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Byron Shire
December 5, 2021

A history of ‘freedom’ and the Northern Rivers vaccine divide

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Protesters against mandatory vaccination in Byron. Photo supplied

Among the many myths about the COVID-19 vaccines is a belief they contain live virus that a vaccinated person will shed in social and intimate circumstances. Along with many other vaccine myths, this belief is contributing to a significant divide in the Northern Rivers community.

By good fortune, sensible management and an open-air lifestyle, the Northern Rivers has been largely free of COVID-19 infections, even the Delta variant.

As many epidemiologists have noted, however, this situation will change quite dramatically as borders are opened and the region becomes flooded with COVID carriers. Our only hope, the government and health experts claim, is to vaccinate or to be excluded from social mingling. The torpid uptake of vaccination in the Northern Rivers can be partly explained by a lack of urgency and issues of vaccine availability – including the availability of vaccines other than AstraZeneca.

QR code check in

Nevertheless, areas like Byron and Mullumbimby have comparatively low vaccination rates and a number of highly vocal ‘anti-vaxxer’ communities. These anti-vaxxer groups can be identified through their particular cultural practices, beliefs and knowledge systems. They can divided into three broad categories:

  1. The Extreme Right. This is a global movement which is characterised by various forms of anti-democratic and anti-diversity political sentiment. While often claiming to be ‘anti-government’ and anti-authority, the extreme right is actually highly structured and organised, tending toward a highly centralised and violent form of authoritarianism. Some affiliates in this group claim to be extremely nationalistic; others are religious extremists who condemn abortion, same-sex relationships, naturism and other libertine practices. As seen in places like Melbourne, this group’s anti-vaccine stance is founded on a disdain for ‘weakness’ (which the vaccine represents); scientific knowledge (or anything that smells like education); and the social welfare model that is inscribed in democracy and human rights. Freedom for this group usually means the right to dominate and abjure their enemies, however defined.
  2. The Unknowing and Suspicious. This group access much of their news and social knowledge from like-minded friends, hearsay and social media. They are suspicious of government and the ‘expert’ knowledge that government authorizes. Many in this group feel betrayed by governments and political-speak, which is riddled with half-truths, self-interest and outright lies. They are also suspicious of mass media and scientific knowledge systems that tend to talk above their own educational levels. Freedom, for this group, is nested in pleasure and a general retreat from authority and rationalism.
  3. The Self-Informed Resistant. While this group is also anti-government and pro-freedom, affiliates would distinguish themselves as ‘informed’ and logical in their resistance. Many in this group express their abhorrence for mask-wearing, vaccination and passports through a devotion to the liberal ideal. That is, they believe their rights and capacity for free will are seriously impinged by government compulsion. This ‘progressivism’ often connected to some deeper suspicions of orthodox medicines and medical systems. Some in the group will cite ‘peer-reviewed’ research papers and minority medical ‘experts’ who challenge the orthodoxy. Others will cite alternative spiritual healers and ‘new age’ philosophy which deplore the ingestion of extraneous chemicals. And others will invoke nineteenth century liberalism to bring gravitas to their arguments on free thought and speech.

Despite a lack of support from Bundjalung woman Delta Kay, and condemnation by police, hundreds of protesters marched up Jonson Street on Saturday. At the Peace Pole near the Surf Club, speakers questioned the validity of COVID-19 lockdowns, border closures, government interventions and mandatory vaccinations.
Photo Jeff ‘Relatively Free Since 1986’ Dawson

This focus on rights and freedom is actually the common thread between all these anti-vaxxer groups. While the rhetoric might vary according to the specific political and cognate disposition of the group, there is a general agreement that vaccination and vaccine passports are part of the government’s project of repression. Beginning with suspicions about the virus itself, all three groups seem convinced that any form of state power is fundamentally pernicious – representing a conspiracy against individuals and personal autonomy.

Paradoxically, ‘freedom’ is also the central mantra for counter arguments, which insist that vaccination will protect us and restore our social and economic pleasures.

Hundreds of locals gathered outside the Mullumbimby Council chambers to protest against Australia’s COVID laws. Image: Jeff Dawson.

What’s a little freedom cost?

This paradox is not surprising, given the high value that our modern world places on the concept of freedom and personal choice. Much of the division around COVID-19 vaccines can be directly connected to similar debates around the concept of freedom itself. These debates have a deep and prolonged history emerging in ancient Chinese, Vedic, Abrahamite and Western religion and philosophy.

By and large, our intrigue with the idea of freedom (or free will) is an effect of radical social changes associated with the rise and spread of agriculture and human settlement. Beginning around 12,000 years ago, these changes altered the ways in which humans interacted and conceived of themselves and their relationship with the universe.

Most significantly, these changes encouraged human groups to store economic value, encouraging military systems and the uneven distribution of wealth and power. An individual’s desires, pleasures and needs, therefore, became a contingency of power and new forms of social stratification. Religion and philosophy attempted to explain and sometimes resolve this disjunction between each individual and the social whole. Most often, the disjunction was resolved through the explicit exercise of power and violence.

Capitalist economics is really an incarnation of this system whereby individuals battle to impose their personal needs and desires over others. The difference between modern democratic states and totalitarian political systems (past and present) is largely a matter of how the rhetoric (or discourse) of ‘freedom’ is deployed. Democracy and liberalism have evolved as another strategy for resolving the problem of individual and collective needs. Capitalist and consumer economics require an imaginary of choice in order to function. But these choices have to be constrained within a system of uneven distribution of wealth and social stratification.

Caroline and Holly English ready to get the jab.

Power & persuasion

So, there must always be a gap between what different people on the scale can afford in order to ensure the uneven distribution of pleasures and power.

So why don’t the masses just take what they want? Democracy was invented in order to give a sense in which the system is fair and logical. It was designed by a particular political class in the nineteenth century in order to resolve the disjunction between individuals and the social whole. Democracy and related discourses of freedom give us the sense that we actually do have choices and that all of us are equal in our ability to access power.

The difficulty has proved, of course, that social stratification and the power of the state to exercise violence remain entirely unresolved.

Whatever the rhetoric of freedom might ensure, democracy was never designed to endow universal freedom through the deconstruction of social stratification and power. Democracy was an invention of a particular social class seeking to defend itself against aristocratic power on the one hand and the ‘unwashed’ masses on the other. Democracy was a protective system which fortified the power and privilege of the owners of capital.

Innumerable social philosophers have explained this divide between the rhetoric of democratic freedom and the reality of social stratification. They ask the question – are we actually able to think freely at all, or is our thinking simply conditioned by prevailing ideologies? Antonio Gramsci called this ‘hegemony’: major social institutions give us a semblance of choice, but really we are just negotiating with our own delusions.

Poor suffer

If nothing else, the global COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that social stratification remains a powerful force, even in the spread of disease and the means by which vaccines are being distributed.

In considering the vaccination issue, therefore, we can see that the ‘choice’ is really a modest one. Neither the vaccine nor its resistance is a matter of freedom at all. ‘Freedom’ in the context of our modern world remains a relative term, a fantasy that is bound to our systems of stratification, power and violence.

As we see with other great global crises – climate change, species extinction, warfare, endemic poverty – we ordinary citizens have extremely limited capacity for actual choice because our knowledge systems are so constrained by the cultural trajectory that begun 12,000 years ago. We can only choose from the range of options that the historical volition permits. Our capacity for thinking, that is, struggles to break through the prevailing knowledge systems.

The vaccination question isn’t a matter of freedom. It’s a matter of how this global pandemic was shaped by zoonosis, population pressure and the ceaseless expansion of human economy. COVID-19 is not simply a phenomenon of the past two years, Chinese militarism, or European colonialism. It’s an effect of this deep history and humans’ unthinking expansionism and the correlative destruction of our life systems.

COVID-19, therefore, needs to be understood as a symptom, more than a cause.

Understanding what’s in a vaccine. Photo Shutterstock

Time to vax?

So, should we all get vaccinated and be compelled to bear our vaccine passports in order to mingle and move?

I can only say ‘yes’, but not because it will endow – or restrict – my capacity for freedom. Rather, I think it’s worth extending human survival a little longer in the hope that we might address the horrors we have inflicted on these life forms and systems.

Beyond that, I suspect that most anti-vaxxers in the Northern Rivers will surrender when a close friend becomes really sick or they realise that the COVID vaccine contains neither live virus nor compliance pills. Some resistance will remain. But don’t fool yourself that you are expressing freedom of choice or your personal rights. You will not affect social stratification or the power of the state. Sadly, you will just be putting yourself at risk for the sake of a fantasy.

♦ Jeff Lewis is an anthropology professor. He is a former Research Dean at RMIT and Professorial Fellow at the London School of Economics. His books include Language Wars and Media and Human Violence: From Savage Lovers to Violent Complexity. He recently completed a government-commissioned research report on Right Wing Extremism in Australia.


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29 COMMENTS

  1. Insightful, balanced and thoughtful article! The author brings a contextually deeper understanding of the underlying issues regarding the need to vaccinate. This piece resonates with the recent and powerful article by Indigenous X writer Nayuka Gorrie, a Kurnai (Gunai), Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman. She writes: “knowing the history of the ways our bodies have been abused and used, I know that still, the vaccine is the best way I can keep my family and community safe. To reject this free vaccine feels like wasting a privilege and an affront to my ancestors who died from immunisable illnesses. I wrote to a friend a few weeks ago who was watching Covid19 sweep its way across her Gomeroi country. I wrote that the way our community cares for each other is our greatest strength right now. Where white culture leaves their most vulnerable behind, it is in our cultures to protect each other to ensure our survival. Right now, with the information we have, we are all we have to keep each other safe.” Source: (https://indigenousx.com.au/why-vaccination-presents-an-ethical-dilemma-for-us-but-remains-the-best-way-to-keep-our-families-safe/?fbclid=IwAR0Q5rorhEJ3N2kXnOkUaF5-w0cjJlkP3NzAaezZqILbnsPJbdh_MJXxClo)

    • I don’t fit into any of the categories mentioned. I hope this response won’t be censored!

      I’m Not anti-vax, had plenty. Not anti-Govt, work with Govt. Not right wing, not left either – I do swing in the wind politically.
      Never signed up for social media. Have seen friends get sick from Covid and sick from the jab. Have friends in pharmaceutical based medicine and natural medicine.

      What I am, is a person who balances risk.
      I assess different types of risk for a living which also helps me to keep living while taking enjoyable, measured risks.

      For example – at my age, less than 60, not over-weight or with any pre-existing health conditions, the risk of death or complications from Covid are extremely low.
      Lower than death or injury I may face when the swell is up and I paddle out to catch a risk buzz (a large wave) or ride my motorbike home on a dark and wet, pothole laden local road.

      There is however, the known potential risk of an adverse reaction to the jab, but it’s the long term risk to my health that is unknown and that is what concerns me most. So, if I can’t assess that risk as yet (Pfizer trials and 31 Jan, 2023) best I avoid it until I can make an “informed” assessment.
      And now it’s ok to persecuted and call me names for that?

      As for “doing it for community” thing, Director of the CDC in the US Rochelle Walensky, categorically stated that the jabs are not stopping transmission of delta “what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission”.

      Anyone outside the vulnerable groups who gets the shot when supplies in this region were low, may well be jumping the queue, potentially ahead of someone with greater need, therefore is doing a community dis-service. Also, I’m yet to see Pharma set up a fund with their crazy profits to help those effected, that would be a nice thing to do, but shareholders may disagree.

      So, the doing it for others trip, in my age group doesn’t wash. Community volunteering does and I do plenty.

      To suggest that everyone across the board should get jabbed, regardless of age, health or circumstance shows a complete lack of critical thinking and sadly, I think time will prove that point. And to even consider pricking healthy children with almost nil risk is absurd and appears to be driven by financial motives, that are taking advantage of irrational fear which is madness and unethical in my humble opinion.

      Respect choice and love all.

      • Steve –

        Rochelle Walensky updated CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people, “recommending that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of substantial and high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.” This was because of the higher viral loads detected in some breakthrough cases of Delta.

        The CDC website states: “High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus. This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation.”

        I have been unable to find anything that suggests that the CDC has made a definitive statement about the implied proven total inability of vaccines to make no contribution to Covid transmission. Time for you to give us a link to the quote you are so fond of so that we can 1) judge its veracity and 2) if it exists see it in context.

        Nature.com has information on a more recent UK study:” One massive analysis of Delta transmission comes from the UK REACT-1 programme, led by a team at Imperial College London, which tests more than 100,000 UK volunteers every few weeks. …The results suggested that among people testing positive, those who had been vaccinated had a lower viral load on average than did unvaccinated people. Paul Elliott, an epidemiologist at Imperial, says that these results differ from other Ct studies because this study sampled the population at random and included people who tested positive without showing symptoms.”

        There seems little doubt however that the evolution of the virus to date has made it more infectious, perhaps more virulent, more prevalent in younger cohorts and more robust against vaccines. What has caused the rapid evolution of this virus? The teeming millions of opportunities it has had to replicate and mutate in a world awash with infection. This to me suggests a reason why – even if we want to consider only self-interest – it’s in all our interests to contain this disease.

        Those who don’t get infected, because their vaccine stopped infection, don’t set off in train the rapid high reproduction infection rate of others – before you even know you are infected. This doesn’t count in the “doing it for others trip”?

        Yes the vaccines are new but the date you refer to in 2023 is the time frame during which Pfizer has undertaken to continue monitoring its Phase 3 trial participants for long-term efficacy and safety. Ongoing monitoring of vaccines after approval is normal practice.

        You are free to weigh the risks for yourself. I don’t know quite how you judge your risks of surviving this disease since the emergence of Delta combined with high levels of vaccination in most of the countries with good data, obviously muddy the waters. I’d be interested in where you have found your 99.9% survival rate IN THE TOTALLY UNVACCINATED.

        I would not take away your choice to be vaccinated but how are you currently persecuted?

        It’s a shock to find yourself denied access that you had a couple of weeks ago but the regions have had access to pubs, restaurants, gyms etc only because our infection rates are not anything like Sydney’s problems and Sydney has been (marginally) kept away from us. The only circumstances in which Sydney can emerge from lockdown is tentatively, as vaccination rates meet modelled thresholds.

        Part of the tentativeness is asking the unvaccinated to not mix with the vaccinated because vaccination has been shown to be the thing making a big difference. Those opting out have been asked in NSW to deal with this until Dec 1 – unspecified in Victoria.

        When you are about to enjoy the fruits of a vaccination program undertaken by others of whom you are “in awe”, is this persecution? Or do you think Sydney should stay locked down until 2023?

        • Liz, I understand it is very difficult for some to acknowledge or comprehend that the jabs don’t stop transmission of the delta variant.

          You should have little trouble confirming the following;

          August 5, 2021
          CDC Director, Dr Walensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, regarding jabs “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death — they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”

          More for you;
          July 31, 2021
          Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals have similar viral loads in communities with a high prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant. Dept of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

          August 19, 2021
          Fully vaccinated people can carry as much delta virus as unvaccinated people, data indicate. Sarah Walker, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford UK

          October 4, 2021
          University of California, Davis, Genome Center, San Francisco and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub shows no significant difference in viral load between vaccinated and unvaccinated people who tested positive for the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2

          While your at it Liz, search “UK Gov’t confirms Covid19 harmless to VAST MAJORITY of people”

          As for the trials, anyone jabbed is part of a massive experiment, sugar coat it at your leisure, Pharma were given “emergency” use authorisation and indemnity from prosecution, far from normal. There is no long term safety data, none.

          Such very early days, soo much more to learn. Let’s check back in a year Liz. Good luck!

          PS. Ask someone who has had an adverse reaction if Pfizer are monitoring them for safety or anything at all for that matter.

          • Steve
            What I didn’t ask for is patronising understanding, about what I can and can’t comprehend, from people who are fed their diet of personal “research” by social media algorithms.

            What I did ask for was the reference/link for the full documentation of the Walensky quote. Surely you have it?

            I haven’t disputed the widely accepted phenomenon of generally higher viral loads in the vaccinated, of those infected with the Delta variant. It’s noted to be much higher than occurred with the original and earlier variants. What this means in terms of transmissibility has not been defined by these medicos you quote because science requires thorough monitoring and investigation before jumping to conclusions – the data is still emergent.

            Some monitoring has suggested that the period of high viral load is halved in the vaccinated. There is also the extensive UK study I referred to that reported different results in the randomly tested rather than those who become ill enough to seek testing. The jury is still out.

            I don’t particularly care. As I stated, the fact that Delta is so much more concerning just makes extraordinary measures – like lockdowns, masks, and vaccination being a precondition in many contexts – defensible.

            Even IF the vaccines do nothing to mitigate against the infectiousness of people with breakthrough infections, it drastically reduce the number of people you will potentially infect if you don’t get infected at all.

            You do understand the difference between the two different avenues of protection of others? It’s not just about your viral load if infected it’s also about your improved chances of not being infected – thought now to be about 65% protection?

            Again no citation for the claim “UK Gov’t confirms Covid19 harmless to VAST MAJORITY of people”. Without the details we can’t tell if this statement was made in the context of the UK having a high vaccination rate. If you’re really into risk analysis you should be able to explain exactly how you have arrived at your precise risk profile.

            Pfizer was given emergency authorisation in the US, it has since been given full approval (according to healthfeedback.org).

            SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus. Treatments and vaccines against it will be new. All new pharmaceuticals start without long-term data. Call that an experiment if you like; make your own decision about when you consider you will have enough data. How are you being persecuted?

            Sorry, I don’t know anyone who has had an adverse reaction to the Pfizer vaccine – certainly not anyone who was in the Phase 3 trial of whom they undertook to do monitoring.

            I wish you luck too and hope you remain in good health.

      • “Anyone outside the vulnerable groups who gets the shot when supplies in this region were low, may well be jumping the queue, potentially ahead of someone with greater need, therefore is doing a community dis-service.”

        Now that really is clutching at straws in an attempt to tarnish the vaccinated as the selfish ones. Eligibility for vaccination was expanded by degrees of vulnerability as supply became available. There is now plenty for everyone. But the mix of tenses here – gets, were, is doing a disservice – makes it hard to know if there was or is queue jumping going on.

    • Hmm, I can’t tell if that makes you group 2, group 3 or willfully ignorant? More protection than a face mask, less protection than being a hermit.
      Proven to make you less likely to contract covid, or get really ill, and less infectious in shedding the virus, and infectious for a shorter period. Does your understanding extend to how much you value your parents and other elders in the community?

      • Look up the dictionary: vaccine. vaccine | ˈvaksiːn, ˈvaksɪn |
        noun
        a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease: there is no vaccine against the virus.

        • Yep – that’s what the Covid 19 vaccines do: “ or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease”.

  2. Excellent article!

    So many who bang on about their ‘rights’ refuse to accept that with every right come responsibilities.

    One’s right to refuse vaccination must be balanced by one’s responsibility not to infect, or put at risk, others.

  3. I think injecting a live virus is of least concern among the covid vaccine hesitant, (NOT ANTI-VAXER). It is the deliverance of a newly formed technology called mRNA vaccine that is not even defined as a vaccine and is still in experimental phases. I love the balanced writing here though real concerns are not upheld. But that is the wiggly thread all journalists are experiencing to have an unfiltered, ‘think tank’ discourse is – scary.

    • The evidence suggests that the vaccines in use in Australia are successful in three areas:
      Protection against infection
      Reducing transmission risk in breakthrough infections
      Giving high level protection against severe illness and death.

      I don’t know what you consider a “vaccine” to be but I also don’t know what there isn’t to like about those three offerings.

      Are they safe? Nothing is 100% safe but our very conservative TGA has considered their benefits to outweigh the risks. If people are concerned about mRNA vaccines we seem to have an abundant supply of an alternative, Astra Zeneca. What would be great is if people discussed their uncertainties and individual medical profile with someone who follows the reliable sources and understands the terminology and technicalities. Like perhaps their GP or specialist.

  4. We don’t need more of your bias Vax pushing ideals. This is not democracy it’s pure invasion of human rights. Simple.
    I know you’ve been warned by the Gov to only promote the Vax but maybe you could just say nothing. We don’t care about your personal opinions and attempts to coherse innocent organic beings by trying to make there spiritual truths and alternative medicines quakery.

  5. It makes me laugh but also cringe, that these people want freedoms and their actions actually make the whole process longer ans drawn out. They have stupid arguments like shedding but don’t understand what they are actually saying.
    I must be nice to live behind rose tinted glasses and pretend SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t exist, and scicence it wrong, and “you just want to track us and inject us with chips”.
    These same people suddenly go very quite when they need to rely on the government handout due to Lockdown, the medical staff and science when they get covid – and they will in some form or another, and on many a death bed after they have spread the virus willy nilly due to perfect storm of stupidity are not charge for murder and endangerment to themselves, family or the poor people they have infected.
    The sooner community can open up and these people get finded for breaking rules and exempt from being in the community for their own stupidity and selfishness I will be waving them with my vaccine passport and they can all Fnck off

  6. A terrific article so well expressed, logical and reasoned. The graph in today’s SMH showed that all those admitted to hospital the vaccinated were fewer and those even with 1 vaccination didn’t reach even half way up the red graph of those unvaccinated. Freedom shouldn’t be about self but all those precious to you. Thank you Echo

  7. What a disappointing opinion piece.

    I was expecting an insightful and measured explication of the concept of liberty in terms of the freedom from tyrrany which inspired the likes of the American Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), not this extremist drivel.

    There are two possible extreme positions on covid vaccines; one is that no one should take them because of the belief that they are dangerous and ineffective, and the other is that everyone should take them because of the belief that there is no other solution to the pandemic.

    If you subscribe to either of these positions you are adopting an extreme position.

  8. Far right wing groups? Who are they? Neo Nazis? Do they even exist in Australia or is the author simply redefining terms to suit the topic? After all, if such groups exists, they exist unseen and unheard so the author is taking a strawman position to evoke “far right” when they practically are non-existant, maybe he has the country’s mixed up? Maybe he thinks we are America? Rather, Mr Author, why don’t you focus on communism and socialism as a prime driver of the Covid porn we keep hearing day in day out? That’s where the history of “bad $h!4 happens” and capitalism has been the saviour of 1st world economies. To the Mullum and Byron bay people, get vaccinated as Covid is coming. I don’t like mandatory programs and I don’t agree with the level of government intrusion into my life but I want, some, of my freedoms back. To the Author, focus on far left groups instead, the capitalist haters, the Bernard Sanders, the Australian greens and the Greta Thunbergs of the world as the evil people they are.

  9. I wonder how it feels to become extinct? Were previous (and ongoing) extinctions marked by similar unresolved debates about the coming apocalypse? Or is humanity the only one gifted the luxury of endless arguments on the beach?

  10. So, Prof Jeff Lewis,
    are you offering medical advice or is your background in “media and cultural studies”?

    I find your article somewhat simplistic, using the media tags “Right wing” and anti-vaxers as some sort of proof that you know what you are talking about.

    What i find more disappointing is that Echo fails to publish anything on early treatment protocols which is something that 100% of the community can benefit from. But hey, lets print an uninformed opinion from a divisive individual who wishes to preach from the unholy book of Puritanical Vaxism. From what is can tell Jeff has no medical credentials.

    Let not waste precious time or lives! Covid wave is coming and regardless of status, our community needs to be prepared by having at the very minimum a health pack from Mullum Herbal at home for when they “isolate” you at home with no advice or help from a state medical system..
    Stay safe, wish there were more medical people allowed to on this important issue. (ps I guess it is because of a gag order?)
    peace

  11. The “myth” you speak of has been elucidated in a paper on the FDA website here https://www.fda.gov/media/89036/download

    “Design and Analysis of Shedding Studies for Virus or Bacteria-Based Gene Therapy and Oncolytic Products”

    Although their conclusion in the paper states that “transmission to untreated individuals is an extremely low probability event”, I would suggest that the reason we have such an uptick in cases and contagion is because of “shedding”. In fact, it is the unvaccinated that are at risk from the vaccinated.

    • The FDA paper you cite refers to cancer treatments: “ Oncolytic viruses as a gene therapy for cancer.
      Non-replicating or replicating viruses can be used as a gene transfer vector to introduce for example a therapeutic gene, co-stimulatory molecule or cytokine into cancer cells or to prime lymphocytes with tumor antigens in cancer vaccine approaches.”

      The CDC explains: “Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.”

      Indications that the uptick in cases and contagion are due to the Delta virus are that genomic sequencing demonstrates that this variant is the one that has become dominant across the globe. It’s greater success as a pathogen has meant that it has been selected by evolutionary forces.

      But thanks Organichuman, you have given us an insight into a line of inquiry and conclusion that is just so dangerous. First, without any stated medical qualifications, you have attempted to interpret a complex scientific paper. The paper (big clue here “oncolytic”) is about cancer treatments. Do you have any understanding of to what extent it is relevant to the vaccines used in Australia for Covid vaccines? Btw, I’m not suggesting I do.

      From this highly problematic starting point you (or some social media warrior) thinks they have detected a chink: “an extremely low probability event”. But you have progressed it to “I would suggest that the reason … is …”
      Next, the coup de gras: “ IN FACT, it is the unvaccinated that are at risk from the vaccinated”.
      Fact?
      Unavoidable conclusion?

      Science would indeed suggest you are at risk from us organichuman. The vaccinated can, our experts tell us, catch and transmit the virus – though we are less likely to – and the unvaccinated, they tells us, are more likely to contract it.

      But please leave epidemiology to the qualified!

      • The operative words are ” Virus or Bacteria-Based Gene Therapy”, AND ” Oncolytic Products”
        MRNA “vaccines” created by Moderna and Pfizer are gene therapies.
        Might be a good idea to check the stats of the most highly “vaccinated” countries like Singapore and Israel to see why I made my suggestion.
        But why should we leave “epidemiology to the qualified” when we have the all knowing and ubiquitous Liz to make all the necessary corrections. 🙂

        • Organichuman, I would warrant that the paper offering “Guidance for Industry” is primarily for the development of treatments using viral or bacterial vectors for emerging therapies – an area at the cutting edge of cancer treatment.

          Covid 19 vaccines are not therapies, they are preventative measures and, as the CDC quote I gave you explains the ones we use do not contain live virus.

          I’m not suggesting I have any special qualifications, Organichuman. It’s not me who has gone from tenuously related paper (that I conceded I couldn’t interpret with any expertise) to wild hypothesis to claims that said hypothesis is FACT solely on the basis of personal opinion. Three easy steps to a medical breakthrough!

          I’m sorry if you feel that only you, or particular views, have the right to be ubiquitous on these pages. But if you want me to stop posting, stop offering such clearly deficient sourcing and logic.

        • I was also wondering Organichuman, why you are so reluctant to accept what some (the majority) of scientific sources are telling you about shedding and Covid 19 vaccines, but you are happy to seize upon this paper, from equally mainstream science, to bolster your personal narrative. All with clearly dubious capacity to judge its relevance.

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