Shotes Notes - 4/4 - Jeff Singer



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Jeffrey A. Singer is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and works in the Department of Health Policy Studies. He is principal and founder of Valley Surgical Clinics, Ltd., the largest and oldest group private surgical practice in Arizona. He was integrally involved in the creation and passage of the Arizona Health Care Freedom Act, and served as treasurer of the US Health Freedom Coalition, which promotes state constitutional protections of freedom of choice in health care decisions. He was a regular contributor to Arizona Medicine, the journal of the Arizona Medical Association from 1994-2016. He also served on the Advisory Board Council of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University from 2014-2018, and is an adjunct instructor in the Program on Political History and Leadership at ASU. He writes and speaks extensively on regional and national public policy, with a specific focus on the areas of health care policy and the harmful effects of drug prohibition. He received his B.A. from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and his M.D. from New York Medical College. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.


In quantum mechanics, the Totalitarian Principle states that "everything that is not forbidden is compulsory."

The government's botched rollout of the vaccine seems to be following a similar pattern. Millions of potentially live-saving AstraZeneca vaccines remain held up in a warehouse in Ohio due to regulatory hurdles, while at the same time politicians like New York's Governor Cuomo are pushing a kind of of mandatory vaccination with "health passports."

Making matters worse, Dr. Jeffrey Singer points out that the messaging from people like Dr. Fauci has been sorely botched. Singer says that evidence suggests overwhelmingly that the vaccines are safe and effective, implying that those who receive them can return to normal live. Telling the public this would likely convince the many holdouts who have grown to distrust government authority during COVID. Yet Fauci and others continue to lecture that little will change with the vaccine.

That's right – you heard it. Keep masking. No hugging. No going out to eat. Just keep following the rules, even if it means an endless lockdown and ratcheting up of government's permanent authority.

Dr. Singer returns to the show this Sunday to clear up the confusing messaging and discuss the actual risks/reward ratio of the vaccines, as well as the all-important consideration of the freedom to make a decision for yourself.

We'll also discuss the vaccine in the context of the "right to try" and Singer's recent paper on the need for a Reformation in Prescription Drug policy.


Main topics

  1. AstraZeneca vaccine approval - Safety cost/benefit.
  2. Mandatory vaccines
  3. Government messaging - telling people "nothing will change" vs. "you can go back to normal once you have the vaccine."

1. AstraZeneca

30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are currently sitting unused in a warehouse in Ohio.

Both clinical trials and the vaccine's actual use in the 70 countries that have approved it tell us that this is a safe and effective way of preventing COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Millions of Americans would gladly take it.

Twitter gadfly and COVID hysteria skeptic Alex Berenson shares some potentially troubling counterpoints to the "vaccine passes the cost/benefit test for all people:"

This reiterates the importance of letting people be free to choose whether or not they get vaccinated. The government's job should be providing information, which they are doing very poorly – both with the database on adverse reactions.

"Health Canada said it has not received any reports of blood clots in Canada, and the department’s chief medical adviser, Dr Supriya Sharma, said she still believed the vaccine’s benefits outweighed the risks."

Austria suspends inoculation with a batch of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine while authorities investigates the death of one person and the illness of another after getting the shots.

Dr. Singer affirms that this is an example of correlation not equaling causation and that getting the vaccine does not lead to illness or death.

Dr. Singer also states that although CDC study shows mask mandate and prohibiting on-premise dining helps limit exposure, it does not control for compliance or any other factors that mitigate COVID spread.

Two companies, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck, have developed an antiviral drug to reduce COVID infections.

“It's important to remember that correlation is not the same thing as causation. So just because a death occurred on the same day a person received a vaccination does not mean there's any connection.”
“I think in general, allowing people at this point - a year later with what we know, with vaccines around, with therapeutics, with better ways of treating COVID - allowing people more flexibility to use their best informed judgment I think is more likely to actually get compliance.”

Reasons to be optimistic about the vaccine efficacy:

During the 31 days following the start of vaccination, more than 23,000 (59%) of the UTSW employees were vaccinated, and more than 6,100 (30%) had gotten both shots. Approximately 9,000 employees were not vaccinated.
Of the non-vaccinated employees, 234 infections (2.6%) became infected (as determined by the PCR test). Of those who had gotten only one shot, 112 (1.8%) and only 4 of the 8,121 (0.05%) of the employees who got both shots became infected.

2. Mandatory Vaccination:

Insert quote below plus, “The botched messaging on the Covid vaccine seems to prove the totalitarian principle: everything that is not forbidden is compulsory. Hopefully they won’t take the final step of a

That same poll suggests most of the holdouts are also open to persuasion.

In today’s politically charged environment, a mandate could ironically make skeptics less willing to be vaccinated—or to comply with other pandemic‐control measures. More than half of the vaccine holdouts already say they don’t trust the government. A mandate would make them even less trusting.

The most prevalent concerns among the unwilling relate to side effects and a desire to collect more data. That means that the best way to achieve herd immunity in the U.S. is to treat vaccine skeptics like adults, give them truthful information, and let them decide.

A free society demands adherence to the non‐aggression principle. No person should initiate force against another, and should only use force in retaliation or self‐defense. Forcibly injecting substances‐attenuated microbes or otherwise‐into someone else’s body cannot be justified as an act of self‐defense, because there is no way to determine with certainty that the person will ever be responsible for disease transmission.
Some argue that mandatory mass vaccination is an act of communal self‐defense, and thus completely compatible with the principles underpinning a free society. Unless people are forcibly immunized, they will endanger the life and health of innocent bystanders, goes the argument. But such a position requires a level of precognition we haven’t yet attained.
As a medical doctor I am a strong advocate of vaccination against communicable and infectious diseases. I am irritated by the hysteria and pseudo‐science behind much of the anti‐vaccination literature and rhetoric. In my perfect world, everyone would agree with me and voluntarily get vaccinated against the gamut of nasty diseases for which we have vaccines. (In my perfect world, pregnant women also wouldn’t smoke tobacco or drink alcohol until after delivery.) But free societies are sometimes messy. To live in a free society, one must be willing to tolerate people who make bad decisions and bad choices, as long as they don’t directly infringe on the rights of others.
If someone chooses the inaction of non‐vaccination based upon the belief‐right or wrong‐that the vaccination is harmful or even life threatening, then coercive vaccination in this context is clearly a case of aggression. For it to be otherwise requires certainty that those beliefs are wrong. And certainty in this case is not possible. How can you be sure, for example, that a child won’t have an adverse or even fatal reaction to a vaccine?

Dona Ana County, N.M. detention officer claims he was fired for refusing to receive the first dose of the mRNA vaccine.

The County Manager has mandated vaccination of all county-employed first responders, and contends that, unless special working arrangements are made for those refusing vaccination, being vaccinated is a requirement and an ongoing employment condition due to the health and safety risks posed by COVID.

While I have been very impressed with the efficacy and safety of the new COVID-19 vaccines and encourage people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, I respect the right of individuals to refuse vaccination along with the right of others to refuse to associate with unvaccinated individuals.

Audio Interviews

3. Messaging

Jeffrey Singer of the Cato Institute discusses...

Singer says the vaccines are very safe and effective. 100 million in 100 days is eminently reasonable (we passed that).

Government has thwarted the roll out by being too pessimistic - warning people that they still have to wear masks, social distance, and might be vulnerable to new variants, when all the evidence so far suggests that’s not true.

He says they should be touting it, and saying that people can go back to normal after getting vaccinating.

.dr4liberty explains how the government has screwed up the vaccine rollout with comedian @andrewheaton, and how the “noble lie” undermines trust in authority.

Why giving it to people with Comorbidities first is a bad idea. People can fake it. Keep it simple. Start with the older people. Easy to verify.

Fauci’s messaging about “nothing will change” discourages people.

J&J is not as effective as the others for not get sick, but all 3 are almost 100% effective against severe illness and die.

Ability to spread virus after the fact? Fauci now says just theoretical.

Govt. should stop talking about “the science” instead of being honest about the murkiness.

The trouble with the noble lie is that is undermines trust in experts and authority.

Distribution: Federal government buys all doses and then distributes to states. Central planning instead of markets. Luckily; once the states get them, there are 50 central plans. Conn. has followed the advice. Laboratories of democracy

Central committees organizing distribution are clumsy.

Covid won’t be eradicated. We will eventually get to herd immunity. It will become part of life with a Covid season. Maybe you will need a new shot every couple of years.

Singer argues for harm reduction not elimination. "It has never been the time for the public to let its guard down. And according to federal health bureaucrats, it probably never will be."

Reiterates that the messaging has been bad. We should pool leftover vaccines. Pharmacists can do this safely. Total death toll of COVID is 1/6th of the number of people that die in a given year in the U.S.

The federal government is urging states and citizens to stand firm and abide by COVID-19 restrictions. President Biden says, "This is not a time to lessen our efforts." CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warns of "impending doom" if states reopen too quickly. Data confirms effectiveness of vaccination in reducing death and severe disease. And yet 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are currently sitting unused in a warehouse in Ohio, just waiting for the government to sign off on them.
There are also differences between racial groups when it comes to opinions about vaccines. In a recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California, 70% of Asian Americans, 62% of whites, and 54% of Latinos said they would definitely or probably get a vaccine if available today. Only 29% of African Americans said the same.

Cato's Pandemics & Policy:

Of course, there are those who see the current crisis as an opportunity for radical change to American institutions. They insist that “there are no libertarians in a pandemic” and that there shouldn’t be. We beg to differ. While a once‐in‐a‐century pandemic presents challenges for any political philosophy, the botched response to COVID-19 hardly represents an indictment of the American heritage of limited government. From the massive regulatory failures that stifled test provision to archaic restrictions that kept caregivers from patients, government overreach has compounded this disaster. Where they were left free to do so, the institutions of civil society have met the COVID-19 challenge with resilience, adaptability, and old‐fashioned American ingenuity.

Misc. Links

Rand Paul and Fauci clash over the vaccine and masks. Paul accuses Fauci of theater for wearing two masks after being vaccinated. To Jeff Singer's point, Rand Paul is wondering why people shouldn't be offered their freedom as a reward for getting the vaccine?

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