Suppose you wanted to persuade someone with a fear of flying that flying was safe. The worst thing you could do would be to say that there are no risks in flying.

A ban on reporting flying accidents and censorship of anybody who tried to discuss them would only increase fears of flying. Much better to tell the whole truth, that flying accidents do happen, but very rarely, and statistics show that flying is much safer than travelling by motorcar. There are risks in everything we do, including having a bath and cooking a meal. All we can do is study them and try to minimise them. Unfortunately this is something humans, unlike other animals, are very bad at doing.

There is resistance to Covid-19 vaccination in South Africa. There is a problem in persuading everybody that the vaccines are safe and effective. I believe much of this stems from the fact that people feel they have been lied to, they are not being told the whole truth. They feel – and I feel too – that legitimate doubts about the vaccines are being denied. The statistics of infection, illness and death suggest that the Covid-19 vaccines have done far more good than harm, and have saved many lives. They have reduced the chances of infection and reduced the severity of the illness if you are infected. But they do have certain risks, and to pretend these risks do not exist just increases people’s fears and suspicions.

I have no qualifications in biology and am baffled by the enormous complexity of the immune system, which is at the heart of all Covid-19 discussion and which I think is even more complicated than the brain, and certainly has a more difficult job to do. The Covid-19 virus manages to evade the immune system in a minority of humans and attacks their respiratory system. For some reason, the immune system of young children copes with the virus much better than that of older adults (the opposite of what happened in the 1918 pandemic). The Covid-19 vaccines inject proteins or the means for producing them into the body; they mimic the virus and spur the immune system into attacking it and preventing the disease. Vaccines can be produced against viral diseases like polio, measles and Covid-19, but not against others like AIDS and the common cold. 

It is compulsory for superior people to hate Donald Trump and oppose everything he says. When as President of the USA he announced that vaccines against Covid-19 would be produced within a year, people jeered. He was right. He handed over an effectively working vaccination program to Joe Biden. The big pharmaceutical companies did produce the vaccines within a year, a remarkable triumph of medical science and capitalism. They were quickly authorised for emergency use and have been injected into millions of people with massive benefit so far, according to the statistics. (In the long term we don’t know.) But there were some doubts. Among the usual crazy voices of alarm there were some sober, scientific ones.

The Vaccination Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) is an official USA government system, which falls under its health department and which collects reports of adverse effects following vaccination, including death. The data are not very reliable but are the best we’ve got. According to VAERS there have been far more adverse effects after Covid-19 vaccines than after all previous vaccines in the last 30 years – although the number is still very small compared with the number of vaccines administered. The mRNA vaccine (which injects messenger RNA into the cytoplasm of cells to make the required protein) was developed by Dr Robert Malone, who now expresses concerns about it. There are reports of young men suffering heart damage (myocarditis) following the vaccine. I hear anecdotes about bad things happening to people after vaccination; how true they are I cannot say.

In response to reports of these dangers there is crushing censorship. There is jeering and “gas-lighting” (persuading critics they are mad). The mainstream media and Big Tech cancel anyone who reports bad effects from vaccines. Anyone who shows the slightest concern is a “crackpot”. Is Dr Malone a crackpot? If so, are we required to take a vaccine invented by a crackpot? In the local media I read lists of “Myths” (they mean “Fallacies”) about the vaccine, which never include anything coming from a serious scientist like Malone.

It now seems overwhelmingly likely that the Covid-19 virus was engineered in the Wuhan laboratory in China. This was angrily denied by Dr Anthony Fauci, the US public health spokesman. It seems he was lying. What other lies have we been told?

Personally, I feel a bit silly. I would have taken the vaccine if I had not been shouted at to do so. Childish I know. I’m taking Ivermectin as a preventative measure. It is very safe, and extensive studies suggest it is fairly effective against Covid-19 (furiously denied by the thought police). But I say again, the vaccines have so far done far more good than harm.

This is just the pleading of an ignorant layman for an open, honest discussion and full disclosure of all facts and evidence.

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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Andrew Kenny is a writer, an engineer and a classical liberal.