I continue to be frustrated by the sheer tidal wave of misinformation on social media about COVID19 and vaccination.
Not at all with people who have doubts or questions. Given the horror stories that floating around Facebook and Twitter, and the fact that we tend to be more influenced by what we see more often, it is natural that people have questions.
What I do not understand or have patience with is people who pass on dangerous misinformation without checking. This is not reasonable, or “just discussion,” or whatever other excuses they come up with to justify themselves.
If you are telling people there is a massive conspiracy that involves every world government, every medical research facility and university, and the vast majority of medical practitioners, and on that basis, also telling them that they should ignore potentially life-saving advice being given, then you have an absolute, and I mean absolute, no excuses, obligation to check every story you post which supports that point of view, and every piece of counter-advice you pass on.
Failing to do this is not just lazy. It is intellectually dishonest to the point of being malicious. People die when they are given incorrect medical advice.
Just a couple of examples:
- COVID vaccines are magnetic. They put metal in them to force the chemicals throughout the body.
No, they are not. There is no metal in them at all. Lists of ingredients of all Western vaccines are publicly available. This is a claim, like most anti-vax claims, that simply does not stand up to a moment’s thought. The average dose is about 1ml. A fifth of a teaspoon. Even if it were as densely packed with magnetic material as a liquid can be, it would not be enough to make keys stick to your chest. That’s either showmanship, or sweat and dirt.
- Hundreds of people have died after getting the vaccine.
This is either sheer stupidity, or deliberate, dangerous distortion in order to deceive and manipulate. As at today, about 7 million doses of Pfizer and Astrazeneca COVID19 vaccines have been administered in Australia. You would expect about 3,500 of those people to be dead within a month.
The anti-vaxxers immediately screech, gleefully misquoting information from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration; Well that’s horrifying! All those people dead and they don’t care! It’s all about money! It’s a obviously a depopulation programme! What else are they hiding from us!
The answer is, Nothing. In any population of 7 million people in Australia, about 3,500 will die every month, vaccine or no vaccine. That’s just how many people die every month anyway. What the TGA figures show clearly is that there is no increase in death rate in any population group following vaccination.
- Well, it’s still dangerous, and no sensible person would get it.
As I noted in a previous post, the chances of dying because of an adverse reaction to a vaccine are about the same as getting killed by lightening sometime this year. That is about one chance in two million. If you get COVID19, you have about a 3 in 100 hundred chance of dying. That is, 60,000 in two million. Not to mention the far more common serious long term negative effects of COVID19 on respiratory and circulatory systems, the brain and the kidneys. By contrast, getting any of the Western COVID19 vaccines is vastly safer than being on the pill, driving a car, or taking aspirin.
- But renowned scientists are saying that the spike protein produced by the vaccine is cytotoxic, and kills red blood cells and does heaps of other nasty stuff.
No, they are not. Any scientist, or anyone who appears to have any credentials whatever no matter how bogus, who makes an anti-vax claim, is touted by anti-vaxxers as a “renowned scientist” or “renowned researcher.”
This includes disgraced lab assistants like Judy Mikovits, the “Frontline Doctors,” a motley collection of loony conspiracy theorists, and outright scammers like Joseph Mercola and Sherri Tenpenny.
The most recent “renowned scientist” to join this sad parade is Byram Bridle, a vet. I have read some of his writing on alleged cyto-toxicity of the COVID19 vaccines. It seemed obvious to me, who has only a first year university understanding of chemistry and biology, that he was confusing or conflating the spike protein the vaccines prompt cells to produce, and the lipid envelope which carries the vaccine safely into the cells.
Bridle claims to have uncovered a secret report which outlines just how toxic the vaccine is, and how it spreads through the body and accumulates in key areas, like the brain and the ovaries. Oh no! Except that he didn’t uncover it. That report has been public knowledge for months. And it doesn’t say anything like what he says it does. Don’t take my word for it. Read these two articles.
“COVID-19 vaccines are going to sterilize our womenfolk,” Take 2
- Well there are plenty of things that cure COVID19, Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, for example. But they are pretending they don’t work and hiding the research because they can’t make any money out them, and they are making billions out of vaccines.
Really? Like, really? Every doctor, nurse, university and government is hiding the truth and letting people die in order to make a few more bucks? If you honestly think that way, then I feel sorry for you.
The fact is, Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine were initially promising, but larger, better designed tests did not show any measurable benefit. A recent meta-study of Ivermectin which claims to show a benefit if administered in the early stages of the disease is worth following up, but at this stage that study is simply an amalgam of small, not particularly rigorous studies. Putting a bunch of bad data together does not equal good data.
Results from Peru and India, where Ivermectin has been widely used, are suggestive, but again, not clear. Further research continues. No one is hiding anything. In addition, the only drug widely approved for treatment of COVID19, and the only drug demonstrated to reduce mortality, Dexamethasone, is a cheap generic.
- Anyway we know they are lying because Dr Fauci admitted that wearing masks makes no difference. It’s a con!
This claim is based on a video that dates from early 2020. At that time it was thought that infection was spread mostly by contact with infected surfaces, rather than being airborne. If that was the case, wearing masks would not make much difference. That was the CDC’s advice at that time.
When it became clear that the virus could be spread via airborne droplets, the advice changed. Viruses don’t float around the air by themselves. They float around in droplets from sneezing or exhaled breath, and these droplets are easily filtered out by a well-fitting close-weave mask. Wearing masks, distancing, and good hygiene all help reduce the spread.
That is the great thing about science. It is open to new information. When new evidence is received, theories and ideas, and the practical advice based on those theories, also change. People who claim they would have more confidence in science if it didn’t keep changing its mind, simply show that they know nothing about what science is or how it works.
The list could go on, and on, and on. It’s not a vaccine! It’s experimental gene therapy. My sister’s boyfriend told me that his uncle’s boss knows someone whose mother’s friend works in a hospital and says heaps of people are dying from the vaccine and they are not allowed to say anything about it. OK.
The problem is that antivaxxers are always happy to create new scare stories, with no regard for truth or the potential deadly effects of their tales, and to support these by references to obscure articles they misquote or don’t understand, knowing that most people won’t bother to read them.
Dangerous misinformation spreads like a plague. That misinformation causes unnecessary infections and deaths, and delays strategies to reduce the impact of COVID19 on society. The much happier truth, that the mortality rate is coming down as research continues, and clinical practice clarifies what works and what does not work, and that there are now multiple carefully researched, safe and effective vaccines, is slower to get around.
Let’s hope that changes.
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