I sit down with two leading cardiologists from two sides of the Atlantic, Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Aseem Malhotra, to understand how the COVID-19 vaccines impact the body, especially the heart.
“There has been a suggestion—and I think this is probably subterfuge from the PR industry of pharma—that mild COVID may be causing all the sudden cardiac deaths. And the evidence is just not there for that at all,” says Malhotra. Once an outspoken advocate of the COVID-19 genetic vaccines, Malhotra changed his mind after the sudden death of his father compelled him to take a closer look at the data.
“Roughly 15 percent of people who have taken the vaccines are damaged by them,” says McCullough, one of the most published cardiologists in America and the Chief Scientific Officer of The Wellness Company.
McCullough says the risk of adverse effects from the mRNA vaccines is particularly high for those who were previously infected with COVID-19. “There are patients who are triple vaccinated, and then they get COVID. So they have a fourth exposure now of the spike protein. There is a cumulative risk here,” he says.
In this episode, the two doctors break down the data on the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, bias in the scientific literature, and what people should do if they are concerned about their health.
Dr. Aseem Malhotra, Dr. Peter McCullough, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Great to be here again.
The topic of our episode today is going to be COVID-19 and the heart. We are sitting in front of two esteemed cardiologists from different backgrounds, from different countries, different medical systems, and we’re going to find out what you think. Dr. McCullough, let’s start with the basics of COVID-19 and the heart. And you can expand as far as you would like.
Looking back, there’s been a published history of the coronaviruses, specifically the betacoronaviruses, and the heart. Ralph Baric at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published in 1992 that he could create animal models with coronaviruses that would damage the heart and cause cardiomyopathy and heart failure. That was in 1992. So, it was well known that there were models, given enough of the virus in the right routes of administration, and the right experimental conditions, to cause this. The part of the virus that causes the heart damage is called the spike protein.
This was well known in 1992, well known ahead of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. When the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak occurred in the United States in 2000, within a few months, multiple entities were aware of this possibility. The U.S. military had a screening program for myocarditis with COVID, the respiratory illness, so did the Big Ten NCAA athletic league. And so, people were on alert to look for myocarditis in SARS-CoV-2, the respiratory infection.
Dr. Malhotra, your thoughts.
One of the things that became quite apparent early on in the pandemic is that the people who had risk factors for heart disease, who even also had underlying heart disease, were actually at higher risk for adverse outcomes from COVID-19. The issue with the heart and COVID isn’t just about the vaccine, clearly, which we’ve discussed in detail before. It’s about the fact that one was also potentially in a worse off position from having a bad outcome from COVID if you had underlying heart disease.
Would that extend to potentially bad outcomes from the vaccine? Do we know that?
It could be. Certainly the four bits of data that the WHO put out in terms of potential adverse effects from the vaccine were based upon COVID itself, animal studies on the vaccine, and the technology that was being used in previous harms from vaccines. But the fact that COVID itself was part of that as a problematic issue with the vaccine suggests that was just building on what we already knew with heart disease and COVID.
The typical thing that we hear about is myocarditis, and we know that because that’s probably the most developed of the cardiac issues when it comes to vaccination with these genetic vaccines. Why don’t you just give me an overview?
First and foremost, there’s been a lot of debate about whether COVID increased myocarditis itself. The totality of the evidence, and I’m sure Peter will agree with me, doesn’t suggest that compared to any other viruses it’s particularly more prevalent. We’ll talk about the vaccine in a second. Myocarditis in general, viral myocarditis, pre-vaccine, is something we learn in medicine as a rule of third. A third of people are going to get worse and die when they get myocarditis, and it’s essentially thought to be an autoimmune type of phenomenon.
It can happen to anybody. In fact, my elder brother died from viral myocarditis. Either a third will die and get very sick, a third will have impairment of the heart muscle pump function and will live with that for a long time but not die, and a third will be sick momentarily and then they will get back to normal. That’s what we know about viral myocarditis.
With the COVID-19 myocarditis, it’s a slightly different kettle of fish. In some ways, there are not obvious or apparent death rates from myocarditis that we see with viral myocarditis. But of the people admitted to hospital, MRI scans show that about 80 per cent of them are left with some kind of myocardial scar, which means that is potentially a problem moving forward as a substrate for arrhythmias, or even deterioration of heart muscle pump function over time.
Are we just talking about the virus itself?
No, sorry, this is with the vaccine.
This is with the vaccine. Okay, great.
With the virus, if we just stay on the virus, there was a big paper that was published out of the Veterans Administration. They used ICD codes, but it was a huge study. The first author, Xie, (X-I-E), showed that virtually every cardiovascular event that was serious enough to be in the hospital was elevated after a COVID infection.
The risks were giant for those who were in the hospital with COVID. With outpatient COVID, the risks were much less, but they included traditional myocardial infarction, the decompensation of heart failure, ventricular arrhythmias, atrial arrhythmias, and myocarditis.
Myocarditis in the inpatient studies is a problem because it’s not adjudicated. And a blood test is commonly done in almost all hospitalized patients called troponin. Troponin is the most abundant protein in the human heart, and it’s a reliable indicator of heart damage. But a troponin being elevated in COVID-19 respiratory illness doesn’t establish a diagnosis of myocarditis, because it’s elevated because of bacterial sepsis and other ICU conditions.
The literature, and there’s some papers written on this, says that COVID-19 itself causes more myocarditis than the vaccine. Those papers are not valid, because they’re not adjudicated cases of hospitalized patients developing myocarditis.
But here’s something of interest on community outpatients. The Big Ten had a screening program. A paper by Daniels and colleagues published in JAMA looked for myocarditis in thousands of athletes, and 30 per cent of them got COVID. They found a handful of cases that would’ve met a definition by multiple testing, and there were no hospitalizations and deaths. And then, a paper by Joy and colleagues did very prospective cohorts, with detailed screening of patients who developed COVID, and no evidence of heart injury.
I agree with Dr. Malhotra, that with the respiratory illness as it all settles out, there is a risk for traditional cardiovascular events, because of this big inflammatory insult that the body gets with COVID respiratory illness. But this is a small, negligible risk of myocarditis with COVID, the respiratory infection, probably because the body doesn’t get this massive exposure to the spike protein that it does with the vaccines.
But once the disease is allowed to progress, and once someone is in the hospital, now we’re seeing big issues. Is that right?
Yes, absolutely. As Peter said, as to the cardiovascular event rates, certainly in the people with severe COVID—and we’re going back in time to the ancestral strain really, because that’s what we saw at the very beginning, the Wuhan strain—it does seem to, through an inflammatory mechanism, increase cardiovascular events.
However, this is something we have known in cardiology anyway, with all sorts of infections. If you’ve got predisposition to cardiovascular disease, if you have an infection or pneumonia, it’s going to exacerbate all these cardiovascular problems. It’s going to increase the likelihood of plaque rupture and heart attacks, that kind of thing.
In that sense, it’s not that new. The point that has been made more apparent recently is that there has been a suggestion, and this is probably subterfuge from the PR industry of pharma, that mild COVID may be causing all these sudden cardiac deaths. The evidence is just not there for that at all, actually. People shouldn’t be distracted by this false narrative that mild COVID may be causing a massive surge in cardiac arrests.
There’s a paper by Singer and colleagues that’s notable. Again, Singer used this unadjudicated troponin elevation in the hospital by ICD codes, and proclaimed that COVID-19, the respiratory illness, has a many-fold higher risk of myocarditis than taking a vaccine. Therefore, you should take a vaccine and risk myocarditis, in order to avoid myocarditis later on with the respiratory illness. That type of logic should be flawed to anybody listening to this. It’s built on a house of cards. We never administer a product to cause a problem, to later on prevent a problem. It just doesn’t work that way.
With the vaccines, there’s quite a history of myocarditis with the vaccines. The smallpox, monkeypox vaccine clearly causes myocarditis, well-published cases of myocarditis. Viral infections can cause it, parvovirus and others. In a paper from Arola and colleagues from Finland, published in one of the best cardiology journals before COVID, they established a rate. It’s very important.
They studied everybody in the entire country, and they had very solid case identification. Four cases-per-million is the background rate of myocarditis before COVID. With the very first number of the CDC came out with, the CDC was dividing safety events by the total number of people that took the vaccine, assuming other people didn’t get it. That is a flawed statistical approach. But even doing that, the first CDC estimate was 62 cases-per-million, and then it rapidly escalated.
Tracy Høeg at UC Davis did different data analysis with 250 cases-per-million. Sharff at Kaiser Permanente found 527 cases-per-million. And now the two prospective cohort studies, Mansanguan and colleagues and Le Pessec and colleagues, two separate papers, when they finally do all the measurements before and after vaccination, Mansanguan was on the second shot of Pfizer in children age 13 to 18, Le Pessec was in healthcare workers on the third shot of messenger RNA vaccines, they find together, their estimate now, 25,000 cases-per-million.
Has this basically accelerated as the vaccine rollout or the number of boosters, or how do you understand this?
Yes. Myocarditis itself, absolutely. All cardiovascular conditions have gotten worse because of the vaccine. And anything and everything that can go wrong with the heart has gone wrong with the heart as a result of these mRNA vaccines. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why Peter and I both separately had essentially said if doctors are not aware of a possible diagnosis, they’ll never diagnose it.
Unfortunately, many doctors, including cardiologists, are still not even conceiving of the possibility that the mRNA vaccine can cause these problems. But the list is there, it’s endorsed by the WHO—cardiac arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, heart attacks, myocarditis, and heart failure. I’ve managed all of these people in the community who have been vaccine injured. Their doctors have missed it, but I picked it up.
Fascinating. Let’s pause for a moment. I’m remembering this video that I watched that someone had put together online. You both came up with a particular phrase, which was “until proven otherwise.” Some of the viewers might be familiar with this. I want to figure out, what does it mean, number one? And two, did you both come up with it independently? And third, I’m going to ask you how you know each other and when you started talking to each other, because you’ve come to some similar conclusions.
Yes. In terms of, “until proven otherwise,” we came up with it independently. It was trying to capture people’s attention, and for cardiologists and doctors to understand that these so-called unexplained events that were happening where it doesn’t fit, in the case of a cardiac issue, then you have to include the side effect of the vaccine as part of your differential diagnosis.
It’s trying to just shift the discussion. Until you’ve got another clear explanation why someone suffered a sudden cardiac death, or had a heart attack or an arrhythmia problem, you have to consider it being the vaccine, until you’ve proven that there’s another more likely cause. And I’m sure Peter probably did the same thing. I can’t remember, Peter, when we started actually speaking to each other.
It’s been a while. He uses texting a lot. He’s younger, so he’s in the text generation. I have really a substantial experience on data safety and monitoring boards for the NIH, and for Big Pharma. I’ve done this for decades. When people are in a study, or it’s in a post-marketing period in a brand-new drug, when someone dies within a few days, or certainly within 30 days of any new drug or injection, it is that drug until proven otherwise.
If this was in a regulatory dossier, it could even be something that’s seemingly disconnected. Believe it or not, in clinical trials, if someone’s taking a drug and they have a car accident, it’s attributed to the drug, because the drug may have made them dizzy or foggy or what have you.
To be conservative, we actually put it on the new drug or the new injection or the new vaccine. That’s just good regulatory science. When the deaths started to come in after the vaccine, unless we had something very obvious, a drug overdose of something else, a suicide attempt, or just something obvious…
A very clear cause.
Yes. Or if there was an autopsy that said they died of a perforated appendix or something, it is the vaccine until proven otherwise. Then once we learned that the vaccine causes myocarditis in June of 2021, and the FDA said it causes myocarditis, the WHO anticipated this, and the NIH anticipated this. Then, the myocarditis cases started coming in, with the publication of fatal cases. If there are fatal cases, they undergo an autopsy, and the pathologists agree they died of fatal myocarditis.
Now it’s in the peer-reviewed literature, 2021, New England Journal of Medicine, by Verma and colleagues from Washington University in St. Louis. We had Choi in Korea, Gill from Connecticut and Michigan and Minnesota, that trio published on two boys who died of Pfizer vaccine. It’s clear now in Circulation, our best cardiology research journal, with Patone and colleagues from the UK, there were 100 fatal cases where the UK doctors put fatal vaccine-induced myocarditis as the number one diagnosis on the death certificate.
We have it now. The next person who dies out there, and there’s no explanation, it is the vaccine, until the family comes out and tells us they didn’t take the vaccine. With every family that remains silent, the assumption is they took the vaccine. Now, that family is in a spiral of regret, remorse, and feeling guilty about what happened. That’s probably what’s going on. Families can clear this up. Anybody listening to this tape, if the families come out and say they did not take the vaccine, then we can take the spotlight off the vaccine.
It seems to make perfect sense as you’re describing this right now, but I feel like I’ve been programmed to believe otherwise.
Yes. The other thing to add in, which we haven’t discussed yet as well, is the element of people almost accepting to some degree that these side effects, which they wrongly believe are rare, are acceptable. It’s because they also have a false perception of benefit of the vaccine.
Here’s one of the discussions I’ve even had with doctors who are, in normal circumstances, good critical thinkers, “Hold on a minute, Aseem. Haven’t we ended the pandemic because of the vaccine? How about all these lives that are saved? How come COVID is not killing people anymore?”
No. COVID mutated independently of the vaccine. It’s become milder. That’s what happens to these viruses. Somebody asked me the question the other day, “If we didn’t have the vaccine at all, would we be in a better or worse position than we are now?” The honest answer is we don’t know, but I think we’d be better off if we didn’t even have the vaccine at all. We would have had probably less harm to the population.
Okay. That’s a big statement. Why? What is the data that supports this?
You go back to the very basics of the original randomized control trial. The vaccine showed you were more likely to have a serious—and this is in a healthier subgroup population, which were chosen by Pfizer and Moderna—you were more likely to suffer a serious adverse event from the vaccine than to be hospitalized with COVID. And that is during the original ancestral Wuhan strain. Think about that.
You’ve got the same effect of harm from the vaccine, and even in the worst possible wave, it was still more harmful. The virus has mutated to become less harmful, and you’ve still got the same level of harm with the vaccine. It’s a no-brainer. You can make a very strong case that societies would have been much better off without this mRNA technology.
AstraZeneca, that was in effect suspended in the UK, even though it wasn’t made public, they slowly phased it out. But when you look at the Yellow Card reporting, and this is in a country of a population of 60 million, we had 1 million Yellow Card reports from AstraZeneca, which is just extraordinary. It was publicized in news reports as a rare clotting effect or a rare issue. We now know it wasn’t rare at all. These vaccines have had a hugely negative impact on society and on health. And of course, everything that’s gone on with this has eroded trust in medicine as well.
Just to add to what you were saying, these vaccines were designed for this original variant. So basically, they would’ve been most efficacious, if they were efficacious, on those early variants than the ones today.
Yes, absolutely. And another thing that we talk about are the psychopathic determinants of health. What was most criminal is telling people who had natural immunity to take the vaccine. Because some evidence suggests you were three times more likely to suffer a serious adverse event if you had COVID and then you took the vaccine, certainly within the first few months after it. It’s beyond criminal. Let’s just call it out for what it is.
Let’s talk about this. Natural immunity, since time immemorial, has been known to be effective. Basically, if you’ve had the disease, chances are that you’re going to be in a much better situation with respect to disease. In many cases, you just won’t get it anymore. You’re immune. So, what is the deal with natural immunity today?
The biggest question I get from my patients is, “Doctor, if I get COVID, how can I avoid being hospitalized and dying?” Those are the two bad outcomes. Listen, if I can get through it at home, I’m good. The only factors that have been consistently related to reductions in hospitalization and death by risk is early treatment.
Every study looking at early treatment, it doesn’t matter what drugs were tested, or what drugs in combination, they always take an edge off the illness and reduce the proclivity to be hospitalized. An analysis by [inaudible] and colleagues, a mathematical analysis, demonstrated that we actually knew that with a P value of less than 0.01, that forms of early treatment were stopping hospitalizations by December of 2020. Very important. There were multiple studies across the world. And then natural immunity.
Early on, the FDA and the vaccine manufacturers, when they were actually working on the registrational trials, they strictly excluded anybody who had previously had COVID, even suspected patients with COVID, they were excluded. They couldn’t even receive a vaccine. Also, pregnant women and women of childbearing potential.
When we have exclusion criteria in clinical trials, the exclusions must be justified. The rationale to justify the exclusion was that they did not have an opportunity for benefit, but they had an opportunity for harm. A golden rule in medicine is, once people are excluded from the original randomized trials, we never immediately start applying this in practice.
In the first week of the U.S. vaccine program, we saw people who had already recovered from COVID were told they should take it, and our CDC, NIH, and FDA and hospital systems and others all agreed. This included pregnant women and women of childbearing potential.
Those breaches are breaches of regulatory science, breaches of medical ethics, and are completely off the rails. That was December 10th of 2020. At that moment, we knew things were off the rails. We had never done that before. We had never done that before. Papers by Raw, Krammer, and Mathioudakis clearly showed that if one had natural immunity, there was an explosion of risk afterwards, including going to the hospital. One of the reasons why the adverse event profile is so bad on the vaccines, even way worse than the original trials, is because people with previous COVID have actually been taking these vaccines.
Yes. Let’s look at that data. People that have had COVID and then took the vaccines, versus people who hadn’t had COVID and took the vaccines. You mentioned it was a three time increase.
An almost threefold increase in systemic side effects. Yes. If you take the vaccine after having natural immunity. Absolutely.