- MELANIE PHILLIPS - OCT 28, 2021 -
In my Times (£) column this week, I wrote about the dangerous irrationality of those implacably opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine.
I wrote that while some concerns about the Covid vaccine were understandable — due to the acceleration of the normal testing regimen, or concerns about civil liberties if vaccination is made a condition of someone’s job or entry into a venue — there had been a significant loss of rationality and any sense of proportion.
You can go online and find people with scientific qualifications saying in terms that the state is actually trying to poison people with the Covid vaccine. But there’s no evidence whatever for this fantastic and paranoid claim. Many who assume that a doctoral or professorial handle confers intellectual authority tend automatically to believe such claims. Under serious and informed scrutiny, however, they fall apart.
Vaccination always involves a balance of harms. But all the available and reputable evidence indicates that the harms resulting from this vaccine are rare and vastly outweighed by its benefits.
It’s claimed, for example, that tens of thousands are suffering serious vaccine side effects. But this is based on statistics showing merely the number of those who subsequently died of other ailments; it doesn’t prove cause and effect. It’s claimed the vaccine may affect women’s fertility; there’s no evidence for that. And so on and on.
Yet anti-vaxers in Britain have even been abusing and intimidating children at their school gates over taking the vaccine. Such an unhinged set of fears is coming from both ends of the political spectrum.
Elements on the right have latched onto every single government response to the pandemic to claim a world-wide conspiracy to enslave and poison people, involving globalists, paedophiles, the “deep state,” Jewish financiers — and Bill Gates working with all of the above to control the world through microchips.
However, vaccine hostility has long roots in liberal “back to nature” movements too which for decades have used homeopathy, eaten only organic food and shunned all vaccinations for their children. The belief that “Big Pharma” drug companies were evil was previously a left-wing mantra. And now, as reported in the Observer, vaccine hostility is associated with the “wellness” industry and alternative lifestyles including ayurvedic healing, meditation and something called “conspirituality”. This turns out to be the intersection of yoga, juice cleanses, New Age thinking and online theories about secret groups controlling the universe.
Now this madness has reached Israel, where the third “booster” shot has brought under control a fourth wave of Covid cases over the summer. This was caused by a combination of waning efficacy from the two-shot vaccination programme, a stubborn residue of people refusing to get vaccinated and the arrival of the mega-infectious Delta variant.
The hospitals started to fill up with mainly young and unvaccinated people suffering serious effects of the virus. Vaccinated people who contracted it mostly suffered far less serious effects than if they had not been vaccinated — in which case many of them would have died.
On Thursday, the Health Ministry reported 236 serious cases of Covid-19 in the country, the lowest figure in ten weeks. Just 12 percent of the seriously ill were fully vaccinated.
Yet the health ministry’s director of public health, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis who has been a prominent advocate of the Covid vaccine, is now under physical threat from anti-vaxers. Ha’aretz reports:
Alroy-Preis’ high threat level designation follows what the police consider credible intelligence about plans to harm her or those around her. She has been a focus of criticism by vaccine opponents, some of whom have even called on social media for her to be physically attacked…Relatives of Alroy-Preis have filed three separate police complaints over the threats against her.
Clearly this is beyond disgraceful. It is also wildly irrational, given the proven success of the vaccine in preventing infection, serious illness and death from Covid-19. Determined to avoid further ruinous lockdowns, Israel’s government has put all its energies into vaccinating as much of its population as possible, including — from this summer — children aged 12-15.
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