Deep in a cave of lies
How do we communicate with someone who has totally lost touch with reality?
I have this cousin who is a hardcore anti-vaxxer, COVID-is-fake kind of guy. Second cousin (thank god all my first cousins are great). I don’t know at what point he fell into this vat of goo but it’s dominated his social media feed for three years.
And, as a result, it’s managed to seep into my feed as well.
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Recently, he tagged me in a post, saying that considering all the work I’ve done to track COVID-19-related death in institutions, when will I look into vaccine deaths?
We do have pretty decent death information related to vaccine-related side effects, inclucing death. If you go to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website, here’s what we know.
There was 419 deaths that were reported as being potentially related to vaccination. Here’s what PHAC’s breakdown says:
163 reports of death were unclassifiable due to lack of available information (not enough information to complete the preliminary assessment)
102 reports of death were inconsistent with causal association to the vaccine (unlikely to be linked to the vaccine)
40 reports of death were indeterminate (insufficient definitive evidence or conflicting evidence for causality)
4 deaths were consistent with causal association to immunization,
So there’s the number: 419 deaths reported and four deaths confirmed to have had a “causal association to immunization.”
Of course, there were other non-lethal side effects, reported by 54,082 individuals. This represents 0.056% of all 97,289,110 vaccine doses delivered (as of Feb. 3). These side effects range from pain at the injection site, headaches and a swollen tongue (sorry to those folks!).
While four confirmed deaths is not nothing, it certainly pales in comparison to the 51,397 deaths that have occurred in Canada due to COVID-19. This is undoubtedly an undercount.
With the data out of the way, let’s talk about what the post was that I was tagged in.
Some guy who pretends to be a doctor has written a substack page that claims that 96 Canadian children in three months have died from a COVID-19 vaccination. I’m not linking it here because I think it’s a tremendous intrusion into the privacy of the families to have their dead child’s name used to prove that vaccines are unsafe.
It took me a couple of searches of the names of the children to find one obituary where the family actually listed the child’s cause of death — a two-year-old died from a rare genetic condition. The rest of the notices, where there was one, simply said that the child died. Many families thanked local pediatric hospitals for ongoing support, suggesting that these were not the sudden deaths that many anti-vaxxers claim that are caused by vaccines.
When I replied to the Facebook comment with a Gofundme of one of the dead children’s families that *clearly states* that the child didn’t die from a vaccine (and who knows if the child was even vaccinated?), there were three replies: one, that it’s classic for me to “find an error. exploit error, call everyone idiots, ignore entire point of message” (???), a random insult related to me having had a booster (???), and this incredible reply, “You probably dont like to hear the truth, which is why you have to ‘fact check’ things.”
In my workshops about dis/misinformation and the far right, I come up against this conundrum all the time: what happens when there is nothing that will convince someone to see that they’re objectively and obviously wrong? (and in this case, being particularly shitty to a family who just lost their child). What happens if there’s nothing we can do?
The pandemic has broken a lot of people’s brains and for some people, many have found an entire identity around believing that they are right and everyone else is wrong. There is no compelling truth from official sources — the only thing we can trust are crudely made cellphone videos, hour-long rants or innuendo that they found on tiktok.
Because if they were to allow themselves to believe what is actually true in society, they’d lose the one thing that makes them precious and unique: a critical mind that’s made of steel, that no corporation or government can penetrate. But neither can a single, objective and verifiable fact either.
The moment that a movement believes that parents are lying about what killed their own children, it has plunged off a cliff into the abyss. We saw this with the fervour around Sandy Hook. There’s nothing we can do except to continue to challenge it, remind ourselves that in public performances of these scripts, we are actually talking to our relative’s other loved ones that might be watching quietly (who are desperate to recover the loved one they remember before all of this happened).
And that through building stronger social services and systems, the doubt and skepticism that is driven by a collapsing social order will be softened.
Because really, if we want to get to the heart of the issue, we need to get radical. We need to get to the root.
It's a strange, quirky, fantastic world we get to live in when the self-cherishing attitude of those who are fortunate enough to get an education creates privilege-bubbles for them to exist in, while those who are given a delusion masquerading as an education flounder not knowing what a mind even is. I am so thankful each and everyday for Lord Buddha Shakyamuni's struggle to understand the root of suffering and to teach The Four Noble Truths, and The Noble Eightfold Path to achieve the cessation of suffering. I am so thankful each and everyday that I accepted the suffering of loneliness, isolation, ostracization as a child so that I could suffer, with love, towards truth as an adult with my basic humanity, mindfulness and self-awareness assembled for myself, by myself. I take all of your suffering past, present, and future (before I even complete typing this out), and give to you all of my joy and happiness.
So I want to point out that there is an element of under reporting on the PHAC website. I know a lot of people who experienced side effects (ranging from shingles, tinnitus, hearing loss etc to more severe such as atrial fibrillation). Not one person has their side effect included in PHACs data. Reasons range from - experiencing a side effect immediately after 2nd dose and telling the nurse who gave the shot and the nurse checking list and saying I can’t report that because it’s not on my list of side effects to more serious side effects that when trying to even ask doctors or specialists - could this be linked to the vaccine and NO ONE literally not a single health care provider will even acknowledge the question. The question is ignored. No one is even open to considering there might be a linkage. It’s just oh we don’t know why you suddenly have a heart condition let’s just keep testing to see if you had Covid - nope negative - well we just don’t know. It’s to the point where there are so many people I know personally who had side effects I am skeptical of the official numbers and data.
As for deaths I don’t know enough to comment but I can’t help but think that data may be off as well. To what scale I don’t know.
There are people like me who are skeptical of the vaccine and did not take it. That does not make me some right wing nut job. It makes me someone who based on my job, knowledge and observations weighed the risk factors and made a different decision that you. In the beginning actually reviewed one of the studies touted as evidence the vaccine was safe during pregnancy and it raised a number of red flags for me. It was the final straw that made me say 100% no not getting that vaccine.
What I do find strange is given your political views how you were not more critical and questioning of the profit motive driving the corporations acceleration of this technology. Where there are incentives to cut corners big corporations often will.