PEN-FM-logo

Is COVID-19 Herd Immunity Possible?

Is COVID-19 Herd Immunity Possible?

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, April 29, 2020

One effort some countries are undertaking to stem the rise of COVID-19 infections is to increase herd immunity.  There are physicians and scientists suggesting that the more individuals are exposed to the coronavirus, the faster the population will reach a hypothetical herd immunity. However there is no international consensus on this strategy given many factors about this particular viral strain that remain essentially unknown. Unfortunately, this week, the World Health Organization issued a warning that there is no guarantee or confirmatory evidence that persons infected with COVID-19 have generated reliable antibody responses that would protect them from reinfection.  Consequently, governments that are lessening lockdowns or making efforts to open their economies for business again may be contributing to the increase of other viral infections as well. On the other hand, this finding, if valid, may put a halt to attempts to require “immunity passports” or to implement draconian measures requiring certified proof of immunity or even vaccination. 

Now more than ever it is critically important to question and challenge many of the a priori assumptions being made about this pandemic’s rates of infection, immunity, and fatalities. 

Similarly there is no conclusive evidence that a person who receives a vaccine and generates antibodies is automatically protected from a given infection.  In fact, clinical and epidemiological studies show that recent measles and whooping cough outbreaks during the past decade occurred primarily in populations that are highly vaccinated and in some cases even exceed the percentage believed to confer herd immunity. In such areas where there is greater than 95 percent vaccination compliance, there should be very little or no outbreaks if we are to believe federal health officials.  However, parts of China succeeded in vaccinating upwards to 99% of residents against measles and are still experiencing outbreaks. Instead we are witnessing the opposite of what pro-vaccine advocates tell us, and the medical establishment is now being forced to acknowledge this trend

For example, in 2008 the largest measles outbreak in two decades occurred in a highly vaccinated community in San Diego.  Similarly, the Israeli measles outbreak in 2008 was in a region with a high 2-dose measles vaccine compliance. And in 2011, a woman working in New York City’s theater district who had been recently vaccinated against measles infected her colleagues at work. In the story covered by Science, the woman who has become known as “Measles Mary” had her immune defenses breakdown. Why this can happen is still relatively unknown. The late board certified pediatrician Dr. Toni Bark, who has spent thousands of hours studying the literature about vaccine efficacy and safety, has argued that there are people who have little or no antibodies due to genetic disposition and nevertheless do not succumb to infectious diseases that we are told vaccines protect us from.  Others, on the other hand, with substantial antibody loads can still succumb to infection.

We should also note several flaws in the herd immunity hypothesis based upon current vaccination policies. First, in order for the theory to actualize, all age groups of a population would need to reach 95% compliance — not just children. And vaccination rates among adults for chickenpox, Hepatitis A and B, influenza and pertussis each remain well below 50 percent. 

A second fallacy noted by JB Handley is that vaccines do not provide lifetime protection. As noted below, vaccination efficacy wanes. Dr. Russell Bllaylock, a board certified neurosurgeon and former professor, writes,

“That vaccine-induced herd immunity is mostly myth can be proven quite simply… It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness 2 to 10 years after being given… We have all lived for at least 30 to 40 years with 50% or less of the population having vaccine protection. That is, herd immunity has not existed in this country… Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public health officials and other medical personnel and the public into accepting vaccinations.”

Dr. Suzanne Humphries accurately summarizes the herd immunity myth: “Since the beginning of vaccination, there is little proof that vaccines are responsible for eradicating disease even when herd immunity vaccination levels have been reached.” Rather, “vaccination creates a quasi-sterile environment,” Dr. Humphries continues, “that opens up the possibility of disease outbreaks.” And this is exactly what we have been witnessing in infectious disease outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations.

Likewise it was hoped that widespread testing for coronavirus antibodies would be a game changer and promise the possibility of herd immunity. But that wish too seems to be unfulfilled. If there is any truth to the herd hypothesis then current serosurveys for coronavirus show we have a long way to go and the vast majority of Americans are still susceptible to infection.  Two recent study surveys in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles show that only 2.5 to 4 percent of those tested had antibodies — a long stretch away from reaching the 70 percent positive rate that health officials believe is necessary for COVID19 herd immunity. And even the 4 percent number may be an overestimation due to the studies’ methodological flaws. 

The challenges of influenza may be a precedent for what may be witnessed after a coronavirus vaccine is launched.  During every flu season the CDC reports on the vaccines’ percentage of effectiveness. This changes year to year. If we look at the last fifteen year outcomes, there are huge swings as high as 66 percent and as low as 12 percent efficacy. The 2019-2020 flu vaccine was determined to be 46 percent effective, which the CDC regards as a success. But the real problem with the CDC’s analysis is that if you are vaccinated against the flu and don’t contract it, 100 percent of the credit is given to the vaccine’s effectiveness. This is a distorted fallacy with no scientific basis. It is only wishful thinking. There can be numerous factors for why a person does not contract an infection during any given season. In southern regions with sufficient daily sunlight, people are more likely to have higher vitamin D levels that provide protection from respiratory infections. Other factors are diet, sufficient exercise, and a reduced body-mass index. Individuals’ level of sufficient nutrients, including vitamin C, selenium and zinc, may also be a factor. So why is all of the credit being given to vaccines and not to any of these other lifestyle interventions that strengthen the immune system?

Year after year the CDC touts the same statistics of flu fatalities and the mainstream media in its negligence continues to regurgitate them. Last year in its lead up to flu season, the New York Times parroted the ridiculous claim of 80,000 flu deaths during the previous year. Among these tens of thousands, only 172 were children; twenty percent of these children were vaccinated.  This would have us believe that the vast majority of so-called flu deaths were among adults and senior citizens. But AARP reports that only about 15,500 senior citizens died during last year’s flu season and 80 percent of ALL flu deaths are among those 65 and older. One does not need to be a math genius to observe something is terribly amiss in these figures. In fact Dr. Martin Meltzer, a CDC expert in health economics, has stated “almost nobody dies of the flu” and “deaths [are] associated with flu, but not necessarily caused by flu.”

More egregious is that federal health officials continue to push the flu vaccine upon senior citizens despite the evidence to the contrary that it provides little to no protection for this age group.  According to an article in Scientific American, “Flu Shots May Not Protect the Elderly or Very Young,” the science and official claims for the vaccine protecting older people during winter months has been “largely debunked.”  In addition, aside from being ineffective, the vaccine weakens seniors’ immune systems thereby making them more vulnerable to other respiratory infections, including the coronaviruses, and even a wild influenza strain. For this reason vaccinated seniors often become more sickly and frequently contract bronchial infections or pneumonia that can be lethal. 

At their best, flu vaccines remain around 50-60% effective according to official health statements. However, the World Health Organization’s predictions for the 2014-2015 flu strains were a bust. The match was such a failure that the CDC was forced to warn the American public that the vaccine was only 23% effective.  The 2017-2018 seasonal vaccine was another bomb. Although the CDC claimed the vaccine was 40 percent effective, an independent study at Rice University in Houston determined only a 19 percent efficacy, and they estimated a 20 percent efficacy for the prior season. Given the frequent ineffectiveness of seasonal flu vaccines, especially for the 65 years-plus age group, predictive methodologies to determine which flu strains emerge during any given influenza season have more in common with medieval divination than sound science.  In 64 studies involving 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6 percent and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day.”

Furthermore, the CDC makes no distinction between deaths due to influenza and pneumonia. The two are conflated together, likely intentional to increase the fear factor when the flu season approaches and almost 200 million vaccine doses need to be distributed. There are about 200 different viruses that display respiratory symptoms and are perhaps more often than not misdiagnosed for the flu. Unless a molecular assay or another test in specialized laboratories is performed, there can be no accurate accounting of actual flu infection rates, and rarely are any of these diagnostic tests done. Instead, the standard diagnostic test used, if at all, is the very imprecise Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test or RIDT. According to the American Lung Association, bacterial pneumococcal pneumonia (a form of Streptococcus) affects 900,000 people annually.  How many of the CDC’s 80,000 viral deaths, were actually caused by a bacteria?  

Oddly, when fatalities due to flu and coronavirus are compared this year, there is a remarkable steep decline in deaths associated with flu. Why is that?  Since COViD-19 deaths do not require confirmation through diagnostic testing, are many of these deaths in fact flu-related, other respiratory infections, or pneumonia? Seemingly, many flu-related deaths, along with comorbidities — most often preexisting heart and lung diseases, diabetes and obesity — are being captured and repurposed for coronavirus statistics. 

A danger we are facing is that all efforts are now being devoted to get a new profitable vaccine on the market.  In the prelude leading up to the launch of a COVID-19 vaccine, there has been an increase in propaganda how this will be the magic bullet that may bring an end to future COVID pandemics forever and life can return normal. 

Sadly, rapid damage control to improve people’s quality of health is not being given any attention.  For this reason it is urgent that health officials converse with independent researchers and physicians to share and discuss reliable scientific data and information before rushing off to vaccinate the population en mass.