Like you, I’ve heard a lot about the Frontline Doctors organization that materialized, seemingly, out of nowhere to stand on the Supreme Court steps in July and declare that much of the COVID-19 information that the CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Treatment), the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and individual state authorities were giving out was a lie.
While garnering headlines, the Frontline Doctors produced its breakout star, emergency room physician and attorney Simone Gold, MD. Because a good friend asked my opinion of Gold’s recent video, I spent an hour watching her YouTube lecture. Although the video has been taken down from YouTube for “violating our terms of service,” I was easily able to find the re-post by searching “Simone Gold.” The same video, now titled, “Video 1,” is the fourth video down from the top. If the link in this paragraph doesn’t yield you the right YouTube video, keep looking.
During the video, Gold spent the first part delving into why COVID-19 should be named “Wuhan” or some other name linking the virus to China. That’s a political debate, not a medical one. I fast-forwarded from there and listened to her 10 minutes on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and 40 minutes deriding the science behind the mRNA vaccines — the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now being given to Americans.
An engaging speaker, Gold argued in support of HCQ and against the COVID-19 vaccines. Her arguments sounded “good,” except that she and the Frontline Doctors leave out a lot of critical information. Everything Gold said was true, but it was woefully incomplete. Really, she was telling lies of omission by cherry-picking information, using old data when newer, better data is available, and raising questions to cast doubt, when those questions have already been answered sufficiently.
Our health and lives deserve the complete story, so I’ve gone through the points Gold makes in the video to show how she has woven true and false information to mislead viewers. Below, I’ve lined up 12 of her arguments against the facts.
1. The Safety of HCQ
The first clue that Gold was choosing to offer only one set of information was her focus on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). There are a LOT of other low-cost well-known drugs and therapies that are much safer than HCQ and demonstrably lower the death rate for COVID-19. Why is Gold only suggesting HCQ as a cure?
Gold claims that HCQ is “common, ordinary, safe.” It is not. Among the adverse events (AE) that HCQ can cause are fatal heart problems, suicidal behavior, severe psoriasis outbreaks and chloroquine-resistant malaria.
HCQ should only be administered in a hospital setting, so that trained personnel can address any heart problems. Taking it can slow the heartbeat, a condition called elongated QT that can lead to heart failure in up to 30% of patients.
Gold explained that she, herself, took HCQ 20 years ago on a trip to a malaria-infected country. About taking HCQ she said, “It was a big, fat nothing burger.” Gold claims that HCQ is given freely to US troops and travelers, which is out of date. HCQ is now only used in acute cases for one type of malaria, and, in general, is no longer used to prevent or treat malaria.
For prevention of malaria, UpToDate.com suggests that there are very few destinations in the world where the malaria parasite is still sensitive to chloroquine. In other regions, travelers will likely need drugs like atovaquone-proguanil or tafenoquine. Mefloquine and doxycycline. UpToDate.com is a prescribing resource used by doctors in clinical settings, such as hospitals and medical offices, for evidence-based summaries on drugs.
To “prove” the drug is safe, Gold notes that those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and similar diseases have, when needed, taken it for long periods. That’s true. However, HCQ is not the first choice of drug for RA due to its side effects. Safer drugs like methotrexate or similar DMARD (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) are recommended first. When first-line drugs are ineffective for RA patients, the risk of HCQ’s side effects in those cases outweighs the benefits.
2. Yes, a study on HCQ was withdrawn
To justify that HCQ is safe, Gold recounted the findings of a study in The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, which was later withdrawn. The study revealed that it is dangerous to treat COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine. Just because the study was retracted doesn’t necessarily mean its findings are incorrect; it means that the data to support that conclusion were flawed.
“It needs to be emphasized that despite this article’s retraction, there is still no good evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective for COVID-19,” noted Ian Musgrave, PhD, a senior lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
When the FDA announced it was revoking the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), it referenced the UK’s RECOVERY trial, which is still testing several different treatments. The study found that in its hydroxychloroquine test group, which enrolled 4,674 hospitalized patients, there was no difference in mortality between those on hydroxychloroquine and those on standard care, nor was there any benefit in the hydroxychloroquine group for a shorter hospital stay or other outcomes, such as reduced ventilator use.
MedShadow has published several articles on the dangers of using HCQ to treat COVID-19.
Further, the majority of studies show that HCQ does not work in curing or preventing COVID-19. Because there are always outlying studies, science conducts multiple ones. Looking at the totality, it is reasonable to conclude that HCQ is probably not the cure.
3. Why don’t we have vaccinations for other coronaviruses?
Gold says that researchers “failed” in creating vaccines for previous coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. “They can’t do it safely,” she says, and adds that AIDS doesn’t have a vaccine either (Minute 25:01). That’s largely false. In every case, except AIDS, vaccines were deemed unnecessary because the disease can be controlled.
For both SARS (COV-1) and MERS (MERS-CoV), it’s possible to isolate patients and prevent larger outbreaks because they are not contagious until symptoms appear. Vaccination research was abandoned on these two diseases because vaccines are not needed and no one would pay for the development.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 patients are contagious long before becoming symptomatic. Even more difficult, some people get infected with COVID-19 and have such mild symptoms (or even no symptoms) and spread COVID-19 without knowing it. Therefore, isolating the sick is too little, too late.
As for AIDS, scientists have been working on a vaccine for the disease for decades, but AIDS has very little in common with SARS CoV-1, MERS or SARS-CoV-2.
4. Were there animal studies?
Gold claims that the COVID-19 vaccines were never tested in animals. which, if true, would be concerning. Fortunately for us, her claim is false. A simple Google search of “are there any animal studies for COVID-19 vaccine?” found published animal studies in Nature.com, Cell Journal and at the NIH and was reported in FierceBiotech.com.
5. Gold claims that mRNA is brand-new technology. It is not
I, too, was very skeptical of the vaccine until I learned about the role of mRNA in the body, Recently, I read the long history of research into creating mRNA vaccines (much of the work done in response to MERS and SARS, but ultimately it was not needed). Then I found out about the role of mRNA in the body that the vaccine uses, in part by listening to an enlightening podcast by Sanja Gupta, an amazing medical communicator, writer and neurosurgeon.
mRNA has been studied for several decades, and efforts to use it as a vaccine have been the holy grail for some time. A regular vaccine generally releases a very weak or dead virus, or pieces of it, to trigger the immune system so that it can gear up quickly when it reappears in nature. Isolating and inactivating a virus is a slow process, like 10-plus-years slow.
Just like that but completely different: mRNA, which can be made quickly, carries a message to our cells to create the specific “spike” proteins found on the COVID-19 virus (not the entire virus), so that the immune system will kick in and then recognize it when exposed again in nature.
6. ADE (antibody-dependent enhancement)
Minutes 25:50 and 33:54
Gold defined antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) as a process where, instead of giving protection from COVID-19, an ADE response to the vaccine can “cause an overreaction in a negative way if exposed to the virus.” She claims that during the development of the SARS COV-1 vaccine, ferrets received two vaccine doses (as is the protocol for COVID-19) and they were fine. “Later,” she adds, “they were exposed to SARS Cov-1 in the wild, and they died. That’s why the SARS COV-1 vaccine never came to market.” Patently untrue. See: Why do we not have vaccinations for other coronavirus vaccinations? (above)
ADE is a well-known medical issue (as Gold said), and one that vaccine manufacturers have taken steps to prevent. Below is a paragraph from a Science article that explains the protections that both Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have put in place. Essentially, it explains that because the ADE phenomenon is much more likely to occur after the protein binds to cells, it makes sure human bodies would build the protein in such a way that it would not bind to their cells.
“This has been why we’ve seen so many vaccines taking care to put the ‘spike’ protein into its ‘prefusion’ conformation.’ The worry has been that if antibodies are generated after it’s had a chance to bind to human cells, that gives you a better chance for non-neutralizing ones (and thus potentially a better chance for ADE). And you’ll have noticed the emphasis on neutralizing antibody titers along the way as well – that would have been there anyway, but a high proportion of outright neutralizing antibodies is also a safeguard against antibody-driven enhancement of disease.”
7. Does the vaccine cause fertility problems for women?
Pregnant women were not included in the study group, so we have no idea how the vaccine affects them or the developing fetus, or whether the disease affects the fetus. Further, no one is creating a cohort of babies born in the pandemic or vaccinated world, so we won’t know if there are any unanticipated adverse events for the fetuses years later.
Gold talks about the syncytiotrophoblast cell in the placenta, claiming that active infection with COVID-19 interferes with the formation of this part of the placenta. Syncytiotrophoblast is the outer covering of the placental wall, into which the fertilized egg embeds for nutrition.
Gold concludes by floating the idea that it’s possible the vaccine could trick the placenta into thinking it’s got COVID, which always leads to infertility. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” she says. As doctors, the Frontline Doctors, should know the placenta is an organ that the uterus grows when a woman is pregnant. When there’s no pregnancy, there is no placenta to trick.
Her theory that the COVID-19 vaccination will render women infertile has been debunked in several places. Here’s a link to an interesting podcast that was even understandable to a non-science major like me on The ZDoggMD Show (yes, it’s a terrible name, but he’s really good).
Gold states the Frontline Doctors “feels very strongly that (women under age 50) can not even be offered this” vaccine. Boston Children’s Hospital published an article about pregnancy and COVID-19. The article notes:
“Evidence has shown that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe illness in women with COVID-19. A recent CDC study reviewed case reports of approximately 400,000 women aged 15 to 44 with symptomatic COVID-19. Those who were pregnant had a roughly tripled likelihood of ICU admission and invasive ventilation and 70%higher mortality.
“Yet, their newborns are mostly doing well. Reports indicate that babies born to COVID-19-infected mothers are infected only about 5% of the time. Moreover, most of those who test positive have mild or asymptomatic infections, rarely needing mechanical ventilation.”
8. Can you sue if you’re harmed by the vaccine?
It is true that “pharmaceutical companies have liability immunity for COVID-19 vaccinations,” however, Gold failed to point out that this is true for all standard vaccinations in the US. We are already seeing reports of severe allergic reactions and AEs, which can happen with all vaccinations. Because of the risk of unlimited liability that can happen in US courts, in the 1980s, manufacturers stopped making such vaccines against polio, rabies and tetanus. They make so little profit on them, the thinking is why should the pharmaceutical companies take on the risk of being sued?
To get companies to continue making them, the US created the Vaccine Injury Compensation Panel. If you have an AE, file your complaint with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
The Atlantic published an excellent article on the US VICP before COVID-19 became an issue.
9. Gold: “The COVID-19 vaccination doesn’t stop the transmission of COVID-19.”
The data absolutely showed a much lower incidence of getting symptomatic COVID-19 after having had the vaccine. A HUGE flaw in the studies on both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines was that participants were only tested if they showed symptoms, so we can’t definitively say if the vaccine prevents people from transmitting the disease or only suppresses the symptoms.
But the data from both trials show that the vaccinated get COVID-19 at a much lower rate and have many fewer severe cases. The vaccine does give you protection from the illness.
10. Black population targeted as high priority for vaccination
Gold claims to be offended that vaccinating Blacks is a high priority. She says that “we know” who gets and dies from COVID — the elderly, nursing home residents and those with 2.6 or more of the known comorbidities. She positions the government directive to give priority to Blacks as racist, but Gold neglects to report that Blacks as a group die 2.8 times more frequently than whites (hospitalized 4 times more), Hispanics 2.6 times and American Indians 2.4 times.
11. V-safe tracking system
Gold is against the V-safe tracking system, but not for the reason I thought. My guess was that she would have objected to the government tracking citizens. Instead, it’s that being tracked for your response to the vaccine means you’re in a clinical trial. DUH!! Isn’t that what she had been saying for the entire hour in the video?
We don’t know all we want and need to know about side effects or efficacy of these two vaccines, so if you get either vaccine, FOR GOD’S SAKE, SIGN UP FOR THE TRACKING. This is how the NIH/FDA knows if there are adverse events. This is how you can be alerted if there is breakthrough info on the vaccination you got.
BTW, she says the tracking is for two years for the public at large. That’s not right; it’s for six months. Those actually in the official trial get tracked for two years by drugmakers Pfizer or Moderna. She also says you “get signed up” automatically, but that’s false, too. . You have to choose to sign up for it. My own internist got the shot and didn’t sign up.
12. Not in the video, but notable
Simone Gold was also one of the people who stormed the Capital. A graduate of Stanford University Law School, she has been quoted as saying she didn’t know it was illegal. That stretches my ability to believe her or to be sympathetic. She had to know it was breaking the law, and she needs to own it.
The US Department of Justice charged Gold with entering a restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct.
So Gold is not your basic doctor who interrupted her career because she is shocked by irregularities in the healthcare system. Disruption is what she does; it is her career. She is deeply embedded in groups that create a miasma of fear and distrust of our national systems.
The COVID-19 vaccinations were definitely rushed to market. There are many more questions we deserve the answers to before inoculation. But in a risk-benefit analysis, the US government made the determination to accept the risk in exchange for the overwhelming benefits amid an ongoing pandemic. You make your own decision.