Spoiler alert: The vaccines work!
ZDoggMD talks about how the new coronavirus vaccines are remarkably safe and effective and why it’s about time that the CDC stated the obvious. He also touches on Facebook censorship.
Following is a rough transcript of his remarks (Note: errors are possible):
ZDoggMD: What’s up, everybody? Welcome to the ZDoggMD show. The CDC has basically come out today and said what we’ve all been thinking for the past few weeks — meaning the people that I’ve had on my show — what I’ve been saying publicly, which is if you’re vaccinated, vaccines are the endpoint of this pandemic. It’s the way we get out of this.
They work. They’re effective. They’re safe. You ought to be able to chill out, meaning hang out with even unvaccinated people who are lower risk in your home, not that people aren’t doing that anyways because by all the public shaming and everything that we’ve done we’ve forced people into their houses, which is the least safe place to be from coronavirus.
But the bottom line is they finally came out today and said, “Yeah, you know what? Actually, seems like we could go ahead and tell vaccinated people that they can chill with their homies, even if their homies are unvaccinated, assuming they’re not super high risk, which again begs the question, “Why isn’t everyone just vaccinated?” Well, that’s the goal.
The spin-up of vaccines continues, and what we’re going to see … we already have about close to 10% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. Like, that’s crazy … and what we’re starting to see is, again, people are waking up to this idea that, “Oh, we were understandably skeptical about a vaccine that felt rushed even though it wasn’t. It felt like it was rushed. We don’t understand mRNA technology. We don’t understand the Johnson & Johnson technology, or were there fetal cells used in the Johnson & Johnson technology?”
Actually, even that was one of those things where I did a video on it. It’s like, “Well, actually, even the Vatican, it says that’s cool, the way that they developed that vaccine.” So we’re reaching a tipping point now where everything is changing, and things are going to wake up and open up no matter what the Facebook independent fact checkers say when you say something like that.
My friend Marty Makary, Dr. Marty Makary from Johns Hopkins [and MedPage Today Editor-in-Chief], was on the show. He’d written a Wall Street Journal editorial saying, “Hey we’re going to have something close to herd immunity by the end of April between vaccination and natural infection.” Facebook censored that article. A Wall Street Journal article said it was misinformation and had incorrect science in it.
It’s like, “No, Marty was making a projection based on the science that he has, just like Imperial College of London made a projection early on in the pandemic saying millions of Americans were going to die.” Turned out to be wrong. We don’t label them misinformation. The idea is that with science you take the data you have, you keep changing your projections based on new data, you keep updating your prior assumptions.
What happened with the vaccines when they came out? Well, people are so afraid of optimism because they’ve been burned time and time again by actual misinformation like, “Oh, this thing’s going to magically go away. We didn’t have a full understanding of the seasonality of it. We …” Even though some people were predicting doom and gloom, some people weren’t.
The idea that, “Oh, well, wait. There actually is good news and we can believe it.” It’s now faced with complete skepticism, because when you show like the Israeli results looking at asymptomatic transmission and symptomatic transmission after vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine … they looked in healthcare workers … it was like a dramatic reduction in transmission of coronavirus with vaccines.
Early on, everyone was like, “Well, we know that it stopped some symptomatic disease in the trials, but we didn’t study transmission, so what if you get vaccinated and then you can still transmit it to someone? Well, then you still have to not see your friends and hug your mom and do all that, even though you went and got vaccinated.”
That is the worst possible message to get someone who’s already understandably nervous and skeptical about a new vaccine to go get that vaccine, and the idea is not to say something just to get them to get the vaccine. It’s to tell the truth, which is every single vaccine that we have has reduced the transmission of the agent that it’s designed to prevent transmission of. That’s what vaccines do.
You can kind of just assume that that’s going to happen and then study it too, but just say, “Okay, look. You want to open up, you want to get back to your life, you want to end this national and international disaster? Get vaccinated.”
By this point, millions of people have been vaccinated. We have not seen a strong safety signal beyond the red arm and soreness and the flu that I got with the Moderna vaccine and the rare anaphylaxis, the allergic reaction. We haven’t seen a strong safety signal that makes us go, “Oh, this is different. You know what? There’s something crazy going on here.”
Nope, turns out it works. It turns out it’s effective as in the trials. The Israelis showed that in real life, and now we have the Johnson & Johnson, which is a single dose, and CDC is saying, “Well, if you’re 2 weeks out from the final dose of whatever your regimen is, if it’s single-dose or if it’s the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer, you should be able to chill with your homies.”
They still say you’re not supposed to travel. When you’re in public you’re still supposed to use the standard mitigation strategies of masking, distancing, hand washing, and following whatever rules, and look, I get why that is, because how are you going to know who’s vaccinated and not? And even if you’re vaccinated, if you’re out in the world with a ton of unvaccinated people and the prevalence of the disease is high, the vaccines aren’t perfect. You could get infected, right, so I get why they’re doing that.
I think that’s going to change soon enough once we get a critical mass of people vaccinated, and it’s going to come sooner than we think, which I think, again, how long have we been waiting now for this to end? And when the end is in sight it seems like there’s so much gloom and doom in the public health apparatus that they just cannot message accurately, which is, “It’s almost over.”
Now, this gets to a couple of things. People who still don’t trust the vaccine, and look, I think most people who don’t trust the vaccine did so with good cause, especially early on. I was one of them. I’m like, “Wait, we’re going to do what in how much time and why?” Now I’ve done multiple videos debunking myself and my own skepticism and basically saying, “No, actually this is done correctly. It works great.”
In fact, the new technologies, the adenovirus vector in Johnson & Johnson, the mRNA technology in the Pfizer and Moderna shots, they are transformative of how we might do vaccines in the future. We may just totally change the game for infectious diseases and even things like cancer. It’s really a pivot point in the history of vaccine science, and we ought to be rejoicing.
Like when the polio vaccine came out, people were screaming from the rooftops. They canceled school so kids could go home and celebrate, and instead with this we’re so burned, we’re so fatigued, we’ve been subject to so much misinformation on all sides of the spectrum, “Oh, the thing’s a total hoax and it’s going to get better tomorrow.” Or, “Oh my God, we need to cower and hide in fear forever and ever and wear 27.6 masks because that’s better than 27.5 masks.”
What I’m trying to say is this is almost over and it’s over because of science. It’s over because people modulate their behavior when they see hospitals filling up with people. They start to behave differently. We’ll ultimately see what the effect of masking and distancing ultimately was.
We managed to eradicate an entire flu season through viral interference from the coronavirus itself, through maybe the masking, definitely the distancing, definitely closing the schools, which is a big vector of flu, not so much coronavirus, and through cut down in international travel, because it’s been a worldwide end of the flu season, basically.
Let that settle in. I mean, flu infects hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year, millions of people around the world, and causes tons of deaths, and whatever we did for the pandemic actually had the ancillary benefit of pretty much wiping out flu, and then we learned about this new vaccine strategy.
We were able to cut through the red tape and actually study it in a time when the disease is all over the place, which means it’s really easy to study, because if the disease is all over the place, you’ve got plenty of people infected, it’s easy to show benefit and reduction in harm because you have enough numbers.
You don’t have to take 3 years to show a benefit because the disease is so rare. The disease is in your face all the time — unfortunately too much in your face if you watch any of the news, which I don’t recommend you do. Just watch me.
That all being said, we are now at a pivot point. We’re at a time when the end is in sight. People like Dr. Marty Makary who are saying that get censored by Facebook. By the way, that’s inexcusable. The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial about why it was inexcusable. I mean, it’s a political statement, silencing him, and Facebook should not be making political statements.
Like I have 2.2 million followers on Facebook, and I can scream and yell about Facebook all I want, they’re not going to listen to me. They’re going to do what they do, but the truth is it wouldn’t surprise me if this very video got labeled as misinformation because I’m appropriately optimistic based on the science that I’ve seen so far, and the scientific method.
The idea that, “Okay, we know how these vaccines work. We have data emerging now. We have tons of people who are vaccinated. We’re approaching a … I’m going to say it … herd immunity soon, because when enough Americans get vaccinated or naturally infected there’s going to be enough immunity that the virus can have nowhere to go.”
Now, people will say, “Well, but you know, Eric Feigl-Ding on Twitter is saying that the variants are going to kill us and it’s still terrible.” Okay, that guy has never touched a patient, dude, number one. Number two, he’s very well intentioned and very smart, but here’s the truth: how much fear do you want to sow versus, “Hey, everybody get vaccinated”?
Then if there are variants they’re going to be much less likely, first of all, to emerge, because there’s less viral replication. Second of all, you’re going to … the vaccines that we have already, it’s not just antibody response. There’s all this aspect of vaccine-induced immunity that can affect coronavirus in the real world, and I think what we’re going to see is that the variants are going to be less of a concern, especially if we get everybody vaccinated stat.
Now, that brings me to … so those are the like doom bait, fear porn mongers that they’re empowered by this whole thing and they just never want it to end. I really think that’s the case, and then there’s rank-and-file public health officials who get it. They know what’s going on, they’re trying their best to message, they have poor … they’re not resourced, they get hate from the public. Dude, heart goes out to you all because you’re doing the work.
Now, that all being said, what about anti-vaxxers and people who really hate the vaccines and all of that? Listen, I have a ton of sympathy and I’ve had a billion people message me saying, “Hey, I was really skeptical about these vaccines with what I thought were good reasons.” And they were good reasons, “And your consistent episodes where your skepticism was assuaged convinced me to get the vaccine. I did. I’ve never looked back. I feel great. This is wonderful.”
Now, I think we’re seeing anti-vaccine sentiment drop off as we’re seeing some time get away from when the earliest people were vaccinated. Nobody’s growing extra arms. Everybody has great 5G reception, and that’s just the proof in the pudding, and so I think for most rational people they’re now looking at the vaccine going, “Okay, it’s cool.”
Now, there’s a delusional component of people who love … they’ve hated vaccines from the beginning, these Erin Olszewskis and Sherri Tenpennys and John … what’s his name? Robert F. Kennedy. He’s not even a doctor, he’s a lawyer. None of these guys are doctors, by the way, except for Tenpenny, and she’s not even really a doctor because she’s just basically selling stuff to anti-vaxxers. That’s like her thing.
They’re out there trying to sow any doubt you can. “Oh, it causes sterility. Nope, made a video on that, it doesn’t. “Oh, it’s not effective.” Nope, it very much is. “Oh, it’s killing people and causing these platelet disorders and people are dying.” No, that’s actually not true when you actually look at the data.
Both my elderly parents are vaccinated. Me and my wife are vaccinated. Would I inject myself with a known toxin on video if I wasn’t convinced that the science said that it was safe and effective? No, I wouldn’t, and I certainly wouldn’t want my parents to have it.
You’ve got to tune out that 1% or so of delusional … look, you’re never going to change their minds. They’re spreading misinformation, and look at the websites that they’re sharing with you and go, “Oh.” You can spot the signs of misinformation. Conspiracy thinking, moving goalposts, than what you would convince them if they weren’t true, they keep moving the goalpost, cherry-picked studies and fake experts, like some random PhD is suddenly the world’s expert on vaccines.
No, they’re just an anti-vax kook who is getting famous doing this and maybe making money doing this too, like Erin Olszewski made writing books about this stuff, the nurse who was the whistleblower in New York City, so I think we can wake up.
I think the spring is here. I think I’ve never felt so good and optimistic about where we’re going, but as we reach that end zone we can’t fumble right at the end, so it means that if you’re on the fence about the vaccine, watch some of our videos, see if it changes your mind.
If it doesn’t, listen, if you just don’t want to get vaccinated or you’ve had COVID and you’re like, “You know what? I think I’m immune for a while.” I get that. That’s cool. In fact, that’s pretty woke, because you’re saving vaccine for people who really need it right now.
If you’re going to be one of those people that’s “No, I’m never going to believe this vaccine, I’m not going to do it, whatever.” Well, then the rest of us will generate the herd immunity to carry your lazy ass across into the end zone. You’re still at high risk. You’re at higher risk not being vaccinated, but …
Of course, there are people who can’t get vaccinated enough right now, but that’s going to change. In the meantime, you do what we’ve been saying to do from the beginning. Keep your distance, mask when you can’t social distance in public places, wash your hands, get tested if you have symptoms, and stay home if you have symptoms. That’s it.
Notice I didn’t say “Stay home,” because that’s the most condescending, paternalistic garbage that implies that you can stay home, that you don’t have a job you have to do or you’re an essential worker, or that humans don’t need social connection and touch and relationships like that. That is nonsense.
I wonder sometimes about these Twitter armchair actual epidemiologists. I wonder if they’re just not introverts who just love being alone all day. I mean, I’m one of them. I love this pandemic for me because I don’t have to travel, I don’t have to glad-hand anyone. I just get to talk to you guys like this.
That’s great for me, but it’s not great for the majority of people, and they don’t see a 30,000-foot view of how it affects the economy and our education and our jobs and domestic abuse and substance abuse in our kids. I mean, dude, get the vaccine, wake the heck up, open the heck up, the end is at hand, that’s what I think.
All right. Now share this video, become a supporter on YouTube, Locals, Facebook. Do Locals. Locals is the best. Just go to zdoggmd.locals.com and sign up for our tribe there. You’ll see. It’s outstanding. Really intelligent discussion, none of the social media garbage, none of the algorithms, people are nice to each other even when they disagree. It’s great.
Now, that being said, comments: Suzanne Olson says, “I’ve been vaccinated and I’m thrilled.” Dude, I’m so happy to hear it.
Let’s see. “As soon as politics got involved I don’t trust it,” says Diane Villanueva I mean, that’s the problem. The whole thing has been politicized, which by the way, as we wake up to a new spring we’re going to have to re-learn how to be not assholes to each other.
Because here’s the thing, we’ve actually only interacted with many of our loved ones and friends and acquaintances through social media over the last year, many of us, which means we’re only seeing what they post on social media, which means we’re only seeing the worst side of them, because either they’re a political zealot because social media rewards that.
Or they’re so easily triggered by comments because there’s no nuance, there’s no body language, there’s no person in front of you, that we’ve irreparably destroyed relationships based on garbage algorithms from tech giants like Facebook that ought to know better. But of course they do know better but it’s profit, and we’ve all been played.
So how do we unplug ourselves? Go see people in person as we open up. Make eye contact. Say, “You know, it really hurts that we kind of canceled each other on social media.” That’s just a game. Here’s real life, we love each other, we respect our differences, we have an alt-middle approach. Alt-middle simply means we see all sides. We have a stance.
It may not be a center stance. It could be a polarized stance, but we respect and listen to other ideas and are swayable. In other words, we can change our mind with appropriate persuasion and evidence, and we use the scientific and rational approach to dealing with people, but we respect intention.
We assume good intention in most people instead of assume that the world is divided into good and evil people, which it is not. That’s not how the world works.
If you think that way you’re in for a very miserable life, honestly. Your life is going to suck and the lives of those around you are going to suck by that black and white duality, that polarization.
Let’s see. “My husband and I were very skeptical of a vaccine being produced so quickly,” says Jamie Cook, “but we both believe it was a straight-up miracle. Being a doctor, he received his doses…” Oh no, it got lost. This thing scrolls so fast. Yeah, it’s if you aren’t skeptical of this thing, you’re crazy. This is a brand new vaccine platform developed without the red tape really fast.
It’s like people ought to be like, “Wait, that’s good.” But now we’re starting to really get that data and go, “No, this is a miracle.” Coronavirus, we thought you couldn’t make a vaccine against coronavirus that would last at all. Now, we don’t know how long the immunity lasts, but we have plenty of reason to believe it’s going to be months to years. We just don’t know yet. We have to … obviously, how can you know?
We haven’t had vaccinated people that long yet, but we can kind of … again, kind of like, we kind of know that vaccines drop transmission of disease, even if you don’t see it in a trial because you’re not testing for it, you can kind of say, “Well, this immunity is going to last a while.” Because most immunity does.
Then if you need booster shots, if there are variants and they escape vaccine eventually — which look, that’s what mutations do eventually — well then, update the vaccine, make a new booster. It’s not rocket science. It’s vaccine science, which was rocket science until we figured it out. Now it’s vaccine science, which is just a step below rocket science.
I mean, we put an amazing probe on Mars and it’s doing stuff. Like, that’s just straight-up science, and look, I’m not a reductionist. I don’t think everything can be reduced to molecules and atoms and interactions and science, but I know the role of science in the world and it is a magical, beautiful, wonderful, uniquely human role that we should celebrate, and that’s what’s going to save us from this thing, is science.
It really is, and our faith in ourselves as a species to get through it and our bigger, deeper connection to each other which has to be reasserted as we open up.
All right, that’s all I have to say. Please, again, share the video. I love you guys, and we are out. Peace.
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This post appeared on ZDoggMD.
Last Updated March 10, 2021