Vaccines: the case against Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a coronavirus vaccine at the Sheba Medical Center, the country's largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on December 19, 2020. - Netanyahu, 71, and Israel's health minister were injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine live on TV at Sheba Medical Center. Each recipient must receive a booster shot in three weeks for optimal protection from the novel coronavirus. (Photo by AMIR COHEN / POOL / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a coronavirus vaccine at the Sheba Medical Center, the country's largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on December 19, 2020. - Netanyahu, 71, and Israel's health minister were injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine live on TV at Sheba Medical Center. Each recipient must receive a booster shot in three weeks for optimal protection from the novel coronavirus. (Photo by AMIR COHEN / POOL / AFP)

In a leaked video, Bibi claimed that he will win the upcoming elections because of his execution of a swift vaccine rollout. 

Israel is doing far better than any other country in vaccinating its citizens, but it’s questionable whether that’s a good thing or not. 

Yes, vaccines are wonderful medical technologies and it’s nothing short of miraculous how quickly this vaccine was developed and tested. But we don’t have enough data and our sensemaking around the vaccine was too compromised.

Do I think we shouldn’t be vaccinating? Hell no! I think we need to vaccinate as many people as possible before this thing mutates any further and becomes more dangerous. (We know that new, more contagious strains are already in Israel. Not to mention, these strains appear to be infecting children more easily, though that remains to be seen.) But if we had handled the spread of this virus properly to begin with (or since the first lockdown ended), we would have the luxury of waiting to see more data come out about the vaccine before mass-inoculating 60+% of our population.

There are countries around the world that are waiting until at least late February before they roll out the vaccines. These countries (Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and more) are in positions where they can wait and see what adverse effects these vaccines may cause. 

And you know who they’re watching? Israel! 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a coronavirus vaccine at the Sheba Medical Center, the country’s largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on December 19, 2020. – Netanyahu, 71, and Israel’s health minister were injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine live on TV at Sheba Medical Center. Each recipient must receive a booster shot in three weeks for optimal protection from the novel coronavirus. (Photo by AMIR COHEN / POOL / AFP)

I hope to God that the vaccines are as safe as they’re telling us and that these countries are persuaded to quickly follow Israel’s lead. But there may be a situation in which 10% of people under 40 who get vaccinated soon develop an autoimmune condition. It could be that the deaths that happened hours after getting vaccinated are not due to chance. (There’s no evidence that either of these hypothetical scenarios are true, so I wouldn’t actually worry.) We could start seeing some adverse effects tomorrow or three years down the line. 

Now to be fair, mRNA vaccines are not expected to cause long-term effects. And even if they did, the countries that have adopted a wait-and-see approach aren’t planning on waiting years before rolling out the vaccines. 

Nonetheless, we need to realize that the fact that the vaccines are being rolled out at the pace that they are here is due to a massive failure of the government to protect its citizens. 

Yes, thank God, if all goes according to plan, life in Israel will be going back to normal in the next few months. However, the most recent government led by Bibi has put its citizens at an unquantifiable risk with this virus and with these vaccines. 

I’m just glad we have excellent socialized healthcare in this country because the government should be required to pay for any economic costs we incur because of this virus or from the vaccines.

About the Author
Nina is an epidemiology student and researcher. She writes about scientific heterodoxy. Her superpower is curiosity. Be sure to read her book, Triumph by Trepanation, available on Amazon and Book Depository.
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