Are we following the science?

The article in the Oct. 2-3 edition of the Jackson Hole Daily, “Booster shots are here,” written by Evan Robinson-Johnson, is troubling. Not everyone is trained to evaluate scientific literature or interpret data, and many people rely on the information you give them to form opinions regarding COVID-19.

Boosters are not proven to be the answer, and there is certainly no data to demonstrate their effectiveness. In fact, for people who have had the disease and the two-shot vaccine, a third shot may be detrimental (Menni, et al Lancet Infect Dis2021;21:939-49). We should keep in mind: The booster shots are the same vaccinations previously administered, and they were specifically designed to target the spike protein on the alpha variant of the coronavirus. As new mutations arise, we have no idea what results a booster shot will bring.

The reporter describes the case of Mr. David Werner, a 72-year-old man, who despite being fully vaccinated contracted COVID-19, and states that a third dose will give him an “added sense of security.” So, in summary, Mr. Werner’s initial vaccination was ineffective at keeping him from contracting COVID-19; he then had the disease, placing him in the most protected group possible. His risk of getting symptomatic disease after being vaccinated and infected is nearly zero.

His risk of having a reaction from the third vaccination, however, is not zero. Although low, the risk of morbidity from the vaccination goes up with each exposure, and particularly after having the disease. A recent study shows a 56% increase in vaccination reactions requiring hospitalization in patients who receive vaccinations after having COVID-19 (Menni, et al Lancet Infect Dis2021;21:939-49). Mr. Werner’s immune system has been exposed to both the alpha spike protein (from vaccination) as well as the entire viral protein from his acquired infection; he has long-term and durable b-cell and t-cell immunity. This is a situation where a third vaccination dose has potential harm with little to no benefit.

Regarding the argument that we all need the vaccination to stop from spreading the disease to others, it also is not substantiated in the literature. An article published in the journal Nature on Oct. 5 explains this well: “The authors found that although the vaccines did offer some protection against infection and onward transmission, Delta dampened that effect. A person who was fully vaccinated and then had a ‘breakthrough’ Delta infection was almost twice as likely to pass on the virus as someone who was infected with Alpha. And that was on top of the higher risk of having a breakthrough infection caused by Delta than one caused by Alpha.

“Unfortunately, the vaccine’s beneficial effect on Delta transmission waned to almost negligible levels over time. In people infected 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, both in the U.K., the chance that an unvaccinated close contact would test positive was 57%, but 3 months later, that chance rose to 67%. The latter figure is on par with the likelihood that an unvaccinated person will spread the virus. A reduction was also observed in people vaccinated with the jab made by U.S. company Pfizer and German firm BioNTech.”

I am not anti-vaccination, and I am not anti-science. I am the exact opposite. I am board certified in Critical Care Medicine and have spent a career reviewing studies and evaluating data. To me science is wonderful. It is not biased; it does not care if it supports one side or the other. It does not tell you what is safe or what is right; science just gives you the data to make decisions. “Follow the science” is the quote that everyone loves to use, but only when it supports their belief or their policy. As the science develops and we learn more, our beliefs should change to represent the new information, otherwise we should be saying, “follow my agenda,” not “follow the science.”

Casey Thomas


Outrage over Bray a distraction

Former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson, at a Sept. 19 event hosted by Wyoming Rising, reportedly referenced an email sent by Troy Bray to State Sen. Tara Nethercott, calling it “one of the coarsest, foulest, ignorant, dumb-witted things that has ever been sent to a chairman of the Judiciary Committee.” Maybe it is, but Simpson’s indignation seems rather elitist and hypocritical because at every meeting he attends of the Park County Central Committee, he interrupts the proceedings and stands to deliver at least five minutes’ worth of an obscenity-filled diatribe, where he calls the other members names and impugns our characters, totally unprovoked and without cause.

While I don’t condone the choice of Bray’s wording, Simpson totally misses the point that Bray was frustrated and angry over the actions of the chairwoman during a meeting in March. (And Bray has apologized.) Many of us wrote letters to Nethercott over her condescending attitude and the fact that she and others like her are doing everything they can to not uphold the Constitution.

In my opinion, this outrage is a distraction. Too many times, these “Republicans In Name Only” in our state government pretend to be conservative Republicans who are fighting for our constitutional rights but then call forth a bill when the author isn’t there, such as in Nethercott’s case, or leave a bill in the drawer during session until it’s too late to present it. They say the right things, but their actions show that they are not concerned about our God-given, constitutional freedoms such as free speech, gun rights and the right to make our own medical decisions.

Wake up. Republican doesn’t mean conservative. It may mean RINO, and they want to take your rights away.

Dona Becker


‘No such thing as a free lunch’

Memo to American voters ahead of the 2022 midterm election: Be careful what you wish for because it actually may not be what it appears to be.

Joe Biden, after all, did promise a new America, and he truly is delivering on that promise. Unfortunately, contrary to our interpretations and hopes for his words, President Biden’s policies are hell-bent on growing the government rather than growing the economy. That much-dreaded nanny state, socialist society about which we have heard in years past seems to be looming large.

Biden’s rhetoric centers on his oft-repeated phrase of “No new taxes for those earning less than $400K!” That frightfully reminds us of President George H.W. Bush’s infamous words, “Read my lips: no new taxes!”

Recently, Biden and Jen Psaki, his press secretary, claimed their ginormous $3.5 trillion bill will cost absolutely zero dollars. If it costs zero dollars, as they claim, then, in essence, it is free and should result in no new taxes. Maybe I am missing the fundamentals of this new math! American taxpayers, hopefully, are not so gullible as to swallow that Kool-Aid.

Remember the famous words from Ben Franklin uttered in 1789: “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” In other words, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!”

Americans last year endured a summer of discontent featuring riots, looting, arson and other destructive behaviors coupled with protests and calls for defunding the police, and now are being squeezed in the pocketbook by spiraling inflation spurred by supply chain and transportation shortages.

To throw another log on the already raging fire of the calamity of this administration, just take note of the lack of any enforcement of our laws regarding border crossings. And the icing on the cake: With COVID-19 and its host of variants, we have politicians seeking to invoke more strenuous restrictions for the evil, unvaccinated members of our society.

We are entering the holiday season with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, and it would be nice to have some good news, but I would not recommend holding our collective breaths.

Tom Walsh

Swan Valley, Idaho

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