Frontline News

Profiles in courage: Dr Joseph Fraiman

Scientists and doctors who previously supported COVID vaccination, then had the courage to change their minds

Posted by and

March 13, 2023


09:51 AM

Profiles in courage: Dr Joseph Fraiman

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. 

The word ‘safe’ is just not a term we use in medicine. . . . There’s no medical intervention that’s safe. Everything has potential side effects. . . . I don’t think it was right to use that terminology, especially as a physician speaking to a patient.

 – Joseph Fraiman to Trish Woods in an interview in April 2022

Joseph Fraiman, MD graduated from Cornell Medical College in 2012 and currently works as an ER doctor and clinical research scientist in rural Louisiana hospitals outside New Orleans. He made a deliberate choice to work outside the framework of a large research center in order to remain independent of outside influences in his clinical research. His has been a voice of scientific integrity throughout the pandemic. His words are measured and he truly “follows the science”.

Fraiman is not one to question vaccines lightly. During Governor Desantis' roundtable discussion on the COVID vaccines in December 2022 he pleaded with parents not to lose trust in all the previous vaccines on the childhood vaccine schedule. Yet, he does not back down from calling out the negative evidence he has uncovered concerning the COVID vaccines, in addition to the medical community's censorship, the violation of the patient's right to informed consent, and the damage to the doctor-patient relationship he has witnessed. In the same forum, he explained that when the vaccines were being rolled out, he questioned whether or not they would be as effective as was claimed, but he did not think they could “cause a large amount of serious harm”.

On the other hand, he did seek out and receive a religious exemption from the COVID vaccine when it became mandatory in the hospitals where he worked. He explained, in an interview with Trish Woods, that he received a religious exemption on the basis of a lengthy and detailed request he submitted including both legal and scientific arguments. It is interesting to note that he cited the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Seeger (1965), which concluded that First Amendment protection of religion extends to strongly held beliefs, even if they do not include the belief in a supreme being. His strongly-held belief in science fit this description, and his informed opinion, which he presented in detail, was that there was no reason for a person with his level of risk to expose himself to the risk of the vaccine, and that this decision would endanger neither his coworkers nor his patients. He added that he would have been willing to risk vaccination in a mandate if it were part of a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the actual effectiveness of vaccination mandates in reducing infection in hospital workers and patients.

Fraiman addressed the FDA advisory committee in September 2021 when they debated the first booster. He pointed out that, contrary to the popular conception, those questioning the vaccines were not unintelligent or uninformed. Among his patients and his nursing staff, those who were “vaccine hesitant” were well informed on the latest studies and the lack of real, science-based evidence that the risks of COVID outweighed the risks of the vaccines. He appealed to the FDA saying, 

We need your help on the front lines to stop vaccine hesitancy. Demand the booster trials are large enough to find a reduction in hospitalization. Without this data, we, the medical establishment, cannot confidently call out anti-COVID vaccine activists who publicly claim the vaccines harm more than they save, especially in the young and healthy.

The Paradigm Shift

Dr. Fraiman's first published article concerning COVID appeared in September 2020 as a letter responding to a study exploring the efficacy of using chest CT (computer assisted x-ray analysis) to diagnose COVID. He pointed out that although the authors of the study were correct to point out the lack of reliability of chest CT, it was — according to their analytical standards — still more reliable than the RT-PCR test. His suggested solution was to use both. He was certainly not a COVID denier, and actually suggested a more rigorous diagnostic method.  . 

He was “in shock” in March 2020 when a “hero” of his, Prof. John Ioannidis, questioned the use of lockdown measures because of the potential societal harms. 

He published a paper in May 2021 with Tony Zitek, MD, titled “Ending the Pandemic: Are Rapid COVID-19 Tests a Step Forward or Back?” in which he argues against the use of rapid COVID tests. At the very least he advocates for calling a “negative” test “indeterminate” as the test results have a high probability of being false negative leading sick people to leave quarantine while they are still contagious. He clearly accepts that COVID is “a potentially fatal contagious respiratory illness,” and for grounded, epidemiological reasons rejects the switch from PCR to rapid tests. 

He described to Desantis' panel his observations as an emergency physician during the COVID waves in Louisiana. The waves in 2020 were unusual. The number being admitted was not unusually high but the percentage of those admitted who were in critical condition or who consequently died was high. In early 2021 he noticed something unusual in a different way — there was a wave of critically ill patients and many deaths as previously but no one was testing positive for COVID-19. This was true not only in his hospital but in others in his region. They had so many patients they had to transfer some out of state, which he says is not a common occurrence. He remembers calling a colleague in California who confirmed that she was seeing a similar phenomenon.

A few months later, information emerged that the spike protein is itself toxic and that presented him with a possible explanation for that “third” wave of COVID-like illness in early 2021 following, as it did, shortly after the introduction of the vaccines. The spike protein in the vaccine could conceivably be causing harm to the body similar to that of COVID-19. This shined a new light on the situation and motivated Fraiman to reevaluate the data from the original trials.

Reevaluating the Data

Dr. Fraiman, along with an international team of six colleagues, went back to look more closely at the serious adverse event data available from the original Pfizer and Moderna placebo-controlled, phase III randomized clinical trials. He was the lead author of the BMJ  article published in September 2022 concluding, "[T]he risk of serious adverse events from the vaccines is greater than the risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19.” This pivotal paper was cited by Dr. Aseem Malhotra when he wrote:

A recent pre-print publication co-authored by some of the most trusted medical scientists in the world in relation to data transparency adds validity to pharmacovigilance data. Accessing data from the FDA and health Canada websites and combining results from journal articles that published the Pfizer and Moderna trials, the authors concluded that the absolute risk of a serious adverse event from the mRNA vaccines (a rate of one in 800) significantly exceeded the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation in randomised controlled trials.

At the time of publication, the authors also published an open letter to the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna, asking them to release the “electronic individual participant data (IPD) datasets”. They admitted, 

[O]ur estimates are only approximations because the original data remain sequestered. For example, we could not stratify by age, which would help clarify the populations in which benefits outweigh harms.

Dr. Fraiman has spoken in several interviews decrying the censorship of medical opinions and the lack of informed consent surrounding the COVID vaccines and other steps taken to supposedly curtail the spread of COVID over the past couple of years. In an interview on KevinMD, when he expressed an inability to determine the best way to deal with COVID, interviewer Martha Rosenberg stated that other scientists didn't seem to be confused. He responded:

That’s the problem. Scientists who are certain they are correct are censoring those who disagree with them. For example, the authors of the only randomized controlled trial of mask-wearing (The Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers) could not initially even get published because no one liked the results.

Ms. Rosenberg asked him if he thought the censorship would abate with the threat of COVID, and his response was,

I believe it is getting worse. . . . As Karl Popper said, a scientific theory can never be proven, it can only be falsified, but today the status quo is so fiercely defended that no breakthroughs are possible.

Before seeking publication, Dr. Fraiman and his co-authors sent their paper to the FDA and the EMA, which led to a lengthy discussion with some of the top officials in these organizations. These agencies felt the paper deserved serious consideration, yet the paper was rejected by five journals before they managed to get it published!

The paper did not call for the recall of the vaccines. Its strongest statement was that “[w]e emphasize that our investigation is preliminary, to point to the need for more involved analysis.” 

Calls for Removing mRNA Vaccines from the Market 

In January 2023 however, Fraiman posted a more strongly worded statement on Rumble. When the paper was published, he and his co-authors did not believe “our single study warranted the withdrawal of the messenger RNA vaccines from the market,” but his opinion changed as he uncovered more evidence of vaccine injuries. 

He discovered several autopsy studies that found “essentially conclusive evidence that the vaccines are inducing sudden cardiac deaths.” An analysis of excess deaths, evident over the course of the past year in many countries using the mRNA vaccines, demonstrates a strong correlation between these excess deaths and vaccine uptake. The analysis explored other possible explanations, such as COVID illness itself or lockdown measures, but found no correlation. 

This evidence added to the lower virulence of the Omicron variant and its ability to “evade much of the protection offered by the vaccines” led him to conclude that 

. . .the messenger RNA vaccines need to be withdrawn from the market until new randomized control trials can clearly demonstrate the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the serious harm we now know the vaccines are causing.

He also cites an article in the BMJ which presents the FDA's failure to adequately oversee the mRNA vaccine clinical trials and an FDA study proposal which identified in July 2021 many of the same serious adverse events that Fraiman and his colleagues identify in their study in 2022. It disturbs him that the FDA did not inform the public of their findings. 

As Dr. Fraiman said to Governor Desantis, “The safe and effective terminology that’s been used has been based on a . . . lie”. 

Latest Articles

Southwest plane diverted after pilot suddenly ‘incapacitated’ mid-flight
Frontline News - Logo
  • Frontline News
  • Breaking News
  • Radio
Additional Episodes