Omicron Makes Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Obsolete

Source: Wall Street Journal.

A Nobel prize-winning physiologist and a constitutional scholar challenge our assumptions about Covid vaccines and the legitimacy of current vaccine mandates.

It would be irrational, legally indefensible and contrary to the public interest for government to mandate vaccines absent any evidence that the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the pathogen they target. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Both mandates [before the Supreme Court]—from the Health and Human Services Department for healthcare workers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for large employers in many other industries—were issued Nov. 5. At that time, the Delta variant represented almost all U.S. Covid-19 cases, and both agencies appropriately considered Delta at length and in detail, finding that the vaccines remained effective against it.

Those findings are now obsolete. As of Jan. 1, Omicron represented more than 95% of U.S. Covid cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because some of Omicron’s 50 mutations are known to evade antibody protection, because more than 30 of those mutations are to the spike protein used as an immunogen by the existing vaccines, and because there have been mass Omicron outbreaks in heavily vaccinated populations, scientists are highly uncertain the existing vaccines can stop it from spreading. As the CDC put it on Dec. 20, “we don’t yet know . . . how well available vaccines and medications work against it.”

I think other arguments against vaccine mandates are valid, too, but obsolesence is possibly the most powerful argument. Why give legal approval for a govermental action that doesn’t matter anymore?

Then there is this:

The little data we have suggest the opposite. One preprint study found that after 30 days the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines no longer had any statistically significant positive effect against Omicron infection, and after 90 days, their effect went negative—i.e., vaccinated people were more susceptible to Omicron infection. Confirming this negative efficacy finding, data from Denmark and the Canadian province of Ontario indicate that vaccinated people have higher rates of Omicron infection than unvaccinated people.

Negative efficacy, higher infection rates? Are those exploding heads I hear?

It is rare that Supreme Court cases change public opinion very much, but there is a need for public opinion to change in many ways when it comes to Covid-19.

34 thoughts on “Omicron Makes Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Obsolete

  1. There remains evidence that the mRNA vaccines reduce the likelihood of death or a serious disease course, but it does appear that the argument that you should be vaccinated to protect others is no longer valid.

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    1. I have always thought the “protecting others” argument was pretty iffy due to:

      • Different risk profiles for different age groups.
      • The impossibility of proving that a specific infection is caused by a specific transmitter.

      • The potential for witch hunting hysteria.

      Should Omicron make the “protecting others” argument obsolete, we’ll all be better off for not having to talk about irrelevant things.

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        1. That assumes that the FDA will approve it instantly and that there will be enough for high risk people immediately, and it will be distributed on that basis and not wokeness as the first rollout went.

          And even then, the Omicron surge is expected to peak in February.

          Our approval system is just too slow for that solution by about 2 months, at best.

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          1. Sure, it will not appear by magic. Biden is not Trump.

            Doing nothing is hardly a “solution.” The major premise of the article that vaccinations should not be mandated because they do nothing to stop the spread of the virus. The fact that the vaccinations and boosters can be tuned to continue to do that makes that premise moot and the argument void.

            We are going to be living with this virus indefinitely as we do the flu where vaccination is voluntary. The health impact and danger of these Covid viruses – so far – is significantly greater than the flu. Go ahead and call me what you will, but given that, mandates continue to make sense. That policy will save lives, make us individually safer, and have almost zero impact on our individual “liberty.”

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Flu is different. The various strains have stable antigens so we can use a mix of existing vaccines each year.

            Sars COV 2 is not stable.

            In a different regulatory environment, in which the mRNA vaccine makers could tweak their target proteins on the fly, the community defense argument could still be made.

            So, perhaps you will join me in calling for abolishing the FDA in favor of your doctor’s judgment supported by his journals.

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          3. “So, perhaps you will join me in calling for abolishing the FDA in favor of your doctor’s judgment supported by his journals.”

            No, I will not. There are too many quacks and criminals involved in the medical industry. And too much potential financial and physical harm to be done. You, yourself, have noted the widespread criminality in dentistry.

            With that said, I would support reforms at the FDA to expedite the process in the face of new circumstances as they arise. The need to expedite the next Covid booster to address Omicron would be an obvious example where speed is of the essence.

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          4. I am more concerned with quacks holding regulatory power. If I have a physician who is a quack I can take my business elsewhere.

            ButI have no alternative the the FDA.

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          5. “If I have a physician who is a quack I can take my business elsewhere.”

            I would venture a guess that only a very small proportion of the population has the background needed to make that assessment. I would also venture the opinion that most desperately ill people are particularly vulnerable to snake oil salesmen.

            The FDA like every other regulatory agency came into being because of the abuses of market participants.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. “Yelp”

            Assuming you were referring to internet research by individuals as a substitute for the FDA, I disagree.
            A majority of people are not qualified to judge what that might find and, as any person involved with online reviews is well-aware, ratings are easily manipulated and misinformation easily spread.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Reputation services work quite well.

            “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Lincoln

            But if the FDA is fooled, or corrupt, we can’t go elsewhere.

            I’ll trust the people over the bureaucracy

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          8. “Reputation services work quite well.”
            For plumbers, probably. Dentists too.

            I thought we were talking about the medicines that are the purview of the FDA. How many people have to be chiseled, harmed or killed by drugs that are not safe and/or effective before you would see the need for regulation?

            Never mind. It is a rhetorical question. I will stick with my preference for a professional government agency to have the power to protect the people rather than the vagaries of the market. I understand that it may be wrong, too cautious, or even corrupt on occasion – all human institutions share that quality.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. No, we were not talking about the drugs themselves.

            We were talking about who should evaluate them.

            I prefer thousands of doctors referring to their journals and sharing information among themselves about the drugs over a bureaucrat who has not practiced medicine directly in decades making that decision for every doctor in the nation.

            If some doctors have more success than others, they communicate and the better solutions will be adopted by all, but if the bureaucrat is wrong and forces his wrong choice on everyone, there is no way to compare results.

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          10. Okay.

            I understand your clarification.

            It does not change anything in my previous response. The problem is the same. People would be chiseled, harmed and killed by incompetent and/or dishonest market participants with nothing to stop them except, I suppose, torts by the bereaved.

            In your ideal world, ANYBODY could offer a drug to the market, test it in any way they want, make whatever claims they wanted to about its safety and effectiveness, and market it in any way that would get it in the hands of doctors – maybe endless ads on TV and pretty, young people calling on doctors to distribute samples. Then those doctors could test it on their patients and if the results were not satisfactory, they would, of course, stop administering it even if that meant the kickbacks and the trips to Vegas would not happen. And nobody would get hurt.

            No thanks. Too much room for poorly controlled incompetence and corruption.

            Liked by 1 person

          11. We will disagree.

            You see a world in which everyone is out to cheat you and we are all too dumb to detect it.

            I believe most people go into medicine wanting to make a good living while helping people. They see their success not in their daily income but in their patients getting well, or at least doing as well as possible.

            The snake oil salesmen will get weeded out by the marketplace, and even if they don’t, you can go elsewhere.

            One caveat on “tweaked” vaccines, and I guess this is as good a place as any to put it.

            There is a phenomenon know as ‘immunological original sin’ in which a mutation to an antigen is introduced that is still similar to one known to the immune system, the immune system doesn’t make antibodies to the new antigen, it just makes more of the original antibody.

            That would cause a tweaked vaccine to produce the same result as a repeated vaccination with the original vaccine.

            The only way to know is to try it, and I expect Pfizer and Moderna already have, They will not produce a tweaked vaccine if they have tested and found it doesn’t improve on the old one.

            I do not know if this is the case with Omicron, but since it is different enough to evade the vaccine I suspect it is different enough to get its own antibodies.

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          12. “You see a world in which everyone is out to cheat you”

            Hardly. But there is enough incompetence and dishonesty that it is a problem for me and for others. There would be a lot more dishonesty without the regulatory regime we have, IMHO. Not too long ago you shared how wealthy you could be by providing expensive but pointless services, as you told us, many others do.

            I said nothing about others being “dumb.” That is your unpleasant spin. I simply noted the FACT that few of us are qualified to make medical judgments, understand technical papers, or identify which practitioner is a charlatan and which is not.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “That makes the major premise of this article moot.”

          Not really. The current vaccines will still be obsolete. Mandates for the new vaccine will be problematic for different reasons, but a new variant will almost certainly resurrect the problem of obsolescence.

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          1. “The current vaccines will still be obsolete.”

            They are less effective against this particular variant, but they are not obsolete. Even with breakthrough infections, they reduce symptoms and reducing symptoms slows the spread.

            There will always be challenges keeping the vaccines as effective as possible. This Pfizer announcement is evidence that it is a challenge that can be met.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “They are less effective against this particular variant, but they are not obsolete.”

            They are obsolete because the variants they were effective against have been displaced by Omicron.

            RE: “This Pfizer announcement is evidence that it is a challenge that can be met.”

            It is only evidence that Pfizer can produce a marketable product.

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      1. The need to protect others is not addressed by ANY of your bullet points.

        There is no “witch hunting” going on. There is, however, a fair bit of opprobrium which is usually the consequence of anti-social behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It always happens that some witch hunter claims to be justified in his opprobrium. Monty Python: “She turned me into a newt!”

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          1. What is it with you and witches? Seen too many Hillary Clinton bashing memes on the dark web?

            Do you really think you can engage in dangerous – even deadly – anti-social behavior and not run into the opprobrium of others? In my book, healthy people who refuse to be vaccinated to protect themselves and their families and help stop the spread of a deadly virus are as bad as people who do not obey stop signs.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “What is it with you and witches?”

            “Witch hunt” conveys my meaning more powerfully than “mass formation psychosis.” But if someone wishes to stand up for the principle that being psychotic is a virtue, I’m OK with that. Such a person at least reveals himself.

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  2. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.20.21267966v3.full

    “Negative efficacy…”

    The non-peer reviewed study referred to concludes that the increase in vaccinated infections was probably due to a super spreader event in which mostly vaccinated attended. This was the study linked in the WSJ editorial. (Primary source, no less. WSJ is MSM, no?)

    “Our study contributes to emerging evidence that BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 primary vaccine protection against Omicron decreases quickly over time with booster vaccination offering a significant increase in protection. In light of the exponential rise in Omicron cases, these findings highlight the need for massive rollout of vaccinations and booster vaccinations.”

    This last part was the recommendation from the same study.

    Vaccines still reduce the severity and deaths, as intended from day one. And the idea of flattening the curve, also from day one, was to spread the load on hospitals so they can handle the pandemic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The paper says, “The negative estimates in the final period arguably suggest different behaviour and/or exposure patterns in the vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts causing underestimation of the [vaccine effectiveness]. This was likely the result of Omicron spreading rapidly initially through single (super-spreading) events causing many infections among young, vaccinated individuals.”

      In other words, negative effectiveness may have been observed because Omicron spreads easily among the vaccinated. Instead of being merely low, effectiveness may have been negative for the vaccinated group because early in the observation period their behavior was more heedless than the unvaccinated group.

      However you account for the statistical finding, you can’t wish it away. In fact, the WSJ writers say there is corroborating data outside of the preprint study.

      Omicron is a direct challenge to the narrative that Covid vaccines still reduce severity of illness and death. The more likely hypothesis is that Omicron itself causes less severe illness and less frequent death.

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      1. “The more likely hypothesis is that Omicron itself causes less severe illness and less frequent death.”

        If that were the case, there would be no observable difference in the severity of cases. In fact, there are very observable differences with the unvaccinated FAR more likely to end up in the hospital than the vaccinated. So based on the evidence, we should continue to vaccinate and boost.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. RE: “If that were the case, there would be no observable difference in the severity of cases.”

          Actually, no. You have that backwards.

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          1. You have to separate the vaccine-evasion signal in the data from the virus-virulence signal. A virus that is both less virulent and more evasive would make the vaccine currently in use appear to be effective when in fact the virus was merely less virulent. The virulence data for Omicron is not producing a definitive signal yet; hence the hypothesis.

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          2. Uh, with all due respect, that is nonsense.

            There is no rational explanation for the unvaccinated have so much worse illness than the vaccinated other than the vaccine.

            If the vaccine has Zero effect, then the vaccinated would be hospitalized proportionate to their numbers. They aren’t.

            If the vaccine is 100% effective, there would be no vaccinated people in the hospital. That is not true either.

            Since the data so far is in between those extremes it follows that the vaccine offers significant but not perfect protection from the damage caused by the new virus.

            Your “more likely hypothesis” is simply – and pretty obviously – wrong. Based on the evidence.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. RE: “There is no rational explanation for the unvaccinated have so much worse illness than the vaccinated other than the vaccine.”

            No one has made that assertion, but it appears to be what you want to argue about.

            The assertion is: “Omicron is a direct challenge to the narrative that Covid vaccines still reduce severity of illness and death. The more likely hypothesis is that Omicron itself causes less severe illness and less frequent death.”

            You seem to think vaccination is the key, but low virulence can make ineffective vaccinations look effective. Whether this is happening or not remains to be seen, but as WSJ notes, vaccine ineffectiveness against Omicron is already well established.

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          4. You obviously do not understand what you yourself. That being the case, my efforts to help you are seriously pointless. But I will try again.

            You say . . .

            “Omicron is a direct challenge to the narrative that Covid vaccines still reduce severity of illness and death. The more likely hypothesis is that Omicron itself causes less severe illness and less frequent death.”

            1. It may be, and very probably is, true that Omicron itself causes less severe illness and less frequent death than earlier variants. Let’s take that as a given.
            2. But many people infected with Omicron do get sick, do end up in the hospital, and some die.

            3. The REALITY is that those who do get sick fare far worse if they are unvaccinated and they end up in the hospital (and the morgue) far out of proportion to their numbers. Vaccinated people do much, much better. Fewer end up in the hospital and fewer die. These are the observed, documented facts.

            4. Point 3 is NOT explained by Point 1. Point 3 can ONLY be explained by the beneficial effects of vaccination.

            Please say that you now understand. If you don’t understand after the clearest exposition that I am capable of then I give up.

            Liked by 1 person

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