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[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]

When it comes to explaining my continued reluctance to get the Sars-CoV-2 vaccine to those who have no issue with it, it’s like we’re on a different plain, nay planet, altogether. Where I see the figure six, they see a nine and vice versa, something to that effect.

People queue up for a covid-19 vaccine at Centro Comercial Santa Fe in the north of Bogotá, Colombia.

Lining up for a jab to live life but not necessarily a jab to save lives.

Just do it
‘Is it that you’re frightened of needles?’, is a common, benign initial question. I’m not, although I have been known to get rather lightheaded after injections and I needed a little more recuperation time than the average person after the one and only occasion I gave blood (it hasn’t deterred me from wishing to donate again, it’s just Colombia doesn’t want my blood now).

‘Oh, so you’re afraid that the vaccine will do you more harm than good? You don’t need to worry, it’s practically 100 per cent safe.’ On this front, I’m not really worried about potential nasty side effects, although the idea that the vaccines are fully safe we know is not true.

What’s more, the benefit-risk balance comes down more heavily on the latter side the younger one is. Covid-19 itself, on the other hand, is ageist, with the elderly facing a far greater risk of severe infection and death.

‘Ah, so you’re one of those conspiracy theorists who think that the vaccine implants a microchip in your body or something like that.’ No. As much as some might wish to label me thus, I don’t believe that.

What I certainly do have is much less confidence in governments and leading civil servants that are directing public health across the globe. The ‘trust the science’ mantra, when that “science” is far from proven beyond reasonable doubt and has been shown to have more holes in it than the socks I currently have in my possession, only makes one more suspicious.

‘In a Twitter exchange with the renowned US epidemiologist, Larry Brilliant, he accepted that natural immunity is a factor but said it was risky to rely on. For the vast majority of older people, that would seem true. For most younger folk, not so.’

Indeed, it’s akin to the line from the Jim Carrey character in the classic comedy flick Dumb and Dumber, ‘It’s OK, I’m a limo driver.’ At least he got his passenger to the airport unscathed, although — similar to this pandemic — with plenty of collateral damage along the way.

‘So you’re just a contrarian who doesn’t want to be told what to do.’ I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a factor but with good reason. It ties in with the above, our decision-makers’ just-do-it-or-else approach, which not only fails to convince sceptics of the benefits of covid-19 vaccines for the entire population but also ensures a more entrenched position.

When one has been close to a highly contagious virus and suffered no adverse reaction, practically forcing said person to take an emergency-issued vaccine for ‘one’s own good and that of humanity at large’, when the evidence that this is the case is questionable to say the least, in what other way would any right-thinking individual respond than to refuse?

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant tweets Wrong Way Corrigan his thoughts on natural immunity to covid-19.

A not-so-‘Brilliant’ vaccine: data show that natural immunity may be better than the vaccine over time.

Surely public health bodies would serve humanity better by studying what exactly is at play in those of us who seem to have non-vaccine-acquired defences against covid-19.

Immune to rationality
Natural immunity — this shouldn’t have to be stated but it appears many have to be reminded of it — is not an absurd concept. In a brief Twitter exchange a few months ago with the renowned US epidemiologist Larry Brilliant — a man who truly knows about tackling infections, unlike Bill Gates — he accepted that natural immunity is a factor but said it was risky to rely on. For the vast majority of older people, that would seem true. For most younger folk, not so, as emerging data appear to show.

With Colombia joining the list of countries that are effectively forcing the vaccine on people, the unvaccinated here are set to become social pariahs. One of the many worrying aspects of this is the number of so-called liberals all over the world who support such coercion.

It is understandable in some ways. The hypochondriacal masses have been bombarded with fear-inducing messages about the severity of covid-19 from governments and media for almost two years now. In such an environment disproportionate, irrational responses are not surprising.

I had hoped that as we see more breakthrough covid infections and data continue to show the limits of vaccine-acquired immunity, a realisation that some people already have what appear to be robust defences against this virus would be forthcoming. Alas, what we’re getting is the opposite, doubling down on inoculation programmes.

One also has to wonder why there has been less of a focus on developing effective treatments when we’ve seen that the vaccine is far from a panacea. It would seem to make sense to do so for a disease that’s set to become endemic. Again, it just raises suspicions as to what forces are truly behind the mass-vaccination drive.

In this context, it’s not quite a jab to save lives. It’s more a case of ‘get the jab or forget about living your life’. Don’t ask questions, just do it.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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