Jill Richardson Pandemic

The Coming Battle Over Vaccines

Natural scientists have done their part by creating vaccines. To get people to take them, we need social science.
[Matt Allworth / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

With the new COVID-19 vaccine available, Dr. Anthony Fauci says Americans can begin to achieve herd immunity by next summer. Herd immunity occurs when so many people are immune to the virus that it can’t spread, because an infected person won’t have anyone left to spread it to.

Yet as of November, four in ten Americans said they definitely or probably won’t get the vaccine (although about half of that group said they would consider it once a vaccine became available and they could get more information about it).

Why, after living in quarantine for nine months while the economy and our mental health crashes around us, after over 300,000 Americans are dead, is getting the vaccine even a question?

There are two ways to approach this question. The first is to dismiss it: Call vaccine skeptics derogatory names, post memes on social media about how stupid they are, and make rules requiring the vaccine.

The second way to approach the question is to try to understand vaccine skepticism in order to address Americans’ concerns.

Sociologist Jennifer Reich tied vaccine refusal to messages that treat health like a personal project, in which consumers must exercise their own discretion, and a culture of individualism in a world where there is not enough of anything to go around — jobs, money, health care, etc.

In this view, everyone must look out for themselves so they can get ahead, and that’s more important than doing your part to achieve herd immunity for our collective wellbeing.

Reich’s research on anti-vaxxers comes from before the current pandemic. She studied parents who refused to vaccinate their children for preventable diseases like measles. But it’s still worth considering in this new context. Reich believes it is unsurprising that some people do treat vaccines like a consumer choice and disregard that when they decline a vaccine, they endanger others too.

Another take on COVID vaccine refusal comes from Zakiya Whatley and Titilayo Shodiya, who are both women of color with PhDs in natural sciences. They focus on Black, Latinx, and indigenous communities, who often distrust doctors. Their suspicion is not unfounded, given how much racism in medicine has harmed people of color, historically and in the present.

Scientists hold the power to define what is true and what is not in a way that non-scientists do not. Consider the power relations within medicine: When a patient goes to the doctor because they are ill, the doctor assesses their symptoms, makes a diagnosis, and prescribes a treatment.

Scientists determine what is recognized as a diagnosis and which treatments are available. Powerful financial interests (like pharmaceutical and insurance companies) play a major role too. The patient’s power is more limited: they can look up their symptoms on WebMD, accept or refuse the treatment prescribed, or go to a different doctor.

Sometimes lay people react to being on the less powerful end of the relationship by simply refusing to believe scientists. They might resist by embracing conspiracy theories or “barstool biology” that uses the language of science but not the scientific method.

Natural scientists have done their part by creating vaccines that are safe and highly effective. To get people to take the vaccine, we need social science. We must learn how to rebuild trust with people who have lost it. And we will do that by listening to them and understanding them, not by calling them stupid.

Jill Richardson
Jill Richardson

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This op-ed was distributed by OtherWords.org.


  1. “Natural scientists have done their part by creating vaccines that are safe and highly effective….” Since these vaccines have not been fully tested we do not KNOW that. AND the most damning information you don’t even mention, about 20% of FRONT LINE HEALTH CARE WORKERS (NURSES AND DOCTORS WHO ARE WORKING IN COVID WARDS) are refusing the vaccine!
    I probably will get the vaccine at some point, BUT I would also appreciate if there was an honest discussion about how our public health experts LIED to us several times during this crisis and that those lies are what fuels the distrust people now have for those same experts telling us to believe them once again.

    1. Where is this information from? (About frontline medical workers).

      And what percentage of those already had COVID-19 positive tests?

    2. Agreed. Such a poorly written and researched article. Made be question the sub I just made on Patreon. This is what a PhD in Sociology gets you?

  2. Have pharmaceutical companies ever edited/withheld the results of clinical trials before seeking approval for distribution?

  3. People who agree to take the Covid vaccine (any of them, but especially the mRNA varieties) under the Emergency Use Authorization are effectively agreeing to be subjects in an experimental medical trial.

    It’s their choice of course, but are they being given the information they need to give informed consent? I don’t think so, so I will respectfully decline to participate.

    1. Agreed – this is an experimental medical treatment, not a vaccine. Its just my opinion, but I think they are calling it a vaccine to smear anyone who is skeptical of novel genetic mRNA manipulation treatment as an “anti-vaxxer”. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of “vaccine” is: “a preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease” Neither of the so-called “vaccines” with emergency authorization qualify as such.

      Further, a Sept 23 Forbes article by William A. Haseltine titled: “Covid-19 Vaccine Protocols Reveal that Trials are Designed to Succeed” indicates that the trials are not even measuring whether participants are contracting covid, and only measuring symptoms meaning that those taking these experimental medical treatments could still be potentially asymptomatic carriers, blowing away the “herd immunity” assertions on why people should get it, even if they’re not in a high-risk demographic.

      My mother who is in a higher-risk demographic may choose to try this experimental drug, but I would have a different calculus for children and healthy, younger individuals with a much different survival rate.

  4. If the vaccine is reliable, then those choosing to get vaccinated are safe from the virus.

    Thus, why force those who do not want an experimental vaccine to get vaccinated, since those who got the shot are said to be safe?

    After 9 months of lockdowns the vaccine is “still” a question because it’s experimental at this stage: still unlicensed, not tested on animals (no drug toxicology + no infection with the actual virus following vaccination which in previous coronavirus vaccines killed the animals), only 2 months follow-up for the people in the trials (no long term effects tested, no impact on fertility tested and so on).

    Plus see the serious side effects coming up, check cdc and fda sites for anaphylaxis reactions: 1.1 for 100.000 people, 10 times the normal rate for other vaccines, plus other side effects..

  5. Your point? It’s not clear! Are you against vaccines, for vaccines, for some vaccines but not others? What do you think of “scientists?” Are the authorities or are they scientists? Science is, or should be, anti-authoritarian. Before I had any say in the matter, I got a smallpox vaccine, a tetanus vaccine, a whooping cough vaccine (note the nomenclature of 1950s), scarlet fever vaccine, and later the Salk polio vacine. There were no measles vaccines or mumps. I would take any of those today. There is no way I would take a messenger RNA vaccine.

  6. Jill, that is a refreshing take on things .

    One of the biggest reasons the vaccine timeline keeps getting pushed back is the debacle with the Oxford Covid study (dosing issues) and the FDA delaying approval . The Oxford vaccine was to supply 140 million Americans with a Covid shot (280 million dosages) . This is the current elephant in the room , also the UK has approved The Oxford Vaccine but USA is waiting multiple more months . That is the real story bc we don’t have enough supply to vaccinate those willing to take the shot. Eventually by May to June J&J and Oxford will eventually come on line , but the Oxford debacle is why the timeline is/ will be pushed back 3 or so months .

    As far as the folks who distrust doctors and the clear difference in trust among racial lines , people should contemplate that there simply will not be much progress made in this front . The world is run by Profit and monetary interests and the Medical media Is not trusted . Fauci is seen more as their spokesman than a unbiased man to trust . A obvious game changer is NEEDED and
    You would need a size-able number of TRUSTED role models or respected African Americans coming out in favor of the vaccine . Like a Denzel Washington, Lebron James , Obama , and seriously they would have to hammer home a multi ad no B.S pro vaccine Campaign that is heart felt . Then you would see movement . Nobody seems to be trying that . Fauci isn’t trusted but that faction and people who want to illicit change in attitude need to wake up to that reality .

  7. I can’t speak, nor want to, for anyone else, but it’s not in the Doctor’s mistrust as much as it is the Corporate Criminal Governments and their high paid lobbyist I trust the least. Or maybe it’s a host of arguments for refusing to be “jabbed.” Maybe it’s the criminality of Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson&Johnson or all the other corrupted big pharmaceuticals that in my opinion are the largest corrupted lobbyist in our government I don’t trust. Or maybe, it’s the number one spokesperson for vaccinations in general, Bill Gates, I don’t trust which in my opinion is an elitist eugenics thinking person that knows the only answer for our survival is elimination of population not viruses. Or maybe it’s Dr. Fauci I don’t trust after giving a 3.7 million dollar grant to the Wuhan Lab amongst other reasons I know I know, but right now can’t think of. Maybe it’s because no one is addressing these “conspiracy theories” and choosing to just refer to them as conspiracy theories and bull shit lies, when all a conspiracy is, is two or more people talking and agreeing about anything. Maybe because very few scientist, or doctors or uneducated puppet speaking politicians, are ever talking about viruses in general nearly a 100th as much as they are about their multi-billion dollar cures. Such as viruses are neither alive or dead and when they jump species such as this one supposedly did, it’s because we’ve moved into their habitats where the local animals or beings in those areas, as in the Amazon, etc., without the introduction of vaccines have built up their natural “herd immunity” to them. The last thing a virus. with an intelligence for survival we can barely comprehend, wants is to “die.” Remembering that without a host-body a virus IS neither alive or dead. And the only reason a virus mutates is so it can survive in the host-body instead of the alternative, we refer to as death. Maybe it’s because these vaccines you’ve convinced us thru the use of do or die salesmanship were rushed into production at the precise moment when it’s most beneficial for our near generational survival that millions or billions either die or that millions or billions more won’t be born within a year or two. Maybe it’s because the clinical trials from what I’ve read, were too selective being that you had to be in near perfect health to participate, and of a much younger and healthier age than those you recommend get the first vaccines. And there are many more reasons not to get “the jab” at least for me, but I’m an old senior first on the government list of guinea pigs, already hurting with diagnosed degenerative arthritis since at least 93 and since 2014, getting H1N1/Pneumonia, and finding out later that year I had COPD. Of course none of being or having any of the above would have made me an acceptable candidate for these clinical trials we’re all suppose to now trust. I had a nephew on FB, I had never met and told him the same thing I would tell my three kids and three grandkids, along with my partner in life and any one that asks, study it and make an informed or at least a half-ass choice and don’t trust anyone more than you trust your own intelligence and life common sense. I’m not an “Anti-vaxxer” I’m pro-choice and what I believe to be pro-life. Of course most of this is my opinion which unless someone agrees with this being “pro-choice.” And to be honest it’s also my choice to be a naturalist in my later retired years, and not prolong my existence by chemical means, and so far it works for me, the proof is I’m still breathing and walking.

  8. The author does not seem to know the difference between natural herd immunity and vaccine herd immunity. Mainstream media doesn’t either. Natural herd immunity occurs, when exposed to a virus, the immune system creates antibodies that last a lifetime. Our immune system’s ability to create antibodies is how humans have survived on this planet for over 10,000 years without vaccines. Vaccine herd immunity is only temporary and may last two months, two years, or five years. That is why booster shots are required periodically to create more antibodies. Every single Covid-19 vaccine maker has admitted that it is unknown how long the vaccine antibodies will last. Worse yet, these vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus, so what is the point of getting a vaccine that only reduces mild symptoms by 50%? We are better off taking vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D3 for prevention.

    In 1976, president Ford asked Americans to get the flu shot because his “medical experts” predicted a pandemic like the one in 1918 that never materialized. Over 43 million Americans drank the Kool-Aid and got the flu shot between October and December before the flu shot had to be withdrawn for causing 6000 cases of paralysis and between 30 and 400 deaths, depending on which source you read.

    Public confidence in the CDC fell to rock bottom. In 2009, the CDC stopped counting Swine Flu cases while reporting falsely that Swine Flu cases were increasing. They got caught lying to the public and lost more credibility. Why should we trust the CDC with such a history of deceit?

    The Covid-19 vaccines have not been licensed by the FDA, nor have they been tested for 5 to 7 years like other “safe” vaccines. Emergency Use Authorization is not the same as performing animal tests for a few years to identify potential side effects followed by a few years of double blind random controlled trials to determine effectiveness and, most importantly, safety. All Covid-19 vaccines are experimental and because they use mRNA technology, could potentially modify our DNA with unknown consequences. If GMO foods are considered unsafe, why would anyone consider gene altering vaccines to be safe? Social science isn’t a good substitute for safe vaccines based on real science instead of press releases and media propaganda.

    1. Your comment is distressing to say the least. The “Mainstream Media” does, in fact, understand the difference between pseudo-scientific “herd immunity” and actual herd immunity brought about by the use of vaccines. They have again, and again explained that what you call “natural herd immunity” is not only dangerous and may result in the deaths of MILLIONS, but it is unsupported by both science and the vast majority of scientists. You can’t achieve “lasting immunity” (you also seem to misunderstand the word “natural”) with a virus by simply getting it. There are documented cases of re-infection by COVID-19, and the current science offers MAYBE 8 to 10 months of antibodies. The idea behind a vaccine is to induce a specific immune-response that *lasts*, often for decades. It’s limited by the science. There is no ‘natural’ long-term immunity for many pathogens.

      Vaccines save the lives of millions of people each and every year who would die otherwise, most of them children. What you’re suggesting is not only wrong, but deadly.

      ” All Covid-19 vaccines are experimental and because they use mRNA technology, could potentially modify our DNA with unknown consequences.”
      This is patently false. mRNA technology cannot alter DNA . Perhaps if you don’t have a simple, basic understanding of middle school biology, you shouldn’t postulate on any of this. There are dozens and dozens of scientific articles written for the lay person explaining this. If you can search out anti-vaxx disinformation, surely you can find one.

      1. Thanks for sharing your views. I apologize for any distress the comments may have caused.

        If vaccines are safe, why did Congress pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which exempts all vaccine makers from any liability due to vaccine injury or death? This should be a clue.

        Before the act was passed, vaccine manufacturers were paying out $12 in injury claims for every $1 of profit.

        Why was a special court set up for processing vaccine injuries outside the normal legal system? This court has paid out over $4 billion in damages so far. A parent of a vaccine injured child must petition the court and then be forced to wait 5 – 7 years for a hearing because of the existing backlog.

        Is it a coincidence that chronic diseases have exploded exponentially ever since the CDC tripled the vaccine schedule since 1989? The US is the most vaccinated population among industrialized nations with the highest infant mortality compared with countries that vaccinate the least. This should be another clue.

        How did mankind survive 10,000 years on this planet without vaccines if “natural” herd immunity did not exist? No studies have been done on this topic by comparing vaccinated with the unvaccinated. Why not?

        Why did Fauci tell the world that SARS-CoV-2 is a natural occurring virus, contradicting Nobel Prize scientists who have publicly stated that the virus was lab created through gain of function research?

        Why are doctors being censored from mainstream news and big tech platforms when they present information on therapeutics they use to treat Covid-19 patients and saving lives? They can not afford to wait for a vaccine and neither can an infected patient.

        Why did all three of my doctors tell me that they will not take the vaccine because it normally takes 5 -7 years to develop a “safe” vaccine?

        There are more questions.

        Should we trust our mainstream news organizations that receive up to 37% of their annual revenue from pharmaceutical company advertising?

        Should we trust public health agencies like NIH, CDC, and FDA which receive up to 47% of their annual budget from pharmaceutical companies through foundations set up so it doesn’t look like direct payments?

        Shouldn’t it be a conflict of interest for public health agency executives to leave for better paying jobs in Big Pharma? And vice versa? Why is this revolving door allowed to exist between public health and companies they are supposed to regulate on behalf of public safety?

        There are too many unanswered questions and contradictions by “medical experts” which are not being discussed in the mainstream news. Instead, we are told that only the vaccine will bring us back to “normal” (whatever that means). Any discussion outside the vaccine propaganda is simply not allowed.

        Linus Pauling is the only person to ever receive two Noble prizes. He said, “Do not let either the medical authorities or the politicians mislead you. Find out what the facts are and make your own decisions about how to live a happy life and how to work for a better world.”

      2. Many of these are fair questions, but there are also some really misleading ones. Vaccines, if they work, are a public good and so it makes sense to incentivize their development — all communist countries have used vaccines, as well. And you discredit your argument with red herrings like infant mortality, which in this country is clearly driven by poverty and addiction. Finally, Linus Pauling may have been brilliant but he also told us Vitamin C was a cure all…

      3. I agree that vaccines are a public good IF they work. That has yet to be proven. Typically, it takes between 5 to 7 years to develop a “safe” vaccine, according to all three of my doctors. It took the Veterans Administration seven years to develop a safe shingles vaccine. I trust my doctors more than the bureaucrats from public health agencies that have too many conflicts of interest, a history of medical errors, and out right deception.

      4. Apples to oranges example, though. What was the VA’s investment in a shingles vaccine versus that of the entire world for COVID-19?

        I imagine the ratio may be in the triple or even quadruple digits…

  9. I see once again the idea there may be real, valid reasons for not wanting to be used as a Phase 3 guinea pig for a vaccine developed at “warp speed” by companies more interested in their bottom lines than whether their “cures” actually contribute to overall health are ignored in favor of identity politics and condescension.

    In the meantime, a medication known to be highly effective in treating COVID remains unavailable despite requests for its release from qualified physicians and epidemiologists. Why is that? And why are we limited to only two vaccine choices when there are at least 5 available that have shown equal success and are at the same point in testing? Oh, wait, those are from China and Russia. Never mind.

    There are some perfectly valid reasons not to rush into embracing these medications, especially if one has limited exposure to the virus. I, for one, am a little tired of being told “scientists know best”, especially when I stay abreast of the science and know for a fact there’s no real consensus on this particular subject.

    I also know the two-dose vaccine will have to be renewed every 8-9 months, barring new information showing a longer-lasting immunity. And that pharmaceutical companies operate on the basis that you don’t keep those profits pouring in by effecting cures.

    So, how about we not condescend to those who, using that much-touted science, are reluctant to rush out and get the shots for very valid and well-considered reasons? For one thing, suggesting non-scientists aren’t capable of understanding science is insulting. For another, demanding people accept the pronouncements of any classification, whether it be scientist or politician or media pundit, is a subtle form of authoritarianism we have way too much of already.

  10. Richardson’s link in the second-to-last paragraph for “embracing conspiracy theories” took me to an abstract of an apparently unrelated research paper: “Cry Wolf!: Narratives of Wolf Recovery in France and Norway*” Strangely, however, the abstract did touch on some of the issues she raised in her piece.

    Several friends of mine in Portland OR have said that they will not accept vaccination and have shared articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola as justification. One article claims that there may be massive side effects. Another says that the vaccine might destroy the immune system. His is the loudest anti-vaccine voice right now. Mercola seems to have created an entire industry based on doubt. Would Richardson or somebody else please do an in-depth, point-by-point analysis of Mercola’s arguments?

    1. Be wary of advice by Dr. Mercola. I followed his advice and did not begin to take any RA / rheumatoid arthritis drugs when I should have / could have, but tried every natural method and various other non-drug offerings to no avail. As a result my right elbow is severely damaged, the left not as bad. After nearly one year on biologic drugs I no longer suffer the physical pain nor the psychological grip of chronic pain and am living life again. I like Dr. Mercola, but one should be wary of following his advice like I did – to stay away from drugs for RA.

  11. did you know?:

    – there has never, ever been a gold standard, double blind, placebo controlled study (aka: science) that demonstrates that vaccines are effective or safe – never!

    – a recent study by the HHS suggests a frequency of adverse reactions to vaccines as 1 in 39

    – to date, CDC reports 40,000+ adverse reactions, and over 100 deaths attributed to covid-19 vaccine

    – the VAERS has paid out more than $4.5 billion to date in compensation for vaccine injuries

    – the CDC estimates the VAERS payout represents less than 1% of actual injuries due to non reporting

    – the vax industry has been totally indemnified from responsibility for death/injury since 1986

    – if the media reported vaccine injuries like it reports covid-19, no one would ever vaccinate!

    – every study IN THE WORLD comparing vaccinated vs unvaccinated demonstrates unequivocally that unvaccinated are significantly healthier, and vaccinated suffer substantially more from chronic disease

    – in the 1950s, the polio vaccine didn’t really work, so they changed the definition of polio diagnosis to make it “work”, breakthrough was declared, and the modern day vax industry was off to the races, begotten and maintained by fraud

    – support for all these statements can be found in such abundance as to be irrefutable. See for yourself and become informed. Virtually anyone who does honest, comprehensive, and open minded research on vaccines, does not vaccinate. Find out why!

  12. Scientists and front-line clinicians are not of one mind about vaccines. The vaccines are not all alike, and there’s a likelihood a different medicine (see below) can do the trick faster, cheaper and at less risk. It’s not simply a case of unified natural science needing a helping hand from sociologists to break down lay people’s resistance to the truth.

    One might reasonably be an anti-vaxxer when presented with the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), but quite willing to receive a vaccine on a different platform, for example, by AstraZeneca or the Russian and Chinese versions. Can it be that big pharma profit is is a factor in this discussion, or is that more conspiracy talk to be dismissed?

    Is antivax more defensible in light of another essay posted on ScheerPost a few days ago: The one about a large group of scientists/clinicians almost literally jumping up and down to get more attention focused on Ivermectin? Virtually no nasty side effects and damn near 100% protection from Covid-19.

  13. Sometimes, I think the way to approach this skepticism, on this subject and many others, especially where science is involved, is to ask the skeptic these questions.

    1). What do you do for a living? (garbageman, lawyer, IT person, teacher, etc)
    2). How long have you been doing what you do? ( most would have been at their chosen profession for a number of years, if not decades)
    3). Do you feel confident in your knowledge of what it is that you do? (Most would answer yes)
    4). Now one of the two key questions. How would you feel if someone with little or no experience in your chosen field, told you that you were doing everything that you have been doing for the past years incorrectly, or were doing it without care or in order to cause harm? (They would likely now become defensive in some way.)
    5) Now for the $100K question. So why is it that you will believe someone on Facebook, or a politician with absolutely no experience or knowledge about that subject (climate change, vaccinations, whatever) instead of believing those who have lived it and studied it all of their lives, specifically with the goal of helping other people? (Sometimes you can actually hear the rust falling off their collective gears while they ponder that last question)

    This is just a way to get a person to change their perspective, nothing more. But if we can convince a few, sometimes that is enough to sway public opinion and help the world move forward.

    1. I think you missed a key question:

      Why would you believe people/corporations with a history of greed and deception, and a track record of mistakes, honest or otherwise, that have killed and maimed too many of their customers in the pursuit of profit?

      This is not to suggest that well researched, well tested, well manufactured vaccines, drugs, and medical devices do not save countless lives: they unequivocally do. But what is currently on offer for Covid is neither well researched nor well tested. Someday it may achieve that status. The volunteers who choose to be vaccinated as part of that effort are welcome to make that choice, but it should remain exactly that: a voluntary choice (and every effort should be made to ensure those making the choice are well informed about the potential risks and benefits).

      And those of us who choose not to participate in this experiment should also expect our right to choose to be respected.

      1. I do not disagree with your premise and I am not naive enough to just blindly trust those corporations or our own government. But I think there are things which could be done to restore public confidence in this arena.

        I believe that any developed vaccine should immediately be made public property worldwide, and administered for free. All of these processes should be entirely transparent and verified by scientists world wide.

        Situations like these are complex and the choices difficult. Natural herd immunity world wide could result in up to 15 million deaths. That’s a large number of folks. I have underlying conditions which make me a candidate for a more severe case. I have also not been able to work for an extended period of time as my work involves close contact with people for an extended period of time. It’s about risk assessment in moving forward for most folks.

        I see a world without many of the worst scourges of the past 100 years or so. A combination of improved hygiene practices and the use of effective vaccines seems to be at least partially responsible for that.

        To find a way back to where we can trust our government and those within that system is paramount I think, as the countries (generally speaking) that have gotten through the pandemic the best so far have a level of trust in leadership that we certainly don’t have in the US. But we also need an educated populace to go with that, and accountability for those in positions of power so that science can remain uncorrupted by the powers that be. Unfortunately we have none of that right now.

        So, we’ll all do the best we can

  14. There are no long-term studies regarding the efficacy of any of these vaccines. What will a “slight” dose of foreign RNA do to our own RNA? Why is there zero discussion ’bout *taking animals off the menu*? How long will humanity suffer the effects of zoonotic diseases, when the science is clear about eating animals and their related foodstuffs?

    1. Wouldn’t eliminate them entirely, but would be big chunk of the transmission route, I suppose:

      “Because some pathogens could be transmitted by more than one pathway, we found that, at a broad scale, 42% of all zoonotic pathogens were transmitted through oral transmission, 42% via vector-borne, 36% by airborne transmission, 29% by direct contact, and 24% via contact with a contaminated environment or fomite.”


  15. There is no way to convince adamant anti-vaxxers. Accept it and focus on the many others.
    Our Covid-19 response — initial Public Health quarantining, poor medical results, changing information from “experts”, censoring dissenting information from other experts, and stopping drugs (all approved and relatively benign for other conditions), total politicization of a virus– dangerous to the elderly and those with serious medical conditions– gives us no reason to accept anything we hear from our politicians at state (the legal authority for Public Health) or federal level. Remdesivir is the only FDA approved small molecule for Covid-19; it does not affect mortality in Covid-19 patients. Glucocorticoids, which were published as life-saving in China in March and in Britain in midJune, is now widely used in the US for Covid-19 (but still not approved). Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have been used with success in many countries (pretty much all have much lower death rates than the US!) The much reviled ‘Trump drug’ HCQ has been shown to be ineffective, but given as monotherapy in serious cases. HCQ needs to build up at its sites of action, and is given for weeks/ months before benefits are seen in autoimmune disease. Despite MSM portrayal of HCQ as a “poisonous aquarium cleaner” and an arrhythmia-inducing drug, that is as, with any and all drugs, an over-dosing effect. The REAL toxicity from HCQ is with long-term chronic use, rare retinal toxicity. HCQ is safe enough to be approved in 2014 for type II diabetes in India. Does HCQ (or Ivermectin) protect from Covid-19? We have only tangential evidence after 10 months, since no one would run a competent clinical trial on either off-patent drug. Would be nice to have had some protection for the vulnerable over the last 10 months with a prophylactic drug.
    Scientifically, coronavirus experts noted early that titers of systemic antibodies to common cold coronaviruses and SARS were low and faded quickly. Memory T cells and probably other immune components seem to be more critical. Hopefully there is no good reason that coronaviruses do not evoke a strong antibody response. Autoimmunity comes to mind. The ten fold higher anaphylaxis response compared to other vaccines is hopefully due to PEG and not due to the viral proteins.
    The “rigorous” FDA response to Pfizer’s trial of 43,000+ participants (half placebo) in “hot spots” showed ZERO deaths, and only 10 serious cases. Since only symptomatic patients were tested by PCR (according to their protocol), there is the possibility that the vaccine is just providing symptomatic relief, converting mildly sick patients into asymptomatic carriers (the CDC recently noted that 60% of Covid-19 infections are spread from asymptomatic carriers). There was a ten-fold increase in “lymphoadenopathy” in the vaccine group; hopefully this means swelling of local lymph nodes near the injection site (and should have been described as such, since widespread lymphatic involvement is concerning). While playing devil’s advocate here in criticizing, there is no use running a 43,000+ person trial with median age of 52, when the median age of Covid-19 victims is 80 and 95% of victims are over age 60 globally.
    Science is rarely black and white; Covid-19 vaccines are gray at the moment but we will learn much over the coming year. For the elderly or those with serious disease whose physicians feel can handle the vaccine, the potential benefit is worth the risk. Frontline workers again should probably receive the vaccine to keep from spreading the virus to the vulnerable. There is no reason for healthy children or young adults to receive the vaccine, nor anyone who has been confirmed to have had the disease, they should have T cell immunity. If the vaccine is so precious, there won’t be much left after administrators and politicians break the queue.

  16. It is so good to see the many dozens of comments here now. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny has provided the FACTS for more years than most. Only 10 to 12 years ago finding info about the vaccine industry was not easy. Luckily I was able to find Dr. Tenpenny back then.

    Everyone needs to search, read, and listen to Dr Stephanie Seneff.

    Spread the info around about Dr Seneff. There are far more and much bigger problems than just this heavily mass media focused / amplified corona virus. Clearly at the very top of the nasty list is glyphosate !!

    Another that is very wise as to what’s been going on and trying to do as much as possible is Dr Zach Bush.

    Turning OFF that spin doctor TV is only the start. TV does have some few entertaining “programs”. But even those that are fun to watch are often to most often a pile of mixed up mud too.

    1. Sure, if you want to get all your information on an array of medical and other scientific issues from a single dilletante brainiac whose background is in electrical engineering and computational modeling, that’s really great!

      Here is a woman who says that “by 2025, half the kids born will be diagnosed with autism” — that’s five years away, y’all — but you want make an alterantive to “spin doctor TV”.

      Pointing out and preventing the hazards of pesticides is a time-honored and important role of the environmental left – using junk science and the worst kind of false causation logic is just a path to the discreding of such activism.


      As for Dr. Zach Bush, why are people so eager to reject profit-based pharmaceuticals … only to replace it with cult-like fanfare for OTHER profit-based pharmaceuticals? This guy uses all his charisma and feel-good/feel-bad mantras to DRIVE SALES OF UNPROVEN CURES AND PREVENTIONS, which at best will modestly improve your overall health but in now way will cure things (like COVID-19) which he implies they will.

  17. what’s the point of this column, this series of baseless generalizations and finger-pointing.
    there’s no real attempt at understanding what the virus is, the first step to being able to define what the vaccines are. there’s not one vaccine, it’s only monolithic because the PR is shaped that way.
    at best, the author is vaguely worried some people will opt out of taking the vaccine. she calls this selfish.
    sometimes the selfless thing is to not conform. especially when the alternative is docile compliance with for-profit coercive corporate roll-outs with no proven scientific basis.

  18. Amalgam dental fillings containg 50% mercury. Low fat diets loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Benzodiazepines prescribed for the long-term. Phen-fen. Vioxx. Opioids. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

    Fool us once, shame on us. Fool us over and over again?

    It’s little wonder those who follow these matters over time have lost trust … front line professionals at least as much as the rest of us.

    How dare you label us irrational. How dare you act as if we are uninformed.

    1. Thalidomide. H1N1 flu vaccine. Olestra (still legal). Glyphosates (still legal). Neonicotinoid pesticides (still legal in the US). Flint MI water supply. The list is endless…

      1. Skepticism and outrage are valid and valuable, always, as is knowing the past.

        Pretending science, capitalism and modern medicine have not had any positive impact on the quality of life for billions on this planet, or deploying illogical or unfounded arguments to stoke fear is what I have been trying to push back upon.

      2. I don’t read the comments above as condemning “science, capitalism and modern medicine.” Nor have most commenters here been deploying” illogical or unfounded arguments to stoke fear.” You are misreading comments, editor, and setting up strawmen easy to knockdown.

        What most of the above commentators object to is Jill Richardson’s (1)approach to these particular vaccines against Covid-19 and (2) her dismissive relegation of skeptics to the ranks of the benighted.

        It is Richardson who is clearly naive and ill-informed, never acknowledging the elephant-sized issues related in this particular instance to haste, money, impracticality and nationalism as these forces impinge on and often degrade “science.” It’s quite clear to her that we who are hesitant and skeptical are, for no good reason, ill-informed anti-vaxxers in desperate need of help from her social science guild. If only we would realize how pure are the motives of corporations like Pfizer and how able the review back-up on their work.

      3. I am exposed to a lot of bs on this issue in various forums, irl and online, and likely responded with an overly broad brush. I don’t have time to review the article and the comments again now, but if I was overgeneralizing, my apologies.

        My personal beloved elders have been basically living in total isolation for nearly a year, with significant consequences for their mental health, and I definitely believe the vaccine is a HUGE net gain for them, based on all the evidence I have seen. I also counsel people, most of them also senior citizens, with extreme anxiety, and know that many of them are caught between terror of getting COVID-19 AND of what some of their friends, neighbors and family tell them about the dangers of vaccines.

        Speaking of strawman arguments, though, when people bring up thalidomide or Round-Up, for example, and compare these to the global race to find a vaccine under historic scrutiny, it is apples and oranges on so many levels…

      4. “..,when people bring up thalidomide or Round-Up, for example, and compare these to the global race to find a vaccine under historic scrutiny, it is apples and oranges on so many levels…”

        Indeed it is. With thalidomide for example, there was no global pandemic. No panic. No Emergency Use Authorization. No rushed and only partially completed phase 3 trials. No novel technology outside the usual business of drug development.

        And yet somehow, in the ordinary course of business, having garnered all the required regulatory approvals, the drug companies foisted on an unsuspecting populace a drug that caused horrific birth defects in those babies that it didn’t actually kill. Released in 1957, it took 4 years for the drug companies to acknowledge the dangers and take it off the market.

        Now the drug companies want you to line up to take a vaccine using a novel, never been tried in humans, technology. One that was rushed to market with an EUA after very short and incomplete phase 3 trials and no evaluation of long term side effects. (There simply hasn’t been enough time.) Indisputably, the Covid mRNA vaccine is apples compared to thalidomide’s oranges. Does that make you more willing, or less, to take the vaccine?

      5. Thalidomide was developed in the 1950s, an era with a incredible naivete and boosterism about the infallibility of modern science and before the birth of the consumer protection movement, by a German pharmaceutical firm. It was developed for one thing, but then used for others, simply because they couldn’t find a lethal dose so it was “safe” — there was nothing like the rigorous testing and scrutiny that these vaccines (or really any vaccine of the past 100 years) has had. This casual approach combined with global distribution and a lack of understanding of the chemical’s effects on genetics lead to a nightmare scenario of serious birth defects. (The FDA never approved it for use in the US, so score one for that oft-troubled agency.) Thalidomide, despite its non-lethality, was a much more invasive chemical, blocking blood vessel development, rather than introducing antigens, etc.

        The current vaccines were developed with unparalled scrutiny and investment, and any failure would destroy the reputation of the corporation that designed it and the government agencies which approved it.

        If this vaccine were being promulgated WITHOUT A PANDEMIC, you could argue your what-ifs with zero evidence of any problems beyond the rare allergic reaction, but you must instead factor in MILLIONS OF DEAD PEOPLE killed by COVID-19.

        And this is where the conversation gets awkward. Because if you are really challenging the taking of these vaccines, you are usually taking one of two untenable positions: 1) the deaths and longterm deleterious health effects from COVID-19 are not real or are greatly exaggerated; 2) old people should stay shut-ins for years so you can avoid the risk of taking the vaccine.

      6. So, no pushback on the strawman arguments then? Instead we get more of them. Too many, in fact, to be bothered with. Let’s just pick one to set on fire and call it a day.

        “if you are really challenging the taking of these vaccines, you are usually taking one of two untenable positions: 1) the deaths and longterm deleterious health effects from COVID-19 are not real or are greatly exaggerated; 2) old people should stay shut-ins for years so you can avoid the risk of taking the vaccine.”

        I have advanced neither argument. Nor do I, contrary to your blatant strawman assertion. What I (and others) have clearly, repeatedly, consistently stated is that the risks of the vaccine are unknown and potentially very serious. That people agreeing to take the vaccine are agreeing to participate as subjects in an experimental trial of an unproven technology. That everyone has the right, but not the obligation (moral or otherwise) to do so.

        The rest of the strawmen are the figments of your own fevered imagination and I’m content to leave them there.

      7. “Pretending science, capitalism and modern medicine have not had any positive impact on the quality of life for billions on this planet…”

        Can you say strawman? How about you “push back” on that “illogical or unfounded argument”?

      8. “[I]f you are really challenging the taking of these vaccines, you are usually taking one of two untenable positions.”

        Well, would you believe there are responsible people who do not occupy one or the other of your two untenable positions? The U.S. and Canadian vaccination population are currently restricted to the two novel mRNA vaccines (Pfizer & Moderna). Some reasonably cautious people have adopted the tenable position of demanding access to other vaccines now available.

        Why? Because those vaccines (e,g., AtraZeneca, Sputnic V, etc.) use tried-and-true methods for delivering the antigens. Because they are cheaper ( ~ $4 vs $27). Because they are get-real downright practical, without the need for constant refrigeration (-70C) along the entire chain of delivery from plant to patient. Because the skeptical are very much aware of the profit motive’s supremacy (and colossal failures) in the US health care system.

        Relax. Don’t worry. Trust rushed science, trust the system, trust business, trust the inconsistent requirements for reporting and follow-up, trust the politicized FDA, trust Moderna, trust Pfizer. Might those also be untenable positions?

  19. I kept reading this article till the end because I was so shocked to find it posted on Scheer Post. It almost seems like it was planted to get the comments flowing and show how the average reader here is thinking critically and better able to express their arguments than people getting paid for journalism. And commentors you did not fail, thank you for expressing my arguments better than I could and teaching me new things and setting me off on new paths to research.

    What hasn’t been commented on enough for me is the shame and blame nature of the article. Instead of trying to shame people into doing what we’re told, and blaming the masses; the article could have talked about how poor our education is that people are so easily duped. It could have addressed how distrust evolved and offered countering arguments of why this time is different. The editor has attempted that in the comments and it was a good discussion, but the original article is weak.

    If you want to encourage a pro-vaccine attitude than why not talk with evolutionary biologists or virologists or some other science that is informed enough to have a useful opinion on this new, unknowable stuff but is not as directly tied in to profits and the dogma of the medical industry. The use of a social scientist in the article just draws attention to it’s lack of relevant experts and use of emotion.

    Editor, you have tried to shame frightened people to help the elderly, and shame actually makes people dig in deeper. There are scientific studies that look at this behavior, and if you ever tried to lose weight or help others with being healthy you would understand how shame, even when justified, almost always does more harm than good to your cause.

    There is a real easy way to get more people to accept the vaccine! Promise them free healthcare for the rest of their lives, so that if they get any problems that they even suspect could be caused by the vaccine they know they will be cared for. Asking uninsured people to take part in an experiment when they have no legal recourse (vaccines are protected from lawsuits in ways other medications are not) is not fair, regardless of how it affects you personally.

    It’s a very different situation in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other countries where people don’t already feel like such victims of a harsh industry. An article looking at how American attitudes differ from those of people in nations with universal healthcare would be interesting and more useful to your cause than the above drivel. It’s ok to lament that our lack of trust in the medical industry is inconveniencing old people, but then explore the issue. This isn’t happening because people are selfish, everyone wants to be safe and healthy and most of us want to do right by others, but we are also terrified of being unable to work and a life crushed by medical debt. You’re fight isn’t with the American people, it’s with the government and the industries to do the right thing first and the trust will grow. There is no short cut.

    1. I agree, shame is not that effective as a motivator.

      I spoke out of real personal anger and protectiveness for those I love, as well as irritation with what I see as chronic selfishness across this culture, baked into our national mentality.

      I have also lived for multiple years in a) communist and former communist countries; and b) the developing world (formerly, “the third world”), and have not witnessed a healthcare alternative that does NOT include as least some profit-motivation for anything beyond basic preventative and palliative care.

      That we still are not ready to insitute universal healthcare after this pandemic shows how deeply the “manufactured consent” and corporate power are guiding our governance.

  20. And one thing scientists are in agreement on is that this will not be the last pandemic.

    As the earth warms, and as we crowd more and more animals into factory farms, and we crowd more and more humans on an overpopulated planet, and as we invade every last bit of natural space, and as we use antibiotics and other meds so recklessly…
    So, if you think fast-track, for profit vaccinations are the answer than start planning your next battle with the American people; or maybe try going after those with power and influence to make real change because pandemics are one part of a much bigger problem of our consumer growth lifestyle on a planet with finite resources, and it’s highly probable there will be more in the next decade.

  21. What scares me even more than potential vaccine side effects are the accounts of long-term damage caused by COVID-19 infections, even those that have been supposedly cured. The figures for subsequent hospitalizations and deaths, months later, suggest potentially debilitating, life-altering after effects. Iʻm 71 and have decided to take the vaccine when it becomes available. However, the governor of my state, Oregon, has decided to prioritize teachers over seniors, and so my wait may be protracted.

    It is a mistake to paint “science” or even for-profit science with too broad a brush. Apparently there has been a faction of scientists raising alarm over gain-of-function research, the very kind that we are now learning could easily have led to an accidental release from the lab at Wuhan and to our present reality. Excellent article in the 1/4/21 New Yorker Magazine on the lab leak hypothesis, and another piece with a 1/29/21 Bill Mahr interview on YouTube. GM Watch has also published several well-footnoted pieces. It is beginning to be time to find out if this was an engineered virus and if so, to formulate strategies for outlawing gain-of-function research.

  22. I was not saying that there could be no profit in healthcare ever, and it was unfair for you to imply that I did. What I was trying to suggest is that in places with universal healthcare, if you do have a bad reaction to a vaccine you could at least expect healthcare for any problems and possibly a greater social safety net in other ways. I don’t feel you are being objective. People may appear chronically selfish, but I believe most people want to help and contribute to their communities- at least the people I meet. If you are speaking of only the people who are financially well off and have access to any medical care and expensive legal assistance they may desire than sure, you can get angry. But getting angry at people who are in a state of justified fright because industries don’t always do the right thing and governments appear to be owned by the corporations and failing at protecting their citizens on so many levels is crazy. Even if the people are ignorant and wrong on this new RNA technology, then maybe our crappy education system is to blame and you can start working for change there. Most people are terrified of getting sick and becoming homeless, not thwarting their own and other’s safety to be jerks.
    This isn’t just about antivaxxers, you know damn well that many people want the Astrazeneca or another vaccine that is created the old fashioned way. I’ve been trying hard to keep things broad and not repeat above comments No one knows what is best ultimately, and people are so obviously scared, even those who say stupid things are coming from a place of ignorance and insecurity.

    1. I was trying to admit my own response was partly emotional, and explain the background of those strong feelings, not trying to extend the argument.

      Personally, I’ve worked for a couple decades with America’s young people who are living in generational poverty and I don’t get much comfort that “most people want to help and contribute to their communities” because for the most part, those that are “haves” seem to believe what they can accomplish is abysmyally low and how far afield “their” community extends is just an a few inches beyond their family and the schools their children attend.

  23. I think most people under 50 are ready for universal healthcare, those in power keep thwarting the people’s efforts. Remember that whole Bernie Sanders thing? it appeared to many of us that he should have won and it’s just impossible to beat big business.

  24. Impossible to know. I really wish it would happen soon because I’m struggling and so are many of my friends and family, and it’s not due to the pandemic, most of us have been struggling for years paying back student loans on low wage jobs. At the moment it doesn’t feel hopeful. But things can change that- crazy storms and other climate crisis are coming, new diseases, social unrest from so many causes around the globe… – some event might be the catalyst we need to break free and once change starts, for better or worse, things might go pretty suddenly.

  25. Editor, maybe you are being overly exposed to the negative side of people? Don’t expect the best of people who are chronically stressed and stuck in survival mode for generations. Living in fight or flight levels of stress literally changes the shape of our brain and neurochemistry. Check out Dr. Gabor Mate for more on this.
    And don’t expect the best from people doing well, who are probably living in a state of shame and major cognitive dissonance to justify their lifestyle so they will be reactive.
    We are a naturally social species, and there is good evidence showing young children want to be things like firefighters, policemen and teachers at first. Or they want to copy a parent or caretaker, but the thing is, we usually start out just wanting to feel part of our community. As we age, children unconsciously figure out that some jobs have more status and it’s actually outsiders like celebrities and big business owners that get the respect and rewards in our society. While community insiders- like teachers, garbage men, nurses, food laborers… people who perform critical societal fucntions often struggle. That tells children who has value in our society and they make their world views accordingly. Just giving everyone access to healthcare and higher education will relieve stress and change our society for the better but it will take a generation.

    I also understand why millennials and gen z are less eager to work– and good for them. They were screwed by their elders and came into a world missing so much nature and opportunity compared to what we had; they have every right to be angry and reactive, especially when they see how hard their parents and elders worked only to be screwed by their employers in later years. They don’t want to be cogs in the machine or play a game they know is rigged against them. Even if this isn’t in people’s conscious mind I believe it can’t be ignored and is affecting people at a subconscious level.

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