Monday, May 31, 2021

memorial day 2021

Okay, so this is the third time I've started a post for today. There are so many thoughts and emotions flying around in my head, but I can't seem to get them to hold still long enough to name them, let alone to get them nailed down on paper.

On one hand, I'm as excited as everyone else about the "unofficial" start to summer. I'm looking forward to an extra long weekend, sunshine, family, and grilling out. We've got ribs ready for the smoker and all the goodies to go with them. We spent Saturday and Sunday with family and are doing the same thing today.

On the other hand, I'm having a really hard time with Memorial Day this year. It's been 17 years without Michael, so logically things shouldn't be so hard. 17 years is a long time--I should be used to it by now. This year, though, I've just been a bit off all week.

I always miss my brother. Most of the time it's not a dramatic thing, just little things that I wish I could talk to him about. Conan reminds me of him, and I wish his Uncle Michael was here to help him figure out what it means to be a warrior poet--someone bigger and stronger than most but with his "teelings" just as big. There's not a lot I wouldn't give to have him here with us to chow down on ribs today. I would love to watch him with all his nieces and nephews.

This year, I think my feelings are all stirred up by the chaos that has come to our country. The evils that so many American patriots fought on foreign soils have come to our own land, brought in by people who have claimed the benefits of living and thriving in our great country while decrying everything it stands for. I can't help but think that the people pushing the Marxist agenda are tarnishing the memory of every man and woman who fought and died for our country.

This country was founded to honor God. It was founded to be different, a light in a dark world. For almost 250 years it has stood as a beacon of hope and freedom, the land of opportunity to which so many people flocked for the chance to follow the American dream. It has been a land where hard work pays off, where anyone can take advantage of the rights and freedoms granted to each of us by our Creator.

They are freedoms that have been paid for over and over again by the lifeblood of so many. Now, though, that high price seems to have been forgotten and those freedoms and rights are disappearing.

Today, remember the price paid to ensure your freedoms. Take a stand and don't let those freedoms be taken away. So many before us paid the price--now it's our turn to make sure those rights and freedoms are preserved for future generations of Americans.





Friday, May 14, 2021

weighing the risks

I'm not an "anti-vaxer"--you know, just to get that out there. I'm a science nerd. Growing up I loved TLC because they showed surgeries; I loved watching science documentaries and shows like Nova; my bachelor's degree is in physics with a minor in biology; I studied medical physics in grad school before adding in education. I am thankful for the knowledge and wisdom God granted those who developed vaccines and am incredible thankful that we have them in place to ward off what used to be common childhood diseases like mumps and measles. I'm thankful the polio vaccine has resulted in so much less heartbreak.

But...

If you know me, you probably knew that was coming.

There is a huge governmental push for everyone to receive a Covid vaccine. Now that push has extended down to 12-year olds and to be honest with you, that thought terrifies me.

As of May 12th, the CDC shows a provisional count of 2,139 deaths attributed to Covid for those under 17 (1). That's a third the number of deaths in the same age group from pneumonia. While the death of any child is a horrible tragedy, we need to put that into perspective.  For that data set, that's 0.4% of the total deaths for the same age group. In fact, of the 3,190,353 cases reported in the CDC's data tracker (2) data for kids up to age 17, there have been 492 reported deaths. That's a case fatality rate of 0.015%. There is research showing that children aren't "super spreaders" of the virus (4,5), which was the initial reason given for shutting down schools around the world. If you look at the data, kids simply aren't any more at risk from this coronavirus strain than they are from any other typical childhood bug.

Why, then, are we being pushed to get our kids vaccinated?

My concern with this vaccine is two-fold. The biggest red flag to me is the fact that this is a new type of vaccine that hasn't ever been used in humans, and therefore we have no way to know the long-term effects. In the US, we've fast-tracked a vaccine before. Roughly 45 million Americans were vaccinated against swine flu in 1976... a vaccine that didn't go through the typical testing and approval process because it was deemed an emergency (6). That vaccine was later scientifically proven to be linked to a higher risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and debilitating neurological disorder. I'm not saying there will be serious fall-out from these vaccines. Although, a look at the VAERS data suggests that there are significant issues that need to be looked at more closely...especially since the critique of VAERS in the past has always been under-reporting.

Photo from Wendy Bell Radio
 

The testing process for vaccines was put in place for a reason. It takes time to figure out the true effect any new medication has on our bodies. These shots quite simply haven't been around long enough to give us a true understanding of the effect they will have long-term. (3) I'm not saying they are unsafe; there's not enough data out there to support that conclusion, either. I'm saying that an untested and unproven vaccine isn't something that needs to be pushed for a disease with over a 98% survival rate. If you leave out the "over 85" category, the case survival rate (from the CDC's published data) goes up to just under 99%(1). Besides that, we don't know a whole lot about the true efficacy of these shots. Sure, we've all heard the "95%" numbers. What we aren't seeing, though, is something called the Absolute Risk Reduction.

Absolute Risk Reduction basically tells you, with all things considered, how much your risk is decreased when you choose a specific treatment (7). This number is a much bigger deal when you're deciding whether or not to get a specific treatment. In fact, the FDA says, "Provide absolute risks, not just relative risks. Patients are unduly influenced when risk information is presented using a relative risk approach; this can result in suboptimal decisions. Thus, an absolute risk format should be used." (8)

So what is the Absolute Risk Reduction for these shots that are being pushed? That has been calculated for Pfizer BNT162b2 and Moderna mRNA-1273 (8):

Pfizer ARR = 0.7%
Moderna ARR = 1.1%

That means that when you take all factors into consideration, the Moderna shot is more effective yet only reduces your overall risk of getting Covid by 1.1%

There are too many immunologists and virologists warning against the possible dangerous effects of these shots for me to blindly follow something being pushed by politicians and celebrities and take a shot that only reduces my chances of getting an overwhelmingly survivable virus by 1.1%. If you look at kids, that Absolute Risk Reduction would be even lower.

That leads me to my second, more controversial reason. Why in the world is this shot being pushed so hard?

So here's where some people will start calling me a conspiracy theorist, and some will start saying things like, "I thought she was smarter than that." But there simply isn't data to support the worldwide push that has been made and is being made for these shots. We have been told to get an unproven shot for a disease with an incredibly high survival rate. Never mind the fact that these are the vaccines we were told not to trust when they were being developed under the leadership of President Trump's administration (10). When we didn't all jump in line and do what we were told, the tactics changed. The government made commercials and pulled in big celebrities to convince us. When that didn't work, they started with the bribes. Companies have been encouraged to give freebies to people who show their vaccination card. The state of Ohio decided to give away five $1,000,000 prizes to adults... and then threw in 5 full-ride college scholarships for teens. We've had the promise of our freedom hung over our heads--we're being told when and where we can go and the conditions we have to meet in order to do so. The President of the United States has now issued an ultimatum to U.S. citizens: "The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours.”

This is not right. This is not American. This is a leap towards a totalitarian government, one that will dictate every aspect of our lives if we let it. This is, to put it quite simply, a power grab. It is a group of elitist "experts" telling the little man what to do while they live their lives in their ivory towers as if the rules don't apply to them. And they haven't--not since the start of this mess over a year ago when we were told that we needed to shut everything down for 2 weeks to flatten the curve. Those very same people who were condemning those of us who chose not to wear a mask at all times? They weren't wearing them unless the cameras were rolling (9). Now, if I choose not to receive what is in every sense of the term an experimental vaccine, I'm called just about every name in the book.

1984 Quotes By George Orwell 

Here's where the confusion comes in for some people. I'm not getting this shot. I don't think there is enough data to back up the need. I don't think taking something when there is not even a hint of what the long-term effects might be is a good idea. I don't want my kids to get this shot. I don't feel it is right to bet their futures on something so untested when they have a minuscule risk of getting sick. Honestly, because of our jobs and exposure to people who have tested positive at some point or another, I imagine my family has dealt with this virus already without even realizing it.

I also think each individual has the right to make that decision on their own. If you have done your research, weighed the risks and benefits, and decided to get the shot, that is your right. I'm not going to stop you. That doesn't change the fact that I'm worried about my friends and family who have chosen the shot. If you ask me, I'll give you my thoughts and opinions. I will present the evidence I've come across, the concerns from doctors (11, 12) I will not, however, try to force you into a decision. That's the great thing about being an American. Well at least, it always has been. If we let Big Government take over and start making our decisions for us, we'll lose the right to self-determination for good.

If America becomes a totalitarian, socialist state, there won't be anywhere else to turn.

 ****

(1) https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-S/9bhg-hcku/data

(2) https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#demographics 

(3) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-00789-5#Sec10

(4) https://adc.bmj.com/content/105/7/618

(5) https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/02/11/Study-Children-less-likely-to-catch-spread-COVID-19/9871613068455/

(6) https://www.history.com/news/swine-flu-rush-vaccine-election-year-1976

(7) https://www.tldrpharmacy.com/content/absolute-risk-reduction

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7996517/

 (9) https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2020/10/07/fncs-carlson-on-democrat-mask-hypocrisy-this-isnt-science-this-is-medieval-superstition/

 (10) https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/harrris-vaccine-i-would-not-trust-donald-trump-n1239422

 (11) https://scivisionpub.com/pdfs/covid19-rna-based-vaccines-and-the-risk-of-prion-disease-1503.pdf

(12) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-risks-of-rushing-a-covid-19-vaccine/

 


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