Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
This week, Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) president, and Polly Tommey, co-producer of “Vaxxed,” cover the latest COVID headlines, including data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) that shows a total of 595,622 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 13,068 deaths and 81,050 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020 and Aug. 13, 2021.
Also on tap this week is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine — an approval critics say is based only on six months’ worth of data with no public discussion period.
Mary and Polly also cover the FDA’s decision to call the newly approved Pfizer shot “Comirnaty,” a Bloomberg report that says vaccinated people are getting COVID at a “surprisingly high rate” and a new study that found fully vaccinated healthcare workers carry 251 times the viral load of COVID viruses in their nostrils compared to the unvaccinated.
Here are more of this week’s highlights:
- A report by NPR says booster shots could make the pandemic worse. The World Health Organization (WHO) said it strongly opposes booster shots for adults in rich countries because the shots could drive the emergence of more dangerous mutants.
- An Instagram post by Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, reveals White House staff are not required to get the COVID vaccine.
- American radio personality Stew Peters posted a meme to social media listing places you can work that don’t require a COVID vaccine. They include the White House, CDC, FDA, Moderna, Pfizer, WHO and Johnson & Johnson.
- A CNN report says worker shortages mean employer vaccine mandates are not likely to be the answer to raising the nation’s vaccination rate. A survey found 50% of unvaccinated workers would quit their jobs if their employer required the COVID shot. “As these mandates fall into place, we’re going to see huge dislocations in all kinds of markets,” said Mary.
- A USA Today report says religious appeals and faith-based interventions are effective at persuading people to get vaccinated against COVID. Among Americans who are vaccinated and regularly attend religious services, about one-third report that faith-based interventions made them more likely to get the shot.
- Pope Francis is urging people to get vaccinated against COVID, calling it “an act of love.” Mary asked, “Have they met someone who is vaccine-injured? Have they met someone in their congregations who died from the vaccine?”
- An Alabama doctor announced he will no longer see patients who are not vaccinated against COVID. Just 36% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID. “You do need to think through, if you need medical help, where will you turn?” asked Mary. “It’s going to get more challenging.”
- The University of Washington Medical Center denied organ transplants to patients who refuse a COVID vaccine. A 64-year-old patient was yanked from the waitlist for a heart transplant after he refused the jab. He was on the list for two-and-a-half years.
- Quinnipiac University in Connecticut will fine unvaccinated students up to $2,275 and block their internet access if they refuse to comply with the school’s COVID policy. “This is becoming extremely totalitarian,” said Mary. “That student can’t function there if they can’t access the internet. It’s basically saying, ‘We won’t educate you if you’re not vaccinated.’”
- The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders will require fans to show proof of vaccination or get the COVID vaccine at the entrance.
- Apple, Samsung and Google announced plans for features to readily call up a QR code that can be scanned to quickly verify a user’s vaccination status. “This part of the biosecurity state goldrush,” said Mary. “They’re going to make money on this.”
- The University of California, San Diego is examining students’ poop to determine potential COVID outbreaks. The tool reportedly alerted researchers to about 85% of COVID cases in dorms before they were diagnosed. “That sounds dodgy,” said Polly. “They’re calling it wastewater surveillance,” said Mary. “They’re trying to find the asymptomatic carriers. That sounds so easy to manipulate.”
- Scientists and health experts say the data used to push COVID booster shots is premature and not compelling. “There is no justification for the licensure,” said Mary. “They didn’t have a meeting of their advisory committee. It shows they can’t tolerate much transparency or scrutiny.”
- Big Pharma has its eyes set on the next childhood vaccine cash cow — mRNA vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Now that COVID vaccines have established mRNA technology as the “new frontier for vaccine development,” pharma giants have set their sights on an mRNA vaccine for RSV — which they hope to add to an already overburdened childhood vaccine schedule.
- Federal officials are investigating the effects of the Moderna vaccine after new research from Canada linked it to a higher risk of heart inflammation in young adults than previously thought. The research found a greater risk of heart inflammation in men under 30.
- UK scientists behind the AstraZeneca vaccine have started human trials on a new vaccine aimed to fight Black Death, a centuries-old bacterial disease. The shot uses a weakened version of adenovirus (a common-cold virus) from chimpanzees that’s been genetically altered so it cannot cause an infection in people.
- India granted emergency use for Zydus Cadila’s COVID vaccine, the world’s first DNA shot against the virus, in adults and children 12 and older. “More cashing in on the COVID cash cow,” said Mary. “Why should India be left out? They have a big pharmaceutical industry. The biggest vaccine producer in the world is in India.”
- A photo posted to Twitter of France’s digital COVID vaccine passport has slots for eight booster shots. “It’s worth looking at this graphic,” said Mary. “This is not going to end tomorrow.”
- A healthy 23-year-old man from Ireland died from a massive brain bleed three days after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “The media makes no mention that he had just received the COVID vaccine,” said Mary.
- Israel is requiring anyone over 3 years old to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before entering restaurants, museums, libraries, gyms and pools. Officials said they will lockdown again if things don’t improve.
- The Scottish government wants to make many emergency COVID powers permanent, including the ability to close schools and impose lockdowns. “It’s the centralization of power and permanent emergency powers,” said Mary. “Very disturbing stuff.”
- A YouTube video shows police in Victoria, Australia shooting and spraying gas at unarmed protesters — all in the name of health. “People should be thinking, is that coming here?” asked Mary.
- Germany’s largest amusement park, Europa-Park, is segregating the vaccinated and unvaccinated using colored wristbands. “This is the beginning of a whole new social order based on vaccination status,” said Mary.
- A new study from the University of Waterloo says most cloth face masks are only 10% effective. N95 masks were found the most effective at filtering aerosols.
- Recent testing found 78 sunscreens, including five Johnson & Johnson products, contained cancer-causing ingredients like benzene. The highest levels were found in Neutrogena, Sun Bum, CVS Health and Fruit of the Earth products.
- Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order barring any city, county, or state entity from mandating COVID vaccines. The order follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Phoenix high school teacher who sought a restraining order against the school’s mask mandate because it violates a new Arizona law prohibiting mask and vaccine mandates.
- George Mason University granted a professor a medical exemption from its COVID vaccine mandate after the teacher filed a lawsuit. “He filed a very impressive lawsuit. He’s a constitutional law professor and he wrote an op-ed about it in the Wall Street Journal,” said Mary. “I’m glad to see the school appropriately granted him a medical exemption because he had recovered from COVID. He had antibodies.”
- A group of United Airline pilots are seeking a temporary restraining order against the airline’s vaccine mandate. The 18 pilots — who have a combined total of roughly 200 years of military aviation and 440 years of commercial aviation experience — say the mandate is discriminatory, based on misinformation and puts the pilots and the general public at risk. “Good for them,” said Mary. “All people are at higher risks of blood clots when you’re under higher pressure up in the air. It’s a huge risk for pilots.”
- A British Columbia judge ruled that lawyers are not allowed to ask potential jurors if they have received a COVID vaccine. Their vaccine status is “private and personal,” he said.
- The Defender weekly newsletter is now available in four additional languages. Sign up for CHD news and updates here today.
Watch “This Week” with Mary + Polly: