Bizarre Media Promotion of Undertested Booster Shot

Bizarre Media Promotion of Undertested Booster Shot
A nurse fills syringes with the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan, on April 8, 2022. (Reuters/Emily Elconin)
Rav Arora
The award-winning progressive outlet Mother Jones on Sept. 15 published a remarkable hit piece targeting two of the most rational, sober-minded scientists throughout the pandemic: Dr. Vinay Prasad and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.

The piece lambastes the two medical professionals for being vocally skeptical of the new mice-tested Omicron booster shot that the White House officially recommends to all Americans 12 and over.

Journalist Kiera Butler writes, "Prasad argues that the new boosters should have been tested on humans rather than mice, and that because they did not go through the clinical trial process, experts can’t say for sure that they’re safe."

However, she adds, "This idea has been robustly refuted."

Robustly refuted? How so?

One of her sources is a Wall Street Journal infographic that says human “trials aren’t necessary to be confident the vaccines will work safely, many experts have said, because the changes simply update proven shots.” This is quite the selective reading. There are other articles in the Journal alone that express rational concern for the safety and efficacy of the new booster shot.
A viral quote from a leading U.S. vaccine expert, Dr. Paul Offit, comes from a Journal article:

“I’m uncomfortable that we would move forward—that we would give millions or tens of millions of doses to people—based on mouse data.”

Moreover, the Journal infographic cited by Butler is hardly persuasive, quoting expert uncertainty about the efficacy of the new booster:

"'There's really no evidence yet of what these shots do in terms of clinical efficacy,' said Robert Wachter, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco."

The safety of the new booster isn't a fringe concern. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention itself has conceded their own uncertainty on the matter:

“We know that the myocarditis risk is unknown but anticipate a similar risk to that seen after the monovalent vaccines,” a member of the agency's independent committee on vaccines said.

If indeed the myocarditis risk of the new booster shot is "similar" to the primary series (approximately 1/3,000 second doses in young men) that would be a complete disaster. As I have closely documented, the myocarditis rates from the primary series alone are deeply alarming, and the heart condition has victimized many young males. Such a high rate for an additional booster shot is unacceptable even if young, healthy, double-vaccinated people had a tremendous potential benefit. Not even a kernel of evidence suggests that is the case.

But by focusing just on Prasad's claims about vaccine safety, the article misses a fundamental point: Just because a medicine is safe (or in this case, widely presumed to be safe) doesn't mean you recommend all adults and children 12 and over to take it.

At the very least, there is vigorous debate among credible scientists on the new booster shot. However, the most credible, honest scientists appear to near-unanimously view the authorization and mass recommendation of this pre-experimental intervention as a colossal mistake, given the absence of clinical evidence.

What's perhaps most strange about this hit-piece is the extreme scrutiny and speculation of the motives of Prasad and Bhattacharya, but the converse, blind deference to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) vaccine advisory committee that approved the shot. There are most certainly legitimate questions to ask in that direction, such as conflicts of interest and perverse financial incentives. Yet the author is set on using anything to undermine so-called "contrarian" doctors' views on the matter.

This has become a common pattern in modern media: a bizarre acquiescence to elite institutions and corporations that favor their tribe's political aims. Kowtowing to the unquestionable FDA, taking directives from the White House, and abusing one's pen to fuel the culture wars continues to corrupt prominent newspapers.

Stories such as the new hit piece in Mother Jones explain the rapid rise of independent writers. There is a real hunger to understand the unfiltered reality on matters of public health, race relations, and economics. Major news outlets must do better or they will continue to hemorrhage readers and help drive the rise of alternate and independent media outlets.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Rav Arora is an independent journalist based in Vancouver, Canada. He has appeared on The Ben Shapiro Show, Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, The Hill, and other programs. His Substack newsletter on mental health, spirituality, and vaccine side effects is “Noble Truths with Rav Arora.” Follow him on Twitter at @ravarora1
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