Healthcare Workers Refusing Covid Vaccines: A Medical Doctor Explains Why
By Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.
Special to www.JenniferMargulis.net
Chances are you’ve seen the headlines: healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines. Back in December 2020 the Los Angeles Times reported between 20 and 40 percent of healthcare workers didn’t plan to get the Covid vaccine. New York newspapers reported the same. According to the New York Post and Newsday, around 30 percent of healthcare workers were refusing Covid vaccines. More recently, at the end of April, we learned that 40 percent of marines are also wary of getting vaccinated.
Thirty percent of healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines
Everyone in the world — quite literally— is well aware by now of the several vaccines to slow the spread of Covid-19. But in our rush to vaccinate, we seem to have forgotten that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any of these Covid-19 vaccinations. A main reason that we see thirty percent of healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines is that these vaccines are all unapproved.
Indeed, all the Covid-19 vaccinations in the United States are administered under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. This means that the Covid vaccines are unapproved medical products used in an emergency. Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines feel concerned about getting unapproved vaccines.
Developing safe vaccines takes years
It typically takes many years to create a new vaccine. Even after years of research and development, success sometimes eludes scientists’ best efforts.
For example, despite many years of trying, we have no vaccines, yet, against HIV, hepatitis C, malaria, or the common cold. We also never developed a safe and effective vaccine against SARS or MERS, two other potentially lethal respiratory viral infections.
Messenger RNA technology
The vaccines used for the first Covid-19 inoculations, brought to market by Pfizer and Moderna, employ a messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Significantly, this is the first time mRNA technology has been used in a vaccine. However, mRNA technology has been used in cancer therapy. And has shown success in producing various proteins to attack and disrupt certain cancer cells.
Health experts have asserted that it was not too much of a leap to use mRNA in developing vaccinations. Normally, the DNA in the nucleus of a human cell produces mRNA. The mRNA acts as an instruction manual to create proteins. The mRNA is released from the cell’s nucleus into the cytoplasm of the cell where it travels to the ribosomes to deliver its instructions.
The idea behind its use in an anti-Covid-19 vaccine was to produce a synthetic mRNA to instruct the cell’s ribosome protein factory to create a SARS CoV-2 spike protein.
As the CDC explains, the appearance of a spike protein then stimulates our own immune system to create an anti-spike antibody. Technically, then, the use of mRNA in this way is not a true vaccine, but rather a type of immunologic or gene therapy.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine against Covid-19
The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca for Covid-19 uses a different strategy. It takes a piece of genetic material from the SARS CoV-2 virus and inserts it into a common cold virus — an adenovirus. The genetics of the adenovirus vector are altered so it is not infectious. The adenovirus then enters the cell to stimulate the creation of the spike protein.2
The good news is that clinics can store the AstraZeneca vaccine at normal refrigerator temperatures for up to six months. The bad news is it seems to be less effective than either Pfizer or Moderna.
AZ’s vaccine may become preferred in less developed countries because of ease of storage. But it has shown significant side effects. In particular, the vaccine seems to cause clotting disorders. So much so that many European Union countries (including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and most recently Denmark) have banned its use.
Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines are concerned about these side effects. As frontline workers, they treat people with Covid-19 and people with Covid-19 vaccine side effects. Many worry that, in some instances, the vaccine side effects are actually more severe than the disease itself.
Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
The Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine also uses an adenovirus transport mechanism. This allows it to get the SARS CoV-2 DNA into our cells in order to create the desired spike protein antibody response. J&J’s single shot has the advantage of being “one and done.” However, the FDA and CDC recently paused its use. Their concern was a potentially dangerous blood clot reaction occurring a week or so after the vaccine.
Following the 11-day “pause,” the FDA resumed allowing the use of this vaccine. They simply added a warning about a rare but serious type of blood clot. As of mid-April, the UK did not approve the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided that a warning about unusual blood clots would suffice on its labels, just as the health agency did for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines have concerns
Here are some of the concerns that healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines have. The public, too, needs to consider these issues.
- Asymptomatic carriers. Could the vaccines in use now create asymptomatic carriers who unknowingly transmit the virus to others?
- Other variants. Are the vaccines protective against the new SARS CoV-2 variants — from the UK, South Africa, and Brazil? An Israeli study has shown the Pfizer vaccine may put patients at higher risk for Covid-19 variants. The CDC now reports over 7,000 fully vaccinated people have contracted Covid-19 and over 500 of them required hospitalization. We have now vaccinated over 125,000,000 people in the US. Information about the various variant strains of SARS CoV-2 are still emerging. Some variants may prove dangerous, others not so much.
- No animal trials. Most other vaccine development programs have first used lengthy animal studies to better assure safety in humans. This was not done with any of the new Covid-19 vaccines. Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines are concerned that the clotting problems and other side effects now being studied are the consequence of limited animal and inadequate safety testing.
- Integration into the human genome. Is it possible for the synthetic SARS CoV-2 mRNA to be integrated into the human host’s cell genome? Keep in mind that this has happened before. Scientists at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology produced findings about wild coronaviruses that raise questions about how viral RNA operates. This DNA-to-mRNA pathway is not always a one-way street. An enzyme called reverse transcriptase can convert RNA back into DNA allowing the latter to be integrated into the DNA in the cell nucleus.
- Inaccurate efficacy estimates. The high efficacy of a controlled study may prove to be very different from the real-world experience with massive numbers of people. For example, data from the CDC show that the influenza vaccination efficacy for the 2017-18 season was approximately 38 percent. Only 20 percent was achieved in the 2018-19 season; and 39 percent for the 2019-20 season. When the influenza vaccination was first introduced in 1938, the efficacy was expected to be much higher than the current numbers.
- Not appropriate for children. The CDC data show that the survival rate of those contracting the disease goes up as age goes down. If you are less than 70 years old — the survival rate is 99.5 percent; if you are less than 50 years old — the rate jumps to 99.98 percent; and if you are under 20 years old, the chance of surviving Covid-19 is 99.997 percent. Why then would we consider vaccinating children without long term safety data?
- Covid not as dangerous as the flu for kids. In fact, parents should know that seasonal influenza is a greater risk to the very young than Covid-19. Weighing the benefits versus the risks of accepting the Covid-19 vaccine could be a very difficult choice, especially for the young. It is unlikely, therefore, that I will recommend vaccinations for my young patients to protect them against a virus that more than 99 percent of them would survive should they contract it.
- Companies have no liability. The same companies (and their executives) that look to profit from the vaccines are also immune from all liability. In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). It provides immunity from liability to all vaccine manufacturing companies. Crony capitalism at its best — no liability to the company or its executives should something go wrong while mandating purchase of the product by the public. Many people are working to change this law.
- Minorities tend to be skeptical of the government and especially of vaccinations administered by the U.S. Public Health Service. Why? The USPHS and the CDC carried out 40 years of secret experiments in a study of syphilis, using black residents as test subjects. Can we overcome such a history to get the vaccine to the most vulnerable in the minority communities?
- There is no long-term safety data for these new Covid-19 vaccines. How do we know in a few years we will not see significant problems? We clearly don’t.
- Industry executives are now suggesting a 3rd shot may be necessary and then annual jabs to follow. Have we really studied these vaccines thoroughly?
- In 1976 we attempted a mass vaccination program against the swine flu with a newly created vaccine. The government aborted this vaccine program after 40 million doses. Why? Because over 500 people developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. In addition, there were 25 deaths following swine flu vaccination.
- Pregnant women and small children are currently participating in vaccine trials. This could be potentially dangerous. We simply do not know what the long-term effects of mRNA vaccines or the artificial creation of Covid-19 spike protein antibodies will be on children or during pregnancy.
- Could a phenomenon known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) occur with the Covid-19 vaccination? This problem occurs when viral exposure following vaccination causes a more severe reaction than if the patient did not get the vaccine.
- A recent study published in JAMA showed SARS CoV-2 antibodies in breast milk. Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines wonder what the long term implications could be for these infants.
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
The United States has a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The CDC and the FDA run the VAERS website. VAERS is showing an alarming rise in reported side effects, more than we have seen with any other vaccine. This includes over 4,000 deaths and tens of thousands of ER visits associated with the Covid-19 vaccinations.
This VAERS website requires doctors or patients to voluntarily report side effects. It is a passive reporting system. Studies show that only 1% to 10% of all the adverse events are reported to this site. Most people, even physicians, are unaware of the website’s existence.
No long-term safety data
Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines point out that we have no long-term data on the safety of these vaccines. At the same time, we are getting better at treating Covid-19. The death rate from the disease continues to fall. Hospital stays for Covid-19 are getting shorter. And hospital mortality from Covid-19 has plummeted. Early multi-drug outpatient treatment with repurposed medications is showing great success. Informed physicians are embracing this approach. Even the press and social media are reporting on effective treatments. The media have finally allowed this message to get through its gauntlet.
A Covid-19 vaccine may be one of many tools to combat the pandemic. But it is not the savior that many believe has arrived. Skepticism is important in science. Healthcare workers refusing Covid vaccines are skeptical about safety, efficacy, and necessity. I believe their skepticism is warranted.
About the author: Dr. Jeffrey Barke, a board-certified primary care physician, has been in private practice for over 25 years. He completed his medical school and family practice residency at the University of California, Irvine. He served as an Associate Clinical Professor at U.C. Irvine and a board member of the Orange County Medical Association. He is also a reserve deputy and a tactical physician for a local law enforcement SWAT team. A sought-after speaker on the failure of government education and all things related to Covid19, he is a proud founding member of America’s Frontline Doctors. Dr. Barke is the author of COVID-19, A Physician’s Take on the Exaggerated Fear of Corona Virus. A different version of this article first appeared on his website: www. RxForLiberty.com.