One of the most troubling things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was how many politicians and talking heads, mostly on the Democrat side, turned into armchair doctors in trying to manipulate and strong-arm people on the issue of getting the initial vaccine shots and the boosters that followed.
Joe Biden, of course, was the most notorious example of this considering his 2021 vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees, something he had the gall to claim was successful while he also said in the same breath that we should overlook all the job losses that occurred as a result, calling the alleged vaccination rate “the bigger story.”
Here we are close to three years after the vaccine first debuted, and unfortunately not much has changed. Except in some cases, the manipulating and strong-arming have gotten worse, as evidenced by a press conference New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) held Wednesday in which she point-blank told people who had gotten the prior vaccine and booster shots that those would not help them with the current COVID strains:
“It is literally a new vaccine, it is not a booster shot, it is not an enhancer. It is a new vaccine designed to attack the new variants… This is a new vaccine built specifically to match the circulating strains. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already been vaccinated, take no comfort in that, thank you for getting vaccinated in the past but that is not protecting you today.”
“That is the best way by far to protect yourself and those around you,” she said. “We’ve done this since March 2020, no reason to stop now. Don’t think about just yourself.”
“Tell everybody don’t rely on the fact that you had a vaccine in the past, it will not help you this time around,” she said. “Even for healthy adults, Covid is serious, you don’t want to get it.”
New from NY Governor Kathy Hochul “Tell everybody don’t rely on the fact that you had a vaccine in the past, it will not help you this time around.” pic.twitter.com/f3rAm9E9ws
— Eli Klein (@TheEliKlein) September 13, 2023
My first thought when I heard about this was “Where’s the science?” My next thought was “Who the hell does she think she is pretending to be someone’s doctor and definitively stating that prior COVID vaccinations won’t work against the new variants?”
For starters, the only science I read from the CDC related to the updated COVID vaccines and the protection levels they offered was this:
The virus that causes COVID-19 is always changing, and protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time. Receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States.
I get that there are certain vaccinations that wane over time. For instance, I understand that the flu shot I got three years ago won’t necessarily protect me from a serious case of a new flu strain in 2023, which is why they update the flu vaccine every year.
As far as the new COVID variants go, it makes sense to me to hear a public health official say the updated vaccines would offer “enhanced” protection to someone who had previously gotten the vaccine and/or had battled COVID.
But what I don’t get is the declaration that the prior vaccines won’t provide any benefit to fighting the new variants that are emerging.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University whose opinions on COVID lockdowns got him put on a Twitter “trends blacklist” (something he alleges was done in concert with government officials), begged to differ with Hochul’s claim, and retweeted the following two tweets, one from a genetics professor and one from a doctor – both of who expressed strong disagreement with what Hochul proclaimed:
This is wrong and irresponsible.
Past covid vaccines provide little ‘sterilising’ immunity, which is transient even with a new booster, as antibodies in the blood wane.
BUT past covid vaccines provide durable T/B-cell memory immunity that helps fighting infection by ALL variants. https://t.co/2LWJVyeEOE
— Prof Francois Balloux (@BallouxFrancois) September 13, 2023
Luckily, one does have protective immunity to COVID-19 from either prior vaccination, prior infection or both. XBB1.5 boosters approved yesterday will raise antibodies to currently circulating strains but T/B cells cover all variants
T cell thread: https://t.co/gFLo0zEbUf
B cell… https://t.co/8nKClJSg9Z
— Monica Gandhi MD, MPH (@MonicaGandhi9) September 13, 2023
Dr. Pradheep J. Shanker, a radiologist and frequent commentator on public health policy who like Dr. Bhattacharya has also been critical of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, echoed the sentiment.
“The old vaccines (and prior infection immunity) absolutely provide protection from the new strains,” Dr. Shanker wrote. “Is it as high as the new vaccines? Unlikely. But Hochul really is being irresponsible here.”
Beyond the science aspect, though, this is what I find far more disturbing.
Hochul is not a medical doctor. Most of the people in government preaching about the need to get the vaccines including the boosters and updated versions aren’t either. In my view, they have no business stating anything definitive as it relates to the vaccines and what people should be telling others. That is something that should absolutely be between individuals and their doctors, not citizens and elected officials.
This is anecdotal of course but I asked a question to my doctor about the new vaccines during a recent check-up and my doctor’s response was that they thought the fact that I had gotten the two original shots plus one additional was sufficient. My doctor also thought that my having COVID-19 (in August 2020) was also a plus.
My mom’s doctor essentially said the same thing.
Your doctor may say something different, but the point is that it’s a medical choice that shouldn’t be made by listening to a politician. It’s one that should be made in consultation with trusted medical professionals. Period.
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