Licensed to Live? Licensed to Lie? Unlicensed to Die?
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 11 Jan 2021
Implications of Universal Vaccination — Voluntary or Otherwise
11 Jan 2021 – The question as to whether vaccination against COVID-19 should be voluntary or mandatory is now widely discussed. Increasingly any questions as to the value or dangers of such vaccination are framed as misinformation — if not deliberate disinformation and a feature of conspiracy theories, necessarily to be deprecated. This extends to complicity of some scientific authorities with proposals for government justifications for censorship, “taking down” websites and accounts, and possibly criminal proceedings
There is almost no sense of perspective on these matters. Information is now either valid, as having been conformed by authorities, or to be framed as misinformation or worse — disrupting the coherence of the response to COVID-19. The limited array of strategic tools deployed — vaccination, social distancing, lockdowns, masking, sanitisation and contact tracing — are now framed as constituting a panacea. This applies in particular to vaccination, with associated proposals for an “immunity passport”
Unfortunately it has been necessary to recognize that these measures, and vaccination in particular, only reduce the risk of infection. It is increasingly implied that:
- more than one vaccination shot will be required to increase the level of protection, although with no guarantee that this will be complete
- new mutations are emerging for which current vaccinations may — or may not — constitute adequate protection
- there are various problems with the distribution of the vaccines and the priorities to be accorded to those deemed most at risk
- there will necessarily be a percentage of people vaccinated who will suffer unspecified side-effects, however incidental this is held to be in terms of the benefits to others
- it is unclear for how long the protective capacity of the vaccinations will last, and whether vaccination will be required regularly (as with flu shots)
For some there is considerable concern that any debate concerning these matters is increasingly deprecated or suppressed. Few media now dare to raise questions in this regard — for fear of being framed as purveyors of misinformation. Indicative exceptions include:
- Jule Klotter: The Censorship Pandemic (Townsend Letter, 8 January 2021)
- Luis Miguel: It’s Official: Facebook Will Purge COVID-19 Vaccine “Conspiracy Theories” (New American, 6 December 2020)
- Liz Peek: Twitter and Facebook to censor vaccine discourse — this must stop (The Hill, 21 December 2020)
- Laren Chadwick: Which European countries are likely to be most hesitant about a COVID-19 vaccine? (Euronews, 9 December 2020)
- Arjun Walia: The New Pandemic: COVID vaccine hesitancy among medical professionals (Principia Scientific International, 7 December 2020)
- Kashmira Gander: Unknown COVID Vaccine Side Effects May Appear After Millions Immunized — But Benefits Outweigh Risks (Newsweek, 3 December 2020)
- Joseph Mercola: Spy Agencies Threaten to “Take Out” Mercola (1 December 2020)
- Cheryl K. Chumley: COVID-19 vaccines’ scary side effects must not be dismissed (The Washington Times, 26 November 2020)
- Jon Stone: Coronavirus vaccine: Labour calls for emergency censorship laws for anti-vax content (The Independent, 15 November 2020)
- Judy Wilyman: Censorship of Public Health Science (Vaccination Decisions, 23 October 2020)
- Lisa M. Krieger: Why vaccine hesitancy is growing during a deadly pandemic (The Mercury News, 31 October 2020)
- Valerie Richardson: Thousands of scientists urge end to ‘devastating’ lockdowns (The Washington Times, 8 October 2020)
- Stephen Kruiser: Censorship Has Mutated and Is Thriving During Coronavirus Pandemic (PJMedia, 19 May 2020)
- Jennifer Margulis: Science is Never Settled: scientific debate critical to end pandemic (12 April 2020)
- Jacob Mchangama, et al: Coronavirus Has Started a Censorship Pandemic (Foreign Policy, 1 April 2020)
- Mallory Simon: Over 1,000 health professionals sign a letter saying: Don’t shut down protests using coronavirus concerns as an excuse (CNN, 5 June 2020)
- “Careless Talk Costs Lives” — Fresh Calls To Silence Pandemic Skepticism (OffGuardian, 6 January 2021, # 335)
- Red Cross President Demands Big Brother Censorship to Muzzle Skeptics of COVID-19 Vaccines (CLG News, 3 December 2020)
- Silencing discussion? UK Labour Party demands online crackdown on ‘anti-vax disinformation’ ahead of Covid-19 vaccine rollout (RT, 15 November 2020)
A particular example is offered by media complicity in marginalization and suppression of alternative views by relevant scientists with regard to responses to COVID-19 and vaccination — exemplified by institutional responses to the Great Barrington Declaration (4 October 2020), notably signed by epidemiologists. It is to be expected that reports of problematic side-effects will be treated as statistically incidental rather than of any wider significance — following the pattern of tolerable “collateral damage“.
Online platforms claim to be able to design algorithms to detect misinformation in order to “take down” sites. Given the ease with which this is purportedly done, it is appropriate to ask whether such algorithms are more sophisticated than the clumsy design of government lockdown policies. These have rendered evident the obvious inability of authorities to distinguish zones of high risk from those of lowest risk — a matter of data granularity
Strikingly absent is any capacity to consider these contradictory phenomena with any scientific objectivity. The focus is on the need for the perspective of government authorities to prevail at any cost — assisted by scientific institutions dependent on government funding, and reinforced by media complicit with government policy. Any challenge to that is consequently framed as a threat to public health and meriting the strictest response by authorities. This echoes a policy articulated with respect to other issues: There is No Alternative (TINA). It remains unclear how the trend towards excessive authoritarianism will progress in the absence of more insightful approaches to the challenge of COVID-19.
Tags: COVID-19, Conflict, Vaccines
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