From extensive conversation with an antivaxer, I discovered a curious overlap between some of this person’s beliefs, and statements of this blog, which have been taken out of context to support irrational anti-vaxer beliefs. This person is not a reader of this blog, but relies on many sources, some of whom may be readers.
I don’t know the specifics of who the readers are, but the blog is written for an elite readership. To some extent, I feel free of the responsibilities of a public health steward, or “influencer.” Still, some readers may appropriate content for purposes markedly different from mine.
I am pro-vaccine. That doesn’t mean that, in presentations to a sophisticated audience, I have to be pro every vaccine . Early in 2020, we were as desperate as India is now. Every effort started then, including AstraZeneca, was justified. In August 2020, I expressed doubts about adenovirus vectors. We are not as desperate now, so criticism is within the context of safer alternatives.
In early spring 2021, vaccines were not yet available in my area. I decided I would take whatever shot showed up, including J&J. I am not fond of adenovirus technology, but I know how to play the numbers. I did not have to make that choice.
A vaccine is not a health cocktail. It swaps a major risk for a minor one. To appreciate the difference, one has to have mathematical sense of proportion, and appreciation and trust in the science that trades these risks.
That so many Americans lack both sense of proportion and trust in the scientists who work for our benefit is a grave problem of society, for which there is no easy answer.
The AstraZeneca/J&J analysis will continue shortly.