Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.
Dr. Ron Brown – Opinion Editorial
July 17, 2021
Proposed U.S. government censorship of vaccine misinformation, in partnership with Facebook, was announced during a recent White House press conference. White House wants Facebook to censor posts containing ‘COVID-19 misinformation’ | LiveNOW from FOX – YouTube. As people point fingers and accuse each other of censorship and misinformation, I hope to avoid further spreading vaccine misinformation about the White House spreading vaccine misinformation about the public spreading vaccine misinformation. So let’s straighten out this mess by first defining vaccine misinformation. The word truth comes to mind. As long as vaccine information is truthful, it is not misinformation. Furthermore, the whole truth must not leave out information in a way that misleads one to draw untruthful conclusions.
For example, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have a vaccine efficacy, or relative risk reduction, of approximately 95%. But the whole truth is that the mRNA vaccines also have a much lower absolute risk reduction of approximately 1%, which is more meaningful for clinical and public health purposes. Medicina | Free Full-Text | Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials (mdpi.com).
Most COVID-19 cases also occur in unvaccinated people. But the whole truth is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer counts cases in vaccinated people unless they are hospitalized or die, potentially undercounting millions of breakthrough infections in people receiving mRNA vaccines with practically no clinical efficacy. CDC’s biased undercount of COVID-19 breakthrough infections (trialsitenews.com). The whole truth also includes the fact that lower socioeconomic groups, having higher susceptibility to COVID-19 before vaccine availability, also have more vaccine hesitancy. AP analysis doesn’t prove COVID-19 vaccines prevent deaths (trialsitenews.com).
Let’s apply the whole truth about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to the recent White House press conference, in which the spokesperson claimed that the vaccines save lives. Where is the clinical evidence proving this claim? The only causative proof we have of vaccine efficacy are the clinical trials, which demonstrated that vaccine groups had fewer infections with mild symptoms than unvaccinated groups. Death is hardly a mild symptom, and no conclusive estimates of death risk can be drawn from these trials.
Nevertheless, White House misinformation that the COVID-19 vaccines save lives threatens to trample the public’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech by censoring social media. After all, what good are First Amendment rights if you die from COVID-19 because you were convinced by someone’s Facebook blog to forego vaccination? In a statement that carefully avoided mention of misinformation censorship, Facebook boasted that it also saved lives by posting “authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines,” Facebook pushes back against White House criticism, says it’s ‘looking for scapegoats’ | TheHill,
The problem, of course, is that arguments to save lives by censoring misinformation are awash with their own misinformation. Where is the proof that people are dying because they declined vaccination after reading Aunt Millie’s rant against vaccines, posted along with her favorite meatloaf recipes on her homepage? No matter, according to proposed government policy, Aunt Millie must be censored from social media!