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Baylor gets restraining order against COVID-19 vaccine–skeptic doc


 

The largest nonprofit health system in Texas has secured a temporary restraining order against cardiologist Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic who allegedly continued to claim an affiliation with Baylor Scott & White Health months after he entered into a confidential separation agreement in which he agreed to stop mentioning his prior leadership and academic appointments.

Baylor was the first institution to cut ties with Dr. McCullough, who has promoted the use of therapies seen as unproven for the treatment of COVID-19 and has questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Since the Baylor suit, the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and the Texas Christian University (TCU) and University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) School of Medicine have both removed Dr. McCullough from their faculties.

Granted by the 191st District Court in Dallas County, Tex., the Baylor restraining order – which is in effect at least until a hearing on the case on September 30 – was sought as part of Baylor Scott & White’s breach of contract suit against McCullough, who had previously been known as a well-respected expert in cardiorenal issues. The suit is seeking $1 million in damages, as well as attorneys’ fees.

The suit seeks to “enforce the terms” of the confidential employment separation agreement signed by Dr. McCullough in February and prevent Dr. McCullough from continuing “improper use of titles and claimed affiliations that have already confused the media, the medical community and the public,” it reads.

“This ongoing confusion regarding [Dr.] McCullough’s affiliations, and whether Plaintiffs support his opinions, is exactly what Plaintiffs bargained to avoid in the Separation Agreement,” and is likely to cause “irreparable reputational and business harm that is incapable of remedy by money damages alone,” the suit states.

One of Dr. McCullough’s attorneys, Clinton Mikel, maintains that all the times the physician was identified in the “thousands of hours of media interviews and countless publications since his departure from Baylor” were “said/printed by a third party with no encouragement from Dr. McCullough,” and that the doctor “does not and cannot control third parties.”

Mr. Mikel said in a statement emailed to this news organization by Dr. McCullough that the suit is “a politically motivated attempt to silence Dr. McCullough,” because it was filed on the same day the organization mandated COVID-19 vaccination for employees.

Dr. McCullough “intends to vigorously defend against Baylor’s unfounded lawsuit,” will seek to dissolve the restraining order, and recover “all payments due him from Baylor under the terms of the settlement agreement,” wrote Mr. Mikel.

The cardiologist’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss the suit on Aug. 9, essentially arguing that Baylor Scott & White’s action restricted Dr. McCullough’s right to free speech under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act.

COVID-19 vaccines = bioterrorism?

Dr. McCullough accumulated a following in 2020 by promoting early at-home multidrug treatment of COVID-19 in interviews with conservative websites and at a U.S. Senate hearing in November.

Although Dr. McCullough does not appear to have any personal social media accounts, his broadcast and podcast interviews are tweeted by thousands daily around the world and featured on Facebook pages like “Pandemic Debate.”

Some Facebook posts with Dr. McCullough’s pronouncements have been labeled as misinformation or removed. Some of his videos remain on YouTube, where they are posted by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group that believes Dr. McCullough is “under fierce attack for speaking out about COVID-19 early treatment and vaccine safety.”

Dr. McCullough’s March 2021 testimony to the Texas Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee – in which he claimed that COVID-19 patients are being denied what he called proven treatments like hydroxychloroquine – has been viewed more than 3.7 million times on YouTube. The appearance has also been tweeted repeatedly.

Most of Dr. McCullough’s interviews and presentations are aggregated on Rumble, an alternative to YouTube.

In interviews, Dr. McCullough promotes the use of zinc, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, doxycycline, favipiravir, prednisone, and ivermectin as COVID-19 treatments – based on an outpatient treatment algorithm published in August 2020 in the American Journal of Medicine. The cardiologist was the lead author of that paper, which proposed treating people with COVID-like symptoms whether or not they had confirmed infection.

Dr. McCullough and colleagues published a follow-up paper that added colchicine to the mix in Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. McCullough is editor-in-chief of the journal, but this was not noted in the disclosures.

Similarly, Dr. McCullough has not disclosed in his COVID-19 publications or any interviews that he has received consulting fees from a host of pharmaceutical manufacturers that produce COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Open Payments database, Dr. McCullough was paid about $300,000 annually by drug companies from 2014 to 2019, mostly for consulting on cardiovascular and diabetes medications. His payments dropped to $169,406.06 in 2020.

Dr. McCullough appeared on “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News in December 2020, claiming that sequential, early treatment with “anti-infectives, corticosteroids, and then antithrombotics” could “reduce [COVID-19] hospitalizations by 85% and cut mortality in half.”

He repeated the claim on the Ingraham show in July and agreed with host Laura Ingraham that the vast majority of healthy people would do fine if they got COVID. He also made the claim that 84% of the COVID-19 cases in Israel were in people who had been vaccinated. “So it’s clear, we can’t vaccinate our way out of this,” he said. An Associated Press “fact check” report has pushed back on similar assertions about vaccine data from Israel.

In a separate interview posted in June, Dr. McCullough called the pandemic the first phase of a bioterrorism event, which was “all about keeping the population in fear and in isolation and preparing them to accept the vaccine, which appears to be phase two of a bioterrorism operation.”

In addition, he said, “good doctors are doing unthinkable things like injecting biologically active messenger RNA that produces this pathogenic spike protein into pregnant women.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccines teach the body to produce the spike protein, which then triggers an immune response that creates antibodies that will attack the virus.

A PolitiFact review debunks the notion that the mRNA vaccines are toxic, cytotoxic, or introduce live, active virus proteins into the body.

FactCheck.org also disputed Dr. McCullough’s claim in a July 13 Ingraham Angle appearance that the mRNA vaccines are ineffective against the Delta variant.

In the FactCheck article, Frederic Bushman, codirector of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Research on Coronaviruses and Other Emerging Pathogens, said that people were much better off being vaccinated than not,” adding, “the Delta variant may reduce the effectiveness [of the vaccines] a little, but still, they’re so effective that you get a lot of benefit.”

“The vaccines are failing,” Dr. McCullough asserted in an Aug. 3 video interview posted on Odysee. “As we sit here today, we have 11,000 Americans that the CDC has certified have died after the vaccine,” he said, citing two analyses – one by Jessica Rose, PhD, and another by British researchers.

Similar figures reportedly based on cases reported to the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) were forwarded to this news organization by Dr. McCullough.

The CDC website notes that the agency has received reports of 7,653 deaths in people who received a vaccine as of Sept. 13 (0.0020% of vaccine doses given since Dec. 14, 2020), but it cautions that those deaths do not mean the vaccine was the cause.

Dr. McCullough repeatedly claimed in the Aug. 3 interview that the government has not been transparent on vaccine safety. Since June 2020, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has held 16 public meetings on the COVID-19 vaccines.

To date, the agency has advised clinicians to monitor for rare side effects including Guillain-Barré syndrome and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and myocarditis after mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) vaccines.

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