IN TOUCH| No more time for senseless debates

What is it about people that makes them so prone to believing in conspiracy theories and outlandish ideas? From the myths peddled during the start of the HIV/Aids pandemic in the early 90s to the Y2K conspiracies, to the Mayan Calendar end of the world theories, to the present 5G conspiracies and the vaccine ones.

People are so lazy sometimes that they rely on headlines, clickbait and ’influencers’ for their knowledge and many dangerously take in those ideas as truths without even attempting to verify them. People believed that the HIV/Aids pandemic was manufactured in a laboratory and specifically designed to kill off Africans by the ‘West’. Some believed that this pandemic was created so that a market for the ‘toxic’ anti-retrovirals could be sold by the million to unsuspecting Africans by the big pharmaceutical companies for profit. What then followed was untold suffering, illness and death which could have been so easily avoided if many people in power did not fall for these ideas from medical and scientific quacks.

Three decades later, we are seeing similar conspiracy theories being revived and repackaged and spread far and wide by the very pervasive social media and the world wide web. The Covid-19 vaccine and the 5G technology have come in for some very virulent attacks from these peddlers and many intelligent and otherwise sensible people have fallen hook, line and sinker for them. This is sad and very dangerous as many people tend to trust what famous people say about any subject.

There is now a very dangerous movement against the vaccine and many have said on public platforms that they will not take the vaccination when itfinally arrives. I am not going to reject their reservations outright and say none of them are based on scientific facts – that would be unscientific on my part. Suffice to say, all medicines are not perfect and vaccines even less so. The fact that these vaccines have been produced in record time on a new viral outbreak does raise some concerns that not all eventualities have been addressed. Obviously, the short period of time it has taken to even produce a vaccine doesn’t fully allow for this to happen. So, should we then wait for 24 months for the vaccine to be fully tested like all the others before it and risk losing even more lives, destroy families and decimate economies? Should we reject the ‘imperfect’ vaccines, which have been shown to be 90-95% effective, from being used and live with the hundreds of deaths per day we are seeing now?

Mind you, even if you survive the infection and don’t die, there is something called ‘long Covid’ which are effects that linger long after you have ‘recovered’. Some regain their sense of taste and smell months after, some suffer from foggy memory for months after, while others suffer damage to their internal organs which may be permanent. This is one nasty disease – shouldn’t we do all we can to avoid contracting it? Are these conspiracy theories so wonderful that one can risk such debilitating effects so that he can take part in senseless intellectual debates? What comfort or joy do these conspiracy theory peddlers derive from such debates that end up confusing a lot of ordinary folks? Let us not ‘fiddle while Rome burns’. The vaccines that are coming are not perfect, but they are more acceptable than possible death or long-term effects of long Covid. That’s my opinion and I stand by it. Can you afford to differ?

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