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Idiocy, the anti-vaxxers edition

DM168

DM168 Reflection

Idiocy, the anti-vaxxers edition

A protester holds aup a banner as they gather outside Parliament House in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 10 May 2020, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. EPA-EFE/SCOTT BARBOUR

Part Three in the “Idiots Will End Us All” series. Hopefully the final piece. Though I’m not betting my life.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

So you wake up in the morning.

The bed is so perfect but you jump into your gym clothes to run a few miles on your treadmill while watching the morning news. The great hot shower follows. Feels good.

Quick coffee from your Italian machine accompanies the toast excellently, with almond butter from an exotic country halfway around the world. You know what’s good and healthy, and spare no expense – it is your health we’re talking about.

Late for work, you jump into your SUV and speed off into the morning traffic. No worries though, your car has full connectivity so you can easily reschedule your meetings. You’re not worried about your safety – your SUV features fully autonomous mode – you say loudly “Take me to my office” and it is taken care of; your car’s most precious cargo, the very divine, perfect, genius, YOU, will be delivered with no fuss and no complaints.

At work, you’re at the cutting edge of everything, of course. You deal with computers, money, commodities and products in far-flung places. It’s all there, at your fingertips, because your company has installed the fastest connection so you can effortlessly project your brilliance.

By midday, a slight headache. No worries. You open a bottle of French water and glug an aspirin. Soon, all’s gone.

Later, you attend a dinner with friends who, rather annoyingly, want to talk about this latest virus that is gathering momentum in China. They predict it will soon be everywhere, and that the only way to stop the pandemic is for a vaccine to be introduced as soon as possible.

There, you take a clear stand. No, I will never allow a vaccine to ruin my health. Too much risk.

But, your friends say, we must trust our science and our scientists, who are most alarmed and have already sequenced the virus’s gene and are working 24 hours a day on what could be a years-long project.

Scientists!, you exclaim, disdainfully. They change their minds all the time! We still don’t know if eating more than four eggs a week is good or dangerous for us. And don’t get me even started with the low-fat or low-sugar flip-flops.

You have also read in so many magazines (because you read a lot) and heard from so many other friends about children becoming autistic after being vaccinated. My body belongs to me and only I will make that decision – and it will be a definite no.

Okay, I now need to jump into your conversation – as I frankly can’t stand listening to you anymore.

You don’t believe the science and the scientists, you say?

So, when you woke up this morning, how do you think your perfect bed was made? Your treadmill and your hot shower? How did that cup of coffee materialise in your hand? All the way from Colombia, in a machine designed in Italy, and powered by alternate current electricity (thank you, Nikola Tesla), that was produced in a faraway power station that still managed to deliver the electricity to you despite friction loss. How did your SUV get designed, produced and sold at the price that you can afford? The very fundamental process that powers that car – all of it was done by the… scientists!

The concept of money itself, that you’re so proud of making, the markets, the banks, the entire economies? Where does the internet come from?

People of the world are not dying anymore in droves because they have a flu, or just a damn little appendicitis. That is ALL because of the intervention of medical science. Briton Hadden, the genius original editor of Time and Life magazines died from a bacterial infection after he picked up a stray cat in New York in the late 1920s. Two decades later, he would not even have had to worry about it. So, let me ask you just a simple question: How is it possible that you trust science and scientists literally every minute of your day for your livelihood and everything else, but that trust stops when it comes to the vaccines? Even as there is literally a mountain of data that proves how crucial vaccines are for planetary health? Do you really think you having a hunch is worth it?

It is time for you to wake up. And smell the reality, for the sake of all of us.

And let me dispel another of your illusions: your body may belong to you, but right now your health belongs to humanity. The only thing you will achieve by remaining vaccine-free during this pandemic is to hand your beloved body to the virus – and possibly become a host in which it will mutate away from our vaccines. Just think about it. Stop being an idiot. When the time comes, get vaccinated. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for free to Pick n Pay Smart Shoppers at these Pick n Pay stores.

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All Comments 10

  • I’m not sure that calling people idiots is the best way to persuade them to sacrifice their freedom of choice for the common good. The deficit of trust is not due to people’s stupidity, but their experience. It is due to broken promises and disappointment and loss of having any sort of say or control over their own lives and futures, ie the situation we currently find ourselves in. I’m also not sure if any science mentioned above came to fruition in the short space of time these vaccines have. But those who choose to sit on the sidelines and observe, waiting to see whether it’s safe to have the vaccination probably need not worry, because by the time they reach the front of the queue it will have had enough time to prove its safety and usefulness anyway. Life is a lot more nuanced than this article makes it out to be. Even the scientists don’t agree with one another, rightly so. Herd mentality should not be confused with herd immunity.

    • Thank you Angie. Scientists above all others value doubt and circumspection, not judgement and condemnation. It’s the liberating power of exploration and discovery that gives individuals the power over mob insanity. You’ve stepped over the line from the reasoned caution of good science to the mass hysterical irrationality of which you are accusing antivaxxers Branko… Or are you saying that in this matter you are justified? A very slippery slope Bro.

      • No. Branko is precisely right. This is not an opinion issue. It’s settled science. Vaccines work. Settled as in the existence of gravity. It’s been ‘explored’ & ‘discovered’. To pretend anything less is a canard of the highest order & is supportive of those who would say all facts have their ‘alternative. Obviously arrant nonsense.

  • The bad “Dr” Andrew Wakefield has a lot to answer for; preferably in a criminal court. He reinforced anti vaccination sentiment enormously

  • Mmm. All sounds reasonable until one factors in that what normally takes years for approval has been telescoped into months (1), and that the pharmaceutical companies have demanded and, it seems, been granted blanket immunity from prosecution if anything goes wrong down the line (1)(2). And who’s to say to what extent the most recent iterations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are despite or because of science? For instance superweeds spawned by the scientific wonder, glyphosate (3).

    By the way has the author checked how many of his DM staff will be scrambling to get vaccinated?

    Sorry if to the author the above points seem idiotic and selfish |

    References:

    (1) Lerner, S. (2020). Drug companies continue to shed liability for rushed coronavirus treatments. ‘The Intercept’, 28 August. [Online].
    (2) Mancini, D. & Peel, M. (2020). Covid-19 vaccine makers lobby EU for legal protection. ‘Financial Times’, 26 August. [Online].
    (3) Wilkerson, J. (2015). Why Roundup Ready crops have lost their allure. ‘Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’, 10 August. [Online].

    • The vaccine liability and compensation system is complex and varies by country. The reasoning is that to keep vaccine costs low governments compensate for any injury with no liability allocated to any party. This is important when mass administering any medical intervention as there are going to adverse event that may or may not be linked to the vaccination. i.e its not a conspiracy

      New England Journal of Medicine: No-Fault Compensation for Vaccine Injury — The Other Side of Equitable Access to Covid-19 Vaccines
      Sam Halabi, J.D., Andrew Heinrich, J.D., and Saad B. Omer, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., M.P.H.

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