I assume the folks who ducked living in an iron lung must’ve come down with measles. Again, no? Mumps? Tetanus? Rubella? Diphtheria? Pneumonia? Hepatitis? Whooping Cough? Papillomavirus? How did the majority of readers around these parts steer clear of the maladies herein named? Could it be because one Dr Edward Jenner of the UK loaded up shots of the first cowpox vaccine in 1796?
Vaccines work. They have worked for hundreds of years. They will continue to rank high amongst the most trusted and relied-upon treatments in modern medicine. The data pile supporting these facts is centuries-old, while the conspiracy theories suggesting your doctor’s loaded needles should be avoided are distinctly evidence resistant.
Still, there remain right-leaning ideologues who behave as if the idea of inoculation against disease didn’t exist before the Tea Party Movement floated out of the Obama era. The entire concept of vaccines brings out the paranoid, the obsessed, the enraged and every narcissist convinced he or she has all of life’s essential answers because they French-kiss any conspiracy tale that’ll wet their lips.
The rest of us who show up for our jabs and avoid a litany of once-common diseases sit back in relative health and wonder what it is about this very simple clinical practice that brings out quite so many aluminum foil beanies.
Before I take aim at the vaccine-hating worshipers of nonsense who look to kill people with their disinformation, I want to make it clear I understand some religions will not allow such medical treatment. I would fight for the freedom to follow the rigors of such faiths before I would insist anyone in such a situation be forced to receive any medical treatment.
In addition, there are always a statistically small number of people who cannot seek immunizations due to varied preexisting conditions. If your doctor tells you a shot is not in your future because it would put you at risk, of course you listen to your doctor. I never look to exercise the same rigid intolerance the conservative anti-vaccination evangelists march out into otherwise sane public discourse.
When it comes time to count just how many lives the now well-proven, commonly-accepted science of vaccination saves every year, different sources list their own happy numbers – though be assured every possible source is under constant suspicion from those blaming the failures in their own lives on faceless, nameless cabals running the world. For example, between twirls of their sinister mustaches, the evil conspirators at UNICEF say their vaccination programs save some three million infants per year.
The supervillains at the World Health Organization report just measles and rubella vaccines alone spared more than 17 million in the last 20 years. Earlier this year, the Marxist freedom-haters at The Lancet medical journal estimate vaccinations will save 69 million people as we head to 2030.
Even in the presence of those numbers, we watch today’s wannabe Thomas Paynes-in-the-backside who refuse the notion of any vaccine in the wake of the bipolar polarization of Covid-19. When confronted with a pandemic, Western society could’ve chosen to pull together in the hope of getting rid of the thing as quickly as possible. That would be too easy, so the left went its crazy way by hammering people with excessive restrictions that proved unnecessary with a virus that was serious, but manageable.
Never willing to miss a chance to out-extreme the drones of the left, reactionary conservatives pushed back with their special brand of overkill – deciding that any and all guidelines or treatments for Coronavirus were unnecessary and draconian. Like a toddler unwilling to eat vegetables, the right’s most ardent politicos made it clear no one could make them live healthily, no matter what medical professionals urged. They went so far as to deny the virus existed at all, creating a new conspiracy theory that would require the cooperation of thousands for it to work.
When confronted with the possible consequences of their ideological stubbornness, the right’s Covid prick police turned to different levels of cognitive dissonance to justify their dug-in heels. Some argued the Covid-19 vaccines were rushed, and therefore unsafe. We can coin them the “I’m not anti-vaccine…I’m just anti-Covid vaccine…” subgroup. When the numbers resulting from the vax rollout failed to support that thesis, some took a page written by the hippie left that all vaccines cause everything from birth defects to flatulence in ferrets. It was a lesson in how extremists often go so far around the bend that they meet each other in the middle.
On a simpler level, the more libertarian ranks of the anti-jab army turn their collective nose up at the value of a vaccine for the simple reason that an authority figure urged them to head to a clinic. Somehow, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna stood shoulder to shoulder with the IRS and the Democrat National Committee as groups working to undermine conservative values.
Covid-19 had a leg up (or a tendril, etc.) on humans because of its simplicity. It exists to survive and multiply. It doesn’t fight itself. It has no politics. It lives by scientific principles. It doesn’t vote. Rather than fight that 0.01 micron beast, human beings spent most of the last 18 months or so fighting each other and pretending the virus has magical or conspiratorial powers. The only people smart enough to avoid such buffoonery were the men and women who actually kicked the Coronavirus out of our bloodstreams.
In one of the greatest achievements by human science in our lifetimes, some of the brightest minds our civilization could produce multiple effective vaccines against a potentially deadly virus in less than 12 months. We should come together and celebrate that achievement, congratulating each other on what clever hairless apes we are.
Instead, too many amongst us opted for climbing back up into the trees and throwing ideological crap back and forth at each other rather than just following a very simple road back to societal health.
Fortunately, the numbers of these vaccine-refusing King Kongs of wrong are dwindling steadily as it becomes obvious infections are vanishing. With every inoculated citizen who isn’t bursting into flames or growing nanite-constructed horns, the island hosting vaccine deniers sinks a little lower into the sea of rationality. I can only hope they get their Covid-19 vaccine soon before perhaps catching up on other less political inoculations they missed.
If they want to start with cowpox, I know a guy in the UK.
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