Friday, October 22, 2021

Deluded Americans and Eastern Europeans shun vaccines

Lack of education, exploitation by right-wing political groups and in the US licensed medical doctors seeking to profit from disinformation, are hampering the vaccination efforts in the United States and Eastern Europe.

In the United States a report this year based on analysis of a sample of anti-vaxx content that was shared or posted on Facebook and Twitter showed up to 65% of anti-vaccine content can be traced to the leading online anti-vaxxers, who are labelled the Disinformation Dozen. The group is comprised of physicians, anti-vaccine activists and people known for promoting alternative medicine. They profit from their lies and this week Drew Griffin, a CNN reporter, told one of them, Dr Rashid Buttar, in an interview, "I think you're crazy." Buttar likened Dr Anthony Fauci — presidential adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — to Adolf Hitler, saying the number of deaths caused by Fauci will exceed those of the Holocaust.

In the US, 66.1% of the population of 330m have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and more than 57% are fully vaccinated. The 18+ rates are 79.1% and 68.6% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The EU27 + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (European Economic Area: EEA) has a population of 455m. 68.1% have had at least one dose and 63.4% are fully vaccinated. The 18+ rates are 79.6% with at least one dose and 74.4% are fully vaccinated (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.)

Among 18+ rates in Europe are Ireland at 94/92; Denmark 89/88; France 89/80; Spain 91/83; Italy 87/79; Germany 82/79.

In October Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for prevention of diseases said that the number of people in the country who have been vaccinated may be higher than previously thought. Deutsche Welle, the external broadcaster, said that based on a telephone survey commissioned by the RKI, a higher proportion of respondents said they had been vaccinated than suggested in the official records. The German data may be 84/80%.

The Irish Times reported in late September that the lowest German rates of vaccination are consistently in eastern federal states, in particular Saxony, Brandenburg, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt (in former Communist East Germany).

The former communist states in Eastern Europe have had high death rates and now low vaccination rates.

Hungary for 18+ adults is at 69/67; Czechia 67/66; Poland 63/61; Slovakia 54/52; Romania 36/35 and Bulgaria 25/24.

Reuters reports that Russia has administered at least 100,766,655 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 34.9% of the country’s population.

The Associated Press reported in September that the vice-president of Romania’s national vaccination committee, Andrei Baciu, said that fake news had been a key factor in keeping people from getting jabbed.

“There is and was a culture that promotes fake news. We are working with a team of specialists to combat [it] ... right now there is a high number of [infections] due to low vaccination rates,” he said, adding that the government is looking to increase ICU capacity.

The AP said that sometimes medical workers in eastern Europe face additional risks. In September in Bulgaria’s port city of Varna, a group opposed to vaccines attacked a medical team at a mobile vaccination station. Health Minister Stoycho Katsarov condemned the attack, saying “we will not allow our medics to be insulted, publicly harassed and humiliated” for trying to save lives.

At Bucharest’s Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumology, the ICU’s chief doctor, Genoveva Cadar, said the beds were at 100% capacity and around 98% of all the virus patients are unvaccinated.

At the Institute, Nicoleta Birtea, a 63-year-old unvaccinated Covid-19 patient who had previous health issues, said she woke up a month ago feeling dizzy and ill and called for an ambulance.

“I hope that I got here on time,” she said, adding “I understand very clearly that the vaccine can’t protect you.”

The land of the free...

Data on October 1 showed that about 185m Americans were fully vaccinated while about 70m eligible Americans were unvaccinated. "There are still places around the country where far too many individuals remain unvaccinated and many states where vaccination rates are less than 50%."

For example in Arkansas, 1,734,334 people or 57% of the state has received at least one dose. Overall, 1,434,030 people or 47% of Arkansas's population has been fully vaccinated.

Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media oligarch, got his first Covid jab in December 2020 and in the meantime, his presenters on Fox News have also got the vaccines. That doesn't stop some of them from sowing doubt about the vaccines among its loyal elderly audience.

“Like almost everyone his age, Colin Powell was fully vaccinated against Covid, and yet according to his family and doctors, Colin Powell died of Covid,” Tucker Carlson began his broadcast on Monday.

He went on to say that Powell’s death and the deaths of other vaccinated people “tells you you’ve been lied to. Vaccines may be highly useful for some people, but across a population, they do not solve Covid.”

Carlson deliberately ignored the fact that at 84, General Powell was also being treated for cancer, which suppresses the immune system and makes surviving the virus significantly more difficult.

David Leonhardt of The New York Times wrote "What distinguishes the US is a conservative party — the Republican Party — that has grown hostile to science and empirical evidence (most Republicans believe Trump's Big Lie on the 2020 presidential election) in recent decades. A conservative media complex, including Fox News, Sinclair Broadcast Group and various online outlets, echoes and amplifies this hostility. Trump took the conspiratorial thinking to a new level, but he did not create it."

Police across America are revolting against the vaccine mandates.

"More police officers die of Covid than they do in other causes of death, so it doesn't make any sense to not try to protect yourself as well as the colleagues that you work with," Dr Anthony Fauci, said in a recent interview.

In New York City all people on the subway are required to wear masks but the police ignore it.

At the end of September Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied an emergency appeal from a group of teachers to block New York City's Covid-19 vaccine mandate for public school teachers and other staff from going into effect.

On October 15, about 200 Boeing employees and others staged a protest over the planemaker's Covid-19 vaccine requirement for US workers.

Boeing had said it will require its 125,000 US employees to be vaccinated by December 8 under an executive order issued by President Joe Biden for federal contractors.

"It's my choice and it's my body," one avionics engineer said, his voice nearly drowned out by anti-Biden chants and trucks honking to show support along the busy street outside Boeing's factory in Everett, north of Seattle, according to Reuters.

"It's an experimental drug given under a pseudo-emergency," he added.

Another worker, an assembly mechanic, said: "This is America. We don't just do what we're told because one person says to."

While Pope Francis, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Orthodox Jewish rabbis and Islamic leaders in the Fiqh Council of North America have all endorsed the vaccines, the latest front in the war against vaccines are employees claiming religious exemptions.


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