Friday, July 30, 2021
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Vaccine policy is playing with fire

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I WOULD like to step back and look at the tragedy of the global virus response from a place before we came to the arrogant certainty that we had all the answers. Governments are doing everything possible to convince the public that they have not over-reacted to Covid.

I am going to suggest some answers, but first let me set the agenda – the virus kills 0.25 per cent of those who catch it and, if you’re under 65, it is less deadly than an average bout of seasonal flu. 

My concerns for the future are:

1.    Policy makers not being able to admit to failure;

2.    Policy makers not being willing to learn from their mistakes;

3.    Policy makers not introducing safety mechanisms to prevent such mistakes from recurring.

My (rather optimistic) answers to these concerns could rest in the following:

1.    Independent, unbiased evaluation of the effectiveness of lockdown, mask wearing, testing, tracing and vaccination programmes etc and an answer as to why the available pre-Covid evidence of these methods appear to have been ignored in policy making;

2.    Some humility and acceptance that the public were frightened and bribed (furlough, advertising and its revenue for MSM) and prevented in law from challenging the diktat. Too many people in positions of responsibility failed to speak out;

3.    ‘Nature’ being recognised as ‘the default position’.

This last point sounds a little vague but is the main focus of my article, so let me elaborate.

I have mentioned previously in TCW how phenomenal our immune systems are and how it is usually only when a person is very old or ill that they might not work effectively enough. Humans have learned vast amounts about how these systems function and how they interact with pathogens and allergens. But how much do we NOT know? When antibiotics were discovered, and then used therapeutically, no one really knew what the future consequences of inappropriate and/or overuse would be.

Channel 5’s Ben Fogle: New lives in the Wild provides me with a fascinating insight into how a tiny minority of the population have found a balance of understanding in so many different ways. The participants seem at peace with the world, accept the risks they undertake and demonstrate how a more natural lifestyle can improve existential quality despite the societal pressures to conform. However, these people are often regarded as eccentric. The arguments lockdown sceptics espouse are premised on broad-based views, questioning political and scientific decisions, avoiding groupthink and tunnel vision (just as the subjects of the delightful programme) yet they too are seemingly in the minority and might be regarded as having an unorthodox or mildly eccentric opinion.

So yes, recognise nature as the default position in the face of any new immunological threats to our health until enough rigorous, objective scientific study (uninfluenced by panic and groupthink) has safely elapsed. Accept that we are mere mortals and that a good life should be measured in terms of mental and physical well-being and not just on longevity. We could aspire to an unassuming, grateful mindset whereby, once a biologically natural age is reached, perhaps 60 years (see Dr John Lee’s article), anything beyond is accepted as a wonderful bonus that defers to prioritise and enhance the prospects and health of the newborn up to that same set age. Beyond this age we should expect as much assistance as possible within the confines of what is practical and fair within the overall context of public health and economic resources. Emphasis on prevention should be the bedrock of healthcare with improved diet, exercise and lifestyle habits reducing the numbers who are obese or generally ill and thus (along with the elderly) at more risk from immunological threats. 

In the Western world where we are now rich enough (and spoilt enough?) to have everything at the click of our fingers, the risks of getting our impetuous antiviral and antibacterial responses wrong must not be underestimated. Any good book on human physiology or pathology will explain how certain immune cells in our bodies leave the blood and wander into the lymphoid tissue and organs. They can circulate for decades. This might help people to realise why vaccines are so different to non-immunological acting drugs and why the effects are more lasting and less easy to reverse.

I am particularly concerned about the potential loss of trust in the health profession through panic-driven, ‘hope for the best now, worry later’ policy-making. Perhaps we should handle the subject of an inextricably linked lockdowns/vaccination policy with much more caution. 

We are currently playing with fire. 

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Dr Mark Shaw
Dr Mark Shaw is a retired dentist. He lives in South Wales and is interested in what constitutes fairness in society and how specialisation might be drawing people away from the bigger picture in life. His interests are nature and sport (particularly surfing).

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