Of Pfizer and Failure

Folks may remember torcetrapib, a Pfizer failure that was supposed to prevent heart attacks, It was touted to be combined with Pfizer’s best seller, the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin, better known as Lipitor®, a cash cow now competing with generics. Lipitor was known for its mild side effects – constipation, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, gas, heartburn, headache, and mild muscle pain – about the same as eating a large can of chili beans too quickly.

Torcetrapib, infamously archived as Pfizer’s $800 million failure, went through lengthy research, marketing hype and testing. Pfizer was just about to submit it for approval when trials combining it with Lipitor® started showing high death rates in test subjects and the new drug was withdrawn. The torcetrapib catastrophe caused a huge hole in Pfizer’s drug pipeline and profits.

Folks may want to keep that discredited drug in mind as they line up to get their first shot of the new coronavirus vaccine. Torcetrapib went through extensive testing and trials. The new coronavirus vaccine is a rushed job. Front-line health care workers and our most vulnerable will be the first real long term case study subjects.

We won’t know if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is effective until the end of January 2021. First shot, 21 days later second shot, 10 days later immunity … maybe.

I lined up two weeks ago at my local pharmacy to get my first ever flu shot. It has a long history of mild side-effects and reasonable effectiveness. I have no problem at all with recommending a proven vaccine to my family, friends and broader community. I will not, however, sign them up as experimental test subjects.

With this new coronavirus double-shot, frozen vaccine rolling out to countries around the world thanks to billions in international taxpayer dollars being paid out for our “free” vaccinations, Pfizer stands to recoup its losses and save the world. Not to mention the potential surge in the stock market bouncing up from the massive infrastructure investment needed to store and transport this vaccine. Got to love for-profit benevolence.

It always reminds us that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from forbes.com

Trump’s Last Three Weeks of “Hard Work”

Donald Trump proclaimed at his last “freedom rally” in Georgia on December 5, 2020 that, “I’ve worked harder in the last three weeks than I ever have in my life.”

 During those three weeks of “hard work” 37,000 Americans died from COVID-19. The President’s schedule is unfortunately available to the public online. Here is what the three weeks of hard work look like to President Trump. Be patient and read carefully and compare his schedule to the last three weeks of hard work in our lives.

To speed things up NPE means No Public Events, PC means a WH press Pool Call which is an update that happens every single day and leads to a WH Press Report. Here is the President’s schedule from November 15, 2020 to December 8, 2020:

November 15/20 – PC, NPE, Golf at Trump National, Potomac Falls, Virginia

November 16/20 – PC, NPE, lunch with VP Pence

November 17/20 – PC, NPE

November 18.20 – PC, NPE

November 19/20 – PC, NPE, VP Task Force mtg, Coronavirus Task Force public briefing

November 20/20 PC, virtual APEC mtg, WH press briefing, delivers drug plan address,    meets with Michigan reps at WH to get election results reversed

November 21/20 – PC, virtual APEC Summit, Golf at Trump National

November 22/20 – PC, virtual G20 Summit, Golf at Trump National

November 23/20 – PC, NPE

November 24/20 – PC, delivers Thanksgiving remarks, presents turkey with First Lady

November 25/20 – PC, NPE

November 26/20 – PC, NPE, Golf at Trump National, Thanksgiving video to military

November 27/20 – PC, Golf at Trump National, departs for Camp David

November 28/20 PC, departs Camp David for Trump National, Golf, returns

November 29/20, PC, Interview with Fox News, departs Camp David for WH

November 30/20 – PC, lunch with VP Pence, calls to Arizona GOP reps re election

December 1/20 – PC, NPE, meeting with AG Bill Barr

December 2/20 – PC, lunch with Secretary of State Mike  Pompeo, WH press con

December 3/20 – PC, Medal of Freedom to Steve Holz, football coach, signing for AI

December 4/20 – PC, NPE

December 5/20 – PC, flies with Melania to Georgia rally, rally, flies back

December 6/20 – PC, NPE

December 7/20 – PC. Medal of Freedom to wrestler-coach Dan Gable, lunch with VP

December 8/20 – PC, Operation Warp Speed vaccine summit remarks.

That’s it folks – last three weeks working harder than he ever has in his life. 6 golf games, 4 flights, 3  luncheons, 3 attempts to overturn the election results, 2 Medals of Freedom, 2 virtual international summits, 1 interview with Fox news, 1 Thanksgiving turkey pardon, 1 rally, 1 coronavirus task force report. 1 coronavirus vaccine announcement, and 37,000 Americans died from COVID-19. Tough week, Donald.

And how did you summarize your feelings: “If I lost, I’d be a very gracious loser. If I lost, I would say I lost and I’d go to Florida and I’d take it easy and I’d go around and I’d say I did a good job, But you can’t ever accept when they steal and rig and lie.”

No, Donald, we can never accept it when you steal and rig, and lie. Hard work, Mr. President? You need some hard labour. The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from violinchannel.com

The Vaccine is no Miracle Cure

 Yes, help is on the way, and vaccines from various companies may soon be available in countries around the world, but the return to “normal” is a long distance run, not a sprint. That is why Dr, Fauci, America’s top infectious disease specialist, expressed concern at the speed at which the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was rush approved for use in the UK without a national health review of Pfizer’s data.

Dr, Fauci was criticized for his observations, but he was absolutely right, The safety and efficiency reports on the vaccine were issued by the company and accepted at face value by British authorities. There was no separate national health care service review and analysis of the data. That is like accepting Monsanto-Bayer’s claim that their glyphosate-based  Roundup® herbicide was perfectly safe – only to discover later after public health and safety reviews that it should be kept under lock and key.

I am NOT excited about getting the vaccine from any company before it goes through Health Canada approvals. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will begin distribution once the efficacy of the vaccine has been checked and verified by our public health guardians, not by the private for-profit companies that produced the vaccines.

That is why it will be quite a while before the vaccine reaches the general public. After federal approval, it will no doubt be distributed to front-line health care workers first, and then in order of priority from the most vulnerable beginning with long-term care residents, city workers, teachers, and day-care staff, followed by the marginalized communities showing the greatest positivity rates.

Keep in mind the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses twenty-one days apart and takes thirty days from the first shot until “immunity” is achieved. Yes, 30 days in total. One month. So let’s say you are one of those average Canadians who might get their first injection at the beginning of August 2021. Twenty-one days later you get your second dose of the vaccine. Then you wait 10 days more days for full immune-system response so that by Labour Day in September you may be back to following the normal coronavirus health protocols in public.

You may be immune from infection, but still able to transmit infection to others. No one knows yet, Herein lies the danger of the vaccine illusion. The same misinformed masses who hold “freedom rallies” and “hugs over masks” protests and travel cross-country to celebrate traditional seasonal holidays, are the same who think life is about to return to normal when the vaccine arrives. They are joined by ordinary citizens who are pandemic weary and worn-out by lockdown isolation, the realities of full time parenting, and a constricting economy.

The truth is that unless we stay socially distant, wear masks, wash hands, and follow all of the recommended health guidelines until the end of 2021, all of the hope and hard work that went into preparing these coronavirus vaccines will have been for naught. And unless we wait patiently for the appropriate federal public health agencies to give their approval, blind faith in premature for-profit praise of the vaccine could turn out to be more of a disaster than a miracle.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caleon

  • image from euractiv.com

 

The Populist Pandemic

It is not by chance that the three provinces led by populist premiers have the highest COVID-19 case counts in Canada. Kenney’s UCP Alberta, Ford’s PC Ontario, and Legault’s PQ Quebec are all competing for top spot as Canada’s most COVIDIOT province.

In contrast, Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister made a passionate plea yesterday for citizens to smarten up, wear masks and strictly follow the other recommended health guidelines so they could live to enjoy Christmas next year.

At a news conference Thursday, December 3, 2020, the Premier minced no words in challenging Manitobans to change their Christmas and holiday celebrations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “If you don’t think COVID is real, right now, you are an idiot …. I’m the guy who’s stealing Christmas to keep you safe because you need to do this now,” he said. “My plea to Manitobans – please stay safe, protect each other, love one another. But now is not the time to get together.”

Pallister said he hoped Manitobans would respect him in the coming years for “having the guts” to tell them to do the right thing even if they aren’t happy with him now. The premier said Manitobans can celebrate together next year, but for the time being, “the right thing to do is to protect each other and stay safe by social distancing, wearing masks, and socializing only with people in your household.”

Thank you Brian Pallister, for reminding us what leadership looks like in a time of crisis. You may not be the most popular Premier in Manitoba’s history, but as my Mother used to say, “I’m not running a popularity contest. Take your Buckley’s – tastes awful, but it works.”

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from steinbachonline.com

Political Irony, Part 2

Indulge me, dear readers, with one more example of political irony. This one comes from south of the border, where, in a country replete with examples of politicians who hug the flag, hold the bible, kiss the babies, and lie through their smiles, the timing alone of this award winning entry in the middle of a global pandemic is truly outstanding.

Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin Texas, posted a Facebook video message on Nov. 9, telling his residents to “stay home” with only immediate family members to avoid spreading COVID-19 in their communities. The video was filmed while he was in Mexico on vacation with eight people, including immediate and extended family,

Mr. Adler has at least apologized, whereas our Caledon hypocrites, Regional Councillor Annette Groves for her betrayal of Caledon at Peel Region, and Conservative MP Kyle Seeback for the destruction of the WE Charity have both yet to apologize.

In my humble opinion, all fine examples of political irony in action.

Although vaccines for COVID-19 may be soon available in North America, there is as yet no vaccine for stupidity. I am referring to the stupidity that occurs when we know exactly what these politicians have done, and yet we let their smiling spin marketing fool us again and again. By the time the next federal or provincial or municipal election comes around, they will find some shiny new object with which to distract us.

The price of a just freedom and intelligent democracy is lifelong learning and eternal vigilance. The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

* image from patch.com