Skeptic Reporter’s Op Ed
By now, almost every adult in a developed country has had the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine. In the United States, more than 100 million people fought against getting vaccinated, while some of the low and middle-income nations were supposedly begging to get access to some dosages. Controversial debates, lack of medical transparency and information, governmental rule inconsistencies, social media censoring and lack of freedom of speech, as well as preexisting beliefs centered on health, politics, religion, and parenting have rightfully so, created vaccine hesitancy throughout the world.
As a reporter, it is my duty to research, investigate, evaluate, gather information, and present the facts in an honest manner. We can only make the right COVAX decision if we find the truth about what happened for the past two years and why. Before considering the COVAX policy options, I`d like to have a deeper understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first questions that come to my mind are, do you trust the government with your life, and why? If yes, have you seen the 1940s cigarette campaigns? Remember back then, when tobacco companies hired doctors, dentists, celebrities, and government figures to endorse their products to reduce public health concerns about smoking risks? They were using slogans like “Just What the Doctor Ordered” and “More Doctors Smoke Camels,” misleading people, showing that physicians were also smokers and that cigarettes were beneficial for your health. (Gardner, 2006) Remember when the government was rewarding soldiers with cigarettes? As a matter of fact, cigarette production tripled during the war years. Was the government right? Were the doctors accurate? Turns out, not at all. Was the tobacco marketing strategy deceptive, or was it pure ignorance? What makes the COVID vaccine any different? Are we the new guinea pigs?
While researching the COVID-19 pandemic, I first learned that the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York. Granted, the pandemic did not officially start until March, 2020. According to the Center for Health Security, (2022) “the exercise illustrated areas where public/private partnerships will be necessary during the response to a severe pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and societal consequences”. I then investigated the World Economic Forum, and discovered that in June 2020, it held its 50th annual meeting called The Great Reset. The meeting became the focus of multiple questions and conspiracy theories, with much social media censoring and banning. One of the Great Reset conspiracy “claims a global elite is using the Coronavirus pandemic to dismantle capitalism and enforce radical Marxist change under a One World Government”. (adl.org, 2020) How do we know with certainty this is just a conspiracy theory?
According to the World Economic Forum (2016), their eight predictions for the world in 2030 include the fact that “all products will have become services,” we will not own anything, shopping will be “a distant memory in the city and every move will be tracked”, while “outside the city live swathes of discontents, the ultimate depiction of a society split in two.” Doesn`t this sound Marxist to you? If this is their ultimate goal, why would we sign up for it? Why even risk finding out? Another prediction mentions the end of US dominance. What kind of patriot am I to want the end of US dominance?
Circling back to the pandemic, the UN General Assembly mentioned, “nobody is safe, unless we are ALL safe.” (UN News, 2022) How true is that, really? Over 82.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. have been thrown away since December, 2020. Why aren`t these unused vaccines being shipped to countries requesting them, instead of being thrown away? How many vaccines have been wasted globally? If this was an altruistic plan, then how come Big Pharma sent nearly 6 billion vaccine doses to developed countries, leaving out only the low-income nations? For example, if this was about “all our safety,” then how come traveling to (a country that had no national lockdown) Burundi (0,1% vaccination rate) requires no quarantine? Is it really about health? If the vaccine was effective, then how come Burundi remained stable throughout the pandemic, having only 15 deaths as of May 27th, 2022 since 2020? (U.S. Embassy in Burundi, 2022) While Burundi`s population is 11.89 million, the vaccination rate is 0.1% and had only 15 COVID-19 death cases in two years, Tunisia`s population is 11. 82 million, vaccination rate of 54% and death number of 28,632. (U.S. Embassy in Tunisia, 2022) How is the vaccine about health? How is an ineffective and expensive vaccine about everyone’s safety? The vaccine has proven to be ineffective since those who have been vaccinated still have to protect themselves from being reinfected. This means that even the vaccinated people can still get the virus and be contagious. (Oster et al., 2022)
In the United States, the elderly population suffered the brunt of the pandemic. An estimated 75% of victims were 65 years or older, more than 25% were 85 years or older, despite the age group accounting for less than 2% of the U.S. population. (CDC.gov, 2022) According to VAERS (2022), there have been 2,151,666 reports of vaccine adverse reactions, 28,312 COVID vaccine reported deaths, and 158,974 total COVID vaccine reported hospitalizations through May 20th, 2022. While the percentage of COVID-19 deaths in children (ages 5-17) has been 0%, the vaccine reports in the same age category include 48,583 reports, 112 deaths, 444 permanently disabled, and 1,315 having myocarditis. (VAERS.com, 2022)
There has been much debate over how to get the unvaccinated to get their jabs — shame them, bribe them, persuade them, or treat them as victims of mis – and disinformation campaigns — but who, exactly, are these people? According to a survey done by the University of Pittsburgh, breakdown in vaccine hesitancy by level of education reveals that the highest hesitancy was among those holding a Ph.D. (Medrxiv.org. 2021) Why is this educated group hesitant? Is it because they`re aware of Pfizer`s corrupt reputation? Is it because the FDA asked a federal judge for permission to make the public wait until the year 2096 to disclose all of the data it relied upon to license Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine? (Sirillp.com. 2021) Why wouldn`t a doctor be skeptic about a vaccine they would have to wait 75 years to know anything about?
Aside from raising many health questions, the unethical coercion, segregation, and discrimination have brought a lot of vaccine hesitancy. According to Forman & Kohler (2020),”policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted a range of human rights, with the pandemic being used to justify police violence, authoritarian power grabs, and corruption.”
In conclusion, I believe the real issue is not the lack of vaccines globally, but the existence of authoritarian and unethical governments. While it is your right to get a vaccine, you should not forget about your right of opting out as well. Also, while the role of a government is to take care of the lives of its citizens, it is also the government’s purpose to protect the rights of its citizens and serve our interests.
l recommend the United States of America signs an agreement to push for global freedom of choice, ethically abiding by the UN`S Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I suggest the U.S. remain “the land of the free,” and should end the mandates, as well as leading by example, as a democratic country. I believe it is not the government’s job to mandate an ineffective vaccine on its people, and that every human being should have the right and freedom to choose what is best for their bodies. Additionally, instead of being bombarded with Big Pharma propaganda, our media ought to push out more information on the importance of eating well, making good choices, and having a healthier lifestyle. However, these recommendations have to go beyond only the recommending. They have to translate into practical measures. We must make healthy eating more affordable to more people, and we must rethink medicine to include more preventive programs, education and incentives in regards to how to live better, healthier and more sustainably.
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