Robert Malone Is Full of Shit
But a Lot of Smart People Don’t Realize It
“I've seen people call you a crazy person and criticize you but with no specific thing to point to,… like I brought you up to someone and he goes ‘Oh that guy's crazy!’ I go, ‘How so?’ There was no answer.” -Joe Rogan, to Robert Malone
I have a hypothesis about the popularity of Robert Malone.
There’s a substantial subset of skeptical, thinking Americans who know that the pandemic has been handled poorly, first by Trump, then by Biden.
They see a global disaster turned into a politicized mess, mishandled by both parties.
They see that Tony Fauci has been “less than transparent” at times (to say the least).
They watch the CDC guidance changing faster than any reasonable person can keep up with or follow (no masks, maybe masks, yes masks are good but not cloth masks, cloth masks are OK, no masks if you’re vaccinated, wait you need masks again, cloth masks are no good, consider N95 masks—and that’s just one issue among many).
They know, if they’re adults and they’ve ever followed current events, that Big Pharma is a greedy industry, not necessarily a noble one.
They know the vaccines were brought out faster than other vaccines, ever.
They see that the vaccines seem to be less effective than advertised. First two doses, now three, now…what, will they ask us to get four?
There are a lot people who think for themselves, people who are smart and who ask questions, people with a healthy skepticism of authority, and when they see all this nonsense, they—completely rationally—have questions and concerns about all of it.
They don’t necessarily trust the mainstream narrative because those in the mainstream have failed to earn their trust, and questions or concerns are sometimes arrogantly brushed aside without good explanations, as if anyone with questions is ignorant or an idiot. Just “trust the science.”
If you’re a person who thinks and asks questions, being brushed aside won’t satisfy you, nor should it.
These are failures of the mainstream, not failures of these Americans. They are right to be skeptical and to ask these questions. In fact, if they’re not subject-matter experts, to be skeptical and to have concerns is very smart.
Into this breach—where people have questions and they’re not getting answers—enters the ultra-confident Robert Malone. This is an MD who puts himself forth as an expert in mRNA vaccine technology, and he seems to share the same concerns as these skeptical Americans. Even better, he seems to be very sure that he’s got the answers.
Well, of course skeptical folks with questions are going to listen to what he has to say. On the surface he looks like an expert who understands their concerns and has answers. The problem is, he’s completely full of shit.
Even if you doubt it, I hope you’ll keep reading and consider whether Robert Malone is credible or not. Keep in mind Brandolini’s Law: “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than is needed to produce it.” This is a long one.
Why Is An Essay Like This Necessary?
If our leaders communicated clearly and transparently throughout the pandemic, if they left politics aside, if they explained why their opinions and guidance have changed so often and provided the data to back it up, a guy like Malone couldn’t get much of an audience.
As for the media, they do little more than parrot the leaders. If the messages from leaders are garbled, constantly changing, and unclear, our media outlets are usually going to repeat those messages, not clarify them.
So our leaders have failed America. The media has failed America. But where are the scientists? Why aren’t the workhorses of this pandemic, the people who are quietly behind the scenes doing the best they can, people who are subject-matter experts and who don’t have an agenda, presenting clear information to the public and explaining the ways in which Robert Malone is full of shit?
I think the answer is twofold. First, the scientists have their hands full, fighting the pandemic and “doing science” in a very rapidly changing information landscape, and they are consumed with talking among themselves, not communicating with the public. It’s really not Joe Q. Scientist’s role (or forte) to communicate science information to the public.
But second, if I had to guess, to the community of honest, good-faith experts who are trying hard to fight this global disaster, Malone sounds so much not like a credible scientist that to them he’s self-evidently full of shit.
In other words, I think scientists don’t see a need to discuss it, just as you or I might not see a need to discuss whether a Magic 8 Ball can really tell the future or not.
So the arrogant mainstream sees Malone getting in the way of their messaging, and they ignore him. The actual scientists think the problem is obvious, and they impatiently wave it away. Neither group sees a need to offer explanations.
But there are a lot of people who are “smart, but not scientists.” They don’t necessarily have the background to evaluate Malone’s claims, or the time to read medical journal articles to keep up on the latest science, just as I don’t have the background to evaluate what an electrician says about my solar panels, or the time to read electricians’ textbooks to check up on what he says.
So let me wade into this morass and tell you my observations about Robert Malone, the ways in which he presents information, and some of his specific claims. Unless otherwise noted, quotations of Malone are from episode #1757 of The Joe Rogan Experience (transcript available here).
He’s a Doctor Without Patients, More Interested in “Products” Than Academia
As he tells it, after 9/11, Malone had “the big epiphany… that the world is full of these academic thought leaders that publish in big journals and stuff, but that doesn't really lead to products, and I really wanted to make products.”
He goes on to explain he works closely with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), part of the Department of Defense, which describes itself as “the only Department of Defense organization focused exclusively on countering and deterring weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats.” He describes the DTRA as “one of my favorite clients.” He adds “I work with the chem biodefense group… I've got many friends in the intelligence community, so I'm kind of a pretty deep insider in terms of the government.”
Yes, it sounds like it.
He has other clients too, of course, some of which he mentioned in the podcast, and some of which he did not. One thing he didn’t mention is that he is also a consultant for RelCovax, which is a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine being developed for Reliance Life Sciences, part of Reliance Industries, India’s largest company and 10th largest employer.
When a doctor like Malone offers his or her opinion on any product—such as the currently available vaccines—it’s important to declare any potential conflicts of interest. That’s what reputable scientists do, routinely, and it’s considered unethical to fail to mention it. That Malone had so much to say on Rogan about the mRNA vaccines and failed to mention he’s consulting for another product is a huge red flag.
He’s a Scientist Who Doesn’t Talk Like a Scientist
Robert Malone is a self-described “deep insider” in government, interested in “products,” a consultant for clients who are developing vaccines and pharmaceuticals.
So he’s certainly a scientist, yes, but in my observation he doesn’t “talk like a scientist” at all. What would it mean to “talk like a scientist”? I mean a scientist sticks to facts, avoids emotionally charged language, discusses issues in the context of specific data, and backs up any claims with information that people can check out for themselves (links, names of authors, relevant websites, etc.).
If you want a fine example of “scientists talking like scientists” on the topic of the pandemic, here is a recent UCSF Medicine Grand Rounds between Bob Wachter and Eric Topol. Their information is presented neutrally and factually, and their opinions —even if I might at times disagree with those guys—are opinions that a reasonable, rational person might form from the available data. They are trustworthy people without apparent conflicts of interest, who don’t have an agenda beyond serving patients in the best way possible. They present the facts, and they let you draw your own conclusions.
Malone, on the other hand—and I think this is why a lot of scientists simply don’t take him seriously enough to refute him—uses a lot of emotionally charged language, often makes himself (and not the pandemic) the focus of conversation, discusses a vague “they” without specifying who he’s referring to, and makes claims which he simply does not support with facts or data (and that’s really the most charitable way to put it).
Ironically, while Malone often speaks of “fear porn,” stating or implying that the mainstream leaders are trying to scare people into doing their bidding, it’s Malone who uses a lot of vague language that implies danger (which might tend to prompt an emotional response in listeners), and not the neutral, factual language of science. Here are some examples of what I mean:
The federal government is “pulling all of the regular monoclonals,” implying that people can’t get effective drugs, on purpose. That’s scary. What actually happened, and you can see it here, is that on December 29, there was a temporary pause on distributing some mAbs that are not effective against omicron. Then some people replied, saying that wasn’t a good idea, because we still have a lot of people sick with delta, and the other mAbs help those people. So by December 31, the government listened to that good point, and changed its mind. Robert Malone used scary language to frighten people with the notion that the bad government won’t allow them to get needed drugs, when in fact it was a back-and-forth decision that was quickly changed.
“The withholding of early treatments is inexplicable,” implying the wicked government is trying to kill you by withholding hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. (More on those drugs below.)
“There's two bins. Is it incompetence or maleficence? Is there some ulterior political motive or are they just dumb stupid?” Either way, dear listener, the government is hurting you!
“This is modern media management and warfare,” implying that hostile malevolent entities are deliberately preventing you from hearing the truth.
There are abundant such examples in the Rogan podcast—language designed to instill fear of the government and trust in Robert Malone—which is about the least “sciencey” way possible to speak to people.
The bit which had everyone talking, of course, was the “mass formation psychosis” bit. This is a fancy- and scary-sounding term, which implies that you and Malone are part of a select group to see the truth, and everyone else is just nuts:
“What the heck happened in Germany in the ’20s and ’30s, you know, [there was a] very intelligent, highly educated population, and they went barking mad. And how did that happen? The answer is mass formation psychosis. When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety, in a sense that things don't make sense, we can't understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point, just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere. And one of the aspects of that phenomenon is the people that they identify as their leaders, the ones typically that come in and say, ‘You have this pain, and I can solve it for you. I and I alone okay can fix this problem for you.’ Then they will lead, they will follow that person through Hell. It doesn't matter whether they lie to them or whatever, the data are irrelevant and furthermore, anybody who questions that narrative is to be immediately attacked. They are the Other. This is central to mass formation psychosis and this is what has happened. We had all those conditions.”
What is most striking to me as I read this—and this is what drove me to write about Malone, despite a strong desire not to waste my time on him— is that this looks exactly like the state of mind that Robert Malone is inducing in any listeners who don’t know better:
He and he alone, the “inventor” of the technology, the “deep insider,” the good guy, can tell you the Truth, what you need to know to be safe from the bad guys in our government, who are doing bad, inexplicable things to hurt you. He manages to invoke Nazi Germany—that’s how bad you’re supposed to think the situation is! Don’t believe Hitler and his government. Believe Robert Malone. Never mind that his data and claims are false (more on that in a bit).
Scientists Routinely Downplay Their Accomplishments and Expertise—Malone Does the Opposite
At the end of that Grand Rounds linked above, Wachter asks Topol to share some “lessons that you’ve taken away” from the pandemic. Basically, he’s giving Topol a chance to share any random bits of wisdom. Instead, Topol replies, “I’m always learning a lot every day…I think the pandemic experience obviously has been humbling to keep up with what’s going on, with the advances we’re making on the science….”
By contrast, Malone routinely overstates his expertise, frequently making himself out to be “the inventor” of the mRNA technology when in fact he played a small role nearly 40 years ago. Sure, he had some small involvement—so small that most scientists would be self-deprecating and dismiss it. But Malone, by contrast, says things like this:
“I actually said to the nurse when I took the first jab… I bragged a little bit. I usually don't …but um, I did say, ‘You know, I invented this tech.’ She's like, ‘Oh that's really cool, can I take a selfie?’”
To show the extent Malone was involved in “inventing” this tech, here are two graphics I pulled from this episode of “Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson.” Both of these graphics demonstrate the amount of involvement he had—nearly 40 years ago, before stopping short of getting his degree.
In fact, the first time I heard the claim that Malone “invented the technology,” I was immediately skeptical (partly because no scientist normally talks like that, and partly because he seemed to be making some outrageous, not-evidence-based claims), so I looked into it and discovered how small a role he actually played.
Malone being a braggart and exaggerator naturally made me more skeptical of any of his other claims. At the very least, I would recommend checking into everything he says before believing it.
Scientists Typically Talk about Science, Not About Themselves or Their Personal Conflicts
When Bob Wachter asked about Eric Topol’s prolific Twitter presence and asked, “How’s it been for you?” Topol’s response was focused on service to others:
“For the 12 years I’ve been on, whether reading the articles, whether it’s making the graphs or analyses, … something I enjoy doing is sharing. And if we all shared more, we’d all get smarter faster.”
It was one small self-reflection, which focused on the benefit to other people.
Compare that to Malone’s focus:
On himself as a “pariah”;
On complaining about the “Atlantic Monthly attack article” without saying what’s inaccurate in the article, if anything;
On being banned from LinkedIn: it “was a political retaliation intended to take me off the map”;
On being the victim of “coordinated media warfare the level of which we have never seen before, and I and my peers who were experienced in multiple outbreaks have never seen this level of coordinated propaganda”;
On claiming “whatever the CDC or Tony Fauci or Tedros etc. says is truth by definition and any information or discussion which is contrary to that truth will be suppressed, it will be deleted”;
On claiming “that information [contrary to the mainstream narrative] will not be allowed and those people that are spreading that information will not be allowed to interact in the public sphere” (never mind his substack, his websites, his appearance on Rogan, his time on the government payroll, his lucrative contracts, etc.);
On being “attacked by Reuters uh for uh spreading disinformation because I was speaking that the spike protein was a toxin” (because it’s not);
On there being, on the FDA’s part, “another perverse incentive here to amplify the fear porn”;
On being “shut down, censored, demeaned—fill in the blank”;
On an unnamed “they” -- “they're taking our licenses and license to practice medicine because we are speaking about these matters”;
I could go on, but I’m growing tired of it. His focus is not on the public well-being. His focus is on his good-guy-versus-bad-guys narrative, with himself as victim and hero. Scientists just don’t talk like this. They focus on the science, on the data. They focus on what they can offer the world.
Focusing on oneself as noble victim goes hand-in-hand with the focus on scary language discussed above.
But Who Cares Whether His Personal Style is Unusual: What Claims Does He Actually Make?
It’s all well and good to claim that Robert Malone exaggerates his expertise, uses scary inaccurate language, and focuses on himself as a victim, but who cares if his information is accurate, right?
I agree. If his information were good, the rest would fade into the background, and he’d be just another eccentric. And in fact, I’m pointing out these quirks of his, and contrasting his demeanor with Wachter’s and Topol’s, in the spirit of showing you that you might want to pay attention to people’s messaging when they make scientific claims.
Messaging and presentation can be as important as content. Malone’s subtext is, “You’re in danger. I, too, am in danger. We’re allies.” This is the messaging I’d expect from a con man, not a scientist. And you can see the effects of this messaging in some of his “true believers” who become almost enraged if you say anything unflattering about Malone. It’s as if they perceive anyone who opposes Malone (their safe harbor, their source of the Truth) as an existential threat. I consider this a huge red flag. But let’s move on the claims themselves.
He Makes Claims for Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine
Very early in the pandemic, a lot of people were looking at using existing drugs for COVID. It was a perfectly legitimate thing to do. I, like many people, was genuinely interested in hydroxychloroquine and later ivermectin, and wondered whether those drugs would be useful. I don’t approve of calling ivermectin “horse paste” or insulting people who were prescribed it, as Rogan was a few months ago.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a serious look at those two drugs.
Here’s what’s wrong: Malone claims in the recent Rogan podcast, “There are good modeling studies that probably half a million excess deaths have happened in the United States through the intentional blockade of early treatment by the U.S. government …half a million. That is a well-documented number okay and it's the combination of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.”
There is so much wrong with his statements:
1. Where are these “good modeling studies”? A legit scientist would typically add some kind of clue here, such as “published by so-and-so last month in such-and-such place.” If you make an extraordinary, shocking claim, you need some backup for it, so that people can verify what you’re saying.
2. “half a million excess deaths”? More than half of all COVID deaths? It’s a “well-documented number”? Well, I’ve been following COVID deaths really closely—probably more closely than I should—and I am open to any legit sources of information. I have never seen this “well-documented number.” This is a very extreme claim that would require a heck of a lot of support, instead of the support he provides, which is none.
3. “intentional blockade of early treatment”? I’m not an uncritical fan of the U.S. government, but Malone’s claim is that some baddies intentionally withheld effective treatments from people, which would have saved half a million people from dying. This is evil, frightening behavior. What is his proof of this evil behavior?
But the biggest problem with these statements is that the data indicate that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin just don’t work. They would not have saved half a million people, or anyone. Listen, I was interested in these drugs early on, too. I was open to this. The evidence is that they don’t work.
Is hydroxychloroquine effective against COVID? No, here’s a meta-analysis of the research from January 2021.
Is ivermectin effective against COVID? No, here’s a meta-analysis of the research from June 2021.
And here’s another thing: If people were doing this evil thing, as Malone claims, he would also need a plausible explanation for why the government would kill off an extra 500,000 people by withholding good, cheap medications. Why would “they” be so evil? This is what he can offer:
“So, what is the motivation? You're right that this, none of this, makes sense on, the only thing, you know, this is a journalist problem, um, and you know, the classic guidance is follow the money.”
OK, so that’s a fairly incoherent reply, but if I make my best effort to understand it, I think Malone is implying that the drug companies and/or the government don’t want these safe and effective drugs used, because they are inexpensive, and “they” would rather have people spend money on expensive drugs like remdesivir.
(And side note: remdesivir is an expensive drug, and it, too, seems useless against COVID. If there is one thing Big Pharma is known for, it’s promoting expensive drugs that don’t really do much. I’m no fan of Big Pharma.)
So if we consider the hypothesis that some bad actors want to withhold these drugs, that makes no sense to me, for two reasons:
1. If ivermectin were a miracle cure, Merck, which owns ivermectin, would be a household name, with very positive associations with their brand. They might not make a ton of money (they’d make some), but more important, the world would love them. You can’t buy publicity like that. And yet, they’ve put out a statement saying there’s no evidence to use it for COVID. It’s hard to imagine a big drug company throwing away all that good publicity.
2. If Malone is right that we need to “follow the money,” and if it’s true that “the U.S. government” and/or Big Pharma deliberately withheld these cheap drugs in order to push more expensive solutions, then why are corticosteroids (very cheap, out-of-patent drugs) now widely acknowledged to reduce deaths and now routinely given? Why didn’t the U.S. government and Big Pharma shut down the use of those cheap, life-saving drugs as well?
To me, the evidence seems clear. I was open to any of the three cheap repurposed drugs—hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, or corticosteroids—being useful in saving lives. We now have evidence that only corticosteroids passed the test. Corticosteroids are widely used. The other two did not pass the test. Their use is not approved, although scientists are free to continue running clinical trials to gather more information if that’s how they’d like to spend their time, and I believe some are doing so.
He Makes Claims That the mRNA Vaccines Are Dangerous
Here are some of his claims about the vaccine in the podcast, and responses to those claims.
Claim 1 – He claims there’s malfeasance and data manipulation by Pfizer
“A fantastic video … has been put out by the Canadian COVID Care Alliance Group that summarizes all the malfeasance and data manipulation misinterpretation associated with the Pfizer vaccines and their clinical trials.”
I watched the first ten minutes of this video. I didn’t watch all of it, because it was making the same tired, disingenuous claims I’ve seen before.
For example, there’s the claim that after two months, Pfizer unblinded the study and allowed the placebo group to get the vaccine if they wanted it. That’s true because it’s a common practice. It’s basic ethics. The vaccine worked so well against the original variants that it would have been unethical, in the midst of a global disaster, not to offer it to the people who bravely took an experimental vaccine.
The Canadian group says this means we can “never know” if the vaccine is safe now. Alas, the clinical trial is ruined! No, that is incorrect. We can compare the vaccine group against the many people who decline vaccines, and we can compare health outcomes and deaths between those groups.
We can also compare the health outcomes in the vaccine group against known risks. For example, if one-hundredth of one percent of people over age 65 die of heart attacks each year in America, and 20 million people over age 65 have been vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine, then we expect 2000 of those people to die of “natural” heart attacks (natural, meaning heart attacks they would have had anyway, not because of the vaccine) in the first year after being vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.
(Those are all invented numbers, for the sake of making my point.)
The point is, if you vaccinate a large group of people, you have data going back many years to tell you how many people in a group will die if you do nothing to them. You can easily continue to see if the vaccine is safe or not, in multiple ways. If we see that in fact about 2000 people die of heart attacks in the vaccine group, then that is normal—but you can bet this Canadian group would blast it on the Internet that 2000 people got heart attacks after taking the vaccine, leading people to believe the vaccine caused it, when we have good reason to believe that’s not true.
One more example of how terrible this video is, and then I’ll move on. They say that the point of the vaccine is to prevent illness and death, but then they show this chart of adverse events, and they claim this chart shows the vaccine is making people sicker.
The first column of numbers represents the vaccine group, the second column is the placebo group, and the third column is the percent difference between the two. The people in the placebo group got salt water injected in their arm.
So, “related adverse events” include things like “sore arm” or “itchy injection site” or “fatigue” or “fever and chills” and so on. Most people get some kind of “adverse event” if you give them a real vaccine that actually does its job and activates the immune system. Every time your pediatrician vaccinates your baby and she gets an expected fever, that would be considered a “related adverse event” on this chart.
Is it any surprise that the real vaccine, whose job it is to activate your immune system, is 300% more likely to result in some kind of “related adverse event” (like the fever or fatigue that everyone is told, up front, to expect as a normal related outcome) compared to a minuscule amount of salt water injected in your arm?
This is not evidence of the vaccine making you sick, as the Canadian group claims. It is evidence that it is having a beneficial effect.
Next, under “Severe adverse event” we have anything that interferes with normal function. That includes things like, you got a headache and so you didn’t cook dinner as you normally would, or you called off work for a day or two because you had a fever (as, again, many people were told to expect).
Which sounds scarier?
“I got the Pfizer vaccine, and I had a severe adverse event.”
“I got the Pfizer vaccine, and I had a fever and stayed home for a day.”
These are equivalent. In other words, a severe adverse event is not the scary thing that it sounds like.
Same for the “serious” adverse events, which by definition in this chart resulted in a hospital trip. There were 127 people in the Pfizer group and 116 people in the placebo group who ended up taking a trip to the hospital. We know that in clinical trials, there’s very much a bias toward “When in doubt, go to the hospital” because the patients’ safety is paramount.
But we know, don’t we, that the 116 people in the placebo group who went to the hospital had a tiny amount of salt water in their arms and there was absolutely nothing seriously wrong with them, right? Common sense. So 116 people went to the hospital because they had some kind of random symptom unrelated to the salt water, were scared, and everyone erred on the side of caution.
It's reasonable to suppose, human nature being what it is, and random symptoms being what they are, that a similar number of people who received the Pfizer vaccine also had some kind of random symptom unrelated to their injection, were scared, and everyone erred on the side of caution with them too. Probably in the neighborhood of …116, like the other group.
So then the question becomes: if 127 in the Pfizer group went to the hospital, versus 116 in the placebo group, is that 11-person difference between groups, in the context of 46,331 people total in the Pfizer trial, a statistically significant difference? Without doing the statistics, I’m going to guess “probably not.”
What is clear, at the very least, is that people were not experiencing effects from the vaccine bad enough to send them to the hospital, any more than they were experiencing bad effects from the salt-water placebo that sent them to the hospital.
And yet the makers of this video, who should know better, misrepresented what the “adverse events” were to an audience of non-scientists who don’t have the background to spot the obvious deception.
I don’t see evidence of Pfizer misrepresenting anything in this video, as far as I watched it (and I’m no fan of Pfizer). I see evidence of the Canadian organization misrepresenting the clinical trial data.
OK, moving on to more of Malone’s claims.
Claim 2 – Malone claims this is a medical experiment and there is no informed consent.
“People should have the freedom of choice particularly for their children um and that in order to con to appropriately choose to participate in a medical experiment they have to be fully informed of the risks as well as the benefits and so I've tried really hard to make sure that people have access to the information about those risks and potential benefits the true unfiltered academic papers and raw data etc.”
Anyone who receives the vaccine now is receiving an approved vaccine. It is no longer a “medical experiment.” But it’s true that everyone needs to be informed of the risks as well as the benefits, and that is widely available both online and when you go to get your shot.
As for the “true unfiltered academic papers and raw data” Malone mentions, which presumably might change people’s minds about the vaccines, where are they? He mentioned one source with enough detail to look it up—the grossly misleading video discussed above. I don’t see academic papers or raw data.
Claim 3 – He claims that there’s no evidence that the vaccine prevents long COVID; and that people who get the vaccine after they have COVID are more likely to have an “adverse event”
Rogan: Is there any evidence that the vaccine helps against long COVID…?
Malone: …I have not seen a peer-reviewed solid publication or or um preprint that supports that now, but that was the act of rumor at the time and since then what we do know for sure well documented if you've got prior COVID and natural immunity you have a higher risk of adverse events from the jab.
Malone, “the expert,” claims he has not seen a peer-reviewed publication or preprint that says vaccination decreases your chances of long COVID. But it took me less than two minutes to google this article from The Lancet Infectious Diseases, saying,
“We found that the odds of having symptoms for 28 days or more after post-vaccination infection were approximately halved by having two vaccine doses. This result suggests that the risk of long COVID is reduced in individuals who have received double vaccination.”
Translation: There is indeed peer-reviewed research in a prestigious journal indicating that by being vaccinated you cut your risk for long COVID in half, even if you are one of the unlucky people to get infected.
As for the other part of his claim, that people who’ve had COVID are more likely to experience “adverse events” after the vaccine, remember from our discussion above what “adverse events” are—things like fever and chills, i.e., things that we expect and want our bodies to do when they respond to a vaccine.
“Adverse events” sound bad, but in the context of receiving a vaccine, they are typically evidence that the vaccine is doing what we intend it to do.
So yes, if you have already had COVID, you will have more side effects (aka, “adverse events”) from the vaccine than someone who never had COVID and received their first dose. In that sense, getting a vaccine after having COVID is a bit like a person receiving their second vaccine dose: In both cases, your body remembers seeing something like that before, and is quicker to respond. That’s a good thing.
You can read about it here, which says in part,
“According to the latest data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, people who have had a previous COVID-19 infection are almost twice as likely to experience one or more mild whole body (systemic) after effects compared to people who didn’t have COVID-19 (33% vs 19%) from a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dose. The most common mild whole body (systemic) after effects experienced were fatigue (9%), headache (8%) and chills or shivers (4%). Most mild whole body (systemic) after effects appeared in the first two days after the vaccination and only 3% of people have any after effects beyond three days.”
In this case, Malone told the truth about “adverse events” but he led his audience of non-scientists to believe it was a bad thing, instead of a normal and expected (even somewhat desirable) thing.
Claim 4 – He claims natural immunity is better than the vaccine.
Rogan: Natural immunity at least according to that study in Israel, which is like what 2.5 million people? I think they said that it's between 6 and 13 times more effective than the vaccine.
Malone: That is six or 13 times more effective in hospitalized, preventing hospitalized COVID. It's more like 20 or more fold, or yeah, 27 fold better at protecting against developing the disease remember infection does not equal disease.
Malone: Um and that's only one of over 140 studies that document that natural immunity is superior to vaccine-induced immunity, and oh by the way as a vaccinologist and an immunologist, I wouldn't expect anything different.
Rogan: But the CDC recently disputed this.
Malone: It was a fascinating, uh play, so the CDC, uh, for most of us, that are at all objective in the science world, look at what's going on at the CDC aghast. I mean the CDC has just compromised it, what they did with that was a very small study with intrinsic bias all over the place much much smaller than the Israeli study that you're citing, much less rigorous, less statistical power, and they pushed that out as their, um, justification for their position concerning uh natural immunity but—
Rogan: Who funded that study?
Malone: CDC, it would be the federal government.
Rogan: So they funded this study they did it themselves, and do you believe they did it with the intent of coming to the conclusion?
Malone: You're asking me to apply intent and I've had too much time with lawyers, and I'm not going to do it good for you.
Rogan: So either way there are many, many, many studies that point to the fact that natural immunity is superior.
Rogan: Having recovered from COVID.
Malone: Like over 140.
So, this is presented as a very clear-cut, black-and-white, right-and-wrong issue, and the truth is, this is a very complicated topic, with articles supporting natural immunity, and articles supporting vaccination—and there are reputable experts on both sides, as well as lively debate, both sides making excellent points.
Here, if you care to read it, is a feature article in the British Medical Journal, which I believe treats the topic fully and fairly, with a very long reference list of research articles that address the issue. There is not a simple answer here. US policy has been “vaccinate people anyway,” and if you want to understand why (but don’t want to read the entire long piece), read the section called “Already complicated rollout.”
Basically the US position in Spring 2021 was that we wanted to vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible, and it would be too complicated to test people for evidence of prior infection as an extra step. Later in 2021, the rationale became that there were new variants that people weren’t already immune from, but it appeared that the vaccines offered some immunity to those.
Based on the available information, these are reasonable positions that rational people might endorse. It’s also reasonable for people to endorse the position that if you were already infected, especially less than 6 months ago, you might not want a vaccine.
Both are rational positions, and there need to be discussions between people on both sides. But people like Malone, who promote only one “right” answer and in fact imply that people with other positions are either unreasonable, dishonest, or trying to trick you, do not help us develop good policies. Malone is being misleading here.
Claim 5 – Malone implies that Biden didn’t really get the vaccine.
Rogan: …I saw the shot where Joe Biden got it on TV and they didn't aspirate them they just--
Malone: I don't know what to say, um…
Rogan: I’ll tell you what to say!
Malone: Yeah, so, so--
Rogan: That's not the way to do it.
Malone: Yeah, and was that really a vaccine, right? Then we go down that whole rabbit--
Rogan: That's my favorite rabbit hole.
OK, now we’re just in “the moon landing was faked” territory. No responsible scientist would say those things, even in a joking way. If you want to say he was joking, go listen to it—decide for yourself.
I’m pretty sure, even though we were all taught that aspirating before injecting is a good practice, that most people don’t aspirate most injections most of the time. Malone should know this. I’m quite sure none of my three covid shots was aspirated.
Claim 6 – Malone claims “what we see is this explosion of vaccine-associated deaths”
OK then, where is that? He doesn’t say. Without proof, I cannot believe this extraordinary claim, especially because I’ve been following a lot of COVID vaccine news, but here’s another good reason not to believe it, beyond just “complete lack of evidence for the claim.”
Consider that 17 million people received the J&J vaccine in the US. Of those people, 50 got a rare side effect known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) and 5 of them tragically died. This represents a one in 3,400,000 chance of death.
As a result, the FDA updated J&J COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets to warn of the thrombosis risk (see for example this article). Most doctors began discouraging patients from choosing that vaccine.
If the FDA is so corrupt that it’s sold out to Big Pharma, and if the government is so evil that it wants people to take dangerous vaccines, then why was the government so quick to publicize the danger of the J&J vaccine? Why would they ignore the dangers of mRNA vaccines if those vaccines were dangerous too? And to answer that question, we can’t just take a trip down Conspiracy Lane. We need facts, data, and plausible hypotheses, which Malone doesn’t provide.
If the FDA noticed and addressed a risk of 1 in 3,400,000 chance of dying from the J&J vaccine, why are they seemingly oblivious to (as Malone claims) “an explosion of vaccine-associated deaths”?
In what way does that make sense? It simply doesn’t.
I haven’t even addressed all the vaccine-related claims yet, and some 7,000 words later, I’m out of steam and you’re probably out of patience.
He also mentions:
Maddie DeGaray (a child who received an mRNA vaccine who is suffering a great deal, but her symptoms can’t be linked to any plausible vaccine effect, just as my symptoms couldn’t be linked if after eating a peanut butter sandwich my big toe fell off. There’s just nothing there to link cause and effect.)
Myocarditis, which is a concern, especially in young men, and is being covered a lot by mainstream media and being looked at carefully by scientists. It is a rare side effect, and at this point, it would be reasonable for parents of teen boys to make that call either way: pro or con. But Malone presents it as if this problem is being minimized or ignored, and it certainly is not. It’s being addressed, just as the TTS was addressed. The jury is still out.
Menstrual changes, which often accompany things that prompt inflammation in the body—and a vaccine definitely prompts temporary inflammation and can affect a woman’s cycle temporarily. I had a wacky cycle after my second vaccine. There’s no evidence that there’s anything to worry about, but Malone starts talking ovaries, “reproductive toxicology,” “teratogenicity” (the ability to cause birth defects), and he says again that the unnamed “they” are “deny[ing] it.”
No, there is no evidence that “they” are denying anything. “They” were quick to note the rare dangers of TTS. “They” are evaluating the rare dangers of myocarditis. And “they,” if there were any indication that anything were happening with regard to women’s reproductive health, would be all over that, too.
There is no motive for the world’s scientists, who also have families, spouses, children, to destroy humans’ reproductive health by giving us all, including their loved ones, a dangerous vaccine.
Malone makes other claims in the podcast, such as he was involved in the ebola vaccine, or “Uttar Pradesh crushed COVID,” or that there’s widespread fraud among doctors to collect money for fake COVID hospital patients, and more—but this post is already way too long. More claims are debunked in the earlier mentioned episode of “Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson.” I encourage you to watch it, because he links to his supporting evidence, so you don’t have to believe him – you can look for yourselves.
Brandolini’s Law is, if anything, understated. The amount of energy needed to refute the bullshit in this podcast was several orders of magnitude larger than was needed to produce it—and I didn’t even come close to covering all of it.
If anyone made it to the end, congratulations for your stamina.