The World Health Organization (WHO), and the growing pandemic preparedness industry sponsoring it, have faced considerable challenges in maintaining support for its COVID-19 response.
It has addressed this difficult situation with simple and uniform messaging. The compliance thus achieved by WHO has been vital to the successful wealth concentration of the COVID-19 response, benefiting its major sponsors but also the army of global health staff who have remained obedient throughout.
Threatening this progress, a skeptical minority within the public sphere have been using evidence and rational argument to undermine the pandemic industry’s potential. As the pandemic preparedness and response narrative is poorly defensible on rational criteria, such criticism and opposition must be dealt with and dismissed by other means.
This is being achieved through the creation of a dogma around mass COVID-19 vaccination sufficiently separated from reality as to render the normal processes of debate irrelevant. If the gap between pandemic messaging and reality can be kept sufficiently wide, few passengers can step off, and this lucrative gravy train becomes unstoppable.
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Big lies become matters of faith
The development and mass deployment of vaccines has been a key component of the COVID-19 response, underpinning much of the transfer of wealth from lower-income people, and countries, to Big Pharma, their investors, and the global health workforce they sponsor.
Against a background of rapidly increasing global poverty, this unprecedented increase in wealth has in turn raised the potential for unprecedented funding to global health institutions – the mostly Western-based industry that fills offices and drains aid budgets in Europe and North America.
A significant cognitive decoupling has been necessary across this sector to achieve sufficient uniformity of voice and purpose, as the institutions involved were ostensibly intended to improve the health and uphold the rights of those less financially fortunate. For success, staff of the WHO and other international organizations therefore had to be enabled to signal virtuous intent while acting in concert for corporate gain.
Vaccines traditionally protect the vaccinated against a target pathogen, and humans tend to develop good immunity after respiratory virus infections. These two realities create an urgent problem for the pandemic preparedness industry, as the increased financing set to expand their reach is dependent on successfully convincing the world that these truths are indeed fallacies.
Thus, to sell COVAX, the WHO’s financing facility for mass COVID-19 vaccination and the model for future pandemic responses, it was vital for the WHO to ensure that the obvious nonsensical nature of the program would be ignored. This required coordination and adherence to a single simple message, repeated incessantly to stifle external opinion; a slogan so ridiculous that it becomes inarguable.
It is essential to focus people on simplistic slogans if the aim is to suppress their tendency for independent thought and to make any venture in that direction a cause of stress. If people can see their respected authority figures standing behind a statement that is otherwise obviously false, it becomes easier to accept that the false must be true than to stand alone against authority and the crowd.
Once one’s colleagues are on board, the Milgram experiment phenomenon kicks in – if everyone else is saying ‘X,’ then it surely must be ‘X,’ even if it looks like ‘Y.’ If a health program flies in the face of all existing medical knowledge, it must therefore be supported by a sufficiently strong dogma to negate evidence-based argument. It is a testament to the power of group-think, loyalty to sponsors and the allure of money that this has, thus far, been brilliantly achieved.
COVAX – Selling the golden goose
“No one is safe, until everyone is safe,” the WHO’s COVAX motto, fulfills all the above criteria.
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Most people want to be safe – and to achieve industry aims, the public must be convinced that others, not just themselves, are the key to their personal safety. They must support the blame or coercion being applied to these others. But the brilliance of ‘No one is safe, until everyone is safe’ is not just in its appeal to self-preservation and its divisiveness, but in its simple stupidity.
For the slogan to be true, the vaccine must be transmission-blocking only. It must not protect the vaccinated individual. Otherwise, their safety will not be dependent on the vaccination of others. However, the WHO and its partners also claim that “COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death.” Therefore, in promoting its ‘No one is safe’ slogan, WHO staff must collectively proclaim a lie. This builds loyalty and cohesion, as a lie is more easily maintained within a like-minded group.
To be ‘safe’ from a virus, one must either be intrinsically at very low risk (as most people are to most viruses) or gain immunity.
‘Intrinsic low risk’ created a huge problem for the mass-vaccination narrative early in the COVID-19 outbreak, as data from China showed the very strong skew of severe COVID-19 towards old age, and association with certain comorbidities. Most people are clearly at minimal risk. This had to be suppressed to enable mass-vaccination – all must consider themselves at risk. Public health agencies and their corporate backers even proclaimed impending catastrophe for the people of sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of whom are under 20 years of age. The use of age-based disease metrics, standard for disease-burden assessments up to 2019, were put aside and ‘COVID-19’ mortality reported as raw mortality numbers only.
Immunity presents a problem, as it is both the pathway through which vaccines work, and the way we naturally gain protection. Immunity makes us safe, but Pharma-independent immunity is useless to investors. While a safe vaccine would be preferable to a dangerous virus, once infection has occurred the gain from vaccination is minimal. This poses an immediate threat to profits and share price.
The response to this dilemma included one of history’s more ludicrous statements from a global institution, when the WHO modified its herd immunity definition to only recognize immunity resulting from pharmaceutical intervention. This is nonsense to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of immunology, and of course the WHO’s staff have at least rudimentary knowledge.
Inevitably, SARS-CoV-2 has continued spreading, including from the vaccinated. Based on serology from Africa, India and the USA, and the highly transmissible Omicron variant, we can now be confident that nearly all the world’s population have post-infection immunity.
It is no biological surprise that immunity gained from these whole-virus respiratory tract infections reduces disease severity more effectively than injection with spike-protein or its mRNA precursors. Claiming that mass vaccination still has public health relevance in these populations requires both abandonment of logic, and a willingness to dispense with decades of prior scientific learning. It requires acceptance of dogma.
A final component of the COVAX strategy, to lock in celebrity support and enable those promoting the vaccine to still feel virtuous, is ‘vaccine equity.’ People in rich countries are having boosters whilst many of the ‘global poor’ still await their first doses. The lack of plausible benefit to be obtained from these doses, and the requirement of coercion to attain high coverage, is irrelevant – inequity in vaccine distribution just must be ‘bad.’
Whilst pushing more boosters on high income markets, the same Pharma companies can look good by demanding vaccine equity, advocating for the ‘disadvantaged.’ In reality this diverts resources from areas of greater need, thereby killing more children, but such fine print will never make the front pages. Commodity equity expands markets and provides returns, while health equity does not. Fear of being vilified as anti-equity helps keep skeptics quiet.
Bolting down the golden goose
Science, including public health, were previously held to be based on processes of logic, based on an acceptance that aspects of our world are grounded in discoverable truth. This concept is a threat to COVAX and the wider pandemic preparedness narrative. It is a threat to the return on investment of the pandemic industry’s sponsors. Greed is a stronger driver than truth, and it must be allowed to run free if society is to be truly reset in favor of those who wish to concentrate and control its wealth.
Despite its massive internal contradictions, disproportionate cost, coercion, and requirement for its promoters to live obvious lies, COVAX and the entire mass-vaccination paradigm has created a strong model for success of the wider pandemic preparedness project. If truth in public health can be so readily dispensed with, and those working in the field so willingly corralled, the potential for milking the public’s trust and desire for safety presents unprecedented potential for profit.
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As this wealth accumulates, it supports the continuing advocacy and manipulation required to keep its adherents loyal. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle – we can expect to see more outbreaks, health emergencies and pandemics declared, more vaccines rolled out, and more wealth concentrated as a result. This becomes an unstoppable cycle burying truth under a growing fog of fear and falsehood.
That, at least, is the plan. The eventual outcome will depend on whether truth, human rights, equality and trust were ever fundamental to maintaining societal cohesion and peace. If they were, then let us hope the chaos that follows their abandonment is somehow contained. For now, business is business, and the golden goose, bolted down in a hall of lies, will keep on laying.
About the Author
David Bell, senior scholar of Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician based in the United States. After working in internal medicine and public health in Australia and the UK, he worked in the World Health Organization (WHO), as Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, and as Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, USA. He consults in biotech and global health. MBBS, MTH, PhD, FAFPHM, FRCP
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