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January 23, 2023

The Deceptive Campaign for Bivalent Covid Boosters

Studies show they fail to live up to their promise, but vaccine makers and experts keep pushing them.

Allysia Finley hedcut

By Allysia FinleyFollowJan. 22, 2023 3:10 pm ETSAVEPRINTTEXT1006

image

Joe Biden receives a Covid-19 booster in Washington, Oct. 25, 2022.PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESSListen to articleLength(6 minutes)Queue

You might have heard a radio advertisement warning that if you’ve had Covid, you could get it again and experience even worse symptoms. The message, sponsored by the Health and Human Services Department, claims that updated bivalent vaccines will improve your protection.

This is deceptive advertising. But the public-health establishment’s praise for the bivalent shots shouldn’t come as a surprise. Federal agencies took the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.

The idea of updating mRNA Covid shots every season originally held promise. One advantage of mRNA technology is that manufacturers can tweak the genetic sequence and rapidly produce new vaccines targeting new variants. Hence the bivalent boosters targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants along with the original Wuhan strain.

But three scientific problems have arisen. First, the virus is evolving much faster than the vaccines can be updated. Second, vaccines have hard-wired our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralize variants targeted by updated vaccines. Third, antibodies rapidly wane after a few months.


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Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine this month showed that bivalent boosters increase neutralizing antibodies against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but not significantly more than the original boosters. In one study, antibody levels after the bivalent boosters were 11 times as high against the Wuhan variant as BA.5.

The authors posit that immune imprinting “may pose a greater challenge than is currently appreciated for inducing robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants.” This isn’t unique to Covid or mRNA vaccines, though boosters may amplify the effect. Our first exposure as children to the flu—whether by infection or vaccination—affects our future response to different strains.

The original Covid vaccines and boosters trained our memory B-cells to produce antibodies against the Wuhan variant. As the University of Pennsylvania’s Paul Offit explains in a New England Journal of Medicine article, previously vaccinated people who received the bivalent booster were “primed” to respond to the Wuhan strain and mounted an inferior antibody response to other variants.

READ MORE LIFE SCIENCE

The studies’ findings contradict November press releases from Pfizer and Moderna asserting that their bivalents produced a response to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants four to six times that of the original boosters. These claims are misleading. Neither vaccine maker conducted a randomized trial. They tested the original boosters last winter, long before the BA.5 surge and 4½ to six months after trial participants had received their third shots. The bivalents, by contrast, were tested after BA.5 began to surge, 9½ to 11 months after recipients had received their third shots.

A longer interval between shots would increase the antibody boost to the BA.5 variant. So would a prior infection with the BA.5 variant. In other words, people who received the bivalent boosters in August would have been primed to produce more antibodies in response to BA.5.

The vaccine makers designed their studies to get the results they wanted. Public-health authorities didn’t raise an eyebrow, but why would they? They have a vested interest in promoting the bivalents.

The Food and Drug Administration ordered the vaccine makers in June to update the boosters against BA.4 and BA.5 and rushed in late August to authorize the bivalents before clinical data were available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the bivalents for all adults without any evidence that they were effective or needed.

Vaccine makers could have performed small randomized trials last summer and early fall that tested the bivalents against the original boosters and a placebo group. Results could have been available by the end of September. But the public-health authorities didn’t want to wait—and now we know why.

The CDC published a study in November that estimated the bivalents were only 22% to 43% effective against infection during the BA.5 wave—their peak efficacy. As antibodies waned and new variants took over later in the fall, their protection against infection probably dropped to zero.

Another CDC study, in December, reported that seniors who received bivalents were 84% less likely to be hospitalized than the unvaccinated, and 73% less likely than those who had received two or more doses of the original vaccine. But neither study controlled for important confounding factors—for one, that the small minority who got bivalents were probably also more likely than those who hadn’t to follow other Covid precautions or seek out treatments such as Paxlovid.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf tweeted on Jan. 11 that “COVID-19 vaccines have been associated with a significant reduction in hospitalization and death” (my emphasis). He should know that correlation doesn’t prove causation. A study found the unvaccinated were significantly more likely to get into car accidents, but that doesn’t mean vaccines prevent crashes.

Many of the same experts who trashed observational studies supporting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin now flog intrinsically flawed studies on bivalent boosters. After zealously promoting the bivalents, they may be seeking vindication. But science isn’t about vindication.

Covid vaccines mitigated severe illness while most Americans gained immunity through natural infection, which substantially boosts protection. There’s a growing consensus that we need better vaccines and treatments to protect those still at risk. But we also need honest public-health leaders.

WSJ Opinion: Hits and Misses of the Week
Journal Editorial Report: The week’s best and worst from Kim Strassel, Bill McGurn, Allysia Finley and Dan Henninger. Images: Zuma Press/Getty Images/Washington Post Composite: Mark Kelly

Appeared in the January 23, 2023, print edition as ‘The Deceptive Campaign for Bivalent Covid Boosters’.SHOW CONVERSATION (1006)

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The Deceptive Campaign for Bivalent Covid Boosters

Studies show they fail to live up to their promise, but vaccine makers and experts keep pushing them.

Allysia Finley hedcut

By Allysia FinleyFollowJan. 22, 2023 3:10 pm ETSAVEPRINTTEXT1006

image

Joe Biden receives a Covid-19 booster in Washington, Oct. 25, 2022.PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESSListen to articleLength(6 minutes)Queue

You might have heard a radio advertisement warning that if you’ve had Covid, you could get it again and experience even worse symptoms. The message, sponsored by the Health and Human Services Department, claims that updated bivalent vaccines will improve your protection.

This is deceptive advertising. But the public-health establishment’s praise for the bivalent shots shouldn’t come as a surprise. Federal agencies took the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.

The idea of updating mRNA Covid shots every season originally held promise. One advantage of mRNA technology is that manufacturers can tweak the genetic sequence and rapidly produce new vaccines targeting new variants. Hence the bivalent boosters targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants along with the original Wuhan strain.

But three scientific problems have arisen. First, the virus is evolving much faster than the vaccines can be updated. Second, vaccines have hard-wired our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralize variants targeted by updated vaccines. Third, antibodies rapidly wane after a few months.


NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Morning Editorial Report

All the day’s Opinion headlines.PreviewSubscribe


Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine this month showed that bivalent boosters increase neutralizing antibodies against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but not significantly more than the original boosters. In one study, antibody levels after the bivalent boosters were 11 times as high against the Wuhan variant as BA.5.

The authors posit that immune imprinting “may pose a greater challenge than is currently appreciated for inducing robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants.” This isn’t unique to Covid or mRNA vaccines, though boosters may amplify the effect. Our first exposure as children to the flu—whether by infection or vaccination—affects our future response to different strains.

The original Covid vaccines and boosters trained our memory B-cells to produce antibodies against the Wuhan variant. As the University of Pennsylvania’s Paul Offit explains in a New England Journal of Medicine article, previously vaccinated people who received the bivalent booster were “primed” to respond to the Wuhan strain and mounted an inferior antibody response to other variants.

READ MORE LIFE SCIENCE

The studies’ findings contradict November press releases from Pfizer and Moderna asserting that their bivalents produced a response to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants four to six times that of the original boosters. These claims are misleading. Neither vaccine maker conducted a randomized trial. They tested the original boosters last winter, long before the BA.5 surge and 4½ to six months after trial participants had received their third shots. The bivalents, by contrast, were tested after BA.5 began to surge, 9½ to 11 months after recipients had received their third shots.

A longer interval between shots would increase the antibody boost to the BA.5 variant. So would a prior infection with the BA.5 variant. In other words, people who received the bivalent boosters in August would have been primed to produce more antibodies in response to BA.5.

The vaccine makers designed their studies to get the results they wanted. Public-health authorities didn’t raise an eyebrow, but why would they? They have a vested interest in promoting the bivalents.

The Food and Drug Administration ordered the vaccine makers in June to update the boosters against BA.4 and BA.5 and rushed in late August to authorize the bivalents before clinical data were available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the bivalents for all adults without any evidence that they were effective or needed.

Vaccine makers could have performed small randomized trials last summer and early fall that tested the bivalents against the original boosters and a placebo group. Results could have been available by the end of September. But the public-health authorities didn’t want to wait—and now we know why.

The CDC published a study in November that estimated the bivalents were only 22% to 43% effective against infection during the BA.5 wave—their peak efficacy. As antibodies waned and new variants took over later in the fall, their protection against infection probably dropped to zero.

Another CDC study, in December, reported that seniors who received bivalents were 84% less likely to be hospitalized than the unvaccinated, and 73% less likely than those who had received two or more doses of the original vaccine. But neither study controlled for important confounding factors—for one, that the small minority who got bivalents were probably also more likely than those who hadn’t to follow other Covid precautions or seek out treatments such as Paxlovid.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf tweeted on Jan. 11 that “COVID-19 vaccines have been associated with a significant reduction in hospitalization and death” (my emphasis). He should know that correlation doesn’t prove causation. A study found the unvaccinated were significantly more likely to get into car accidents, but that doesn’t mean vaccines prevent crashes.

Many of the same experts who trashed observational studies supporting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin now flog intrinsically flawed studies on bivalent boosters. After zealously promoting the bivalents, they may be seeking vindication. But science isn’t about vindication.

Covid vaccines mitigated severe illness while most Americans gained immunity through natural infection, which substantially boosts protection. There’s a growing consensus that we need better vaccines and treatments to protect those still at risk. But we also need honest public-health leaders.

WSJ Opinion: Hits and Misses of the Week
Journal Editorial Report: The week’s best and worst from Kim Strassel, Bill McGurn, Allysia Finley and Dan Henninger. Images: Zuma Press/Getty Images/Washington Post Composite: Mark Kelly

Appeared in the January 23, 2023, print edition as ‘The Deceptive Campaign for Bivalent Covid Boosters’.SHOW CONVERSATION (1006)

WHAT TO READ NEXT…

OPINIONOpinion | Iowa’s School Choice ComebackJan 22, 2023OPINIONOpinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Political AppointmentsJan 22, 2023OPINIONOpinion | Brazil’s Crackdown on Free SpeechJan 22, 2023OPINIONOpinion | Nationwide Rent Control?23 hours agoOPINIONOpinion | Congress Must Halt Big Tech’s Power GrabJan 22, 2023OPINIONOpinion | Please Send Jordan Peterson Back to SchoolJan 10, 2023OPINIONOpinion | Experts Went Beyond the Evidence on VaccinesJan 17, 2023SPONSORED OFFERS

MOST POPULAR NEWS

MOST POPULAR OPINION

RECOMMENDED VIDEOS

Discussion
35 Comments
    Jan 23, 2023 23:47 PM

    an example of extrinsic gaslighting…a good one but sophisticated propaganda non-the-less…these experts are warning you…but about what?…that the bivalent jab does not work as promised kinda like a Tesla…lmao

    Reply
    Jan 23, 2023 23:55 PM

    more Paul Cottrell on covid:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjwUqIq-PQk

    Reply
    Jan 23, 2023 23:59 PM

    larry ,,,,, the last statement says it all ……..
    “There’s a growing consensus that we need better vaccines ”

    LOL…… Yes more vaccines……….. LMAO….

    Reply
      Jan 23, 2023 23:21 PM

      exactly…lies of omission…somehow the liars forgot to warn peeps it is based on total scientific fraud, designed as a bioweapon, used in a propaganda inspired plandemic, causing epic sudden death, abortions, myocarditis, immune collapse, active robust cancer, generational cancer defects,global casualties in the millions…ect….but we can do better…just trust us…the medical con at its best…remember, not one disease ever was cured by rockefeller allopathic medical anti-health anti-human non-care….all disease is at peak levels right now and even the life span data has rolled over into contraction…it must because when symptoms are treated rather that health supported….health collapse is the prime killer…..no MD mentions your health, only your disease and the toxic gene altering miracle pharma pills you must ingest forever…disgusting conforming stooges…killers of nations and peoples life times….

      Reply
        Jan 23, 2023 23:24 PM

        I posted some info. below……. MASKS…… …..again by this FAKE GOVT.
        If, I remember , ….. the mask from china, contained particles harmful to health….
        along with the sticks up your nose…..

        Reply
    Jan 23, 2023 23:21 PM

    Biden Administration Still Pushing For Forced Masking
    zhedge article…..

    The Biden Administration recently reinforced their commitment to retaining authority to impose endless COVID mandates on the American people…

    Will Mask Mandates Return?…………………..IDIOTS…….CONTROL FREAKS……
    Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for Tuesday, with no indication yet how the appeal will go. But previous statements by the Justice Department show how committed they are to masking.

    Despite the inarguable reality that masks do not work to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, the attorney arguing the case said that they should have the authority to reimpose mandates for future pandemics.

    Reply
    Jan 23, 2023 23:04 PM

    The deployment of mRNA shots for widespread use needs to be stopped.
    The mRNA technology has not been shown to be safe.
    https://www.conservativereview.com/horowitz-states-must-place-a-five-year-moratorium-on-mrna-vaccines-2659287274.html

    Reply
      Jan 23, 2023 23:52 PM

      The concept of the court system is that two opposing groups give evidence explaining their relative positions and an impartial wise person (the judge) or group of people (the jury) make a decision about which position is correct.
      The problem, WHICH IS A REAL PROBLEM, is that nowadays judges tend to be appointed or elected dependent on their political party.
      That is a problem because Judges then DO NOT START OUT IMPARTIAL.
      It is further compounded by the fact that judges tend to come from professional attorneys and attorneys tend to come from the humanities……perhaps great for non-scientific decisions, but in this day and age, I find many attorneys rather STEM stupid.
      I have testified as an expert witness numerous times, and even been appointed for two years as a scientific expert to the Indiana legislature, and have attended many conferences for judges (primarily Appeals Court Judges)
      With every year that passes I believe I see a pending collapse in our polarized system, with no solution even on the horizon.

      Reply
        Jan 24, 2023 24:04 AM

        Like I told OWL…………… You the Sheeple……… DO NOT VOTE for JUDGES
        America has been hoodwinked……. in checks and balances of power.

        Just look at the trials and verdict of the Jan 6 trials ….. the latest one …. ,”can not revolt against the
        FEDERAL GOVT.”… , ….humm, where is the constitution in this matter., out the window….

        Civics and govt, are not taught in school, by design…….. Board of Education, No child left BEHIND… lol.

        Reply
    Jan 23, 2023 23:56 PM
    Jan 23, 2023 23:02 PM

    I’m from the government and I’m here to help you:
    https://www.wethegoverned.com/gov-inslee-moves-violent-sex-offenders-from-secure-mcneil-island-quietly-dumps-them-in-our-neighborhoods/

    Yeh, Right !………… another moronic move.

    Reply
      Jan 24, 2023 24:21 AM

      GREAT FREAKING ARTICLE…………….

      like I said…….. Mueller scum bag, along with FBI…..
      (goes to show that the THREE LETTERS, are NOT
      for WE THE PEOPLE….

      Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:20 AM

    Bill Gates has multiple farm experiments involving mRNA.

    He is funding research at U. of Edinburgh injecting Angus beef cows with mRNA GENE MODIFICATION substances to speed growth rate.
    Also researching using chickens in Ethiopia.

    Reply
      Jan 24, 2023 24:27 AM

      “Where’s the Beef”……………….

      If, they keep stealing 80 head of cattle,…. limiting the good beef,….

      Billy, will go into the processing plants business , sooner or later…. JMO

      Gates is Evil,….. what do you think OWL…????

      Reply
        Jan 24, 2023 24:34 AM

        Hardly anyone likes Windows, but they put up with it because it’s nearly the only game in town. So why should they like Bill Gates? This post is coming to you via Linux.

        Reply
          Jan 24, 2023 24:41 AM

          Good one…..

          Reply
          Jan 24, 2023 24:00 AM

          What Linux are you using? I have been using Ubuntu for a decade. And LibreOffice. Still have to use Windows for work. Also, use Red Hat Linux servers for work.

          Reply
      Jan 24, 2023 24:34 AM

      https://www.bitchute.com/video/s1UaShixrVRM/

      the next question, which needs answering, can mRNA be transferred from one species to another, and if so by what mechanism

      Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:46 AM

    Ralph N………… Has a CLUE…………….. Wake up SHEEPLE……….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk3lj2zvdAw

    Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:51 AM

    u https://www.bitchute.com/video/FtSdUp9BJOhg/

    Poland wants a piece of Ukraine ?

    Reply
      Jan 24, 2023 24:29 AM

      Funny, not that Argentina and Brazil look for a common currency, funny is analysts can hardly believe it.

      These analysts need to open their eyes, the world is dropping the american dollar.

      Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:20 AM

    Since MY POST GOT PUT IN MODERATION………………..and I was Speaking to GARLAND….
    Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government. Its first three words – “We The People” – affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. The supremacy of the people through their elected representatives is recognized in Article I, which creates a Congress consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The positioning of Congress at the beginning of the Constitution affirms its status as the “First Branch” of the federal government.

    Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:22 AM

    I posted Garland’s commenting on the JAN 6 case….

    Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:07 AM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHM-SmffghQ

    Does t really surprise anyone that the Democrats WANTED POWER AT ANY PRICE ?

    Did you not believe 2000 mules ?
    Did you not notice all the reports of election fraud?
    Did you not notice it was always Democrats doing the fraud?
    Don’t you realize this is Communist playbook tactics.

    Reply
      Jan 24, 2023 24:50 AM

      THE BAR LAW……….at work………. there is only one law of the land………
      they are running the LAW OF THE SEA……

      Reply
    Jan 24, 2023 24:32 AM
    Jan 24, 2023 24:42 AM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9S-_QiM93E

    Oh, we understand okay!
    Some of the scum leadership of the GOP are corrupt and more interested in enriching themselves than doing what is best for the country.

    Reply
      Jan 24, 2023 24:49 AM

      Same old issue……… GOP……… is just as bad……….
      TWO HEADED SNAKE……..NEVER LEFT THE BUILDING……

      UNTIL…………. there is another PARTY…….things will remain the same….

      Reply

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