Corona is the main topic everyone still talks about, and it’s slowly entering the second year of being omnipresent around the globe. During these two years, we were both bystanders and lead characters in the most diverse episodes of this peculiar thriller. We are currently at the “vaccination” phase.
Did you get a vaccine? When will you go for the shot? Where are you getting vaccinated? These are the questions we all either ask or reply to on a constant basis, every single day.
However, there is another question that keeps coming up, and is kinda mainstream at this point: Which vaccine will you be getting? Followed by an increasingly more frequent: Which vaccine did you get?
When had it become normal for us to normally ask that question? Not only that it became ordinary, but it is being discussed in conversations, on traditional media, social networks and in person. Pfizer, Zeneca, Sputnik (commonly referred to as “Russian”), Johnson, Sinopharm (the ever popular “Chinese”), Moderna and all the others in line, have become more than just vaccines. They are becoming like sport teams that attract followers and fans cheering, especially when competing against other teams. Heated discussions on the topic of which one to choose are very emotional, almost passionate. Participants are expected to take sides so that everyone knows who cheers for whom, who is “us” and who belongs to “them”.
There is a growing number of individuals who – confused by having to choose the right vaccine in the first place – started doubting the entire process of vaccination as such. In the context where you are either “for” or “against ” and when no questions or doubts can be shared freely, some of them can easily find the anti-vaxxer label on top of their forehead, making the divide even more pronounced.
How did we come to a point when one very specific, scientific niche becomes the topic of a general public debate? If there ever was something that can fall squarely into the domain of complex science and epidemiology, with a clear and detailed procedure for application, then we are talking about vaccines. Has anyone ever asked such a question about the child paralysis vaccine, smallpox or a tetanus shot? Does one know the producer of any of the vaccines received throughout their life? How come all of a sudden, the vaccine against corona becomes a free choice of each individual? How did we end up in a place where we are expected to make an informed decision on something we have no basic competence to comprehend?
Corona has really opened our eyes to so much. It has shown that the global system was caught off guard, unprepared for such a world-wide crisis. Due to incompetence, both on a global and state level with a few notable exceptions, the problem at the very beginning was ignored, then tackled with overarching and inadequate measures. The entire situation steered into chaos, which only contributed further to the spread of the virus and the start of the pandemic.
The states have covered their misaligned policies and incompetence to deal with the epidemic with a veil of hope that everything will be better once the vaccines come. At the same time, big pharma companies have seen the opportunity to make enormous amounts of money and entered the race. That is precisely when the match of interest between the political elite and big money happened.
Consequence of the match was to speed up and shorten the existing procedure for testing and approval of new vaccines. The results of that were record times in which multiple versions of the vaccine against corona became available.
And so the question “which vaccine will you be getting” – or you already did – becomes sort of a trick question. Namely, the liability for eventual negative consequences of vaccination is shitted from the producer and the system that approved it to the person getting the vaccine.
The current media context of attracting attention actually allows for such a liability shift to be accepted. This is how the topic of vaccination becomes another issue where each and everyone of us has to make a choice with the truth being only what we choose to believe in. The fact that the topic is an expert one, quite outside of reach for proper understating by an average person only eases the emotional triggers for each individual to choose the team and pick sides.
What is the next life-essential topic that will be provided with a choice, allowing division and choosing sides based on media fights over social networks? And which basic human right will potentially make it to the list of endangered civil liberties due to that choice in the future?