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Dr. Anthony Fauci Makes the Media Rounds to Promote COVID Vaccines and Gives Some Curious Advice

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

Dr. Anthony Fauci is hitting the celebrity circuit to encourage people to get vaccinated. For a man who insists on lengthy data collection and random controlled studies to confirm anything, his standard seems to shift depending on what he is talking about. In an interview with Gloria Estefan, he urges pregnant women and nursing mothers to get the vaccine based on anecdotal data:

Estefan: Can pregnant women get the vaccine? And especially that might be breastfeeding, maybe not pregnant anymore. But women that are breastfeeding, can they get the vaccine? Will it pass anything onto the baby?

Fauci: Okay so the way the situation is with pregnant women is that the formal tests to determine the safety and the immunogenicity in fact have not been done. However, importantly, the situation after the EUA was granted to both the mRNA vaccine of Moderna and of Pfizer, several thousands of women, who were pregnant have gotten the vaccine.

Many of them were healthcare providers who felt that the risk of getting COVID-19 from a patient was much more than any potential risk of the vaccine. So, they got vaccinated. And with several thousand having gotten vaccinated, there are no red flags or any problems that have arisen.

So even though we haven’t formally tested in a clinical trial way, the fact is pregnant women need to make a decision of whether they want to get vaccinated or not. The risk/benefit clearly falls in favor of the benefit as opposed to the risk. That includes pregnant women, breastfeeding women, same thing”

Anyone making a recommendation that pregnant and nursing women take anything without robust clinical trials would be highly unusual. For Dr. Fauci, it is hypocritical. Dr. Fauci has never made a single decision in this pandemic based on observational data.

He rejected dozens of studies and doctor testimony for the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ivermectin in combination based on the lack of random controlled double-blind (placebo) studies. When Dr. Harvey Risch, a Yale epidemiologist, released a meta-analysis of observational studies and called for widespread outpatient use of HCQ in July of 2020, Dr. Fauci attacked him professionally, saying the following about random double-blind trials on CNN:

“Well, because it [random controlled double-blind study] is the gold standard,” Fauci said, and explained “You have to compare your intervention with something. Because the medical literature and experience is full of situations of anecdotal retrospective cohort studies that have proven to be wrong.”

“I might add, agreeing with me is virtually every scientist who is competent in clinical trials, that will say that the randomized placebo-controlled trial is in fact the gold standard.”

When Senator and Doctor Rand Paul intuitively asked Dr. Fauci if steroids may help in severe COVID-19 based on the similarities it presented clinically to other illnesses, Fauci mocked and dismissed him. Oddly, they have proven very effective in preventing severe COVID-19, as Paul suggested they might.

Yet, Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and the FDA still endorse using remdesivir for hospitalized COVID-19 patients even though the WHO has issued a conditional recommendation against its use. In four random controlled, double-blind clinical trials, the organization found no statistically significant benefit from the drug on reducing mortality, mechanical ventilation, time to recovery, or other patient outcomes. The only one that did, Dr. Anthony Fauci and the NIH conducted.

A cynical person might believe that Dr. Fauci’s standards change based on how big pharma profits from them. That could be why he told Estefan, who recovered from COVID-19 in November, to get the vaccine anyway. She asked Fauci, and he told her:

Fauci: How long did they ask you to wait?

Estefan: “They told me three months, but I know for a fact I still have immunity because I’ve gotten regularly tested.”

Fauci: “I would not wait any longer, Gloria. I believe the advantage of getting the boost from the vaccine far outweighs the theoretical possibility that your own existing immunity is going to interfere. We know that the immunity that’s induced by the vaccine in general is more potent than the immunity that’s induced by infection.”

Since when does Dr. Fauci operate on belief rather than rigorous scientific data? There’s that cynicism again. That’s almost 60 million more shots in arms if approximately  29 million people have recovered. Additionally, I can’t find a single study on the NIH website or any other search that says we know any such thing about relative immunity.

On January 26, 2021, the NIH published a summary of an eight-month-long study on recovered patients. It found the immune systems of more than 95% of people who recovered from COVID-19 had durable memories of the virus up to eight months after infection and retained at least three of the five immune system components that could recognize COVID-19.

Another study found that while these patients had low levels of antibodies, most of them were infection blocking or neutralizing antibodies. Perhaps Dr. Fauci was referring to was the amount, not the type of antibodies produced. From another pre-print study (emphasis mine):

Polyclonal antibody responses in vaccinees were robust and comparable to or exceeded those seen after natural infection. However, that the ratio of binding to neutralizing antibodies after vaccination was greater than that after natural infection and, at the monoclonal level, we found that the majority of vaccine-induced antibodies did not have neutralizing activity.

Neutralizing antibodies can stop a virus from infecting the body by affecting how the molecules on the virus’s surface can enter cells. In some cases, these antibodies can result in lifelong immunity, as was the case for some that survived the Spanish flu. Time will tell if this is the case with COVID-19, but we know its cousin, SARS, conferred immunity for at least 17 years.

So, while the vaccine produces more total antibodies, they are of the type that signals your body to send white blood cells in a typical inflammatory response, which is more likely to give you at least mild symptoms. This finding may be why vaccines effectively prevent severe cases of COVID. The immune system comes to fight the virus in an average 5-6 day incubation period sooner, reducing illness severity.

A risk/benefit analysis is also new for Dr. Fauci. A study published in The Lancet in June 2020 found one meter of social distance, or approximately three feet, was sufficient for social distancing in a meta-analysis. A public health professional who routinely used risk/benefit analysis would have taken that study, all the available information on COVID-19 in children, and the obvious social, mental health, and educational impacts of school closures and reduced the spacing required to get children back to school safely. The six feet proclamation was too great for many schools to handle. He never did until he was confronted by Jake Tapper two days ago.

Yet in an interview with Mexican actor and comedian Eugenio Derbez, despite having data indicating the risk of a vaccinated person transmitting the virus being very low, he refuses to say vaccinated individuals, and for that matter, recovered patients until further notice, can ditch the mask. While he admits the risk of transmission is very low based on data so far, he won’t know “for sure” for a few months. The exchange is few minutes long but wildly entertaining if you want to see a very frustrated immunologist:

Where is the risk-based decision-making now? You must give Derbez credit in this interview. He is more prepared and asks more challenging questions than any reporter in the corporate media has for the past year. Derbez also insists on complete answers to the questions he asks, and he follows up. A few folks at CNN could take a lesson from him.