Researchers: People with Psychiatric Diagnoses Should Be Prioritized for the COVID Vaccine

Researchers also note that psychiatric drugs may reduce the COVID vaccine’s effectiveness and otherwise impair the immune system.


In a new article in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers suggest that people diagnosed with “severe mental illness” should be among the first in line to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19). The researchers, led by Marc De Hert at KU Leuven, Belgium, write that this population has an increased risk of worse COVID outcomes, including an increased risk of death.

Research recently published in JAMA Psychiatry found that people diagnosed with schizophrenia were almost three times more likely (than the “healthy” control group) to die of COVID-related causes. The researchers were at a loss to explain why. That same study found that people diagnosed with “mood disorders or anxiety disorders” were not more likely to experience worse outcomes from COVID.

Thus, the schizophrenia diagnosis is most associated with a high risk of mortality from COVID. The current study focuses on promoting vaccination for this group and explaining possible reasons for the worse outcomes. De Hert writes:

“We have argued that people with severe mental illness should be given priority because they are a disadvantaged group based on both medical and socioeconomic risk factors for [COVID] infection, morbidity, and mortality.”

One of the primary reasons here is the high rate of comorbidities—people with “severe mental illness” are more likely to also suffer from obesity, diabetes, respiratory disease, and cardiovascular disease, according to De Hert.

These problems are known effects of psychiatric drugs, particularly antipsychotics, and most people diagnosed with schizophrenia are likely to take such drugs. This is one factor that may account for the decreased life expectancy that accompanies a psychiatric diagnosis.

Research in the British Journal of Psychiatry has found that the “mortality gap”—the likelihood that someone with a psychiatric diagnosis will die earlier than someone without—has worsened steadily since the dawn of the antipsychotic era. Researchers in the Archives of General Psychiatry argued that the use of antipsychotics might “further adversely influence mortality rates in the decades to come.”

According to De Hert, the immune system in people with “severe mental illness” may be compromised. He cites a few reasons for this. First, childhood adversity—which is highly associated with “severe mental illness”—is also associated with “dysregulated immunological function.” Additionally, chronic stress may have the same effect; so could sleep problems.

De Hert writes that previous research has found that people experiencing chronic stress or who had a psychiatric diagnosis also have an impaired reaction to vaccines—citing the flu vaccine, the varicella-zoster vaccine, and the hepatitis B vaccine—and are thus more likely to contract these diseases even after vaccination.

De Hert goes on to note that psychiatric drugs may also influence the immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to worsening COVID infections—and it may further impede the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine. Some drugs are specifically associated with an increased risk of infections; in particular, De Hert cites clozapine’s effects:

“Clozapine use is associated with neutropenia, which can confer susceptibility to infection. A secondary antibody deficiency has been observed in patients with long-term clozapine use, putting these patients at risk of immunodeficiency.”

Antipsychotic, antidepressant and “mood-stabilizing” drugs such as lithium may have an anti-inflammatory effect, but De Hert states that this may interfere with vaccine response. In particular, all of these drugs can impair normal cytokine function, which has unclear effects but may be responsible for the reduced effectiveness of vaccines.

“Future studies should evaluate vaccine efficacy, safety, and interactions with psychotropic medication specifically in people with severe mental illness so they can be properly informed of the benefits and risks of vaccination,” De Hert writes.

Despite the potential reduced efficacy of the COVID vaccine, De Hert suggests it is still imperative that people diagnosed with “severe mental illness” receive it. After all, with the increased likelihood of COVID-related complications and death, even slightly reduced protection is better than no protection.

“Because people with severe mental illness are at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality, they must be offered early access to safe and efficacious vaccines.”

De Hert urges that people with “severe mental illness” be prioritized, provided with accurate information about the vaccine and about COVID and that their providers engage in a discussion if the patient is hesitant about receiving the vaccine. However, he suggests that mandatory or involuntary vaccination may only increase people’s fear and reluctance to receive medical care.

“Clinicians should provide their patients with adequate information and counter misinformation, address negative attitudes in a respectful way, and discuss the advantages and possible risks of vaccination. In the end, it should be left to the individual to weigh the benefits and the risks, and to give informed consent for vaccination.”



Mazereel V, Van Assche K, Detraux J, & De Hert M. (2021). COVID-19 vaccination for people with severe mental illness: why, what, and how? The Lancet Psychiatry. Available online 3 February 2021. (Link)


  1. Thank you Peter. Good reporting as usual.

    “De Hert urges that people with “severe mental illness” be prioritized, provided with accurate information about the vaccine and about COVID and that their providers engage in a discussion if the patient is hesitant about receiving the vaccine. However, he suggests that mandatory or involuntary vaccination may only increase people’s fear and reluctance to receive medical care.”

    I guess this would be like the accurate information they received from psychiatry about their “severe mental illness” and the “medication”. And it seems the mandatory and involuntary needles may cause fear. Who knew.

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  2. “In the end, it should be left to the individual to weigh the benefits and the risks, and to give informed consent for vaccination.” The same should be true for all drugs, including the psychiatric drugs.

    “he suggests that mandatory or involuntary vaccination may only increase people’s fear and reluctance to receive medical care.” Indeed, it does.

    And I will say that since the vaccine was rushed through, without trials, the doctors can’t actually give informed consent. Since they have no information on the safety or efficacy of the vaccine.

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    Looks like they’re gunning for us, folks.

    Remember that ALL INFORMATION regarding the dangers of vaccines is CENSORED by Facebook, Google and social media in general. Like everything else, it’s for your own good. Draw your own conclusions.

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    • Do you really want to promote fear and doubt about the Covid 19 vaccine that might actually END UP influencing psychiatric survivors to NOT be vaccinated? There is a whole lot at stake in promoting this type of dialogue, with a potential for tragic outcomes for some vulnerable people who are on the fence.

      Again, it is one thing to question the quality of the science around the development of the Covid vaccine, BUT it is a whole other thing to promote unsubstantiated theories that somehow these vaccines are either bad, or not worth the risk of taking. What about the measles, small pox, and polio vaccines?

      Of course Big Pharma and those in power want to maximize profit and yes, keep all their power. BUT they also have a desire and innate drive to STAY ALIVE. Some medicines developed by these institutions and people are actually GOOD and NECESSARY for the survival of our species.

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      • I want to be clear in my view that seeing all vaccinations as dangerous and ill-intended is foolish, but assuming that all vaccines are effective and benign and are intended to help is just as wrong. Each vaccine needs to be evaluated on its own merits. At this point, it does appear from what I’ve seen and read that the COVID vaccines are, in fact, generally effective in preventing infections. However, there has certainly not been enough time or research to determine what the long-term effects of these vaccines will be, and which people may have more severe reactions than the average. It also remains to be seen if those so vaccinated can still pass COVID to someone else (are they not able to be infected, or if they just become asymptomatic). It does appear that people with a history of allergic reactions may be at risk. There is also some suggestion, though this has not been studied, that older folks may be more likely to have adverse reactions.

        So it’s never a black and white thing. I’d welcome people submitting actual studies or epidemiological statistics on the pros and cons of this particular vaccine, but I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to either condemn anyone supporting vaccines as a fool or a dupe, nor is it sensible attacking anyone who expresses concerns about the lack of safety testing or long-term experience. We are doing a rather uncontrolled experiment here, and folks do have a right to do their own research, and are not obligated to automatically assume that “these vaccines are safe” just because the authorities say so. But I also think we do a large disservice to assume that the vaccines are dangerous or intended to harm without gathering data to actually support or refute that position. Again, just because someone says it’s true, doesn’t make it so. Let’s allow people to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, helped by whatever data and research can be shared with each other.

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        • It should also not be assumed that people are assuming things.

          There are many issues being conflated. I doubt that there is anyone seriously calling the virus a “hoax,” so arguing along those lines is what they like to call a “straw man” argument. Most of the argumentation, if you can call it that, has to do with how the situation has been handled.

          “Vaccination” is a different issue, as even many of those who support various lockdown measures are also highly resistant to accepting a “vaccine.”

          I agree with Steve that simply postulating “because science” is not an explanation of anything. I also agree that rather than making such vague declarations people should produce the science they claim to be upholding. That would make for a more intelligent and informative discussion.

          On the other hand, those who challenge the official narratives on any of these matters are hindered by the open censorship of relevant information by Twitter, Google and FB. Sadly however people think this is ok as long as it’s not them being censored.

          The bottom line here is that when psychiatric survivors are specifically targeted for anything it’s time for the red flags to start popping up.

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        • in my view…seeing all vaccinations as dangerous and ill-intended is foolish

          This sounds even-handed and rational on the surface, but, for one, “dangerous” and “ill-intended” are separate issues. We’ll leave the “ill-intended” aside for now. But in accordance with your own policy, to state that “seeing all vaccinations as dangerous…is foolish” is your opinion, and to make a definitive statement one way or the other would require scientific and other evidence to back it up.

          Not saying I’ve completely decided, as I’ve gotten emergency tetanus & rabies shouts on occasion, mainly because the (alleged) risk/benefit ratio SEEMED to weigh in favor of risking the vaccine. But what evidence is there to say that it’s “foolish” to believe all vaccinations are dangerous? This again requires an “evidence base,” which currently is being suppressed. It would seem that this would be an issue.

          Would it be “foolish” to say that all SSRI’s are dangerous?

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          • Because not all of them have proven dangerous. It is irrational to assume that even all drugs are dangerous without evidence one way or the other. I do think it’s wise to be SAFE, namely to assume it is LIKELY there are unknown risks of ANY intervention until proven otherwise. But SSRIs are of course a horrible example. They are factually known to be dangerous, and those claiming otherwise are just ignoring the facts. But it would be foolish to assume that any new drug that came to the market would automatically be dangerous just because SSRIs are dangerous. That doesn’t mean I’d take something just because it wasn’t yet PROVEN to be dangerous. It means I would be extremely cautious about taking a stand before I knew the evidence. I generally never take ANY drugs, largely because EVIDENCE suggests that drug companies don’t do safety testing and hide bad information from the public. But if I do need to take a drug for any reason, I do a thorough research of what is known about it, and have no problem whatsoever telling the doctor or pharmacist that I’m not going to do what they say I should, even if they get snide or condescending with me. In fact, I avoid doctors as much as possible, and use nurse practitioners or physician assistants instead. And I currently have the good fortune to have a naturopath as my PCP! So I’m not apologist for the drug industry, which you should know very well by this point. However, being rational means allowing that despite their history, the drug industry may develop some useful things from time to time, and I need to be open to that possibility, particularly when a whole society is being affected by this particular “viral phenomenon.” It doesn’t mean I assume they are not lying to us or pretending to know things they don’t, as I think I made VERY clear in my prior comment. It just means I don’t rule out the possibility that the vaccine may be an overall benefit without gathering actual data as to the pros and cons. Which seems to be just what you advocate for in your other post.

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          • Just to clarify: to assume that vaccines or any drugs are likely to present unknown dangers until proven otherwise is rational. To assume that all vaccines ARE unsafe or that the dangers out weigh the benefits REGARDLESS of actual evidence is irrational. I am not advocating for mindless acceptance of drug company or CDC assertions, as your post perhaps seems to imply. I’m arguing against automatically rejecting the possibility that something might be helpful based on past bad experiences with vaccines or drug companies or governments, or based on someone suggesting without evidence that there is some nefarious purpose behind such efforts and therefore not bothering to do one’s own research on the subject.

            In other words, I’m opposed to authoritarian approaches, regardless of who is the “authority.”

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          • Is there something I just said you disagree with? It seems you’re repeating things you said previously, and with which I have concurred. Basically that people should think for themselves and do their own research.

            Or are you indeed saying that each new SSRI needs to be “proven dangerous”?

            P.S. To be “authoritarian” something must have the power of authority.

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          • Perhaps I misread your comment. Good to know we’re on the same page.

            Though I don’t agree with your last statement. You are, I believe, referring to the “governmental” meaning of authoritarian. Being “Authoritarian” in my view does not require you to be the “authority” yourself. Every authoritarian leader requires followers who are unquestioning in their loyalty and allegiance to the leader. In fact, there are generally power hierarchies where the people at the top expect compliance from those beneath them, and those in the middle have to comply with those above, but get to order about those below, and it’s only those at the absolute bottom that don’t have anyone to dump on. To me, an authoritarian is anyone who believes in and subscribes to this kind of structure. As you can see, the key is unquestioning allegiance to those above you in the chain, and the absence of independent thought at anywhere in the hierarchy. Those who say that psychiatry must work “Because they are doctors, and they know what they’re talking about, and you aren’t, so I don’t care what you think” are as authoritarian as the psychiatrists that set up the system.

            “According to Adorno’s theory, the elements of the Authoritarian personality type are:

            Blind allegiance to conventional beliefs about right and wrong
            Respect for submission to acknowledged authority
            Belief in aggression toward those who do not subscribe to conventional thinking, or who are different
            A negative view of people in general – i.e. the belief that people would all lie, cheat or steal if given the opportunity
            A need for strong leadership which displays uncompromising power
            A belief in simple answers and polemics – i.e. The media controls us all or The source of all our problems is the loss of morals these days.
            Resistance to creative, dangerous ideas. A black and white worldview.
            A tendency to project one’s own feelings of inadequacy, rage and fear onto a scapegoated group
            A preoccupation with violence and sex”


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      • No.# 1 No one who comments here is promoting fear and doubt about the vaccine, they are just illuminating facts. No. #2 There is a point to be made concerning why are they now highlighting “psychiatric patients.” No.#3 Although there may be some studies that detail some of the efficacy and some of the possible side effects, it would be too soon for any such listing to be near exhaustive. No.#4 The pitfalls of trusting the FDA as to their approval of any drug or vaccine is and should be necessarily suspect. The evidence is endemic to this site as reflected by the many articles and comments about those articles on this site. No.#5 How many drugs, especially, but even some vaccines approved by the FDA have to be taken off the market because they found dangerous substances in them that could cause dangerous side effects and even terminal diseases not known at the time of approval? No#6 Please remember these vaccines have only received emergency approval for use, so they are still technically in the experimental stages. No#7 I think that even if there something dangerous or life threatening, the vaccine makers have technically been excused from liability. The latter may come into dispute in time. No#8 No matter the drug, the vaccine, the food, the cleaning agent, the chemical, either natural or synthetic, etc. each person is so unique and individual that one may be good for one person may kill or make sick another person. Therefore, it would seem to make sense to question everything about this vaccine. This does not mean it might not be beneficial to you or someone you love. It just means, do your homework and trust your instincts, not necessarily what you hear from the news, public health or any governmental entity. This is being a responsible adult. Thank you.

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      • Do you really want to promote fear and doubt about the Covid 19 vaccine that might actually END UP influencing psychiatric survivors to NOT be vaccinated?

        Why would you want to promote confidence in an “mrna vaccine” of a type that has never been used before and has been rushed through the testing process, and which is said to reprogram one’s immune system and make us, in effect, genetically modified organisms? I want to “influence” people to pursue the facts, which are difficult to find, and make their own informed decisions. Too many of have already experienced the same system which has downpressed us to the point of “madness” turning around and presenting us with the “cure.” Mandatory and for our own good of course. So I’m encouraging people to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

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        • OH says:” I doubt that there is anyone seriously calling the virus a “hoax,” so arguing along those lines is what they like to call a “straw man” argument.”

          There are two versions of the “hoax” approach to the Covid 19 pandemic. One is that there is NO Covid 19 virus at all; it was just made up to create fear and hysteria etc.

          The other (more common) version of the “hoax” approach to Covid 19 is that it is NO MORE DANGEROUS than the common flu etc. And that we should seek “herd immunity” through normal activities without ANY drastic measures that might include vaccines and/or shutdowns etc.

          This is the approach that some writers here have taken throughout the many debates within the MIA comment section.

          Some people have actually echoed the essential Trump position that Covid 19 is no more dangerous than the flu AND would just disappear (in spring, fall, winter etc). Some here at MIA have been quoted, that it would “most likely disappear by fall {2020}.”

          Both of these main positions of this version of the “hoax” theory have been proven to be 100% wrong based on statistics and facts, including the horrendous loss of several HUNDRED THOUSAND more deaths since “the fall.”

          Of course everyone should make their own decision on these questions, BUT it is whole other thing to promote unfounded fear of vaccines that may discourage other vulnerable people from taking them, AND continue to dramatically underplay the dangers of Covid 19.

          This is especially true when those espousing this type of “hoax” theory are basing part of their own personal decisions (to avoid the vaccines) on anecdotal evidence and superstition, NOT GENUINE SCIENCE. Such as believing they might have resistance to Covid 19 because they have never had the flu over the past 20 years et, – “cross my fingers.”

          Part of our ability to eventually achieve “herd immunity” in society and diminish the severity of the deadly Covid 19 pandemic, actually INCLUDES a significant proportion of the population taking one of the vaccines.

          We all sometimes say things like “cross my fingers” or “knock on wood” etc. These are common phrases within our culture, BUT they are FAR FROM being scientific. AND they should NOT be the kind of information we use to spread unfounded fear of vaccines OR actually be encouraging others to possibly avoid the Covid 19 vaccine.

          All this is especially true when those people who demand such a high level of science when critiquing and condemning psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model, seriously LOWER the bar of scientific responsibility when critiquing the Covid 19 pandemic.

          We ALL must seek a HIGH BAR of scientific CONSISTENCY if we want people to follow us on the road to eventually abolishing psychiatry and ending all forms of psychiatric oppression.


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          • Richard, I do want to point out to you that it is not unusual or paranoid to question or even to refuse and yes I realize how survivors should have to PROVE themselves as not being a lunatic, because refusing or not trusting a vaccine proves lunacy, and well then, nothing else they say can be taken serious either.

            Again our governments are using psych patients as “those who might be crazy enough to not see what is good for them”, and THAT is what I resent, not the vax.

            Every reader here knows that all over the news, every day the news item are about “how people have lost trust in the FDA and drug makers, and how they have reason, and how do we restore the faith”.
            So no, this is not only those weird conspiracy types. And those were not MY words, they are being said on the news because they know that they made a ton of BAD drugs and have said the very same thing to those people. “take these, you need them”.

            I think it’s rude to not give people benefit of doubt, or at least see every rational reason why they might not want to. I am not talking anyone out of or into doing something they are afraid of. They don’t have to give me a rational reason.

            As I said, this fear is HUGE, way beyond vulnerable people. I think when covid was raging, perhaps if we had seen people released out of seclusions and locked wards, out of nursing homes, into community, perhaps I could believe that they cared about that population.

            So for me it’s about MUCH more than if the vax is safe. And rest assured, my whole family will get the vax.

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    • I support censoring broad antivax positions and I would be happy to see such comments removed here. If you have a problem with a specific vaccination, you should state what that issue is and provide the information you have used to come to the conclusion you have so that the people you’re discussing with can draw their own educated conclusions.

      I agree with Richard that it risks harm in the form of more forced treatment to the survivor community for large numbers of survivors to eschew public health recommendations without providing evidence for their conclusions. I have yet to see any hard evidence in the comments. Twitter photos and fearmongering claims that can be traced back to right wing extremists aren’t scientific evidence.

      Given the stakes here, it is hard to believe these conversations haven’t been shut down yet. I have seen Bob Whitaker end comments for much less egregious infractions and am surprised in this case that nothing has been done about the amount of propaganda about vaccines in general and the Covid vaccine in particular as has been allowed to be posted.

      If those of you participating in this are trying to make survivors look like a bunch of looneys, congrats, it’s working!

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      • KindredSpirit, Anytime, anyone states that they support censorship on any subject, whether it be “broad antivax positions” or other types of positions, I am UTTERLY and ONE MILLION PERCENT APPALLED!! This is still America, Land of the Free (FREE SPEECH, NOT CENSORSHIP) and thus Home of the Brave. I can thinking of absolutely nothing so horribly UNAMERICAN as the word, “Censorship.” When “censorship ” prevails about any subject; terror, torture, torment, and TYRANNY exists. Even if a comment appears to come from any type of extermist position or consipracy theory position, it should be heard. It may not be the truth, but, it can lead us to the truth. One never knows how the winding road of investigation will get us where we need to go. That is one of amongst many reasons why “censorship” is not justified. As far as the stakes being high, the stakes may be much, much higher still, if we do not raise questions, so we can get answers. Do psychiatric patients and psychiatric survivors deserve any more suffering than they already have had? I would think it would be a highly reasonable question for any illness or disease, is the vaccine worse than the illness or is the illness worse than the vaccine? We do not even know if there are contraindications for people who are taking psychiatric drugs. I never thought that I would face the same type of censorship argument I received on a “pro-schizophrenic” site when I began to question taking all these “little pills” after I had read Whittaker’s book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.” There is so much we don’t know here. It took years before Whittaker had the data to prove what he saw in the book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.” This covid virus has only allegedly been around for maybe a year and a half. This covid vaccine has only been available since around Christmas. There is so much we don’t know. To “censor” at any stage, but at this early stage of it all, in my opinion, would be nothing but sheer madness! Thank you.

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      • This is exactly the kind of divisiveness I’m trying to avoid these discussions creating among survivors, and that I’m trying to avoid being drawn into.

        Twitter photos and fearmongering claims that can be traced back to right wing extremists aren’t scientific evidence.

        I’m saddened that you would dismiss such an important issue with this sort of claim. Beyond specific issues with specific vaccines there is the entire conceptual framework surrounding vaccines in general, which deserves to be considered, and this is the sort of conversation that FB et al. are suppressing. (Not to mention the entire field of holistic medicine.)

        Do we need to discuss the molecular structure and slightly varying effects of each specific SSRI to avoid having the entire discussion of SSRIs banned? You might be giving them a rationale for banning anti-psychiatry discussions too (which I expect to happen anyway sooner or later, likely sooner).

        Anyway, for the rest of this thread, if I comment at all it will be limited to documented statistics and research. How’s that?

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  4. Neuroleptic mortality studies find these drugs take 15-25 years off a persons lifespan. Non “mentally ill” users experience similar increased death rates. These studies find that deaths from infectious diseases are around 2 times higher in those using neuroleptic drugs because of the drugs.

    If someone cares about saving human life from infectious diseases they’d want to first reduce neuroleptic drug use.

    Studies claiming people with psych labels have worse immune systems are flawed studies because they assume the deadly addicting drugs are not the cause. Other numerous studies that abide more by the scientific method find the drugs are the culprit.

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    • Thanks for this willow.
      I did read a study regarding kids on psych drugs, that their immunity is compromised
      by the drugs.
      But psych banks on people INCLUDING nurses not informing themselves, through
      reading articles.
      Besides, even if someone in a hospital setting does bring it up, they are quickly silenced.
      It doesn’t even matter if one has the studies in hand. Or perhaps it does.
      Perhaps each time we see a doc or wind up in hospital, we should carry a briefcase with thousands
      of articles and a place for a signature that proves we informed the staff of the science. Because
      they seem to know nothing about studies and research, which I find rather odd.

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    • It’s actually flawed thinking to suggest that only psych drugs are the culprit in psychiatric patients having shorter lifespans or altered immune functioning.

      Teasing apart (controlling for) the many causes including underlying health issues that are ignored and inappropriately treated with psychiatric drugs, adverse living conditions that increase stress and hamper immune response, poor diet (which itself has multiple causes from lack of funds to lack of knowledge to lack of ability or space to prepare healthy meals), poor coping behaviors like smoking and drug/alcohol use, and lack of proper community support are all contributing to the decreased pisfespans and immune response of psychiatric patients. We know, for instance, that once a person has a psychiatric label in their medical file, future medical complaints tend to be taken far less seriously. This is independent of whether that person is taking psychiatric drugs.

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      • This is very true Kindredspirit. During cancer Tx the chemo and steroids gave me insomnia so a cancer doc sent me to a shrink to “get help with sleep meds”. I saw the shrink 6 appts over a period of 6 weeks for med checks to try various drugs to help with sleep. I was unaware she (shrink) immediately put 4 labels onto my electronic records until a year or so later when I began to question/investigate why I was repeatedly denied consults with specialists and denied other imaging tests that my family doctor tried to get me in for. I was even dismissed from the ER with a bleeding retina (that was detaching) as they did not believe I saw streaks of blood in my vision and dismissed me saying “oh it’s probably just floaters”. When I could no longer see the next morning so I went back to the ER and was made to wait all day and almost sent home again without needed laser treatment. (at 4:30 pm. they finally called an eye doctor back in from the parking lot as he was leaving and then he admonished me for not coming in for treatment sooner and told me there was so much blood in my eye now he could not see what he was doing to do a proper laser repair) No matter what you do you will get blamed if you have psych labels on your records.
        It’s bizarre psychiatry gives people “diagnoses” but never bothers to inform the person of the “diagnoses.” If some other branch of ‘medicine’ practiced like this there would be an uproar.

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  5. Willoweed states some very true facts about Psychiatric drugs, lifespan, and even infectious disorders. While on these drugs, I had two horrible cases of pneumonia; one of which got me hospitalized. I am also concerned about if there are any contraindications between these vaccines and the psychiatric drugs. It seems very hard to find out that type of information on any drug versus the vaccines and especially on the psychiatric drugs. One other point is that these psychiatric drugs can interfere with reasoning, judgement, clarity of mind, etc. Therefore, I am really not sure if a patient on these kinds of drugs can make a rational decision to take the vaccine or not. Thank you.

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    • I doubt they know. I think they don’t even know much about the regular flu shots.
      Obviously nothing that is injected is benign EVEN if it does protect.
      I think it will be interesting next year, when they will make new vaccines for the new “variants” and so on.
      And nothing will have changed as far as holing up.

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      • I can tell you that if the flu shot had the reported effectiveness that even the least effective Covid shot has, I would take it in a heartbeat.

        The AstraZenica shot has a reported effectiveness of 79%, which exceeds the flu shot’s effectiveness in the best of recent years.

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  6. We’re not your sacrifice class, to be experimented on and used as guinea pigs, thanks. The fourth phase of clinical trials is called the “post-marketing evaluation phase” whereby they run a mass experiment on the public and sit waiting to reap the adverse reaction reports. oldhead is correct, beware!

    Also noteworthy to add the fact of the matter is that many people hurt by psychiatric drugs are finding that they wind up with sensitivities to medications, and no one has really mapped out what is and isn’t safe for our group to take. The vaccines you can guarantee were not tested on people whom have health issues due to psych treatments. So there is utterly no way for them to predict what will happen to anyone taking them who has past damages from treatment.

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    • Right — they were tested exclusively on younger healthier groups, not people over 75. They mostly seem to provide some initial protection for people in those groups, everything else remains to be seen. In Israel the whole 75+ population was vaccinated and cases started soaring. And the rate of immediate side effects seems substantially higher than with the regilar flu vaccine, especially after the 2nd shot. And there is a clear correlation with miscarriages. Other than that, no problems.

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        • A key personal epiphany occurred probably 30 years ago, when a friend explained a younger friend’s quizzical expression at something I’d said by saying “people don’t understand your irony.” Though obviously he did. Anyway I was thinking you must get some similar reactions from time to time, yes?

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      • OK I hear Israel has stabilized somewhat. For the record.

        What we don’t hear much is that U.S. AND worldwide cases have been steadily and predictably dropping for weeks, with no correlation with vaccinations or Biden whatsoever. But let’s see who gets the credit.

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        • Everything I’ve heard has attributed the rise and subsequent fall in cases to the holidays. Maybe you have different sources of news. I’ve also heard that anything approaching herd immunity won’t happen until late this year or some time next year. I’ve also heard we may never reach herd immunity due to the speed of mutations, which is what I think is more likely to happen.

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          • Well, the twitter link above is my source for the specific statistic I mentioned.

            Not pretending to be a virologist, but other coronaviruses already in circulation pre-covid are also constantly mutating. That’s one reason why they need a new vaccine every year, with maybe 50% efficacy, which you probably know already. I think that says more about the vaccine approach in general than anything else.

            I don’t want to push my holistic health approaches here though, as long as my right to my own thought processes is respected. But for the record, I haven’t been vaccinated for the “regular” flu ever, nor have I had it for probably 25 years. I suspect I have a gradually acquired resistance, and suspect that this in addition gives me a leg up in resisting COVID. Fingers crossed.

            But my post here was more of a statistical one in nature. It seems that the pattern of “surges” is to very rapidly spike, then just as quickly the spike peaks and there is a steady gradual descent. “Flattening the curve” interferes with this process, for better or worse. But it seems that the natural course of an outbreak is getting easier to chart and predict.

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  7. In my case, having been through what I’ve been through with the mental health system, having been denied medical care after being drugged and brain shocked (I was even coerced into “non invasive” tms treatments which it turns out is just as bad as ECT. The news just keeps getting worse, but I guess it explains why I can barely dress myself), I’m not afraid of Covid. They always leave borderlines out of this anyway, since no one really knows what it is beyond a way to scapegoat and gaslight a person.

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  8. In the past year, my own opposition to the Covid vaccine has dropped significantly. For one, I have learned that RNA vaccines have been largely successful in experiments conducted for the last decade at least. I have learned that someone I know personally has been a subject in one of these experiments several years ago and had no adverse effects. The Pfizer vaccine in particular has shown a 95% effectiveness rate at preventing Covid illness and a 100% rate of preventing severe illness. The few serious adverse events seem almost exclusively to happen with the Moderna vaccine. There have been zero reported serious adverse events for pregnant mothers or their unborn offspring, before or after birth (unlike their extreme risk if they catch Covid). There is little evidence that herd immunity is a realistic prospect with naturally acquired infection. All countries that have taken this route have reversed their official stance because it failed. Indeed, the more community spread there has been, the more and faster mutations develop. The countries that have instituted contact tracing, mandated mask wearing, and severely restricted movement among infected populations have ended up being able to effectively control their outbreaks. Despite the US having a tiny fraction of the world’s population, we have had a fifth of the world’s cases because no political willpower exists even now to infringe upon ‘Muricans Rights.

    It doesn’t matter right now why psychiatric patients are at greater risk. What matters is that encouraging current patients and survivors to flout public health recommendations puts our lives at risk.

    Wear a mask. Get your shot. Social distance. If you can’t or won’t do those things, I won’t be arguing for your freedom. Don’t want ‘Covid camps’? Don’t risk other people’s lives. It’s simple. And those who continue to spread antivax and deeply anti-scientific propaganda without caring who they’re influencing should have to face the consequences of their actions.

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    • Kindred Spirit, What you write here about “contact tracing, mandated mask wearing, and severely restricted movement” can easily be countered with data that shows that these, as they say “non-drug” interventions do not work and only worsen the covid crisis, i.e. cases, etc. However, by the tone of your post, I can tell you probably not be interested. There are many unanswered questions about RNA Vaccines. And, in fact, I believe, prior to the covid crisis, they were considered a failure. But, what I really read underneath the lines of your post is what I call the “that’s that” conclusion. This is similar to the same conclusions, many of the psychiatrists, psychologists, and other doctors wrote down in their reports concerning my thinking, possible behavior, physical characteristics, etc. One psychologist went so far as to call me “shallow.” And, I, may very well be “shallow” for one thing I have learned in my unfortunate years “drugged and therapized” by psychiatry, etc. is to ask questions and to never fear where angels fear to tread or is you are lucky, you could get killed or worse. Each person has every right to refuse any medical intervention. Of all things to lose one’s freedom to make decisions relevant to oneself, and if necessary, one’s family, is probably the most unhealthy and dangerous thing to do. Thank you.

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      • Rebel

        You raise many important questions and concerns about Covid vaccines. Some of these questions will not be completely answered until several decades have past.

        HOWEVER, we (and the rest of humanity) are faced with a DECISIVE need to draw certain scientific conclusions NOW, based on the BEST available scientific evidence.

        If we DON’T act now on the BEST available evidence. we will not be able to achieve “herd immunity” and stop the deadly spread of Covid 19. And the more we hesitate, we actually give the spread of mutant strains more time to gain a foot hold in society, THUS PROLONGING THE LONG TERM DANGERS OF THIS VIRUS.

        This is no time to be stuck in “relativism;” a view that we cannot really know and ACT ON the “relative truth” of the moment.

        We simply do not have the time to remain perpetually skeptical or “agnostic” on these scientific questions about the Covid 19 vaccines.

        Sometimes we must act decisively on the BEST available information, and then continue to sum up each and every new fact we gather, as things develop. The best current evidence says that the vaccines ARE “safe and effective.”

        This IS one of those decisive moments in history where difficult decisions must be made despite NOT having ALL the related information.


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        • In other words, when all else fails, PANIC! (Actually I do remember Dr. Spock saying something similar in a “reasoned” way.)

          Anyway we said we would be documenting any further statements, and I don’t see any science here, just conjecture and philosophy. I think in the interest of survivor solidarity we should probably leave this thread to the dustbin of history and try again sometime, maybe with some rules of engagement, and sans hidden agendas.

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            I am getting the very strong impression that this conversation is on the verge of escalating into a more personal one. I am not really seeing an exchange of views as much as an exposition of different positions, any of which have their perspective and reasoning behind them from the viewpoint of the poster. What I’m NOT seeing as much of is 1) exchange of statistical or scientific data or studies supporting one’s position; 2) personal stories to support the viewpoint being taken; 3) attempts by one “side” to understand where the other “side” is coming from.

            The original point of the article was not to debate COVID or even the safety profile of the vaccines released to date. The article is about whether or not it makes sense to prioritize/encourage/enforce vaccines for people “diagnosed” with “mental illnesses.” There are many issues that this raises, including the question of what message it sends to make this kind of “prioritization,” whether force is being contemplated, whether or not the vaccine interacts with psychiatric drugs, etc. I think we’d do better to focus our energies on those questions. I think everyone has stated their positions fully and with passion, and further discussion along these lines seems likely to deteriorate as it has in the past.

            If folks have actual articles, research, statistics to share, please feel free, but we really aren’t learning much by simply restating our positions louder and with more emphasis, and stating or implying that those who disagree with us are irrational or dangerous. Let’s either start listening and focusing on known facts, or get back to the topic at hand.

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    • THANK YOU KS! You speak the truth so clearly and succinctly.

      There is a lot at stake here, including (most importantly) the very lives of psychiatric victims and survivors.

      In my view, we have completely lost Peter Breggin as a serious writer and activist against psychiatric oppression. He has totally gone “off the rails” and abandoned genuine science when it comes to the Covid 19 pandemic, along with his unfortunate embrace of other dangerous Right Wing Trumpian type perspectives. He is now, sadly, more of a liability than an asset to our movement

      We CANNOT allow that same trajectory to occur to other activists within the anti-psychiatry movement. We are on a “long road” in our fight against psychiatric oppression – this road will be filled with many twists and turns over the years. We are currently being tested, IN REAL TIME, as to our ability to assess genuine science and chart a political course of radical activism that can actually succeed in saving humanity.

      Some people are currently “failing,” (so far) in this “real time” test. We must do our best (at the risk of some discomfort) to stand up for the truth, and for what we know will truly advance the righteous cause of the oppressed.

      “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!”


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  9. Thanks, Peter, for your information and insights re this extremely important issue. In my opinion, prioritizing psychiatric inmates/survivors for the mRNA vaccines bears much similarity to the Nazi’s extermination of “useless eaters.” Before the Nazis started killing Jews, gypsies, gay people, political dissidents, etc., they first exterminated people considered mentally disabled. And lest you think, oh Nazis, nothing like that could happen here, the practice of killing children considered to be ‘feeble-minded” was endorsed during that time period by the editorial board of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

    I agree with Steve about the dearth of actual articles and data supporting people’s arguments, so here’s one that is packed full of important info, backed up by documentation, and no one can dismiss it as a “from a right wing source.” (Speaking of right-wingers, yes, i believe that the anti psychiatry hero, Dr. Peter Breggin, has gone off the rails in his support for extreme political positions, but i’m so glad he’s still out there fighting for the truth re the mRNA vaccines, just as he has fought to expose the truth about psychiatric drugs for all these decades.)

    There are a few highlights from the following article that i think are particularly worth noting. No people over 80 were included in the Moderna trials and not that many over 70. The people chosen for the trials were all in very good health. The vaccine manufacturers do not claim that they prevent transmission, or even death, only that they prevent mild to moderate symptoms. This has been validated by the World Health Organization. They do not prevent transmission.

    There have been quite a few instances of very high death rates of elderly people following vaccination, where there had previously been very few in that particular location who had died from Covid-19.

    The article is here–

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    • Hope you don’t mind me piggybacking here. Breggin has also implicated Fauci in the creation of COVID 19. Some salient points:

      (4) Fauci has funded and continues to fund coronavirus “gain-of-function” research projects which turn benign animal viruses into human pathogens capable of causing pandemics. The stated purpose is to learn to prevent and treat future outbreaks; but research labs are the most common source of outbreaks from dangerous pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, as well as two earlier accidental escapes by SARS viruses in 2004 from a research facility in Beijing.

      (5) In 2014, when blocked by an order from President Barak Obama from funding dangerous “gain-of-function” studies, Fauci outsourced the research to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He also covertly continued to fund the major gain-of-function collaboration between US and Chinese Wuhan Institute researchers, led by Menachery et al. at the University of North Carolina. Fauci thus made a mockery of President Obama’s attempts to stop the potentially catastrophic research.

      (6) In order to outsource dangerous viral research from the US to China during the Obama moratorium, Fauci prematurely approved the Wuhan Institute as a highest level containment facility (known as BSL-4) capable of safely working with lethal viruses. He did this while knowing the Institute had a very poor safety record and while also knowing that all such facilities in China are overseen by the military as part of its biowarfare program. Thus, Fauci created two grave worldwide threats, the accidental release of a deadly coronavirus and/or its use as a military weapon.

      (7) Without fanfare, toward the end of the first year of the Trump administration in 2017, Fauci and NIH canceled President Obama’s moratorium against building viral pathogens in US labs and openly restored gain-of-function research creating lethal viruses.The original moratorium was a direct order by President Obama on White House stationery while its undoing was a decision made within the National Institutes of Health and NIAID, probably without Trump’s knowledge.

      (10) We published our blog on April 14, 2020 and our video on April 15, 2020 revealing Fauci’s funding of US/Chinese collaborations that were building deadly coronaviruses and we described how the cooperative efforts enabled the Chinese to engineer coronaviruses. On April 17, President Trump announced his intention to cancel the collaborative funding. Fauci was critical of the President’s actions and in October 2020 Fauci unleashed a surge of funding for gain-of-function research, supposedly without any Chinese involvement. However, some of the funding potentially involves Chinese researchers in the United States and some goes to the EcoHealth Alliance, which has been Fauci’s main conduit for funding Chinese researchers and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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        • Steve

          You said: “And I also certainly hope that experiments designed to make viruses MORE dangerous are banned worldwide after THIS FIASCO.” [capitalized by RDL for emphasis]

          Does this mean you have accepted as FACT, the speculative theories that run rampant through Breggin’s writings?


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          • Does your question mean that YOU think it is a GOOD idea to create extra-infectious deadly viruses in labs, trusting that ALL the human beings in charge will ALWAYS act with complete and utter security to make sure there is NEVER an accidental release? If anyone really believes this is a good idea, I think I have some farmland near Chernobyl that they might be interested in.

            It means the idea that somehow a coronavirus that is particularly virulent is coincidentally released just a few miles away from a lab doing research on making coronaviruses more virulent but that it is from bats at the local grocery stretches credulity well beyond comfortable bounds. Besides which, there is now some evidence emerging from China (via the US State Department) that some of the Wuhan Lab workers were ill with a flu-like illness just a few weeks before the huge outbreak was identified. I am by no means buying anything suggesting this is some kind of planned “plandemic” for some kind of nefarious but as yet vague plot of the Shadow Government to somehow obtain worldwide control by forcing everyone to wear masks or some such nonsense. However, history tells us that “High security” labs and the like are far from perfect, and escapes and leaks are not a rare phenomenon. Additionally, the Chinese have been quite protective of any information regarding this lab and how the pandemic got started. So while I can’t be certain of this, all the evidence leans toward the likelihood that this virus did, in fact, accidentally escape from the lab in some way. As the saying goes, “Never attribute to malice that which is easily explained by incompetence.”

            Even if the virus did not escape from the lab, the possibility of such escapes is certainly more than negligible, and the idea of creating viruses that COULD cause a worldwide pandemic as a means of PREVENTING a worldwide pandemic seems quite foolish, to say the least. This research was discontinued by the Obama administration for a very good reason. It needs to be stopped, permanently.

            I would appreciate it if you are a little more careful in your between-the-lines implications in your “questions” in the future.

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          • Steve

            You said: “I would appreciate it if you are a little more careful in your between-the-lines implications in your “questions” in the future.”

            In this situation it was entirely fair for me to question your use of the phrase “this fiasco.”

            These are not yet provable facts; they are STILL only conjecture. I don’t know enough about the nature and purpose of these labs in China, and other parts of the world, to draw a definite conclusion that these experiments should NEVER be done.

            We do know that scientists in the past kept the smallpox virus in laboratories in order to develop an effective vaccine. This was certainly a great advance for humankind. Sometimes certain risks in science need to be taken in order to make important progress. We need MORE information and analysis to draw definite conclusions on these questions.


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            OK, Richard, you get the last word here. We are now going to stop any further discussion of the generalities of COVID. Further discussion on this thread will be focused on the particular question of COVID vaccine prioritization for the so-called “mentally ill.” Any divergent comments regarding the possible causes and general approaches to COVID not specific to the article will be moderated as “off topic.”

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      • OH says: ” Breggin has also implicated Fauci in the creation of COVID 19.”

        Breggin has ONLY detailed some evidence that Faunci was working with other scientists, including some from China, on pandemic PREVENTION experiments.

        There is NO definitive evidence that these experiments somehow released the Covid 19 virus into the general public. NONE WHATSOEVER!

        This is all pure SPECULATION WITH A POLITICAL AGENDA! And that political agenda by Breggin is DEFENDING the Trump/Pence regime’s MIS-handling of the Covid 19 pandemic that led to several hundred thousand PREVENTABLE deaths.

        I cannot say with any certainty that Covid 19 was not some type of lab experiment gone wrong, BUT it is absolutely wrong, on so many levels, to promote SPECULATIVE TYPE THEORIES as if they are TRUE FACTS.


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      • I look at this – and it may be true. Maybe someone can prove it or disprove it.

        But the bottom line for me is this: it doesn’t matter where it came from, it is here.

        And I am not inclined to trust the people involved in the capitalist development of the “solution” to a problem they may or may not have created.

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    • Given what we know about similar viruses (the flu or influenza), which are constantly “mutating” and seem to come back in a slightly altered form each year (in order to “survive”), there is no such thing as “herd immunity” in the case of covid-19 (and it’s successors). In the case of “influenza”, one is left to wonder if those annual flu shots somehow force the virus to mutate beyond what it would naturally do, making it a perpetual yearly problem.

      Last year, in the northern hemisphere, covid cases also dropped around April, and stayed that way till the normal “flu season” came around again in October / November.

      From what little I know about viruses, they seem to always tend towards a “symbiotic state” with the hosts. Live and let live.

      Another thing I find curious, and that people take at face value, is that, for example, the Pfizer vaccine is advertized at being 99% effective, whereas we now know the IFR of covid-19 is about 0,23% in most countries. That means our immune system is 99,77% effective. Why take a “vaccine” that from their trials, reduces your chance of survival?

      “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

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      • “Last year, in the northern hemisphere, covid cases also dropped around April, and stayed that way till the normal “flu season” came around again in October / November.”

        This is incorrect. The entire world experienced waves around the same times, differing only in their intensity depending on the individual country’s levels of coordinated response. We would have expected countries in the Southern Hemisphere to have little cold and flu over our winter but Brazil had their worst covid outbreak at the same time the US did debunking the idea that the virus dies back during summer or warm months.

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  10. “Research recently published in JAMA Psychiatry found that people diagnosed with schizophrenia were almost three times more likely (than the “healthy” control group) to die of COVID-related causes. The researchers were at a loss to explain why.”

    From what I gather from a doctor that works at a hospital’s ICU, more than 60% of the patients there due to “covid” are obese men over the age of 60 or 65. Given that one of the most common side-effects of “antipsychotics” is extreme wait gain, I think I could hazard a guess.

    Of course, one must never implicate the treatment as the culprit.

    A bit like all those brain anomalies found in “schizophrenia research”.

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    A reminder that generalized comments about COVID-19 are going to be moderated at this point as “off topic.” The topic of the blog is whether or not those labeled “mentally ill” should be prioritized for the COVID vaccination. The wider discussion has led to deteriorating civility and increasing personalization of comments without contributing anything to the main topic, and also without much evidence that an actual exchange of information was going on. I apologize to those who are posting appropriate comments, but for the good of the community, this particular aspect of the discussion is closed.

    Feel free to make comments on the basic premises of the article.

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  12. I’m revisiting this thread to add some nuance to the discussion to counter the hyperbole and fear-mongering that has been spread here.

    I have finally received my first Covid-19 vaccine dose. (I’m fine, almost no reaction at all besides soreness at the injection site.) Most of my family was vaccinated before I was even eligible as many of them either work in professions considered “critical infrastructure” or have physical disabilities. My history of “mental illness” was never a consideration for making me eligible. A lot of scare-mongering has been made of this article and the suggestion that those with these labels should be prioritized for vaccination and I believe it was entirely overblown. The facts in hindsight suggest that rather than being experimented upon, those of us with a history of psychiatric labels have probably been the least prioritized for protection in actual practice.

    Something between 3 and 4.5 million people are being vaccinated in the US daily. There have been very few newsworthy adverse reactions. The two shots most notable for those reactions have been the Astrazenaca and J&J vaccines, both of which use traditional production methods. The MRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna have had stellar safety records as well as extremely high real-world effectiveness rates in preventing severe illness and death. (Newsflash: That’s what vaccines have always done under ideal circumstances.) Having said that, even the rate of adverse effects associated with the single-shot J&J vaccine are not so high as to make them not worth the risk. Out of roughly 7 million people who have had the J&J vaccine, 6 have had blood clots – a rate of less than 1 in a million. To compare that to the number of Americans who have died so far from Covid-19, that risk is about 582 per million (328 million Americans in the US divided by 563K deaths as of today). Your risk from even the least effective, most risky of the vaccine versions is astronomically smaller than your risk of death or long-term illness from Covid-19. Using those numbers, I’d feel safe receiving any of the vaccines currently available.

    I have been on all sides of this issue. I was very skeptical of the “new” vaccine technology right up until I researched it and found that this method has been in the experimental phase for several decades ( and that I know people who have been study subjects in the research that this “new” technology was built upon. All that has happened is that the Covid-19 crisis funneled enough money into it to quickly take that knowledge and apply it on a wide scale. For some contrast, the polio vaccine was developed on a much smaller timescale – about 6 years between the time Jonas Salk developed the ability to grow polio in tissue culture and widespread vaccination. And it sure wasn’t tested on psych patients – he tested it on his own family first!

    It saddens me to see conspiracy theories and borderline paranoia clouding the facts surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine technology when the information about MRNA vaccines is readily available, and the real-world results are so clear, if one only were to research rather than react.

    I hope to encourage anyone still on the fence about receiving the vaccine that it is indeed safe and effective. It is important to base decisions on facts and not fear. This technology is not new and neither is the concept of herd immunity which we will never achieve by allowing the wild virus to run rampant. The race to vaccinate the world and stop the spread that produces new variants is crucial to ending the pandemic. My vaccine protects you, your vaccine protects me. Together, we can stop the spread.

    In Solidarity,

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    • Posting as moderator:

      I am allowing this comment, despite stopping this thread earlier, because the poster relies on personal experience and research data in her comment and is presenting the evidence she has encountered in a respectful manner. I am not inviting a return to the personalized, escalating rhetoric that was occurring previously. Others who wish to present their own personal experiences with COVID vaccinations are welcome to do so, particularly as it pertains to any pressures, oppression, or neglect based on “mental health” labels. Personal experiences are always welcome. Personal attacks and invalidation are not.

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