Pandemic or Plandemic – what is the value of a vaccine?

There are reasons to be fearful on both sides of the divide, and yet we are united by the intention to protect life and reduce harm, irrespective of whether we are for or against vaccination.

Ewan Willis

Given that vaccines are among the best methods that medicine has for controlling viral disease it might seem surprising that so many are opposed to their use on a fundamental level. Especially surprising in the midst of a global p(l)andemic.

For those who are polarised by this issue there seems to be a huge gulf of mistrust between the camps. Those who are against vaccination are skeptical of the claims and methods of the establishment but let’s not forget that skepticism is a cornerstone of science.

Grim calculation

If we accept that existing vaccines are at least partially effective then we must also acknowledge that deaths and life changing harms have resulted from vaccination. We cannot shy away from this fact. There is a grim calculation here that says if a disease would kill, say, a thousand people, then it may be acceptable if the cure only kills ten and saves 9,990.

Whether or not you agree with this form of utilitarianism we should all acknowledge that pressure from anti-vaccination groups on health agencies has been a driving force in improvements to vaccine safety. We must also acknowledge that we live longer and healthier lives as a direct result of medical science, including vaccination.

Protection of life

There are reasons to be fearful on both sides of the divide, and yet we are united by the intention to protect life and reduce harm, irrespective of whether we are for or against vaccination.

If you can’t imagine why increased surveillance, mandatory injections and restrictions of freedom are threatening, then maybe you should read a dystopian novel or two.

If you don’t think COVID-19 is scary, then try this thought experiment: imagine an airline ‘Coronavirus Air’ that started operating in March. Since then, a plane carrying 180 people has crashed every single hour of every single day – that is the global burden of death that COVID-19 caused in the same period. Now ask yourself ‘would I buy a ticket to Honolulu with Coronavirus Air?’

Confirmation bias

Rather than demonising each other for wearing facemasks or being concerned about vaccine safety, we should work to understand each other. By standing in opposite corners we only make a difficult 2020 worse, and run the risk of disappearing into our own confirmation biases. Ridicule and fear are our worst enemies when it comes to understanding the hearts and minds of others. What we need is mutual respect and appreciation – and the courage to change our own minds, at least a little bit.

We can hope that safe and efficacious vaccines will be developed, but in the words of bioethicist Alison Bateman-House ‘The success of any medical intervention rests on the trust which people ascribe to it. No one has ever had a 100 per cent perfect vaccine but even if we came up with one it may not be used in the volumes to have the needed public result if people don’t trust it.’

Medical science may put the tools into our hands but it is we, as a society, who must decide how and if they are used.

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8 responses to “Pandemic or Plandemic – what is the value of a vaccine?”

  1. Mark Smith says:

    Appalling journalism.

    This article overstated the risks and understates the value of vaccination.

    It is not anti vaxxers who have pushed safety up, it is the majority of ethical doctors, epidemiologists and other gifted scientists in the field of medicine who have done that.

    And they have done that because that is what science does, it learns from error and progresses.

    Articles like this just fan the flames of the antivax movement.

    • Anna Rolfes says:

      Hi Mark Smith, so do you think it is medical ethical to not assess the situation for babies individually? At the moment premature babies, babies with post natal jaundice, babies that had a difficult time coming into the world, such as long labor, forceps and cesarian birth, babies that had a cord around their neck when born, blue babies, babies where mum had eclampsia, gestational diabetes, thyroid issues etc are treated the same as healthy babies. Is this ethical? Where is your conscience mate?
      Many vaccination side effects could be avoided if medical ethics would be applied.

  2. Colin Tree says:

    Just do your own research into the Spanish flu and we’ll have no more talk about plandemic or 5G or Zaphod Beeblebrox. When there are known, local infections, wear a mask and get tested.

  3. Rossco Phillips says:

    The question isn’t whether vaccines are a health option – it’s whether they have become a health hazard ?

    I am not anti-vaccination. I am against compulsory vaccination.

    I am very concerned about the efficacy of many vaccines.

    I encourage people to listen to Judy Mikovits’s story – her career destroyed for whistle blowing. A distinguished person with possibly more experience in developing vaccines than any other person on the planet.

    Hear her story, with Robert Kennedy Jr, on Youtube and make up your own mind, if you are not already paralysed with fear by the daily bombardment of (mis)information we get everyday from ‘Trusted Sources”…

  4. Gordon Balfour Haynes says:

    Rossco: You “encourage people to listen to Judy Mikovits’s story”.

    I did, a month ago.

    Really, folks, don’t bother. Mikovits has a history of serious fruit-cakery and questionable scientific rigour / honesty across her career. She’s had her five minutes of fame (at least twice!); now just starve her of oxygen before she gathers even more uninformed / misinformed hysterical disciples and does a harm thereby. She belongs in the same “public danger crazies” box that “Paleo” Pete Evans ought be locked up in.

    There’s plenty to question, sure, no argument there. But some “answers” just don’t cut it. There are many sounder sources for researching this plague than self-promoting “personalities” seeking Likes.

  5. Greg Cotter says:

    Dear Ewan Willis. The danger in trying to ‘tell both sides of a story’, is in giving a false equivalence to them. Whilst you might be genuinely hopefully suggesting both epidemiologists and those who refuse modern medicine have something in common, it is certainly not correct to suggest that those living in complete denial of reality simply have an ‘alternative view’.
    Mark Smith is correct in saying you have overstated the risks posed by vaccination, you have done this to such a degree as to void any argument attempted.
    When choosing to give equal weight to opposing views, consider that should you have been in Poland in WW2, that would have made you a prize idiot, or worse, a collaborator.
    There are some comparisons that cannot be made as a journalist, because the facts speak for themselves, and there is no room for debate.
    Please check your figures, and recognise that vaccines have improved not because people have refused to take them, but rather, because people do.
    I quite understand how it might seem noble to make the effort, only these false equivalencies undermine journalism itself.
    Enjoy your polio and scarlet fever free week ;). Greg.

  6. I was employed to make a documentary about vaccination and had no particular view BEFORE conducting extensive interviews with many doctors and others on the cutting edge of vaccination. See the first few mins of that doco and, excluding Bronwyn Hancock (who inserted herself after my edit) people who actually know what they are talking about from extensive first hand experience rather than from vacuous propaganda on both sides of the argument. Whilst, if you torture statistics enough they will tell you anything, if you carefully examine the raw data as I did whilst producing and directing the film ‘Vaccination – The Hidden Truth’ you find that there is zero evidence in the last 100 years that vaccination has had any beneficial effect. The overwhelming factors in reduction of disease have been improvement in hygiene and nutrition. Link me to any verifiable raw data that contradicts that and I will give you a crisp new genuine $50 note. [email protected]

  7. Rod says:

    Gee Chris are you for real? Of course improved hygiene has helped, but to state what you just said sounds like Malcolm Roberts talking about empirical evidence to deny climate change. If you really looked at the data you would realise vaccines have had a significant effect, ie saving lives. Stop trying to argue the old furphy of data manipulation. Just because you made a YouTube video does not make you an expert but adds to the Qanon type conspiracy theories. You do know Q was a fictional character in star trek.

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