Lack of science and ethics at the FDA and CDC

Since January 2020 the FDA and CDC have undertaken multiple actions that are not founded on solid science and ethics. The latest example is their recommendation today, “out of an abundance of caution”, to pause the use of the J&J vaccine because six people out of more than six million experienced severe blood clotting after receiving the vaccine. It turns out that I was expecting to take the J&J vaccine tomorrow, after months of waiting for an appointment, but now the state informs me that the J&J vaccine will not be administered. Fortunately, they offered me an alternative vaccine, but there are very many people around the world for whom no alternative is readily available.

The fundamental error of the FDA and CDC now and over the past year and more is blindly following scientific and ethical protocols established for normal times and refusing to recognize the exceedingly great harms caused by not bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an end more quickly. Since the rate of death or severe health consequences caused by COVID-19 is much larger than one in a million over all age groups, stopping the use of the J&J vaccine is going to result in a lot more harm than the adverse effects of the vaccine. And one in a million risk of adverse effects is considerably smaller than other ordinary risks people take, like driving a car. Preventing people from undergoing a medical procedure with a miniscule risk that leaves them exposed to a much greater risk is neither scientific nor ethical. Why not inform people of the current state of knowledge and risks and let them make their own decisions?

If the FDA and CDC actually weighed the risks and benefits instead of insisting on following standard procedure in an emergency, we could have had vaccines much sooner and ended the pandemic much sooner. Instead we have ongoing economic pain and a thousand Americans dying per day, plus much more around the world.

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Some would argue that the emergency use authorizations were lacking in science and ethics.

Immunologist Dr. Bart Classen writes:

"Development of new vaccine technology has been plagued with problems in the past. The current RNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were approved in the US using an emergency order without extensive long-term safety testing. The results indicate that the vaccine RNA has specific sequences that may induce TDP-43 and FUS to fold into their pathologic prion confirmations.

The enclosed finding as well as additional potential risks lead the author to believe that regulatory approval of the RNA-based vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 was premature and that the vaccine may cause much more harm than benefit.”

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Welcome to those of us who have said the reaction to Covid has been overblown.

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While I sympathize with your plight @Joel I’m not so sure I agree with your conclusions. What we know now is that COVID19 actually has the effect of causing blood clots, and middle aged otherwise healthy men without any symptoms were stroking out. We also know that COVID19 has caused, in children who either recovered from it or never showed symptoms, a very serious inflammation similar to Kawasaki’s disease. My neighbor is an OBGYN and has shared all sorts of prenatal problems resulting from COVID19. So when reports at almost the outset come back of people suffering from strokes and pregnant mothers almost immediately going into miscarriage, it makes me all the more convicted that waiting is the right course of action for me and my family. I’m always reminded that America lost Jonathan Edwards too early, because of complications from the small pox vaccine. Some things need to go slow.

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“More haste, less speed” (replying to @Krlamb1 above).

If so, then it makes no sense to pause the use of the non-RNA J&J vaccine.

Overblown for some, but not for others. One big reason why COVID-19 has been so difficult to deal with is that the risks are very unevenly distributed with respect to demographics such that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The policies we have settled on in the U.S. are generally what best suit old people and the professional class, which not coincidentally are the demographics that hold the most power in the U.S.

I don’t follow your reasoning, @Krlamb1. If it is known that COVID-19 has all these bad outcomes, wouldn’t you want to not wait to get a vaccine?

Yes, but this has to be balanced by the danger of actually getting smallpox, which is the reason why people wanted vaccination in the first place.

This is a mistaken understanding of science and ethics. Life is full of risk and uncertainty, and science and ethics are the tools we employ to try to obtain the best balance. There is no absolutely safe and effective medical treatment, so the question always is, safe and effective compared to what? What you seem to be arguing, @freidarichter, is that because RNA vaccines might possibly have long-term bad effects, people should not be allowed to take them even though there is a pandemic raging that is killing thousands of Americans every week.

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Puritans opposed the masses on smallpox inoculation by supporting it. Cotton Mather lost a wife and two children to smallpox, so he was greatest advocate in New England. He supported the inoculation of populace. His house was firebombed because of this support. Puritans were scientists—Edwards and Mather are perfect examples. Mather, in fact, was elected to Royal Society of London. How opposite things are today, although it’s true that the modern world’s “scientism” is godless.

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I’m not saying I don’t want a solution to a very deadly disease. I’m saying that rushing solutions often times can be worse in the long run, even if there are immediate gains for some. Like you said unevenly distributed. The other exception I take, is the disingenuous disclosures about vaccines.

I mean honestly, a pill to treat Rosacea may cause:

  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • bloating
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • constipation
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling of discomfort
  • fever
  • headache
  • hives, itching, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • hives or welts, itching, or rash
  • increased thirst
  • indigestion
  • inflammation of the joints
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • numbness or tingling of the face, hands, or feet
  • pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • redness and soreness of the eyes
  • redness of the skin
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • stomach cramps
  • stomach pain or tenderness
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight loss
  • vomiting
  • yellow eyes or skin

But we are told vaccines are perfectly safe and never to question them. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Balancing danger as you say necessitates knowledge that they keep hidden. So, if initial reports show low but immediate instances of severe complications, I take notice.

Again, don’t mistake me as opposing a solution. I agree with everything you said. But the facts remain, there are always unintended consequences, and people do have the right to know what they might be before agreeing to be injected.

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The precautionary principle at work.

I first read about it in a book responding to fear mongering over genetically modified food. The foreword was written by Norman Borlaug, who had spearheaded the Green Revolution.

In spite of our sins, we live in an incredibly rich and safe period, so safe we don’t understand how to rationally manage risk. God is so good to us. While I could be accused of idolatry for saying so, these vaccines are gifts from God. They and all the other incredible vaccines we benefit from today.

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Now as to the deadlines of COVID19, I am most familiar with the results here in Arizona. I also managed to pull up similar data for the flu in Arizona (2015, 2016, 2017). The flu data I found was grouped differently by age than the COVID data, because cases were far more spread across the age ranges, whereas deaths were more clustered. So I grouped them into two groups, 65+ and under 65.

Basically what I learned, was that COVID19 laboratory confirmed cases (736,441) increased 5,502% over flu laboratory confirmed cases (13,383 3yr avg) for people under the age of 65.

COVID19 laboratory confirmed cases (113,247) increased 3,538% over flu laboratory confirmed case (3,201) for people 65+.

COVID19 related deaths (4,274) increased 3,238% over flu related deaths (132 5yr avg) for people under the age of 65.

COVID19 related deaths (12,830) increased 2,275% over flu related deaths (564 5yr avg) for people 65+.

So if we accept the notion that COVID is no different than the flu, then we must be willing to compare it to those numbers. Hard to call them over blown.

Can you imagine the heaps of legislation if car accident related deaths suddenly increased 3,238%.

What are your thoughts on the JJ vaccine using fetal stem cells, though a few generations removed?

I think the ethical question is a valid one. I don’t think we ought to be eating fruit from a Holocaust garden. I’m not sure that every instance is so clear though. I think Doug Wilson had a fairly balance take on it some time back.

While this is a fine question to ask, I have long contended that it doesn’t go far enough. While it’s good to question the use of fetal cell tissue in the production of vaccines, what people should be considering is the use of fetal cell tissue in the research of vaccines, in general. Even if a particular vaccine isn’t manufactured in direct connection to aborted fetal cell lining, you can’t ignore the trail of dead children that have been used in research. The rubella vaccine, alone, involved the use of tissue from over 70 aborted fetuses. Not to mention experiments on orphans and mentally-handicapped people.

And yet many Christians seem to go no further than asking whether the end result vaccine they put in their bodies involves direct descendancy from the MRC-5 cell line, or something similar. We aren’t going far enough.

The ends do not justify the means. I don’t believe Christians are nearly concerned enough about these things.

Here is the blog I believe you are referring to. I may be wrong.

Here was the reply I left for Pastor Wilson in the comments. I doubt he ever read it, but I ruffled some feathers in the comments section.

"Pastor Wilson, thank you for this helpful article, and for the opportunity to interact a bit. I have a few thoughts.

First, I’d like to simply and non-controversially affirm that we should fear God more than we fear rubella. In the interest of erring on the side of caution, and in viewing our lives through an eternal lens, we ought to fear the one who has the power to kill not only the body (e.g. rubella), but also the soul in hell. While I understand the nuance of the discussion, and all this talk of secondary, tertiary, quaternary culpability, etc., I guess I’d just want to exhort Christians to have a bit of faith-empowered backbone at the end of the day. Yes, measles and rubella are really bad, and I don’t desire them to fall upon any household. But if we would behave and think like Christians, will we not affirm that it is better to suffer rubella for doing good than to be complicit in sin (1 Peter 3:17)?

Second, I appreciate your thoughts about how we cannot “unknow” the knowledge that has been gained through the heinous things man has done in history. You mentioned tests conducted by the Nazis, and I was also reminded of Japan’s Unit 731, and how the United States gave immunity to some of the camp’s workers in exchange for information about the findings of their experiments. Your comments really helped me process that. I especially appreciated your conclusion, “…while the knowledge of a particular truth is itself uncorrupted, you want to make sure that you never use such knowledge in a way that incentivizes researchers to go get more of it in that way.”

The only problem I see with this conclusion – as it relates to the subject matter at hand – is that I am skeptical that vaccine research actually can be seperated from the corrupt nature of their development. Something that is very crucial to keep in view here is that while we may only be discussing a handful of specific vaccines that were manufactured using aborted fetal cells, there have been hundreds if not thousands of aborted fetal organs used in the research and development of other vaccines. Researchers like Stanley Plotkins have been plainly vocal on this fact. Admittedly, I am not knowledgeable enough to know why these scientists choose aborted fetal cultures as their preferred test subjects. Perhaps it has to do with the controlled nature and “purity” of the specimens, as opposed to using an adult cadaver. Perhaps it has to do with being unable to duplicate variables in animal flesh. I’m not sure. But it would appear to me that it could almost be said that vaccine research is virtually predicated on the use of aborted fetal remains. And if that’s the case, then I think we ought to conclude that the whole of the effort needs to be rejected. Not just these two vaccines in question.

The last thing I’d want to discuss – and I’ll just make passing mention of it, and let you decide if it’s something you’d be willing to explore further in another post – has to do with whether or not it is just for the civil magistrate to force its citizens to receive vaccines to begin with. In your article, if I am following your Russian roulette analogy, you seem to have painted the person who doesn’t vaccinate to be the person playing Russian roulette. However, I would argue that both the vaxxer and the non-vaxxer are both playing Russian roulette. The chamber allocations just happen to vary depending on your circumstances. For example, in the United States, in the year 2019, you are more likely to die from a measles vaccine than you are to contract measles to begin with. Setting aside the reason for those statistics (which are disputed within the pro-vax/anti-vax debate), these are simply the numbers. This means that parents – whose primary charge is the safety and well-being of their own children – may reasonably conclude that it may be in the best interest of their child not to vaccinate.

Notice, I am being deliberate when I say their child. I am not talking about society as a whole. I understand that the counter-argument to this will always be “herd immunity.” I get it. And I understand what you mean about it being in the civil authority’s interest to have an inoculated populace. The government cares about the forest, not the trees. But I question whether or not Christians should be so quick to accept the civil magistrate’s mandate that they vaccinate their children. I would contend that this is merely another front being opened up on secularism’s war against the family and the authority of parents.

“All things being equal,” I believe that parents will generally always act in what they believe to be for the best interest of their children. Jesus affirms that we, though being evil, still know how to give good gifts to our children. Most parents are not dead-beat parents. I would far rather trust parents, in any given generation and society, to weigh the risks of making informed choices about their children’s health risks, than cede control to the state to tell us what we must inject into our children. And that has implications that reach much further than vaccines."

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That is the article I was referring to. Your question about trusting parents, I think relates back to my comment about disclosures. In no way do I think the state should force people to be injected with a beta version vaccine. But people do need the advice of experts in the field, most people absolutely will not make good decisions without expert advice.

The issue of fearing rubella vs fearing God makes no sense. For one, we must not deny when God uses such things to bring about repentance, not stick necks. We are commanded to preserve life, not just the life our spouses and children, which we must of course, but anyone and everyone for whom our commissions and omissions may severely impact. Those sins against others, are indeed sins against God.

We confess not only active sin, but failure to perform that which is commanded by the law of love; passive sin. Certainly some will misuse the law of love to contradict the law of nature, and that would be error. But let’s not toss out the law of love because we think it too costly.

As to the ethical question, Wilson hits the nail on the head when he says that we are all too hypocritical about refusing vaccines all the while consuming numerous other products with questionable origins.

It’s a good reminder for me.

Not sure what’s not making sense. If we fear an illness to such an extent that we’re willing to turn a blind eye to the fact that infants are murdered to give us a vaccine for it, then our fear is misplaced.

It may be true that we enjoy cheap textile products off the backs of slave workers. But I know of no other industry which capitalizes on the corpses of murdered babies like medical “development” does.

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Neither I nor DW were suggesting turning a blind eye to it. And your initial statement didn’t draw that correlation directly, though maybe indirectly later on.

This statement came across as unqualified posturing as though Christians should not seek to address the issue of Rubella and live by faith, but that’s only my reaction to what you wrote, you obviously intended something else.

Again, neither I nor DW suggested that the discussion had anything to do with slave workers or textiles. He links to a document a good number of products that people use that have either direct or indirect connection to aborted babies.

Brother, I think you are being too simplistic here. Every modern business makes their money off the corpses of babies. Every single one encourages career women over fertile women. Every single one.

If the level of blood guilt is sheer numbers then business like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple win hands down. Yes, there are many aborted babies in the making of many things in medicine. Probably thousands.

How many thousands were aborted for the sake of Facebook careers last year?

I have no problem with you having a conscience conviction on vaccines (or anything else for that matter). I do think you press your argument too hard here. We cannot hope to be completely clean - the question we have to ask is how to be the most consistent in applying God’s ethic without ever being able to be Holy. (Wilson says as much in his article.)

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This is 100% true, and I believe it’s a major reason why Amazon was looking in places like NYC and NoVa for their second HQ: why would they want to be in a place like Wichita or Dallas or Phoenix where there’s lots of affordable housing for people to form families? Well, in a place like Amazon with legions of pink collar workers, babies mean juggling maternity leave and women who want to leave the workforce or negotiate for part-time work after their six weeks are up.

I believe Facebook even offers female employees egg freezing.

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Amen. But I believe there is a substantive difference here. Though business and commerce in the world, in general, is very much influenced by the idolatry and wickedness of man, it isn’t predicated upon it, whereas the development of vaccines appears to depend on the abortion of babies. Their bodies are used as the very petri dishes that make the product itself possible. The same can’t be said of the bread you buy at the grocery store (Lord willing).

The New Testament gives us clear instruction to free our consciences concerning buying meat which has been sacrificed to idols. I can buy a hamburger from an idolater without feeling defiled by his idolatry. But does accepting a vaccine fall into that same category? To eat meat which has been sacrificed to Molech seems to be one thing. But to imbibe a concoction that was crafted from the bodies of children sacrificed on his altar – and to do it in the name of protecting life, no less – seems to be something else entirely.

If vaccination development can be proven to be possible apart from the direct work of abortion, then I will happily place my hand over my mouth. But history seems to be showing otherwise. Having that young, pure, uncontaminated human flesh to work with in our labs seems to be an integral part of vaccination science. Prove me wrong.

I affirm that we share, in common, with all mankind, a common heritage and history in our father Adam. Everything about our temporal lives, from the borders and prosperity of nations, the amenities of modern living, to advances in medical understanding – everything is tainted by sin. The very keyboard I type on, and all of the technology involved in taking my words to your eyes, are all made possible, in various capacities, in connection to sinful deeds committed by men throughout history. To be in the world is to be constantly touching man’s corruption.

I have no illusion that by rejecting vaccines, I am somehow achieving separation from the world. Yet brother, at what point do we blush?

You state that our question is “how to be the most consistent in applying God’s ethic without ever being able to be Holy.” Well and good, but let us remember that holiness is our goal, not mere consistency. Hypocrisy is a wicked thing, amen. Yet consider how often Christian men suppress a conviction to abandon one idol simply because they are not prepared to give up another. Better that we would smash one idol, and keep the other, than be consistent in our keeping of both. Even the kings of old were commended in this, when they removed the Baals and the Asherah, even though they did not take down the high places.

I don’t want to overstate the point here, but I really wonder sometimes if we care too much about consistency that we’ve forgotten how to blush and actually find things abhorrent.

Part of what makes vaccines unique here is that many Christians who are for vaccination would not allow for any provision of conscience. Rather, to not vaccinate is to sin, since it is an expression of being “unloving” to a neighbor. This is how @krlamb1 framed it above:

Notice that when someone insists on framing the issue this way, the conscience is no longer allowed to be part of the discussion. Rather, the gauntlet has been thrown on the table. To not vaccinate is to sin against your neighbor. Accusations are being made. Battle lines are drawn.

And if that’s how it is going to be, then yes, brother, the argument does need to be pressed hard, in turn. Christians ought not accuse their brothers of sin for failing to vaccinate to “preserve life,” when those same vaccinations are developed from the flesh of murdered infants. That’s inconsistency.

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