Weekly Report from the Bellingen Covid-19 Clinic: Dr Trevor Cheney

Dr Trevor Cheney gives his weekly report from the Bellingen Shire Covid-19 Clinic

Dear Bellingen Shire

9 March 2021


Happy International Women’s Day for yesterday!

The official catch phrase: “Women in Leadership: Achieving equality in a Covid19 World.”


I would like to celebrate the theme.  I just can’t quite explain the last bit about it needing to be a Covid-19 world to achieve equality.  I would have kinda preferred to see that equality before last January, and would very much like to see it after this weird phase of the world.  Maybe there would be less shouting and more negotiating?

How many of us were saying last year that the world had stopped and offered the opportunity for us all to chart a new course.  That revelation was inspired by photos of the view of the Himalayas for the first time in generations from rooftops in Delhi.  Clean air was breathed when rapacious polluting industries had to pause. But then lots of people got poorer without work.  Still, I wonder if women were the captains of industry would the extraction, endless growth and control mentality of 20th century economic concepts still remain supreme?

There is a phrase thrown around a lot this time of year:

“Women hold up half the sky”.  I wonder how many folk know where that comes from.

It is actually a quote from Chairman Mao.  It is purported to show that women are an untapped resource.  Indeed there have been female leaders of Taiwan as well as Hong Kong. I don’t pretend to know how many are in the ruling elite of the “Middle Kingdom”.

And here we are, still in the middle of the Covid-19 world, or epoch, or phase or whatever, and the major news is dominated by men in power AGAIN assaulting and abusing young women. Sometimes I feel Australian society has so much to not boast about.


So back to Covid news – this will be a bit briefer and to the point.  Well maybe mostly.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration – the very cautious, conservative body which very carefully looks at safety and usefulness of drugs and decides what can be imported to Australia, also get to limit what can be said about medications, and has now decided that talk of specific vaccines is like direct advertising, thus is not allowed. Hence I can no longer publicly explain or mention specific vaccines.  I am only able to direct anyone to the Federal Health Department websites and publications.

Curiously anyone with any abundant lack of knowledge and zero training but a passion for conspiracies can shout whatever gossip they like, with no scientific basis and absolutely no legal repercussion.

It seems the worst consequence is that if such a person has a parliamentary seat, they might get reluctantly disendorsed. This is a curious anomaly of our medico legal system.

So I think it is safe to let you know that the rollout of the vaccine program has been amended, with the supply being much more constrained than originally announced.  Most practices will be able to provide vaccines, but on the basis of small clinic sessions with limited shots per week – a bit like we do for the flu vaccines. In the Bellingen Shire it is more realistically expected that we would not see any till after the start of April and probably after Easter.  We expect your GP practice, or the Federal Health Department, will be able to let you know the start up and what to do a little closer to the time.

There will be no stadium or cathedral mass events in this region.

Because people often ask what about those who are immune suppressed – I did look up the British Society for Immunology, and they enthusiastically support vaccination – they just acknowledge the effectiveness is a bit weaker on their patients, but they state that the effect of the disease is much worse! They have had plenty of first hand experience in Britain!  The Rheumatology Society states pretty much the same, although they recommend stopping the medicine methotrexate a week before to a week after.

There is a standard joke that whenever you vomit – especially after a night out – it always contains carrots. Well, that’s because it looks a bit orange and lumpy, but not something one would offer a guinea pig.  On a similar vein, there is a statistical joke that almost everyone who is in a car crash has eaten bread the day before. (A bit less now that so many of us are on low carb diets!)  You might then assume that eating bread causes car crashes.

There is a Meme going around that the US Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS) is picking up thousands of people dying post vaccine (no brand name here!) because doctors are strictly mandated to report adverse events in “phase 4 trials” -Which is where they are effectively up to. Phase 4 = post marketing, strict surveillance.

Well, I went to the Centre for Disease Control’s Data Base – VAERS – as the meme suggested, to check that out.  There had indeed reported over 400 adverse events to the end of February.  Indeed 93 people had died!

Now, over 500 000 people die in the US each year of heart disease alone.  That means that over 83000 people were expected to die – just of heart disease  -in the 2 months to end of Feb.  In this period over 80 million doses of vaccine had been administered to 56 million people.  If we apply the same percentages to the vaccinated population then we would expect just over 14000 to have died in those 2 months after receiving a vaccine – of heart disease.  93 were reported.  Hmmm.

This doesn’t mean any vaccine now prevents heart deaths.  It just means that meme is meaningless – carrots and bread.

This is to illustrate what your health and research teams spend decades studying and honing and debating- then hopefully teaching or delivering to our communities – the difference between Veracity and Verisimilitude.

This is just one non-commercial perspective not seeking to advertise or promote any pharmaceutical product.  Please check any detail with your own honed GP, who doesn’t tend to shout, and of course the Federal Health Department websites, information hubs and portals, which have all the actual official latest information, safety advice, eligibility checkers and – soon to be  – booking pathways.


Dr Trevor Cheney







  • Avril says:

    Thank you as always for your down to earth and sometimes humorous observations. Loved the American statistics. We have a long way to go, but are fortunate in Australia in that our rate of infection is so low that there is no urgency for the vaccine:

  • Vicki Parkes says:

    Thank you Dr. C- keep up the great work! Vicki

  • Roma HARRIS says:

    I’m looking forward to my jab at Urunga at the end if Match.

  • Vivienne Boyd says:

    My daughter suggested that I read your latest information.. Thankyou Trevor .. interesting re methotrexate.. as I use it weekly for RA

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