether they'd experienced COVID-19 symptoms, been tested or diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection. As reported by Stanford:17
"Young people who had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days were almost five times as likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms, such as coughing, fever, tiredness and difficulty breathing as those who never smoked or vaped.
This may explain why they were also more likely to receive COVID-19 testing … Depending on which nicotine products they used and how recently they had used them, young people who vaped or smoked, or both, were 2.6 to nine times more likely to receive COVID-19 tests than nonusers.
Among the participants who were tested for COVID-19, those who had ever used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than nonusers. Those who had used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in the previous 30 days were 6.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease."
Curiously, as indicated by several of the studies cited earlier, the Stanford study18 again found no connection between COVID-19 diagnosis and the smoking of conventional cigarettes alone.
As for why vaping but not conventional cigarette smoking puts you at greater risk of testing positive or exhibiting symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection, Wired cited some theories proposed by coauthor Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a pediatrics professor at Stanford University:19
"Halpern-Felsher has a few theories … Smokers may have more lung damage, making them more susceptible to the virus. Or they might be touching their hand to their mouth more often than other people, or sharing vapes, increasing their likelihood of being exposed in the first place.
Or it could be that the virus is being spread through the aerosols vapers exhale. 'Those are all hypotheses,' she says. 'Someone needs to follow it up.'"
Overall, research20 suggests vaping may in fact be more inflammatory and damaging to your lungs than conventional cigarette smoking. I've discussed such evidence in previous articles, including "Vaping Lung Injury Cases Rise to Nearly 300" and "E-Cig Flavoring Harms Blood Vessels."
The fact that vaping damages your vascular system may offer a hint at why it appears riskier in terms of COVID-19. Vascular changes associated with cardiovascular disease have been shown to appear almost immediately when using certain flavored vape liquids.
That's not to say that smoking cigarettes does not harm your vascular system. It certainly does. But vaping may perhaps bring on those side effects more rapidly. COVID-19, while affecting the lungs, really appears to be more of a blood and vascular disorder than a strict respiratory illness, which is why vaping's vascular effects might be a good place to start when trying to tease out the link.
Some of the latest research suggests COVID-19's disease progression can be explained by the SARS-CoV-2 virus' effect on your renin-angiotensin system, a central regulator of cardiovascular functions. The virus was also found to increase production of hyaluronic acid in the lungs.
Hyaluronic acid can absorb more than 1,000 times its own weight in fluid, and when it combines with fluid buildup in the lungs — which can occur from vaping,21 alone — it forms a thick hydrogel that inhibits your ability to breathe.
You can learn more about this in "Bradykinin Hypothesis Explains COVID-19 Complexities." That said, none of this fully explains why combustible cigarettes don't have the same degree of influence on your COVID-19 risk as vaping does.
The difference between vaping and smoking cigarettes becomes even more curious when you factor in recent research22,23,24 showing that nicotine increases ACE2 expression in bronchial epithelial cells. Since ACE2 receptors are the cellular entry point of SARS-CoV-2, all forms of nicotine should theoretically increase your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the lungs.
Potentially, it could be that vaping is worse in this regard because it increases your risk of pneumonia,25 but then again, combustible cigarettes also significantly raise your pneumonia risk.26
One theory presented in a European Respiratory Journal correspondence article27 has to do with the different effects of combustible cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapors have on the epithelial and smooth muscle cells in the airways. According to the authors:
"We compared cigarette smoke versus e-cigarette and IOQS on airway epithelial and smooth muscle cells. All tested pathological biomarkers were elevated in cells exposed to e-cigarette aerosols and IQOS, which included chemokine CXCL8, extracellular matrix proteins and markers of mitochondrial dysfunction.
We found these products toxic to the cells, evident from decreased cellular viability and integrity. More devastatingly, vaping also interfered with cellular energetics.
Our results further substantiate current research that e- cigarettes and IOQS are indeed detrimental with increases in oxidative stress, inflammation, infections and airway remodelling in the lungs of these device users."
It remains to be seen whether a conclusive answer will be found to these questions. Overall, I believe it's reasonable to assume that all forms of smoking will ultimately harm your lungs and cardiovascular system to some degree, and increase your risk of infections of all kinds, including SARS-CoV-2.
I certainly do not think it would be prudent to assume cigarette smoking confers any kind of protection against the virus. If you're concerned about your health, quitting smoking/vaping is always a good strategy.
On a positive note, CDC statistics reveal vaping among teenagers has declined significantly over the past year, dropping from 27.5% in 2019 to 19.6% in 2020.28 That’s equivalent to a decline of 1 million regular users, from 4.1 million down to 3 million. Use of e-cigarettes has also dropped sharply among middle school students, from 1.24 million in 2019 down to 550,000 in 2020.