Open Letter to David Seymour

Here follows an email I recently wrote to the leader of New Zealand’s ACT party in response to his support for vaccine mandates in New Zealand.

Dear Mr Seymour

When I saw your support for vaccine mandates advertised in the NZ Herald this week [1], I thought for a moment that all hope was lost for New Zealand. But then I reminded myself that you - brilliant, incisive and well-spoken as you are – are captive to the restraints of the political class, just like our Prime Minister Ardern. 

I believe that, in the end, it will be material reality, aided by the censored small minority of well-informed, curious and tenacious citizens that will bring leaders back to the realization that you cannot rapidly eradicate a respiratory virus – possibly manipulated by humans - that has animal reservoirs [2]. And you certainly cannot do that with a leaky experimental vaccine. 

I am disheartened to see you, like your political colleagues, have such naive trust in a single experimental treatment, which you then force on the population while promising low-cost early treatments are strangely outlawed and mis-represented [3]. Here is where my resistance is anchored: your approach is not only unethical [4] but also not good governance. 

I am not against vaccines. Even when it comes to the experimental mRNA treatments, I am at present undecided whether I will take the injection or not. But as a data analyst by profession, thus far, I have used the infection fatality rate studies published on the WHO website [5] and from this I have balanced my low personal risk of getting seriously ill from Covid against the (significantly underreported [6]) serious adverse effects, at this stage limited to the known short-term effects, including deaths, coagulation and myocarditis, among others.
My personal risk assessment incorporates the obvious concern, if not logical probability, that there will inevitably be long term hazards, at this stage not possible to be known or proven, involving a treatment with such a high rate of adverse effects.

Based on this personal risk assessment, informed by data, I have exercised what I thought was my democratic right and decided to wait while I learn more from the unfolding evidence. I felt that this was a rational, responsible and evidence-based response. 

I am shocked and disheartened to see you and your fellow politicians, including those in the Labour and National parties, are all determined to take away my right to make my own healthcare decisions. And this for a disease that has a median survival rate of 99.75% [7], and for which 94% of those who sadly succumb have one or more pre-existing comorbidities [8].

Since December last year, I have held back and watched as the landscape of evidence in favour of the Pfizer vaccines as the one and only solution to the Covid-19 crisis changed over time. In less than one year, the mainstream world has gone from jubilant optimism and claims of 95% efficacy, to admissions by Israel's Director of Public Health [9] that effectiveness is "roughly 40%". 

We are now seeing large scale evidence unfold that, just maybe, the admission in the Scientific American magazine about Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE) may be applicable to the mRNA vaccines. The Scientific American reported [10]:

"...there are good reasons to be especially cautious for COVID-19. Some vaccines worsen the consequences of infection rather than protect, a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE has been observed in previous attempts to develop coronavirus vaccines. To add to the concern, antibodies typical of ADE are present in the blood of some COVID-19 patients. Such concerns are real. As recently as 2016, Dengavxia, intended to protect children from the dengue virus, increased hospitalizations for children who received the vaccine." 

The graph below, using data from Johns Hopkins University, shows current infections in three of the most highly vaccinated countries. Does this not at all cause you to pause and question your certainty? Look, in particular at the graph for Singapore. 

In the light of such evidence, it is perplexing to see you and your political colleagues advocate mandated vaccines as if it will magically change reality, when there is compelling evidence to the contrary [11]. Have you at all considered that your policies may just be creating an epidemic of the vaccinated [12]? I don't necessarily support that conclusion; I believe it is simply too early to tell. Sadly, you don't - you seem to believe you know with certainty what is right.

The public are told the vaccines are safe. Several months ago, there were signals about myocarditis injuries being done to young people with the mRNA vaccines [13] - people with a life ahead of them to whom Covid-19 poses a vanishingly small risk. It was down-played in the government sponsored media as extremely rare. Now Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark have suspended or advised against one of these vaccines for certain age groups [14], and Iceland has suspended the same for all age groups [15].

Can you, at your next press conference, explain to the New Zealand public what the scientific basis is for your certainty that similar evidence of serious, lifelong or fatal side effects from the Pfizer injections will not manage to bypass the censors over the next two to three years?

I presume the basis of your argument for mandating vaccines relies on the (continually evolving) landscape of evidence that the Pfizer injections reduce risk of hospitalization and mortality. Indeed, there seems to be evidence that is the case for a few months after getting the second injection and I am monitoring the evidence closely. But be on notice that that euphoria is also waning. The case weakens when all-cause mortality is taken into account, and this has led two experts in Risk Analysis [16] to conclude from a recent study that: 

"...even using this age adjusted mortality rate, the death rate is currently higher among the vaccinated than the unvaccinated... The trends for the different vaccination categories are also concerning. In contrast to the unvaccinated, the mortality rates for the vaccinated have initially increased from very low initial values, but then have increased, whilst that for the unvaccinated has decreased...we can conclude that the ONS’s own data does not support the claims made for vaccine effectiveness/safety."

It is the hubris of the political elites that stuns me most; your ability to claim certainty of having the right knowledge, and then coerce people, at the risk of losing their livelihood, to adopt your anointed vision...or else. 

The poet Keats wrote about the quality essential to any “man of Achievement”, which he called Negative Capability: “that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Here, I see "irritable" as meaning "rushed and impatient".

You and your fellow politicians, in your coercive approach, seem incapable of being "held in uncertainty". Let me admit to you now that I am uncertain. I have my suspicions, but I do not know with certainty whether I should take the vaccine or not.

So why not convince me and others like me? Here is how the government could do it: 

a) Stop making the public distrustful by censoring dissenting voices, especially those of medical and economic experts; 

b) When it comes to decisions that will affect New Zealanders for generations to come – such as mandating vaccinations or economy-destroying lockdowns - do not make decisions behind closed doors. Rather, hold public debates in which well-credentialed proponents of both sides of the issues have a chance to reach the broader public; 

c) Stop disseminating misinformation about promising, low-cost alternative treatments. Instead, present and debate facts about these treatments, whether lobbyists from Pfizer agree to it or not. By labelling a medicine that is on the WHO list of essential medicines as “horse medicine”, you do not fool the informed fraction of the public; you make us more mistrustful and resistant.

I will continue to be held in uncertainty as I hunker down and hold out as a shamed and shunned, perhaps soon persecuted, third class citizen. I will continue to gather more data and wait for the long-term safety data on the mRNA vaccines to emerge. 

Yet privately I will hold onto this single certainty: that ethically and spiritually, I belong to a small minority that believes in the right of individuals to decide for themselves which medical treatments to take; a minority that understands the vital importance of context and retains critical thinking skills in a world in which fear and censorship has become the main political currency.

For now, you've lost my vote.

Kind Regards

A concerned citizen. 

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