I have great respect for Gabriël Moens AM and Augusto Zimmermann. Their research is careful and detailed, and their opinions on Australia’s Constitution and legal history carry great weight.

Their opinions on medical science, however, carry as much intrinsic weight as the opinions on delicate questions of constitutional law held by the nail technicians in the nail clinic at my local shopping plaza. That is not to say that a nail technician could not have opinions on constitutional law that were worth hearing and considering. But those opinions would have to be based on years of intensive reading, of understanding the context and history of Australian law, and have been tested in discussions with genuine experts like Moens and Zimmermann.

Expertise in one area, such as decorative acrylic fingernails, does not necessarily translate into expertise in electrical engineering or law. Expertise in law does not magically translate into expertise in plumbing or immunology.

So I was disappointed to read their recent article in the Australian Spectator https://www.spectator.com.au/2023/05/the-shocking-refusal-of-medical-treatment-to-the-unvaccinated/ decrying the “shocking refusal of medical treatment to the unvaccinated” which they describe as discriminatory.

The article refers particularly to the case of Vicki Derderian. Vicki needs a heart transplant. The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne has declined to perform that surgery until she is vaccinated against COVID-19. According to an anonymous source quoted in the article “they want her to have three vaccines.”  The other two are is not specified, although this likely refers to second and third doses of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. We’ll see why this is important later.

This is certainly discriminatory. But there is nothing wrong with being discriminating. I discriminate in favour of good wines, good music, good books. One of the many disappointments with the Moens/Zimmermann article is that they use a perfectly good word to create a negative connotation where none is warranted.

The question is not “Is it discriminatory?” but “Is it unfairly discriminatory?”

The answer, as the authors would have found if they talked to anyone in the transplant unit at the Alfred, or indeed any transplant surgeon or immunologist, is NO.

Instead, to support their case, Moens and Zimmermann provide a virtual catalogue of medical wackos and grifters.

They mention Peter McCullough as  a leading and renowned cardiologist. He may be called that in anti-vax circles, but nowhere else. There is a discussion here: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/depopulation-by-covid-19-vaccines/  of why the partnership of Mercola and McCullough is so obnoxious, and so dangerously wrong.

There is an analysis here explaining why his paper claiming to have found a link between COVID-19 and dangerous myocarditis had to be retracted: https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/paper-claiming-covid-vaccines-and-myocarditis-link-is-retracted/  

Here is a list of McCullogh’s articles with discussion demonstrating why they are misleading, mistaken or just outright dishonest: https://healthfeedback.org/authors/peter-mccullough/

Moens and Zimmermann claim “scientists have now discovered that mRNA vaccines, not Covid infection itself, may cause brain and heart damage.”  Scientists have discovered no such thing.

This claim is based on a single study of just one patient, a seventy-six year old with multiple serious underlying conditions, whose autopsy showed minute quantities of COVID-19 spike protein in both heart and brain. The author of the article was not aware of previous COVID infection,  assumed that spike proteins were present because of vaccination three weeks prior to death, and then assumed that these caused the mild observed myocarditis and more serious necrotising encephalitis. There is no evidence other than this article that COVID-19 vaccines are associated with necrotising encephalitis. The best that can be said about this is that it is an interesting article which warrants further investigation.

The article goes on to quote other fringe authors and articles, including one from the Epoch Times. The Epoch Times has as much credibility on complex medical issues as an article from Dolly magazine. No attempt appears to have been made to engage with transplant surgeons, immunologists or any other medical professionals or researchers.

This article is on the same level as an article written by a heart surgeon claiming proof of an advanced pre-ice-age civilisation is absolutely clear, quoting experts like Erich von Daniken and Graham Hancock, and claiming evidence is being suppressed by big archaeology.

Or an article by a dentist in support of sovereign citizenship, quoting such well-known legal experts as Malcom Roberts, Tommy Cryer and Mitch Modeleski to claim Article 61 of Magna Carta was invoked in 2001, so that since that time there has been no legal monarchy, and therefore no laws promulgated anywhere in Commonwealth nations since then have any effect, that Australia now has the status of a corporation on the US stock exchange, and that legal practitioners in Australia know all this, but keep it quiet to safeguard their lucrative positions in the system.

That would be bizarre and obviously wrong to any legal expert. Just as wacky medical conspiracies are bizarre and obviously wrong to scientists and medical researchers.

Why do medical professionals want Vicki Derderian to be vaccinated prior to her heart transplant? Because pre-transplant immunisation is vitally important to the survival of transplant patients. Immuno-suppressant protocols are necessary to ensure the donor organ is not rejected. This means patients have zero resistance to common illnesses.

COVID-19 is endemic in our communities. As I write, Victoria has 6,452 known cases, including 311 currently in hospital, with an average of six people dying from COVID-19 each day. NSW has over 6,600 known cases, and nearly 1300 people in hospital. Research has shown that three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine prior to transplant significantly improves resistance, and therefore survivability,  for transplant patients.

Triage is the process of the allocation of medical resources to those who are most likely to benefit from them. Resources are not unlimited, and some, including organs suitable for transplant, are in very short supply. Giving a heart or a liver to one person almost certainly means that someone else will miss out, and either not receive a transplant organ, or have to wait.

Let’s do a simple triage exercise. You have one liver. You have two patients. One is a fifty-seven year old overweight man, an alcoholic and habitual drug user. He has refused to give up drinking and has a history of non-compliance with medical directions. The other patient is a bright fourteen year old girl with unresectable liver cancer. Who do you give the liver to?

This exercise provides the answer to the question above “Is it unfairly discriminatory?”

It is extremely sad that Vicki Dederian has been convinced, as Moens and Zimmermann seem to have been, by bad faith actors or anti-vax social media posts. She may hold her views sincerely. She may have a vaccine exemption. The article makes much of this. But that simply exempts her from vaccine requirements for travel. It has nothing to do with the provision of health care. None of this alters the fact that her refusal to be vaccinated severely impacts the likely success of her transplant operation, just as the misguided alcoholic’s refusal to give up drinking impacts  the likely success of his.

Vilifying health officials and accusing them of unfair discrimination because they choose to give a heart to someone who has a greater chance of benefiting from it is not the answer. The answer is for Moens, Zimmermann and Vicki Dederian to spend less time talking to and reading medical charlatans, and more time talking to genuine medical researchers and practitioners.

A week ago, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 no longer an international public health emergency.  This was not because COVID-19 has been eradicated. Far from it. And certainly not because it was never really a threat, as some antivaxxers have claimed. Nearly seven million people have died. It is because over 13 billion doses of COVID vaccines have been administered, with over 70% of the world’s population having received at least one dose. In addition, there are now effective treatment regimes for COVID. Together, this means you are less likely to get COVID-19. If you do, you are very unlikely to become seriously ill, will be infectious for less time, and will be given treatments which have been proven to work.

That is something worth celebrating.