Addressing crowds at a sell-out Covid Vaccine Conference in mid-February (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney), Dr Peter McCullough warned Australians that the Covid vaccines are unsafe, linking the products to high risks of cardiac injury, neurologic damage, and blood clots among other complications, which Dr McCullough believes are driving excess deaths in Australia and other highly vaccinated countries.
Dr McCullough’s call to stop the shots is backed by a growing group of experts, including British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, American ER doctor Joseph Fraiman, and Israeli MIT Professor Retsef Levi, all of whom claim that the Covid vaccines are much less safe than originally thought.
Evidence of Covid vaccine harm has accrued in peer reviewed journals since the vaccine rollout, including thrombotic thrombocytopenia, myocarditis and other cardiovascular harms, as well as findings suggestive of immune tolerance and immune suppression. A peer-reviewed re-analysis of Pfizer and Moderna’s own trial data found a rate of one serious adverse event (AE) per 800 doses administered. Vaccines have been pulled from the market for much less. The swine flu vaccine (1976) was withdrawn for a rate of one serious AE per 100, 000 doses. The rotavirus vaccine, Rotashield (1999), was withdrawn for a rate of one-to-two serious AEs per 10, 000 doses.
The Covid Vaccine Conference was sponsored by Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. A larger-than-life personality in Australian politics and business, Palmer is no stranger to controversy. Early in the pandemic, frontline doctors around the world reported success in treatment and prevention of Covid infection with multi-drug protocols, including the use of hydroxychloriquine (HCQ), which has long been safely prescribed for use as an antimalarial, and to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
In March 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced restrictions on prescribing of HCQ for Covid treatment and prevention on the basis that off-label prescription could create shortages for patients who already used the drug for other health conditions.
In April 2020, The Palmer Foundation donated almost 33 million doses of HCQ to Australia’s national medical stockpile, which was received with thanks by the Health Minister, Greg Hunt. However, the TGA strongly recommended against HCQ for treatment and prevention of Covid, citing concerns that HCQ was unsafe and ineffective. A public stand off ensued and, in the end, The Palmer Foundation’s doses were not distributed to the public for treatment and prevention of Covid. Palmer stated at the Covid Vaccine Conference (Sydney) that shipments of the donated doses were ultimately destroyed.
Yet many leading doctors, including Dr McCullough, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), and the Frontline Covid Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) recommend the use of HCQ in multi-drug protocols for prevention and treatment of Covid. Dr McCullough is aligned with Palmer on the view that early treatment protocols are the only method to prevent a Covid hospitalisation whether vaccinated or not, and shares concerns over vaccine injuries, disabilities, and death shortly after injection.
Dr McCullough, who has been regarded in the highest esteem throughout his career of over three and a half decades, is the quintessential media doctor. Energetic, personable, and exceedingly knowledgeable on a broad range of topics, he calls to mind citations to support his claims at an astounding rate.
As an internist, cardiologist and epidemiologist, Dr McCullough is in the unique position of being one of the few medical professionals to be both treating patients on the ground during the pandemic, as well as publishing academic papers (over 60 on Covid alone) and occupying policy advisory and media roles. Dr McCullough is known for his expertise in cardiorenal medicine – he quite literally wrote the book on it as Editor of the Textbook of Cardiorenal Medicine, and contributor to the award-winning cardiovascular textbook Braunwald’s Heart Disease.
Since the start of the pandemic, he has spoken extensively on the cardiovascular implications of both the SARS-Cov-2 virus and the Covid vaccines. Dr McCullough questioned the rationale and safety of genetic vaccines as early as August 2020, before they were released, and has consistently called for greater scrutiny of the Covid vaccines, especially since myocarditis was identified as a safety signal early in the rollout.
Dr McCullough has treated patients with vaccine-induced myocarditis in his capacity as a practicing cardiologist. “Covid-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis is severe, and can result in hospitalisation or death,” he states, disputing the latest guidance on myocarditis and pericarditis after Covid vaccination (9 November 2022) from Australia’s vaccine advisory group, ATAGI, which characterises these conditions as typically being “relatively mild,” and “self-limiting,” meaning they resolve without the need for therapy or assistance.
“There are some regulatory principles that I think the public should understand,” explains Dr McCullough. “A serious adverse event is one that results in hospitalisation, death, or disability, very important. So anything that lands somebody in the hospital by definition is serious. Multiple studies, including the original CDC analysis, show that myocarditis when it’s recognised in young people, 90% of people are hospitalised. So by definition, it’s serious.”
Dr McCullough points to a study published in The Lancet which is suggestive that, even months later, there is cardiac damage and symptoms that are ongoing. In the study of 519 patients who had vaccine-induced myocarditis, 26% were prescribed medication for their condition. 90 days after onset of the condition, 32% of patients had not been cleared for physical activity. Only 81% of patients were considered ‘recovered’ by their healthcare providers, however this definition was somewhat misleading. In the ‘recovered’ group, 23% still experienced chest pain or discomfort while resting, 19% experienced shortness of breath, and 14% experienced heart palpitations while resting.
The depiction of vaccine-induced myocarditis as a serious condition requiring medical intervention is supported by data collected by Australia’s largest vaccine injured patient support group, COVERSE, in which group members report not seeing any improvement in symptoms for an average of seven months. “The figure includes other serious vaccine-induced conditions, and not just myocarditis and perdicarditis,” explains COVERSE co-founder, Dr Rado Faletic. “However, what is most alarming is that our members report no follow up or investigation from our national drug regulator, the TGA, leading us to conclude that the regulator is unaware of the true extent of damage caused by Covid vaccines.”
Dr McCullough does not deny that Covid infection carries risk of cardiovascular and other injury, acknowledging findings from 2020 which showed, “there’s about a six week window after a hospitalisation, which there are increased risks of heart attacks and strokes. That’s before the vaccines.” However, he refutes claims that Covid infection poses the greater risk of cardiac injury compared to Covid vaccination, referencing a large population based study from Israel which found no perceivable increase in myocarditis or pericarditis from Covid infection against background rates.
It is Covid vaccines that pose the greater risk, says Dr McCullough. His reasoning lies in a combination of factors, including unnecessary exposure to the harmful spike protein that comes from repeated vaccination, the availability of other safer and more effective therapeutics for treatment of Covid infection, and the fact that vaccine risks increase in inverse correlation to decreased risks from Covid infection in younger age groups.
“[In Australia], those who have taken the vaccine, because they don’t work, have also had Covid. So now they’re having additional exposures to the spike protein and they’re taking more vaccines even though they’ve had Covid. But the avoidable part of this is the vaccines,” says Dr McCullough. Studies seeking to compare risks of complications (eg: cardiovascular injury) arising from Covid infection vs. vaccination tend to omit a third option: early treatment of the infection with safe and effective therapeutics.
Dr McCullough has treated many patients for Covid infection, developing his own early treatment protocol which includes repurposed drugs (including famotidine, ivermectin, HCQ, azithromycin, doxycycle, prednisone, colchicine, and enoxaparin), alongside new drugs like Pfizer’s Paxlovid. He stresses the importance of treating infection early, especially in patients who have not previously had the virus. “Covid infection for the first time in a frail person is a high-risk situation,” he says. “If that person receives early treatment, they avoid hospitalisation and death and they essentially have no risk of these complications we’ve talked about.”
There is growing scientific consensus that in healthy, young patients, the risks associated with Covid vaccination are greater than the risks associated with Covid infection. A risk:benefit assessment of booster mandates for young adults published in the BMJ estimated at least 18.5 adverse events per one theoretical Covid hospitalisation prevented by mRNA vaccines, including 1.5–4.6 booster-associated myopericarditis cases in males (typically requiring hospitalisation).
It is known that vaccine-induced myocarditis can be fatal. Numerous studies and articles have now been published, including autopsies showing association between cardiac death and Covid vaccination in people of diverse age, gender and race (Dr McCullough cites Gill et al., 2022; Verma et al., 2021; Choi et al., 2021; Chavez et al., 2022; Schwab, et al., 2022).
However, cardiac fatalities in temporal proximity to vaccination are not the only concern, from Dr McCuollough’s perspective. Covid vaccines can create scarring and subclinical damage to the heart, which may cause complications, and fatalities, months or even years later. Subclinical damage is likely to occur at a rate of around 2.5%, according to findings from a study of vaccinated Thai adolescents (2.3%) and confirmed in a Swiss study of vaccinated adults (2.8%).
Dr McCullough explains, “The concern is that severe enough inflammation of the heart or a large enough area results in a scar. And then when the scar is there, the electricity can go through the scar and around it and cause what’s a called ‘reentry.’ Reentry, ventricular tachycardia, which is a very fast abnormal heart rhythm, will cause somebody to collapse. It degenerates into ventricular fibrillation, and that’s a full-blown cardiac arrest.”
Taking into account the mounting empirical evidence of Covid vaccine harm, as well as the record numbers of excess deaths in highly vaccinated countries (yet to be satisfactorily explained), Dr McCullough arrives at a strong conclusion: “The next person who dies unexpectedly with no antecedent illness and there’s no other explanation, it is the vaccine until proven otherwise.”
For this reason, Dr McCullough stated in his expert testimony before the US Senate (7 December 2022) that, “all the vaccines should be taken off the market, and they should all be removed.” Dr McCullough repeated this call throughout his Australian tour. “The World Council for Health agrees. There’s been calls in the UK Parliament to do this. In Australia there’s been strong calls to do this, in Japan and elsewhere. This is a worldwide crisis, the continued use of vaccines that are unsafe,” he says.
A recent analysis of excess mortality data by expert group HART (Health Advisory and Recovery Team) tests the hypothesis that Covid vaccines are driving excess deaths, using Australia as the ‘control group’. The group notes that even though Australia contained the spread of Covid prior to mid-2021, we saw a trend in excess non-Covid deaths beginning in June 2021, in tandem with the vaccination rollout and not significantly related to Covid. The authors conclude, “The results from this control group indicate that the cause of this rise in deaths, particularly in young people, must be something in common with Australia, Europe and the USA”.
New research lends further weight. A preprint paper assessing the impacts of pandemic containment strategies found that countries with the highest Covid vaccination rates also experienced the highest rates of Covid deaths per capita. Conversely, the authors found that in countries where HCQ was widely used, Covid deaths were lower per capita. Both findings were statistically significant. Another preprint, using a Bradford Hill analysis of official Australian data, concludes, “Australia appears likely to be experiencing an iatrogenic pandemic and the associated mortality risk/benefit ratio for COVID injections is very high.” These preprints are yet to make their way through peer review.
Dr McCullough’s visit came at a time when the Australian public health response to the pandemic is changing gears, from a focus on infection prevention to learning to live with Covid. Dr McCullough asserts that as the emergency of the first phase of the pandemic subsides, a new emergency is building, in the form of collateral damage from the mass vaccination program.
While in Australia, Dr McCullough visited with members of the Australian Parliament to discuss their growing concerns about the safety of the Covid vaccines. Liberal MP Russell Broadbent has recently joined Senators Gerard Rennick (LNP), Alex Antic (Liberal), Malcolm Roberts (One Nation) and Ralph Babet (UAP) in publicly voicing concerns about Covid vaccine safety.
Dr McCullough’s criticisms of Covid vaccines and government pandemic management has not come without cost. His reputation has undergone a serious beating online since 2020, with ‘fact checkers’ quick to publish disingenuous counterclaims, and headlines smearing him as ‘anti-vax,’ and a ‘spreader of misinformation.’
“Those are flat-out defamatory terms,” says Dr McCullough, incredulous. “I’m the most published person in my field in the world in history. I’ve broadly embraced vaccines throughout my career.”
As for the media’s claims of ‘misinformation!’, Dr McCullough counters, “What I’m suspicious of is the media following a narrative… the media was complicit with an overarching plan for Covid-19 from the very beginning, and that plan was designed to drive as much fear, suffering, hospitalization, and death as possible in order to relentlessly promote the vaccines. And so any person who stands in the way of that agenda is defamed.”
Defaming highly credentialed medical experts is qualitatively different from traditional scientific discourse, which is based on questioning and iteration for the purpose of shared knowledge building. Dr McCullough notes that he is quick to update his position on issues as the evidence requires, just as he is quick to amend rare errors should they come to light.
As example, in a letter to the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, (November 2022), Dr McCullough and Dr Panagis Polykretis, referenced a data set that was subsequently found to contain some erroneous entries. Upon discovery, this error was amended by the authors, with a corrigendum due to be published in the journal imminently, per standard practice. The adjusted finding revealed that the rate of cardiac arrests per year among athletes aged 35 years and older (active and semi-pro) rose from 29 per year before vaccination to 283 per year after vaccination, a tenfold increase. Dr Polykretis confirms that not one journalist or ‘fact checker’ contacted the authors prior to running charged ‘gotcha’ pieces accusing the authors of spreading misinformation.
At the same time, media doctors who have made numerous factual errors in public forums during the pandemic (remember claims that Covid vaccines cannot affect menstrual cycles?) are typically given a hall pass by mainstream media, who make all manner of excuses for their errors.
Why would the media behave in such a way? Dr McCullough says he can’t speak for individual reporters, but he can offer a birds eye view of the problem, which is detailed in his book, The Courage to Face COVID-19, co-authored with best-selling true crime author John Leake:
“The biopharmaceutical complex – it includes powerful worldwide organizations the World Economic Forum, the World Health Organisation, Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and GAVI, CEPI, UNITAID,” explains Dr McCullough. “They’re working as a unit in a sense. It’s a vaccine syndicate and they have been clear the goal is to mass vaccinate the world – not once but over and over again.”
There is big money to be made in vaccines, especially ones that need to be updated on a regular basis, says Dr McCullough.
Going against the vaccine syndicate has put more on the line for Dr McCullough than his reputation. In 2022, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) threatened to revoke Dr McCullough’s board certification, though that threat has not been carried out. Several institutions and journals have cut ties without the courtesy of discussion or due process.
Yet McCullough is resolved to continue. “From the very beginning, I kept my oath, the Hippocratic oath. And I promised as a doctor that above all, I would do no harm and I would do everything in my professional capability to help each and every patient get through an illness, and in my role as a public figure to help our nation and the world get through this crisis,” he says with the intensity of someone who really means it.
Looking ahead to future pandemic management strategies, Dr McCullough opposes the proposed World Health Organisation (WHO) pandemic treaty which, if passed, will cede more control of national pandemic response to the WHO.
“I think the entire world should evaluate the performance of the World Health Organization in this pandemic. It has been disastrous,” says Dr McCullough. “The World Health Organisation has flip-flopped on major issues. It’s given completely incorrect guidance on many aspects of the pandemic. It has not coordinated well with the rest of the world, has not invited collaboration, has not critically reappraised the vaccines, which is the most important thing. They get an F in their grade on pandemic response.”
“I think leaders of these organisations who are not elected are seizing on the opportunity to grab unprecedented power and that the world should be alarmed,” says Dr McCullough, maintaining that under no circumstances should any arrangements be made to give the WHO more control over locally delivered healthcare. The treaty is opposed by numerous Australian politicians including Senator Antic and Senator Roberts.
Returning to the emergency at hand, Dr McCullough strongly urges Australian authorities take a “safe regulatory conservative approach” and stop the shots.