Daily Mail Online: Why unvaccinated people are NOT at less risk of being hospitalised with Covid
- Category: Media Responses
Date: 17th June 2022
Author: By JOHN ELY
Copy & paste of Article 17/06/22
Why unvaccinated people are NOT at less risk of being hospitalised with Covid: Experts tear apart flawed survey which anti-vaxxers have hailed as proof that jabs were never needed
- Claim came from a survey of 18,000 people who refused to get Covid vaccines
- Authors claimed only 0.4% of their group were hospitalised with the virus
- This was less than the 0.6% of people being hospitalised in America, they claim
- Authors of the study are natural and alternative medics and a weight loss GP
- But British virus experts have blasted the survey, calling it 'flawed' and 'biased'
Research being peddled by anti-vaxxers as proof that Covid jabs don't work was today branded a desperate attempt to 'legitimise quasiscience'.
The survey, based on answers from 18,500 members of an anti-vaxx group, claims hospitalisation rates were lower among the unvaccinated.
The authors suggested this was, in part, due to the usage of vitamins and largely debunked Covid 'cures' ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
It was hailed by anti-vaxxers online, who called it a 'vindication' of their beliefs and celebrated the publication of 'real science'.
But leading scientists today criticised the 'flawed' and 'biased' research, produced by a 'natural health' specialist, alternative healers and a doctor who runs a weight loss business.
The global survey, which was published last week, was based on self-reported data from between September 2021 to February 2022.
It compared the self-reported hospitalised rates among its participants, who came from 175 different countries, with data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Lead author Robert Verkerk, a doctor of philosophy at Alliance for Natural Health International, claimed in a five month period the CDC reported 0.6 per cent of the US population were hospitalised with Covid.
Only 0.4 per cent of survey members reported being hospitalised with the virus, in a finding that implied jabs were ineffective.
But Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, described it as an 'attempt to legitimise quasiscience'.
He criticised its reliance on self-reporting, saying members quizzed would want to highlight how mild their Covid was to justify their decision to not get jabbed.
'Self-reporting is never reliable, especially when those signed up would already be convinced of their own argument,' he said.
'Much like religion in that respect, only religious people are convinced of miracles and that god is watching over them.'
Professor Jones accepted that people were entitled to not get a vaccine but said it was clear that vaccines have helped beat the virus.
Throughout the pandemic there has been fierce debate about whether natural or vaccine-induced protection is better, with research producing mixed results.
The debate has become more complicated as time has gone on because so many people have both been exposed to the virus and had their shots.
Almost all scientists agree, however, that a combination of vaccine and 'natural' protection is the best.
Despite this, vaccines have received the bulk of the credit for blunting the threat of the virus.
Before jabs came about, Britain and other countries had little option but to adopt economically-crippling lockdowns. Letting the virus 'rip' through populations could have killed hundreds of thousands in Britain alone, Government advisers warned.
But vaccines allowed countries to build-up immunity levels safely, without exposing millions with no protection to the virus. It means the virus now poses no more of a risk than flu.
As a result, policymakers in Britain – and elsewhere – felt confident that it was the right time to return to pre-Covid life, opening up their crippled economies to tackle the damaging effects of restrictions.
Professor Jones said: 'Non-vaxxers are welcome to their choice, I am not in favour of compulsion.
'But any trial needs to be evenly matched with a control group of similar people with similar habits.
'And it is strange isn't it, that much bigger trials all over the world with the vaccines have all shown that vaccination reduces risk and its sort of obvious from where we are now compared to where we were two years ago.'
He added the danger behind this survey is that it could convince others to follow in their footsteps.
'The damage done by this sort of guff is that someone vulnerable, somewhere, is led to believe that quaffing vitamin tablets and off licence drugs is going to save them, when it will not,' he said.
Dr Simon Clarke, an infectious disease expert at Reading, said it was critical to note the paper had not gone through any scientific review.
He added: 'Description of the experimental methods, controls and how the data this study leans on were arrived at, seem to be entirely missing, so it's impossible to be confident that they are valid.
'This pre-print is so weak, I'll be amazed if it ends up being accepted by any serious publication.'
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, argued the evidence on vaccines was 'irrefutable'.
'There is absolutely no doubt the vaccines have changed the course of the pandemic by reducing severe illness, hospital admissions and deaths,' he said.
He added it was impossible for the study to be objective or unbiased, considering its participants tend to be actively opposed to getting Covid jabs.
Numerous reliable studies have shown Covid vaccines significantly reduce the risk of severe disease, a key factor in enabling the UK and other countries to remove draconic restrictions on their citizens.
Analysis by the UK Health Security Agency published in February found three doses of Covid vaccines provided 95 per cent protection against dying from the virus and 90 to 95 per cent protection against severe disease.
According to the latest Government data 69 per cent of the eligible UK population, about 40million people, have had three doses of a Covid vaccine.
Fourth doses for people especially vulnerable to the virus were rolled out in the Spring, and another round of top ups are due this Autumn.
The authors of the survey said they wanted to highlight the discrimination, job losses and mental health issues the unvaccinated face from wider society.
The study also reported that the majority of participants who reported catching the virus took vitamin D and C supplements as well as the drugs ivermectin and Donald Trump-backed hydroxychloroquine.
While both drugs had initial studies suggesting they were effective treatments for Covid, scientists have since largely dismissed these as being flawed.
Numerous studies early on in the pandemic implied ivermectin, used to treat head lice and scabies, helped boost Covid survival rates. However, larger, more in-depth trials proved this wasn't the case.
Anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine was also thrust into the limelight as a potential Covid treatment in 2020 by the then-US President Trump, who called it a 'gift from God'. Claims were similarly dismissed.
The only possible upshot of the anti-vax study for scientists is that it did help reveal why people chose not to get the vaccine.
Participants listed a preference for natural medicines, a distrust of pharmaceutical companies, a distrust of government information, insufficient trial data and concerns over long-term adverse reactions as their top five reasons for opting out.
The study authors also claimed that among their participants those who never wore masks reported the lowest levels of Covid.
Evidence shows that, when worn correctly, masks can reduce the spread of particles that could carry the virus when exhaled— but by how much is still contested.
The survey of Control Group members has been uploaded to ResearchGate.
Daily Mail: Research being peddled by anti-vaxxers as proof that Covid jabs don't work was today branded a desperate attempt to 'legitimise quasiscience'.
CG founders: 95% of the participants in the study have previously taken vaccines – so not the ‘anti-vaxers’ you are looking for. Pfizer themselves reveal serious adverse events and low effectiveness in their recently released documents.
Daily Mail: The authors suggested this was, in part, due to the usage of vitamins and largely debunked Covid 'cures' ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
CG founders: The article intimates the use of vitamins is a folly, but NICE guidelines recommend vitamin D, NIH recommends vitamins C and D and zinc and NHS recommends vitamin D for prevention and treatment of COVID!
Daily Mail: …leading scientists today criticised the 'flawed' and 'biased' research, produced by a 'natural health' specialist, alternative healers and a doctor who runs a weight loss business.
CG founders: 2 of the study authors have been working on the frontline with vaccine-injured. The Mail have not clarified what is meant by ‘flawed’, but the presumption is that by using the word, it will make it so.
The authors of the study are highly qualified to comment, but by highlighting other aspects of their work, the Mail seeks to denigrate them.
Daily Mail: But Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, described it as an 'attempt to legitimise quasiscience'.
CG founders: Professor Ian Jones is himself quoted as believing in the value of natural immunity (even in the Daily Mail).
In the real world, those who haven’t taken the jab are seeing their jabbed friends and family getting sicker and it makes them incredibly sad. We know this from regularly talking to the participants. Not believing it, does not change the facts.
Daily Mail, quoting Dr Jones: 'Self-reporting is never reliable, especially when those signed up would already be convinced of their own argument,' he said.
CG founders: Orthodoxy works both ways. Only scientific fact will prove one or the other right – however, scientific fact can be bought, which is why the Control Group study is independent and funded by its citizens – not pharmaceutical
Daily Mail, quoting Dr Jones: 'But any trial needs to be evenly matched with a control group of similar people with similar habits.
CG founders: YES – absolutely, Dr Jones is correct. Without a control group (those who has not taken the ‘treatment’) there is no way to scientifically prove safety and effectiveness. However, both the adult and children’s trials had the placebo group vaccinated, and therefore, the only control for comparison are those who have voluntarily not taken it. To suggest they are not vital would be ‘scientific guff’.
Daily Mail quoting Dr Jones: 'The damage done by this sort of guff is that someone vulnerable, somewhere, is led to believe that quaffing vitamin tablets and off licence drugs is going to save them, when it will not,' he said.
CG founders: you could say the same of the NIH, NICE and NHS, who all recommend vitamins for COVID. And what about the Pfizer documents – they don’t exactly make a compelling sales-pitch for their own jabs. One might also look at their own friends and family and make the decision.
Daily Mail quoting Dr Simon Clarke: He added: 'Description of the experimental methods, controls and how the data this study leans on were arrived at, seem to be entirely missing, so it's impossible to be confident that they are valid.
CG founders: Dr Clarke has possibly not read the entire study paper. The study is a grass-roots, citizen-led survey of real-world results – and this is clearly stated in the paper and its limitations acknowledged. However, it would be foolish to ignore the data as it is the only data on the SARS-CoV-2vaccine-free.
Daily Mail: The study authors also claimed that among their participants those who never wore masks reported the lowest levels of Covid. Evidence shows that, when worn correctly, masks can reduce the spread of particles that could carry the virus when exhaled— but by how much is still contested.
CG founders: Our results on masks were just that – results. Daily Mail Online doesn’t like it, but surely it requires further investigation, because it is what has happened in an independent study. To dismiss it out of hand is unscientific, Covidian orthodoxy.
Final note from the founders: The Daily Mail criticise our evidence and sources without providing any sources or evidence themselves.
Sidenote, read the study paper. Don’t just accept the Daily Mail’s interpretation of it.