politics

Vaccine Push Faces Test In America, Where ‘Freedom’ Is ‘The Gateway Drug To Pseudoscience’

Over the weekend, Ron Klain, incoming White House chief of staff, underscored a crucial point about vaccines as a solution to the pandemic. In remarks to NBC, Klain reminded America that vaccines on their own don’t help. "Vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives," Klain said. His point was simple, but just in case it was lost on anyone, he spelled it out. "That means you’ve got to get that vax out into people’s arms all over this country." He called it "a giant logistical project." It would be challenging in any country, but it's especially so in America. And I've explained why on any number of occasions. Even if you assume the supply side problems will be addressed by the world’s pharmaceutical giants, the demand issue will likely come into play. "Many Americans appear reluctant to be vaccinated, even if a vaccine were FDA-approved and available to them at no cost," Gallup wrote in August, describing the results of a poll. "Asked if they would get such a COVID-19 vaccine, 65% say they would, but 35% would not." The vaccines are coming. We can all debate whether the timeline was too aggressive or whether Pfizer and Moderna are being overzealous, but 2021 wil
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12 comments on “Vaccine Push Faces Test In America, Where ‘Freedom’ Is ‘The Gateway Drug To Pseudoscience’

  1. runamok says:

    And so, it turns out that the discourse in America decades ago about motorcycle helmet laws being good public health policy, or a matter of individual liberty to not wear one, was presage to COVID-2020s America.

    Somewhere in my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, grade civics classes, I remember whole four week sections of the semesters being devoted to something called personal responsibility. What the hell happened to us?

    Just speculation on my part, but a second- or third-order effect that is plenty conceivable is the continued accerleration of the wealth of cities vis-a-vis the lesser affluent, mostly low-density regions of the country.

    What few young kids there are in these lower-density regions will keep moving to the major urban centers, suburbs, and the second-tier cities. They are not going to move back to the towns they are from. Towns will de-incorporate, die, and only a small number of hangers on will remain. Already so many examples from decades past; the process never stopped.

    Cities will re-generate. Rents will go down, attract a new generation of hipsters, and the cycle starts anew.

    All the while, South Dakota, with all of 0.25% of the nation’s population, will continue to have two senators…or, maybe not.

    • uptownguy says:

      Well, there may be a happier ending – eventually these depopulated states become targets for affluent migration as money and education are attracted to idle mismanaged resources, both natural and human. Eventually the demographic and economic change can shift the political winds as these states are re-introduced to modern civilization. I can’t claim to have seen this process run to completion anywhere, yet, but I have hope for both Texas and (someday) Idaho, speaking from personal observation.

  2. Jbona3 says:

    Apologies if this has been covered somewhere, but the question I have about the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna is related to the durability of it, meaning how long does a vaccine immunize you from contracting covid? I recall seeing early data which suggested it was a 3-6 month timeframe when antibodies are present following infection (or early stage vaccination trials), and I haven’t seen any mention of this in either release regarding the vaccines this week or last.

    • gdhalpha says:

      Good question. Just one of many

    • calh0025 says:

      I suspect there is no real solid way to estimate but a best guess supported moderately from observation is that infection immunity seems to last roughly 3-6 months and that a vaccine would provide similar results, potentially better for the dual inoculation, so let’s be generous and estimate 12-18 months. If 35% of the country refuses vaccination then this will be an annual thing like the flu and eventually a mutation will outbreak again defeating the existing vaccine.

      This is all based on the idea that the approval sample sizes and subject populations are significantly representative of the overall population to give weight to the 90-95% effectiveness. We’ll know that after it is widely available.

      I have hopes the vaccine gets the case load down far enough that hospitals can again cope with ICU levels it generates but I am very dubious that this is anything but COVID’s world for the next few years, especially in the US. If we can just make it through this winter without everything falling apart.

    • i_kko says:

      Antibodies might fade after a period of a few months, but that is not unusual for viral infections. The issue is how much long term memory your immune system retains via “T-Cells”. It is possible for your immune system to remain primed for future infections for years. That doesn’t mean you won’t be re-infected, just that you might be better at fighting off the infection in future.

  3. cc611 says:

    The Pfizer and Moderna genetic vaccines utilize mRNA technology which has never been used on humans before the current Covid 19 trials. Absolutely nothing is known about the potential long term risks associated with this technology, which for me is cause for great concern. Do you, Mr Heisenberg, or anyone else share this concern?

    • Joey says:

      There is no approved mRNA vaccine, but Moderna had at least one mRNA vaccine in trials before COVID. Any new drug or vaccine carries some risk, and long-term risks are not necessarily apparent from short term trials. But for a variety of reasons, an mRNA vaccine isn’t as scary as it might sound. It’s not an entire viral genome, just a modified version of mRNA for one of the viral proteins, the spike protein. For most observers, the risk of an mRNA vaccine is that it might not work, due to the difficulty with formulating and delivering mRNA, not that it would have unforeseen safety issues.

  4. Anaximander says:

    I’m no virologist, but I have to think that training the immune system to recognize spike protein attacks w these mRNA vaccines will help overall in the long run against this virus and perhaps mutations of it, even if antibodies wane over time, probably via T-Cell memory. This virus is so devastating precisely because it is novel to human evolution. It kills before the body knows what has happened.

  5. Tom Swift says:

    Does anyone remember “flipper babies” or DES for nausea? The side effects of new medications are not always immediately known. Fast-tracking is political, not science.

  6. Joey says:

    The problem with polls is they typically don’t allow for nuanced answers. I am the farthest thing from an anti-vaxxer, yet if you had polled me in September about whether I would take a vaccine, I would have been counted as one of the doubters. But the situation is very different with two vaccines, looking 90%+ efficacious (yes, preliminary results), with no strong negative safety signals so far. Vaccines are not compulsory, but–if you want to go to school, if you want to go to college, you need to get vaccinated. I would not be surprised to see compulsory or pseudo-compulsory vaccination at many workplaces. And I would not be surprised to start seeing waiver forms. Do you want to go to Disneyland? OK, sign this form stating that you have either tested negative for coronavirus in the preceding 24 hours, or stating that you have been vaccinated. When the unvaccinated start to feel they’ve been left behind by society, they might come around. And as I’ve stated before, the beauty of a 90+% efficacious vaccine (if that holds up as more data is gathered) is that if I get vaccinated, I get protected. Yes, it would be better for many reasons if everybody is vaccinated, but at least I can protect myself in this scenario.

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