At age 77, I can remember polio. I was terrified of it. Everybody was. A child in perfectly good health suddenly got a fever and the next morning was paralyzed for life. Everyone knew someone who had it. Then a vaccine came out, and this was a Wonderful Thing. Parents eagerly lined up their children to receive it (or a placebo in the earliest phases of its development), and nobody questioned this, as polio was obviously worse than the vaccine could ever be. Republican or Democrat, you did not want to get polio: There were no politics involved. There was also no Facebook.
Enter COVID. Suddenly 450 beds of my 650-bed hospital contained COVID patients, all of them good and sick. Corpses accumulated faster than they could be disposed of. Local nursing homes saw a majority of their residents die. People were terrified. The country shut down. When a vaccine finally arrived, you would think everyone would rush to get it, and many did. But then a strange and probably unprecedented thing happened: politics supervened. Why not wanting to die should be informed by your political affiliation is still beyond me. By September 2021, 56% of Republicans were fully or partially vaccinated, as opposed to 92% of Democrats . During October/November 2021, an unvaccinated person was 78 times more likely to die of COVID than a fully vaccinated one .
There have been nine deaths attributable to COVID vaccine  — all from the Johnson & Johnson product and at the time of this writing, 900,000 deaths from COVID in the United States. Polio vaccine, when the live virus, oral product (Sabin vaccine) was used for the convenience of not having to give a shot, caused five to ten cases of polio/year. For many years this was considered acceptable, compared to the millions of cases prevented. But as American society became more risk-averse, the original Salk vaccine, which did not use live virus but had to be injected, was brought back. Politics, by the way, was not involved in this change. The point is, sometimes vaccines have adverse effects, but are worth it. A child paralyzed by polio, a grandparent dying of COVID—who would not avoid this if they could?
Against this backdrop, the Editor-in-Chief asked me to examine the review, by Harald Walach of the book The Real Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. I am a conventionally-practicing, university-based family physician.
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