Dr Ben Janaway: ‘They were polite, passionate and discursive. But they were trapped by fake information, and information they were not equipped to understand.’
Dr Ben Janaway @drjanaway had a thread on Twitter, Sept. 28, 2021, which I found of interest.
The thread reads:
Just spoke at length to people protesting #covid19 vaccine in teenagers. They held placards quoting MHRA death figures and asking why the media was complicit. Here is a little more on what came up.
First, they did not know that most reporting systems such as VAERs are not analysed. They did not understand the need for covariate analysis and what the data actually means.
Secondly, they claimed that no doctor had said that myocarditis from the vaccine is less risky than from covid. Many did not know how covid kills people, or once again about how the data could be skewed. Their research appeared very one sided.
They argued that “gillick competency” was being used to “force” children to take the vaccine. They did not know what it was, why it exists and how it is assessed. When I explained it, they moved on quickly.
When I asked them if the risk of dying from the vaccine outweighs that of covid, the answers ranged from “yes” to “i dont know.” None had read comparative data. Most quoted anecdote from “friends.”
When I explained this, they began to talk about Andrew Wakefield, Michael Yeadon etc. When explaining the reasons the data made this mute, they began to talk about coincidences and doctors being paid.
When I explained that doctors did not get paid extra for vaccines, they seemed genuinely shocked, but receptive. When I asked why they thought doctors would go along with vaccines that they believe are so dangerous, they had no answer except more conspiracy
One fellow even began saying that covid was a shield to kill the elderly, to shut down work. I asked why any government would do this, and why doctors would go along with it, and was met with “we are just going in circles.”
I explained the covid data.
I explained how variants worked.
I explained how the vaccines worked.
In explained how covariate analysis worked.
I spent a long time answering every question until they were satisfied.
I even posed the questions back to them with the new information. They could not counter it, but they would not be convinced. Everytime it came down to the same “too much coincidence.”
These were good people. People who had done the research. They were polite, passionate and discursive. But they were trapped by fake information, and information they were not equipped to understand.
They needed to be shown all of the information, and to have had it explained. They needed to have felt heard. Some were very well informed, but mistaken in their inference, others were genuinely one step away from suggesting Lizard people.
But all of them cared about people. All felt they were doing the right thing. And i agree with them on one point, the government needed to do more to educate, support and explain. They needed to be consistent. And they needed to be honest.
In the end we all want the same thing. I am glad I talked to these people. They are like me. They want to do the best. The only difference is they have been misled, lied too and exploited by hacks.
Please do not harass them. Please do not blame them. My education is a privilege they have not been afforded. They do not lack intelligence, they lack being taught how to make sense of very complicated things, most of it hidden. What can we do, listen and talk.
The real problem here is feeling powerless, ignored and oppressed. This is how charlatans exploit people. This is how fascism begins. This is how people forget that their fellow humans are equal. We must help people understand.