European Vaccine Opponents, through Latin American Eyes

Photo: EFE / Confidencial

How many deaths will it take for the deniers to view the Coronavirus as a threat to human life?

By Guillermo Cortes Dominguez (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Every once in a while, European journalists take note of Latin America, almost always due to violence, narcotrafficking, migrants, coup d’etats, dictatorships, natural disasters, etc. Rarely does the focus shift the other way, which is what I propose to do from Managua, in the case of the vaccination deniers of all shapes and colors. It’s a massive – although minority – phenomenon in a number of countries on the Old Continent, and one with which I frankly don’t agree with, and in fact reject.

Nearly every week, these Europeans, who seem to contradict the positive image of a cultured people that has been carefully woven over the course of many years, stage demonstrations in the principal cities. They’re against vaccination, vaccine passports, and the restrictive measures in place for the pandemic. I merely think, not without a certain indignation, that millions of Latin Americans urgently need those vaccines that, as if they were imbeciles, they’re rejecting.

The main anti-vaccine argument isn’t religious, but Europeans in this movement are wrapped up in fanaticism and passions of that same kind. I have a sister in Nicaragua who’s a Jehovah’s Witness. This is one of the most reactionary and anti-social sects. Among other things, they oppose blood transfusions, even when they’re needed to save lives. But even she got vaccinated: she received both doses, plus the booster.

In Europe, millions of people who practice some religion or other are virulently opposed to the vaccines. They’re exporting an image of ignorance and medieval fanaticism to the world, an image that doesn’t concur with the stereotype of a highly educated people, lovers of the scientific discoveries and of the new road maps that science opens to humanity.

There are also those who have a conception of “natural” based on the supposed capacity of the human body, without the need for any external agent, to repel any viruses that dare to attack it. These troglodytes are lost. They’re the ones who don’t want a foreign element entering into their body, so that, surely, they reject alcohol, marijuana, tranquilizers and other drugs. I agree that we should avoid as much as possible medications, injections, etc., except for essential situations.

This argument is beyond foolish, though, because it’s been proven all over the world that the majority of the infections and deaths in the last months have been among those who didn’t allow their bodies to be inoculated with “that terrible foreign element”, the cause of “unbearable nightmares”, which is the anti-COVID vaccine. In itself, that fact has been the best evidence that the vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized or die. The virus can reach them, but mildly except where there’s a background of chronic diseases.

The Europeans and people from other developed countries that don’t allow themselves to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are against science. They oppose the vaccines, because they’re “very new”, and “there aren’t enough studies to prove that there won’t be major side effects.” However, more than eight billion, six hundred million human beings, like myself, have been vaccinated all over the world, and thanks to that we’re not one of the death statistics. We continue our daily lives with the general alterations a pandemic brings.

In the United States, Donald Trump took on the task of digging out of thousand-year-old caves and time-rotted sarcophaguses the worst of US society: white supremacists, fascists and the deniers-conspiracy theorists, for whom the earth is flat and humans have never flown in outer space hence never landed on the moon. They appear primitive and savage.

The worst of Europe wasn’t coaxed out by any extreme-right-wing political leader, but by the Coronavirus. This had laid on the carpet the feudal thinking that has lain low for centuries. They reveal themselves to be backwards and pernicious social actors who, paradoxically, raise the banner of the French Revolution and individual liberty in order to deny science.

They rebel against government decisions requiring proof of vaccination to enter stadiums, theaters, movie theaters, restaurants, parks, fairs, etcetera; and they raise the cry to heaven, in large crowds, deeply moved and outraged, that their individual rights are being violated.

They’re lying, because with their supposed defense of individual liberty, the right to decide to get vaccinated or not, they’re violating other people’s right to live. By refusing to get vaccinated, they open the door to falling ill, infecting their neighbors and friends, and even their own family members, and with that the possibility of hospitalization, intubation and death. Do they have the right to kill their fellows?

Individual liberty stops at the point where the rights of others begin. In this case, it’s a matter of a higher right that has to do with life and death. Their right not to get vaccinated doesn’t give them the right to infect other human beings, much less to cause their death. From any angle you look at it, this demand for individual rights isn’t fair, is anti-human, and isn’t acceptable, rather totally reproachable.

Some will argue that the vaccine passport isn’t really a plan to know if the person is vaccinated, but to surreptitiously impose a new kind of social control. They reason that because some personal information –general data that can be found in passports, on id cards, and in social service agencies–, is then communicated to restaurants, discotheques and many other establishments, it’s an affront to people’s right to keep their data private. They protest this, but many of them then inundate the social networks with information about their habits and preferences, and about their work and families.

You have to be a little soft in the head to raise these banners of death that, in addition to illegitimate are hypocritical, because they ignore the question of social rights. They don’t care about affecting the rest, only that their whim not to get vaccinated be granted, even at gunpoint. Maybe some people are legitimately fearful; that could be an acceptable reason, but the fear of dying from the pandemic should be greater.

It seems to me a stupid argument that COVID isn’t a threat to people, when the plague has already left a trail of cadavers all over the world, totaling over 5.3 million, with nearly 300 million infections. How high must the numbers get in order for these deniers to consider the Coronavirus a threat to human life? Are they perhaps waiting for a mortality rate like that of the black plague in Asia and Europe, to believe that the current virus can finish off a human life?

This denial puts on display how extremely complex, contradictory and difficult to decode we human beings can be.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

3 thoughts on “European Vaccine Opponents, through Latin American Eyes

  • I’m surprised at Havana Times for publishing an article so full of generalizations and name-calling. This article calls us unvaccinated “imbeciles”, “ignorant and medieval fanatics” “troglodytes” “against science” “lyers” “soft in the head” and “hypocritical” and compares us to “white supremacists, fascists and the deniers-conspiracy theorists, for whom the earth is flat and humans have never flown in outer space hence never landed on the moon. They appear primitive and savage.”

    The fact of the matter is that the science is not settled on the covid-19 vaccines, and there are in fact many millions who have been injured and died due as a result of the vaccines. And just like with abortion, the decision to undertake a medical procedure should be an entirely personal decision. The ends don’t justify the means. My right to not be vaccinated should not be taken away due to some people’s belief that I am harming others with my decision, specially when vaccinated people have been shown to be as likely to contract and spread covid as unvaccinated people.

  • Very strange article which seems to hinge on generalisations, and nothing really specific other than a broad criticism of ‘Europeans’.
    Europe is a continent of three quarters of a billion people across 50 odd countries.
    It runs from Ireland, Galicia and Portugal in the west to Russia in the east.
    From Iceland and the Norwegian fjords in the north to Croatia, the Greek islands and the tip of Turkey in the south.
    Europe includes a diverse populace with roots both indigenous and from all over the rest of planet earth. There are nations with very high rates of vaccination and nations with relatively low rates of vaccination. The reasons for these fluctuations are varied and highly complex. A complexity which this article doesn’t even begin to touch on.
    Factors such as media, social media, ideology, nationalism, race, religion, education, mistrust of politicians, mistrust of majority ethnicities, mistrust of minority ethnicities, mistrust of healthcare professionals etc all play a part.
    It is curious that countries often described as authoritarian have very high rates of vaccination. Whereas the inhabitants of countries described as being more libertarian are criticised for making incorrect choices.
    It just goes to show that you can’t please all the people all of the time.

  • To the author: You are a bloody brain washed moron. It is the very fact that we in the developed world are educated and cultured that we refuse any form of tyranny, and this is why we fight so vehemently against mandatory COVID vaccination. People like u who don’t value your god given right to liberty are the reason why corrupt and dictatorial regimes thrive in Latin America.

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