British Medical Journal Links Excess Deaths and Covid-19 Vaccines –Mainstream Telegraph’s Front Page News
Posted on June 6th, 2024

Fabio G.C. Carisio GOSPA News

Originally published by Will Jones on the Daily Sceptic

A study that links excess deaths since 2021 and the Covid vaccines has been published in the British Medical Journal, BMJ Public Health and the Telegraph‘s Sarah Knapton has written it up for the newspaper. Here’s how Sarah’s report starts.

Covid vaccines could be partly to blame for the rise in excess deaths since the pandemic, scientists have suggested.

Researchers from The Netherlands analysed data from 47 Western countries and discovered there had been more than three million excess deaths since 2020, with the trend continuing despite the rollout of vaccines and containment measures.

They said the unprecedented” figures raised serious concerns” and called on governments to fully investigate the underlying causes, including possible vaccine harms.

Serious injuries and deaths following vaccination to various official databases in the Western World

Writing in the BMJ Public Health, the authors from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, said: Although COVID-19 vaccines were provided to guard civilians from suffering morbidity and mortality by the COVID-19 virus, suspected adverse events have been documented as well.

Both medical professionals and citizens have reported serious injuries and deaths following vaccination to various official databases in the Western World.

They added: During the pandemic, it was emphasised by politicians and the media on a daily basis that every COVID-19 death mattered and every life deserved protection through containment measures and COVID-19 vaccines. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the same moral should apply.”

The study found that across Europe, the U.S. and Australia there had been more than one million excess deaths in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, but also 1.2 million in 2021 and 800,000 and 2022 after measures were implemented.

Researchers said the figure included deaths from COVID-19, but also the indirect effects of the health strategies to address the virus spread and infection”.

They warned that side effects linked to the Covid vaccine had included ischaemic stroke, acute coronary syndrome and brain haemorrhage, cardiovascular diseases, coagulation, haemorrhages, gastrointestinal events and blood clotting.

German researchers have pointed out that the onset of excess mortality in early 2021 in the country coincided with the rollout of vaccines, which the team said warranted further investigation”.

However, more recent data regarding side-effects have not been made available to the public, with countries keeping their own individual databases of harms, which rely on self-reporting by the public and doctors, the experts warned.

The Study in the Headlines of Telegraph

Kudos to Sarah for keeping writing about this important story and the Telegraph for giving it some prominence. It’s up there today in the ‘Headlines’ section of the website and is even featured on the front page of the print edition. Is this a sign of people waking up to what went on during the Covid years?

The discussion section of the study is particularly damning for both the vaccines and ‘containment’ measures, noting that deaths were highest when these were both in operation. It is a crisp summary of the current state of knowledge on post-pandemic excess deaths and is worth reading in full. An extended excerpt follows:

This study explored the excess all-cause mortality in 47 countries of the Western World from 2020 until 2022. The overall number of excess deaths was 3,098,456. Excess mortality was registered in 87% of countries in 2020, in 89% of countries in 2021 and in 91% of countries in 2022. During 2020, which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of mitigation measures, 1,033,122 excess deaths (P-score 11.4%) were to be regretted. A recent analysis of seroprevalence studies in this prevaccination era illustrates that the Infection Fatality Rate estimates in non-elderly populations were even lower than prior calculations suggested. At a global level, the prevaccination Infection Fatality Rate was 0.03% for people aged <60 years and 0.07% for people aged <70 years. For children aged 0-19 years, the Infection Fatality Rate was set at 0.0003%. This implies that children are rarely harmed by the COVID-19 virus. During 2021, when not only containment measures but also COVID-19 vaccines were used to tackle virus spread and infection, the highest number of excess deaths was recorded: 1,256,942 excess deaths (P-score 13.8%). Scientific consensus regarding the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions in reducing viral transmission is currently lacking. During 2022, when most mitigation measures were negated and COVID-19 vaccines were sustained, preliminary available data count 808,392 excess deaths (P-score 8.8%). The percentage difference between the documented and projected number of deaths was highest in 28% of countries during 2020, in 46% of countries during 2021, and in 26% of countries during 2022.

This insight into the overall all-cause excess mortality since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is an important first step for future health crisis policy decision-making. The next step concerns distinguishing between the various potential contributors to excess mortality, including COVID-19 infection, indirect effects of containment measures and COVID-19 vaccination programmes. Differentiating between the various causes is challenging. National mortality registries not only vary in quality and thoroughness but may also not accurately document the cause of death. The usage of different models to investigate cause-specific excess mortality within certain countries or subregions during variable phases of the pandemic complicates elaborate cross-country comparative analysis.

Not all countries provide mortality reports categorised per age group. Also testing policies for COVID-19 infection differ between countries. Interpretation of a positive COVID-19 test can be intricate. Consensus is lacking in the medical community regarding when a deceased infected with COVID-19 should be registered as a COVID-19 death. Indirect effects of containment measures have likely altered the scale and nature of disease burden for numerous causes of death since the pandemic. However, deaths caused by restricted healthcare utilisation and socioeconomic turmoil are difficult to prove.

A study assessing excess mortality in the USA observed a substantial increase in excess mortality attributed to non-Covid causes during the first two years of the pandemic. The highest number of excess deaths was caused by heart disease, 6% above baseline during both years. Diabetes mortality was 17% over baseline during the first year and 13% above it during the second year. Alzheimer’s disease mortality was 19% higher in year 1 and 15% higher in year 2. In terms of percentage, large increases were recorded for alcohol-related fatalities (28% over baseline during the first year and 33% during the second year) and drug-related fatalities (33% above baseline in year 1 and 54% in year 2).

The BMJ Study

Previous research confirmed profound under-reporting of adverse events, including deaths, after immunisation. Consensus is also lacking in the medical community regarding concerns that mRNA vaccines might cause more harm than initially forecasted. French studies suggest that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are gene therapy products requiring long-term stringent adverse events monitoring. Although the desired immunisation through vaccination occurs in immune cells, some studies report a broad biodistribution and persistence of mRNA in many organs for weeks. Batch-dependent heterogeneity in the toxicity of mRNA vaccines was found in Denmark. Simultaneous onset of excess mortality and COVID-19 vaccination in Germany provides a safety signal warranting further investigation. Despite these concerns, clinical trial data required to further investigate these associations are not shared with the public. Autopsies to confirm actual death causes are seldom done.

Governments may be unable to release their death data with detailed stratification by cause, although this information could help indicate whether COVID-19 infection, indirect effects of containment measures, COVID-19 vaccines or other overlooked factors play an underpinning role. This absence of detailed cause-of-death data for certain Western nations derives from the time-consuming procedure involved, which entails assembling death certificates, coding diagnoses and adjudicating the underlying origin of death. Consequently, some nations with restricted resources assigned to this procedure may encounter delays in rendering prompt and punctual cause-of-death data. This situation existed even prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

A critical challenge in excess mortality research is choosing an appropriate statistical method for calculating the projected baseline of expected deaths to which the observed deaths are compared. Although the analyses and estimates in general are similar, the method can vary, for instance, per length of the investigated period, nature of available data, scale of geographic area, inclusion or exclusion of past influenza outbreaks, accounting for changes in population ageing and size and modelling trend over years or not.

Our analysis of excess mortality using the linear regression model of Karlinsky and Kobak varies thus to some extent from previous attempts to estimate excess deaths… [discussion of some studies on excess deaths] … Although all the above-mentioned studies used more elaborate statistical approaches for estimating baseline mortality, Karlinsky and Kobak argue that their method is a trade-off between suppleness and chasteness. It is the simplest method to captivate seasonal fluctuation and annual trends and more transparent than extensive approaches. …

In conclusion, excess mortality has remained high in the Western World for three consecutive years, despite the implementation of COVID-19 containment measures and COVID-19 vaccines. This is unprecedented and raises serious concerns. During the pandemic, it was emphasised by politicians and the media on a daily basis that every COVID-19 death mattered and every life deserved protection through containment measures and COVID-19 vaccines. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the same moral should apply.

Every death needs to be acknowledged and accounted for, irrespective of its origin. Transparency towards potential lethal drivers is warranted. Cause-specific mortality data therefore need to be made available to allow more detailed, direct and robust analyses to determine the underlying contributors. Postmortem examinations need to be facilitated to allot the exact reason for death. Government leaders and policymakers need to thoroughly investigate underlying causes of persistent excess mortality and evaluate their health crisis policies.

Originally published by Will Jones on the Daily Sceptic

All links to Gospa News articles have been added in the aftermath, due to the ties with the highlighted topics

Indian Elections: It’s the economy, stupid!

Key takeaway from Lok Sabha 2024 results: Religious hate can fan emotions, but it does not get you jobs.

Mitali Mukherjee

India has voted. And as we emerge from that occluding corridor of time, there is space to see more clearly. A few grim realities continue to exist. India still has a jobs crisis, households are still struggling to make ends meet, and hate, as we have seen, does not make for good economics.

Three specific lessons from the last 10 years are worth revisiting. The first, demonetisation. In a ham-handed, poorly thought-out move, the Government of India announced in 2016 the demonetisation of all Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 banknotes. The decision crippled India’s cash-dependent economy for many months to follow. But it also left other fatal wounds. The country was already dealing with a jobs drought and by 2017-18, a 6.1 per cent unemployment rate was the highest we had seen in 45 years.

Other blow-ups were afoot. Manufacturing, a core constituent of jobs, was choking. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India” campaign was launched with much fanfare in 2014. The goal? Increasing manufacturing’s share of the country’s economy from 16 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022. The year is gone, and the target has been reset to 2025. Since then, millions have joined the workforce looking for employment.

Over the months and years, the BJP-led Central government consistently scoffed at data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and others that pointed to fewer and fewer jobs, felt most acutely by India’s youth. ILO’s most recent report noted: Youth unemployment rates in India are now higher than the global levels.” These are young people with secondary or higher education, who are frustrated about where their prospects lie. No amount of pakora economics” seems to have worked as ground reports spoke of high stress around jobs and employment.

Time to fix the jobs rot

But the Indian economy had a safety lever, the MSME or medium and small scale industry. Sharp, efficient, and heavily cash-reliant, the MSME sector has been the grease oiling India’s economy, ensuring things move along both with jobs and manufacturing.

Demonetisation however snatched away the MSME sector’s quick turnround ability. A rushed introduction of GST, for all its benefits, then haemorrhaged any hopes of a recovery and with it, the ability to offer jobs. As private sector jobs kept drying up, unemployment kept ticking higher. Government jobs at a State or Central level simply cannot accommodate the number of citizens looking for work and self-exploding experiments such as the Agniveer schemeless so. It is no wonder that several swathes of the electorate have spoken of their concerns around a lack of jobs. It would be well worth the incumbent government’s time to take a hard and honest look at the reality of this unemployment crisis. It is now time to fix the jobs rot.

A migrant arrives at Habibganj Railway Station in Bhopal, in the midst of the pandemic lockdown in May 2020. | Photo Credit: FARUQUI AM

The second lesson came in 2020, when India, like the rest of the world, was hit by COVID. How did the government choose to respond? A complete denial of what death tolls looked like and once again, a poorly thought-through decision to lock down the country. In doing so, favouring the elite and entitled, leaving India’s vast majority to fend for itself. Migrant workers streamed like endless human rivers across the length and breadth of the country, trying to get home to their villages, where there would be some modicum of safety, refuge, and security. It is no wonder that the following years saw a groundswell in the number of people employed in agriculture—from 42.5 per cent in 2018-19 to 45.5 per cent in 2021-22. With no alternative visible, Indians moved to farming.

Also Read | COVID casualties: The uncounted dead

And even as their prospects for better jobs kept dwindling, household costs kept rising. India’s food inflation has been soaring, across vegetables, pulses, milk, and other staples. Feeding a family has become more expensive and more difficult. This is despite a free food grain scheme for low-income households, which by the way, is a duty—not a favour—by the Government of India.

‘Should everybody be poor?’

And finally, a sentence that may linger in the consciousness of India’s polity for a long time. The Prime Minister sneeringly responding to a question on India’s deep and rising income inequality with this reply: Should everybody be poor? Everyone should be poor, then there will be no difference. This was the case in the country earlier.” And the answer to that rhetorical question has been cast in India’s votes. Where the ask is not for everyone to be poor, but for everyone to have a say. And for everyone to have opportunities: to work, to study, to practise their own religion, and to have a voice.

A word also for this government’s crown jewel and object of pride, the Indian stock market, where both hubris and profits have crashed. In the last few weeks, both the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister predicted a massive equity market rally on June 4, when election results would be declared. The Home Minister’s own words were: You can buy before June 4, it (the market) will shoot up”. On that day, Indian shares posted their worst session in more than four years while the Indian rupee plunged 0.5 per cent against the dollar.

As the day’s bloodbath begins to settle and foreign and domestic buyers come back to survey the wreckage, institutions such as the Election Commission and the SEBI, must ask themselves who should be held accountable here. Equally, ordinary citizens must ask whose interests they believe these institutions uphold. For that matter, which business channel or pink paper has raised any critical questions on the deep fissures in India’s economy and this blatant shilling of the market by political leaders.

Some good economic decisions

Two things stand in favour of the next government. One, a bumper Rs.2.11 trillion dividend from the RBI, which allows space for a reduction in fiscal deficit and more sustained and focussed welfare capex spending. And second, a history lesson that shows us how some of the best economic decisions came from within coalition governments: a removal of the licence permit raj from P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government, a complete overhaul of the tax regime in the H.D. Deve Gowda government, hiving off loss-making public sector undertakings in the BJP’s own Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.

And the single most defining feature that has underpinned rural India’s survival, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), introduced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) under Manmohan Singh, that promised to provide minimum employment to the rural poor.

Religious hate can fan emotions, but it does not get you jobs. Attacking minorities can rile up your support base, but it doesn’t pay the bills. And fostering business coteries can win you influential friends, but it can’t win you votes. The last voter in the line has spoken. It is time to start listening.

Mitali Mukherjee is Director of the Journalist Programmes at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. She is a political economy journalist with more than two decades of experience in TV, print and digital journalism. Mitali has co-founded two start-ups that focussed on civil society and financial literacy and her key areas of interest are gender and climate change.

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