By Gary F. Hickman
Guest Columnist 

‘Vaccine concerns’ are misplaced

 

Last updated 10/18/2022 at Noon



I like The Nugget Newspaper. I read it weekly. I think for the most part Jim Cornelius does a good job of balancing out controversial subjects by our unfortunately very polarized political community and country. In fact, because he has done such a good job of this, I have sat on my hands and let the ink dry out of my pens before writing in on the numerous musings which I disagree with that have been printed.

However, after reading the editorial page article “Vaccine complications” by Wayne B. Schmotzer DVM, printed in the October 5 paper, I finally could no longer just not respond. He has been given far too many column inches over the past months for his views not to be challenged.

In his most recent column, he begins, of course, mentioning the VAERS reporting system as “failing miserably.” VAERS is the number-one thing that anti-vaxxers mention to support their views. It was never meant to be used as someone like him uses it. VAERS is one of several systems CDC and the FDA use to ensure all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are closely monitored for safety. It should never be used by itself, and it should not be used without the vigorous scientific method, which it is eventually subjected to.

He labels mRNA vaccines “experimental.” A fact-check on the use of that term regarding mRNA vaccines will show you that this is false. According to the CDC, mRNA technology is not new. The mRNA vaccines have been studied for decades. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been held to the same safety and effectiveness standards as every other vaccine produced in the U.S. The CDC also says the safety monitoring systems to track COVID-19 vaccines are “the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.”

But even if you want to take his advice and think mRNA vaccines are experimental, then why doesn’t he, as someone who in past columns has stated he is “not an anti-vaxxer, just against mRNA vaccines,” even mention the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which does not use the mRNA technology? This vaccine uses the more traditional virus-based technology. I am sure Wayne is busy at work on his next column, which will have the theme of “Please everyone, go get your J&J COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.” I look forward to reading that.

He cites a “RAIR Foundation USA” report regarding the German Hospital Federation demand to withdraw vaccine mandates due to “massive side effects.” The Southern Poverty Law Center lists this RAIR Foundation USA as an extreme right wing hate group.

It was founded by Amy Mekelburg, a prolific anti-Muslim Twitter troll.

But if you follow him to this report he also got his numbers wrong.

By a lot.

He stated in his editorial “someone getting four jabs has a 1:250 chance of these devastating outcomes.” The actual number given in this report is 1:1250.

He missed by a thousand to scare others with misinformation.

But really, how many of you will trust anything reported by an extreme far right hate group?

The rest of his column is every bit as flawed, misinformed, and alarmist as he started it.

However, I do like to try to find areas of agreement with those I disagree with. In this case I agree with him that if you are a dog, cat, horse, etc., or a human who prefers to be treated in that category of being (nothing against animals), then I think you should listen to his advice or even go to him for treatment. If you are a human that prefers to listen to the scientific-based human health care system then I suggest you heed his advice, knowing it will be at your own peril.

Scientists estimate that at the very low end at least 200,000, and up to 800,000 American lives would have been saved if everyone eligible for the COVID vaccine had gotten it. And parents, be aware that since 2020 there have been more than two million known COVID cases in kids ages 6 months to 4 years, as well as 20,000 hospitalizations and more than 200 deaths.

According to the “U.S. Coronavirus vaccine tracker” 863,234,395 doses have been distributed in the U.S.A. so far. As well as billions worldwide. If you believe Wayne we should all know many people with “severe” side effects from these vaccines. I myself know none. How many do you know?

The mistrust of science, the CDC, and FDA kills people. The column inches written in The Nugget Newspaper by Wayne B. Schmotzer DVM with his misinformation kills people. I think he has done enough damage to our community.

I usually like to be known just by my first name, without putting letters behind my name to unduly influence others. But for those who like that type of thing I will sign this Gary F. Hickmann, RN, former president of the Oregon State Board of Nursing.

 

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