Talk of another vaccine; rumors of masks and closures

Talk of another vaccine; rumors of masks and closures

Talk of another vaccine; rumors of masks and closures

President Joe Biden will ask Congress for money for a new COVID vaccine, but a doctor and retired medical professor says the chief executive is wasting his time – and not because Republicans control the U.S. House and the federal purse strings.

ABC News reports that data from the Centers for Disease Control shows the COVID subvariants running through the public right now are the cousins of XBB, a form of the omicron variant. But cases attributed to the new variant are on the decline and should be even fewer by the time a new vaccine is available, Dr. Andrew Bostom said.

"The vaccine that's about to come out in a couple of weeks is targeting the XBB 1.5 variant, which at the time the vaccine was approved might have been predominant. But a couple of weeks ago, it only accounted for less than 5% of the current infections; and by the time the vaccine is actually rolled out, it'll probably be down to 0%," Bostom said on Washington Watch Wednesday.

Biden told reporters he will encourage all Americans to get a booster shot for XBB 1.5 this fall to guard against a new wave of infections.

Bostom, Dr. Andrew Bostom

"We're just chasing our tails with this," Bostom told show host Jody Hice.

The CDC reports it is seeing an increase in infections and hospital admissions, but that overall levels remain low, Reuters reported. Bostom argues many of these numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt.

"We're heading into the fall of flu season. We're seeing a slight uptick. There's no stress on the system whatsoever. We have this huge pool of people who've been infected multiple times, which confers the most robust and enduring and flexible immunity. Frankly, I think it's much ado about nothing," Bostom expressed.

Biden promises vaccine 'that works'

In his announcement, Biden told reporters the coming vaccine will be one "that works." Bostom is skeptical.

"Both influenza and COVID are really risk-stratified. They target the frail, particularly the frail elderly. If you're going to apply it at all, it should be to a niche group that's at the highest possible risk – and broad recommendations are really absurd," Bostom said.

The problem, he explained, is simply the nature of mRNA vaccines, such as those used against the flu and COVID. The mRNA vaccines teach the body's cells to produce a protein that generates an immune response once the body is infected, infectious disease specialist Tobias Hohl wrote in 2021.

"You can fault if you want the manufacturers, the government, but it's just the nature of mRNA vaccines. They mutate wildly," Bostrom said. "We have almost a half century of data on the flu vaccine. It's very ineffective and certainly doesn't confer sterilized immunity where you get immunized, and you won't transmit to other people. It's not particularly effective at preventing hospitalizations or deaths."

"We know all this, and yet we keep pushing."

And what about more mask mandates?

Much was learned about mask mandates from the pandemic. A study out of South Korea found that masks are a breeding ground for what are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – chemicals that can vaporize into the air.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel says according to that study, even the best masks allow more than eight times the recommended limit of VOCs. "Not only are the masks not effective but they're clearly not healthy – including the medical grade N95 mask," he tells AFN.

Staver says to many people, masks – regardless how ineffective – have become more than a precaution: they've become a political identity, especially among liberals.

Staver, Mat (Liberty Counsel) Staver

"The biggest issue that I'm concerned about is the younger people – and specifically, the youth who seem to wear these. I think unfortunately their psyches have been damaged because of all the fear that they have received," he opines.

Staver and Liberty Counsel were among the most active legal firms fighting mandates and closures during the pandemic, including two victories at the U.S. Supreme Court. But he contends the lessons of the pandemic seem to have been lost on those in charge.

"What we should have learned is the rule of law; what we should have learned is individual freedom and respecting people's freedom," the attorney states. "But there are certain people in the government institutions – state, federal, and international – who really think they found the key to control people."

The good news, he concludes, is that if mandates and closures reappear, the public won't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to resisting them.

"We've developed a lot of precedent that will literally streamline this process if we get these out-of-control governments or employers," says Staver.