Public health care relies on trust. Advertising relies on misrepresentation, even tricking people into buying a product they don’t need. Trust is maintained by telling the truth, providing accurate information and sound advice to others. When you’re comfortable, you can change your direction based on the confidence you’ve built up to cheat more effectively.
This works until the audience starts to realize you’re lying. This is the worst kind of fraud. The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted this previous course, using its status to deceive the public in order to increase the global uptake of Covid-19 vaccines.
Last week, the WHO Media Office issued a press release that concluded an update of its global Covid-19 vaccination strategy. This strategy requires the highest annual budget for a single program in WHO’s history; $10.1 billion has been budgeted for 2021, which is three times the previous total annual spending of the entire organization.
With $3 billion raised, the WHO is looking for a shortfall and wants to extend it through 2022. This bill was largely funded by the taxpayers of the poor West. While Covid-19 remains a minor health burden in host countries, malnutrition and other infectious diseases are on the rise. That’s why strategy is important for both sides because it hurts both.
Fallacy of need
According to the press release, the strategy calls for 70% of people in low- and middle-income countries to be vaccinated, “to achieve long-lasting, broad-based protective immunity.” This only makes sense if host populations are not already immune. To support this, the WHO should not ignore its own work showing high rates of post-infection immunity in low-income countries.
A study by WHO officials estimated that by September 2021, the majority of Africans will have antibodies against Covid-19, suggesting that the actual immunity, which is mainly through T cells, will be much higher. This study was done before the addition of the transmissible Omicron option to this number. India’s data is similar.
Post-infection (“natural”) immunity induces at least broader and more durable clinical protection than that induced by vaccination against Covid-19 (Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref). The WHO knows that vaccination combined with natural immunity provides minimal clinical benefit (well illustrated in the CDC chart below). When the World Health Organization says that only “28% of the elderly and 37% of healthcare workers” in low-income countries have received Covid-19 vaccines, while the general population is even lower, they know that almost all of the unvaccinated have effective immunity. The World Health Organization wants to use this unprecedented budget for mass vaccination of immune populations.
False claims of influence
The press release states that “19.8 million lives were saved in the first year of the Covid-19 vaccine.” This number is meaningless. The World Health Organization has already announced 14.9 million excess deaths in the 2 years following the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020-2021. These include deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as containment and other response measures. Covid-19 was endemic on all continents until the end of 2020 in the absence of vaccination. Ignoring its own data, the WHO derives its “19.8 million savings” from modeling by Imperial College London.
The blockades killed hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions. In 2020 alone, UNICEF reported a quarter of a million excess child deaths due to blockades (not Covid-19) in 6 South Asian countries. To begin to understand how many people Covid-19 killed before vaccination, the 14.9 million non-Covid-19 excess deaths need to be extrapolated to Africa and include increased deaths from diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and malnutrition.
Many deaths before vaccination may be due to response rather than disease. The WHO wants us to believe that the vaccine in 2021 saved many times more lives than died from Covid-19 in 2020 when immunity was at its lowest. Although most Asian and African countries have only recorded significant vaccination rates, we have to believe this. By mid-to-late 2021, most people will be infected by then.
It is not nuanced to present unsubstantiated modeling results that contradict the WHO’s own data as fact. This is intended to deliberately distort the potential impact of the program. This is an attempt to mislead public health authorities, the public and the media. The WHO should explain why.
“Vaccinating everyone at high risk is the best way to save lives, protect health systems, and keep societies and economies open.” The World Health Organization’s media department cites this as the basis for mass vaccination, but Covid-19 vaccines “have not significantly reduced transmission”.
Indeed, countries with the highest current transmission rates, such as New Zealand, are among the most vaccinated countries. If the vaccine does not reduce transmission, and if severe Covid-19 is concentrated in a small subset of the sick and the elderly (which it is), then mass vaccination of people with immunity will not have the effect of “keeping the public open”. This is achieved without closing it.
In updating its strategy, the WHO bases the entire mass vaccination program on its ability to “…achieve robust, broad-based protective immunity and reduce morbidity.” According to his data, a permanent protective immunity is already present and it does not stop giving the product it is pushing. This is more like false advertising for a product that an advertising agency is paid to advertise, rather than a rational explanation of a public health strategy.
Honesty is important in public health
The WHO’s major funders get rich by buying billions of vaccine doses from this program, so not everyone loses. Targeted “vaccinated” populations in Africa and Asia will experience fewer, not more, deaths from Covid-19. They are younger, less obese, and therefore feel less. They die from other diseases and face food security collapses and increased poverty due to the blockade policy that the WHO continues to support. WHO needs to explain why equity in health care has become less important than achieving equal injection of pharmaceuticals invested in by major sponsors.
Data available to the WHO show that this unprecedentedly expensive program has little positive impact on health. By diverting attention and resources away from areas of real health need, WHO further increases the death toll. Doing so by deceiving the public and ignoring its own data is a poor strategy.
It is time to explain what the WHO is doing. While seeking greater powers to announce and manage future disease outbreaks, this shows that the organization is ill-suited for that purpose. This ineptitude will not be remedied by more funding or expertise, as it stems from the WHO’s abandonment of its core constituency and careless disregard for reality.