EDITORIAL: Finding the balance between unfounded fear and delusions

Critical thinking is important but we cannot give in to irrational fear

One thing we can all agree on is that you can’t fix stupid.

The problem is, one thing we cannot agree on is what constitutes stupid. The world is months, if not years, away from having a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – but there are already anti-vaccine protests and violence associated with just the prospect of it.

Like all things human, there is a spectrum from those who are blindly willing to try anything a doctor is willing to prescribe to those who believe a potential vaccine is a vehicle by which Bill Gates is going to introduce microchip tracking to the human race.

Those who do or do not subscribe to a particular way of thinking are “sheeple,” lack critical thinking skills, are stupid or are part of the conspiracy, according to the other side.

Where is the middle ground?

Fortunately, the middle ground is the science. The reason we don’t already have a vaccine is because medical researchers are skeptical. That, in fact, is the scientific process.

And we have governments that won’t approve the use of these things until they are proven to ward against overzealous opportunists or downright frauds.

Nevertheless, there are enough extremists out there that global health officials worry vaccine researchers could be susceptible to terrorist attacks.

Even if it does not go that far, though, the real danger may be that disinformation and misinformation spreads just enough vaccine hesitancy among non-extremists that communities end up rejecting vaccines.

This is not even about SARS-CoV-2. It is about all the vaccine-preventable diseases that a generation ago were all but eliminated.

And the fear may not even be about the science.

We are becoming a very distrustful society. Social anxiety could be driving a lot of the fear, according to some researchers.

There are, of course, good reasons to be skeptical about corporations and governments. People do tend to be greedy.

But the bottom line is, we have the checks and balances in place to ensure when a vaccine becomes available, it is safe and effective.

We must be wary of giving in to unfounded fear.

Black Press Media

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