Time for Trudeau to come back to Earth?

Oh geez, we bought all the stuff, we gotta use it. Also, it looks good on us to have as many shots in arms as possible. Canada is behind the rest of the world. We need to catch up. Who gives a damn if people die?”

That’s a cynical take on how the Trudeau government is handling the pandemic. Or rather, it is a cynical take on Trudeau’s lousy mismanagement of the pandemic.

Canada is well behind other ‘developed’ countries in terms of the percentage of the population vaccinated with the top vaccines. Seems Mr. Trudeau’s general game plan of kowtowing to world leaders while ignoring problems at home didn’t work very well. Some might say it backfired.

When push comes to shove, pleasantries exchanged at international cocktail parties don’t mean a damn. Maybe this is something The Little Prince Mr. Trudeau needs to learn.

Money talks. Power talks. Military talks.

So instead of dancing with world leaders, Mr. Trudeau would do better to implement policies that make Canada a stronger nation. That’s how you get results.

Misleading information, ridiculous lack of transparency

Concerning the vaccines themselves, many Canadians are upset, and rightly so, about the federal government’s quixotic leadership and crummy results.

Myself, as someone who studied clinical psychology at York and Trent universities in Ontario, I find the lack of transparency troubling.

A psychologist learns about scientific studies—their strengths and weaknesses.

We often hear about the alleged strengths, usually expressed in the degree of effectiveness. For example, this vaccine is 94% effective. That one is 60% effective.

But we need to hear a lot more.

What is the sample size? That is, how many people were actually tested out in the trials?

Next, we need to know the constitution of that sample. In other words, what kinds of people were tested? This includes age groups, gender, ethnicity/ancestry, SES, health and illness factors, medications taken. The list goes on.

Further, we need to hear about confounding variables. These are variables that could confuse the interpretation of results (And don’t forget that results are always interpreted).

What are confounding variables?

Say, for instance, you feel warm in your room. You assume the electric space heater is turned up too high. So you go and notice that your space heater is actually unplugged.

So you need to discover the real cause of the rise in temperature. Is it your gas furnace? You check that. It’s at the right level and seems to be working fine.

Hmm. Something else is making the room feel warm, you realize. Then you look out the window (your blind was down with a light curtain covering that) and see all sorts of people outside. It’s an unusually warm, sunny day, and the sun’s energy coming through your blind was heating up your room.

So you conclude that the unusually warm, sunny day was the cause of your unusually warm room. It wasn’t the space heater nor the gas furnace.

The same kind of investigative work needs to be done with vaccine trials.

What causes negative, dangerous, and perhaps lethal effects (sometimes euphemistically called side effects)? What precise conditions – like medications or existing medical conditions – might contribute to an unwanted effect or perhaps even death?

Usually, the answers are not clear. That’s why both sample size and sample diversity are important. The larger and more diverse the sample, the more representative it is of the greater population.

It’s not too complicated.

But the government and the media have been treating us like little children.

We are supposed to trust without hearing any real data.

Well, it’s our bodies and our lives, and we all deserve better.

Much better.

On this point I cite another article, freely open to the public:

Eyes on deck

The covid-19 vaccine protocols should be scrutinised by the widest possible readership, to open a critical discussion of many questions about their design and conduct. These include why children, immunocompromised people, and pregnant women have been excluded from most trials; whether the right primary endpoint has been chosen; whether safety is being adequately evaluated; and whether gaps in our understanding of the clinical implications of pre-existing T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 are being addressed.11

We still have time to advocate for changes to ensure these trials investigate the questions that most need answers. While the notion of โ€œmoving the goalpostsโ€ during ongoing trials may raise concerns, meaningful, scientifically valid, transparently reported amendments to protocols that are made to improve the value of trial results should always be welcomed.

Critical appraisal of clinical evidence traditionally occurs after the publication of studies, and generally finds much to criticise. Early release of full trial protocols offers a historic opportunity for the democratisation of science. The covid-19 vaccine trials may not have been designed with our input, but it is not too late to have our say and adjust their course. With stakes this high, we need all eyes on deck.

Source: Covid-19 vaccine trial protocols released >> https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4058