Vaccine skepticism is arbitrary

Belief in something without evidence is invalid. It leads to total skepticism, which in turn opens the door to mysticism (if nothing can be known for certain, you are “free” to indulge in whatever nonsense you like).

Doubt of something for which there is conclusive evidence is also arbitrary. “I have no counterevidence, but just maybe . . .” is fully as wrong as “I have no evidence, but just maybe . . .”

Let’s apply this to Covid vaccines. I will limit it to the mRNA vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer because I know most about them and they are the most commonly used ones (at least in my survey of HBLers).

The safety and efficacy of the mRNA Covid vaccines are established beyond any reasonable doubt. Remaining doubts are either uninformed or unreasonable. Here are some of the facts that make up the conclusive evidence.

1. The mRNA vaccines are known to be safe, from our understanding of how they work biochemically, how they performed in the clinical tests on 50,000 people, and what has happened to the more than 100 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated with them, which means 200 million shots administered.

What have been the bad results? [Sound of crickets.]

If you inject anything, even a saline solution, into 100 million people, there will be a few subsequent (not necessarily consequent) bad experiences. How many have there been to the mRNA vaccines? I don’t know, but it can’t be many or it would be all over Fox News.

Let’s say that there have been 1000 non-transitory bad results, which we could say are possibly caused by the vaccine. That means a random person in the U.S. has a 1 in 100,000 chance of a bad result. Can there be a rational worry about facing those odds? No.

2. Your doctor, I bet, wants you to get the vaccine. Dr. Amesh Adalja, the Objectivist infectious disease specialist, is strongly pro-vaccine.

3. 637,000 Americans have died from Covid, so if we do the same kind of individual-blind statistics I did in step (1), we get your chance of dying from Covid as 1 in 1900 (vs. not death but some kind of serious trouble with the vaccine for 1 in 100,000). Yes, you can say this kind of raw division of numbers doesn’t take account of individual differences, but that doesn’t help: healthy, vigorous, young people will do better with the shots just as they will do better in not dying from Covid.

4. Are there long-term effects of mRNA that will show up years later? No, it does not get inside the cell nucleus and it degrades quickly.

Facts about COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

They cannot give someone COVID-19.

–mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.

–mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.

–The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

Now that is from the CDC, but it’s not contested or controversial.

5. The CEOs of both Pfizer and Moderna got shots of their own vaccines. This by itself is strong evidence of safety. It’s impossible to think that a layman following internet chatter knows as much about these vaccines as the CEOs of Moderna and Pfizer.

Here are a couple more facts to consider from the University of Alabama website, beginning with a statement by the director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

“Many people worry that these vaccines were ‘rushed’ into use and still do not have full FDA approval — they are currently being distributed under Emergency Use Authorizations,” Goepfert said. “But because we have had so many people vaccinated, we actually have far more safety data than we have had for any other vaccine, and these COVID vaccines have an incredible safety track record. There should be confidence in that.”

Unlike many medications, which are taken daily, vaccines are generally one-and-done. Medicines you take every day can cause side effects that reveal themselves over time, including long-term problems as levels of the drug build up in the body over months and years.

“Vaccines are just designed to deliver a payload and then are quickly eliminated by the body,” Goepfert said. “This is particularly true of the mRNA vaccines. mRNA degrades incredibly rapidly. You wouldn’t expect any of these vaccines to have any long-term side effects. And in fact, this has never occurred with any vaccine.”

This adds up to a case as strong as the case against OJ Simpson. Maintaining, in the face of that evidence, that the vaccines are unsafe is like maintaining there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Simpson.