If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: life just can’t get back to normal until a vaccine is ready for stopping COVID-19. Owing to fear, aggressively cultivated panic, and blind trust in what we are disingenuously told is “science,” this view has taken on such momentum that challenging it seems unthinkable – possibly even a punishable offense.
On the one hand, we hear that American ingenuity and freedoms (which of course should be appreciated) have already enabled us to be on the verge of producing said vaccine in record time. On the other hand, several Catholic voices have focused on questions about a vaccine that, at some point in its development, might make use of cell lines derived from aborted fetuses.
That objection is important, as is our responsibility to be vigilant about demanding untainted alternatives (though such vaccines may, in certain circumstances, licitly be used since material cooperation is sufficiently remote). There’s a broader issue, however, that needs much more attention than it has received.
I am talking about the entire premise that a vaccine is necessary for people to resume their lives – which, from a public health standpoint, is absurd. There is even talk that it may become mandatory – that resuming basic activities such as work, school, travel, commerce, etc. will be contingent upon getting the vaccine. That would be an extreme, overtly totalitarian maneuver, not a sincere, well-grounded public-health measure.
A couple of pertinent considerations should be sufficient to raise serious questions about the vaccine-as-the-only-solution mentality we find ourselves immersed in today.
The overall survival rate for those exposed to the coronavirus is likely somewhere north of 99.6 percent. COVID-19 mortality has largely run its course in a great many places (as viruses tend to do). And no vaccine has ever been successfully developed for any virus in the corona family.
Should this lead us to conclude that normalcy should not return “until we have a vaccine that we’ve gotten out to basically the entire world,” as Bill Gates insists ?
I support the proper medical use of vaccines, of course. Who doesn’t? But Gates’ statement is ludicrous on its face – and unavoidably prompts the question of what could motivate it? His misanthropic population control mania is no secret; nor is the suspicion that he is keen on using vaccines – among other technologies – to reach that end.
His wife, Melinda Gates (nominally a Catholic), has taken to the pages of Foreign Affairs  to fret about the impact COVID-19 will have on contraceptive supply chains. This while, the masses have been enduring crippling, surreal lockdowns, and massive unemployment, which make dark suspicions about not-so-hidden agendas hard to dismiss.
The actual number of people who have died as a result of COVID-19 has been difficult to ascertain, in part because the authorities and a compliant media have deliberately conflated possible COVID-19 cases with deaths resulting from underlying conditions. After months of incessantly dire media accounts, the CDC just reported  that actually only 6 percent of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 – less than 10,000 people  – did not coincide with underlying, lethal conditions.
Close to half of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in nursing homes – an indictment of authorities that carelessly exposed this vulnerable group to known carriers. How safe and effective will The Coming Vaccine be for the elderly, compromised population that COVID-19 mainly kills? And for the masses under a full-court press to submit to the shot?
It may actually trigger a harmful response, if not immediately (as adverse events from ongoing trials attest) then subsequently, upon eventual exposure to the pathogen.
That manufacturers aren’t held legally liable for whatever happens under these “emergency” circumstances does not inspire confidence. And efforts to study how best to coax people into getting vaccinated – Yale is testing which kind of sales pitch  (e.g., guilt and other forms of emotional manipulation) would be most persuasive – doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.
Injecting healthy people with a vaccine that is not needed and may cause some harm is not part of the traditional ethical playbook. And it is, purely and simply, untrue to think it is an urgent necessity upon which everything else must revolve. It’s the demand for “safety” run amok.
Oh, and did I mention that The Coming Vaccine will probably employ genetic engineering techniques for the first time ever? The mRNA methodology used by at least one leading vaccine candidate has never been previously tested, much less clinically proven . Crossing that bridge could have profound ripple effects we have scarcely even considered – and surely seems to contradict the supposed “safety first” ethos that has otherwise dominated COVID-19 decision-making.
Insisting upon this approach is all the more maddening when safe and effective treatments – which also happen to be very inexpensive – have emerged, only to be maligned and withheld from those who could stand to benefit. Hydroxychloroquine (particularly as an early outpatient treatment in combination with zinc and/or antibiotics) has been more than adequately demonstrated to be quite useful in real-time, actual practice (by comparing the results of countries that used it – and when they did – versus those that didn’t). But this is somehow resoundingly unwelcome news.
Forbidding its use makes no sense, especially since all the drastic impositions foisted upon the public were supposedly about “saving lives.”
We’ve been told repeatedly that “we’re all in this together,” so we have a hard time seeing that both individual well-being and the common good have been in the crosshairs for months, with no end in sight. We suppose a vaccine really is the ticket out of this manufactured mess.
We haven’t asked the obvious cui bono question (who benefits from these unprecedented, unreasonable, inhumane restrictions?), which has a fairly obvious answer: those with certain financial, political, and ideological agendas.
We’ve been manipulated, conditioned – and pitifully compliant. And that, not the lack of a vaccine, is the urgent problem.
*Image: The Triumph of Death  by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562-63 [Museo del Prado, Madrid]