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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Elliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician,
counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a
number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health
. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY ELLIOT BENJAMIN
Part 1 |
Part 2 |
Part 3 |
COVID: To Get Vaccinated Or Not To Get Vaccinated
Stimulated by a Sociologist's Scholarly
Anti-Vaccination Book: Part 4 the Finale
In a note in Part 2 of this essay series, I said the following: “I'll be discussing the nutrition and health alternative to vaccinations in regard to the fight against COVID-19 in a subsequent part of this essay series.”  My note was spurred on by the following statement by Richard House  in his extended book review of sociologist Mateja Cernic's scholarly anti-vaccination book :
“We are also told that the 'lethality of measles. . . depends on a plethora of factors. . . [including] the characteristics of the individual and the population. . . . Measles mortality depends on the characteristics of the population, not on measles themselves' (pp. 114-15, my [i.e., House's] emphasis). This kind of 'Terrain Theory' approach to infectious diseases (as opposed to the conventional 'Germ Theory' that underpins mainstream allopathic medicine and vaccination ideology) represents the kind of holistic scientific thinking to which Cernic no doubt subscribes (see, for example, Hume, 1989; Trebing, 2006; Lester & Parker, 2019, Chapter 3).”
Well I am doing my homework. I have spent the past month reading the above three anti-germ theory/anti-vaccination books that House recommended, and I have added two additional books to my study. One of House's suggested readings is over 700 pages of text and I am a little more than half-way through it, so I am not quite ready to write about the merits of anti-germ theory in regard to anti-vaccination. But anti-germ theory related to anti-vaccination in the context of COVID-19 will be the focus of my next essay series. However, there are things that I have left unfinished in regard to describing my stimulation of the COVID vaccination issue from Cernic's book, and it is time for me to finally complete this task.
In the first three parts of this essay series, I focused upon a number of the anti-vaccination issues that House described in his review of Cernic's book, inclusive of a significant decrease in pre-vaccination mortality rates of infectious diseases, problems in safety and effectiveness studies of vaccines, unethical practices of Big Pharma companies who have produced the COVID vaccines, adverse drug reactions, damaging effects of aluminum adjuvetants in vaccines, autoimmune diseases associated with vaccines, and the relationship of vaccines to autism , , . In this final essay of the series, I want to briefly discuss some of the remaining vaccination concerns that House described in his review of Cernic's book.
My Perspective on Cernic's Remaining Vaccination Concerns
- Deaths Due to Vaccination
- Lack of Pediatrician Knowledge
- Ineffective Vaccine Monitoring Systems
- Vaccinated People Are More of a Threat than Unvaccinated People
The next issue from Cernic that House described is the exceedingly concerning claim that vaccination can result in death. Specifically here is what House  said about this:
“After reviewing a number of studies, Cernic concludes that 'vaccines can and do cause death (often preceded by severe injuries to the brain)' (p. 228), part of which are deaths caused by vaccination-induced SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and SUDS (sudden unexpected deaths). . . . A detailed section (14 pages) then looks at parental reports. We read that 'observations and reports from parents are. . . routinely degraded and dismissed as inadequate, incorrect, unscientific, unimportant, unreliable, false, delusional etc. . . . when they tell their physician how their child reacted to vaccinations.”
I'll have more to say about the parental reports and physician dismissals in my next essay series that includes House's recommended anti-germ theory books. But in regard to vaccines causing deaths, apparently it is possible that this may occur as the result of an extreme adverse reaction to vaccines, but like everything else that Cernic claims, there is widespread disagreement in regard to the likelihood of this happening, especially concerning SIDS, as according to government health organizations this is a rare occurrence. Once again, like virtually everything else that Cernic has described, she presents a very limited version of research findings to promulgate her anti-vaccination stance, and one can easily find reputable scientific studies to refute much of what she has portrayed .
In regard to the issue that Cernic raised about lack of pediatrician knowledge, here I think she raised a valid point. As described by House :
“Next, Cernic looks at the work of paediatricians [sic], maintaining that their knowledge about vaccines' actions is 'very poor' (p. 324), with many of them being satisfied with merely reading the safety brochures of producers and regulatory agencies.”
Yes I think Cernic raised a legitimate concern that pediatricians, and medical doctors in general, do not devote sufficient time to reading actual case studies of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and overly rely on summary reports from vaccine producers and regulatory agencies.
Similarly, I think Cernic raised a valid point about the lacks in the adverse-effect monitoring systems of vaccines. As House described from Cernic's discussion about this:
“Not only do there not exist reliable data on the actual incidence rate of vaccine adverse effects, but it is also impossible to make even an approximate evaluation. . . . [vaccine reporting systems] suffer from incomplete recognition of potential adverse events, administrative barriers to reporting, and incomplete case documentation (ibid, her emphasis). . . . yet these systems 'represent the core of the post-marketing surveillance of drugs and vaccines' (p. 342).”
These lacks in reporting adverse effects of vaccines were highlighted by Cernic in regard to her concerns about the ethics of Big Pharma in regard to concealing information about adverse effects of vaccines, and as I have discussed previously in this essay series , I certainly share her concerns about this (see more below). But when Cernic insinuated that vaccinated people are more of a threat than unvaccinated people, it is important to look carefully at an alternative perspective to her claim. As described by House, Cernic made the following claim:
“Cernic maintains that. . . 'vaccinated persons represent a bigger threat for two reasons: 1) vaccinated individuals are often vehicles of silent infections; and 2) through vaccination, the virus used in vaccines can be transmitted and even induce outbreaks of the disease' (p. 379)--that is, 'the vaccinated are unrecognized reservoirs for infection' (pp. 381-40.”
This claim by Cernic is expanded upon by some of the anti-germ theory authors that I will be discussing in my next essay series, inclusive of the claim that vaccines may cause cancer, but here are some alternative perspectives to Cernic's claim:
“When there's an outbreak of a disease that's rare for a given area, such as measles in the United States, unvaccinated people aren't the only ones at risk. Because no vaccination is 100% effective, some vaccinated individuals will get the disease as well. In fact, during an outbreak, the number of vaccinated individuals who get sick will often outnumber the unvaccinated people who get sick. This, however, is not because vaccines are ineffective, but because there are so few people who avoid vaccination in the first place.” 
“Claim: Vaccinated children are more likely to have adverse health outcomes like developmental delays, asthma, and ear infections compared to unvaccinated children. . . Inadequate Support: This claim is based on a single study which used highly biased methods. Rigorous and large-scale studies have not found a greater likelihood of adverse health outcomes in vaccinated children. Misleading: The claim is based on a study which used questionable methods of selecting a study population and which failed to control for confounding factors in its comparison of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. 
Conclusion: Big Pharma Revisited and Current Evaluation of COVID Vaccine Effectiveness
It's time for me to wrap up Cernic's anti-vaccination book and move on to my next essay series that will focus on the interplay of anti-germ theory with anti-vaccination in the context of COVID. But before doing so, it is important to not skip over some additional concerns that Cernic conveyed about the ethical practices of Big Pharma, aside from what I have previously portrayed. As described by House, Cernic impactfully relayed the following:
“Weiss (2009), reference missing) is quoted as saying that pharmaceutical companies pay around 16,500 doctors all over the world 'to promote their products in various ways' (p. 405). . . . For Cernic, 'the most dramatic form of bias is out-and-out suppression of negative results,' with companies only publishing positive results (p. 406, her emphasis). According to Cernic, 'The practice leads doctors to believe that drugs are much better than they are, and the public comes to share this belief, on the basis of media reports. . . . More specifically, for Cernic it is new that 'drug companies now have considerable control over the way the research is carried out and reported. . . . In the 1980's, researchers were largely independent of the companies that sponsored their work'. . . . Today, in stark contrast, 'companies are involved in every detail of the research from design of the study through analysis of the data to the decision whether to publish the results. Researchers don't control clinical trials anymore; sponsors do' (ibid, her emphasis). . . . The sponsoring [drug] companies keep the data, and in the multicenter trials, they may not even let the researchers themselves see all of it. They also analyze and interpret the results, and decide what, if anything, should be published. All of this makes a mockery of the traditional role of researchers as independent and impartial scientists (p. 406, her emphasis]. . . . If this weren't already sufficient to load the dice completely in Big Pharma's favour [sic], we also read that 'patient advocacy groups and health charities now rely on funding from drug companies or device manufacturers. . . . numerous times pharmaceutical companies are found guilty of malpractice and. . . their penalty fines, though millions of dollars, are as but a drop in the ocean compared to their profits.”
I must admit that this impactful presentation by Cernic leaves me somewhat unsettled in regard to determining the legitimacy of the current Big Pharma involvement in our COVID vaccines, as the enormous fines and penalties from malpractice settlements for three out of four of these drug companies, as I have described in Parts 1 and 2 of this essay series , was shocking to me. However, based upon the current effects of the COVID vaccination, it appears to me that there is overwhelming evidence that the vaccines are relatively safe and are working to significantly reduce the disastrous consequences of COVID . Yet at the same time I do have lingering concerns, which is hitting quite close to home for me in the state of Maine, where I live in the U.S.:
“Maine has seen the seventh-highest increase in COVID-19 cases of any U.S. state over the last two weeks despite having the highest rate of fully vaccinated people, according to the New York Times. It has also had the fifth-highest rate of new hospitalizations during that time.” 
There are some possible explanations for this unsettling data, such as the increase in outbreaks in long-term care facilities related to nursing home staff members being vaccinated at lower rates than the residents for whom they care, more infectious variants spreading across the state, pandemic fatigue leading Mainers to be less mindful of health protocols, and recent travel during Spring break .
But just the same, it does leave me feeling somewhat unsettled, especially taking into account all the anti-vaccination material in Cernic's book, some of which I think makes sense, as I have described in this essay series. But all things considered, my conclusion is that the pros still outweigh the cons for getting vaccinated against COVID. I don't say this lightly, and I have gained a much greater appreciation of the anti-vaccination perspective, but NO I don't approve of the decision to not get vaccinated against COVID, looking at all the evidence pro and con.
- See Elliot Benjamin (2021). COVID: To Get Vaccinated Or Not To Get Vaccinated: Stimulated by a Sociologist's Scholarly Anti-Vaccination Book: Parts 1, 2, 3. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net
- See Richard House (2021). Book Review Summary: “Ontological Constructs of Vaccination” by Mateja Cernic, Ph.D. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/cernic-vacc-review
- See Mateja Cernic (2018). Ideological Constructs of Vaccination. Vega Press.
- See Brandy Zadrozny & Aliza Nadi (2019). How Anti-Vaxxers Target Grieving Moms and Turn Them Into Crusaders Against Vaccines: Anti-Vaccine Advocates Find Women Whose Babies Have Died Unexpectedly and Convice them Vaccines Are To Blame. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com; Reuters Staff (2020). False Claim: Seven Childlren Klled in Senegal After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com; Memorial Sloane Kettering Kettering Cancer Center (2021). Fact Check: 8 Persistent Myths About COVID-10 Vaccines. Retrieved from https://www.mskcc.org; and David Gorski (2021). Christian Elliot's "18 Reasons I Won't Be Getting a Covid Vaccine": Viral antivaccine Misinformation. Retrieved from https://sciencebasedmedicine.org
- See History of Vaccines (2018). Misconceptions About Vaccines. Retrieved from https://ftp.historyofvaccines.org
- See Health Feedback (2020). Significant Methodological Flaws in a 2020 Study Claiming To Show Unvaccinated Children Are healthier. Retrieved from https://healthfeedback.org
- See Christina Maxouris, Holly Van, & Claire Colbert (2021). US Coronavirus: As Vaccinations Keep Rising, So Do Covid-19 Hospitalizations Among Those Who Aren't Vaccinated. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com; Gina Kolata (2021). The Vaccines Are Quite Safe, and Side Effects Are Rare, the C.D.C. Reports. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com; and Ben Tinker & Maggie Fox (2021). So Far, 5,800 Fully Vaccinated People Caught Covid-19 Anyway in USD, CDC Says. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com
- See David Marino Jr. (2021). COVID-19 Outbreaks Are Spiking Again at Maine Nursing Homes. Retrieved from https://bangordailynews.com; and David Marino Jr. (2021). Coronavirus Patient Numbers Double in a Week at EMMC. Retrieved from https://bangordailynews.com