I don’t normally watch TVNZ’s Seven Sharp, but on 5th October 2021 we were told that an immunologist would be on the programme to debunk certain ‘Covid myths’.
One such ‘myth’ was the belief that natural immunity is superior to vaccine-induced immunity. In response, clinical immunologist Dr. Maia Brewerton said that natural immunity to Covid-19 is not as good as the vaccine.
No evidence was given. Just an assertion.
As an ex-science teacher, I found Dr Brewerton’s statement to be unsatisfactory, for the following simple reason: the vaccine can only generate antibodies to a single viral antigen (the ‘spike’ protein), whereas the whole virus particle reportedly contains 29 proteins, which can therefore evoke the production of a correspondingly greater diversity of antibodies.
So, if the part of the viral RNA that codes for the spike protein RNA undergoes a mutation, the vaccine-induced antibody may be unable to bind to the mutant antigen, but with natural immunity there will a range of ‘back-up’ antibodies that can bind to the other proteins of the virus.
I wrote to Dr. Brewerton to make this point, asking her if she could provide evidence for her Seven Sharp statement.
I received no reply.
This was particularly disappointing because we had repeatedly been urged by the authorities to ‘accept the science’.
One might think that such a single experience may not be particularly significant; Dr. Brewerton might be snowed under with work. But soon after Dr. Brewerton’s appearance, Stuff invited readers to submit questions on Covid, so I sent a similar question to the one I had asked of Dr. Brewerton.
Again, I received no reply.
I was beginning to sense that the authorities might not be too keen to take their own advice to ‘go with the science’, since the very essence of science is examination and questioning of evidence.
This feeling was solidified in August 2022, when I came across a paper co-authored by Professor Michael Baker, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago, who has been one of chief advocates for the wearing of masks during Covid-19. The paper was titled “The Covid-19 experience in Aotearoa New Zealand and other comparable high-income jurisdictions and implications for managing the next pandemic phase”.
In the article I could find no evidence supporting the efficacy of masks in the Covid-19 ‘pandemic’, so I wrote to Prof. Baker, saying that I had looked for, but had failed to find, any research evidence supporting the efficacy of mask wearing and hoped that he might be able to provide it.
Again, I received no reply.
An essential element in science is the challenging of established ideas in robust, untrammelled debate, in an environment that encourages questioning. Without such openness, science can be misused by powerful interests as a means of disguising misinformation as information….