5 COVID mistakes Biden's new chief of staff must admit

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President Joe Biden’s elevation of Jeff Zients, best known as his Coronavirus Response Coordinator, to White House chief of staff is the latest sign of the administration standing by its stewardship of the pandemic. Rather than a comeuppance, it’s more of the same defiance and obstinance that have become hallmarks of their "medical experts."

The ringleader of Biden’s pandemic response deserves an expulsion from government, not a promotion. If Zients has any hope of rebuilding trust with Americans, he needs to acknowledge past mistakes. Here are five places to start.

First, admit promises about experimental mRNA vaccines fell short. 

As Americans were learning how to pronounce "omicron" in December 2021, Zients delivered a dire warning from the White House briefing room: "For the unvaccinated, you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm."

Set aside how such an incendiary claim breaks Biden’s inaugural pledge to "stop the shouting and lower the temperature." The math doesn’t add up. Since Zients’ declaration, the percentage of COVID fatalities among the vaccinated in the U.S has steadily climbed – from 23 percent in September 2021 to 42 percent in January and February 2022 to a clear majority (58 percent) by August 2022, according to analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. In a more recent report from the health department of New South Wales, Australia which covered the last two weeks of December 2022, of the 1,415 hospitalized patients with known vaccination status, none were unvaccinated. The numbers have changed, but the condescension from the White House has never wavered.


Second, acknowledge that re-purposed generic drugs should play a role in the ongoing fight against COVID. 

Since the pandemic’s earliest days, the Front-Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), the non-profit medical organization that I lead, has been gathering and presenting clinical evidence for alternative treatments. Summary analyses called "meta-analyses" which combine data from many individual studies have long been considered the strongest form of medical evidence over that of single or even a handful of trials. Numerous meta-analyses along with firsthand reports from clinicians around the world have found that safe, affordable medicines like ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and fluvoxamine (among others) reduce COVID hospitalizations and deaths.

Government agencies have ignored these facts and even mocked them. Doctors who discuss their professional experience helping COVID patients with effective treatments are accused of peddling "misinformation" and threatened by the likes of the American Board of Internal Medicine – as I have been.

Jeff Zients, the then White House Covid-19 response czar, speaks during a press briefing at the White House where he spoke about a pause in issuing the Johnson & Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine on April 13, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Jeff Zients, the then White House Covid-19 response czar, speaks during a press briefing at the White House where he spoke about a pause in issuing the Johnson & Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine on April 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Third, scrap plans for annual COVID-19 vaccinations.

Last week, the FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products committee voted unanimously to retire Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s original COVID-19 vaccines and replace them with an annual booster of the bivalent shots, billed to specifically protect against the Omicron variant. Setting aside questions about efficacy, shocking new video footage showed a Pfizer executive discussing his company’s plans to mutate future strains of COVID that would require a new vaccine.

Pfizer can deny the claims in the video all they want, but the numbers don’t lie. Analysts expect the company’s 2023 revenue to drop 26 percent as demand for the vaccine wanes. That’s just one year after projecting $100 billion of revenue fueled by the American taxpayer. Clearly, a pandemic in perpetuity boosts its bottom line.

Fourth, immediately remove all pandemic mandates.

This weekend, Novak Djokovic, the world’s top ranked tennis player, won his 10th Australian Open, tying Rafael Nadal for the all-time lead of 22 Grand Slam championships. Yet questions remain about his ability to participate in upcoming American tournaments due to vaccine requirements for foreigners that will remain in place until at least April 10. An organizer of one of the upcoming tournaments dubbed the whole situation a "disgrace" – he’s right.

This problem extends beyond sports. Health care workers who were fired for exercising medical freedom should be re-hired, and military service members who lost recruitment bonuses and salary should be made whole.


Finally, concede that vaccine injuries are real, and call off the merchants of doubt.

It’s bad enough the administration has foregone regulatory safeguards to push an experimental vaccine on hundreds of millions of Americans. Now its allies are mocking those suffering from debilitating side effects with a coordinated smear campaign, despite the fact that the CDC’s own V-safe database found that eight percent of patients were injured badly enough to require medical care. Despite this, some of these despicable attacks even come with a derisive "#thankspfizer."


I care for many people battling vaccine injuries, like Angelia Desselle. No one should be forced to endure the suffering she and so many others have gone through, only to become targets of media derision.

It is unlikely that Jeff Zients will pay attention to these offerings. But there’s also a new sheriff in town. The House Republican majority has oversight responsibilities and subpoena authority. The Committee on Energy and Commerce has scheduled its first hearing for early February. If the executive branch is unwilling to admit past mistakes, Congress should force its hand.


Pierre Kory, M.D., is president and chief medical officer of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.

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