As part of a series, Frontline News is profiling those medical scientists and doctors who previously supported COVID vaccination, then after reexamining the evidence, had the courage to change their minds. This series examines who they are, and what evidence persuaded them.
Dr. Aseem Malhotra is a respected and widely published British cardiologist. He campaigns for evidence-based medicine, alerting both the medical community and the public to the vital importance of nutrition and fitness, and the dangers inherent in the overuse of statins and other pharmaceuticals to prevent disease.
He strongly and publicly supported the COVID vaccines when they came to market tweeting on November 25, 2020, "Vaccines are the safest of all drugs.” He appeared on the BBC program Good Morning Britain in early February 2021 with an apparently balanced position on the vaccines. He felt that although there were irrational concerns, such as the possible negative effect on female fertility, there were also rational fears based on a legitimate distrust in science produced by the pharmaceutical industry. Still, “when you look at all the drugs combined . . . vaccines by far are the safest.” He might have questioned many aspects of modern medicine, but he did not question vaccines.
Not only did he talk the talk, but he walked the walk, becoming one of the first in England to get the vaccine, at the end of January 2021. Volunteering at a vaccine center where high-risk individuals were being vaccinated, he was able to take advantage of leftover doses.
In April 2021 a cardiologist he knew and respected told a surprised Dr. Malhotra that he was not vaccinated. One of the reasons he chose not to get vaccinated was that he read in the supplementary appendix of the original Pfizer trial that there were four cardiac arrests in the vaccine group versus one in the placebo group. This was news to Dr. Malhotra and food for thought — but he continued to support the vaccine campaign.
In July 2021 Dr. Malhotra’s 73-year-old father died unexpectedly of a heart attack. At the time there was an ongoing ambulance delay problem in the U.K. which began in the spring of 2021 and has been confirmed by data the NIH released in August 2022. Dr. Malhotra expressed his anger over the ambulance's delay; it arrived in little over 30 minutes.
His father’s death was a shock. As a cardiologist, Dr. Malhotra knew his father was in excellent health and physical condition. He had run tests on him only a couple of years earlier and there were no signs of any problems, yet a post-mortem discovered signs of extensive arterial narrowing. Dr. Malhotra did not connect it to the COVID vaccine that his father had received six months previously, but he was puzzled.
A few months later, he read a peer-reviewed abstract by S. R. Gundry in the November 2021 issue of Circulation. Gundry reported on a longitudinal study of patients whose biomarkers for heart health were checked every 3–6 months for the previous 8 years and continued through the COVID vaccination campaign. There was a clear and significant negative change in these markers after the rollout of the COVID vaccines. The study showed an increase in the risk of heart attack that Malhotra describes as “massive”.
Shortly after the publication of that abstract, Malhotra was contacted by another cardiologist from a prestigious, but unnamed, British institution, who alerted Malhotra to efforts at his institution to bury evidence of the negative effects of the COVID vaccines on cardiac health. Researchers had accidentally uncovered evidence, through coronary imaging, of a huge signal of coronary inflammation in the vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated. They decided not to publish these results in order to protect their Big Pharma funding. Malhotra spoke publicly about both the Gundry article and about this anonymous tip in an interview with GB News. Subsequent to that interview, the anonymous researcher contacted Malhotra again and said that members of the group were now receiving non-disclosure agreements to sign. Malhotra assumes someone saw his interview and got worried.
In addition, Malhotra was hearing confidentially from journalists and from other cardiologists about noticeable increases in heart attacks in hospitals around Great Britain most noticeably in younger people.
At that point, Malhotra thought back on his father’s death and the information he received and decided that he needed to investigate. He spent nine months reviewing the available data before publishing a two-part article in The Journal of Insulin Resistance, “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine”, on September 26, 2022.
The following day, The World Council for Health held a press conference where Dr. Malhotra announced that he was now of the opinion that the dangers of the COVID vaccines greatly outweigh the benefits and called for a halt to their use until more analysis is done.
He now believes, as he said in an interview on The Highwire, that it’s “essentially right now all risk and almost no benefit whatsoever.”
The findings that changed Malhotra’s mind
The mantra is that the COVID vaccines are ‘safe and effective’. Malhotra investigated both these claims.
Looking back at the original randomized controlled trials (RCT) from Pfizer and Moderna, on which the emergency use authorizations (EUA) were based, Malhotra references studies demonstrating that despite the claim of 95% effectiveness, a claim of relative risk reduction, the absolute risk reduction was just 0.84%. Furthermore, these percentages relate to the risk of testing positive with symptoms, not serious disease or death. The trials in children did not even demonstrate a reduction in symptomatic infection but measured antibody levels, a surrogate indicator. Finally, “[t]here were only two deaths from COVID-19 in the placebo group and one death from COVID-19 in the vaccine group,” not a statistically significant difference. This is data that Malhotra brought directly from the study filed with the FDA.
Looking at all-cause mortality, Malhotra shows that “there were actually slightly more deaths in the vaccine group (19 deaths) than in the placebo group (17 deaths)”
This presents a new perspective on the potential benefits of the COVID vaccines. In Malhotra’s words, “[i]t would be surprising — to say the least — if during an apparently deadly pandemic, an effective vaccine could not clearly and unequivocally be shown to reduce all-cause mortality.”
What about harm?
Dr. Malhotra looked at both the adverse events recorded during the trials and after the vaccine rollout. During the Pfizer trial, participants who were hospitalized after the first dose was removed from the study, assuring that if their hospitalization was due to the vaccine it would not be considered in the final results. Just two months into the 6-month study, the vaccine was offered to the participants in the placebo group, invalidating any data collected after that.
The only other available data on adverse events comes from pharmacovigilance tools, like the British yellow card system or the U.S. VAERS. These contain more reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines than all previous vaccines combined, spanning decades. Other vaccines or drugs have been removed from the market after considerably fewer adverse event reports.
There is much literature demonstrating that these systems underreport adverse reactions as they are voluntary and are rarely reported more than a few days or weeks after vaccination. Malhotra’s expert opinion is that the mRNA vaccines could be acting to speed up the course of heart disease months later. He fears this was true for his father.
Ambulance service records report a significant increase in calls due to heart attacks for people much younger on average than prior to the COVID shots. These increases correlate with the rollout of the COVID vaccines for younger people.
The increasing occurrence of myocarditis, especially in young men, highlighted in studies out of Denmark and Israel is hard to ignore.
Dr Malhotra concludes:
While a case can be made that the vaccines may have saved some lives in the elderly or otherwise vulnerable groups, that case seems tenuous at best in other sections of the population, and when the possible short-, medium- and unknown longer-term harms are considered (especially for multiple injections, robust safety data for which simply does not exist), the roll-out into the entire population seems, at best, a reckless gamble.
What about his colleagues?
Dr. Malhotra connects the COVID vaccines to issues he has been highlighting throughout his career. Industrial pharmaceutical influence has led the medical and public health community to ignore well-known and important lifestyle issues which can prevent illness, such as diet and exercise. Obesity and physical inactivity are well-known risk factors for many diseases common today, and they are risk factors for COVID-19, too.
Dr. Malhotra explores this issue in “Part 2” of his paper. The co-opting of medicine by the pharmaceutical industry is a large part of the problem. This is not a new problem. Stanford Medicine Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology Chairman Professor John Ioannidis wrote a paper about it in 2015 entitled, “How to survive the medical misinformation mess”.
Drug companies are driven by profits. They fund medical research, hospitals, universities, medical journals, and the media. The information that gets out to the general public and to doctors is shaped to meet the profit needs of the drug companies. Even research is corrupted and can no longer be trusted. During the COVID pandemic, governments indemnified the COVID-19 manufacturers from legal responsibility, and the drug manufacturers and regulators successfully refused to share raw data from the trials. This resulted in “a product that in comparison with time-tested traditional vaccines and most other drugs has extremely poor efficacy and unprecedented reports of serious harms."
The example of Tamiflu, a drug marketed for treating influenza over a decade ago, is edifying. The British government bought half a billion dollars of Tamiflu on the basis of published reports on its efficacy. These reports were published by the company selling the product. When independent researchers got hold of the raw data they were able to demonstrate that Tamiflu not only performed no better than previously available medications but also posed definite health risks. How do we know we are not facing a similar situation?
The FDA, a regulatory agency, received over a million dollars from Pfizer in May 2021 as part of the vaccine approval process. Unsurprisingly, in August 2021 Pfizer received this approval. The Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the British equivalent of the FDA, states on its website that it receives most of its funding from drug companies. Regulatory agencies are supposed to protect the public but if their funding comes from the very industry they are regulating there is an inherent conflict of interest.
It has become clear that there were known and significant adverse events even in the vaccine trials that the drug companies hid. A well-publicized story is that of Maddie De Garay, whose multi-system and crippling adverse events during the clinical trials were recorded by Pfizer as a stomach ache.
Malhotra concludes, “There was never any evidence justifying any COVID-19 vaccine mandates, passports or any of the other coercive measures adopted by various governments worldwide,” and that “[t]here is also a strong scientific, ethical and moral case to be made that the current mRNA vaccine administration must stop until Pfizer releases all the raw data for independent scrutiny.”
Given that Malhotra and, for that matter, many doctors worldwide, knew that the drug industry was suspect and that evidence-based medicine was being compromised, why were they so quick to trust it when it came to the COVID-19 vaccines? Malhotra offers an explanation at the beginning of his press conference on September 27. He speaks of fear and willful blindness.
Doctors are human and subject to the irrationality that fear can produce. As Dr. Malhotra says in his Highwire interview, “Fear clouds critical thinking.” Malhotra’s father feared for his son’s well-being and urged him to get vaccinated. Malhotra feared infecting his patients.
In addition, people behave according to accepted paradigms and in the face of evidence threatening these paradigms, they may engage in willful blindness. Malhotra’s paradigm was that vaccines are the safest of all pharmaceutical products. He went so far as to say in the press conference that he “could not conceive of the possibility that a vaccine could do any real harm at all,” and he knows many doctors who still believe that. He couldn’t see beyond that for a long time.
Sometimes, paradigms are recognized and rejected, and the evidence brought to his attention gradually chipped away at his blindness. Once he recognized the disturbing questions surrounding the COVID vaccine narrative, professional integrity led him to share this knowledge with other doctors and with the public. His article has done a great service to the scientific community in summarizing a large body of creditable research.
The courage which led him to buck the system in other areas, such as the overuse of pharmaceuticals as first-line treatment for disease, has led him to bring attention to his findings in many public forums in the months since his paper was published. However, he was unable to get an interview with a mainstream media outlet.
On January 13, 2023, the BBC invited Dr. Malhotra to comment on the new NHS statin guidelines approving statin prescriptions for younger patients than ever before. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs used to prevent heart attacks. He was quite critical and considering he is well-known for his criticism of the use of statins it is clear the BBC invited him to provide a counterpoint to the new guidelines. He bravely took the opportunity to voice his concerns about the COVID mRNA vaccines unleashing an immediate avalanche of criticism. Apparently, as long as he is critical of statins he is allowed to be part of the conversation even if some think he is misguided. If he has an opinion about the mRNA vaccines, however, he is now a “vaccine sceptic” and his opinions should be given no weight. He has been criticized for “hijacking” the interview, despite the fact that when the interviewer asks to interrupt him, he politely accedes, and he later returns to the topic of statins when asked to do so.
The BBC apologized for not being “better prepared to challenge what Dr Malhotra said.”