Discover more from Dystopian Down Under
Emerging evidence of Long Vax syndrome highlights harms of medical misinformation
Experts told you Covid vaccine side effects were already known. That was a whopper of a lie burger.
In August 2021, ABC released a Covid vaccine campaign video called ‘Vax Facts!’.
In the video, TV doctor Norman Swan told Australians that when it came to Covid vaccines, “We know what their side effects are already. There are no surprises around the corner.”
Imagine my disbelief at hearing a verified Expert say such a scientifically unsupportable statement on a platform that I had hitherto regarded as trustworthy, at least on matters of life, death, and injury.
(click below to watch 45 seconds of WTAF)
Dr Swan’s claim was impossible to make at the time that he made it.
The Covid vaccines were administered to billions of people well before the trials were complete. Phase 3 of the trials, the stage at which safety is tested for the first time at scale and over a period of several years, ran concurrently with the rollout, making the mass vaccination campaign unavoidably experimental. Some side effects were known, but others remained to be discovered.
Moreover, by the time the vaccines were rolled out, the pharma companies had also begun unblinding their trials (ie: giving the vaccines to the control group), so we will never actually have a proper picture of mid- and long term side effects from the randomised control trials (RCTs), as we do for other medicines.
Despite this, Dr Swan assured ABC’s viewers that there were no surprises around the corner.
But there were nasty surprises around the corner, and there continue to be.
Yesterday, vaccine injured Expert, Dr Kerryn Phelps, tweeted, “Seems cardiologists and neurologists are seeing enough patients with these #LongVax symptoms to recognise patterns of #neuropathy & #dysautonomia”
In the tweet, Dr Phelps, previous President of the Australian Medical Association and current member of the OzSAGE Covid working group, linked to a Science article titled, Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance.
The article synthesises studies and clinical data from practicing physicians and specialists suggesting that Covid vaccines may be associated with a range of conditions and symptoms overlapping with Long Covid, which they collectively label ‘Long Vax’.
From the article,
“You see one or two patients and you wonder if it’s a coincidence,” says Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist and researcher at Harvard Medical School. “But by the time you’ve seen 10, 20,” she continues, trailing off. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
“I’m persuaded that there’s something going on” with these side effects, [cardiologist Harlan Krumholz] says. “It’s my obligation, if I truly am a scientist, to have an open mind and learn if there’s something that can be done.”
“Even last year I was a little bit cautious” about the link between POTS and vaccination, says Tae Chung, a neuromuscular physiatrist who runs the POTS clinic at Johns Hopkins University. “I didn’t have quantitative data to back it up, but now I feel like I do.”
In other words, there is still so much we don’t know about how these vaccines affect people, and there is still much research to be done. What we do know is that new and grave potential side effects are being discovered all the time, as evidenced by the numerous updates to the internationally recognised and WHO-endorsed Brighton Collaboration list of Covid vaccine serious adverse events.
None of this should surprise anyone, except perhaps the ABC Vax Facts! crew and their audience (those who are still tuning in - the broadcaster’s radio ratings are in decline).
In Dr Kerryn Phelp’s case, she found out the hard way about the nasty surprise side effects hidden around the corner.
Dr Phelps said that, “In asking about adverse side effects, we were told that ‘the worst thing that could happen would be anaphylaxis’ and that severe reactions such as myocarditis and pericarditis were ‘rare’.”
In a stroke of terrible luck, both Dr Phelps and her wife, Jackie Stricker-Phelps, were injured by their Covid vaccinations, each with a constellation of ‘rare’ symptoms including neurological symptoms and musculoskeletal inflammation (Stricker-Phelps), and dysautonomia and cardiovascular problems (Dr Phelps).
Dr Phelps was one of the first establishment Experts to speak out about Covid vaccine injuries, in December 2022, though she has been criticised for waiting so long to do so - her diagnosis of vaccine injury was made in July 2021.
None of Dr Phelps or Stricker-Phelps’s injuries were widely known of at the time. It has taken several years of peer reviewed research and pooled clinical data to develop a better understanding of these sorts of Covid vaccine side effects.
This brings us to the misinformation rub.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is concerned about the potential harms of mis- and disinformation online, including harm to the health of Australians.
ACMA is so concerned that it is jockeying for new powers to crack down on misinformation, in proposed new legislation. I’m working on a piece solely dedicated to covering this legislation, however a relevant takeway for this post is that, while content posted by the plebs would be subject to ACMA’s proposed legislation, content posted by the government (and the government’s approved media and educational institutions) is excluded.
That is to say, mis- and disinformation disseminated by official sources will not be subject to laws intended to stamp out mis- and disinformation online.
It's not possible to parse out how many people were harmed due to medical misinformation propagated by the ABC. There are too many other factors at play - medical censorship, probable pharma fraud, and the fact that medical misinformation was disseminated from most official government and news sources throughout the pandemic.
However, it’s possible that celebrity Experts like Dr Norman Swan and his Vax Facts! co-stars played a role in harms caused by the misinformation that they espoused.
Research out of Canberra University found that while Covid and vaccine related information from traditional news sources and government was met with skepticism during the pandemic, Australians placed high trust in doctors, scientists and health experts. When Dr Swan assured ABC’s audience that there were no surprises around the corner, it’s likely that many watching believed him.
To date, I don’t believe that either the ABC or Dr Norman Swan have apologised for this high-profile instance of spreading harmful misinformation. If anything, they may at some point ‘Gaslight 2.0: Admit without apology’, as the ABC did when they were required by the emergence of unequivocal evidence to admit that their ‘Fact Checker’ claims that Covid vaccines don’t affect menstrual cycles were total bunk.
Dystopian Down Under is a reader-supported publication. Consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Other clangers from the Vax Facts! campaign video:
”These vaccines have been through the same rigorous tests as all the other vaccines.” - Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
(Except that they were only provisionally approved at the time, because they had not even completed RCT Phases 1-3. )
“The best vaccine for you is the one that is available to you.” - Dr Preeya Alexander
(Unless you’re a young male, in which case Moderna might ruin your heart. Also those between 50-59 year old age group should avoid Astra Zeneca. And if you have a rare disorder like antiphospholipid syndrome, you have a higher risk of death or severe injury. But you know, otherwise, just go for it!)
Igor Chudov has dedicated a whole Substack post to the Science article discussed in this post above. He argues a similar case to mine in Gaslight 2.0: Admit without apology, i.e.: that oftentimes, when vaccine side effects are eventually acknowledged, they are minimised, and the injured are gaslit.