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Not just ‘a common cold’

Whether you agree or disagree, Eugene Dean deserves credit for his perseverance in keeping the discussion alive throughout the Covid-19 pandemic (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

I had the opportunity to listen to some parts of the forum and film put on by the Collective Action Solidarity Trust, which was centred around people who had a negative reaction to the Covid vaccine. One fact remains: the virus was absolutely lethal to a particular constituency of people, and anyone who believes it was just a common cold or flu is delusional. Therefore, every government had a moral and ethical responsibility to respond to what was to be a global health crisis. The idea that the pandemic was more fear generated than real is nonsense. The questions and arguments over whether the vaccine was useful or negative have to be held up against the effectiveness of its use in preventing the loss of life.

Over the past two centuries, vaccines have become the golden means to counter viruses, particularly those that have the threat of becoming a global pandemic. We cannot litigate the decisions to mass vaccinate, just as we can’t estimate how many lives were saved as a result of the vaccine. From a scientific perspective, there will be a risk factor with any drug or medication. There are and will for ever be cases of medical malpractice or a drug that is beneficial to 95 per cent or even 99 per cent of patients but absolutely harmful to the rest — nothing new here. With this Covid response, there are now people who have had bad, and in some cases fatal, reactions to vaccines.

The solution and the fallout should be treated as part of the overall response to Covid. Separating the positive reaction from the negative without some entity taking ownership of the whole is ethically wrong. In Bermuda, there was 85 per cent coverage by those who took the jab; in Canada, Britain and the United States, the numbers are similar.

If we took these numbers as a case to inform us, we may have a global population of more than a billion who have taken the shot. We can never know how many of them —who had significant pre-existing health issues such as myself — are alive today because of the vaccine. Just like there are people today who have suffered after the shot, either after the first or second dose. Those numbers are becoming visible, but what will always remain invisible are the numbers who might have lived but died because they chose or were encouraged not to be vaccinated.

The huge legal question, should there be one, is the “mandate” that forces and/or punishes people for their choice not to be vaccinated. In that argument, again, there are two cases to answer — one is the right of an individual not to be medicated and even choose to risk their own death; and the next question is whether a person can be allowed to carry the virus that affects and risks the lives of others. I would suggest both arguments would be vigorous.

To summarise where we are, the solution seems to lie in getting the huge pharmaceutical companies to share in the support of those who have had a negative reaction to the vaccine — there should be a political imperative to demand it.

While Cast frontman Eugene Dean is an antivax campaigner, he does deserve tremendous credit for keeping the discussion alive because there are too many people who have been marginalised and effectively abandoned systemically from getting the help they deserve. Like soldiers, they were in the battle against the virus. But they, too, became victims who should receive support and compassion.

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Published May 16, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated May 15, 2023 at 2:09 pm)

Not just ‘a common cold’

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