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Why is Peter Doshi still an editor at The BMJ? (RFK Jr. and COVID-19 vaccine edition)

BMJ senior editor Peter Doshi has been casting doubt on vaccine safety and efficacy since 2009. Now he’s “just asking questions” about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in a BMJ article reprinted verbatim by antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Why does The BMJ still employ him?

I last asked this question in January, but I’ll ask it again now: Why is Peter Doshi still an editor at The BMJ?

Why, you might wonder, am I asking this question again four months later? Simple. Last night, I was, as is my habit when I’m looking for blog fodder, perusing the websites of various antivaccine activists and quacks. I came, as I nearly always do, to Children’s Health Defense, the website of longtime antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and its newsletter The Defender. There, I read this article:

Peter Doshi on Children's Health Defense
Peter Doshi on Children’s Health Defense

At the end of the article, there was this:

Peter Doshi on Children's Health Defense
Peter Doshi on Children’s Health Defense

Interesting, I thought. Apparently RFK Jr. is doing the same thing with Peter Doshi as he did with Dr. Hooman Noorchashm and republishing his work on his antivaccine website, as there is also a notice:

Originally published by The BMJ May 18, 2021, written by Peter Doshi, reproduced here under the terms of the CC BY NC licence.

This refers to this Creative Commons license. I looked at the article and didn’t see the usual Creative Commons attribution giving permission to republish the post in whole or in part anywhere on the page, but apparently The BMJ allows this for most of its articles, thus facilitating an antivaccine organization simply republishing its content instead of forcing the organization to link to it and only quote parts of it. Be that as it may, as was the case for Dr. Noorchashm, RFK Jr. has an “author page” for Peter Doshi in order to give the appearance that Peter Doshi is an author for Children’s Health Defense:

Is Peter Doshi an author for RFK Jr.’s antivaccine site? No, but this page gives the appearance that he might be.

The banner about CHD calling on the FDA to take COVID-19 vaccines off the market is actually rather appropriate, because CHD’s petition uses arguments very similar to those of Peter Doshi in his article. I also can’t help but use this image to laugh yet again at RFK Jr.’s claim that he is “fiercely pro-vaccine.” Sure, he’s “fiercely pro-vaccine,” so much so that his organization is trying to get life-saving COVID-19 vaccines off the market, so that the pandemic can barrel out of control again.

RFK Jr.’s shenanigans to try to make it seem as though Peter Doshi is writing for him aside, the original article was published in The BMJ and entitled Covid-19 vaccines: In the rush for regulatory approval, do we need more data? Betteridge’s Law of Headlines should (sort of) apply here, but, Peter Doshi being Peter Doshi, I was easily able predict Doshi’s answer to the question. Those of you familiar with him can also predict the answer: Yes. But it’s a “yes” that casts as much doubt as possible on the safety of the vaccines as Doshi can manage.

At this point, let me just recap briefly my my opinion of Peter Doshi based on his history. I first encountered him in 2009, when I noted that, as the H1N1 pandemic of 2009-2010 was bearing down on us, he had been scheduled to speak at an antivaccine conference hosted by the antivaccine group National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). He knew NVIC was antivaccine too, as he had been contacted about the nature of the conference and replied with a lame, “my speaking there does not imply endorsement” gambit. Since then, he’s been nothing if not consistent. While all the while claiming he’s “not antivaccine, he’s parroted more than a few antivaccine talking points himself while trying to portray himself as an authority on influenza and the flu vaccine. Through it all, he’s played the “victim” card that people who are borderline antivaccine or antivaccine love to play, claiming that they are “just asking questions” and that anyone who “questions” vaccines is labeled, in a knee-jerk fashion, “antivaccine.” In fact, Doshi’s borderline antivaccine stylings go back further than 2009, when a senior pseudonymous epidemiologist whose blog I used to read religiously back then chastised him for an “unhelpful” commentary in which he had claimed without basis that estimates for yearly influenza deaths were “grossly inflated.” The year was 2006.

Since then, Peter Doshi has somehow managed to insinuate himself as an associate editor of The BMJ, one of the premiere medical journals in the world. No, not just an associate editor any more. He is now a senior editor, as listed in this article. How this happened, I have no idea, but periodically he publishes posts for The BMJ that are—to put it kindly—far below the standards that a medical journal with the history of The BMJ should ever associate itself with. The very fact that RFK Jr. would republish his work and try to give the illusion that Doshi writes for him should tell you all you need to know about the article.

Finally, before I get to the points Doshi makes in his article, I can’t help but point to its competing interests statement:

Competing interests PD gave a public statement at the October and December FDA advisory committee meetings mentioned in this article (transcripts here: https://faculty.rx.umaryland.edu/pdoshi/#publications), and may continue to engage in public input towards regulatory decision making around covid-19 vaccines. PD is also employed by a university that has mandated covid-19 vaccines for all faculty, staff, and students. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official policy or position of the University of Maryland.

I am amused that Doshi felt it important to mention that he works at a university that has mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all its faculty, staff, and students. One wonders if he’ll accept the “experimental” vaccine. More importantly, though, there is one conflict of interest that is noticeably lacking from Doshi’s statement. Specifically, he served as an expert witness for a lawsuit by Children’s Health Defense challenging the University of California’s influenza vaccine mandate. Whether he was paid or not for his services, personally, I consider it quite pertinent that he provided a statement for Children’s Health Defense against the mandate, and most conflict of interest statements do generally require the mention of any expert witness work related to the topic at hand. After all, if Doshi thinks it important to mention that he works for a university that now mandates vaccination against COVID-19, as though that would inoculate him against charges of antivaccine bias, he really should also mention his work for a bona fide antivaccine group.

As for Doshi’s publications, in virtually all of them he does his best to cast doubt on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and to portray the regulatory approval process as rushed and insufficiently rigorous. That’s where he comes from. That’s where he’s always come from, and I wouldn’t even consider that viewpoint a bad thing were it not for Doshi’s long history of using dubious and disingenuous arguments to argue his point and his past expert witness work for an actual antivaccine group. Think of it this way. You can perhaps argue against influenza vaccine mandates, for instance, on the basis of “freedom” without being antivaccine yourself. However, if you do so in concert with one of the largest and most influential antivaccine activists in the US, you shouldn’t be surprised when scientists look askance at your other arguments and strongly suspect that you yourself are antivaccine.

No biodistribution data?

I’ll deal with one complaint Doshi makes first, and then delve into his main point, because I’ve seen a lot of antivaxxers quoting one part of the article, namely the box:

No, it’s not true that we “know nothing” about the vaccine’s pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and biodistribution. Even if that were true, as Doshi himself notes, such data are not required for most vaccines. The reason is simple. Most vaccines are injected intramuscularly, where they (mostly) stay. They’re not designed to distribute through the rest of the body like a drug, and what is required are data on the immune response to the vaccine. The full quote from the European Medicines Agency document states:

Pharmacokinetic studies are usually not required for vaccines. However, such studies might be applicable when new delivery systems are employed or when the vaccine contains novel adjuvants or excipients. The need for pharmacokinetic studies and their design should be considered on a case by case basis and it is recommended that applicants should obtain scientific advice from EU Competent Authorities.

In relation to vaccines, pharmacodynamic studies are essentially comprised of the immunogenicity studies that characterise the immune response to the vaccine. Therefore, this section will focus on considerations for an appropriate range of immunogenicity studies that may be conducted throughout the clinical development programme.

Which is, of course, appropriate for vaccines. Moreover, one of the documents cited by Doshi, a submission by Pfizer/BioNTech to Japanese regulatory authorities, specifically used lipid nanoparticles containing an mRNA encoding a marker gene (Luciferase, which can be localized using bioluminescence and is commonly used to label which cells have taken up a plasmid or viral vector) to do pharmacokinetic studies in mice. In some of the experiments, the lipid nanoparticles were labeled with 3H (tritium) as well. Basically, Doshi is complaining that pharmacokinetics studies weren’t done using the lipid nanoparticles containing the mRNA for the spike protein used for the vaccine weren’t included. This is disingenuous, because anyone with a knowledge of molecular biology knows that it’s unlikely that a different mRNA is going to distribute significantly differently than an mRNA for Luciferase. Doshi should know better than to point to a lack of a “perfect” biodistribution study as a reason to fear the vaccine. Basically, he’s implying that there are no valid biodistribution studies while ignoring that biodistribution studies of the sort that he demands are usually not required for vaccines.

But why the rush?

The complaints in the BMJ editorial about the supposed lack of the exact biodistribution studies demanded are just a sideshow, though. Now that I’ve dispensed with them, let’s get to the main event.

Doshi begins by noting that, after having announced the efficacy and safety results at the six month mark after their clinical trials for their COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer also announced plans to submit a Biologics License Application to the US FDA [Food and Drug Administration]. As antivaxxers love to point out, currently the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are not fully licensed by the FDA. They are currently being distributed under an emergency use approval (EUA). Under an EUA, the FDA “may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.” In the middle of a deadly pandemic, EUA was an entirely appropriate mechanism to use distribute the new COVID-19 vaccines.

Concerns about the EUA lead Doshi to opine:

Because lest we forget, all covid-19 vaccines currently in use in the US are available under emergency access only.

(The situation is similar in Europe, where four covid-19 vaccines have been granted “conditional marketing authorisations,” a fast track mechanism that can be used in emergencies. These can be converted into standard “marketing authorisations” pending positive data after authorisation, but this has not yet happened for any covid-19 vaccine being administered.)

As hundreds of millions of people around the world get vaccinated, it may seem like wordsmithing to highlight the fact that none of the covid-19 vaccines in use are actually “approved.” Through an emergency access mechanism known as Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA), the products being rolled out still technically remain “investigational.”3 Factsheets distributed to vaccinees are clear: “There is no FDA approved vaccine to prevent covid-19.”4

It doesn’t just “seem like wordsmithing.” It is wordsmithing of the sort that antivaxxers love, namely to emphasize legal definitions over scientific definitions. Yes, it is true that from a legal and regulatory perspective, existing COVID-19 vaccines are still considered “investigational,” and from such a perspective it is appropriate not to call them “approved” yet. However, after a number of large phase 3 clinical trials, plus the administration of hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines, it’s difficult, from a scientific perspective, to consider these vaccines “experimental” or “investigational” any more.

One difference between a BLA and an EUA is the amount of followup required after the clinical trials. Last fall, the FDA announced that it would require two months of followup data before considering an application for an EUA. At the time, it was not entirely clear how long a followup period the FDA would require before it would consider an application for a BLA for a COVID-19 vaccine. At the meeting that considered Pfizer’s application for an EUA for its vaccine, the FDA suggested that six months followup for a “substantial proportion” of the phase 3 clinical trial participants would be a bare minimum. Doshi writes:

Six months also seems substantially shorter than previously conceptualised expectations. A World Health Organization expert group on covid-19 vaccines (which included FDA regulators) in August 2020 called for follow-up “until at least month 12, or until an effective vaccine is deployed locally.”10 Another group, composed of industry and academic authors, similarly wrote in October 2020: “we recommend longer term follow-up of all participants … for at least a year after randomisation.”11

On paper, the phase III studies by Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen are all of two years’ duration. But the FDA’s official position on minimum follow-up before licensure is unclear at best.

In its formal guidance last June, the agency said that for licensure applications, it wanted participants followed for covid-19 outcomes for “as long as feasible, ideally at least one to two years”12 after the first injection. But the same document states that safety assessments for “serious and other medically attended adverse events” should be studied “for at least six months after completion of all study vaccinations. Longer safety monitoring may be warranted for certain vaccine platforms.”

Basically, scientists and regulatory bodies have been flying blind and trying to balance the urgency to protect people against a disease that has killed millions so far (around 600K in the US alone) versus safety and not approving a potentially harmful product prematurely. Obviously, when millions are being sickened and dying from a disease like COVID-19, the “need for speed” becomes much more imperative than it is during normal times. Thus, debates such as this about the minimum safest followup time for which safety and efficacy data should be required before an application for full FDA licensure (or licensure in other countries by their FDA equivalents) can be considered for approval.

Setting up his argument this way, Peter Doshi then delves into a question that has come up since the EUAs for the COVID-19 vaccines were approved. He takes advantage of an ethical dilemma that’s come up since then, a question that I wrote about three weeks ago, whether or not to unblind the participants in the original phase 3 clinical trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Doshi frames the issue this way:

“Very often, it’s the fact that we have that placebo controlled follow-up over time, that gives us the ability to say that the vaccine didn’t cause something at a longer period of time after vaccination,” the FDA’s Philip Krause explained last December.13

Yet there is a gap—currently of unknown size but growing—between any expectation of blinded placebo controlled data, and the reality that within weeks of the vaccines receiving an EUA the unblinding of trials commenced as placebo recipients were offered the chance to get vaccinated.

Steven Goodman, associate dean of clinical and translational research at Stanford University, told the FDA in an invited presentation last December, “Once a vaccine is made widely available and encouraged, maintaining a double blinded control group for more than a nominal period is no longer in the investigator’s (or regulator’s) control and undue pressure to do so may undermine the entire vaccine testing enterprise.”14

Steven Goodman featured prominently in my last post about the ethics and science of unblinding the vaccine clinical trials. I also can’t help but note how much like Joe Mercola Peter Doshi is sounding right now, just more subtle. Mercola portrayed the rush to unblind the clinical trials not as a response to an ethical dilemma, namely the questions:

  1. Is it ethical to require that vaccine clinical trial subjects assigned to the placebo group remain unvaccinated for the full one or two years (or however long the clinical trial was designed to run) during a deadly pandemic? (A related question that flows from this very important ethical question is whether it’s any longer feasible—or even possible—to require this of subjects assigned to a placebo group. After all, since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available under EUAs, anyone in the placebo arm of a phase 3 trial who suspects they got the placebo and wants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 can just get one of the vaccines. The only things preventing them from doing so are the availability of the vaccines where they live and their dedication to the trial.)
  2. How can we best balance the ethical imperative to minimize the chance of harm to vaccine clinical trial subjects versus maintaining the scientific rigor of the clinical trial?

Instead, Mercola portrayed the plan to unblind the clinical trial participants as a nefarious plot to undermine science in the name of ethics, all to prevent “late” adverse events from ever being identified as having been caused by the vaccines. Why? Profit and control, of course! The question is a lot more difficult than that, though.

Let me just repeat a thought exercise I did in my last post on unblinding. Try to imagine that you are a clinical trial participant in one of the major vaccine trials, be it for the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, or the Novavax vaccines. The initial clinical trial results have been announced and demonstrate that the vaccine is highly effective in preventing COVID-19 with no major safety concerns. As a result, the vaccine has been issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) and is now being deployed widely, first being administered to high-risk individuals and now being administered to almost any adult who wants it. Thus far, hundreds of millions of people have received a dose. Now imagine that you strongly suspect that you were in the placebo control arm. Wouldn’t you really want to know which group you were in and, if you were in the placebo group, be given the opportunity to receive the real vaccine? Imagine, now, that you are the scientist in charge of this clinical trial and ask yourself: Is it ethical to keep the tens of thousands of people in the placebo arm of your clinical trial in the dark and leave them susceptible to COVID-19, as millions of people are receiving the vaccine from the clinical trial that they had agreed to participate in?

Just think about this dilemma for a minute. An intellectually honest person will quickly realize that the answer is not simple or obvious. It involves the balancing of the ethical imperative to minimize harm to the individuals in the clinical trial versus the scientific imperative to complete the trial to make the science as rigorous as possible. Not unblinding and allowing the control group participants to “cross over” to the vaccine arm leaves them susceptible to a potentially deadly disease against which millions are being vaccinated (as millions have died and thousands are dying of it each day) against using the very same vaccine in the clinical trial these people agreed to participate in. On the other hand, unblinding them and allowing them to receive the vaccine could make data on any longer term effects of the vaccines much harder to interpret. Imagine you’re in charge of this massive clinical trial. What do you do? Again, it’s not an easy or straightforward question. Consider, also, that the unblinding doesn’t just have the potential to miss late adverse events due to the vaccine; at least equally likely, it could lead to the misattribution of adverse events to the vaccine when they are not caused by the vaccine.

In fairness, Peter Doshi doesn’t attribute the unblinding of the studies to the same nefarious intent to control and profit that Mercola did, at least not exactly. Instead, first he starts with a seemingly reasonable concern, namely how the law does not so easily allow compensation for vaccine injuries that occur from a vaccine distributed under an EUA

The BMJ asked the manufacturers why they were seeking a BLA. Moderna did not respond and Janssen only confirmed it intended to apply for a BLA “later in 2021.” Pfizer likewise did not answer but instead quoted an FDA webpage on medical devices, which stated: “Sponsors of EUA products are encouraged to follow up the EUA with a pre-market submission so that it can remain on the market once the EUA is no longer in effect.”16 But EUAs have no built-in expiry date—in fact, 14 EUAs for Zika diagnostic tests remain active despite the public health emergency expiring in 2017.17

Cody Meissner told The BMJ he saw some distinct advantages of a BLA over EUA. An approved vaccine, for one, would provide “an element of assurance,” increasing public trust in the vaccines, particularly for those currently sitting on the fence. It would also pave the way for claims of vaccine injury to be routed through a more established compensation programme, and for adding the vaccine to government funded schemes to reach children in financial need.18 

Personally, I find this one point compelling. One serious disadvantage of having these vaccines only covered by an EUA thus far is that injuries due to these vaccines are not covered under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, as mandated under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. Rather, as Dorit Reiss has described, because COVID-19 vaccines are still considered “investigational” from a legal perspective, they are covered under the much less generous and more onerous Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), which allows the secretary to issue a statement limiting liability for a product during an emergency:

The statement completely isolates “manufacturers, distributors, program planners, and qualified persons, and their officials, agents, and employees, and the United States” from liability for harms or deaths from COVID-19 vaccines until October 1, 2024. In other words, you cannot sue these manufacturers at all.

The only exception is “willful misconduct,” which means (42 U.S. Code § 247d–6d (c)(1)(A))…

Moreover:

Attached to the act is a government compensation program, the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). This program is much less generous than NVICP.

First, to be compensated, a serious injury or death needs to be shown to have been caused by the vaccine (or other covered product) by “compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence.”  That is a very, very high bar, too, and for a new product, simply won’t always be achievable.

Second, the request needs to be filed within a year from the administration of the product – not a year from symptoms.  This is a shorter statute of limitations and does not cover delayed injuries at all. I will add that to my knowledge, we have never had an injury from a vaccine that occurred a long time after the vaccine – issues usually arise within a few weeks at most – but the theoretical possibility exists.

The program does not cover legal fees. It also serves as the payer of last resort – so if you have another source of funding, like health insurance, workers compensation, etc., the program may not cover your cost even if you are eligible.

To reiterate, I find getting any potential injuries from COVID-19 vaccines covered under the standard procedures adjudicated by the Vaccine Court, just like all other FDA-approved vaccines, to be a compelling reason to get these vaccines fully approved as quickly as possible, if this can be accomplished with sufficiently rigorous science (which it can). Oddly enough, antivaxxers love to point out that currently COVID-19 vaccines are not covered by the Vaccine Court but rather the much more restrictive PREP, but don’t seem too anxious to see them attain full FDA approval, so that any real vaccine injuries can be covered under the Vaccine Court, whose rules are much more liberal in compensating people for vaccine injury. (Unlike regular courts, the Vaccine Court also covers reasonable legal and court costs for complainants to bring their cases before it, win or lose.) Of course, as I’ve written many times before, antivaxxers hate the Vaccine Court because it doesn’t recognize autism or all the other medical conditions that antivaxxers falsely attribute to vaccines as “vaccine injuries,” and lawyers hate the Vaccine Court even more because, apparently, they’d prefer to play the lottery for a huge payout (and huge contingency fees) over the guarantee of receiving their boring but still lucrative usual hourly rates for bringing cases before the Vaccine Court.

The plot to mandate COVID-19 vaccines

We now come to the point where Doshi starts to echo antivaxxers the most strongly. It is likely the main reason why RFK Jr. liked his article enough to republish it on The Defender:

Finally, it may affect the potential for vaccine mandates: “It is unlikely these vaccines will be mandated while an EUA is in place. Remember that currently these vaccines are still considered experimental.”

While still under EUA, an increasing number of educational and other institutions have already mandated vaccines, but debates over the legality of these actions has hinged on the distinction between authorisation and approval.19

But approving a vaccine in order to legally support mandates or convince people of its safety arguably puts the cart before the horse. Meissner responded that a BLA would not be issued until the FDA is convinced of the short and long term safety of these vaccines.

That’s right. Doshi is implying that the real reason that the vaccine clinical trials are being unblinded is to facilitate the ability of governments to mandate the vaccines fully, to remove the legal gray area of their being available only under an EUA and, from a legal perspective, still being considered “investigational.” It’s true, too, that FDA approval would eliminate the legal requirement to refer to these vaccines as “investigational.” It would also likely improve public confidence in the vaccines. However, what Doshi neglects to acknowledge is that, if the FDA really did rush these vaccines to be fully approved and a major safety concern were to be discovered later, it would backfire massively in terms of public trust of the FDA and the vaccines, which would likely immediately be severely undermined immediately.

Don’t think that the FDA isn’t aware of this risk. It most certainly is. Its regulators know the stakes, particularly the penalty for insufficient rigor in terms of public trust. Why else, as I asked, would the FDA have issued a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after detecting rare, literally (at the time) one-in-a-million serious adverse events, as I discussed?

Am I being unfair to Peter Doshi? Given his long history, I don’t think so. Also, look at who loves his BMJ article: RFK Jr. who reposted it; commenters on The Defender, who are ranting about its contents and the supposedly nefarious intent of the FDA; and antivaxxers and antivax organizations that include John Stone, Informed Choice WA, and others, who posted approving Rapid Responses to Doshi’s article.

I will conclude, as I did last time, by wondering why The BMJ has kept Peter Doshi as an editor. I’ll further question why The BMJ has also apparently promoted him to the position of senior editor. Does The BMJ like seeing Doshi’s articles reposted verbatim on antivaccine websites or seeing him listed on one such site as though he were a regular contributor there? Why doesn’t The BMJ and/or Peter Doshi at least insist that RFK Jr. remove the page whose purpose is clearly to imply that Doshi is a contributor to The Defender? Inquiring minds want to know why The BMJ tolerates Doshi’s continual game of footsie with antivaxxers and his antivaccine-adjacent articles.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

101 replies on “Why is Peter Doshi still an editor at The BMJ? (RFK Jr. and COVID-19 vaccine edition)”

Noticeably absent from Doshi’s conflict of interest statement is that he served as an expert witness for the anti-vaccine group Children’s Health Defense in a lawsuit challenging the University of California’s influenza vaccine mandate (the lawsuit did not go anywhere). Maybe he was not paid, though expert witnesses usually are, or maybe he does not think it’s pertinent.

I think it is, when he writes about vaccines, and I wonder why it’s omitted.

Is this your answer to the cognitive dissonance you must be experiencing by discounting everyone and everything pointing to the truths surrounding the SCAMdemic? One doth protest tooooooo much.

a. Doshi may not know enough to know his complaint about the pharmakiconetics studies is mistaken. Which, of course, raises questions about his ability to criticize vaccine approval, if he does not understand it.

b. Note that unblinding happened under an EUA. Delaying a BLA wouldn’t change that. And follow up can and should continue.

C. Even in the quote Doshi is giving, a license is conditions on good safety data.

“my speaking there does not imply endorsement”

my instant translation from Standard Weasle: “my speaking there reflects my beliefs that might endanger my position at BMJ”
just like RFK jr’s “not an anti-vaxxer” stance really means “I don’t want to alienate the majority of the public who might become followers some day”

Concerning the present day EUA status:
is it possible that the vaccines will be approved in the very near future (after summer) so that schools, universities and businesses will advocate an approved vaccine?

A correction, then:
“my speaking there reflects beliefs that might affect my future job prospects”

His silence on conflicts of interest despite his history shows similar weaselry

It seems particularly unfair to not let the placebo subjects get the vaccination they risked their health for so we could have a vaccine. Real kick in the teeth to people who took a risk to help us.

Aaand, that’s what I burp up when I fail to read Orac’s OP first.

Regardless, I’m going to feel most dreadfully embarrassed if I spend the next three years in a congested U.S. Armless Corpse of Engineers detour while they work out which BCI implant most enables them to fill a pot hole.

“Neuralink, assholes! Like mine.”

While Doshi may be a “senior editor,” he is still third from the bottom of a lengthy list of editorial staff on the BMJ site. I almost get the impression it is a title conferred on those who aren’t very important but have been around for long enough.

While Doshi may be a “senior editor,” he is still third from the bottom of a lengthy list of editorial staff on the BMJ site.

It’s thoroughly unclear to me what duties this position entails.

almost certainly enough to let incredibly unworthy letters from AVers like John Stone into print.

There’s a Doshi article on the Corvelva website with the title and author listed over the header “Corvelva Staff”:

https://www.corvelva.it/en/approfondimenti/notizie/covid19/peter-doshi-i-vaccini-pfizer-e-moderna-efficaci-al-95-necessitiamo-di-maggior-dettagli-e-dei-dati-grezzi.html

If Doshi didn’t mind being linked with that sloppy bunch of Italian antivaxers, I doubt he’ll be outraged at the implication that he works for RFK Jr.’s outfit.

Wow. Just WOW.
Do you even live in the real world Orac? or in some kind of bubble? Or just under the influence of something, like years of brainwashing by the system?

So several months before in the BMJ
https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/02/19/adopting-an-anti-racist-medical-curriculum/
The Lancet
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30536-2/fulltext
ACS
https://www.facs.org/publications/bulletin-brief/020221/pulse
AMA
https://www.ama-assn.org/about/leadership/ama-s-strategic-plan-embed-racial-justice-and-advance-health-equity
The president
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/biden-administration-looks-to-push-critical-race-theory-via-federal-grant-program/ar-BB1fRjPb
And then you actually try to get a hardworking brown guy fired from his STEM job, without a care in the world….

wait, what??? WHAT????

I mean it should be obvious to you, Orac, what the scientific consensus is on structural (medical) racism.
Why would you do this??? Are you trying to appeal to unvaxxed white supremacists or something?

but periodically he publishes posts for The BMJ that are—to put it kindly—far below the standards that a medical journal with the history of The BMJ should ever associate itself with.

Just because a brown guy writes something for the BMJ, doesnt tarnish the reputation of BMJ.

You really dont understand racism/anti-racism, do you? Just like with Bility.

Trying to frame this as racism isn’t actually a good counter to the points about Doshi’s specific behaviors. Note that you were unable to counter those points.

Note that he’s being criticized together with Peter Gøtzsche and Tom Jefferson, who have done similar things in the past.

As a South African, I have seen numerous instances of people using the race card to deflect criticism and smear opponents. And yours is the weakest, reachingest, most pitifully obvious I have ever observed.
Congratulations.

@ Julian Frost

Not South African but somewhat close in cultural background. 100 % agree. This is the lamest of the lame. Though we all know people can stoop even lower. Here’s one of my favourite.. There’s no shame in shamelessness.

Anti-vaxxers want to cater to Trumpers and also capitalize on “medical racism” to those fighting systemic racism.

This could metaphorically blow up in their faces.

. . . , he had been scheduled to speak at an antivaccine conference hosted by the antivaccine group National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). He knew NVIC was antivaccine too, as he had been contacted about the nature of the conference and replied with a lame, “my speaking there does not imply endorsement” gambit. . . . he served as an expert witness for a lawsuit by Children’s Health Defense challenging the University of California’s influenza vaccine mandate. . . .

Where is our expert “Six Degrees of Separation” Master Jacob Crosby when we really need him?

He seems to be living with his mother ( and father?) in Ponte Vedra, FL. He shut down his blog and his LinkedIn account now only features the vaguest details ( members can see more). No word if he still writes for Epoch Times but I doubt it.
Nothing else that I can find .There was something a while back that he got money for “research” from the Dwoskin Foundation IIRC. He did work for Trump’s campaign in 2016 but no word about 2020; he seems to be off social media.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he hung around Telegram, gab or Parler with other righties and anti-vaxxers. .

@ Orac

Actually Doshi has been trying to undermine vaccines since 2005:

Peter Doshi (2005 Dec 10). Are US flu death figures more PR than science? BMJ; Volume 331: Page 1412.

Peter Doshi (2006 Nov 11). Policy is in the lead (Letters: Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence). BMJ: Volume 333: Page 1020-1021.

And Doshi wrote in a BMJ Editorial: “none of the vaccine trials are designed to detect a significant reduction in hospital admissions, admission to intensive care, or death.9 Rather than studying severe disease, these mega-trials all set a primary endpoint of symptomatic covid-19 of essentially any severity: a laboratory positive result plus mild symptoms such as cough and fever count as outcome events (table 1). These studies seem designed to answer the easiest question in the least amount of time, not the most clinically relevant questions.” [Peter Doshi (2020 Oct 21). Covid-19 vaccine trial protocols released: A rare opportunity for public scrutiny of these key trials. BMJ; 371.]

He claims he read the entire protocols posted by FDA online. From the Moderna (2020 Aug 20). Clinical Study Protocol – Phase 3:

“8.3.2. Medically Attended Adverse Events
An MAAE is an AE that leads to an unscheduled visit (including a telemedicine visit) to a healthcare practitioner (HCP). This would include visits to a study site for unscheduled assessments (eg, rash assessment, abnormal laboratory follow-up, COVID-19 [Section 8.1.1]) and visits to HCPs external to the study site (eg, urgent care, primary care physician). Investigators will review unsolicited AEs for the occurrence of any MAAEs. All MAAEs must be fully reported on the MAAE page of the eCRF.”

I am in the Moderna COVID vaccine trial. We were given a detailed 17 page Consent form to read and sign, which included permission to access our medical records and contact our primary care physicians. In other words, if we didn’t fill out the weekly questionnaire or answer phone from monthly phone call or not show up for labs, they could and did follow up.

Is it really believable that he “carefully” read the Protocols?

In 2010, BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee invited Brian Deer to write a series of articles on Andrew Wakefield, which he did. So, by hiring and keeping Peter Doshi, has BMJ gone over to the dark side.

I should point out that I submitted a number of Rapid Responses to BMJ. Several were posted up to a week after submission; but posted on date submitted, so only way to notice them would have been to scroll down several pages. I have submitted OpEds and Letters to newspapers and magazines, always published on date posted, not date submitted, same with journal articles. I also noticed that antivaxxers responding to my Rapid Responses seem to post rapidly. Finally, BMJ did NOT even post eight of my Rapid Responses; but have posted over 100 from antivaxxers since I gave up trying.

Note I would be happy to submit one or more of my not posted Rapid Responses as a comment here, just so it is clear that they did NOT attack people; but did include valid references.

One last point, Editorials published by Fiona Godlee:

(2020 Aug 20). Covid-19: Less haste, more safety. BMJ

(2020 Nov 12). Covid-19: We need new thinking and new leadership
“We do at least have the trial protocol, but neither this nor any of the current covid vaccine trials are likely to tell us whether a vaccine will prevent serious illness and death.7 The main winners this week are those trading shares as the stock markets surge.”

(2021 May 13). Covid-19: Why we must temper urgency with diligence. BMJ. [Note. even after published results she keeps questioning vaccines]

In another Editorial she wrote: “Rather than coercion and censorship, let’s choose science, education, access, civil discourse, and debate.” [(2019 Jun 6). What should we do about vaccine hesitancy? BMJ.]

John Stone, a rabid antivaxxer, who has posted well over 100 Rapid Responses,wrote in a Rapid Response: ”censuring and criminalising critics and dissenters is only distracting in a politically unpleasant way from the problem. I am personally grateful to the editor for her recent call for “civil discourse, and debate” [John Stone (2019 Jun 20). Measles vaccination has substituted one problem for another. BMJ Rapid Responses.]

“Civil discourse and debate.” Is she nuts or just incredibly naive? Antivaxxers have testified before Congress and UK Parliament, before U.S. State Houses, County Governments, City Governments, FDA hearings, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, etc. And they have had OpEds and letters in numerous newspapers and magazines, been involved in numerous demonstrations, and have umpteen websites, some extremely well-funded. What John Stone means by “civil discourse and debate” is simply that at the end of the day we should ignore science, ignore the history and current status of vaccine-preventable diseases in the world, quite simply we should accept their unscientific illogical paranoid beliefs. YIKES! And Fiona Godlee, besides having hired Peter Doshi, herself has published Editorials that play into antivaxx hands. Has the BMJ gone over to the dark side???

Well you well reasoned argument has won me over.
I did note that you presented NO factual information to dispute the article.

@ Kay West

You write: “It was posted once that drug companies don’t make a lot of money from vaccines.”

Actually they don’t. Prior to the current Pandemic, the total world sales of vaccines contributed approximately 3% of total global pharmaceutical revenue. A couple of companies that manufacture most vaccines did earn a much higher percentage of their revenues from sale of vaccines. However, STATINS alone earned more for the pharmaceutical industry than all vaccines combined. Why? Because they earn much more on drugs needed for daily usage or on drugs used to treat diseases. Cancer drugs have exponential profit margins, etc.

Now, during the Pandemic companies are making a profit off the COVID vaccines. Though the profit margin is much lower than for many other pharmaceuticals, the total sales gives them a nice profit. So what? You and other moronic antivaxxers don’t understand that everything sells for profit. Do you expect a company to manufacture something with NO profit? Insulin sells for a profit? Does that mean if you or a friend has Type 1 diabetes they shouldn’t use? Epi-Pens sells for tremendous profit. it costs approximately $10 to manufacture two and they sell for $400 in U.S.; but $50 in UK and elsewhere. Even more is that the research that developed them was funded by the U.S. military. What you and the rest of your moronic antivaxxers don’t understand is that profit doesn’t tell us whether a product is beneficial, neutral, or harmful or any combination thereof. And, if you weigh the profits made on the current COVID vaccines vs the costs of illness, e.g., suffering, missing work (even from home), long COVID, hospitalizations, and deaths, especially the exponential rise if the aforementioned vaccines had not been developed, they are rather inexpensive.

You and others have shown their ignorance of immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, the history and current status of vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition, ignorance that COVID vaccines did go through animal and three required Phase studies, that CDC and other nations are closely monitoring post-marketing adverse events, and that numerous studies have found as vaccine levels increase, serious cases of COVID have decreased. So, getting a couple of shots even if I had to pay for them, costing me altogether probably $40 well worth it, even if the manufacturer made $10 or $15 profit.

Why don’t you crawl back under your rock!

You defend the pharmaceutical companies make very large profits
Yet you oppose the medical community (hospitals et al) from making a profit.

I suppose your complete inability to understand the word ‘proportionally’ also explains your complete inability to understand the risk/benefit analysis for vaccination.

Note that this is from the value of the stock going up, not direct profits. While profits do have an impact on stock value, the reality is that stock values are a direct measure of the perceived value of the company as a whole. Stocks values can cause a company’s net worth to increase far more than profits if investors believe the company has provided a product that improves the company’s portfolio.

Generally, vaccines are low-risk, low-margin income generators. In my field (power utility), we would call vaccines base generation; steady, reliable source of income (power, for me) that doesn’t have a lot of fluctuation. It keeps the lights on, but is not the source of profits.

He is a filthy communist. We were warned about, you know, being randy and all.

But ck4cocpuffs reassured me it was safe even though my rectal prolapse almost garanteed a course of antibiotics for him. A shame to. Such a tight little man.

@ Kay West

Though I NEVER rely on newspaper articles, just for sake of argument, an analogy.

Currently in the United States every year there are 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 41,760 deaths. Imagine the CEO of a pharmaceutical company decided a decade ago to go all in to come up with a cure. Now imagine he succeeded, saving the lives of about 40,000 of the 41,760 and besides successfully treating the other cases and, in addition, the side-effects of the treatment were minimal. Would you begrudge him becoming a billionaire? Since the treatment his company developed would save just over 10 years around 400,000 lives and reduce the suffering for over 2 million, the lives saved would earn him $2,500 per life or the suffering shortened $500. Just approximations. So, if you or a loved one or friend developed breast cancer would you begrudge the man who risked his company to focus on developing a cure and was successful $2,500?

So, if you believed as the science dictates that the COVID vaccines were literally saving 100s of thousands of lives and preventing many more from suffering, hospitalization, and long COVID, how would this differ from the CEO of the company that developed a breast cancer cure?

Now, just to be honest, I deplore the excess profits and CEO salaries of our pharmaceutical industry. They make claims of the costs of developing their drugs; but credible independent evaluations have put the amounts at 1/5 to 1/10 what they claim. They include in their costs marketing research and cost of basic sciences; but the Federal government historically has funded about 95% of basic sciences. And we talk of market competition; but when granted a patent there is NO market competition; but I’ve read several law journal articles that clearly explain that the Federal government can limit the profits on patented drugs, etc. But, as we all know, not all; but most of our members of Congress are in the pockets of Big Business, including Big Pharma. In fact, Big Pharma always comes out in the top of earnings of the Fortune 500 companies.

Just as another example, companies that supply cable TV, internet, and telephone. We pay at least twice as much for these services as companies in other nations, for-profit companies that do quite well. Even after the 2008 crash my provider increased their rates substantially despite already making record profits and paying obscene CEO salary. So, in the U.S. companies don’t focus on making profits in a fair and reasonable way; but on ever increasing profits at everyone expense and our government does little to nothing. And there isn’t real market competition when there are only a handful of companies and no independent referee.

However, as I’ve written before, profits don’t tell us if anything is of value or not. Focusing on profits is just another example of antivaxxers intellectual dishonesty. Since they don’t really understand how vaccines work; but are against them, often citing one or two articles in medical journals, ignoring the vast majority, or just citing a newspaper article or an antivax blog.

he’s played the “victim” card that people who are borderline antivaccine or antivaccine love to play, claiming that they are “just asking questions” and that anyone who “questions” vaccines is labeled, in a knee-jerk fashion, “antivaccine.”

I’m thinking there might be some value in coming up with a term for the “borderline antivaccine” — other than that unweidly two-word phrase — to distinguish the likes of Doshi, Gøtzsche, Hooman et al from the likes of RFKJ. When RFKJ calls himself “pro-vaccine” and characterizes himself as ‘just asking questions’ he’s clearly lying. He deserves the label “antivaccine.” because that is the core of his identity. He is a true believer. Opposition to vaccines is his first principle, the visible prime motive of his agenda. i could argue people so obsessed deserve a rubric all their own. Applied strictly, that principle would mean we’d also need another term for grifters like Mercola and Adams who have integrated an anti-vax stance into their broader scam. Their first principle is some philosophy of Alt-Med/Natural Health, with anti-vax being a secondary, opportunistic path to amplify the grift, but one that is disposable in terms of the overall project if it somehow got too messy. Nevertheless, I can see extending the “antivaccine’ rubric far enough to cover them.

Doshi, Hooman et al seem to be more ‘useful idiots’ (or maybe ‘fellow travelers’) than true believers. They come off as having big egos wrapped up in one particular fairly narrow medical issue that is their specialization, the defining center of their career, if not their psychological personae. Doshi’s, it would seem, is “the regulatory approval process [is] rushed and insufficiently rigorous.” i take it as significant that Orac finds Doshi makes one compelling point in arguing that case about COVID vaccines, that being one more compelling legitimate concern than we’d get from RFKJ or Mercola. Anyway, for these academics, their Big Issue puts them at adds with what some mainstream view or practice, and so they begin to imagine themselves as brave Mavericks championing an Important Cause that “they” are ignoring or trying to suppress. They may even be comparatively sincere in terms of ‘just asking questions’, just being oblivious to the problems with those questions. They are so focused on their ‘thing’ that they care not at all how it might be abused by the likes of CHD, seeing Kennedy’s crew as outside of ‘science’ and thus of little consequence in comparison to the Importance of Them and their Issue. So, not only will they generate the kind of thing that can be repurposed (without expressed permission) as propaganda by RFKJ, they will cozy up to anyone willing to credit their ‘thing’, give them an airing, a platform to speak their ‘truth’. They can appear at an NVIC conference or as an expert witness for CHD with a shrug of “my speaking there does not imply endorsement” because to them, what would or wouldn’t be endorsed is of no gravity anyway.

I speculate, of course, but the fact that academic careers can lead to such blinkered perspectives around issues that might be legitimate on their own terms might explain how Doshi obtained an editorial position at BMJ, especially if his “regulatory approval process [is] rushed and insufficiently rigorous” theme is a shared interest with the Executive Editor as Dr. Joel suggests, as she wants some subordinate to carry that flag as one of many that may fly under the larger BMJ umbrella.

The only clue I could find on the BMJ site to Doshi’s role thereis the first line of his bio, “Peter Doshi is a senior editor at The BMJ and on the News & Views team.” i take this to mean he is responsible of generating articles for the less-scholarly ‘News and Views’ section, and only occasionally gets involved in helping guide peer-reviewed articles through from submission to publication. I base this guess on the fact that since he also has a faculty job at the U of MD, if he’s doing News and Views pieces for BMJ on a regular basis he wouldn’t have time to do much with the peer-reviewed papers, and his PhD was in history/anthropology/science studies which would limit the sort of peer-reviewed papers he’d be qualified to work on. I wonder how demanding his role at BMJ is, and whether he receives any monetary compensation, or just a credit on his CV that means something for promotion or status at UM. i would guess his influence at BMJ is largely limited to the (relatively low status?) News and Views section [ : – ) ], but that the powers that be are mostly pleased with his contributions there [ :- ( ].

i wish I could up with a snappy term that somehow expresses the sense of ‘useful idiot’ or ‘fellow traveler’ but references vaccine-politics rather than politics-politics, but nothing is coming to mind at the moment. Anyone have any suggestions?

I do think these distinctions are important, but you’re right. There aren’t good terms to differentiate the true antivax (e.g., RFK Jr., Del Bigtree, the propagandists at Age of Autism, etc.), from the useful idiots for the antivaccine movement (e.g., Peter Doshi, Tom Jefferson, Peter Götzsche, Hooman Noorchashm), from the grifters for whom antivax is just one part of the grift that fits in because alternative medicine in general is mostly antivaccine (e.g., Joe Mercola, Mike Adams, Ty Bollinger, etc.). We should brainstorm. As for the useful idiots, you do make a good point. They tend to have some legitimate scientific background and an interest in a topic relating to vaccines who have a legitimate concern either taken too far, so far that they go beyond the evidence (Doshi on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, Götzsche and Jefferson on vaccines, etc.) or no longer listen to legitimate and compelling counterevidence that they’re wrong (e.g., Noorchashm). The big problem with the useful idiots is that antivaxxers can very easily take advantage of their legitimate scientific and medical credentials to argue that there are actual physicians and scientists who support their viewpoint.

Orac writes,

“We should brainstorm. As for the useful idiots, you do make a good point. They tend to have some legitimate scientific background and an interest in a topic relating to vaccines who have a legitimate concern either taken too far, so far that they go beyond the evidence”

MJD say,

Theoretical anti vaxxers

They are anti-vax enablers / anti-vax adjacent. Let me think more about it..

Occasionally, one will show up on an anti-vax/ woo site ( PRN, CHD). Now I ask myself, don’t they look into what they agree to appear on or see who reprints their articles/ applauds them?

Several years ago, I was shocked to hear a well-known political commentator/ former cabinet official/ professor** speak and have his work reprinted on PRN. I sent him an e-mail saying that the host was a pseudoscientist who dabbles in social/ political thought and has nasty things to say about the gentleman’s colleagues/ party And the woo-meister will name drop you as if you agree with him. I gave him references to Wikipedia/ Orac. I NEVER saw anything else of his shown there. He might have fallen for the progressive title and not looked into the actual pile of rubbish itself.

Some of the people Orac writes about do not seem to try to extricate themselves from anti-vax proselytisers’ venues so I assume they are not much concerned. Perhaps like many enablers, they have no great objections to the position they enable or they have axes to grind against authority itself..

** I won’t name him because he is otherwise quite admirable. Everyone can be fooled by professional con artistry..

I think there are people who fall for the Kennedy name that way and may be pulled in by RFK jr. for one thing without being antivaccine.

The question is what they do when they realize what happened. Your professor seems to have corrected course.

@ Dorit Reiss

“I think there are people who fall for the Kennedy name”

Ahhh!!… Kennedy… Sorry, couldn’t resist:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gczkM8cL2hs

French boss: “Ah! Merlot… Let me introduce you our friends of the CIA, who came for a little friendly visit. As friends. Merlot is our last hire. In his probationary period.”

Merlot: “Nice to meet you. Welcome to Paris.”

CIA agent 1: “Nice to meet you too.”

French agent 1: “You speak english, Merlot ??”

French boss: “Good. We were in the process of congratulating ourselves for the excellent collaboration between our services. Which has been constant since our victory over barbary. To which, let’s not forget it, our friends provided their little contribution… And, by the way, how do your presidential elections profile themselves ?

CIA agent 1: “Very well. Richard Nixon will be elected.”

French agent 2: “This Kennedy is way too young. He looks like a kid. People need mature officials… with experience… and composure.”

French agent 1: “Like the General !”

French agent 2: “Yes, indeed.”

CIA agent 2: “Or the Marechal…”

French female agent: “He may not be mature and may lack composure, but he is charming, your Kennedy…”

CIA agent 1: “Anyhow, we have the means to decredit him.”

French agent 1: “Discredit!”

French boss: “Ah ? How ?”

CIA agent 1: “He likes women.”

French agent 2: “Yes ?”

CIA agent 2: “He likes women… A lot.”

French boss: “Yes… yes… You were talking about discrediting Kennedy… he has weaknesses ?”

CIA agent 1: “Well, women !”

French agent 1: “Yes. And ?”

CIA agent 2: “He sleeps with a lot of women… It’s not good for a politician.”

French agent 1: “Why is that so?”

A “Meyer-Briggs” for anti-vaxxers….not by self report but creating several axes of anti-vaccination (fanaticism, profiteerism, overall-anti-sciencism) could be useful.

On the other hand, unblinding them and allowing them to receive the vaccine could make data on any longer term effects of the vaccines much harder to interpret. Imagine you’re in charge of this massive clinical trial.

And….

However, what Doshi neglects to acknowledge is that, if the FDA really did rush these vaccines to be fully approved and a major safety concern were to be discovered later, it would backfire massively in terms of public trust of the FDA and the vaccines

Wait! — doesn’t Orac realize how much his first statement undermines his second? Shouldn’t he be made to account? Nah — it probably would be pointless. Pointless in that he is likely to follow Rule 1 (see an explanation in the ‘shedding’ thread) and spew more nonsense and confusion. Pointless in that Rule 1 already accounts for the inconsistency

@ Greg

You continue to display your incredible ignorance. As I explained and you ignore, it isn’t just the clinical trials that one should base evaluation of the new mRNA vaccines; but understanding of the immune system, understanding of molecular biology, and understanding of how the mRNA was constructed to produce only a part of the S-Spike Protein.

And, as I made clear, Doshi either lied or is not very bright because he claimed upon reading the phase 3 vaccine trial protocol that it didn’t include looking for and evaluating serious adverse events. It clearly did!

And you don’t seem to understand that the FDA didn’t rush to approve the vaccines; however, given the severity of the COVID pandemic, it issued Emergency Usage Authorization based on both the Phase 3 trials and knowledge of mRNA vaccines. Yep, by unblinding did cause minor problems. But once again, given the short life of the mRNA, the incomplete S-Spike Protein, and its short life as well, by the time EUA was issued after three or more months of data, the probability of long term serious adverse events was minuscule and given that volunteers agreed to continue in the study for 25 months and the CDC programs for post-marketing surveillance, similar programs in numerous other nations, the reality is that the risk of serious adverse events, now nine months for those in the clinical trials and five months of vaccines for the general populace is minuscule. And international data confirms that as vaccine rates increase cases of hospitalization and deaths have decreased.

One simple question for you Greg. If on January 1, 2022 irrefutable data shows only rare serious adverse events and that those vaccinated experienced very few deaths compared to unvaccinated (remember the first to be vaccinated were senior citizens and/or those with serious comorbidities), will you post a comment on this website admitting you were wrong???

Based on my knowledge of immunology, molecular biology (Orac knows far more than me), especially reading up on all the research on mRNA vaccines, I predict that mRNA vaccines will become a major part of the future of vaccines, not all of course; but many AND morons like you will just crawl back under your rocks.

I predict that mRNA vaccines will become a major part of the future of vaccines, not all of course; but many AND morons like you will just crawl back under your rocks.

Joel, although my antivaxx ‘queasiness’ tells me that there is something just not right about using an experimental vaccine to fix the mother of all vaccine experiments that went awry, the shenanigans that went on at the Wuhan lab, I am not saying mRNA vaccines are bound to fail. In fact, don’t tell my antivaxx brothers and sisters, part of me wants to see the vaccine succeed, if not to prove that you guys are more than just useless f-ups.

Joel, my beef is with you guys wanting to have your cake and eat it too. If the trial must be unblinded for ‘ethical’ reasons, depriving us of the rigorous long-term safety findings to say the vaccine is safe, then why not just leave it at that and say the vaccine cannot be proven safe? Why seek FDA approval suggesting the opposite? Am I the only one thinking that the FDA approving the vaccine would set a bad precedent for vaccine safety science? Or, was that precedent set a long time ago, especially with the HPV vaccine?

@Greg

“In fact, don’t tell my antivaxx brothers and sisters”

And plese refrain from telling yur flubbed-it-up that her cooch is in the spagetti. Fems are sensitive, it causes issues. Ask Q-ball.

I’m all vaxxed up, I’m rarin’ to go (It’s been a little wihile). You stuck your sister yet?? {asking for a very close ‘friend’}

I predict that mRNA vaccines will become a major part of the future of vaccines, not all of course; but many AND morons like you will just crawl back under your rocks.

Joel, even though my antivaxx queasiness has me marveling at the irony of using an experimental vaccine to fix the mother of all vaccine experiments gone awry, the shenanigans that went down at the Wuhan lab, I am not saying that mRNA vaccines are bound to fail. My main beef is with you guys always wanting to have your cake and eat it too — or, should I say, your boatloads of cash and spend it too!

Joel, if you guys must unblind the trial for ‘ethical’ reasons and this will result in not have the rigorous long-term safety studies to ultimately prove safety, then why not just leave it at that that the vaccine cannot be proven safe? Why seek the FDA’s full approval? Doesn’t that set a precedent that you guys are prepared to cut corners with the science , or was that precedent set a long time ago, especially with the HPV vaccine?

@ Greg

“Joel, even though my antivaxx queasiness has me marveling at the irony of using an experimental vaccine”

Nope, Greg. Not “experimental”. Vaccine. Just “vaccine”. That’s all. Not “experimental”. Merely what it takes to attempt to fix a situation. That’s all.

So according to you, greg, not only was COVID-19 the result of a failed experiment in a Wuhan laboratory, it was from failed vaccine experiments.
That conspiracy theory is impressive in its incompetence.

That conspiracy theory is impressive in its incompetence.

You need to remember in anti-vaxxer land, vaccines cause dangerous diseases that kill, but VPDs are mild and getting them improves your health.

So according to you, greg, not only was COVID-19 the result of a failed experiment in a Wuhan laboratory, it was from failed vaccine experiments.
That conspiracy theory is impressive in its incompetence.

Julian, isn’t gain-of-function about experimenting with viruses, making them more effective to humans so we can study them and make better vaccines? Doesn’t that sound like a vaccine experiment? Of course, it was an experiment that created one of the greatest disasters of our time, but, rest assured, ‘brilliant’ scientist have also experimented with new mRNA vaccine technology that is both ‘effective and safe’, and that will get us out of the pandemic. Seriously!

From NN: “Mask wearers now feel paranoid, angry, confused and stupid”.

That’s actually a perfect characterization of NN devotees.

*my longstanding take on vehement antivaxers is just slightly different: uninformed, confused and hostile.

Mike Adams often indulges in projection.

It doesn’t matter, all the NN devotees are now going to me taking home made Tiger Balm for all their pain relief needs.

I mean, I’m pretty angry at all the people who have made it clear they don’t care what happens to other people as long as they get to do whatever the hell they want. They’re a bunch of leeches who want to benefit from society without contributing.

I mean, I’m pretty angry at all the people who have made it clear they don’t care what happens to other people as long as they get to do whatever the hell they want

Nah — I think some of them just see it as wanting to exercise their most basic rights. Wanting to breathe, and even unencumbered, is one of them; there are others.

@Greg I do wear a mask. I can inform you that I can breathe very well

@ Orac

You write: “I do think these distinctions are important, but you’re right. There aren’t good terms to differentiate the true antivax (e.g., RFK Jr., Del Bigtree, the propagandists at Age of Autism, etc.), from the useful idiots for the antivaccine movement (e.g., Peter Doshi, Tom Jefferson, Peter Götzsche, Hooman Noorchashm), from the grifters for whom antivax is just one part of the grift that fits in because alternative medicine in general is mostly antivaccine (e.g., Joe Mercola, Mike Adams, Ty Bollinger, etc.).”

I’m not sure Peter Doshi is a “useful idiot.” He may, in fact, be a tried and true antivaxxer. RFK and Bigtree play to the 15% or so of people who either are incapable of thinking and/or subscribe to paranoid conspiracy theories. These are the 15% who in polls have said they NEVER will get vaccinated. Then there is another 20% or so on the fence. Whereas RFK and Bigtree often make claims that are so far fetched, only the 15% accept them. Doshi is more subtle. He asks questions, e.g., did the phase 3 study meet FDA time requirements? Does the CDC have enough teams to rapidly and accurately monitor/evaluate reported adverse events? And, as I wrote above, claiming the Phase 3 Covid trials did not include looking at severe adverse events. These are the type of “modest” questions and claims that may appeal to the 20% or so. In other words, Doshi may be, just speculating, intentionally targeting them. Going back to 2005, his first antivax publications, all find some angle to undermine vaccinations. In other words, he is consistent.

One other thing, narcolepsy. Doshi has played it to the hilt. However, though the 2009 Pandemic experienced fewer deaths than expected, it had a higher percentage among young people. There is still some controversy on whether Pandemrix caused it and/or a subgroup of cases. However, given no evidence prior to its usage, I wonder how many lives were saved and hospitalizations were prevented by the Pandemrix vaccine? Quite simply comparing vaccinated vs unvaccinated in Europe. My guess is that far more lives were saved than experienced narcolepsy. There is also the criticism that once cases of narcolepsy arose Pandemrix vaccinations should have stopped, probably a week or two earlier. Again, it would be interesting to compare deaths and hospitalizations prevented to any additional cases of narcolepsy. My point is simply that if Pandemrix did cause some or all of the cases of narcolepsy, one still has to evaluate benefit vs cost. Maybe further research will find that those who succumbed to narcolepsy, at least some of them would have died from the flu? Finally, I have NEVER seen a single paper by Doshi where he clearly discusses benefits vs cost.

As for the grifters, yep, snake oil salespeople par excellence.

@ Joel:

I’ve been watching these numbers ( anti-vax sentiment/ vaccine hesitancy/ etc) for years and that 15% appears to be stable. Of course, it’s how the question is asked as well .
but 15% is a lot when herd immunity might be 80%.The harbinger is measles with a higher percentage required.

@ Denice Walter

15% is based on surveys, represents an average which means some areas will reach herd immunity and other clusters at high risk.

The main point of my comment is that Doshi may be more dangerous than RFK Jr, etc. because his approach can sway those undecideds, whereas RFK Jr, etc are preaching to the choir. Add also “prestige” of a major medical journal, giving Doshi more clout.

@ Dr. Joel

I don’t want to dispute your point that Doshi may be more dangerous than RFKJ, but that might be exactly because he’s a useful idiot. In the last analysis, it really doesn’t matter if his ‘just asking questions’ shtick about vaccine approval comes from a genuine but over-exaggerated concern for safety, or whether that’s just a ruse he’s constructed as a diabolical strategy to achieve nefarious ends — though I do find the latter hypothesis unlikely. What matters is the role of the folks who present as useful idiots in the spread of antivax belief and the concomitant public health problems resulting from vaccine refusal.

I think that role is relatively minor, especially if we’re talking about any given individual like Doshi. Very few of those 20% of fence-sitters read the News and Views at BMJ, and few will even click through to the source from the references to one of his pieces in whatever post about vaccines they get via social media etc. The general public typically encounter the useful idiot ‘medical science experts’ second-or-third hand, via the true believers and grifters exploiting them, “look, see, this expert is raising alarms in the BMJ!”. The 15% of true believers may have the commitment to follow up, actually check Doshi’s argument so they can repeat it (or a distorted version of it). But I think most of the 20% aren’t so committed to the issue, and will just come away with a general impression that there may indeed be some non-crazy reason to doubt the safety of the vaccines. And all it takes is a seed of doubt for someone to do nothing, to put off scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated, to continue to ‘wait and see’ to keep us from achieving anything like population immunity.

Now, while the existence of Doshi’s output (or Götzsche’s, or Noorchashm’s…) is certainly helpful to those sowing vaccine doubt, and is worthy of critique as such, I don’t think any of it is necessary. When it comes to COVID, the political/economic stakes are such that there’s no shortage of expert JAQers. Who needs Doshi questioning the vaccine when you’ve got John Ioannidis questioning the fact of the pandemic? And if these guys’ questions didn’t exist, the antivaxers would just lie and invent them.

To the extent that we understand how vax resistance spreads out from the 15% to draw in converts from the 20%, I think we see a viral process moving from ‘opinion leaders’ through personal networks of political or cultural affinity. In COVID vaccine resistance, the network is characterized by Trumpy right-wing political identity, and the ‘opinion leaders’ are widely-attended-to pundits like Tucker Carlson and firebrand Freedumb political celebrities like Marjorie Taylor Greene. Very few people who aren’t in some way inclined to view that political ideology and identity favorably are going to be drawn out of the 20% through those channels. And what characterizes those channels is an uncritical acceptance of what it’s figureheads say, since they are seen as the tellers of the ‘real’ truth. So all Tucker has to say is, ‘the science says this, but it doesn’t say that”. Which he does a lot. He rarely cites authorities for these claims, identifies which science or scientists or studies support his vax-questioning rants. He doesn’t have to. The broad stroke is enough to spread doubt, whether there’s any backup available or not. But there is backup, in the form of other second-hand references, distortions, lies, DIY ‘research’ and VAERS interpretation… It’s all a house of cards but I doubt too many get that deep.

Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in Las Vegas is offering incentives to get vaccinated against Covid-19. From Fox News (where else)?

“Patrons who show proof of vaccination at the club will reportedly be treated to a one-year Platinum membership, dances from a vaccinated stripper, complimentary bottle of alcohol and tickets to “Sexxy After Dark” with a limousine pickup.”

Yowza.

and the genuinely revolting

Don’t remind me. Once we turned up a Hustler in the woods. I’ll leave it there.

@ Sadmar

First, I didn’t say for sure he was more than a useful idiot, just questioned.

You write: “I think that role is relatively minor, especially if we’re talking about any given individual like Doshi. Very few of those 20% of fence-sitters read the News and Views at BMJ, and few will even click through to the source from the references to one of his pieces in whatever post about vaccines they get via social media etc. The general public typically encounter the useful idiot ‘medical science experts’ second-or-third hand, via the true believers and grifters exploiting them, “look, see, this expert is raising alarms in the BMJ!”.”

Yes; but by citing a senior editor at BMJ social media can influence the fence sitters better than without. As for useful idiot or committed anti-vaxxer, all I know is that he has been challenged going back 16 years and hasn’t blinked. At some point one has to question why? Maybe useful idiot is perfect in that, despite having a PhD, he isn’t very bright??? Or??? And a number of hardcore antivaxxers do monitor BMJ and besides posting on their websites, do participate in social media. As I’ve written before, surveys have found that over 70% of Americans don’t understand the fundamentals of science or critical thinking and that, of course, includes fence sitters.

As for John Ioannidis, someone whose papers I read and found quite good, it is a nightmare that he has come out questioning the pandemic. Maybe he had a minor stroke or some other brain damage? Oh well.

I have been wanting to get Götzsche’s book “Vaccines: Truth, Lies, and Controversy” since it came out a year ago; but it was only available for Kindle. I just checked and a hardback will be out this coming July, so I intend to order it. Should be interesting.

Maybe useful idiot is perfect in that, despite having a PhD, he isn’t very bright??? Or???

This is the guy who signed a petition that questioned the role of HIV in AIDS causation. When this was revealed publicly, he asked that his name be taken off the petition, because people might “mistakenly” think he endorsed the petition.

Book smart, maybe. Not a lot of common sense.

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2021/01/15/why-is-peter-doshi-still-an-editor-at-the-bmj/

“Why is Peter Doshi still an editor at The BMJ?”

Orac often whines about the time that antivaxxers tried to get him fired from his job. For him, it was quite a grievous act that went way over the line and was quite unforgivable.

He can try to get Doshi fired from his job though. The difference is Orac is a provaxxer and is ‘right’, and Doshi is dabbling in antivaxx sentiments and is ‘wrong’.

@ Greg

As usual, making a fool of yourself. Yep, antivaxxers tried to get Orac fired; but Orac is a respected cancer surgeon, that is his job. What he chooses to do in his free time is his business; whereas Doshi is senior editor of BMJ, a medical journal supposedly promoting science and despite your immense stupidity, what Doshi, as senior editor, writes contradicts science! ! ! So, one is a person’s free time, the other is his job and position. Are you really too stupid to understand the difference??? Yep, you are! ! !

So, one is a person’s free time, the other is his job and position.

I was wondering this morning whether Senior Editor for “News and Views” was likely to be a paid position — there turns out to be quite a bit of on-line content, but I have no idea how much gets into the main edition — to no avail. I suspect that the assistant editors are doing most of the legwork for the electronic stuff, at least.

Joel, I am sure some ‘antivaxxers’ will say even as a cancer surgeon Orac is in a scientific field and his rabid defense of vaccines is unscientific. They too may argue that justifies him getting booted from his job. So, again I ask the question; is there a difference between what the ‘antivaxxers’ and Orac are calling for, or is it the same vindictive effort to punish others whose positions differ from yours?

whereas Doshi is senior editor of BMJ, a medical journal supposedly promoting science and despite your immense stupidity, what Doshi, as senior editor, writes contradicts science! ! !

And, of course this is not just yours and Orac’s assessment, but a ‘truth’ that Orac is the leader of unveiling. And, of course, we can all agree that Orac has every right to be judge, jury and executioner!

You do know, right, that you could get throat cancer from people who don’t take HPV vaccine?

@Cuckoo4cocoapuffs Want to comment retraction of antivax papers ? Godlee do not mention writing papers for lawyers, to help them sue.

In other anti-vax news…

(AoA) Kim Rossi doesn’t think that parents should “endanger” their children by giving them Covid vaccines to protect children like an NYT columnist’s daughter who is 4 and recovering from cancer. She offers interesting analogies as you might predict. Don’t set yourself on fire if someone else is cold. She contributed to NYT’s Facebook ( I couldn’t find her comment though)

via PRN today, video of Luc Montagnier ( Planete360) concerning where variants came from ( in French) Oh guess!!
also, the hoary old host replays Tucker Carlson about social pressure applied to the unvaccinated- Learn about the risks! he says
plus enabler/ scientist poseur Richard Gale about 4200 Covid vaccine deaths “an undercount*:!

What’s wrong with these people? Are they unhappy that fewer people are dying and locales are re-opening?

@ Denice Walter

You write: “What’s wrong with these people? Are they unhappy that fewer people are dying.”

Maybe unconsciously or subconsciously they are unhappy fewer people are dying. If they believe they are safe and believe the world is overpopulated??? Or, if they believe if enough die and are infected, then natural herd immunity will develop and they won’t be “forced” to vaccine, etc. As sick as some of these people are, anything is possible.

@ Greg

You write: “Joel, I am sure some ‘antivaxxers’ will say even as a cancer surgeon Orac is in a scientific field and his rabid defense of vaccines is unscientific. They too may argue that justifies him getting booted from his job. So, again I ask the question; is there a difference between what the ‘antivaxxers’ and Orac are calling for, or is it the same vindictive effort to punish others whose positions differ from yours?”

It doesn’t matter if antivaxxers believe his “rabid” defense of vaccines is unscientific. And it isn’t a “rabid” defense, it is based on science! He is employed as a cancer surgeon and antivaxxers can scream all they want, his employment is contingent on his performance as a cancer surgeon, what he does when at work, not what he does in his free time. Once again, Peter Doshi has made it clear he is antivax and he has even lied in his opinion pieces, e.g., claiming that the Phase 3 Covid vaccine trials didn’t include looking at serious adverse events, so this is something he does on the job. You are either stupid beyond belief or just posting comments to irritate me and others. Go to HELL!

My understanding is that you are Canadian. Nice to know that U.S. hasn’t cornered the market on idiotic assholes.

Go to HELL!

Joel, I will never understand why you get so worked up at my comments.

Ok, let me come at this firing Peter Doshi thing from another angle: I am sure you would agree that firing someone is quite serious. We wouldn’t want it to appear that Doshi got the boot simply because he wrote things that pissed Orac off by being a little too ‘antivaxx’ for Orac’s taste.

Anyway, you and Orac are arguing that his arguments are serious breaches of the science and as Senior Editor of a science journal he must go. Yet, Joel, this is just yours and Orac’s assessment, the same people calling for his firing. Do we not owe it to Doshi to have an independent party make that assessment before we even recklessly consider his firing

And, what exact science is he betraying, Joel. Yes, Orac wrote about stuff, but is it ‘consensus science’ that all scientists know that they cannot speak against or refute, or it might precipitate their firing. Given that serious potential repercussion, I am assuming this consensus is not just some ‘vague’ agreement , but serious agreement on clear scientific ideas. Joel, where would scientists find these ideas so the they are aware not to transgress them? Are they written in a manual somewhere? Was the manual brought to Doshi’s attention?

Again, Joel, please understand that I am simply asking these questions in relation to assessing whether this blog topic is just another example of Orac being a vindictive bully that will call for outrageous. ridiculous, punishment for people who disagree with him. Am I not being reasonable — unlike, Orac?!

@ Greg

I’ve wasted enough time on you. I gave one clear example of how dishonest and biased Doshi is when he wrote that he checked the Protocol for the Phase 3 clinical trial and they did NOT include looking at serious adverse reactions. I even cut and posted the exact wording. Yep, it is a scientific consensus that vaccines do work and have rare serious adverse events, a consensus based on understanding how vaccines work, e.g., molecular biology, and a long history of vaccines and lover 400,000 published papers.

YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT!

@ Aarnot – From the article you cited dated December 2017, “Today, the National Institutes of Health announced that it is lifting a funding pause dating back to October 2014 on gain-of-function (GOF) experiments involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses.”

It says the NIH is LIFTING A FUNDING PAUSE. Translation, NIH started funding gain of function experiments in 2017.

Don’t you read your citations? Here it is again for your convenience. https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/nih-lifts-funding-pause-gain-function-research

It says the NIH is LIFTING A FUNDING PAUSE. Translation, NIH started funding gain of function experiments in 2017.

As well they should have.

Still haven’t figured out that “reply” thing, I see, Sonny.

There was no place for me to reply under his post. This is what you focus on?

Pre-apologies. Looks like I’ve duplicated a post because the original didn’t post yesterday when I wrote it up.

What is up with this site? Someone give Orace more funds to upgrade this two-bit blog.

There was no place for me to reply under his post. This is what you focus on?

That you’re not exactly the sharpest pencil in the box? Sure, why not?

“Incorrect”

??

“Today, the National Institutes of Health announced that it is lifting a funding pause dating back to October 2014”

unpaused | paused | unpaused (lifted)

. October, 2014 December 19, 2017

Hey fuck you nasty whatever comment system. counting spaces and formatting are bad now? you filthy piece of shit.

But I’m not so interested in a ‘funding pause’ so much as what if mr. Bill Gates walked in here with a lot of.. collateral… and wanted some work done. Was it explicitly banned? Any enforcement teeth? Private endevors? We don’t take kindly people don’t take kindly people banning stuff ar’nd here.

I’m NIMBY and so the fk are some of y’all.

@ cuckoo4cocopuffs

You write: I’m glad the BMJ is seeking more transparency. A response to the ridiculous practice of pharmaceutical companies running their own clinical trials? I mean, seriously, how objective can they be? Conflicts of interests?”

Of course you don’t understand or refuse to understand that the FDA regulations for approval of vaccines is far more stringent than for any other pharmaceutical or medical device, that many other nations have their own requirements, and that post-marketing surveillance of vaccines is better than any other surveillance, with several different programs in the U.S. and in several other nations. Yep, conflict of interest, understood by FDA, UK, Swedish, Australian, etc. which is why the much stricter regulations

As for Doshi, as I’ve written in another comment, he wrote an opinion piece in BMJ claiming that he read the Phase 3 protocols for the Clinical Trials of COVID vaccines that was on the FDA website and they did not include looking for serious adverse events. I won’t bother to repost; but I found specific details of how they were going to look forward and evaluate serious adverse events. Not only that; but in a Rapid Response Doshi repeated what he said, a BMJ Rapid Response posted months after New England Journal of Medicine posted online Dec 30 and Dec 31 peer-reviewed papers of the Phase 3 clinical trials for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, papers that included a number of severe adverse events, but almost all were in the placebo group and all the deaths were in the placebo group. And I’ve been following Doshi for a decade and have obtained almost all his articles and not one passes the smell test. Basically, he takes out of context and exaggerates adverse events, etc. and NEVER compares stats on lives saved, hospitalizations avoided, etc.

So, MORON, I’m glad you are so enamored with what confirms your ignorant beliefs.

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