I’m not sure if it’s true but it has always made me chuckle.
They should have emphasized that they are making sure everybody can get it and that it is the norm to get it, like with a measles vaccination. I also think there should be a "yes I am vaccinated" campaign, and they should give away a certain amount of doses in a lottery. The vaccination is not something to fear, but to be excited about. I think the current strategy is a psychological fail.
Not sure why you got down-voted. Yes, the government PR somehow completely failed on the vaccination part. But then, this is really in line with most of it's actions over the last 12 months. Seeing how the current "lockdown" turns out, it's a miracle we got it right in March 2020.
For me, what I find even worse than the vaccination PR disaster is the seemingly total lack of efficiency on the public health front. Reports from the field still are delayed 3-4 days. That's stuff that could have been fixed with appropriate software within a couple of months. Also there still seems to be no concerted effort to collect a statistically sound random sample to learn about the real infection rates.
The only ways hospitals don't get overrun with COVID patients are lockdown measures or the vaccine. We only have so much capacity to treat COVID cases and every preventable COVID case takes away capacity from treating a less preventable illness.
> is everyone on HN of the opinion that the vaccines are perfectly safe when in fact
Yeah, we all get to hear that same immensely ignorant line from every antivaxxer ever but I have yet to hear about that vaccine that has killed (or greatly accelerated the death) of 2.5 million people in 1 year. The internet isn't perfectly safe either, someone could be infecting your computer with malware and lead to unimaginable damage to your life and livelihood as we speak but you still connected every moment of the day.
Since when has suggesting caution implied being an "anti-vaxxer"? These are the kind of labels being bandied about that makes people wary of the whole affair.
As for hospitals being overrun, it is mostly down bad environments in old peoples homes and the hospitals themselves. The homes and the government had about a year to reorganize practices in homes and hospitals to reduce the rate of infection and nothing was done about this.
Vaccines are not a substitute for healthy living environments.
The simple truth is the next time a new virus emerges it will be back to the same lockdown because vaccines where used as a substitute for hygienic behaviour. It is the same mindset that results in farm animals being raised in crowded environments in the belief that antibiotics can be used to treat them, and the same mindset is being applied to human beings.
I called your rhetoric as being the exact same thing antivaxxers also constantly peddle in support of a case they simply cannot make with any real evidence. The "irrational fear" argument. "I have nothing to show it's bad but it could be so that makes it bad".
> Vaccines are not a substitute for healthy living environments.
A non-sequitur, and they're also not intended to be. Healthy living environments are not a substitute for vaccines. Medicine is not a substitute for prevention yet you still go to doctors and take drugs. You don't take a vaccine because it now allows you to live in a garbage dump sucking on a doorknob a COVID patent just sneezed on. You take the vaccine because there is no perfectly healthy living environment, as over a hundred million confirmed COVID infections stand to attest, and the vaccine will help you stay healthy enough. This means you either don't develop the illness at all, or you do but it's a very light form that doesn't need to take away precious hospital resources, or at the very least you don't die from it.
> the next time a new virus emerges
So you are avoiding a solid measure now because it's not guaranteed to work perfectly forever and ever. Coincidentally this is another pillar of the antivaxxer rhetoric. Does the seat belt not save lives because if you're hit by a train you die anyway?
You had several attempts to make an argument and you just jumped from fallacy to fallacy trying to distract from the fact that your rhetoric crumbles just by looking at it the wrong way. Based on your comments you're clearly not qualified to debate this topic. It's your choice whether you get the vaccine or not. But whether it's good for the population is certainly not up for debate, it's already proven and has been for generations.
The vaccines are the only way we’ll be able to sustainably relax the restrictions we’ve faced for the past year.
There is no such thing as perfectly safe, but faced with SARS-CoV-2 or a vaccine, I’ll take the vaccine every time. It’s not even a close contest; it’s like comparing the risks of BASE jumping to walking down the stairs.
This only vindicates my point. The vaccine is being promoted as a means for ending the lockdowns.
People are being morally and socially pressured into taking it in the hope that the lockdowns will be lifted.
All of life the is the management of risk; the plan is to take the abnormally high risks of the virus and turn them into the very low risks from the vaccines. No regulatory body would ever approve SARS-CoV-2 for human use in this context, because of its appalling side effects and high risk of mortality.
Nobody in the west is being forced to take a vaccine, it must be a personal choice. It cannot be a free choice though, because people are mortal and they live in a society that has been transformed by a pandemic. The choice people make has consequences, and it’s right that we discuss them.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is not just some random act being promoted by people who are keen on needles. It’s literally plans A, B, and C for returning civic life to something resembling normality in a short period of time.
Or this post on what happened in Sweden (answer: normal levels of death, COVID not visible when correcting for the impact of 2019):
Ending lockdowns requires people understand the true severity of the situation, which is not "no severity" but is also not anywhere near the severity that was predicted. Vaccines won't help: coronaviruses have historically not been solvable with vaccines because they mutate too fast. The constant dramas over whether they work against new variants is indicative of what might be the equilibrium state of the vaccine strategy.
The straightforward observation that lockdowns have been constantly moving goalposts and economic shutdowns are now being used to get people to take vaccines is also strongly worthy of discussion. The original justifications were poor (given many decisions prior to 2020 that lockdowns should never be used), but at least understandable. Now? Not so much.
There was no genuine question, it was begging the answer and leading to a conclusion.
The actual genuine idea OP presented and the one you really vouched form but are trying to put this under a veil of legitimacy is that:
> there is no real justification for the vaccine
A statement that was not only never proven correct but it was actively disproved repeatedly. Is it just me or does this idea still float around only because it's powered by an endless stream of people who are either ignorant, uneducated, or have a hidden interest? Let me know how beguine you feel this question is.
And I'll put an actual genuine question that I hope you'll "vouch" for. What were the odds you'd stumble today across a post that barely made it to the front page yesterday as a blip with barely 40 upvotes and it on #502 as we speak, comment repeatedly as direct or indirect replies in support of user vfclists's comments, and all my replies get downvoted including the one I posted just now, day later? An unlikely set of circumstances for a "legitimate" interest.
Whether a vaccine is "justified" or not is a complex risk/benefit analysis and not a binary decision that everyone can arrive at automatically. There's an entire field of health economics devoted to asking and answering questions like that.
The post should not be flagged and dead (AGAIN), because it is polite, raising obvious questions, and its only "crime" is to question current popular takes on vaccines, which is not a sufficient reason to try and hide posts from everyone. That's the opposite of intellectual curiousity.
I think EU is in for a rude awakening about the extent of Russian hybrid warfare in these countries and whole Balkans.
"Between Sept 7 and Nov 24, 2020, 21 977 adults were randomly assigned to the vaccine group (n=16 501) or the placebo group (n=5476)."
Aside from this the politicians really bungled the marketing. First it was claimed it doesn't work in the elderly (which wasn't true, just illiteracy), then they said the younger people will only get this vaccine, not the other ones. It's bound to make people suspicious.
Maybe they should learn from Frederick the Great of Prussia: "Trying a less direct approach to encourage his subjects to begin planting potatoes, Frederick used a bit of reverse psychology: he planted a royal field of potato plants and stationed a heavy guard to protect this field from thieves. Nearby peasants naturally assumed that anything worth guarding was worth stealing, and so snuck into the field and snatched the plants for their home gardens. Of course, this was entirely in line with Frederick's wishes." 
Quick search yields
> “Between 10% and 15% of those vaccinated may have side-effects from this vaccination, but it is only a feverish state, fevers, nausea and within 12 hours it goes away.”
It's in German, the doctor still recommends getting vaccinated.
They seem to be mostly effective, albeit still giving less of an immune response than would be possible.
Also Curevac is working together with GSK on a multi mutant mRNA vaccine. Since the mRNA approach seems to be flexible it's reasonable to assume this will allow quick adaptations like this.
Yes, because the public conversation about vaccine effectiveness is very simplistic. The first-approved vaccine, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, was developed in Germany and the development subsidized with >$400mio German government money. Its success got a heap of media attention, owing also to easy access to the BioNTech founders and their human interest potential (the company was founded by Turkish immigrants, Germany's largest ethnic minority).
"95% effective" is the gold standard everyone knows now, and accepting anything less, to people, feels like they will miss out on their only chance to get "the good one". They want to feel safe, not 70% safe. The latter sounds like Russian Roulette - 30% chance to get sick just the same anyway?
The reality of course is different - it's not a binary will get sick/won't get sick, but also a "how sick". My own understanding of the medicine is also limited (I would love if this prompts an insightful comment explaining efficacy!), but AIUI almost anyone would be far safer wrt/ getting seriously sick on AZ than remaining unvaccinated.
- Even less efficiency with mutant viruses that of course will spread as widely as the first one did, it's just a matter of time.
- Reportedly more frequent side effects.
This is all of course tentative and based on the latest media reports, the public opinion might change in the future as there is more data - but that's what we've got now. Also the German government reserves Pfizer to the most vulnerable groups which creates an impression that AZ vaccine is somewhat flawed in comparison to Pfizer.
In addition the pro-EU/German press have been telling people for years that the UK will wither outside the EU and even that there would be medicine shortages in the UK. Now immediately after leaving, the UK is drastically ahead in its vaccination programme. Some European politicians reacted to the UK buying up the supplies in advance by spuriously claiming that the vaccine doesn't work. As a consequence there's now quite some shock in German society about this state of affairs.
One important thing, though, is that the amount of information in a comment makes a huge difference. Information (that is, new information that people haven't already heard many times) acts as flame retardant. If the GP comment had contained that, I wouldn't have posted a moderation reply.
By contrast, when a comment brings up an inflammatory topic in a one-liner sort of way, it leaves a lot more scope for people to project their own interpretation onto the comment, and what drives such projections are often their own strong feelings about the divisive topic. You can see this in the flamewar direction the thread took here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26229255.
The main thing to consider in terms of comment quality is the expected value of its future subthread. Having more information in the root comment increases this. Low-information comments about inflammatory topics have low expected value. https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...
I don't think that plays much if any role in German public perception. There is no negative association with the British there.
I don't know how well you can actually compare these 2 numbers and if those are even the most important numbers, but that's part of the problem: Most people only look at these numbers and that's why they would prefer the Moderna vaccine.
Given the option, sure. But, that option doesn't exist today due to limited availability of all vaccines.
The option is really 70% (AZ) vs 0% (nothing) vs ??? (unknown chance of mRNA jab in the near future). Any rational person would prefer 70% today.
And that's completely ignoring the severity. As far as I've been able to tell, all the current vaccines provide near 100% protection from severe cases of COVID.
HN is meant to be a space for discussion but with no disrespect this is the most infuriating statement I read all day. First off you are basing yourself on bad info 
Even still if your fears were true, any rationale person under 85 years old would still take a 70% protection now (which by the way is untrue)  that you can distribute over a large section of the population over a >90% protection for a vaccine that we might be able to role in large quantities by summer time. Even if a vaccine gave you a 60% protection as long as you can massively vaccinate fast it would be extremely effective.
Everybody is massively overlooking the logistics of the -60 Celsius freezing and the short hours of vaccine viability after thawing the pfizer vaccine from deep freeze.
Your scenario is not a valid discussion point in the real world.
The most important aspect is to get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible with anything safe that can protect us at a rate higher than our own immune system. For anyone not immunosuppresed, decelerating community spread is far more important than whatever individual benefit you are atributing to the efficacy statistics.
I didn't mention any other factors one would weigh in such a decision, but a rational person would indeed take those into account, as you mention.
But outside of those factors, and any others you could think up, it would be irrational not to prefer the more effective product.
Most people (like me) are not going to get any vaccine for months, and have not had any vaccine for a year since the start of the pandemic. We've been taking precautions, as have other people, such as wearing masks and social distancing. But as the vaccines roll out and become widespread and time passes, those measures will fall away or be reduced and mostly you'll be left with the vaccine for protection.
Given that it's not hard to argue for preferring the mRNA shots.
The problem is that a major newspaper misunderstood the efficacy statistics, and now you've got many, many people who believe AZ has barely an effect.
Obviously this is a hugely popular opinion with the "Querdenker" who are a loose mishmash of covid deniers and "I want my kid to go to school, let those old people die".
Edited to add: in circumstances such as these, journalists have a solemn duty to get the story right. They need to be educated in science and proficient in science communication. A retraction later is not good enough; silently updating your story without retraction is tantamount to corporate manslaughter in my opinion. As we know from battling online disinformation, people will still be quoting from the original baseless story decades from now.
Get it right or GTFO.
Moderna made sure that enough old people were included in their trials, even if they lost some time with it.
Pfitzer/BioNTech proved itself by vaccinating old people in Israel, so they clearly have enough data.
Preprint data on hospital admissions seems pretty encouraging for AZD-1222: https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n523
I'll look at the details, as I have to advise my parents about which vaccine to accept, which is a very difficult decision for me.
Right now they don't trust the Chinese/Russian vaccines, only vaccines approved by the EU, and I also prefer them to wait a few more months in their apartments.
The problem is that once they accept a vaccine, they can't get another type, as only one type of vaccine is allowed per person because of the current vaccine shortage in the world.
There is no reason that response to a vaccine would fall off a cliff above a certain numerical age – the human body just doesn’t work like that. Yes, as people get older their immune responses to vaccines may weaken – but this will be unpredictable in a large group, and likely dependent on far more factors than just chronological age.
If by chance the study hadn’t recruited anybody who was 51 years old, would you have felt uncomfortable extrapolating responses from 50 and 52-year-olds?
I bought them big screen TV, new furniture and elliptic machine so they can spend their time in the apartment while still working out.
The study that all these "simplified" horror-stories in the press are based upon is not giving the full picture.
- The timing cannot show how good the effects possibly are (we know that vector-vaccines take longer to create a sufficient protection)
- The sample is tiny
- It only talks about mild and semi-severe cases. Nothing in the study about severe cases (there were none in both groups)
AstraZeneca has a huge PR-Problem. Since they were running this in cooperation with research (Oxford), a lot of smaller results were published early, which was taken up by the press out-of-context, simplified further and further when going down the ladder to the boulevard-press.
Further, Germany had at least one politician state ridiculous numbers (8% efficacy above age 65 or 75) since he misunderstood something (only 8% of the participants were in this group) and simply had no idea what he was talking about.
And now it is too late, you can't kill these false-hoods once they circle.
Actually AstraZeneca has some nice properties the mRNA vaccines have not, e.g. etter T-Cell response.
I am surprised the Germans are so much influenced by the misinformation campaign from the European commission.
It was highly reckless given the sensitivity of NI politics.
I have no ill will towards the EU, but they messed up badly with that one.
You obviously don't have much experience of NI politics.
There are plenty who are just waiting for the opportunity to make it a big deal of it. In fact, this is exactly happening at the moment, with a very hard Unionist party (TUV) making significant gains at the expense of moderates, using it as collateral.
It is why the Irish PM was one of the first to contact von der Leyen about it. No British involvement there. The Irish know all too well what happens when you kick the wasps' nest.
Sure they did, they publicly try to shame them on not delivering on their contract. Turns out the commission has a hard time negotiotating and understanding contracts.
> The "closing" of the Irish border is a result of Brexit, you know the thing UK voters voted on.
The EU tried to close the border to Northern-Ireland to try and prevent allegedly export of vaccines.
Almost everybody agreed it was an irresponsible act, cleary lacking any diplomatical tact and sense of history. At least that was turned around quickly.
All in all quite a shameful episode. At least we can vote for the parliament.
What is your point?
I have a suspicion they are trying to make the vaccine desirable by making it faux scarce - Tom Hanks get it, crooked CEO gets it, but you little people don’t get it yet. I’m not falling for it.