There are some signs that vaccine hesitancy is becoming more respectable. The following appeared in the mainstream media (Newsweek):
A colleague of my parents reportedly died from complications of the Moderna vaccine, a friend suffered from deep vein thrombosis, and a teenage nephew of another friend now has chronic cardiac issues. These are three examples from my immediate network of family and friends, and I know many others with their own stories. And while it’s true that these are anecdotes and do not represent the majority, they are powerful nonetheless.
Now, we know that age, weight, and other comorbidities play a role in how COVID-19 impacts the individual, and for someone at serious risk from COVID-19, these rare risks are probably worth it. But what about for someone who is not at risk from COVID-19? The risk/benefit analysis for otherwise healthy, young individuals may be a different calculus.
Public health messaging has consistently portrayed the vaccines are safe and effective, and therefore everyone eligible should get vaccinated. But companies like Moderna and Pfizer are protected from lawsuits related to their COVID-19 vaccines until 2024.
It’s just one of the many facets of the inconsistent public health messaging and moving of goalposts when it comes to the vaccine and herd immunity, which makes it hard to trust such guidance. A cocktail of mixed messages on who is at risk from COVID-19 and dubious masking guidance coupled with a lack of clear messaging on what exactly is the goal and rationale of these measures and policies adds to the skepticism many of us feel. The focus has now shifted from deaths and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 to a new hyper-focus on breakthrough cases, though the majority of them are benign.
But even while the experts push the vaccine, they have undermined it by arguing that vaccinated individuals spread the virus as effectively as unvaccinated individuals. It begs the question: If everyone now has to wear a mask because everyone is now back to being suspected asymptomatic carriers, why get the vaccine at all?
The personal risk/benefit analysis still plays a role and preventing serious illness is definitely important, but getting the vaccine to protect others (and calling unvaccinated adults selfish) no longer seems to be relevant if the vaccinated can spread it, too. In fact, some experts have advised only individuals at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to get vaccinated, in order to prevent the evolution of even more vaccine resistant variants.
Along with the mixed messages is the obvious role that politics has played in COVID-19 policy. There was Kamala Harris saying she wouldn’t trust a vaccine produced by President Trump—then doing an about face. There was the way that Democratic politicians and even the CDC itself justifying Black Lives Matter protests during lockdown while criticizing Trump rallies as “super spreader” events. Most recently former President Obama hosted a huge, maskless birthday party in the midst of renewed mask mandates and concern over the spread of infection.
The inconsistent policies and public responses, the repeated “do as I say, not as I do” from those pushing restrictions, has led many like me to skepticism of any government issued guidance. And adding bribes, mandates, and censorship to the mix has only served to heighten that sense of mistrust. Perhaps most unnerving has been seeing experts who question and warn about adverse reactions to the vaccine being censored or blacklisted.
Why censor the adverse effects? Why not publicize them so we can make informed decisions?
And it’s interesting that there is a U-shaped curve for vaccine hesitancy, with PhD.s and the relatively uneducated being most hesitant and Masters degree people the least hesitant.
The researchers canvassed no fewer than 5 million Americans who responded to surveys on whether they were “probably” or “definitely not planning on getting a COVID vaccine.
The results will shock many.
“More surprising is the breakdown in vaccine hesitancy by level of education,” reports UnHerd. “It finds that the association between hesitancy and education level follows a U-shaped curve with the highest hesitancy among those least and most educated. People a master’s degree had the least hesitancy, and the highest hesitancy was among those holding a PhD.”
In addition, while the lowest educated saw the largest drop in vaccine hesitancy for the first five months of 2021, those with PhD’s were the most likely to not change their minds.
The study also reveals that the most common concern for those who are hesitant to take the vaccine is potential side-effects, with a lack of trust in government close behind in second.
The results of the investigation completely debunk the notion, amplified by media narratives, that only “dumb” people are vaccine hesitant.
It also demolishes NYT White House correspondent Annie Karni’s characterization of elitists who attended Obama’s 60th birthday party by as “sophisticated, vaccinated.”
How many of them haven’t taken the vaccine?
Meanwhile, the meme has been proven correct…