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Taiwan should not risk booster shots over Omicron variant

(Pixabay image)

(Pixabay image)

Is the Omicron variant of COVID-19 truly so menacing? Or is this just part of the terrorizing thriller series, co-starring multinational vaccine corporations and the “booster”-selling politicians?

Omicron, what a convenient little tool! It is easily used to short sell stocks. All interested politicians around the world can use it to legitimize and perpetuate their pandemic fascism with more scary stories.

The regimes in crisis especially like to tell ghost stories in which Omicron is the supreme monster. The best part is that the villains are also the saviors. Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平), for example, could hardly wait to have it announced that he will donate 1 billion doses of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.

In retrospect, the Delta variant was overhyped in the previous wave of outbreaks. Although the existing vaccines may not be able to prevent all infections, full vaccination seems to be effective in reducing the severity of the symptoms.

One simply needs to pay attention to see that, in the past 24 months, the global COVID mortality rate has nosedived from nearly 10% to just 1.99%. In reality, the shrinking number of severe cases nowadays no longer strains medical resources.

And though the Omicron virus features many spike protein mutations, this does not mean it is a diabolical threat.

While telling their scary stories, the vaccine companies and the politicians promoting vaccine boosters continue to reassure people that the existing vaccines are still effective, stating that we still have time to observe for two weeks or so. How can they be so nonchalant while crying wolf?

Even more interestingly, one vaccine company couldn’t wait to announce that it has the ability to finish developing a new vaccine against the Omicron variant within 100 days. If that is the case, what is so scary about Omicron? It doesn’t seem to live up to its reputation, does it?

From a different perspective, whenever a new vaccine is developed, it takes time for clinical trials to prove that it is safe and effective. It took the existing Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) vaccine around nine months to get emergency use authorization (EUA).

Most outbreaks of COVID-19 peaked three or fourth months after the onset, including in the birthplace of the Delta variant, India. If Omicron is more infectious, the duration of the wave should be shorter.

By the time the new vaccine receives its EUA, the Omicron outbreak may have already subsided. Then what is the point of the new vaccine? If the administration prematurely grants the EUA to a new vaccine without stringent evaluation to save time, how many people would be willing to be vaccinated?

It is funny that some have claimed that Omicron has an Ro number of 50, meaning that one Omicron patient can infect 50 other people. As the actual numbers do not substantiate such misinformation, they are forced to admit that 50 was exaggerated.

The Taiwanese government’s initial responses were “The 7+7 quarantine policy has its risks, but it is acceptable,” and “Other countries still have their borders closed.” These have no meaning.

At the same time, though, officials announced they will be launching a booster shot campaign. Meanwhile, the clueless media supported the legitimacy of booster shots via rigged international reports before they are confirmed to be necessary.

It is immoral and inappropriate to take advantage of the internationally over-hyped Omicron variant to promote booster shots.

Booster vaccines certainly can reignite an immune response months after previous inoculations. Nevertheless, we also need to consider the potentially detrimental consequences of excessive vaccination.

Many international experts have published studies in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, indicating that the current two-dose vaccination strategy is still effective at preventing severe cases and deaths. Therefore, there is no need for the general population to receive a third jab.

The authors of the article include former Director Marion Gruber and former Deputy Director Phil Krause of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Vaccines Research and Review, as well as many scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Drs. Gruber and Krause were in charge of the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review for decades, but their article in The Lancet was not published using their titles in the FDA.

According to The New York Times, they disagreed with the Biden administration's push for the booster vaccines before the scientists of the federal government had the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate all evidence and make their recommendations. This conflict led to their decision to step down this fall.

Therefore, Taiwan should not haphazardly follow the booster shot policy advocated by the Biden administration and its Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The article, published on Sept. 13, 2021, emphasized that due to “lack of scientific evidence supporting booster shots,” the premature administration of a third dose of a COVID vaccine may increase the risk for myocarditis and Gillian-Barré syndrome. The latter is an acute polyneuritis that may be related to the adenovirus vector of the vaccines.

The mechanism can be a rare autoimmune disorder. After receiving the vaccine, an error in the immune response causes the immune system to switch the target: instead of the real viral culprit, the system mistakenly attacks the nervous system.

The ultimate goal of medical care is “enough is enough.” Overwhelming the system causes side effects.

A common reminder we frequently hear is "Vitamins are good for our health, but too many fat-soluble vitamins may be harmful." Likewise, more vaccinations are not always better. Overvaccination may have serious consequences.

The Taiwan Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) must explain even more carefully why Taiwan must administer booster shots when its border restrictions are already stricter than many others countries'. With so many mutations, can the same old vaccines labeled as booster shots truly tame the dreaded Omicron? Is this something to benefit the vaccine companies?

If Taiwan intends to push for booster shots, the administration must make clear whether people who have received the shots can enter and leave the country without having to quarantine. Otherwise, if the “14+7” or “7+7+7” quarantine policy persists, why should one risk the side effects (even death) to get another jab?

All good things must come to an end. The COVID-19 pandemic is gradually waning. It has allowed several “COVID industries” to prosper. They certainly would like to keep the groove.

Some politicians around the world have also enjoyed their gains for a while. Would they want to fold when the going is good

Can it be that the buzz around Omicron is just a sideshow? Could Omicron be another opportunity for them to make it big?

Science and politics do not mix. Sadly, once politically involved, many people with medical backgrounds trample on the science they learned in their career and begin emulating the politicians. The effect of this is more troubling than the virus variants.

Yang Sen-Hong earned his MPH at UC Berkeley. Shih Hue-Teh earned his MPH at Harvard School of Public Health.