The United Nations and the highest levels of governments must take direct, even confrontational, approaches with Russia, and move to dismantle anti-vaccine groups in the United States.
Efforts must expand into the realm of cyber security, law enforcement, public education and international relations. A high-level inter-agency task force reporting to the UN secretary-general could assess the full impact of anti-vaccine aggression, and propose tough, balanced measures. The task force should include experts who have tackled complex global threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks and nuclear armament, because anti-science is now approaching similar levels of peril. It is becoming increasingly clear that advancing immunization requires a counteroffensive.Peter Hotez, “COVID vaccines: time to confront anti-vax aggression” at Nature
First response: Stuff it. Absolutely. Stuff it.
Given the way governments goofed big time throughout the pandemic, doubt about vaccines is a reasonable reaction, if not a correct one. As noted here earlier:
In Ontario, the schools were shut but in BC they were open. In Ontario the churches were open but the schools were shut. In both provinces, the bars were open. In Quebec, there was a curfew, seriously enforced with many arrests.
From all this, the trusty Follower of Science can glean: All variants of coronavirus are teetotallers so they never go to bars. The Ontario version is Woke so it has joined the war on literacy and numeracy. The BC virus is cool with literacy and numeracy but hates religion. The Quebec virus has tiny viral wristwatches that tell it the time so it can attack people at night.
The crazy has changed in various ways recently in the above Canadian jurisdictions. But it’s still crazy. If it made any sense, there would be a national strategy, not just varied, constantly “evolving” provincial panics. And Canada is probably not that different from many other places. No wonder many people doubt.
Okay, now let’s look at the U.S.: A recent poll shows that nearly half of the vaccine doubters are worried about side effects.
They’re not part of a broad conspiracy to undermine All That’s Good. They realize that if they are stuck with the side effects, well, they are stuck with them. Lord knows, the establishment media has done quite enough to play up the side effects. And the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control have hardly been a beacon of light in all this…
Striking a more reasonable note, Nature’s American sidekick Scientific American, offers a piece pointing out that ”Few Would Fear COVID Vaccines if Policy Makers Explained Their Risks Better.”
Yes, exactly. Some of us run into people every day who hesitate about the vaccines. But mostly that arises from confused messaging and incompetent management on the part of authorities, not from listening to crackpots or Russian operatives on the internet.
Bottom line: Hotez and others like-minded should back off. Lots of politicians messed up big time dealing with COVID-19 and damaged the trust of constituents. This isn’t the time to dump on the constituents.
And if all some commentators want is to play tough, lots can play that game. Best not to get into it. How about this: Go after Big Goof-Up and Big Panic instead. That’d be far more useful to the rest of us right now.
See also: “Follow the science” is becoming a jibe in the age of COVID panic. At ACSH: Rather shamelessly, the Washington Post has also offered tips to stop yourself from spreading “misinformation.” And the Guardian has even recommended “10 ideas to rebuild our broken internet.” Let’s add an eleventh: Media, take your own advice and stop running sloppy stories because they attract eyeballs.