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Linus Torvalds on mRNA Vaccines (kernel.org)
753 points by blacktulip 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 605 comments





This is good.

Now states are combating such hesitancy by drawing lottery for vaccinated folks.

Like, having this magic, absolutely mind boggling potion that prevents serious illness and death *isn't* already the lottery win of our lifetime??

People in India and elsewhere are dying because of lack of vaccines and here we have educated, first world countries struggle to get their citizens vaccinated.

Unfortunately shaming such people will only push them further into antivax territory.


>Unfortunately shaming such people will only push them further into antivax territory.

Funny that you say that, I had the same thought when buying groceries last week. The cashier started telling me she'll never get it because it's being mandated to cull us and there's some secret database of deaths yada yada yada. Mind you I didn't ask. I felt sorry for her, even worried. She's a kind enough middle aged lady, she's been at the same grocery store for years. Somehow she's convinced that she's privy to some super secret knowledge only to be disclosed to a chosen few. It's like a nigerian email scam or Q thing.

I was a little worried because she could've gotten herself fired for talking like that to the wrong person who would get mad and tell the manager. I just smiled, nodded, spoke in a low tone and said "I used to think so too but THEY want us to think that way because it weakens America if people here keep getting covid while they're over it and starting to beat us economically. Our vaccine works the best so they're spreading propaganda to scare us from getting it" I have no idea if it helped but she at least seemed intrigued that I didn't roll my eyes or scold her.

People who get suckered into this stuff are in some imaginary role-play where they're the hero of the story, this article explains it. https://medium.com/curiouserinstitute/a-game-designers-analy...


Brilliant trolling sir.

I hope it works. I've done some similar on reddit comments. It's hard not to want to hit them over the head though...


> Like, having this magic, absolutely mind boggling potion that prevents serious illness and death isn't already the lottery win of our lifetime

A lot of it boils down to people not trusting what they're seeing. Frankly, governments have done the world a disservice by speaking before they really had all the information at the start of the pandemic. In Canada at least an insane amount of what was said turned out to be completely false, or worse harmfully false (ie: no masks, isn't airborne, ect). As a result, lots of people see what looks like the "story changing", and distrust anything coming out of their government, and experts, at this point. I think if we approach the problem with that in mind we might win more people over than telling them "listen to experts", since for the past year and a half experts have been wrong almost as often as they have been right.


> [...] lots of people see what looks like the "story changing", and distrust anything coming out of their government, [...].

Changing and updating our beliefs as evidence comes in is a fundamental ability that underlies numerous activities from scientific research to debugging software to driving on a congested road network. Why is it a problem for public health officials to update and change policy as we learn more about the virus?

Would it really be preferable if policy remained frozen to whatever people thought best on day one?


The problem is that the a large chunk of the population aren't scientist so they don't understand the principles of the scientific method. And they aren't software developers, they don't have the mindset for it. And have you seen the way many people drive? There is a reason why the term "defensive driving" was coined.

I think a good understanding of the scientific method, skepticism and fact checking should be taught in school as early as possible.

The only thing students get is material presented as the truth that they have to faithfully accept. They are almost never taught how to deal with unreliable material. It made sense in the pre-internet age where finding information was the hard part, but now, it is the opposite: too much information. So we should focus more on how to filter it.

We had a "general knowledge" class in college and it was an important part of it. We had to make essays and presentations about random subjects and we were judged by our ability to synthesize and verify information. Copy-pasting was actually encouraged, and long as it was from a good source and presented in a way that isn't misleading.

The unfortunate thing is that we should have done exercises like that in primary school and not wait until college.


> I think a good understanding of the scientific method, skepticism and fact checking should be taught in school as early as possible.

It is taught in schools, and taught young. The people who understand the scientific method have been doing it every year since the sixth grade. They did science fair projects, etc.

I just looked up modern educational standards, and kids are taught in grade six the scientific method and how to execute experiments using it.

The problem is, lots of people suck at school. They didn't care about it and their parents didn't care about it, so they didn't retain anything. There are an awful lot of adults in society that couldn't pass a fifth grade math test.


Yeah it was taught very strangely IMO in my schools. There was always such a goofy focus on the dumbest science fair projects that were probably just as likely to reach a completely wrong conclusion instead of relating the process to the real world and how we as a society continue to learn how the world works in any scenarios newer than Redi’s meat / maggots experiment from 1668!

You don't need to be a scientist to acknowledge that knowledge evolves.

You don't even need to follow a 'scientific method' for that.

The ability to embrace uncertainty is hard to learn, but one that we all should strive for. One that should be praised and lauded.

A politician, leader or CEO making a bad decision on a wrong premis, and publicly acknowledges the mistake (and learns from it), is now often end-of-career. This is toxic. Because such mistakes are a fact of life and the best teacher.


100% agree.

I think the inability to accept uncertainty in the world is, unfortunately, a big reason conspiracies thrive.

Too frightening to grok that a random virus can emerge and maybe kill us all or at least turn society upside down? There’s a conspiracy that makes it an easy “good guys vs. bad guys” story for you.


I know scientists and software developpers that believe all kind of weird stories (I even knew one that believed in perpetual motion).

> Why is it a problem for public health officials to update and change policy as we learn more about the virus?

Because when it comes to persuading hundreds of millions of people, it is often better to be certain than to be right or to flip-flop. That's a fact of leadership, regardless of whether you or I as scientists like it.

Also, they didn't just revise their statements with new information, they actively lied (the no masks thing) in a paternalistic way to deceive people into thinking they didn't need masks (so the masks would stay available for front-line medical staff).

That plan obviously backfired terribly.


Public health officials knew perfectly that masks give some protection against viruses in general, it was already known 100 years ago. They lied so that the masks don't get bought up instead of just coordinating the distributions using govenmental channels.

No they were wrong about the virus’ ability to stay airborne.

They didn’t lie, they made a mistake. And when it became apparent they changed the advice.

https://www.wired.com/story/the-teeny-tiny-scientific-screwu...


Changing your beliefs on the words of your "betters", under pressure, umpteen times is not conducive to trust.

Perhaps if our masters in government had heeded the story of "the boy who cried wolf", then things might have been different.


> Why is it a problem for public health officials to update and change policy as we learn more about the virus?

That's not the problem. Arrogance is the problem. We were led to believe that X was established scientific consensus one week and ¬X the next. Real science has error bars and confidence intervals. If you're projecting from a small amount of data, the responsible thing to do is to disclose how uncertain your conclusions are.

(Edit: maybe the real science did have confidence intervals; the public communication certainly didn't though.)

Secondly, we had many clear contradictions over the past year. How can it be dangerous to attend an outdoor soccer game but safe to attend a BLM protest? How can it be shamefully unsafe to walk past someone in a corridor without masks and 6ft of social distancing but totally fine to sit and eat in a restaurant for an unbounded amount of time?

Also it really doesn't help public trust when for example Fauci openly admits that he lied to the public about mask efficacy to preserve supplies for hospitals, but of course now you can trust him to be telling the truth on this other thing here.


By that logic, who’s to say “things won’t change” again, such that they find there is cause for concern after all?

I’m not saying that’s what I believe, but if you’re admitting that we’re “changing and updating our beliefs as evidence comes in”, that also implies that we didn’t — and may still not — have all the data in front of us to make decisions.


Indeed but what should we do? Nothing???

We have to make the best decision for ourselves and the society around us based on the best knowledge we have. Yes science always allows for things to be disproven, but if we follow your logic we’d not use any medicines or treatments. Come on.


Certainly not.

Just saying that we can’t be too hard on the folks that are a little hesitant with the vaccine as things evolve. Simply have a bit of empathy, at least for folks that are simply uncertain about how to handle things for themselves and their family (vs. those trying to stop the world from getting vaccinated).

I’m fully vaccinated, but I know some that I wouldn’t consider “antivaxx” but are just not sure about this one for them/their families, and I’m trying not to be judgmental of them.


Yes, nothing. Especially when you see the mortality rate is as low as it has turned out to be; there is very little reason for even 50% of the world to be vaccinated. Why would states be holding lotteries for only the vaccinated? Bizarre incentives if you ask me; dubious and unethical as well, since this is effectively a massive human trial. Most of the people I know that won't be getting a vaccine, feel the risk of serious complications from Covid19 are low for them and their families. Many of them have already had it and found it to have the same effects as all of the previous corona-viruses we've experienced. We have immune systems for a reason (as poor as they've grown in the Western world over the last 80 years or so), and believing that vaccinating against every bug that comes along, seems to be aligned with negative natural selection, which effectively sets us all up for a super bug extinction level event. At the least 50% of the world should stay clear of all vaccines if we want to survive long-term as a species.

I would also like you to consider, that many of the anti-vaxx community, as virologists by profession. Many find the risks associated with vaccines (not just Covid19 but all), as often outweighing the benefits they purport to provide.

My family and I won't be getting the vaccine for many reasons (we have several professional medical practitioners in the family by the way). One being, we know someone directly involved in creating a mRNA-based vaccine at a large gov-funded biotech co.: their job on the project was based on proving that their employer did undertake the burden of attempting to get the compound that surrounds the mRNA bits and keeps them stable inside the solution, to pass through the human or other mammalian system. Here's the kicker, they can't, and everybody in the business knows they can't (at least not yet), as they've been unable to get this compound out of the blood and organs once introduced. It is synthesized largely from plants, so they consider it "natural". :-D But the truth is, we don't have any data on long term exposure and retention of this compound inside of our blood stream, organs, and other tissues. The mRNA-based vaccines would not have passed scrutiny had they not been granted emergency approval, and yes they've been working on them for a decade+.


> that also implies that we didn’t — and may still not — have all the data in front of us to make decisions.

We surely don’t - but we have more data than a year ago. And a year from now we’ll have even more


The problem isn't that our authorities are changing their beliefs based on new evidence coming in. The problem is that our authorities are changing beliefs based on the current political situation, pretending that that reflects shifting evidence and, worst of all, not admitting that they've changed their views.

Let's take the current debate over the "lab leak" hypothesis as an example. A large amount of the evidence, both for and against the lab leak hypothesis dates back to March/April/May of 2020. Yet, when the lab leak hypothesis was raised around that time period, it was immediately and vociferously dismissed by the media as a racist ploy to distract from the government's shambolic handling of the pandemic. When the hypothesis was raised again, this year, it was treated as a serious possibility that deserved a full and thorough investigation.

What changed? It wasn't the evidence -- the evidence has been present all along. What changed was the political environment that suddenly made it possible to speak of a lab leak without sounding like tinfoil-hatted crackpot. As a result, now this previously unmentionable hypothesis is now getting its due consideration by the media.

However, the media isn't admitting that a change occurred. Instead, what the average person is seeing is mainstream media outlets shifting seamlessly from, "The lab leak hypothesis is a racist lie," to "The lab leak hypothesis is a serious allegation that deserves a thorough investigation." It's like the scene from 1984, where the Inner Party representative switches seamlessly mid-speech from discussing the ongoing war against Eurasia to the ongoing war against Eastasia.

We saw a similar phenomenon take place last year over masks. There were warnings about the virus being airborne as far back as January of 2021. As late as March, you had Time magazine saying that wearing a mask was "superstitious behavior" [1]. Over the next two to three weeks, the advice rapidly shifted, from "masks are a sign of unreasonable paranoia" to "masks are mandatory, and anyone not wearing them is putting everyone around them in danger". Was that due to a shift in the evidence? No. As noted above, there was ample warning that the virus was airbone, and many people were taking appropriate precautions even in the absence of official guidance. What shifted was the political environment.

Moreover, then, just as now, no media outlet ever admitted that it had given incorrect advice. There were individual journalists who (to their credit) admitted a certain level of responsibility, but, as far as I know, no major mainstream media outlet has come forward and said, "You know what? We screwed up, and we apologize." Instead , we see silent corrections that rewrite the past without admitting any kind of fault. Heck, just compare the headline on the Time article today [2] to the headline on the archived version. The headline was silently updated with a much more moderate point, and a caveat about changing CDC guidance was added. But there was no formal correction published anywhere that said, "You know that article we printed last week about masks being bogus? Yeah, that was wrong, and we're sorry."

Honestly, after seeing the performance of the media in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, I'm surprised that more people aren't as cynical about the "official story" as the cashier in the sibling thread.

[1]: https://web.archive.org/web/20200305052928/https://time.com/...

[2]: https://time.com/5794729/coronavirus-face-masks/


This is an excellent summary; thank you.

> ... no media outlet ever admitted that it had given incorrect advice... Instead, we see silent corrections that rewrite the past without admitting any kind of fault.

As I read this I was overcome with the realization that I have more discipline editing my 2-3 point HN comments--labeling new remarks, striking out original text instead of deleting it outright, and so on--than do professional journalists from the New York Times or Washington Post editing national news stories. Unbelievable... and unforgivable.


At the time, i was asking myself why the lab-leak was rejected. I mean, its obviously not human-made, but why couldn't it be a contagion inside the lab from an already made virus.

Now, maybe its reactance, but i believe the zoonose more likely.


Yes, for the record, I believed then (and still believe today) that the virus has zoonotic origins. The primary point of evidence that the lab-leak advocates point to, the fact that the animal reservoir hasn't yet been identified, isn't convincing to me. It took more than a decade to find the animal reservoir for SARS. We still don't know where the animal reservoir is for Ebola.

Similarly, the presence of the "furin cleavage site", which supposedly makes the virus ideal for spreading in humans is less significant than it appears. There are numerous other coronaviruses which have the same feature, and it's plausible that SARS-COV-2 picked up the feature via recombination somewhere on its way to becoming a virus that spread primarily among humans.

But all that is beside the point. The point is that many voices that took on the air of authority during the pandemic changed their view for no reason other than shifts in the broader political climate. It has made people suspicious and frustrated with the experts, which then leads them to embrace crackpot theories peddled by those who (correctly) point out that the authoritative sources in the media have been lying to them.

The solution, as I see it, isn't that the media should get its facts and story right the first time. That's impossible, especially in a fast-changing situation like the early stages of a global pandemic. What the media (and by "the media", I mean major newspapers like the New York Times, and major news outlets, like CNN) ought to be doing is stating clearly when one of their stories contradicts a story that they've published in the past, and stating clearly the reason for the contradiction. "We were wrong about masks, because we misinterpreted a directive to preserve masks for emergency workers as meaning that masks were ineffective," would have gone a long way towards helping convince mask skeptics about the need for masks when the media suddenly reversed its advice.


> But all that is beside the point. The point is that many voices that took on the air of authority during the pandemic changed their view for no reason other than shifts in the broader political climate.

Not only did they take an air of authority, they also actively censored contrary opinions. Twitter, facebook, youtube...


Because, if there was a non-human made virus being studied in a lab which was human-infectious...then that virus would already be out there in the wild unless you'd made a specific effort to eradicate it like we did with smallpox.

"Lab-leak" is non-sensical in all forms which don't begin with "lab evolved/bioengineered" and while not completely implausible, the methodology for selective rapid-evolution of a virus requires the exact same conditions as are trivially recreated in the population and human-animal contact regime of greater China.


> "Lab-leak" is non-sensical in all forms which don't begin with "lab evolved/bioengineered"...

That's exactly the allegation circa March 2020 though: scientists collect various bat-borne coronaviruses (e.g. RaTG13) in Yunnan province around 2013, evolve one of them at the Wuhan Institute of Virology though gain-of-function research, and then due to lax safety protocols end up accidentally leaking an evolved virus in late 2019. For example, see this podcast from a year ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5SRrsr-Iug


Unfortunately in some places they did it when they already knew it was untrue but continued anyway "to prevent panic and shortage of masks supply". Then they turned 180 and made masks obligatory, even outside at all times, which is another extreme.

Governments lied to people on health topics so many times already, so why should people trust them - from cigarettes, through lead gasoline, to saturated fats. We all get the theory of mRNA vaccines, but we tend to oversimplify the most complex system in the universe - the human body. There is evidence that these spike proteins don't just get presented on the surface of the cells but circulate in the bloodstream, cross the brain-blood barrier, and cause myocarditis. So, they are not exactly what we thought about them a year ago. Also, here on HN, several times was hypothesized that a retrovirus could indeed turn the RNA into DNA; although the chance is slim to none when you vaccinate billions, it will happen.

Note: I'm fully-vaccinated with Pfizer, but got severe palpitations for days after the first and second shots (which are symptoms of myocarditis), my wife had the same plus a pretty rapid heartbeat for 3 days, and I also got some never seen before skin issues (extreme dryness of certain areas of the skin.

Fully-vaccinated people still an spread the viruses, just not as well as unvaccinated, and people who went thru the course of the disease probably should not get vaccinated as they get a better protection (immune to more than the spike protein), and should spare the doses for the billions still unvaccinated. The drive to vaccinated people who had COVID-19 was an economical and political, not scientific. Removing the face mask mandate early is also non-scientific, but political and economical. So, why should we blindly trust authorities? The vaccine manufacturers have no liability, their practically have emergency use authorizations, not approvals either.

Using certified masks (like in some European countries), getting adequate Vitamin D3 (along with vitamin K), and zinc with zinc ionophores should have been #1 priority, but this basica and benign prophylaxis has been totally underplayed, which also contributes to the lack of trust in the government.


>Using certified masks (like in some European countries), getting adequate Vitamin D3 (along with vitamin K), and zinc with zinc ionophores should have been #1 priority, but this basica and benign prophylaxis has been totally underplayed, which also contributes to the lack of trust in the government.

I think you nailed it on the head there. Really the number one priority should be to stay the hell out of the medical system. Once you're in the medical system, you know you've fucked up (or just had an accident, whichever). My wife is a triage nurse now after 20 years bedside, and spends her days trying to talk people, who are calling their doctors to get a magic pill, into changing their lifestyles (diet largely) so that they don't require a pill. Most often, these people are not interested in a no-pill solution. They are happy to keep treating the problem, especially since most of them seem to be highly uninformed by the negative long-term health consequences of the meds they're taking. We have a close friend whose long-term doctor just prescribed her statins, for a flutter which was noted by her Apple Watch. She and her family, has no history of heart or other health issues. Actually, she's in her 60s and has never even had the flu or as much as a cold, until Cov19 got her in Feb. of 2020. They did not draw any blood work, but she had an echocardiagram which came back clean. When she asked the doctor why he would prescribe statins without doing any blood work, or having any other evidence, he said "this has become our standard procedure for anyone reporting a flutter or palpatation, plus those Apple Watches are very accurate!". I shit you not. This is the medical establishment we're all trying to stay healthy despite of.


Statins are overprescribed and cause mitochondrial damage, which then leads to a list of potential chronic diseases and bingo! - now you'll be on Rx till the rest of your life! I blame it on the doctors who just conveniently follow procedures knowing they do more damage than good,although most of them have no choice if they want to keep their job. Due to the complicated coding and billing system, a lot of them don't even have the financial freedom to treat you the way they believe is the best for you.

It turns out that not all things can be known and when giving advice, you go with the best known data...which at times can be wrong. This is literally how science works. We don't always have the liberty to wait for a near certain answer.

And the experts haven't been wrong for a year and a half, the experts were working with bad or incomplete data for a few months. Their advice for the past year, wear masks, socially distance, get the vaccine, has been correct.


Has their advice for the past year been correct?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27460858


If masks and social distancing didn't work, you need to have some idea of why the Flu had its mildest year ever. Also, countless people have demonstrated with pulseox meters that blood oxygen saturation is unaffected by mask wearing, so while those findings are interesting, you are far too quick to draw any type of conclusions that masks don't work and/or are harmful.

And people are far too quick to think that masks do work and/or are not harmful.

What happened to the Precautionary Principle?


Sorry, the entire medical field exists as a counterpoint to the idea that masks are harmful.

The medical field uses masks in the environment they were made for. And they are changed regularly. In the non-medical world, people don't do that.

If people used masks properly, I wouldn't have much of an argument, but they don't, so I do.


A mask isn’t going to hurt you if it doesn’t work. Honestly my 3 year old displays more logic in his thought than this. And before you say it no the virus won’t appear on the mask anymore more so than it would enter your mouth and lungs if the mask wasn’t on.

Does heightened levels of carbon dioxide hurt? Everything we know about heightened levels of carbon dioxide in buildings says, "Yes." Why would masks be any different?

It wrinkles my brain that someone would believe this. Surgeons wear masks for hours, sometimes dozens, while performing operations that require an insane level of concentration and dexterity. They are not harmed because of this.

You have just chosen to believe some idiotic conspiracy theory and are grasping at some vaguely plausible objection to continue holding that belief.


They do that in the environment that the masks are designed for.

So masks somehow magically concentrate CO2 more than any other gas only outside of operating theaters? Or is this selective gas concentration perfectly normal, and the magic is that it doesn't happen in operating theaters?

The "environment that the masks are designed for" is the same Euclidean 3D space containing the same air as all other environments.


How is this a conspiracy theory? Why jump to that conclusion about this person's perfectly reasonable statement and hypothesis?

Stories of children either passing out or dying because they were required to wear masks during track outdoors. Or hell, walking my normal pace (quite fast), I breathe pretty heavily and the amount of oxygen my body takes in with a mask is markedly reduced versus when I'm not wearing one. It is a stark difference, and one I hope I never have to experience again due to disproportionate government and private business mandates rooted in paranoia around the most absurdly low risk levels for the majority of age groups.


> Stories about children either passing out or dying because they were required to wear masks.

Do you have any citations for these events, because they seem to be absurd misinformation.

The country I'm in (Singapore) has legally required masks in public since last year (as have many other countries) so everyone is wearing masks, and so far, I have not heard of a single case of people suffering due to wearing masks.

In fact, I even wear my mask when I go running and I have never felt any significant issues with breathing, even after hours of vigorous exercise.

If masks could reliably cause breathing issues in any significant way, given the number of people in the world who are wearing masks every day, we should expect a statistically significant number of such cases, not just a few cherry-picked anecdotes.


(1) Two Chinese Boys Die Wearing Face Masks During Gym Class https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-two-c...

(2) After Multiple Deaths, Officials Call for No Masks in Gym Class https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1005609/after-multiple-deaths...

(3) Oregon high school junior breaks 800-meter school record and falls face-first at finish line as mask restricts breathing https://twitter.com/covid_clarity/status/1387212971399540737

(4) New Jersey driver crashes car after passing out from wearing N95 mask https://nypost.com/2020/04/24/driver-crashes-car-after-passi...

(5) Medical Doctor Warns that “Bacterial Pneumonias Are on the Rise” from Mask Wearing https://www.globalresearch.ca/medical-doctor-warns-bacterial...

Enjoy! :)


Heightened levels of CO2 are negligible in a mask. You aren't supposed to wear a mask 24/7. You wear a mask a strategic times like when you are inside, shopping or in a crowd. If you are outside away from people or crowds you don't need to wear a mask. Besides it's obvious that wearing a mask protects others. All you need to do is watch a video of a sneeze with and without a mask on to figure that out.

There's a lot of evidence that masks protect against bacteria, but the jury's still out for viruses. Also, you are correct that people should be strategic, but a lot of people aren't, and they are not changing their masks regularly as they should be.

I'm sorry but you're not making any sense defending your straw man. You're flip flopping your arguments so I can just recursively revert you to my initial answer.

Why not respond to the new information they presented instead of attacking by claiming "muh logical fallacy"?

Your initial answer does not disprove or refute their more nuanced response, which very much does matter on this subject.


I'm in Canada. I don't like the policy of one dose for everyone first. I believe the right thing to do is to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups with two shots first. So, what I'm doing is waiting until second doses are being offered to my age group before signing up for my first dose. I'm not anti-vax by any means, but that doesn't mean I think the government is doing a superlative job either.

Something I haven't seen discussed is what would have happened if the initial shots went to the 20-35 year old crowd (the ones that are out and about, partying, and have a number of super spreaders in that cohort)? Would that have done more to stop the virus spread then to vaccinate the more vulnerable (but already self isolated) people first? This would never be an option politically, but I'd like to know if it would have had a better shot of stopping the virus spread?

It's an interesting idea, and it looks like you're not the only one to think about this:

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/coronavirus/study-one-age-...

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6536/eabe8372


Frankly, governments have done the world a disservice by speaking before they really had all the information at the start of the pandemic.

They were doing the best they could to manage a crisis that it was their job to manage in an unprecedented situation. If people expected them to have perfect answers and solutions, they had unrealistic expectations.


Their best wasn’t very good. First thing is shut down flights from China. I mean it is a no brainier and I distinctly remember thinking wtf as we all waited and twiddled our thumbs because WHO said it wasn’t a pandemic yet. Yes we know it’s not a pandemic yet which happens to be the optimum time to act decisively so it doesn’t become one. Inexcusable.

Yes, I couldn't get it either. The whole world was watching China in horror fight with the virus and at the same time the planes traveled easily to and from China for a long time as if nothing was happening. As if someone really wanted to invite the inevitable.

Yeah, I don't get this "lost trust" line, that's like a military commander telling his soldiers to go left, then when gunfire comes from the left, tells them to go right, but the soldiers object to his new order and lose confidence in him because he already said go left.

> I think if we approach the problem with that in mind we might win more people over than telling them "listen to experts", since for the past year and a half experts have been wrong almost as often as they have been right.

I was educated to fear more those who are never wrong.


I try to take heart in the fact that increased skepticism is, in general, a good thing for society.

Anti-vaxers would have spread the same thing regardless of government info and prediction rate.

This is certifiably untrue. You should take a look at the "traditional" anti-vaxxers, who are a very small minority, and compare them to the recent ones, who are much, much larger.

The archetype of a current anti-covid-vaxxer is one who had no problem getting their kids vaccinated for polio, for DTAP, the chickenpox, and usually had no hesitation about getting the annual flu shot.

These people are categorically different, and much more numerous, than the tinfoil-hat-vaccines-cause-autism crowd.

One should surmise that the motivations are also categorically different, and I think you'll find if you actually speak to them, that distrust of the enormous governmental and institutional pressure is a significant factor.


> The archetype of a current anti-covid-vaxxer [...] usually had no hesitation about getting the annual flu shot.

Really? At least around here, flu vaccination rates aren't very high. I don't have data, but there's plenty of potential for overlap between anti-covid-vaxxers and people who don't get flu shots (most of which are perfectly normal).


Some class of vaccine hesitancy boils down to miscalculating expected value.

The expected value of getting a vaccine is very high, but people choose not to anyway, presumably due to misinformation or miscalculation.

Lotteries here are exploiting miscalculations of expected value to incentivize behavior (0.1% of saving my life? phaw, but $100 expected value?!).

It feels a bit like patching a security bug with its own vulnerability.


Exactly this. Dramatic videos of people experiencing adverse events following vaccination make the risk appear much bigger than it is.

COVID-19 being old news makes the risk appear much smaller than it is.


I like how behavioral economics works for vaccination.

Some is the opposite: people know they are safe with or without it, and because there an infinitesimally small risk and very little direct personal benefit for young healthy people and then make the “rational” but myopic choice to not get vaccinated. The benefits are mostly to communities and older people, healthcare and other essential workers. A less myopic self interested rationalist might decide that despite it having a slight risk and negligible direct personal benefit for young healthy people, for the community it’s much better if everyone gets vaccinated, even young low risk people.

I think the problem is more that they don’t understand that it is not a zero sum game of getting vaccinated with a tiny but some chance for adverse side-effects vs going on with life. It is taking a vaccine with 90%+ rate of success with exceedingly small side effects vs having a kind of high chance of getting a virus that has yet again quite a high chance of not being “just a flu” and causing long-lasting (perhaps even for a lifetime) health issues.

Of course we ideally should also take into account the community benefits, but even on a personal level it is a net plus.


Hmmm, here I thought the problem is we rushed a vaccine which would usually take 7-10 years to get approved through, and are now spreading propaganda like "this vaccine is safe", instead of acknowledging the fact that no vaccine or other pharmacological treatment is ever "safe". There is no free lunch. We simply don't know what the long term side effects of the vaccine will be, because we've never been allowed to put mRNA inside humans before. The cat is now out of the bag. We will see in about 6-10 years, what long term damage will result in our organs and long term health outcomes as a result of this mass experiment. Also, I hope you understand that the 90% effectiveness rate you quote, is effectiveness of "treating your symptoms" so they're not so bad as to put you in critical condition inside a hospital. I fear most people who don't do any reading about the vaccines, believe the 90% efficacy number as touted by their medical practitioner, means that they will have a 90% chance that they won't contract the virus. Most of the highly educated people I work with, believe once they have the vaccine they no longer can contract or spread the virus.

> Like, having this magic, absolutely mind boggling potion that prevents serious illness and death isn't already the lottery win of our lifetime??

No, because a lot of people trust their friends or personal gurus more than any scientist or research. It doesn't matter what crap their social bubble is filled with, they can relate more to it.


I had someone tell me "science" is made to "replace" religion as another control mechanism... it's the "new religion".

I was at a loss of words...


I would say in 2021, I'm definitely seeing science more as a religion than a practice. The political response to the virus has been eye opening. At least it's more clear now to me, who writes checks to whom, and for which published papers.

Just like I’m at a loss for words as to why you think religion is a source of control. Unless you mean discipline.

Why do people still have to attack religion?


> Why do people still have to attack religion?

Because religions are still dangerous animals, if you would indulge this metaphor. Just because we managed to declaw and tame one (values of Enlightenment supplanting values of Christianity), it does not mean that we can treat all of them imprudently.

I suggest that you are arguing from the point-of-view that "my $ANIMAL is well-behaved and has not and would not hurt anyone". Is that true?


I defend almost all religions, just not mine.

Removing religion completely has been tried in a larger scale experiment in the Soviet Union and the results were very much worse than the most barbaric religions.

When arguing about religion one shouldn't forget that they have a number of good attributes as well.

Otherwise you are just fighting against a straw man and then it is no wonder why you win every single time : )

Besides:

> Just because we managed to declaw and tame one (values of Enlightenment supplanting values of Christianity)

This is putting the cart before the horse.

It wasn't enlightenment that ended blood revenge, brought herbs and fruits and medicine and and and to Europe.

It was monks.

Enlightenment grew out of the fertile soil of literacy and surplus and relative peace and quiet that this created, not the other way around.


> Removing religion completely has been tried in a larger scale experiment in the Soviet Union and the results were very much worse than the most barbaric religions.

What am I supposed to say here? "Good thing I'm not Stalin"? Just because he's against religion, too, does not mean I want to use his methods.

> When arguing about religion one shouldn't forget that they have a number of good attributes as well.

I've heard that often, but that argument isn't very good. When the $ANIMAL mauls the offspring, one does not reminisce about how well it plays fetch, this does not counter-weight or undo the damage.

It is entirely possible to have the good attributes (let's say social cohesion or introspective peace of mind) entirely divorced from the gods-and-religion business (let's say by joining the local ping-pong club or taking up a meditative practice). I posit there is no attribute that uniquely belongs to religion and cannot be had otherwise.

> [monks] ended blood revenge, brought herbs and fruits and medicine and and and to Europe.

That result is a function of smart and persuasive people, not a function of belief in and worship of Yahweh. Mentally substitute the monks for hypothetical missionaries adhering to Voltaire/Smith/Kant &c., we could imagine the result is similar, just without the gods-and-religion business.

> Enlightenment grew out of the fertile soil of literacy and surplus and relative peace and quiet that this created, not the other way around.

I did not say that this fertile soil grew out of Enlightenment. I said that values of Enlightenment supplanted values of Christianity.


> What am I supposed to say here? "Good thing I'm not Stalin"? Just because he's against religion, too, does not mean I want to use his methods.

Maybe you should then extend the same courtesy to us who have religions too then? After all most of us aren't Spanish inquisitors.

> Mentally substitute the monks for hypothetical missionaries adhering to Voltaire/Smith/Kant &c., we could imagine the result is similar, just without the gods-and-religion business.

Yeah and if cats were dogs they would bark.

Mentally substitute Nelson Mandela with Hitler and South Africa wouldn't have a Nobel prize winner.

> I didn't say

No, but you said:

> Just because we managed to declaw and tame one (values of Enlightenment supplanting values of Christianity)

I'm pointing out that the peace came with Christianity.

There was no need to "declaw" Christianity.


> I did not say that this fertile soil grew out of Enlightenment. I said that values of Enlightenment supplanted values of Christianity.

Absolutely, and I hope you can recognize the price that society has paid as a result.


> Because religions are still dangerous animals

With all but one preaching peace, and not hate, please explain.


There is a vast gulf between what is preached and what adherents do or don't do. Knowing human nature, I think all religions have suffered abuse in the form of having peace on paper, but inciting hate through opportunists.

And as I mentioned to you earlier: non-religious have been even (and is) even worse.

Just because you aren't evil doesn't mean the rest of us will happily accept that you can argue from a position where everything bad a religious person said or did is held against us while simultaneously nothing bad that non-religious people did can be held against you.

Choose one option.

I know this is hard but this isn't young atheists debate club.

We are real humans and some of us have experienced too much good to just let you or others try to tear it apart.


> There is a vast gulf between what is preached and what adherents do or don't do.

Oh ffs evidence plz.


30 year war, Ahlam Tamimi bombing, wars of suppression against Bön

Assume for a minute that you don't believe in God.

Then explain how religion is not used to control (read: enforce moral standards).

God himself throws a temper and kills entire cities when they don't obey him, like any good dad would do, am I right? Murder their kids if they misbehave... (Sodom/Gomorrah).


> Sodom/Gomorrah

Cause that’s the whole story right? Both of those cities weren’t destroying humanity at the time right? Have you read the part about cutting off your hand if it causes you to sin? Do you understand that saying your human body is who you are is equivalent to saying your name defines you? Do you understand religion at all other than some minor studying you’ve not really done?

> Assume for a minute that you don't believe in God. Then explain how religion is not used to control (read: enforce moral standards).

Is this how you also explain laws? As control? What about discipline? Is this also control? Clearly both are. Do you now understand how control != bad? What argument are you trying to make exactly? Anarchy? But you'll also note, in religion it's said you will try to not sin and fail. And always be forgiven. So there's no punishment here. None. So you're arguing against discipline, laws, morality and civilization in general.


Because not everyone is an effective atheist like in your bubble.

Genesis 3:16

1 Corinthians 14:34

1 Corinthians 11:5-9

I don't know, why do people still have to do that?


Hmm, how much of this do you think is observed today?

Next question, why are you spot picking the negatives for females but not males?

Final question, do you know at all the story as to why these restrictions are in place?


Vaccines are not magic. Every treatment has potential downsides. That's why they need approval to weight the potential benefit/harm trade-off.

From everything I've heard, these particular vaccines are pretty close, though.

90-95% reduction of risk.

Maybe even greater reduction of serious disease?

Most common side effect people seem to talk about is something like fatigue and fever for a day or two after a shot?

That's a pretty good tradeoff. Especially when you consider that getting large populations vaccinated pretty much ends the pandemic.


"He who has eyes to see, let him see, and he who has ears to hear, let him hear."

> Unfortunately shaming such people will only push them further into antivax territory.

We welcome any better suggestions. Have you ever tried to have a respectful, adult discussion based on facts with antivaxers?


At least once a week, I have an adult discussion based on facts and lived truths with antivaxers, many of whom are registered nurses in the US. Why are they labeled antivaxers by society (that's usually my first question). The response generally comes down to the greater society not understanding the negative health outcomes from the routine vaccinations nursing and other hospital staff have to undergo in the US. I'll tell you what a virologist at the Cleveland Clinic told one of these RNs who cannot get the flu or other vaccines anymore, as they now threaten her life (and that of her family's). "First, you are not crazy. You are exactly the type of patient I see day in and day out: A hospital staff member, being treated by non-virology MDs as a nut case (in many cases being dropped by the doctor's office due to lack of adherence to treatment), because you accused the vaccines you take of causing your arteritis or vasculitis. Well, you're correct. You're potentially genetically predisposed, like a substantial chunk of our population, to severely increased risk of vasculitis and ultimately death by organ failure or aneurysm, by receiving any vaccine on a regular basis. You should not get a vaccine, and nobody in your family should receive regular vaccines. Yes, your completely incurable vasculitis is likely caused by the flu vaccines you've been mandated to receive year in and year out by your employer. No, the flu vaccine is not really effective at all when you look closely at the data, especially in the population it purports to be targeting specifically (the old)."

Same with the push for vaccine passports. Really gets my fur up and question why the need for heavy hands.

Serious question, how is a vaccine passport any different from a proof of immunization (one common form being the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis), which is standard fare for travelling to/from many countries already? We’ve been using these to combat the spread of diseases like yellow fever for years.

Because we don’t force people to get all vaccines to travel. Requiring a vaccine passport for the covid vaccine forces people to get it, which is the real reason people are advocating for it.


I bet most people never had to worry about those though. Making them mandatory for covid would be a big change for the majority of the population.

We’ve had COVId vaccines for ages? Where you been hiding them?

So as per your wiki article no country is requiring them. So really not sure what you’re talking about. There are absolutely some vaccines required for travel, but COVID is not one of them. Just like influenza and a whole host of other vaccines.


I'm pro the passport thing, at least for travel, so life can go back to normal and I can say fly from UK to Italy and back without 5 pcr tests and 10 days isolating in spite of being basically immune. At least the EU are bringing them in in a couple of weeks and I imagine other countries will follow.

The EU one I think allows for immunity from catching covid so if you are anti vax and want to go that route you can.


I don't get it, You are immune but you can still spread the virus. What is the difference between allowing someone who is vaccinated and someone who has covid without symptoms.

Vaccinated people are far less contagious for a far shorter time. As a result they represent a far lower risk of bringing the virus in or of helping community transmission once there.

At the time vaccine rollout began we weren’t sure of this effect, but the evidence from places like Israel is showing it pretty well.


It's being introduced to countries where such measures are new and it's being used within borders. The idea is that venue operators for concerts and other events will be checking your vaccination status.

I find that Black Mirror level dystopian personally.


Israel tried a domestic one and it seemed to work ok but had become kind of redundant as they have basically got rid of covid (cases from 8000 a day to 10). It wasn't very enforced - just a bit of paper you could wave to go to the gym etc. They've scrapped it now as no longer needed.

There's long established precedent that schools and colleges are allowed to require proof of vaccination.

The idea isn't remotely new, and is nothing so odious as critics claim


I am not a lawyer, nor a public health legal expert but I think there is a significant legal difference between COVID and ordinary vaccine requirements because the COVID vaccines are only authorized for emergency use.

I think schools and colleges requiring vaccination are also offering accommodations (distance learning, etc.) to avoid legal fights, while if the vaccines were fully authorized they would not.


> because the COVID vaccines are only authorized for emergency use.

This is only a technical, legal distinction. They have been administered rapidly to a significant fraction of the population; their specific legal status is mostly irrelevant at this point.

They are GA in practice, the release has been cut and people are running it. Paper pushers slapping an ass-covering "beta" on the splash screen are behind the times.


Because people who are in the ICU because they refuse to get vaccinated are costing the taxpayer a shitload of money. I'd be all for "you can stay unvaccinated if you like, but you won't get an ICU bed if you get severe COVID", but that's a heavier hand than a passport.

That's ridiculous. We don't expect people to get flu vaccines before extending medical care. We don't even expect basic sexual hygiene and extend extremely expensive HIV treatments to people who have tempted fate much, much more seriously than skipping a vaccince.

It's a concerning precedent. These rights to travel, to enter a store and so on were never restricted before but now they may be.

What about me, should I risk shot number two now that I've seen a flame heme show up on a routine retina scan just yesterday and am reading that this is one of the things they are seeing increase from the AZ vaccine? Will I be limited in travel and employment if I don't?


Ask for an exemption to get Pfizer then.

What about the giant portion of overweight Americans? Should we forcibly restrict their calorie intake?

No, we should attack the companies that sell junk food.

I’m pretty sure if I go to the ICU it’s my insurance company paying the bill.

Also suddenly we care about how much tax revenue we spend?


In my country we do.

Well in my country we don’t care because we’ll just borrow or print more and tax while we’re at it. I can’t count how many times Biden said “not spending enough”. So I guess I misspoke, we do care about how much we spend, but mostly that it’s as large as possible so we can use it as an excuse to increase taxes further.

I don’t know… we let people ruin their lives by throwing dice. At least in the US, it’s a country founded on chance over conformity.

It's already been the case that various countries require certain vaccines to enter, or other health clearances. These kinds of standards and even more exceptional for animals, and ultra protective for plants. Why is this any different? Why wouldn't you want someone protected from bringing a (newly) preventable disease into your country?

Because a passport represents a centralized storage of medical data, and that's always a bad idea.

I don’t think there’s any central storage for ICVPs today. As far as I know the records are just held by whoever normally holds your health records - the WHO trusts centres to only certify responsibly.

And Hippa concerns, this status will likely be resold as well.

There’s no such thing as HIPPA. It’s HIPAA. And it’s nowhere near as broad in terms of privacy as most people believe - it’s extremely targeted in that regard.

Ok thanks. I'm not American, I still value medical privacy regardless.

> prevents serious illness and death

Only in 60+ patients with co-morbidity.


I personally know two people under 60 without any co-morbidities die from Covid19.

The bug is statistically less dangerous to that group, but it is still pretty dangerous.


Absolute insanity that people are still peddling this. Here in India I've seen people in their late 20s and 30s drop like flies from COVID.

>> prevents serious illness and death

> Only in 60+ patients with co-morbidity.

That's false. See [1] for data on deaths by age in the US. There's about 115,000 deaths in the age groups < 65 as of May 2021.

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1191568/reported-deaths-...


Variation on a theme. Make my comment <50 and you're down to 20k deaths.

GP should have said "or with co-morbidities".

Digging into the <60yo cohort, it's shockingly uncommon to find one who wasn't obese.

A year of largely ineffective masking hysteria and not one noteworthy public health figure suggested putting down the donut to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19.

We shuttered gyms and discouraged outdoor activity instead.


>not one noteworthy public health figure suggested putting down the donut to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19

Great point. The overweight should have just lost 50 pounds in 30 days.


Not sure if exactly that fast is possible but at least in 2 months it is.

What about that broadway actor who was 40 or so, young kid, had his leg amputated spent like 120 days in ICU and didn't make it? Pretty sure he wasn't obese.

anecdotes are not evidence. you're using a sample size of 1 to prove your point?

The "magic" from vaccinations comes from vaccinating most of the population so that the epidemic fizzles out. In that scenario it doesn't matter that much whether you personally are vaccinated or not. An unvaccinated person benefits from herd immunity like a vaccinated person does.

From the viewpoint of a healthy young person, the risk/reward ratio of taking a vaccine is bad.


> From the viewpoint of a healthy young person, the risk/reward ratio of taking a vaccine is bad.

Absolutely false. The disease can and does have severe and sometimes long-lasting impacts on young healthy people. The mRNA vaccines don't have any impact worse than a sore arm.

And we aren't getting to a herd immunity level of vaccination if young people are unvaccinated.


> The mRNA vaccines don't have any impact worse than a sore arm.

Lets not go too far with statements like that. People with history of allergic reactions are told to not take it, and the Pfizer–BioNTech mRNA has a rate of about eleven cases per million doses of vaccine administered.

As with any medicine, there are a risk/reward aspect to it. If you take a over-the-counter pain pill there is a small but detectable risk of getting a serious side effect. Most people still take it because the reward out weight the risk.

I would rather go with the carrot then the stick when it comes to getting people vaccinated. Getting a vaccination protects against some of the really unlucky consequences of covid, including permanent injuries like decreased lung capacity. The risk involving the vaccine is to my understanding much lower, so the math comes out in favor of the vaccine.


> People with history of allergic reactions are told to not take it

Then they should not get the vaccine and be shielded by herd immunity. There are also several other illnesses which are not compatible with vaccinations but the number of those people are small. So healthy people should partake in the vaccination as for them, the risk-reward ratio is definitely worth it.


> So healthy people should partake in the vaccination as for them, the risk-reward ratio is definitely worth it.

How can you make this decision for someone else?


Risk reward ratio is not a decision, it’s an objective measure. It’s a different question what and how can be forced on people, but the issue is clear: healthy people should get vaccinated.

Why don’t we just let the healthy people decide for themselves?

Do you know everybody’s medical condition? Are you a physician or nurse in any way? You’re just regurgitating Fauci’s ramblings without regard to individuals concerns demanding they get the vaccine. How many people do you think you’ve convinced to get the vaccine?


> Do you know everybody’s medical condition?

Does a layperson know about how his/her condition is relevant to vaccination? No. They will ask a doctor about that - who will give them an answer whether they can or can’t get the vaccine. And I’m not even living in the US, I’m just not crazy and know that it is the only way to protect ourselves and our community.


> Does a layperson know about how his/her condition is relevant to vaccination?

Hmm, maybe this is what you do, but do you really thing everybody goes to the Dr for everything? Some people are well within the means of deciding for themselves, some not. And when you have the “top” Dr in the nation failing to build trust by opening his mouth before he’s sure then all sane people have is themselves. It’s insane to me how many people blindly trust the vaccine when we have new information nearly weekly about how it effects different cohorts differently. But we’re sure it’s safe right? No, the reality is people don’t care if someone gets the vaccine and dies, “just do your duty”. I’m good.


> The disease can and does have severe and sometimes long-lasting impacts on young healthy people.

The context that we were discussing was "achieved herd immunity, epidemic goes away". In that context the healthy young people do not get any severe and long-lasting impacts, because they don't get the disease at all, thanks to the herd immunity provided by mass vaccinations.

> And we aren't getting to a herd immunity level of vaccination if young people are unvaccinated.

This is true. If you were to say "it's your responsibility to take a vaccine, even though the risk/reward ratio is bad", then that would be an argument that I would respect. However, that's not the argument you're making. You're trying to claim that the risk/reward ratio from a personal standpoint is good, which I disagree with.

> The mRNA vaccines don't have any impact worse than a sore arm.

This is false. I personally know people who have had considerable side effects from the vaccine ("getting sick").

That said, I'm personally taking the vaccine today.


> The mRNA vaccines don't have any impact worse than a sore arm.

This is just logically untrue. The absolute most you can claim is that "these vaccines don't have any impact worse than a sore arm, that we know of, within the 18 month period that they've been available". Neither you nor anyone else can speak to long-term effects until we wait it out and see, nevermind true "unknown unknowns".


But why are we only considering vaccination with regards to herd immunity. Shouldn't we also be including natural immunity from previous covid infection?

Because, for example in Canada, there have been 1.4 million total cases of Covid over the last year which has on multiple occasions stretched particularly ICU capacity to the limit. In a much shorter time period we have administered 27.7 million doses of vaccines. We give more doses every 3 days than we had cases in 14 months. Natural immunity is almost negligible compared to vaccination. Getting to herd immunity levels with actual infection will result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and damage our health (and healthcare system) for decades.

It has been demonstrated that repeated infections are possible and may be common. And there are a large number of variants in the wild that are not hindered by immune systems previously exposed to other variants. Allowing the virus to spread in populations causes even more variants to emerge.

Even vaccines provide reduced protection from new variants. I read today that most effective vaccine only provides a ~70% chance or so of protection from the Delta variant in the UK. Hence the talk of booster shots before the initial vaccines were rolled out.

Herd immunity comes from vaccination. It's not really feasible for it to occur naturally because the virus will continue to mutate and reinfect people indefinitely.


How can you make this decision for others?

Sure, until the vaccination rate falls below the herd immunity threshold, whereupon outbreaks pretty much immediately occur. This has been seen repeatedly with measles, for example, as it is highly transmissible and it doesn’t take much of a drop in vaccination rates to make outbreaks likely.

Not taking a vaccine if you’re young and healthy is a purely selfish move. Not taking a vaccine should be reserved for only those people who cannot take a vaccine: those who are far too young, or who are immunocompromised. Everyone else should vaccinate to protect the truly vulnerable.


> Not taking a vaccine if you’re young and healthy is a purely selfish move. Not taking a vaccine should be reserved for only those people who cannot take a vaccine: those who are far too young, or who are immunocompromised. Everyone else should vaccinate to protect the truly vulnerable.

I fully agree! So be honest and make that argument! Don't say "taking this vaccine is good for you", be honest and say "taking this vaccine is not necessarily that good for you, but we all have a responsibility to do it, and then we all benefit from herd immunity".


> Not taking a vaccine if you’re young and healthy is a purely selfish move. Not taking a vaccine should be reserved for only those people who cannot take a vaccine…

Why does this always resort to force and control? Do you really not understand how that just turns people off?


Turn people off? Feel free to be turned off, no-one is doing this for fun. The whole point is doing your duty to protect the vulnerable.

It's crazy to me that I see more insane opinions on HN about this than on reddit. Always considered HN a more rational crowd but I'm very disappointed by the users in this thread.


> The whole point is doing your duty to protect the vulnerable.

I wish that was the point, but it's not. You can see in this very thread people who are disingenuously arguing that the personal risk/reward ratio of these vaccines is good, as opposed to arguing for moral duty.


> The whole point is doing your duty to protect the vulnerable.

By potentially harming myself? Who exactly charged me with this duty and was it by my choice?

Do you assume that HN harbors the same groupthink that reddit does? Do you not want discourse? Do you assume all others believe what you believe (that we have some obligation to potentially harm ourselves for the good of the many thing)? That’s exactly what I love about HN, that thing called diversity.

Also your attempt to shame me into alignment of your believes failed.


>> From the viewpoint of a healthy young person, the risk/reward ratio of taking a vaccine is bad.

You are right, all those children 60 years ago shouldn't have gotten the polio vaccine, look at them now, being disabled and whatnot, that vaccine was super risky /s


I wasn't talking about the risk/reward ratio of a child taking a polio vaccine 60 years ago.

No way. We need nearly everyone to get the vaccine, with the abstainers purely randomly distributed, in order to reach herd immunity, which we aren't going to reach, so it's going to keep spreading endemically, indefinitely. If you aren't vaccinated, you will inevitably get it, if not this winter, than the next, or the next.

Even for healthy young people, the risk of the vaccine is orders and orders of magnitude less than the risk of the virus. This is true almost by construction, because it's strictly less spike protein.


I disagree with your assessment regarding herd immunity. I expect Finland to reach herd immunity this year, with occasional outbreaks in following years. In this scenario, the risk of an individual contracting the disease is minuscule. That makes the risk/reward ratio of personal vaccination... not that good.

I cant +1 this enough. Thank you, Linus for standing up to the wealth of misinformation out there and holding his ground.

> Thank you, Linus for standing up to the wealth of misinformation out there and holding his ground.

Being a pompous ass might feel good, especially when you think you are (or you actually are) smarter than your opponent, but it won't sway anyone. In fact, it does quite the opposite. If you're seriously trying to convince someone they're wrong, you need to be kind, be patient, and have a calm, productive discussion -- explaining how traditional vaccines work, how mRNA works, how DNA works, and so on.

Yelling at someone on a mailing list will undoubtedly push them further into their comfortable anti-vax bubble. Linus is absolutely wrong to behave this way, but then again, emotional intelligence isn't really his (or HN's for that matter) forte.


Linus is not in the wrong here. You have an anti-vax spouting BS on the Linux Kernel dev list of all places. It's absolutely not the right venue for that. He could have just expelled the idiot from the list. He chose not to do that.

Some people will listen to (perceived) authority. Linus has a large following. It's fair to say that a non-zero number of individuals may be persuaded by his strong stance. I doubt the person that he was replying to will listen to anything, but if anyone else does, it's a win.

If someone is claiming that a person is "shedding" mRNA, the point of education is gone. It's ok if someone says they are unsure about this 'new' technology - you can then sit down with them calmly and explain how all of this works.

However, if they are just parroting anti-vax talking points, they should be shutdown and quick. They have long stopped listening to reason, and are on the "vaccines cause magnetism" territory. They are actively trying to spread even more misinformation. This should be contained just like we contain viruses.

It's not really up for debate. Don't like a particular vaccine? Try to get another one if you can. Don't try to prevent others from getting it based on superstition.


> They are actively trying to spread even more misinformation. This should be contained just like we contain viruses. It's not really up for debate. Don't like a particular vaccine? Try to get another one if you can.

Here we are again with the force and control. Shutting down “misinformation” means you must be able to define what “misinformation” is. We’ve made mistakes on this many times historically and we still have groups of people running around and saying “shut up and listen”. nothing will get accomplished like this.

> Don't try to prevent others from getting it based on superstition.

This I actually agree with.


I think you're making a mistake in assuming the Linux kernel maillist is a free speech, anything goes, zone it isn't.

Or am I inferring that any place that allows anybody to speak should be a “free speech zone”?

Anti-vax on LKML... I wish it's just dislike about DEC VAX.

> They are actively trying to spread even more misinformation. This should be contained just like we contain viruses.

This is the original definition of "meme" rooted in evolutionary biology. Disinfecting with liberal doses of reason, frequently, and vehemently is certainly warranted.


> If you're seriously trying to convince someone they're wrong, you need to be kind, be patient, and have a calm, productive discussion

I am doubtful someone spreading anti-vax nonsense can be convinced they’re wrong. (Emphasis on spreading, not just believing or questioning.)

What one can do is inhibit the spread of their misinformation. For that purpose, given the stakes, being direct to the point of roughness can be warranted.


He just screamed at them.

Getting angry is easy.

Persuasion is the hard part.


You would need to consult with the original poster to be certain of that. What Linus posted included important facts such as the large number of lives saved and the shared nature of viral immunity. You are reacting primarily to tone as if health in a social context is purely about good feelings.

When Linus starts out with "Please keep your insane" - the reader/original poster will enter a defensive mode.

Imagine that internal monologue - "Am I insane? I'm smart? I'm an analytic person. Why is he calling me insane? HE'S the insane one!"

Because Linus thinks this is a logical fight. But it's not.

Information is _not_ all that's needed to be persuaded. And if he really care about the vax effort, his efforts would be focused on pulling others over to the vax side, not drawing the line thicker by belittling comments.


> When Linus starts out with "Please keep your insane" - the reader/original poster will enter a defensive mode

You're assuming the goal is convincing the original poster. Given that goal, you are correct.

The counterargument: OP doesn't matter. Their effect on third parties is key. Reasonably engaging with OP validates their thinking. (Which, to reiterate, is nonsense.) Yes– calm, patient rhetoric has a higher chance of succeeding with them. But it's also likely to leave bystanders neutral or open to OP's arguments. Excoriating OP guarantees they'll hate you. But it increases the chance that third parties get the message.

You're a good soul. You care about OP. We're...well, we're bastards. To us, OP is beyond saving. What matters is the people around her. The people on the internet, who might passively read her drivel and believe it and skip vaccination. There are more of them than there are her, and they–unlike her–didn't choose to be in their position.


Why would you assume belittling and yelling would silence the OP?

It only stands to redirect the effort. They may stop posting on the list, but Linus has done none of the hard work of persuasion, so they will post elsewhere.

Again, he does the movement zero favors. All the privilege in the world to bring someone over, and he pisses it away.


> We're...well, we're bastards. To us, OP is beyond saving. What matters is the people around her.

Upvoting wasn't enough. Linus reaction is perfect. Even if it was just driven by emotions I completely understand it.


The OP will post elsewhere. He gets virtual high fives from his crew and done nothing for the movement.

Why would linuses response discourage third party interest?

He just belittled. An abusive response. Hes smart but at the same time emotionally inept.

The kind of guy who can’t determine whether he’s moving the line forward or back.

He’s sad. He’d have zero placement in sales, therapy, or anywhere else where persuasion takes place.


While this person is probably beyond help, it effectively stopped him (and others) from writing more nonsense on LKML.

I think this was the best result we could achieve.


What other options does Linus have by your logic, then?

1) remove the person's comments 2) let the person's comments stand unchallenged 3) engage in a lengthy, potentially endless discussion with this person who is highly unlikely to change their mind

None of these seem like great options.

Linus probably recognizes that he has virtually zero chance of persuading this person's opinion. He probably also recognizes that a reader who comes across these outlandish claims unchallenged may get the wrong impression that these views are somehow being embraced by the community. As such he is absolutely correct in briefly explaining that the vaccines are safe and effective.

And being a pompous ass is kinda Linus' thing. :shrug:


> Social IQ isn't really HN's forte.

Rude and uncalled for, even after your edit.

Patient discussion is ineffective on people who are acting in bad faith. It is counterproductive.

There is no debate to be had. No one is genuinely trying to learn anything here.

By giving con artists and dangerous vaccine conspiracies a space, you legitimize their line of questionning.

LKML is not a place to send anti-vax emails or to be "just asking questions". Deplatforming works.


> Rude and uncalled for, even after your edit.

I was just correcting the term in the edit, but I agree I'm being a bit inflammatory.

> Deplatforming works.

No it doesn't. The entire history of Western Liberalism—since the Magna Carta onwards—teaches us that censorship is quite literally never the answer.


> No it doesn't. The entire history of Western Liberalism—since the Magna Carta onwards—teaches us that censorship is quite literally never the answer.

There is basically almost no precedent to todays problem of misinformation spread, so historical examples are near useless. Censorship is a trivial problem to overcome in the modern world contrary to the last century’s vision, one can’t really hide anything on the internet. The censored information itself will be available in some way. What is much more effective in preventing information flow is the other direction, obfuscation or overloading of information.

A great example of it is an older Russian voting fraud, where video footage leaked of a man repeatedly throwing in ballots. It got quickly shared over Twitter with the name of the town in hashtags — there was no chance of censoring that. The solution was to spam twitter with unrelated bullshit with #NameOfTown, effectively putting out the flame.

And unfortunately bullshit like antivaxx, anti-climatechange, and political campaigns do use this technique very effectively to counter the usually more complex scientific arguments. People prefer taking only a few logical steps instead of the whole “we create the replica of parts of the virus by injecting the …”. Unfortunately I don’t know what would be a solution to this. Perhaps better education..


> There is basically almost no precedent to todays problem of misinformation spread, so historical examples are near useless.

I’m sorry but what?!?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinformation

The only difference these days is everybody has a printing press. So what you’re advocating for is removing someone’s first amendment right.


Per your own link, the earliest use of this technique is ~1920, so bringing up the Magna Carta is not too generous. And it is naive to state that the only difference is everyone having a printing press — there are emergent qualities and we have only begun to discover what this new way of communication means on a global scale.

Well I didn’t bring up the Magna Carta.

And you’re wrong again, there’s even a story in the Bible about the tower of babel. Same exact thing. When humans, all humans, can communicate easily and quickly it’s dangerous.


How is tower of Babel relevant? It’s about why do we speak different languages. How is anything done in the previous tens of thousands of years similar to ordering a bunch of bots to say what I want? When could an arbitrary algorithm decide what is seen by whom, completely opaque to almost everyone? Yeah sure the Church censored some shit. But that’s not at all similar to youtube/facebook’s algorithm and it’s dishonest to say so.

Man that really got you riled up didn’t it?

It’s relevant because the reason the languages were confounded was for the exact same problem we have today. Too many people with a megaphone. Too easy to spread information, good or bad.

Please point to where I’ve mentioned either facebook or youtube. No idea where this is coming from.


> No it doesn't. The entire history of Western Liberalism—since the Magna Carta onwards—teaches us that censorship is quite literally never the answer.

What do you mean by "works"? Deplatforming seems to work if it's goal is to simply limit the spread of a message. Whether or not that's good or bad is a separate question. Do you think Alex Jones has just as big of a viewership as when he was on Youtube? Are there just as many people who know what Trump was talking about last week, now that he's gone from Twitter? Big platforms give those with followings an opportunity to reach even more people.


> Deplatforming seems to work if it's goal is to simply limit the spread of a message.

Deplatforming seems to work if it's goal is to simply limit free speech and control the narrative. There fixed that for you.

> Alex Jones has just as big of a viewership as when he was on Youtube?

Alex Jones got his youtube viewership from his radio show, he’s still quite active. All this did was prove those that believed him that he’s correct. It will still spread as it did before youtube.

> Are there just as many people who know what Trump was talking about last week, now that he's gone from Twitter?

And how many people you think are upset by this? Do you think that the left can just shut someone like Trump off from the every platform and everything’s just gonna be hunky dory? This one action alone is one of the major contributing factors to this anti vax movement. The left blew the divide up.


> Deplatforming seems to work if it's goal is to simply limit free speech

You're still perfectly free to spew your crazy, you just don't get to stand on my lawn to do so.

Good, old-fashioned conservative value that. You have never had a right to use someone else's infrastructure like this, and hopefully never will, as that is a scary precedent that doesn't respect the rights of creators and owners of such platforms.


So by mentioning conservative value you assume I’m on the right? I don’t agree that someone should be able to give some people a megaphone, but not others.

If it’s my megaphone I’ll do what I like with it, particularly if what you want to do with it is likely to incite violence or spread (for example) dangerous health misinformation during a pandemic.

You seem to be repeating the current right wing grievances. If you’re not on the right then... ok.


> If it’s my megaphone I’ll do what I like with it, particularly if what you want to do with it is likely to incite violence or spread (for example) dangerous health misinformation during a pandemic.

Got it, so if we don’t agree with how something is used we shut it down. Republicans attempted this before with bakeries, so I guess this means it’s ok now?

And the inciting violence thing, you realize that’s a left belief yes?


If it’s my thing and I don’t agree with how you’re using it - 100%. Particularly if you’re (for instance) spreading medical misinformation during a pandemic.

Not sure what your point even is here any more.


If anything, social media and the modern world have show us repeatedly that the marketplace of ideas is a fallacy.

This is a good point. Such comments (Linus') are much more for preaching to the choir than to try and change people's minds.

One thing I'd add (or hypothesize anyway) is that in these kind of debates, I don't believe the crux of the disagreement is a misunderstanding of the technical points of why it works. It's more a natural reaction to people being told they have to do something, that causes an adverse reaction in many people (for clarity, being told causes the reaction, I'm not talking about the vaccine). So people end up pushing back, which includes aggressively and sometimes even ridiculously questioning the underlying facts.

The same holds for climate change for example. People get caught, often untenably, in the minutia of the technical arguments, when it has much more to do imo with a debate over wealth redistribution or rolling back standard of living. Decoupling the political aspects about what we should do as a response, from the scientific aspects of cause and effect would go a long way. The problem though would be in that case, politicians would lose the "science tells us" rhetorical device, and actually have to have an adult conversation with their constituents about how we move forward


It's not Linus job to give anti-vax people a platform on a kernel mailing list. It's his job to nip it in the bud and let them know why he will cut them from the list if they keep up the garbage antivax rhetoric.

I agreed with you until the last paragraph, where it seems to me like you just fell into the trap you were warning us about. Not sure if that was your intention, but that's what it looks like.

The first part is definitely true though. Calling somebody an idiot is probably one of the worst ways to get them to agree with you, even if they are spouting idiocy. I won't pretend I have a solution to anti-vax beliefs, but simply calling them stupid won't make them disappear.


Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. (Greys Law.)

At this point in the pandemic, people really ought to know better, it's assumed they are bad actors. knowing that, It's hard to "be kind, be patient, and have a calm, productive discussion."


Actually, deplatforming, shaming trolls, and shifting the Overton window back probably works [0]

[0]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/16/misinfo...


Yes, and don't forget about gaslighting that this isn't actually happening.

So what is the right way to deal with people using a technical mailing list to spread misinformation about vaccines in the midst of a pandemic?

Kittens and sweet tea?


Maybe so, but I've observed that attitude to be far more prevalent on the anti-vax side than the pro-science side. You don't really see people who advocate for the vaccine calling anyone who disagrees "sheeple," "NPCs," etc., nor do they whine about downvotes or "being silenced," or misattribute moderation to first amendment violations.

> You don't really see people who advocate for the vaccine calling anyone who disagrees "sheeple," "NPCs," etc

No, the rough equivalents are "anti-vaxxer" or "crazy," there's even an "insane" right at the top of the Torvalds email. And they don't tend to complain about being silenced because that's a treatment they are often advocating for others and rarely if ever see applied to themselves.


Not all vaccines are the same, so pro science and anti vaxx are not always opposed.

I am pro science, but science doesn't claim that all vaccines are safe.

And let's not forget that pharma co's have tried very hard to make vaccines mandatory, to the point of bribing academics and officials, forming unaccountable PR groups, and in the not so distant past they've done truly horrific and inhuman things.

After the lab-leak theory has gained traction recently, after being told for a year by Lancet and politicians and academics that it was "impossible", I would have thought that the idea of there being some "pro-science" monolith would have lost ground.


> I am pro science, but science doesn't claim that all vaccines are safe

Indeed. But science does claim that Pfizer, Moderna, etc COVID-vaccines are safe and you are un-scientific if you claim otherwise. They went through proper trials, and were accepted independently* by many countries.

* not completely independently I’m sure, but my point is that even if you don’t trust your country at all, several other ones decided univocally that it is safe


Claims != science. Any company is free to make any claim they want, and they can offer proof in the form of trials. These trials help us form opinions on the safety of a product, however, the long-term safety profile of novel innovations takes time to verify and trials can be manipulated in many subtle ways.

The FDA and other bodies dictate what kind of testing and certification must happen before allowing the sale of such products. And in very rare cases will offer emergency approval that bypasses quite a lot of the trialing or cut short the standards that must be met.

To claim any treatment is safe and that any skepticism prior to long-term trials is unscientific... flies in the face of all reason.

Did we learn anything from: cigarrettes, Fen-Phen, Valdecoxib (Bextra), Pemoline (Cylert), Bromfenac (Duract), Levamisole (Ergamisol), Rofecoxib (Vioxx), Isotretinoin (Accutane), and many many more.

All of these products were FDA approved, a feat these vaccines are yet to achieve.


How can science claim they are safe when we haven't even had the chance to do tests for long-term effects yet?

The vaccine’s matter is in your body for a day at most. The immune system is known for quite some time, and the immunization do happen. In what way could someone develop a side effect long after the vaccine? Of course medicine is data based, not necessarily about mechanisms, but at a point Occam’s razor has to apply. And either way, we would have seen by now any side effect since it has been injected into many millions for quite some time now.

Long-term effects are just that: long-term. We can't know what long-term effects the vaccines have until they have been used for a long time, even if millions have had them.

If science believes they are proven safe so hard, then why did governments have to grant full legal indemnity to the pharma cos to get them?

> They went through proper trials...

No they haven't. They were approved for emergency use only. New vaccines usually take 6-7 years to complete clinical trials.

https://www.modernatx.com/covid19vaccine-eua/


> New vaccines usually take 6-7 years to complete clinical trials

Not necessarily. The yearly updated flu shot doesn’t for example. This case is similar, the novel technique itself was in development for a decade now with different parts having been clinically tested.


Have we watched the same Linus for the past few decades?

This is very tame, all things considered, and he does take the time to try and educate the individual on the matter. I for one appreciate him doing this.


He actually explain things in details after bashing him, so yeah,.. also it's Linus we're talking about, people used to his direct-and-borderline-rude style already anyway.

I agree that the ideal approach is talking like grown-up, educated people and not just shouting in face, but it also depends on who're you talking to and how firm their belief in something are, too. Some require a good beating with virtual baseball bat a few times for them to start listen.. :p


No he is shaming a person who needs shaming, they think they can project their BS without getting fact checked. It doesn't work like that, you are gonna have to have a thick skin if you want STEM people to listen to your anti-vax crap if that's the way you lean, that's life. Being an idiot isn't a protected group.

He doesn’t need to because as he notes, the virus is waning because better people are getting the mRNA version, not just full blown covid which the non-vaccinated will be getting on random occasions many months or even years from now.

That person may or may not be s lost cause but in that particular forum, Linus has all the authority he needs. He might have made an antivaxxer an even stauncher antivaxxer but the message is received by hundreds of others. I absolutely agree that this tone isn’t how you persuade someone. It’s not how you’d talk in private. But that’s not what happens here. This is hopefully a net positive despite not persuading the poster he replied to.

> explaining how traditional vaccines work, how mRNA works, how DNA works, and so on.

1) You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

2) Lots of people do not have the brain power to understand vaccines and they will simply follow the herd.

Part of the reason anti-vax gets such a boost is because it is considered an "acceptable" position to follow by "respectable" people like the "natural is the only good stuff" dipshits in Marin county (who regularly give us Measles and Pertussis outbreaks).

Yes, you can try to reason with individuals. However, you also need to make stupid positions socially unacceptable so that the part of the herd who don't have the capacity to understand don't go following people willing to lead them off a cliff.


I like just getting up and leaving without saying anything as soon as I realize someone's position on this, even if there is social obligations involved. It's a good way to send a signal without any real drama and these people are arrogant and grating to be around anyways

There are a range of anti-vaccine opinions from idiotic (the example Linus quotes) to more reasonable. The way this issue has been handled is emblematic of the way many such political issues are handled: fringe views are promoted and "debunked" while more reasonable views that go against mainstream narratives are ignored. This is amplified by various high profile personalities in the media who shape the views people are presented with, so that all critics of the mainstream narrative appear to be lunatics. Thus stigmatizing anyone who has a more reasonable objection. This is not a new phenomenon but has played out much more frequently over the last year or so.

Also, I got the vaccine, so if you interpret this as some sort of veiled anti-vaccine comment you are part of the problem.


Do you have any examples of such 'reasonable views' that are ignored?

Because I don't. I do see a lot of reasonable objections making headlines or having a large impact. E.g. side effects halting entire campaigns for weeks, or large articles highlighting the dowsides of various vaccines, debates on particle sizes and fluid dynamics on national TV and so on.


"If you and your family are more protected these days, it's because of all those other people who made the right choice" I do not understand that from my point of view, what I heard what that vaccine didn't stop you from being contagious to other people.

I'm looking for an educated answer, I'm not anti-vaxx, far from it, I'm just curious about it.


Doesn't stop but reduces a lot. You are about 10x less likely to catch covid with a vaccine and about 2x less likely to spread it if you do.

Also if you compare a population of 100 million people who mostly have that 20x protection with one that doesn't and infect one person the the end result is one or two infections in the first case and about 100 million in the second.


They virus "survives" much shorter time in a vaccinated body hence less chance of tranmission to a new host.

That time is however not zero.

Furthermore, you can carry the virus outside your body.


That it could make sense for low risk people to wait and see how it goes?

Are "low-risk people" somehow living in an isolated society with only their kind? Or do they also have parents, grandparents, immunocompromised or overweight friends?

The ones who you could argue are at the lowest risk level – those that will have an asymptomatic infection and might not take precautions because they feel fine – are actually presenting the highest risk to every vulnerable person they encounter.


See how it goes to get infected with the virus? It didn't pass any clinical trial.

Pretty good chance you never get infected though (or at least don't get infected for a couple of years when there will be more information). Especially if you live in certain areas.

I'm vaccinated but I think it's hindsight bias to say the mRNA vaccines are obviously safe. We had to wait for clinical trials to show that. There has been a great deal of research and development on the delivery of the mRNA, what kind of molecule to wrap it in, for example.

Additionally, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but with e.g. the Spanish Flu, the morbidity was not from the flu, per se, but the immune response to it (cytokine storm, which I believe is implicated in Covid somewhat, too). If that's the case, could the proteins coded by the mRNA potentially have kicked off such a response? I know we see that it doesn't, but could it have?


They are not "obviously safe". The mRNA vaccines just had an article today that exposed a link to heart inflammation. The AstraZeneca vaccine also has some side effects that didn't show up in their abbreviated trials. I understand why someone would be hesitant to get a vaccine that only has Emergency Use Authorization.

That said, I personally believe that the benefits outweigh the potential side-effects. If I weren't already vaccinated this news would not have have changed my decision to get a mRNA vaccine.

"Heart inflammation in young men higher than expected after Pfizer, Moderna vaccines -U.S. CDC" - https://www.reuters.com/world/us/cdc-heart-inflammation-case...


I'm concerned, especially in the tech community, that there is so much aggravation toward a group that wants more data before making a decision that could have long term repercussions. The CDC has a page describing past vaccine safety issues, the most recent being 2013[0]. Errors include unexpected side effects or complicates and manufacturing issues.

The treatment being offered is unlike any other mainstream protocol, has not completed the FDA approval process that every other vaccine that's given to the general population (in the US) has gone through.

Add to that counter-intuitive advice being given by medical professionals. When I was young, I had chicken pox. I was never offered the vaccine that my children have received. However, previously infected people are being urged to undergo this treatment. I could do the primary research to determine _why_ that is the case, or those urging everyone to participate can explain clearly why it's different this time.

I don't like the language chosen, which, to me, obscures the idea that what is being offered is like a yearly flu vaccine or any other dead/disabled/controlled viral vaccine. I've read that there are vaccines for SARS-CoV2 that are similar to what normally comes to mind, but they are not available in my country.

mRNA research is awesome. The technique is very cool, but beyond the theoretical best case scenario, what are the failure cases for these treatments? What if the mRNA is damaged along the way. What if there are unknown issue with the delivery mechanism.

Ultimately, I am the primary income for our family and in a not-at-risk category if I were to get infected. At this time, I've decided that is a safer position for my family. I'm hoping that as FDA approval is granted and longer term affects are well known that I'll be comfortable going forward, but at this point I am not.

I'm not anti-vax, but not keen to be an early adopter for new treatment option when I'm not at danger of what I'm being protected from. There's the additional argument about protecting those that can't be vaccinated, but I'm happy to follow other hygiene protocols that have been used in practice for much longer.

0 - https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/concerns-history....


The virus didn't go through the approval process either. We already know it has serious side-effects. It's self-replicating and able to spread to others. It probably wouldn't even pass animal testing.

Why would you take the higher risk of choosing the experimental virus over the experimental vaccine? It seems to me you're holding the vaccine to higher standards as the virus?


I’m treating them the same: minimizing the likelihood of them entering my body.

Also, there is 12 months more data for the virus than the vaccines. Based on available data, I’m not in an at risk group and have been tested every time I’ve knowingly had contact with anyone who has been infected.


Not exactly the same. You're taking the chance with the virus while completely isolating yourself from the vaccine.

The available data appears to show the virus is much more damaging than the vaccine. For every age group.


> The CDC has a page describing past vaccine safety issues, the most recent being 2013[0].

That most recent one says there was a voluntary recall and no health problems were reported. Doesn't sound too concerning to me to be honest.

And because you mention long term effects a couple times -- how long would be long enough for you to feel okay about the safety of the vaccine, and how did you come up with this number?


The FDA has a process for approving vaccines. It seems to work reasonably well. At this point I have no issue with their process, which should, hypothetically, identify any long term effects. There currently are no preventative treatments for COVID that have completed the FDA approval process. The J&J shot at least uses a method previously used in an approved vaccine, but in that case (Ebola), the calculus probably makes more sense for those in areas prone to outbreaks.

It’s not about an arbitrary time, it’s about following an established protocol that has been used for every single other injection I’ve been given. (I’m currently going through allergy therapy, so I get a fair number of injections every month.)


All the vaccines available in the US have completed the FDA approval process, which was allowed to proceed to later stages before an earlier stage was complete, to accelerate development. The length of time passed from last trial until approval was roughly the same as for most other vaccines, from what I recall.

That is incorrect. They are available for emergency use authorization. The FDA doesn’t designate that status[0].

Only Pfizer, IIRC, has even submitted a request for approval, and that was just last month. Minimally FDA approval takes ≈6 months, but it could also take several years.

As mentioned above, the vaccines being offered in the US are unlike any other that have been approved previously for use in the general population. I don’t think other vaccines (except the Ebola vaccine for specifically J&J) are reasonable analogues.

0 - https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-...


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Eh, my problem is that it's a bit of a tragedy of the commons situation. Yes, of course it's the best case scenario for an individual if 1. we eradicate COVID 2. they don't need to get vaccinated.

The problem is if we allow that sort of mentality to propagate unchallenged, then everyone wants to be one of the select few who take on zero personal risk but see all the benefit of an immunized herd. And then you don't end up with an immunized herd and society loses, tragedy-of-the-commons style.


> the Spanish Flu, the morbidity was not from the flu, per se, but the immune response to it

Sorry for being pedantic, but it’s the same as “you don’t die from being shot, but from the resulting blood loss”.

Also, we did absolutely have clinical trials — only some aspect of it was allowed to begin sooner than it otherwise would have due to the urgency. Also, the mRNA tech was in development for a decade now.


> Sorry for being pedantic, but it’s the same as “you don’t die from being shot, but from the resulting blood loss”.

I think I wasn't clear then.

With the Spanish Flu, the virus took hold in the host and multiplied. As part of the immune response, the body released cytokines, which normally help with the situation. But for reasons I don't understand, the Spanish Flu often prompted a "cytokine storm", which is an uncontrolled and excessive release of these molecules, even after the virus was cleared. Ultimately, it was these cytokines, not the virus, that overwhelmed the body and killed the patient. So what we saw with the Spanish Flu was that younger people with stronger immune systems, died more than older people with weaker ones.

But the relevance here is that the mRNA vaccines inject a ton of mRNA to induce the body to produce Spike protein, a piece of Covid, in order to teach the adaptive immune system to recognize it and produce antibodies. And so my question is, could it have been the case that these Spike proteins would induce a cytokine storm? (We see now that they don't, but I'm not sure that was clear a priori.)

In other words, I think it's important to draw the distinction between the "gun shot" and the "blood loss". With Spanish Flu, a lot of the mortality came from the blood loss. However, with Covid, it appears the "gun shot" does more damage (i.e. patients who die form Covid, continue to have high viral loads; it's not a case that the immune system is what kills them).

But none of this was clear in advance.

> Also, we did absolutely have clinical trials

Yes, I said that.


> If that's the case, could the proteins coded by the mRNA potentially have kicked off such a response?

Why would they?

And more specifically, why would they cause lung issues? Because that's the main problem with COVID. The virus like to bind to cells that have a specific receptors, with the vast majority contained in lung tissue.

You would expect to see major damage near the injection site if your cytokine storm theory had weight, but not much else.

If there is a mechanism that will cause side effects on mRNA vaccines, then such mechanism will also be presented in the virus. Except it's a localized, self-limited amount, as mRNA cannot replicate. Viruses can.


> If there is a mechanism that will cause side effects on mRNA vaccines, then such mechanism will also be presented in the virus.

You're forgetting about the lipids the vaccine mRNA is put into.

One big reason it took so long to create mRNA vaccines was finding a suitable lipid mix. They need to have a specific property, they need to be electrically charged in a certain way, and pretty much all lipids with that property are extremely toxic.

The equivalent lipids in the virus don't have this problem because they come from the human cell membrane and they use the spike protein to fuse. Since the vaccine doesn't have a spike protein, it needs that special charge property to be able to spill it's mRNA.

The question now is, if it took sooo long to find those lipids, just what the safety margin on them is?

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27433582/

https://cen.acs.org/pharmaceuticals/drug-delivery/Without-li...


Just for reference, for those that won't read the articles you link to:

The conclusion of the article is that these lipids are safe, with a recommendation for further study. The article is from 2016, no ill effects were found since then


Consider how little is actually injected into the human body (sub milligram dose mixed with saline solution), even if it was toxic, I doubt it would have any effect at this scale.

And btw, there is no difference between lipids we can make and lipids that our cells make. It's the same chemical composition.


While medicine doesn’t work like this, but what is the proposed mechanism from any sort of side effect from the minuscule amount of lipids, probably largely derived from already known substances?

> Except it's a localized, self-limited amount, as mRNA cannot replicate.

Well, hence my question about cytokine storm, since by definition that's an out of control feedback loop prompted by other cytokines and not the underlying virus any more. My question was about whether it's possible that just the spike protein could conceivably have induced that effect.

Good point about the localization of it. Though, I do feel like I read somewhere you see the Spike proteins mostly around the shoulder and in the liver, so it does travel through the blood somewhat.

Also, I was under the misunderstanding that cytokines were part of the adaptive immune system, and hence produced – I think? – in the bone marrow. If that were true, it wouldn't matter so much where the antigens were, since the B/T-Cells (getting confused on which is which) are produced elsewhere and have to make their way there anyway. And if that's the case, they'd be visiting the lungs. And, being adaptive, I thought it was something about the shape of covid and hence the antibodies that kicked off the storm in the lungs, and not necessarily the quantity or prevalence of the antigen in the lungs.

But, turns out it's part of the innate immune system, and seems like cytokines are mostly produced near the infection itself.


Not really, because your muscle where you got shot was mostly producing spike proteins. When you get the virus, it replicates in your lungs, immunity response happens there and if it’s too strong, it can destroy your lung tissue and cause death.

I saw the headline and I thought, "Why do I care what Linus has to say about vaccines? He's just a programmer!"

But then I clicked the link and realized that it was a classic Linus rant! As much as I support codes of conduct and Linus curtailing his asshole behavior regarding technical matters, I think there should be a loophole for anti-vaxxers and other nut jobs who don't care that they might transmit a deadly disease to the immunocompromised or children.


It's a bit disingenuous of you to state that anti-vax people "don't care". Have you actually engaged with any of them? They probably care a lot more than you and me about this stuff, they've just gone to the wrong conclusions.

Also, you generally support Linus curtailing his asshole behavior, but you want to make an exception for anti-vax people? Why? You want them to burrow down harder into their anti-science bunkers? Why? Is that going to make the world a better place somehow? Do _you_ care?


> It's a bit disingenuous of you to state that anti-vax people "don't care". Have you actually engaged with any of them? They probably care a lot more than you and me about this stuff, they've just gone to the wrong conclusions.

Agree.

I know some and at least two are genuinely good people, the kind that would literally and metaphorically take a bullet for for a good cause.

One of them is a qualified nurse, the other an engineer.

I think it is because they have listened to Q.

That is of course bad, but we should ask ourselves: why do good and reasonable people end up there?

Can it be because politicians and media has been caught lying and covering for each other for so long that people don't trust them anymore?

Just yesterday Glenn Greenwald published a detailed walk through of how "Trump used tear gas to remove peaceful demonstrants to take photo in front of church" has been debunked.

It is not the first. That's just another one.

How can people know who to believe?

My latest approach to this has been a very logical one:

say - for the sake of the argument - that doctors and scientists in Europe and US are in the pocket of big Pharma.

If we can agree that Iranian doctors and scientists are not, can we then agree that something else is the reason why Iran still hasn't conquered COVID-19 despite having access to Zink and vitamin D and all the cheap generic pills that are supposed to fix COVID-19 so much more reliably than the vaccines?

(i.e. there are some things one can reasonably believe even if the one who tells it to you are a known liar, but you have to judge.)


I don't think that the point is to convince the insane anti-vaxxer in the mailing list. They are too far gone.

Rather, it's to prevent further radicalisation.


Radicalization is not a binary feature. Outcasting people who are one foot inside the anti-vax camp can push them into the crazy zone both feet in.

Linus rants are bad and he shouldn't do them when it comes to the integrity of the thing he's spent his life working on... but when it's about something We Can All Agree With, Right Guys, then they're good? ok lol

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