Eyewitness: Why the hesitancy…


…to vaccination science?

Tempers are getting quite frayed on both sides of the vaccination divide. On one side we have the anti-vaxxers of various persuasions – especially those who place their faith on “received wisdom” – and those who place their faith “on the science”. With a whole heap of folks placed on the wide spectrum between that divide – including those captured in the new buzzword “vaccine hesitancy”. In the interest of full disclosure, your Eyewitness confesses to being in the “science” camp.

Now we gotta be careful – which your Eyewitness tries to be – not to fall into the “scientism” fallacy – which is to believe anything and everything once it has the “science” brand slapped on. Science is basically a methodology for explaining observed phenomena and in its application, its success comes from its insistence that all hypotheses must be tested experimentally. The problem with vaccines – and especially the new methods for manufacturing them – is they’re all so esoteric even for those with more than a smattering of a scientific background.

Can most of us really wrap our heads around the workings of the body’s auto-immune system where we’re told that cells of our bodies (which are between .01 and .1 mm and barely visible to the naked eye) can “detect” foreign cells and “tell” other cells to manufacture specific new cells (antibodies) to “fight off” and destroy the “invading cells”?? And imagine that viruses aren’t even cells (or even “living”!), but just bundles of DNA or RNA covered in a layer of fat and so much smaller than cells!! And that to make these vaccines, some of the vaccines like Pfizer’s are made by cutting precise DNA sections of viruses similar to COVID-19 and injecting them to trick the body to produce antibodies that can fight the COVID-19 viruses. Confused already? Well, your Eyewitness’s eyes have long glazed over and he suspects so have yours!!

What all of this suggests is that we gotta be more than a tad sympathetic to those who have some genuine misgivings about vaccines. ‘Cause even if the Government were to try to explain what is going on when the vaccine enters the body, it’ll pass over the heads of most folks. So what does the Government do when the science – and the evidence – tells them that vaccination is the best weapon we have against viruses? Up will come questions – as they already have – as to how effective these are and what are side effects that might pop up down the road! Etc.
And no explanation will help when you have politicians cynically exploiting fears of the vaccines’ effects for their own political ambitions!
A plague on their house? There’s already COVID-19!!

…as per social science

The WHO advises governments that they should take a “proactive approach’ to vaccine hesitancy – based on “behavioural and social insights”. These come from the “SOCIAL” sciences and show that “conformism” is the norm for most folks exhibiting vaccine hesitancy. They take their cues from others. In this case, then, the “secret” to overcoming the hesitance would be to publicise individuals or groups the hesitant admire and will listen to, who are pro-vaccine. Nowadays social media has even created a name for such folks – influencers. The Govt should enlist them.

One of the counterintuitive findings is that the moment Governments start enforcing a particular behaviour, it triggers a kickback from sections of the populace – especially from those who have some degree of mistrust of governments. After all, they aren’t allowing folks to make their own MORAL choice! In polarised Guyana, this effect of reducing intrinsic motivation— to be one’s brother’s keeper – or moral disengagement, will be exaggerated.
The Govt MUST be up to something!!

…from the pro-vaxxers?

From the above discussion folks from the vaccine-hesitant constituents have a moral obligation to take a public stance to promote vaccination.
Like the National Medical Association, a professional society of African American doctors addressing Black hesitancy!!