Please refer to my first essay in the series, here.
This pandemic will pass, as all the previous ones have. The world will both change – and be the same – as with the previous pandemics. Disaster capitalism will go on capitalising, and we’ll look back and see that all the conspiracies – amounted to nothing but a population grasping at things to make sense in a world far more complex than the simple answers these conspiracies provide.
The following is admittedly blunt.
It pains me to see how many knee jerk unresearched posts friends & colleagues of mine make. While I can’t appeal to my own authority (calling myself out) I spend every single morning of my life, and many of the in-between moments of my day, reading and sorting the thousands upon thousands of articles I have saved to my Pocket app. I manage and review so much content & consult my textbook library (everything from politics to neurology) that I post every day since Facebook began, to the point where I have created a Facebook community geared towards like minded, open minded yet factually grounded peers. It is, quite simply, exhausting trying to educate people who clearly believe themselves to already be educated. Much like talking to a teenager, I have decided it best to reframe from engaging online, and instead write longer form pieces such as this.
Snarky? Yes. You were forewarned in my previous article. This is because if it was any other conspiracy, or typical anti-vax topic I wouldn’t give it the time of day – but this is dangerous – not just in this COVID-19 era, but for the advancement & enlightenment of humanity in general. Especially during trending deliberate Trumpian anti-science as we hurtle towards irreversible climate change. I have little patience, especially as a healthcare professional working hard to legitimize my own field against a backdrop of kooks, quacks, and arrogant/colonialist skeptics.
Some of this elaborates and expands on points made in the first part, as I have since had time to expand on them – but I do hope it does not come across as repetitive due to this.
So my thesis here is on one hand how healthcare practitioners, especially “alternative” ones do a dangerous disservice by jumping onboard with anti-science and conspiracy, and on the other hand the misinformation from the mainstream medical community monopolizing the narrative claiming “nothing can be done to boost immunity”.
Part 3: DANGERS & DELUSIONS
It is for the next set of reasons, that I have called “shame” on what I am seeing being posted. While shaming I admit is not the most effective approach, I do believe a lot of what I am seeing is grossly irresponsible and at times this needs to be called out – albeit perhaps more from a compassionate educational approach.
(This section is in direct response to a public comment which references this hogwash article and will be reworded & absorbed as the section expands)
This essay begins with a reasonable hypothesis – but then rapidly breaks down into a mess of motivated reasoning without providing anything substantial and as usual it just ends up being a lot of emotional argumentation, sleight of hand, cherry picking, and fear mongering. There is little, if any actual science in this article – this is the work of an amateur reporter.
You say what expense and what risk? A free vaccine that might cause an extremely rare mild allergy vs a life threatening infectious contagious disease that can leave even healthy young people with lasting damage?
The vaccine has already been used in thousands of cases. So far so good. Moreover, we are doing the best we can, with what we’ve got – all in an effort to prevent deaths. Any prevention, at the expense of mild symptom side effects – is worth it, even if the vaccine proves to be less effective in the wild months from now. This is the same argument I’ve been making with preventive TCM herbs – when lives are at risk – and data shows these options to be “generally recognize as safe” then what are we waiting for?
This essay provides literally no information that is not already known by top scientists – but cherry picks data to create a haze of confusion with an anti-vax agenda.
The Fauci point raises the question of the “endpoint” – this endpoint is nothing to scoff at or take out of context as this author sees fit. Fauci acknowledges that these are early vaccines, and further – by reducing the risk of individual severity, we in turn prevent hospitals from being clogged. This “settling for” series of statements is totally moot – especially when yes – we do want to prevent clinically recognizable disease. I’m frankly unsure of what this authors point is here. And who has claimed “lofty promises?” Citation, please. This essay is riddled with a total lack of non-mainstream fallacy news sources.
We have to use all the tools in the toolbox – from masks to vaccines, every bit helps. Once we gather data from the first wave of vaccinations, we will see how effective it is in the wild. Until then – there is ample data to show the benefits outweigh the risks. We “settle for” any positive results – any lives save that would not have been otherwise. Do you honestly think they would release a vaccine that would willingly hurt people – especially our elderly & front-line hospital workers who receive the shots first? At the cost of class-action lawsuits & historical disgrace? On the contrary to what this article says – its “reckless” to simply let the virus continue its rampage – we must do what we can, now, study the early data after the fist wave of vaccinations, adapt/adjust, and continue to move forward.
We’ll get to the mandated stage when that time comes – until then these are needless scare tactics – may as well add microchips to the mix. This vaccine won’t be released to the general population for months to come – that’s months of data collection & course correction by medical professionals such as Offit. This is key: Few, if any of us – will have access to the vaccine for months to come. Precisely to gather data on safety. If this is already known – then what, exactly, is the purpose of articles such as these?
“More than likely carries a risk than a drug”? No data shows this. Which drug? Fear mongering. Many pharmaceuticals carry significant risks – vaccines are child’s play in contrast, especially when considering a *pandemic infectious disease*. High blood pressure is not contagious – and often the medications have severe interactions and potential side effects. These effects are known, and prescribed accordingly. As more risks appear with the vaccine, more data will be compiled, and we will better know who to target. Until then – an actual contagious killer pandemic rages on.
Vaccine science is harder to study because it involves the active deliberate transmission of pathogens – and thus will always have a small power/data sample size. That said, vaccines are NOT untested, we are passing forward the same research & technologies used since wiping out polio and smallpox – and specifically the data & results obtained from the SARS epidemic. This is why the medical community can release them confidently. We do it every year with the flu vaccine. Pets are vaccinated in any given moment. While the specific mRNA methods might be novel – these are medical professionals who are at risk of substantial class-action lawsuits should anything go wrong. While I’m aware I’m making a vague appeal to authority – I also suggest the author do the same – he does not know as much as he presents himself to: asking questions to stir seeds of doubt – but does not essentially answer or provide hard data on anything.
The essay then continues on, presenting a series of “what ifs” & side effects during early-stage studies. As if the rollout of the vaccine wouldn’t immediately be halted once adverse effects are confirmed.
This is science doing science – presented in a framing fashion to cast doubt in the reader. One man with chills who broke a tooth – but the article leaves out that he said it “was worth it” – these are purely framed as fear-mongering – we are already aware of potential and rare side effects – far better than dying of COVID while your loved ones can’t even be by your bedside. If these vaccines save even hundreds of lives – and one of them is your grandparent – would it not be worth it for a chipped tooth?
“…But it is unclear why an injected vaccine would need to have the equivalent of a visual day-glow marker. mNeonGreen has unknown antigenicity.” Exactly – the author of this study has no idea, and perhaps should investigate and research deeper, interviewing professionals from these companies, than pointless scare tactics, and until then reframe from these suggestive statements. Any medication on the market contains stabilizers and seemingly questionable ingredients especially to the general consumer. This is nothing new, and the author should admit that he simply doesn’t know what he is talking about, interview someone who does, or say nothing at all.
“If they actually compared their vaccines to a saline placebo, the COVID-19 vaccine would likely have more adverse events.” This is obvious and is a scarecrow argument. Honestly, I can go on and on picking each one apart (like what does this polio thing have to do with anything?) as this essay is essentially a listicle of out of context points like these.
With essentially a laundry list of cherry picked out of context points, this article is unconvincing as I would like to see it refuted by medical professionals in the field who do actually know what they are talking about. This amounts to simply framing already known and established data with an anti-vax end goal. This essay provides nothing not already known – professionals are already working on the safety concerns.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a freakin fringe TCM practitioner who’s entire raison d’etre is to protest the deadly approaches of the capitalist pharmaceutical industry. But I also deeply consider myself a scientist, and moreover I know when to call a spade a spade. We have every right to be wary, cautious – but do so in a more detailed, actually researched study rather than an opinion piece that contributes to public misinformation.
Articles like this appear intelligent, but in reality are a disgrace to the thousands upon thousands of research scientists to save what will likely be hundreds of thousands of lives – needlessly posturing articles like this subvert this work and worse, are complicit in an overarching agenda that may lead to further deaths.
This is not a “mild illness” – the US passed the death toll of the past decade of flu seasons combined. These people would still be here. Period. Asymptomatic or not, you can’t predict who you will transmit to – and then subsequently kill. Sounds to me like a small risk for a huge gain – the saving of countless lives at minimal cost. The total opposite of this reply.
See the difference? Science doing science. Doctors doctoring. Researchers gathering data. Everyone united on a common front, doing the best they can, with what they’ve got.