Addressing Safety Concerns About mRNA Vaccines – Dr Musa Mohd Nordin

To say that safety is far more important than efficacy of the vaccine is simplistic thinking, missing the true understanding of the science of vaccinology.

My name is Dr Musa Mohd Nordin. I am a paediatrician. I am a life member of the Malaysian Paediatric Association, which is a founding member of Immunise4Life. In short, we are advocates for immunisation from womb to tomb.

Many of my friends forwarded to me your media statement. I am sure the authorities will address your concerns. I am merely undertaking a citizen’s duty to do my little part to provide information on the issues raised.

It has been a terribly busy time and I apologise if I can only respond to them in a piecemeal fashion. I will begin with the first two concerns. The answers follow your questions.

1. Members of the public have the right to know about the risk and safety aspects of Covid-19 vaccines. Based on the latest news reports and after consulting some experts, we believe that we have not been told the Full story on the safety aspects of the mRNA vaccines, especially the ultra-sensitive and highly unstable mRNA vaccine developed by the US-based MNC biotech firm Pfizer, which would require refrigeration of minus 70 degrees to 80 degrees Celsius.

There is a lot of literature in the public domain. Many who have made similar complaints on social media have not bothered to do their homework and read the voluminous reading material available. In fact, the FDA did their deliberations online and everyone can access and ask questions.

Unfortunately, most are not interested in real serious discussion and prefer to be fed with fake news, misinformation and conspiracy theories. I will attach the evidence here, here and here. These are the three large trials by researchers who studied the three vaccines licences under (EUA) Emergency Use Authorisation (Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and the US National Institute of Health and AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford) for about a total of 100,00 volunteers.

2. Non-disclosure of all relevant facts on safety aspects is worse than spreading false news. Diverting attention, covering up the safety aspects of the mRNA vaccine, and only giving selective information or playing down on the serious adverse events (including deaths) caused by the vaccine is unethical and even criminal. If the vaccine concerned was to cause serious side effects later on, who will be held responsible, since the vaccine producer would likely be given social immunity here?

If you have read the three scientific papers, then you will get most of your answers. If you have read the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine dossiers submitted to the FDA for EUA, all the relevant facts which you seek are answered. To even suggest spreading false news is an admission of total ignorance of the bare facts that is in the public domain.

To allege unethical practice and criminal intent is not part of a healthy discourse and engagement of minds to seek solutions. Kindly peruse the FDA Briefing Documents on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and if you still have enquiries, we can have a conversation.

3. We must learn from the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia scandal in the Philippines in 2016, which was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), where more than 130 children died after being vaccinated. The case is being investigated for criminal negligence and possibly, greed and corruption as well. Twenty government officials and medical experts have so far been indicted in the Philippines in 2019 for homicide charges related to the rushed approval process and for carrying out the vaccination in “undue haste”.

The dengue vaccine issue in the Philippines is totally mired in national politics. Being a scientist, I am not in the least interested to dwell on this subject, whether political, legal, or criminal. I will stick to the science and move on.

4. Safety is far more important than efficacy. It is meaningless having a 100 per cent effective vaccine today but later report serious side effects, including deaths. Unlike medicine, a vaccine is given to healthy people including children so the threshold for safety is very high. Also, unlike medicine or a drug, a vaccine tends to stay in our body for a long time, even forever. So the propensity for a new and unverified vaccine to cause harm is great.

To say that safety is far more important than efficacy of the vaccine is simplistic thinking, missing the true understanding of the science of vaccinology.

This science has come a long way since the first smallpox vaccine was discovered in 1796. Just to illustrate the criticality of vaccine efficacy (VE), it is this very property that led to the eradication of smallpox in 1980. A safe vaccine with no significant efficacy would not have achieved this outstanding public health achievement.

Scientists are unanimous in their conviction that that any candidate vaccine must be rigorously investigated in double blind placebo controlled, randomized control trials with many thousand of volunteers for at least 2 months to uncover more than 90% of the major side effects. This criteria has been met by the 3 candidate vaccines which involved at least 100,000 volunteers. These numbers are much more than previous trials with the PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) and HPV (Human Papilloma Vaccine) vaccine which recruited 52,000 and 27,000 volunteers respectively and where there were no major AEFIs (Adverse Effects Following Immunisations).

Even the most severe AEFIs presented within the first 30 minutes of the administration of the vaccines, and not three or 30 years later as some you may be led to think.

Similarly, there were no significant major AEFIs in all 3 vaccines. In the Pfizer Trial the major AEFI was 1% in both the placebo and the vaccine arms of the trial.

And these are the anaphylactic reactions. With Pfizer, the incidence was 11 per one million and 2.5 per one million with the Moderna vaccine.

You may be horrified by these numbers but let me put these figures in perspective. Since the data collection in the US by the CDC is complete and transparent, I think it is best for me to refer to their data. I would have loved to illustrate with our national data but I am afraid not much is available in the public domain to speak of.

You will be more useful as an agent of change if you can convince the MOH and the National Security Council (NSC) to be more forthcoming with our Covid-19 national data.

  • Risk of dying with COVID-19 in the US = 1 in 780
  • Risk of Moderna anaphylaxis in the US = 1 in 400,000
  • Risk of Pfizer anaphylaxis in the US = 1 in 91,000

So the risk of dying of Covid-19 in the US is 513 and 117 times higher than the risk of anaphylaxis with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine respectively.

This is what we call risk benefit analysis. We all have to make choices in life. And hopefully our choices are informed choices, based on good science, and not misinformation and conspiracy theories.

5. Even the 95 per cent efficacy claimed by the US-based mRNA vaccine producers (Pfizer and Moderna) has been challenged by a world-renowned scientist, Peter Doshi, Associate Editor of highly respected British Medical Journal in an article dated 4 January, 2021. Much of the efficacy claims would depend on the criteria and protocol used during the clinical trials which may vary from one vaccine developer to another.

It is wrong to dispute the recommendations of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). The VRBPAC is the expert committee that reviews all vaccines before making a recommendation to the FDA for approval or non-approval. It is made up of experts in vaccines, public health, and statistics.

There are around 30 individuals on the committee including one vaccine industry expert (a clinical physician-scientist, not some highly-paid executive) and one consumer representative, in this case, a respected attorney who concentrates on health care issues.

These are scientific experts with sound educational and research backgrounds. Why does Doshi think he’s smarter than these experts? If the Covid-19 pandemic weren’t so dangerous, I would laugh at Doshi for being another one of those anti-Covid-19 vaccine grifters.

Dr Anthony Fauci, probably the world’s leading expert on infectious diseases, has spent nearly 50 years studying medicine, immunology, infectious diseases, and public health. He has published over 300 articles on diseases.

He endorses the 95 per cent effectiveness level, although he has shared the same concerns about the length of time of the studies as many of us have. He has spent hours and days pouring over the data from both clinical trials (and I know he has done the same with several other clinical trials).

Dr Fauci and members of VRBPAC are real authorities in science, not fraudulent ones like Doshi. They are authorities not only as a result of their academic degrees and years of research into vaccines but also as a result of relying upon unbiased and independent research over the years.

None of these real vaccine experts noted the unsupported complaints that Doshi listed in his non-peer-reviewed blog article.

If Doshi’s critiques were valid, then these experts would have been all over it, even now. But his critiques are invalid, which means it could lead to lower Covid-19 vaccine uptakes if people accept what he has claimed. And that will lead to more deaths. The science does not support Doshi.

I have attached the full rebuttal of Peter Doshi here. And I have attached another critique refuting Peter Doshi’s claims doubting the trustworthiness and meaningfulness of Covid-19 vaccines here.

The questions were raised in a statement by Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (Muslim Consumer Organisation Malaysia), Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaaan (PATRIOT), Covid Research Centre, Think Tank Unit and Asian Heritage Museum (AHM) Group.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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