After Republican House District 55 candidate Cindy Ficklin was banned from Facebook for 30 days on May 27, 2021 for spreading the lie that Covid-19 was man-made in a lab in China, she started a personal blog on the website of Coldwell Banker, the real estate office with which she is affiliated.
Ficklin has been banned from Facebook several times, including another 30 day stint in July of 2021. Facebook usually applies the 30 day ban — the longest ban they use before taking an account down completely — after a user willfully violates the platform’s “community standards” multiple times and after they give at least five prior warnings and multiple bans of increasing length before reaching the 30-day threshold.
Deprived of her main social media conduit, Ficklin was in need of an outlet where she could spread conspiracy theories and misinformation about Covid-19 and other topics without restriction.
She briefly used her blog space on her Coldwell Banker real estate company website as and outlet for that activity, and what she wrote gives us a look into how she thinks.
Misleading public statements
In her May 29, 2021 blog, Ficklin made the following barely intelligible but ominous-sounding statement about the Covid-19 vaccine:
“RNA technology killed the animals in auto-immune disorders in prior trials,”
“They skipped the animal trials altogether and went straight to human trials this time.”
Ficklin, who has repeatedly claimed publicly for some time that she is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in behavioral psychology, didn’t cite any peer-reviewed published studies or credible, authoritative references to back up her wild inferences proposing extreme carelessness was used in developing Covid vaccines, but a search to uncover the origin of the ideas she espoused, that “all the animals died” in Covid-19 vaccine trials — and her particular phrasing of this statement — led to a widely-shared Instagram post from May 18, 2021 by Jimmy Levy, a singer-songwriter and Season 18 contestant on American Idol. Levy deleted his post after he received a fact-checking phone call from USA Today, whose reporters were examining the veracity of his claim that “they skipped the animal tests because all of the animals died.” Levy also told fans via email that
“I have been investigating the spiritual & psychological warfare operations on Humans worldwide for 5 years…Many of my fans have reached out to me from all around the world about their family members getting sick or nearly dying from the vaccine, when they were completely healthy before.”
In truth, both clinical trials and real-world studies have shown Covid vaccines to be extraordinarily safe and effective. The vaccines by now are known to have common short-term side effects like sore arm, headaches, tiredness, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea, but there has been no evidence of widespread deaths occurring among vaccine recipients anywhere on Earth, even after hundreds of millions of doses have been administered around the world.
So any inference that Covid-19 vaccines were developed carelessly and thus are causing widespread death, which is what Ficklin seems to be inferring here, is clearly false.
Lying about vaccine deaths
Ficklin also claimed on her blog that:
VAERS [the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System] has reported more than 4,000 deaths [from the Covid-19 vaccine]— which is more vaccine deaths than any other vaccine in history … and more deaths than all other vaccine deaths ever COMBINED!
The VAERS system Ficklin speaks of is a national early-warning system that the federal government established to detect potential safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. VAERS is a “passive surveillance system,” meaning anyone can post any information to it without verification. The site accepts and reports these adverse events and possible side effects after a person has received a vaccine.
But because anyone can report anything to it, and there is no clear cause and effect linkage established in any of the cases, VAERS data is also notoriously shoddy.
Politifact calls VAERS “a breeding ground for misinformation about vaccine safety.” One anesthesiologist even once reported to VAERS that a vaccine made his patient feel like he was turning into The Incredible Hulk, just to see if the system would accept and report the information.
In addition, VAERS posts a clear disclaimer on its website warning that:
“VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. In large part, reports to VAERS are voluntary, which means they are subject to biases. This creates specific limitations on how the data can be used scientifically. Data from VAERS reports should always be interpreted with these limitations in mind.”
The “4,000 deaths” figure is also traceable to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who on May 5, 2021 told millions of viewers: “Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States — 3,362,” adding that “The actual number is almost certainly higher than that, perhaps vastly higher than that.” Carlson added, “It’s clear that what is happening now, for whatever reason, is not even close to normal.”
Politifact called his statement misleading, saying the Centers for Disease Control analyzed the deaths reported to VAERS through May 3, 2021, and found no causal link to Covid-19 vaccines. In fact, even though Fox News hosts like Carlson try to convince people Covid vaccines are unsafe, Fox News Network requires all of its employees to get vaccinated and upload their vaccination status to a special site for proof, or submit to a daily Covid test.
So Ficklin spreads damaging, false information on Covid vaccines and omits important context that would tell the true story, actions that, if people believe her, could be leading the more disease and death in our area.
Lying about Dr. Anthony Fauci
Ficklin also wrote on her blog
“Pfizer is Fauci.”
…inferring a relationship exists between Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer Pfizer.
This claim lacks any foundation.
It can be traced to a tweet by Johnathan Feliciano, a guard for the NFL football team the Buffalo Bills, and was circulated on Facebook in posts that have since been banned as false information. Feliciano tweeted:
“It’s been proven that COVID was made in lab. Fauci also a part of Pfizer [thinking emoji] that’s why ppl don’t want to get the vaccine. Sad to come to the realization that you can not trust the government. #dontshootthemessenger.”
Reuters investigated and found no information exists linking Dr. Fauci to Pfizer in any way.
Fauci has never been, and is not currently on Pfizer’s board. He never worked at, or for Pfizer in any capacity, he is not on the company’s management team, and any financial relationship between Fauci and the company would have to be disclosed publicly under the Ethics in Government Act.
Similar claims have been made saying Dr. Fauci is associated with the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, which are also lies.
We could go on and on, because everything Ficklin has posted on her blog is either false, misleading, without proper context or foundation, and without credible or authoritative references.
Ficklin is predisposed to taking information out of context, repeating false and misleading data derived from discredited Fox News hosts and sources like wannabe celebrities and athletic figures. She cites sources of data that are well established to be shoddy and unreliable and she pumps out conspiracy theories in a continuous stream.
This is not the kind of behavior one should expect from a true Ph.D. candidate.