Wall Street Journal editorial board member Allysia Finley has taken a flamethrower to vaccine makers over their “deceptive” campaign for bivalent Covid boosters, and slams several federal agencies for taking “the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.”
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. -WSJ
The narrative behind the campaign was simple; mRNA Covid shots could simply be ‘tweaked’ to to target new variants – in this case, the jabs were claimed to confer protection against BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, along with the original Wuhan strain.
To call this wishful thinking would be extremely generous.
As Finley writes, three scientific problems have arisen.
- The virus is mutating much faster than vaccines can be updated.
- 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.”
- Antibody protection wanes after just a few months.
Finley has brought receipts too…
“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. -WSJ”
Here’s what happened
For those who took (or were forced to take) the original vaccine, our memory B-cells were trained to produce antibodies against the original Wuhan strain. And as a New England Journal of Medicine article notes, people who have taken said original vaccine were “primed” to respond to the Wuhan strain, and ‘mounted an inferior antibody response to other variants.’
The studies directly contradict marketing information from Pfizer and Moderna, which asserted that the bivalent boosters produced a response to the new strains (BA.4 and BA.5) that’s 4-6x that of the original boosters – which the WSJ says is “misleading.”
For starters, neither Pfizer or Moderna conducted a randomized trial.
They tested the original boosters last winter, long before the BA.5 surge and 4½ to 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. -WSJ
Here’s the moneyshot: “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.”