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Posted: May 12, 2021

Humankind typically at odds over vaccines

Kootenay Crust

By Ian Cobb

Op-Ed Commentary

The COVID-19 pandemic is now 427 days old.

The past 61 weeks have been a bizarre lurch and stumble down dank and dark avenues of the human condition, where natural selection is commonly on display amongst a select percentage, perhaps as much as 25%, of our society and others around the world.

Well jammed into my 50s, I’ve never before witnessed such a massive display of natural selection. The anthropologist in me is fascinated while the historian shakes a mournful head, aware of how much damage anti-vaccination types played on the rollout to solutions from previous pandemics and health nightmares such as polio, smallpox, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, diphtheria, rubella and now COVID-19.

Fears of and refusal to have vaccines dates back to about 1798 (smallpox) and reasons are numerous, from worry around contents of vaccines, in terms of the point of view of various religions or cultures; fear of government and fury toward government for forcing vaccinations.

However, the bulk of anti-vaccination movements the past 200 years is centred in good old paranoia initiated by a litany of debunked rumours and conspiracy theories. The advent of the Internet and the wild west of ‘information’ that is shared on social media and YouTube has created even greater challenges for medical health professionals as they desperately work to try and bring our world ‘back to normal.’

COVID-19 denial and anti-vax stands have helped inflict a terrible toll on American, Brazilian and Indian lives, the three nations with the highest death rates. As of writing, Brazil has lost 426,000 lives to covid, India has lost 254,000 lives and the USA has bid adieu to a staggering 582,000 lives. Canada has lost 24,761 lives.

In total, 3.32 million lives have been lost world-wide – on top of the roughly 58 million lives lost for other reasons annually.

Somehow those numbers don’t resonate with covid deniers. Like frothing Trumplenuts, they cry it is fake news and howl about their liberties being taken from them when asked to don a mask or be considerate toward those more susceptible to disease.

Their egoistic and selfish needs to refuse to ‘follow along’ with the majority and do the right thing for everyone by helping establish herd immunity was pre-shadowed by the 2018 article ‘The Anti-vaccination Movement: A Regression in Modern Medicine,’ in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as ‘freeloading.’

“While exercising autonomy and refusing vaccination is valid for sensitive personal issues, it will cause more harm than good if a certain percentage of the population does not get vaccines causing the immunization rate to fall below the herd immunity threshold. This threshold varies in every disease. The development of vaccines is considered one of the greatest strides made in medicine due to the enormous benefits to an entire population. From an ethics perspective, achieving herd immunity and minimizing the amount of “freeloaders” is in the best interest of society as a whole,” the NCBI article noted.

A common cry from the basic conspiracy theorist nowadays is “wake up; do your own research!”

My goodness, where would we be without the sage guidance of so many Internet researchers, refuting the best advice of the majority of the world’s top medical professionals? Nothing says “I’m a self-impressed blowhard” more than some shlub sans any form of medical or scientific background who refutes said top medical professionals by quoting a singular medical professional because, well hell, one doctor knows more than all the doctors!

“We doctors say that is nonsense,” as Graham Chapman of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame would say.

Unless you’ve gone through years of specialized education in a given field, do not presume you should impart your ‘wisdom’ on others when it comes to things you lack basic understanding in; or perhaps it is because you lack compassion toward others? I can’t say really. I haven’t undergone years of specialized education in psychology.

I’m getting my jab this upcoming weekend – when B.C. should be hitting the 50% vaccinated rate – and I see wonderful, warm light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.

Great Britain, badly hit by COVID-19, underwent a great vaccination campaign – using mostly AstraZeneca – and now the country is heading back to gatherings and… how nice – hugging. It is also opening its borders to travellers from select nations – but not yet to Canadians or Americans. Telling.

So as is typical of the human condition, no matter the era, we must battle ourselves to improve our collective lots.

In closing, here’s a list of diseases humankind has conquered or controlled through vaccines, and again, some elements of society chafed against taking those vaccines: Chickenpox; Diphtheria; Hepatitis A and B; Hib; Measles; Mumps; Pneumococcal disease; Polio; Rotavirus; Rubella; Tetanus; Whooping Cough. I am sure I’ve missed some, too.

People also routinely receive a wide array of vaccines and booster shots to protect them when they travel to other parts of the world; many have mild and temporary side effects.

Please, listen to the doctors and medical health professionals and not the Youtube blowhards and attention craving energy pill salespeople.

Let’s get this herd back mingling and being ‘normal,’ and quit all this bickering and doubting. Please register for your vaccine as soon as possible.

Now gimme that jab!

– Ian Cobb is owner/editor of e-KNOW and he’s sick of being unable to travel because herd immunity continues to be pushed farther away by the selfish, cowardly and wildly conspiratorial. And barbecues… oooh, wouldn’t those be fun again?

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