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Ministerial phlebotomy: Evasion of the bleeding obvious

Ministerial phlebotomy: Evasion of the bleeding obvious. Oh no, now we are being told how to think about it – doing the hokey-pokey!

Political leaders, chief medical officers and journalists who think that they can defend the position of giving the same vaccine safely to everyone, regardless of the evidence emerging that people with certain blood clotting disorders (and possible heart conditions, other blood and circulatory disorders and treatment regime interactions) or unknown genetic predispositions by comparing the risk of death in road traffic accidents or contracting COVID-19, need to go back to school and learn about basic human bioethics, if not the process of scientific inquiry itself.

And as for sermonising desperate marketplace or ‘legal eagle’ politicians like Morrison and Hunt, they should just keep their ministerial phlebotomy and mouths shut on the subject, since if you have no empathy for others’ true-life experiences you are not going to learn them in a mandatory training module, just as you won’t learn ethics and how to manage ethical dilemmas from not listening to other people’s including women’s concerns. You just don’t have the goods, the prerequisite character and traits to learn it in the first place, other than pretending you do, yes, Mr Morrison I am speaking particularly to you.

The difference between an RTA statistical probability or a public health COVID-19 risk analysis of death or serious harm/injury and reality, is:

(1) they are statistical probability calculations not individual real life events, assessment of medical risk or causation analysis (not even an RCA we might be familiar with in our public health system). They are politically manufactured probability statistics and guesswork to advise politicians when the facts are not known;

(2) You can choose to drive defensively, carefully or minimise your exposure to the risk and stay at home, use public transport or practice good social distancing, use of PPE and mediate your risk;

(3) if you are in a known or emerging risk group, you can be provided with an alternative risk management strategy like another vaccine, rather than just be told to grin and bear it; and

(4) if by consequence you have no choice on an alternative vaccine which doesn’t expose you to that risk, you have no choice but to continue running the gauntlet, restricting your life choices and freedoms vicariously for everyone else’s benefit or die at a calculated probability much higher than the general population either through a ‘one size fits all’ vaccination program (with 4-20 day blood clots) or heightened exposure to COVID-19 vulnerability (no government acquired vaccinated immunity).

The real problems Morrison and our compliant and captive Chief Medical Officer are facing are:

(a) burying their heads in the sand to start with and maintaining their stance, telling us we are still acquiring the facts when they should know full well that certain facts are already known – There is clearly a problem with AstraZeneca and blood clotting for certain people no matter how small this group may be and initial large sample phase 3 trials comparing clotting and death outcomes to a control group of the general population (unvaccinated) do not eliminate the possibility of cause and effect such as VIPIT (vaccine induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia). To date this is all we have and any decent researcher would know public announcements declaring public safety for all is flawed scientific reasoning, advice and conclusion till we test the relevant variables at play. The fact that the time interval between AZ administration and reports of clotting are consistent is highly significant, not pointing to false conclusions of random probability or unrelated events, which Morrison with his new found medical knowledge and chief buddy have been ignoring. The fact that these events have not arisen or been reported in other common vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson are also significant. The fact that a host of nations have raised their concerns only with AstraZeneca in the light of this emerging data – these are all facts which a well briefed and responsible Prime Minister would know;

(b) sliding down their explanation from ‘denial’ to ‘defensive rationalisation’ and now ‘we are exploring’ or the excuse ‘the situation is fluid and changing’ over the time it has taken for them to acknowledge there is a problem, is blind arrogance and hypothesising after the horse has bolted, yet still not providing us with a rational or viable provisional risk management strategy, is just morbidly fascinating and unacceptable. Still, they hustle and bustle as one nervously glances to another and the other smiles smugly prattling on about ‘facts’ – actually just one random and irrelevant fact of non-supply; and

(c) constantly telling us or distracting us with an unrelated issue of breakages in supply chain, focusing on blaming the EU for blocking exports when they have nothing to do with this issue. When in fact the real problem is government ordering and procurement – they put all their eggs in one basket and banked their money and investments (with a whiff of corruption, quiescence, incompetence or neglect at least) on AstraZeneca and CSL domestic manufacture. They should have ordered and secured an alternative supply of vaccine a long time ago, even if relatively tiny but hugely practical, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson for instance, or even now dispense a small portion of Pfizer for medical determination, but are too pig-headed to admit or consider it, while still they procrastinate. But choice, biodiversity and intelligence aren’t among Morrison’s marketing strengths, especially when it comes to the horror of empowering others or advancing Australia’s interests.

Let’s face it they both fucked up! Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows they fucked up, so admit it. But don’t short-change us on ethics and coercion by telling everyone they have a duty to take the AstraZeneca vaccine because it is the only one we’ve got other than those to whom there is close to zero risk, which is most of the population who have little to worry about.

Do not scapegoat the few as ‘anti-vaxers’ or tell them they are jeopardising the national vaccination program or quash their voice because they happen to be a nurse, a woman or just someone who has capacity to show critical thinking, ethical reasoning and empathy with the worried few, and stand up with courage in the crowd – especially when you choose only to face a camera or the Opposition at Question Time, where you can control or dictate the conversation, rather than face that friendly crowd.

Print: Ministerial phlebotomy – John Bull c.1808, British Museum

Do not sweep the tiny ‘unknown’ group under a bus for the sake of the majority for that is not responsible democracy, that is in point of fact a microvariant of medical iatrogenesis and public health neglect – it is the application of poor and flawed scientific and ethical reasoning which the Liberals are so renowned for on almost every issue from climate change, employment, coal, health and disability to MMT. You do not sacrifice the safety of a minority for the majority (or the inverse for that matter which the Liberals do all the time) when there are clear practical mediating social strategies and solutions available. That is just rampant ignorance, populism, propaganda and evasion of the bleeding obvious, not to mention a corrupted interpretation of social ethics, morality and informed government.

But what the fuck would Morrison (or Hunt) know when it comes to medicine, nursing, women, ethics or anything in the universe let alone intelligence or life on earth?… Perhaps Morrison should talk it over with Jen!

Oh no, even journalists and editors are telling us how to think about it, what’s next tourist directors, lawyers and government regulators, bankers and TV celebrities on sunrise telling us how to do the hokey-pokey? Of course, everyone has an opinion on something, it’s all John Bull!

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24 comments

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  1. Harry Lime

    Another excellent article Jon.I’m eligible to get a shot of the Asrazeneca in a couple of weeks (should it actually materialise), being in a high risk group,and though I was already doubtful about it with all the bullshit and weaseling going on,I am certainly going to wait it out until more evidence is provided,or unless an alternative is offered.
    Nothing the Liar or his pathetic cronies have ever said can be believed.Who would risk their life on the say so of these contemptible cretins?

  2. Jamess

    Maybe he’ll do a Harold Holt ?

  3. susan

    Excellent piece. Morrison has been totally consistent throughout this whole pandemic saga and in fact throughout his whole time in parliament. Everything is ok if he is ok and bugger the rest.

  4. Michael Taylor

    My mother died at 52 from a clot in the brain. It’s hereditary. On her side of the family I also lost three cousins – all in their 40s. AZ unsettles me.

  5. Win Jeavons

    Why is the vaccine that was right for the PM and a selected cohort ( including his secretive family? ) not available for all of us who are in reach of deep refrigeration? I can understand the logistical problem for those far from city centres, but this smells of setting a lower standard of care for millions. If the good ‘ christian PM is living up to his faith he would accept no less a quality of care for the ‘ least of these’ , his neighbours and fellow citizens.
    If it proves that the AZ version is very poor against newer variants , will a better vaccine then be available for all? If you want a good job , do it right first time. That should have been learned from the NBN mess!

  6. Jon Chesterson

    Michael yes and my mother too at 36, and I was 13. You don’t forget something like that. All things to do with blood clotting and strokes unsettle me, just as the rare prospect of AstraZeneca does. But it is my daughter’s health that troubles me most. No Liberal slob from the gutter, health minister or chief medical officer will pacify me with their patronising lies, statistical conclusions and general ignorance. I’ve been through this once before in England when we were young, and the medical specialist never apologised for his error of judgement when the evidence later presented itself.

  7. Jon Chesterson

    Win Jeavons – you make a very good point too. What if and/or when the AstraZeneca vaccine becomes ineffective against the UK, US, Brazilian, South African or to evolve Indonesian and PNG strain? Is Pfizer good enough for the general public then? Whatever come that may, whatever vaccine or brand, Morrison and his crones have dropped the only basket of eggs on offer for the wolf to play.

  8. Neilw

    Morrison must be the most underprepared incompetent ever to take public office in Australia.

  9. Terence Mills

    I had my AstraZeneca first shot today (the second scheduled for twelve weeks time).

    Administered by my local GP.

    My wife checked with the doctor : I’m all good for doing the washing-up apparently !

  10. Matters Not

    Jon – putting aside the immediate issue re how the government is handling this apparent crisis and considering the problem(s) of public administration more generally.

    Governments, almost by their very nature and out of necessity in many instances, operate a fairly high level of generality and therefore at a low level of specificity. That’s fairly well recognized in the literature. But what is also recognised in the academic world at least is the concept of Subsidiarity defined here as:

    (in politics) the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level .

    So in Australia (and being basic for illustrative purposes), we have Local Government that looks after footpaths, rubbish collection, the rats and mice, the bits and pieces, as it were. We have State Government that looks after bigger tasks such as main roads, dams. ambulances and the like while we have a Federal Government that concentrates on the big ticket items such as Defense matters and things generally that are best dealt with at a National level. (We don’t want each State to have its own army, navy etc.)

    But we also have issues that affect (and indeed effect) not only all levels of government as well as matters that have profound impacts right down to the individual. Health is clearly one such matter. One’s health is very, very personal. So many possibilities, so many issues, treatment options etc that really make an individual an individual. Yes it can be reduced to a number but just one number (for administrative purposes) for each and every Citizen.

    As one who’s had any number of medical issues (ongoing) and who’s filled out endless forms, ticked countless boxes, and answered so many of the (annoyingly) same questions, I wonder why more technology is not brought into play more often. (Like every time I attend a hospital – even if it’s for a dog bite).

    Seems to me that with a proper functioning public service (and sufficient numbers), those in authority with access to all this stored, computer information should be able to identify what vaccine(s) are suitable for just me and for you. Do some simple arithmetic (or let the computer do that even more quickly) and place an appropriate order with a relevant supplier, accompanied by appropriate options to change same.

    Too much to ask?

    As for ethics, (and it’s an interest of mine), most doctors I’ve spoken to only have a superficial understanding of the broad concept. Just a few sentences that relate to their particular specialty. (And yes that may be an unwarranted generalisation.)

  11. Michael Taylor

    Damn scary thought if someone from our Olympic team brings back the South African or Brazilian variant, both of which AZ is ineffective against.

  12. DrakeN

    On the 13th May 1968 Mrs. Morrison was relieved of a large clot in her womb and is progressing well.
    Unfortunately the clot has also survived.

  13. Matters Not

    That Morrison (and other world Leaders) was/were among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine was not only right but also a good activity. Given the context, it was what any PM, Leader, or ‘influencer’ ought to have done. And for that (and perhaps for that alone) he should be congratulated.

    If this virus is ever to be controlled (and perhaps eliminated), it’s essential that a significant anti-vaxxer putsch within the wider community be confronted and at all levels. That means those in authority (defined in terms of legitimated power) must lead via example.

    Surely we can be sophisticated in our response(s)?

  14. wam

    a vaccine is a substance that helps protect against certain diseases. vaccines contain a dead or weakened version of a disease Is Astra a vaccine NO ergo change the definition???? Will Astra(50-80%) prevent you from catching the virus covid 19 NO Is pfizer(95%) more effective? Our pollies pfizer NZ pollies pfizer australians astraz kiwis pfizer QED.
    Dear terence and the waltz of the cuckoo, I am full of blood thinners but my family are not so they will not be taking AstraZ.
    Anyone without a serious illness should wait for pfizer, moderna or other developing jabs and, like scummo, albo et al, give astra a miss.

  15. paul walter

    Yes, wam.

    No mention of the third vaccine, the Johnson and Johnson one either.

    Sick of the mushroom club stuff and the FTA secrecy crap.

    Just so long as the Greedies get their lot, never mind the other 99.9%.

    And the stuff about the PM getting the jab and then tricking everyone else out of theirs is unspeakable.

  16. Florence Howarth

    Maybe we would have to grin and accept the possible deaths if this was the only vaccine available. Lucky for us that is not true. There are many more who do not have a history of a rare form of blood clotting & low blood Patel count. Vaccines that perform better. True, not as cheap as the one this government is pushing.

    It appears there is no evidence people who suffer from blood clots are at more risk than anyone else.

  17. Andrew J. Smith

    I know elsewhere with AZ vaccinations starting that doctors are prescribing paracetamol for fever within first days, and more importantly, low dose Aspirin for up to two weeks to ameliorate the risk of clotting.

    The latter has been presented terribly, seemingly more to scare people, when no common sense data based comparison is made e.g. many women smokers would not go on the contraceptive pill due to the risk of thrombosis or clotting, what would the comparison be or probability of either, for context?

    On the govt. communications or spin, it’s not surprising when the LNP and related rely upon confected sociocultural issues to fire up the base, avoiding science and analysis, while masking the more serious and threatening libertarian economics in the background.

    What happens with libertarian conservatives and a black swan event? Services previously cut to the bone unfit for purpose, while many promote in the short term the economy over lockdowns for health, nativist dog whistling precludes locked out student or immigrants so now it’s the EU and AZ, deflecting blame etc. leading to panicked confusion.

    Meanwhile former PM Howard then condones Keynesian economics as now is not the time for ideology…… maybe there is never a time for radical right libertarian ideology because it is simply a gambit for wealthy elites that cannot be spun forever?

  18. Jon Chesterson

    As of 7 April 857,239 vaccines (less than 2% of the population) have been administered in Australia, of these 469.634 (55%) have been administered by the States. Only a very small number of these are fully vaccinated (2 doses). The Federal Government has assumed responsibility for majority of the Australian population rollout including aged care, current phase 1b (estimated 6.1 million) – population of Australia 25.36 million (2019)

    150 million have been fully vaccinated (2 doses) worldwide. Single/first doses – US have have administered 168.6 million of which 63 million are fully vaccinated. China 146 million, India 87.1 million, UK 37.1 million of which 5.5 million are fully vaccinated, Germany 15.1 million, France 3.1 million, Russia 12.4 million, , Italy 11.5 million, Canada 6.8 million, Singapore 1.5 million, Japan 1.3 million, South Korea 1.1 million, New Zealand 90,000 – Australia ranks 52, New Zealand ranks 99.

    133.6 million cases of Covid recorded worldwide – Australia ranks 116 (27,377/2,144 active), New Zealand ranks 178 (2,531 cases/81 active).

    The big issue for Australia and New Zealand is not so much the urgency of other countries which are relying on their vaccination programs to bring the outbreak/s under control, but dependence on one vaccine AstraZeneca for supply, choice, safety and effectiveness in the mass population rollout. Pfizer is restricted and does not appear to be available to the general population, even small high risk groups with rare blood clotting disorders, serious comorbidities, frail elderly, regional or remote areas. It is expected Novax may be the 3rd vaccine subject to approval but unlikely to be available this year. No sign of others being explored or procured eg Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – The Federal Government have said nothing.

    Sources: The Age Covid-19 vaccine tracker and Worldometers.info
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/covid-19-global-vaccine-tracker-and-data-centre-20210128-p56xht.html
    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

  19. Jon Chesterson

    Florence – ‘It appears there is no evidence people who suffer from blood clots are at more risk than anyone else’. That has been the Federal Government line and it is not true, neither is it supportable by any reliable data or evidence, despite which they still keep putting this message out, conflating the issue with non-indicative statistical data.

    The story is slowly thinning out, shifting in the quicksand from absolute safety and deniability to the European Medical Agency (EMA) now concluding blood clotting should be listed as ‘very rare’ side effect of AstraZeneca jab; which a few of us have been saying all along based on the science, the evidence and reason as it first emerged some time ago. The Australian Federal Government is still dragging its feet and twisting its words as we go.

    ’62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal’.

    ‘The EMA had previously said there was no increased risk of blood clots in general from the shot, developed by researchers at Oxford University and AstraZeneca’. We now know that’s not true but still being tagged ‘very rare’. Cited between 1/200,000 (Europe and Canada) to 1/25,000 (Nordic countries).

    ‘The EMA’s safety committee examined a total of 86 cases of blood clots of which 18 had been fatal. As of 4 April, there had been a total of 222 cases of blood clots among the 34 million people vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab’.

    There are no clear guidelines on identification of who exactly is at risk, how it should be managed, but alternatives to AstraZeneca are now being recommended for some specific groups in different jurisdictions/countries eg under 30’s, under 60’s, and people with medical or family histories of a rare blood disorder. The precise aetiology and mechanism behind the clotting and converse findings of lower blood platelet levels is still unknown, but Dr Norman Swan from the ABC is one of the most consistent, reliable and honest accounts you are going to get.

    ‘The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says it has found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults’.

    ‘The news came as the UK’s vaccine advisory board, the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI), said all people under the age of 30 would be offered alternative vaccines, including the Pfizer and Moderna’ jabs, due to a small number of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine’.

    So should it even be up to Morrison and our Federal Government to determine whether the Pfizer or other vaccines are/aren’t procured, even if only in smaller quantities as a matter of priority to ensure an alternative is available for those deemed highest risk?

    The smug Liberal plutocrat, Morrison has covered his own arse and left the rest of us currently in limbo, either without a general supply to cover a population of 6.1 million in phase 1b current rollout or the worried few who now need to be offered an alternative. He is still blaming the States domestically and Europe’s export restrictions.

    Given we have known how hard Europe was hit by Covid-19 even early last year, this was surely predictable and reasonable, when Australia has had this largely under control – No thanks to Morrison or his incompetent administration. But now we are somewhat stuck in a rut, this government (Morrison and Hunt with their persistent, pervasive and disagreeable almost daily public announcements and grandstanding) are ‘playing god’ behind all their rhetoric, which is what we know they do best.

    Sources: European medical Agency, The Guardian, ABC

    1) https://twitter.com/guardian/status/1379901796248920066/photo/1
    2) https://www.theguardian.com/world/coronavirus-outbreak
    3) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/apr/06/astrazeneca-covid-vaccine-weighing-up-the-risks-and-rewards
    4) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-08/astrazeneca-vaccine-linked-to-rare-blood-clots-ema/100054774

  20. Jon Chesterson

    NO WAY – Well what do you make of that? Pfizer is now the recommended vaccine in Australia for everyone under 50yrs – Part of our voice has been heard. But Morrison, Hunt and Dr Murphy strongly recommend AstraZeneca for everyone over 50yrs, no other considerations given. Once again missing the bleeding obvious – What about people with a medical and/or family history of blood clotting and thrombocytopenia, related blood, heart or circulatory disorders and on blood or heart medication regardless of age? Are you still going to put them through the wringer if they are over 50 on AZ?

    Well guess what guys (two pollies and a pretty dumbed down CMO) – Unacceptable and you are not dictating to me or any of us, which vaccine we will have, when we have persistently raised this matter on medical grounds and available research. This will be up to our GP and best medical advice on a case by case basis where there are legitimate medical concerns, and sorry Dr Murrpy, you no longer count under the term of ‘best medical advice’ – I simply wouldn’t trust your advice with an elephant sized barge pole as I would even less our newly qualified medical expert, Morrison who seems to be happy giving us advice on matters he knows naught. No way I will be rolling in for an AZ vaccine – Get stuffed. They just don’t get it do they, why the public don’t trust the government, they are hardly likely to trust them with their lives let alone health care. They really haven’t been listening to word we’ve been saying.

    AstraZeneca vaccine blood clot incidents spark Pfizer recommendation for under 50s – Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 2021: 7.34pm https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/astrazeneca-vaccine-blood-clot-incidents-spark-pfizer-recommendation-for-under-50s-20210408-p57hnd.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed

  21. Kerri

    wam,

    You might want to do some research regarding AZ and Heparin?
    I heard it does not go well! 😬

  22. Kronomex

    Indecision Scotty –

  23. Jon Chesterson

    Listen to Anthony Albanese this morning in press conference ABC News, saying practically all the things we’ve been saying here on the AIM Network for weeks including the satire. The AIM Network’s day to day coverage of this Federal Government’s bungles has been more reliable, accurate and predictive of current events than practically any other Australian ‘mainstream’ media, up with the Guardian Australia and twice as entertaining. Even the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age have been behind all the way along and News Corps just don’t even rate on anything except the Morrison rebuke on an alleged HR investigation in their own business – If they didn’t know that, well their wheels would fall off entirely.

    Good democracy comes out of a well informed electorate.

  24. Uta Hannemann

    “about basic human bioethics”

    I wonder how many people in our society would know anything about it?

    It would be nice if at least some of our leaders would have some knowledge about basic subjects like this!

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