Thanks for providing guidance on my prostate treatment and ongoing monitoring, and I will email you once I take my blood test in April. Our recent telemedicine appointment was brief , and I could sense, both from our call and your follow up note in the Open Notes system, that you were surprised, if not alarmed, that I had thus far not had a Covid vaccination. Since you noted that I was vaccine hesitant even though in the past I have had polio, tetanus and a few other vaccines but not the current MRNA vaccines, I thought it might make sense to outline the reasons for my decision to forego the injections. Again, you may disagree with my reasoning, but I wanted to convey that I at least had done a tremendous amount of research on the matter and have had an open mind on the risks/benefits of these novel genetically-based therapies/vaccines. I know many who refuse the shots are castigated by the media, family and friends as yokels, ignoramuses or Trumpsters so believe it makes sense to clarify my reasoning. I will note that I have never been a Trumpster, however; for that matter, I place very little confidence in politicians of any stripe. Hopefully, I am not a yokel or ignoramus, although I am certainly overeducated with a bachelors, JD and MBA from prestigious academic institutions, but I have never confused academic pedigree with brilliance and instead try to focus on the quality of ideas and scholarship.
Although I had no particular political or scientific bias against the efficacy or safety of these particular vaccines, from the outset I was troubled by three indisputable facts that made me cautious, if not skeptical : 1) under the law creating the EUA, the manufacturers (and all others involved in distribution and administration) had blanket legal immunity from any harms associated with the vaccines. This certainly created the potential to be less rigorous about safety or other issues; analogously, an auto manufacturer not subject to lemon laws would have less economic incentive to be concerned about the safety of its product 2) the vaccine rollout was part of Operation Warp Speed, which while perhaps understandable in the context of a global pandemic, nonetheless meant that the usual time for assessing short and long term safety issues was truncated. Pfizer compounded this issue by unblinding the placebo group years ahead of schedule and 3) by definition as part of the EUA, these products were investigational and subject under the terms of the Act to the right of informed consent or refusal.
So, I elected to hold off on the initial rollout as I wanted to wait for data on efficacy, durability and safety to emerge. Arguably, given my age, I was in a category with a higher degree of Covid risk. However, on a simultaneous track of research, I had developed a great deal of confidence in the early treatment protocols using safe, FDA approved and generic repurposed drugs in combination with Vitamins D, C and zinc etc. Moreover, since the very start of the pandemic, I continued my rigorous exercise regimen of intense cardio/strength bootcamps and twice a week two-hour lessons with the tennis pro at the local YMCA. I often trained and/or played with college and high school athletes that I have helped coach. I also made sure I got plenty of sunshine and fresh air, with frequent 90 minute walks in nearby Wampatuck Park.. Even early in the pandemic, I would go on these walks and often would find no one in sight as most were holed up inside listening to the daily death and case counts on television. I was determined to do everything possible to keep my immune system strong and had managed, not without difficulty, to obtain some of these repurposed meds from the small handful of doctors in the US actually willing to treat Covid on an outpatient basis. That is an entirely different can of worms, but suffice it to say that the early outpatient treatment resistant position of most hospitals and medical institutions in the US in my judgment will go down as one of the regrettable errors of our Covid policy.
As more data came in on the vaccines, my concerns on efficacy and safety increased. VAERS deaths now stand at over 20,000, and serious permanent disabling injuries are multiples of deaths. While these statistics may be small as percentage of shots administered, they are multiples of the combined VAERS numbers of all vaccines cumulatively administered over the last 30 years. Most deaths have occurred within 48-72 hours of the injections and over 80% of reports are filed by doctors and/or nurses. While correlation is not causation, this data is troubling in an absolute sense and especially given that estimates of VAERS underreporting range from 5 to over 40 times.
I did end up contracting Covid in September of 2021 and immediately began early treatment protocols. I breezed through it with fatigue and mild congestion my only symptoms ( no loss of taste or smell, no fever, no aches and pains etc). Within two weeks of contracting symptoms I was back to my normal workouts and tennis. Was I lucky or was it due to my early treatment protocol and fitness ? I have no idea as I cannot divide myself into a treatment and placebo version.
Now, that I have recovered from Covid and have had a positive T cell detect test, I have concluded that my natural immunity is broad, strong and durable and likely superior to vaccinated immunity. I know your hospital and many doctors advise getting vaccinated on top of natural immunity but I find the research and logical support for this unpersuasive. This seems especially the case with Omicron as numerous studies and data out of many countries are showing weak if not negative efficacy of the vaccines versus Omicron. Moreover, there is a body of evidence that vaccinating on top of natural immunity likely increases my risk of an adverse reaction and/or may interfere with my natural immunity. Sure, I wish I had full access to activities that go along with being vaccinated, but, for now, my medical freedom, bodily autonomy and health based decision on the necessity, efficacy and safety of getting a shot impels me to forego the convenience attached to getting a vaccine card. It is an entirely separate matter, but since these vaccines are not sterilizing therapies preventing transmission or infection, I do not understand the rationale for mandates AT ALL.
As I mentioned at the outset, I have read a number of reports and studies but three that I have found persuasive are attached hereto: an article by Dr. Risch at Yale on early treatment, affidavits in a lawsuit by well-regarded epidemiologist at Stanford Medical School on natural immunity and a hot off the press WSJ oped by Dr Makary of Johns Hopkins on natural immunity.
I am sorry to have rambled on, but I felt I needed to articulate my reasoning. One of the more troubling aspects of the pandemic has been the lack of open, uncensored scientific debate. I am sure that as one of the world’s leading authorities on treatment and research on prostate cancer, you have witnessed vigorous debate on evolving and experimental modes of treatment. In the spirit of that tradition, I would be more than happy to finance an active open debate at a place of your choosing on Covid treatment, the Covid vaccines and the bioethics of Covid mandates. We could each pick an epidemiologist, treating doctor and bioethicist to debate these issues, hopefully with coverage by someone from mainstream media. I might even be willing to get the vaccine if such a debate could actually happen as I have found the censorship and vilification in the medical community to be highly disturbing.
Again I value your treatment of my condition immensely but wanted to set the record straight on my decision on the vaccines.