The Dose - 10-23-2021
A few articles of interest.
In the early 80's I read a fictional short story on computer automation of public records and have always been suspicious of computer records. A problem in a water bill reported through the automated customer support was misinterpreted. Through a series of interpretive errors over a year the customer was finally convicted of first degree murder and ordered to be executed, appeal denied.
This report on digital vaccine passport technology reported by wokkamile and Azazello this week leave me with the same sense of uneasiness.
These three heart-rending casualties were among a spate of deaths in rural India in 2017 which came as a direct result of the Aadhaar digital ID system.
With over one billion Indians in its database, Aadhaar is the largest biometric digital ID program ever constructed. Besides serving as a portal to government services, it tracks users’ movements between cities, their employment status, and purchasing records. It is a de facto social credit system that serves as the key entry point for accessing services in India.
Having branded Aadhaar’s creator, fellow billionaire Nandan Nilekani, as a “hero,” initiatives backed by tech oligarch Bill Gates have long sought to bring the “Aadhaar approach to other countries.” With the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, Gates and other mavens of the digital ID industry have an unprecedented opportunity to introduce their programs into the wealthy countries of the Global North.
For those yearning for an end to pandemic-related restrictions, credential programs certifying their vaccination against Covid-19 have been marketed as the key to reopening the economy and restoring their personal freedom. But the implementation of immunity passports is also accelerating the establishment of a global digital identity infrastructure.
As the military surveillance firm and NATO contractor Thales recently put it, vaccine passports “are a precursor to digital ID wallets.”
In the US, President Joe Biden is “moving forward with vaccination requirements wherever [he] can.” Biden, who declared that his “patience is wearing thin” with unvaccinated Americans, recently announced new federal requirements mandating that about 80 million Americans – including all those who work at companies with more than 100 employees – must either be vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 weekly.
Biden has also mandated that those working at facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid must show proof of immunity to keep their jobs. According to AP, President Biden is considering proof of immunity for interstate travel, a restriction his former public health advisor, Ezekiel Emanuel, has clamored for.
In the US, some states are already deploying the SMART Health Cards developed by the VCI. These SMART Health Cards have laid the basis for a de-facto national standard for vaccine credentials.
“If enough states embrace the technology, it could become a de facto nationwide standard and relieve the Biden administration of having to lay out federal requirements for domestic purposes,” Politico noted.
Pfizer has used its position as a producer of one of the leading Covid-19 vaccines to "silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk, and maximize profits" through secret contracts with countries around the world, according to a Public Citizen report published Tuesday.
"Behind closed doors, Pfizer wields its power to extract a series of concerning concessions from governments," report author Zain Rizvi, law and policy researcher at Public Citizen's Access to Medicines program, said in a statement. "The global community cannot allow pharmaceutical corporations to keep calling the shots."
Based on those contracts, the report identifies six tactics Pfizer is using to serve the company rather than public health in the midst of a deadly pandemic:
1. Pfizer Reserves the Right to Silence Governments
2. Pfizer Controls Donations
3. Pfizer Secured an "IP Waiver" for Itself
4. Private Arbitrators, Not Public Courts, Decide Disputes in Secret
5. Pfizer Can Go After State Assets
6. Pfizer Calls the Shots on Key Decisions
In response to Public Citizen's report, Sharon Castillo, a spokesperson for Pfizer, told The Washington Post that confidentiality clauses were "standard in commercial contracts" and "intended to help build trust between the parties, as well as protect the confidential commercial information exchanged during negotiations and included in final contracts."
Castillo also said that "Pfizer has not interfered and has absolutely no intention of interfering with any country's diplomatic, military, or culturally significant assets," adding that "to suggest anything to the contrary is irresponsible and misleading."
Meanwhile, Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's Access to Medicines program, accused Pfizer of "taking advantage of countries' desperation" with the far-reaching contracts.
Suggestions of Pfizer using Israeli population as a test group first surfaced in January 2021.
Israel agreed to be 'giant testing trial lab for COVID-19 vaccines'
Last week former Prime Minister Ehud Barak suggested that Pfizer and other drug manufacturers are using the Israeli population as a COVID-19 vaccine test subject, and that Israel has willingly made itself available for this purpose.
Globes Friday confirmed the details, writing that "Israel will act as a large world testing laboratory, with the results from this huge research serving to set vaccination strategies in the rest of the world."
Pfizer admits it’s treating Israel as a unique “laboratory” to assess COVID jab effects. Whatever happens in Israel can reliably be expected to happen elsewhere, months later
Pfizer entered into an exclusivity agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Health, so the only COVID shot available is Pfizer’s. The Pfizer shot has a higher risk for heart inflammation among young men than some of the other COVID shots, but Israeli youth have no option but to get the most dangerous one
Pfizer’s shot went from a 95% effectiveness in December 2020 to 39% by late July when the Delta strain became predominant in Israel. In response to obvious vaccine failure, Israel started giving out third boosters at the end of July 2021
Vaccine failure is also evident in Israeli data showing fully vaccinated are at higher risk of severe illness when infected with SARS-CoV-2 or any of its variants than unvaccinated, and now make up the bulk of COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths
According to a recent Israeli news report, which I posted on Twitter1 September 13, 2021, Pfizer admits it’s treating Israel as a unique “laboratory” to assess COVID jab effects. Whatever happens in Israel can reliably be expected to happen everywhere else as well, some months later.
In other words, the Israeli population is one giant test group — without a control group, unfortunately — and as noted by the news anchors, the people really should have been informed that they were part of one of the biggest medical experiments in human history.
Pfizer entered into an exclusivity agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Health at the outset, so the only COVID shot available is Pfizer’s. As noted by the news anchor, we now realize that the Pfizer shot has a higher risk for heart inflammation among young men than some of the other COVID shots, but Israeli youth have no option but to get the most dangerous one.
October 2018 article Ten months after Israel began its coronavirus vaccination campaign, the Health Ministry announced Monday that some Israelis will for the first time be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, starting from Thursday.
Ten months after Israel began its coronavirus vaccination campaign, the Health Ministry announced Monday that some Israelis will for the first time be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, starting from Thursday.
Only Israelis 18 and up with a referral from a doctor will be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, the statement added.
The Covid Resilience Ranking
The Best and Worst Places to Be as We Learn to Live With Delta Sept 28, 2021
US is #23. The table may be sorted to review ranking of individual criteria.
The Covid Resilience Ranking is a monthly snapshot of where the virus is being handled the most effectively with the least social and economic upheaval. Compiled using 12 data indicators that span virus containment, the quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality and progress toward restarting travel and easing border curbs, the Ranking captures which of the world’s biggest 53 economies are responding best—and worst—to the same once-in-a-generation threat.
To capture which of the 53 economies are nailing reopening—an aspect of pandemic management that’s become key—we zero in on their progress on vaccination, the severity of the lockdowns and restrictions in place, plus two metrics tracking travel that were introduced in June. They form a gauge that assesses how far each place is from pre-Covid levels of normalcy.
Despite this focus on reopening, indicators that have always been part of the Resilience Ranking remain, with all 12 data points equally weighted. The Covid Status tab includes two death-related indicators: the case-fatality rate over the past three months and a measure of overall mortality through the whole pandemic. This means the U.S. having the highest recorded death toll globally still contributes to its current score.