CLAY: We bring on now Alex Berenson. It’s cold and flu season. Fauci’s gearing up. Fall is here. Alex, I want to start with this ’cause we’ve been having fun with it, and I know you’re gonna take it to a dark place eventually with all the results that are coming in unfortunately from these covid shots. So, what is your reaction to reports that Fauci would regularly mock the restaurant restrictions that you would have to wear a mask until you got seated, and also that he said privately, “I could get people to believe they need to do anything,” when he was talking about wearing goggles and double and triple masking? I mean, does it make you hate him even more?
BERENSON: Uh, you know, I’d actually be glad if that’s true. I know this is from this Trump tell-all, right? This —
BERENSON: I mean, because then he’d be in on the joke a little bit, and he’s not a complete idiot. So those are our choices like to be… Like I guess I’d rather believe that he’s like a cynical, you know, you-know-what than like he’s just a moron who actually believed the idea that masking while you’re walking to the table and not masking while you’re eating made any sense. But those are really our choices, right? He’s either a fool or a cynic.
BUCK: Alex, the latest on the vaccines, what do we need to do know about…? First of all, there are places… Smith College, a place I actually spent a lot of time when I was in college. I know it pretty well. It is — it has been an insane asylum in a lot of ways for a long time on a whole bunch of issues. But Smith College I think is requiring the most up-to-date vaccination. Why is it…? I mean, we ask you questions six, seven, eight months ago now like, “Hey, how…?” They keep saying it’s so effective at preventing death but then we started to see these numbers about even those at high risk that most of the people who were dying on a monthly basis in this country were vaccinated. How do we disentangle the efficacy component before we talk about the side effect component?
BERENSON: Well, I mean, so, look, we’re… (sigh) We’re at this interesting place. There’s been a… I mean, the vaccines are now rejected, I think. I mean, I think almost nobody with a choice is getting this bivalent booster. And, you know, I don’t want to, like, depend too much on the anecdotes here but I think I’ve mentioned my mother a couple of times on the show in the past, and, you know, she’s an MSNBC watcher and refers to Anthony Fauci as “America’s Doctor” without — you know, without irony.
CLAY: Gotta be a fun Thanksgiving.
BERENSON: And she is probably — or at least is seriously considering — not getting the fifth shot. And so, you know, I think even for people… You know, she’s had covid a couple of times. She’s gotten her four vaccines, you know, her four shots. You know, even somebody… Even people who are pretty disposed to believe everything that they’ve been told for the last two years now understands that the vaccine is not protective against infection or transmission. And people — you know, look. People are looking around and seeing, you know, “We’re two-plus years into this. Who do I know who’s gotten really sick from covid?
“Who do I know who’s died from covid who wasn’t 85 years old or 400 pounds?” And for most people, almost everybody, the answer to that question is, “Nobody. I don’t know anybody who — you know, for whom this was a serious disease who wasn’t sick in some profound way beforehand,” and then they say, “What about the vaccines? Like, do I know people who had a bad response, who were laid up for a week or whose arm swelled up or…” Not necessarily who died. And they’re saying, like, “Why would I get this?” And I think really that’s where we are and there’s just these sort of weird pockets of the government and the educational system and, to some extent, you know, the medical system that haven’t caught up with where everyone is right now.
CLAY: Yeah. And Alex, I think speaking to that in particular, you were one of the first that I remember talking about the data on kids getting covid shots, and the Washington Post had, like, really upset article — I’m sure you read it — three or four days ago, and I’ll hit the stats for everybody out there —
CLAY: — 95% nationwide of parents of 6-month-old to 5 years old are not getting them the shot. That is only 5% are. And the numbers I think have stunned some of the so-called health experts. But to me that’s clear evidence of how people are voting. Parents might take risks more so with their own health, but when it comes to their young kids, they’re much more risk-averse and they’re overwhelmingly voting “no” on the covid shot for young kids.
BERENSON: Yes, you’re absolutely, and funny you mentioned it, ’cause I’m writing a Substack about that right now, the Washington Post story got me to look at the numbers again myself. ‘Cause, you know, it’s pretty stunning, actually, that it’s so overwhelming that even the Washington Post has taken notice. And, you know, the lead on my study is Ted Cruz 1, Elmo 0. I don’t know if you remember but —
CLAY: Oh, yes, the Sesame Street battle. Yeah.
BERENSON: That’s right. And Cruz said, you know, what are they doing, and it was, oh, Ted Cruz, you know, hates your kids and you can trust Elmo. Well, apparently —
CLAY: Saturday Night Live did a skit making fun of him. But he was right.
BERENSON: That’s right. He was right. And it’s even worse from the vaccine advocate’s point of view than you’re seeing because 93% of parents have not gotten their kids even one shot. But then when you look at the 7% who have — I’m talking about in the under-5 group — 80% of those parents haven’t gotten their kids a second shot. So when you look at the number of kids who are fully vaccinated against covid who are under 5, it’s less than 2% of all children in that age range. It’s unbelievable what a rejection it’s been. And so when you read that Washington Post story, you know, as you guys have, it’s interesting because the vaccine advocates are like, “Oh, we didn’t let parents know this was available.” (crosstalk)
CLAY: Oh, yeah.
BERENSON: That’s such nonsense. It’s just a lie. You couldn’t go anywhere in June without hearing about this.
BUCK: Alex, we have to ask you also about this idea of negative efficacy when it comes to infection for young people. How solid is the data on this, where is this? Essentially, is there real data right now to suggest that people who are — I think it was… was it under 12? — who got the shot were more likely to be reinfected with covid? That was the preprint study. Can you just tell us, where does that stand?
BERENSON: Yeah. No, it’s extremely solid. And it’s really not just under 12. It’s just, you know, that — the study with under 12s has… You know, they extended the timeline out far enough to catch the fall into negative efficacy. But if you look at, you know, data on older people, it’s the same thing. So with Omicron, it’s quite clear that after a couple of months, the vaccine really stops being protective at all and then it looks like after a couple of months after that your risk of infection actually rises. You have a bigger risk of being infected if you are vaccinated than if you’re not.
And, like, there’s… You know, there’s ways to explain that that don’t involve actual, like, biological changes that the vaccine is making in you. For example, you know, the vaccine advocates say, “Oh, that’s because people who are vaccinated know they’re vaccinated and they take more risks.” But that’s probably not true. The reality is, the vaccine basically — the original version of it, which is what you have to get even if you’re getting, you know, the, quote-unquote, bivaliant booster, the original version of it causes your body to make antibodies that are not really good against the Omicron spike. And so over time, as your overall number of antibodies wanes, you appear to be left with some that actually increase the risk of your infection. It gets complicated, the details, but that’s the top line. The top line is that data is probably correct, and you are probably now at higher risk of Omicron infection if you’re vaccinated than if not.
CLAY: So is essentially this just gonna go away and people are going to pretend that this whole thing never happened in your mind now? Because clearly kids are not getting these shots. There’s no mandates now. Even aggressive cities like New York are doing away with much of their private vaccine mandate.
CLAY: It seems like Biden wants to claim the pandemic’s over because he needs to have something that he can claim he didn’t screw up. Like, where are we, in your mind, with these covid shots?
BERENSON: I think so. I think that’s correct. I mean, the only… Sort of the black swan would be if a new variant comes out that is actually quite dangerous and then the negative efficacy will really matter. But, you know, your listeners and you may recall that I was sort of harping on that a little bit more three or four months ago. And it seems like that’s less of a risk now. It seems that Omicron is just dominant. And Omicron is just not that dangerous to almost everybody. And so everybody’s gotten it. A lot of people have gotten it more than once.
You know, and the other thing that’s happened is if you look at what are called anti-N antibodies — so that’s a different part of the virus — which are very durable and which the vaccine does not cause you to make. You can only get those after being infected and recovering. The levels of those in the population are now very high. So that’s actually probably protective as well. Whatever happens to the spike, we will all have these anti-N antibodies helping us. And there was a period of time when I was worried that the vaccine would actually interfere with the generation of those. But it looks like the vaccine ultimately proved so useless against Omicron that you get it and you get these anti-N antibodies, and that’s good for you.
BUCK: So just to bring us full circle, the vaccines were so crappy that the good news is that people got covid anyway and now have natural immunity.
BUCK: Did I get that right?
BERENSON: You basically… That’s correct. That’s a piece I really need to right for the stack, but yes. That’s basically what has happened in the last six months.
BUCK: That’s amazing. Alex Berenson, everybody, go check out his Substack. Clay and I are subscribers. It’s been fantastic. And he’s continued to work on this. And it’s not over, if you listen to the Biden administration. They’re still pushing it; Fauci’s pushing it. Alex, thank you so much, man. As always, we appreciate you.
BERENSON: Great pleasure, guys.