Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Vaccines, myself, and defamatory politicians

with 4 comments

The COVID situation in Germany, as in much of the world, is deteriorating disastrously. I am, of course, speaking of the countermeasures—not the disease.

Consider:

  1. The unvaccinated are slandered and libeled in a horrifying manner, including claims that they would ignore science, be a danger to themselves and others, and prevent the defeat of COVID. Then there is that “pandemic of the unvaccinated” … Most recently, decisions have been made to bar the unvaccinated from almost everywhere. Grocery stores are still allowed, but that too might change over time.

    Indeed, looking at recent claims and the sheer strength of rhetoric, a good case for e.g. Volksverhetzung could be made, except that the corresponding German law is one of the many that should have been written to be generically applicable, but, in fact, are limited to a fix enumeration (in this case, of groups or types of groups). Corresponding claims about e.g. Jews would have been extremely problematic. (“You only have to wear masks because the Jews could infect you!”, “We have a pandemic of Jews!”, etc. Goebbels would be right at home.)

    Speaking for myself, I am unvaccinated, largely and originally, because I have never, ever received any type of information or notification on how to proceed or even when it would be appropriate to do so. On the contrary, early (sensible) claims were that those not in a risk group should be responsible and remain unvaccinated, to allow the vaccine doses to go to risk groups first. With no clear delineation or clear statement from the government, the governmental and press attitudes have gradually, over the space of roughly one year, changed to “the unvaccinated are evil”. (Remember that boiling frog?)

    And, no, being called evil, stupid, uninformed, whatnot, is not something that will increase my likelihood of taking a vaccine. A clear “we now recommend that persons 45–50 contact a physician to be vaccinated”, on the other hand, might have. For the record, I am extremely intelligent and educated, far above the typical German MP or journalist, and I am considerably above average in the extent of my readings on specifically COVID. Politicians seem to have an image of mouth-breathers who have never made it further than the cartoons or the sports section in the news-paper, but this image does not in the least match what I have seen on the Internet—and it is as far from me that one can get.

    The claims about science and being a danger to others, etc., are simply incorrect. (Cf. below.)

  2. There is considerable uncertainty about the both the effectiveness and the safety of the current vaccines, and there is a very strong possibility that those not in a risk group would (statistically and on average) worsen their health outcomes by taking the vaccine.

    Unfortunately, making an objective judgment on this point is near impossible, because the “official line” is supported more with rhetoric than with facts and reasoning—including the constant “Fake news! Fakes news!” to quash any actual debate. Well, decades of experience has taught me to trust the party that tries to bring arguments and debate over the party that quashes debate. (Something which applies to much of the rest of this text.)

  3. Similarly, there are considerable concerns that those who take a vaccine before having had COVID see a long-term reduction in their ability to counter future infections (relative those who have had COVID before, or instead of, the vaccine) through original antigenic sin.

    Of course, the apparent constant need for boosters increase the risk from (and cost of) the vaccines greatly, while pointing to the poor long-term protection.

    For those in a risk group, this is not much of a concern, because COVID now could kill them, and the risk of COVID in twenty or forty years might be academic. For someone like me, this is different: I am very likely better off taking a COVID infection at 47 and having the strong immune system to survive renewed attacks at 67 and 87, than to take the vaccine and possibly die of COVID when I have grown old and am a member of a risk group.

    Again, 47 and no known other risk factors, outside a little too much fat. My risk of death, here and now, is minuscule. In the future? Who knows.

    Then there is the question of future vaccines: So far, vaccines have been poor, but newer and better ones, with more conventional characteristics, unsurprisingly, appear to be in development. What if I e.g. get a shitty vaccine today, or am forced to take one in a few months, when a good one would have been available a little later? (And would the first injection only have been an unnecessary cost and risk, or would the original antigenic sin sabotage the newer and better vaccine?)

  4. But my health is only half the equation. What about my possible effect as an infector of others? A possible source of new mutations? Etc.

    Firstly, I would pose an even smaller risk after COVID than after a vaccine, which points to a natural infection being a solid option, even from the point of view of society.

    Secondly, the point of herd immunity is that not everyone need be vaccinated or otherwise immunized. (And note that the COVID vaccines fall well short of the normal bar for vaccine efficiency.) For instance, Wikipedia on R0 currently gives a herd immunity threshold of 80-88 % for the “Delta variant”. (And, knowing how the misinformation works, I would not be surprised to see the true number being considerably lower. However, even 80–88 is enough to make e.g. a “100 % vaccinated” demand overkill.)

    Here, of course, we have to understand that we are invariably heading for a herd-immunity and/or endemic COVID scenario. Exterminating COVID is a pipe-dream—and will remain so for the foreseeable future. (Have we exterminated the flu? No.) The only alternative, cf. original antigenic sin, is that herd immunity fails through the too weak vaccines …

    Thirdly, there are strong signs that it is actually the vaccinated (alone or in combination with lockdowns and whatnot) who pose the real risk of new and dangerous mutations and/or allow dangerous mutations a chance, through mechanisms like “leaky vaccines”. This maybe to the point that the unvaccinated would have been fine as unvaccinated—had it not been for the vaccinated and their distortion of the natural development of COVID. (This is a point where we might have to wait and see, before we can tell for certain, and where the ability to make good predictions has been particularly hampered by the lack of debate.)

  5. Contrary to claims by e.g. German politicians, we do not have a pandemic of the unvaccinated—unless being unvaccinated, per se, should be seen as a disease. Every time that I have seen statistics, it has amounted to “roughly the same proportions of vaccinated as unvaccinated fall victim”, “more vaccinated than unvaccinated have fallen victim”, or similar.

    True, there might often be circumstances that make a direct comparison misleading, like the vaccinated (still!) belonging to risk groups more often than the unvaccinated, but not to such a degree that a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” can be justified. Moreover, without a scientific debate, we can neither know whether such mitigating circumstances have a truly major or only a marginal effect. In particular, I have yet to see a serious attempt to quantify such effects. (Not that the attempt would necessarily be successful, but the lack of even an attempt is disturbing.) What we have now is comparable to “many athletes have far larger stresses on their knees than non-athletes, and are more susceptible to knee injuries” vs “but their stronger leg muscles help to protect their knees”, which leaves far too much up in the air.

  6. A particular failure of e.g. politicians, often used exactly to push for more vaccinations, is the implicit combination of characteristics from different variants of the virus. For instance, the new omicron variant seems to be more virulent than the prior variants–but also less dangerous. (With reservations for its recency and lack of accumulated knowledge.) The politicians, however, just argue based on the virulence and assume the same amount of problems (deaths, hospitalizations, whatnot) as for other variants. The result is an extremely misleading image of ever more dangerous versions of COVID, while the (entirely expected!) trend has been towards more virulence but less severe problems.

    As I have said before, the “common cold strategy” is very strong; the “Ebola strategy” is very weak. Evolution is expected to make, and so far has made, COVID more virulent but less dangerous—more like a regular flu or, even, common cold. Unless the lockdowns and the vaccinated get in the way of evolution, COVID is expected to resolve it self.

    (As a clarification: My remarks on Ebola refer to its behavior in humans. In other animals, e.g. IIRC dogs, it is less deadly and can have an endemic status.)

Excursion on my having or not having had COVID:
I have not been diagnosed with COVID at any point (and I have written the above under the “not” assumption). However, combining the often weak symptoms and the repeated colds or cold-like diseases that I have had during the COVID era, I strongly suspect that I have already had it.

Excursion on information on policy:
The issue of information on policy has been highly problematic and by no means restricted to “when should I get vaccinated”. Policy decisions have often been made from one day to another; have never been communicated directly to the people, who have to rely on the news to stay informed; the news is often incomplete or contradictory; the (overall) policy has often had multiple actors with different restrictions, e.g. on the federal, state, and municipal level; and the policy has often contained conditions depending on (constantly changing and hard to find) numbers, like the infection rate per 100.000 persons in the local community.

Indeed, I have on repeated occasions received the first warning that something new was happening from an English language source, like The Daily Sceptic, rather than the German sources …

Written by michaeleriksson

December 3, 2021 at 11:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. […] a recent text on Vaccines, myself, and defamatory politicians ([2]), I claimed e.g. “For instance, the new omicron variant seems to be more virulent than the prior […]

  2. […] a few recent texts (most notably: [1], [2]), I recalled something long […]

  3. […] the gullible are the enlightened and the thinkers in need of “education” or whatnot. Also note [2], where I discuss by own vaccine situation and the issues of intellectually dishonest, sometimes […]


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