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Dispelling Myths Regarding the Use of Thimerosal in Vaccines

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By Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN
Executive Director
World Mercury Project
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Recently, entertainer John Oliver discussed vaccines on his weekly HBO program Last Week with John Oliver. In doing so, he exposed viewers to several inaccuracies about vaccine safety, including those regarding the use and toxicity of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. In developing his monologue, it appears that Mr. Oliver—like numerous news outlets who promote vaccines as universally safe and effective—relied solely on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which continues efforts to persuade the American public that injecting mercury into pregnant women and children with thimerosal-containing flu vaccines is safe.

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The talking points reviewed below were derived from a recently published article by CNN titled Thimerosal: Everything You Need To Know About This Vaccine Preservative.  These talking points are at best misleading, and at worse, patently false. The World Mercury Project has responded to each of the CNN/CDC talking points with factual information in our effort to educate consumers to avoid this completely unnecessary and dangerous neurotoxin.

CNN Statement: Thimerosal is best known as a preservative used in some vaccines to keep them from becoming contaminated. The preservative has gotten a lot of attention over the years, particularly since it was removed from childhood vaccines in 2001. Several studies have shown that the preservative is safe, but not everyone has been convinced. (Note, there is no link provided to support the statement that thimerosal is safe.)

WMP Fact:  Although thimerosal was slated for removal from childhood vaccines in 1999, the reformulation process took several years.  Products containing thimerosal were not recalled and the manufacturers were allowed to continue to distribute thimerosal containing vaccines well into 2001 that had a two year expiration date. In 2003 when all the residual stock of thimerosal containing vaccines was almost distributed, the CDC Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) made the new recommendation that all pregnant women, infants starting at six months of age and children receive flu vaccines annually.

This recommendation was contradictory to the fact that the prestigious Institute of Medicine made the recommendation in 2001 that pregnant women, infants and children NOT receive thimerosal preserved vaccines. At the time, the vast majority of flu vaccines contained thimerosal. The fetus is especially vulnerable to mercury exposure because it accumulates mercury at a higher rate than the mother.  This flu season approximately 48 million doses of flu vaccine containing thimerosal were distributed, leaving pregnant women, infants and children in the U.S. at risk of mercury exposure.

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 Here’s what you need to know about what it is (and what it isn’t).

CNN Statement: Thimerosal is the most widely used preservative in vials of vaccines used multiple times, a mercury-based organic compound that can prevent bacteria and fungus from growing.

WMP Fact:  While it is true that thimerosal is a widely used preservative, it is not necessarily an effective preservative. In 1975 the FDA convened a panel of experts to review the use of thimerosal as a preservative. The agency issued a report of the panel’s findings in the Federal Register where they concluded that “some mercury-containing preparations are not effective and others are not safe and effective” for antimicrobial use.

With respect to thimerosal in particular, the panel found evidence from 1950 which concluded that “thimerosal was no better than water in protecting mice from potential fatal streptococcal infections.” and “35.3 times more toxic for embryonic chick heart tissue than for Staphylococcus aureus.” The panel concluded that “thimerosal was not safe for OTC topical use and not effective as a topical antimicrobial because its bacteriostatic action can be reversed.”

Most of the literature reviewed addressed mercury’s lack of antibacterial properties. One study published in 1970 titled, “Three thousand years of mercury. A plea for abandonment of a dangerous, unproven therapy,” addressed mercury’s lack of effectiveness regarding anti-fungal properties.  

Why do vaccines need preservatives?

CNN Statement: Vaccine makers started using preservatives in the 1930s after they found that contamination could become a problem with multi-dose vaccines. Doctors learned that the hard way in 1928, when 12 children died after getting vaccinated for diphtheria. An investigation found that the multi-dose vaccine had been contaminated with living staphylococci. The children had been injected with the diphtheria vaccine and a staph infection.

WMP Fact: While it is true that preservatives are used to prevent bacterial contamination in multi-dose vials of vaccines, there is ample evidence provided by federal agencies and independent scientists that spans the last 80 years which documents that thimerosal is not an effective or safe vaccine preservative.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1948 titled “The bacteriostatic and bactericidal actions of some mercurial compounds on hemolytic streptococci,” the authors vigorously argued that thimerosal was ineffective as a “disinfectant, germicide and antiseptic.”  In the review of the literature in this paper, the authors cited eight studies from 1928, 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1944 all of which drew similar conclusions.

There are several recent reports of thimerosal’s failure as a preservative as well.  Clusters of disease from Group A streptococcus infections were traced back to multi-dose vials of diphtheria toxoid, pertussis, and tetanus toxoid (DPT) vaccine which were contaminated after being opened.  Additionally, in 2004, a Chiron plant that manufactured Fluvirin was forced to close because its vaccine was contaminated with Serratia marcescens. This vaccine used thimerosal as a preservative in its product. In this case and others, thimerosal failed to prevent bacterial growth which resulted in dangerous infections.

What happens to the preservative in your body?

CNN Statement: Your body easily eliminates the thimerosal. Unlike chemicals that might stay in your body for a long time, it is quickly removed from the blood and excreted in your waste. Thimerosal does not build up in your system like other mercury-based compounds can. (Note, this link takes you to the CDC website where this statement is repeated, but with no references or resources to support the claim)

WMP Fact:  This statement is patently false. Thimerosal does leave the blood stream faster than methylmercury, but that is because it more quickly moves into the tissue and organs in the body than methylmercury.  A 2005 study funded by the National Institutes of Health compared brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to injected ethylmercury (thimerosal) and equal amounts of ingested methylmercury. In this study, ethylmercury exposure resulted in twice as much inorganic mercury in the brains of the infant monkeys compared to those exposed to methylmercury. Specifically, the relative concentrations in monkeys with detectable levels of inorganic mercury were 16 ng/g in thimerosal-treated monkeys and 7 ng/g in the methylmercury-treated monkeys in which inorganic mercury levels were detectable.  Inorganic mercury was below detectable levels in 8 out of 17 of the methylmercury-treated monkeys. Inorganic mercury has an estimated half-life in the brain of 27 years. Exposures to mercury during these critical periods of development disrupt the growth and migration of neurons, with the potential to cause irreversible damage to the central nervous system.

Is it safe?

CNN StatementHundreds of studies have shown that it is extremely safe for humans. Several comprehensive reviews have shown there is no evidence of harm caused by low doses. (This links to the CDC website, but there is no data to support this claim on the site.) In animals, some studies have shown central nervous problems, coma and death, although the same has not been found in humans.

WMP Fact:  There are several reports of deaths in the medical literature from exposure to thimerosal.   In April of 2001 thimerosal was nominated by the FDA to be reviewed by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) due to the lack of toxicity and safety data. In the nomination, several cases of acute mercury poisoning from thimerosal-containing products were documented. These reports included the exposure to thimerosal from immune globulin (Matheson 1980) hepatitis B immune globulin (Lowell 1996), thimerosal ear irrigations in a children with tympanostomy tubes (Royhans 1994), thimerosal treatment of omphaloceles in infants (Fagan 1977), and a suicide attempt with thimerosal (Pfab 1996). These studies reported local necrosis, acute hemolysis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal tubular necrosis, and central nervous system injury including obtundation, coma, and death resulting from the exposures.

Are there any side effects?

CNN Statement: The most common side effect is a mild rash or redness at the injection site. There may also be a little swelling. All of these symptoms disappear quickly. On rare occasions, some people have had allergic reactions to the preservative.

WMP Fact:  What CNN fails to acknowledge are the thousands of families who have reported developmental regression of their children after exposure to thimerosal containing vaccines.  One such case was actually covered by CNN in 2007 when a child who received multiple thimerosal-containing vaccines regressed developmentally within 48 hours after receiving the vaccines and was later diagnosed with autism.

Do children get vaccines with thimerosal?

CNN Statement: All routinely recommended vaccines for children in the US are available in a thimerosal-free formulation or contain only a trace amount.

WMP Fact:  Flu vaccines are universally recommended for infants and children. Approximately 1/3 of all flu vaccines contain thimerosal.  According to the CDC, 48 million doses of flu vaccine manufactured this year contained thimerosal.  A trace amount is defined as being 1 microgram (mcg) or less.  Flu vaccines contain 25 mcg of mercury. According to EPA mercury exposure guidelines of 0.1 mcg per kilogram of body weight, a baby would need to weigh 550 lbs to be able to safely process the amount of mercury in a thimerosal containing flu vaccine. State and Federal guidelines require that any product that contains more than 0.2 milligrams per liter (200 PPB) of mercury must be disposed of as a hazardous waste. All flu vaccines preserved with mercury that are not used must be disposed of as hazardous waste because they contain 50,000 PPB mercury.

What makes it different from other mercury-based products?

CNN Statement: Thimerosal is an ethylmercury; the mercury that can be found in fish is a methylmercury. Though they are only one letter apart, the substances are different. Mercury is an element found in the Earth’s crust. We are all exposed to mercury as we live on the surface of the planet. It’s in our water, in our soil and in the air. Methylmercury is created when mercury comes into contact with some bacteria. Doctors warn pregnant women to avoid some fish because it can be contaminated with this form. Unlike ethylmercury, which can pass through your body quickly, methylmercury can linger and accumulate. If enough accumulates, it can be toxic.

In 1999, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee held a meeting to discuss the safety of thimerosal. Some who testified worried that babies were unable to eliminate the mercury from their systems. Follow-up studies of infants showed that they “excreted significant amounts of mercury in stool after thimerosal exposure,” meaning it was removed from the body quickly, compared with methylmercury.

WMP Fact: Evidence that ethylmercury quickly passes through the body is not supported by scientific research which documents that ethylmercury accumulates in the kidneys and brain tissue. Although infants have been found to excrete some mercury in their stool after exposure to thimerosal containing vaccines, the amount excreted does not account for the amount injected. Michael Pichichero, a pediatrician, measured mercury concentrations in stool of 22 normal infants exposed to thimerosal in vaccines, ages two and six months, and found a range of 23-141 nanograms of mercury per gram of stool (dry weight). The authors interpreted these levels, mere parts per billion, as positive evidence of mercury elimination. But these mercury levels are extremely low and not nearly enough to allow for rapid excretion as the authors propose.

One of the few researchers who studies the effects of ethylmercury is Thomas Burbacher, PhD, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and director of the infant primate research lab at the National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle. Burbacher says that just because ethylmercury is gone from an infant’s blood soon after it receives a dose of thimerosal — a half-life of just 3.7 days in the Pichichero study — doesn’t mean it’s gone from the body. “It could have gone to the brain,” Burbacher tells WebMD. “Although total mercury levels in the blood are lower following thimerosal exposure [than following methyl mercury exposure], mercury in the blood from thimerosal has an easier time getting to the brain than methylmercury.”

If it is safe, why was it removed from kids’ shots?

CNN Statement: Based on the recommended childhood vaccination schedule, there was concern that some babies could be exposed to a higher cumulative level of mercury in the first six months of life from these shots. At the time, babies got diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type b and hepatitis B shots. If an infant got all three, the accumulation went beyond the EPA guidelines for methylmercury.

WMP Fact: This is actually a factual statement.  WMP would like to add that the amount that infants received from thimerosal containing vaccines was far in excess of EPA guidelines.  An average 5 KG infant at 2 months of age could receive 62.5 mcg of mercury from vaccines.  According to EPA guidelines the allowable exposure levels would be .5 mcg.  Infants were routinely exposure to 125 times EPA allowable guidelines based on weight.

A study published in Pediatrics in 2000 measured blood mercury levels in newborns administered the Hepatitis B vaccine, containing 12.5 mcg of ethyl mercury.  The investigation documented elevated post-immunization concentrations relative to pre-immunization levels in all neonates studied.  One infant was found to have developed a mercury level of 23.6 mcg/L, thus meeting the CDC criteria as a case of chemical poisoning from mercury.

Experts contend that there are “windows of vulnerability” which occur during neurological development and that specific types of developmental outcomes may have separate windows of vulnerability.  These critical periods of development have not been established and may be relatively short in duration. The fact that thimerosal from vaccines has been documented to raise blood mercury levels over known thresholds where developmental effects have been documented to occur during the first few months of life means that particular “windows of vulnerability” may have been breached.  Even minor neurological impairment can have profound societal effects when amortized across the entire population and life span.

For more information regarding the use of mercury in vaccines see click here.

For more information about the use of thimerosal in vaccines see World Mercury Projects FAQ

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

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Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

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Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

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 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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