On immunity

So, what does it mean to cite something? What should be cited? How do we draw the line of what is fact and what is fiction?

The interesting thing about having access to endless amounts of news, columns, opinions, peer-reviewed articles, stories, blogs, gossip and academia research is that you can form any opinion you want.

Data isn’t going to change our minds anymore because now you can cite your chosen narrative.

What is so interesting in following the anti-vaccination movement is the cloud of fear that follows. Despite all the access to comforts and resources, the world is still trying to kill us. Our amygdala (fight, flight and freeze response) knows this and takes over the discourse.

Because no one want to believe that they are responsible for hurting themselves or their children.

The very word “shot” (in Britain it is called “jab”) stirs certain emotions. The answer then is to become better choice architects. There is no reason why a shot can’t be called a life saving utensil. We can design our choices to ease the fear on invincible carnivorous bugs, to ease the tension.

Yet, despite countless studies to debunk myths and gossip, dangerous narratives based on fear not science, based on anxiety not data, based on bias and prejudice not certitude, continues to get perpetuated. Not even one of the most heavily regulated industries is enough to squash the narratives.

This is the power of fear and culture has on our lives.

What’s fascinating is that someone without access to vaccines is not the problem. No, it is the white, wealthy, educated parents who are going unvaccinated. “Perhaps it’s not for me” is a luxury that most of the world does not get to enjoy.

Here is the thing, we all want the same thing. We want to be safe. We want to be loved. We want to be remembered. We want to be understood. We want to be missed when we are gone.

The problem with the discourse on immunity is a system error. It is the system that has made us skeptical. Can I trust big manufactures? Can I trust the government? Can I trust these fellow bloggers? Who is there to trust anymore?

We have a right to be skeptical of big pharma or to be afraid what is in these vaccinations. It has led us to understand the potential side-effects better. It’s lead to more intervention and regulation. AND it’s okay to ask if someone if they are choosing to vaccinate and to ask why not if they’re choosing not to.

Because this is an issue that affects everyone.

But it is not data or statistics we are arguing. We are addressing fear. Instead of citing another CDC study, address the fear. Address why they are afraid. That fear will never go away, but perhaps, you can teach someone to dance with it.

It was only thirty years ago, that is was normal to drive around without a seatbelt. For most of us today, it is so automatic to put on the seatbelt that it’s weird to not put one on. Now, we need to do the same for vaccinations.

HT Eula Biss