Tuesday 26 October 2021

Putting On The Armour Of Covid Righteousness.

Moral Authority? To those who complain that the Prime Minister is unnecessarily and unethically stigmatising the vaccine hesitant and resistant, there is only one genuinely ethical retort: They have stigmatised themselves.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES facing New Zealanders over the next few weeks will be Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance. Not the least of these will be the challenge of understanding what makes so many people so unwilling to do what the overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens are asking them to do. To reach such an understanding will require an effort of the imagination that a rapidly decreasing number of New Zealanders – especially those living in Auckland – are willing to make. For these Kiwis, the Covid proposition is fast resolving itself into a very simple binary: Get vaccinated for society, or, get excluded from society.

That, essentially, was the Prime Minister’s message from the podium on Friday, 22 October 2021:

Vaccinations are our armour. They help keep us safe.

So my message to the New Zealanders who have not yet had their first dose – if you want summer, if you want to go to bars and restaurants. Get vaccinated. If you want to get a haircut. Get vaccinated. If you want to go to a concert, or a festival – get vaccinated. If you want to go to a gym, or a sports events, get vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, there will be everyday things you will miss out on.

And if you are vaccinated you can be assured that in the new framework, you will get to enjoy the things you love, secure in the knowledge that the people around you, and the environment you are in, is as safe as possible in a COVID world. If you have done the right thing to keep yourself and others safe, to look after one another, you should feel safe. You should be protected from those who haven’t made that choice.

But, is it fair to declare that the vaccine hesitant have made a genuine “choice”? The answer to that question turns upon the degree to which those falling into this category have heard and understood the messages directed towards them concerning the Pfizer vaccine.

Is it still a tenable proposition to suggest that after so many weeks of unrelenting messaging, from a vast array of sources, delivered from, and to, every conceivable platform, there are still people out there who have not heard that the Pfizer vaccine is tested, efficacious, safe, and absolutely crucial to New Zealand re-emerging into something approximating normality?

It beggars belief to argue that more than a tiny number of such individuals exist.

But, if the message has been received and understood by the yet-to-be-vaccinated, then only one conclusion can reasonably be drawn. The so-called “vaccine hesitant” aren’t really hesitant at all. Though they may lack the courage to come right out and admit to being vaccine resisters, they have, nevertheless, made that choice.

The Labour Government’s professional advisors seem reluctant to accept that this is, indeed, the case. It is possible that their reluctance stems from a deeply ingrained disinclination to hold the ill-treated and excluded members of our society accountable. The proposition that the experience of being ill-treated and excluded makes a human-being more – not less – likely to behave selfishly and, all-too-often, brutally towards others, is quite simply unacceptable. In the eyes of the relevant professionals, such people are victims of circumstances beyond their control. As such, they cannot be held morally accountable. As the French put it: Tout comprendre c’est tout pardoner. To understand all, is to forgive all.

All very well for the sociologists and medical ethicists, but not at all helpful to a Government struggling with the problem of what to do with citizens who refuse to acknowledge either the validity of “The Science”, or their obligations to the collective welfare of the society in which they live.

After all, the proudly vaccine resistant – the so-called “anti-vaxxers” – cannot even point to a brutalised upbringing in poverty as the explanation for their selfishness. In the avowed and proud anti-vaxxer, the state is confronted with the sort of reckless solipsism that it is actually dangerous to ignore. The sort of people who make fake bookings at a vaccination centre in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the system should not be forgiven – they should be punished.

In resolving these dilemmas, the Vaccination Certificate emerges as the only viable vector for the virtues of both the Carrot and the Stick. Without it, the Government’s goal of getting 90 percent of the population double-jabbed simply will not be reached before the patience of the already vaccinated expires. If that is allowed to happen (and in Auckland it is not far away) then the authorities will find themselves confronted with even more pressing challenges to New Zealand’s well-being.

Vaccination Certificates promise to be highly efficacious in hurrying along the huge number of young people who have yet to get around to getting themselves vaccinated. The idea of not being able to go to pubs and clubs without “the passport” should be a powerful incentive for this group. Youth is nothing if not highly social. It is also acutely fearful of missing out on the fun its friends are having. If all it takes is a couple of more-or-less painless shots in the arm to gain admission to the footy and the most fashionable music festivals, then WTFN?

For older New Zealanders the looming possibility of “No Jab. No Job” should also hurry along the stragglers. Though pointedly left out of the Prime Minister’s Friday speech, “No Jab. No Job” is only a fast-tracked parliamentary bill away from further arming the authorities against the uncooperative minority.

To those who object that the state is arming itself with a sledgehammer to crush a handful of nuts, the Prime Minister and her colleagues need only cite their duty, as the people’s representatives, to do the greatest good by the greatest number. They have a whole raft of concerns over and above the paranoid fantasies of anti-vaxxers to consider. There are people whose mental fragility is fast becoming critical. Small business owners, in particular, who cannot be expected to see their life’s work ruined because their government pays more heed to the relentless selfishness of a handful of solipsists and anomic lumpenproletarians than it does to those who have done everything the state has asked of them.

It is not fashionable these days to bracket politicians and morals in the same sentence. Nevertheless, our democratically-elected government has both the right and the duty to protect the New Zealand people from harm. Indeed, the safety of the people is its supreme duty. Those whose conduct threatens the safety of the people cannot be located anywhere else but in the wrong.

No reasonable person can deny that Jacinda Ardern’s Government has deployed a whole fieldful of carrots in an attempt to persuade those who remain unvaccinated to do the right thing by their fellow citizens. That she is now reaching – however tentatively – for “The Stick” is incontrovertibly the correct moral choice.

To those who complain that she is unnecessarily dividing “The Team of Five Million” by unethically stigmatising the vaccine hesitant and resistant, there is only one genuinely ethical retort:

They have stigmatised themselves.

This essay was originally posted on the Interest.co.nz website of Monday, 25 October 2021.


Barry said...

Chris - you surprise me. A good old Socialists like you introducing the concepts of "responsible" and "social obligation"
Ever since the movement to obstruct personal responsibilty began some decades with the excuse that ones mother didnt or did breast feed one and thus it wasnt his fault that he assulted someone and almost killed a human, the use of the idea of personal responsibility has almost been lost to history.
The last 30 odd years have been all about "rights" without any reference to "responsibility".
A good dose of the consequences of not recognising ones responsibility would be a welcome return to society.

Anonymous said...

Good heavens, Chris - if this were an insurance contract, the Consumers organisation would pull you up for not using Plain English. Solipsists and anomic's indeed. However, your writing style is certainly a joy and thank goodness for Dr. Google. I have to say, in seven decades, I have never come across those words. But think of your younger readers, though they might not be the demographic you wish to appeal to....

Patricia said...

I have just been talking to my daughter who lives in Victoria about the vaccine certificate and how long it is taking to get it set up here. Her comment is that it needs to be a lot better than Victoria’s is. She said it is so easy to circumvent it is farcical. Apparently the youngsters send their certificate to others to use. Their is no check on the actual identity of the person using it. And I suppose that means that those coming to New Zealand with their vaccination certificate or app will need to be checked too. What a nightmare

Nick J said...

Au revoir.

David George said...

Now here's an interesting take on it all:

"In our present-day sequels to the War on Terror — the campaigns against racism and Covid — hegemonic institutions pursue enemies and suspend liberal norms in the name of our psychological and physical wellbeing. Now in possession of what we might call the commanding heights of the moral economy, from which it produces elites’ and would-be elites’ worldview, this Left no longer needs to perform radicalness.

It can assume instead the position of a centre ringed about by benighted, ignorant, but nevertheless dangerous enemies: conservatives. The latter are not credited with having specific, comprehensible or legitimate objections to the dominant policies and values. They are instead imagined as hateful, prejudiced enemies of legality, science, and moral decency — that is, they are seen not as political foes, but as cognitive and moral degenerates — in a manner that recalls the way Islamic terrorists during the Bush era were said to hate America “for our freedom” and to be full of irrational “Islamic rage”, rather than recognised as having a comprehensible set of objections to American policies in the Middle East.

We should not be surprised to hear pleas for the rule of law and deference for experts from those who once, drawing on radical theory, revealed the subterfuges and hypocrisies behind liberal norms of legality and objectivity. Critique, like terrorism, is a weapon of the weak. The powerful claim to defend security, reason and morality, while those out of power, grown clever and cynical from their experience of marginality, contest these claims and question whether such things even exist to be defended. With the cultural Left in the ascendancy, the political theory by which it climbed has become a ladder to be thrown away — and available to be taken up by the Right."


Frank Macskasy said...


Furthermore, the dubious "right" of unvaccinated to fill our hospitals when Delta (or an even more diabolical strain) eventually catches up with them, while excluding others desperately needing medical assistance, is difficult to tolerate.

We can recall the opprobrium thrown at drunks who fill our A&E Wards on Fridays and Saturdays, harassing, abusing,and assaulting hospital staff, whilst others needing urgent attention wait to take their turn.

Freedom of choice to get drunk? Sure. But with rights comes responsibilities.

Same with those who vacillate or refuse to take a vaccine, that in the Middle Ages with the Black Plague rampant, would have been seen as a divine miracle.

Anyone who doesn't get that hasn't grown up.

greywarbler said...

This certainly applies in society:
It is possible that their reluctance stems from a deeply ingrained disinclination to hold the ill-treated and excluded members of our society accountable. The proposition that the experience of being ill-treated and excluded makes a human-being more – not less – likely to behave selfishly and, all-too-often, brutally towards others, is quite simply unacceptable. In the eyes of the relevant professionals, such people are victims of circumstances beyond their control. As such, they cannot be held morally accountable. As the French put it: Tout comprendre c’est tout pardoner. To understand all, is to forgive all.

The PMC adopt a patronising attitude to the different ways of the hoi polloi. And in fact
don't understand what drives them, which often means that helpful, well-intentioned moves do not produce expected outcomes. There may be basic net benefit calculations that take precedence over middle-class reasoning. Understanding the strong drive for recognition and importance whereby an abused child may encourage some because that is the way to be centre of concern. A parent may make their child sick to enable it to get hospital treatment and the parent to get rare recognition etc. See - Munchausen syndrome (also known as factitious disorder) is a rare type of mental disorder in which a person fakes illness. And the pull to behave obliquely can affect the wealthy as well as the poor.

The question is what argument or solution will help this person work in with society for everybody's good? How can they be helped to do what is best for their health and family?

Tom Hunter said...

"Putting On The Armour Of Covid Righteousness."

You have always been florid in your writing, but this a point of no return. This is not the Black Death or even the Spanish Flu. It's not even the flu of 1957 or '68/69, for which in both cases, history records other events that happened in those years, such were our attitudes toward life and death, and "safety".

I will eave you then with the following quote, but this time in full, given how it fits.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

David George said...

It's alarming to see "the challenge of understanding" being actively discouraged, you certainly won't see anything but the open and public vilification and ridicule of those that choose to remain un-vaxxed in our media. Or from our "they are us" government come to that. I'm vaccinated but I'll be damned if I'm going to be told to hate anyone for their choice.

The extraordinary move to compulsory vax mandates, the division by race and district or the no jab - no job - no holiday edicts surely wouldn't have been taken lightly, they were categorically ruled a mere couple of months ago. On balance I think it would have been better to have encouraged and enabled vaccination but set an end date for a general removal of restrictions. There's something deeply concerning about the fear and division being openly promoted - sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

CXH said...

The big stick should just be no jab, no hospital access for a covid problem. This would remove any possible pressure on our hospital system as well as reinforcing the concept of taking responsibility for personal decisions.

A O said...

The problem is this, the so-called "unrelenting messaging" is devoid of verifiable information, thus it falls under my definition of "misinformation". The messaging matters little. The sourcing matters little, ditto the platform it springs form. The only thing that matters is the verifiable proof that proves the claims being made. there is little to any proof about any of the claims being made, let alone vaccine efficacy....

A O.

Tom Hunter said...

BTW, for all you "double-jabbed" (god how I've come to hate that infantile word), fully vaccinated people, booster shots are going to become part of your life from here on. Probably every six months, otherwise your vaccine passport will lapse and you will be cast into the pit of the unvaccinated.

I have to say that it all rather reminds me of what has increasingly been happening to software in recent years, where annual subscriptions are required to use applications, as well the concept spreading into other areas such as cars and machinery. Check out John Deere's history on this.

Now, Pfizer, Moderna and other such companies appear to be on the verge of incorporating this into the world of medical treatments.

The Barron said...

I have been consistent om this issue, unlike a number of the contributor, my starting point has been the current framework for safety within the workplace and how that will apply. While I personally support mandates for all workplaces, my contribution on this issue is not what I advocate, but an analysis of the direction we are going. To this end, I offer the following -

What the Government has done so far is mandate in areas that are obvious to the reasonable person on the Clapham bus. The welfare of children, aged, disabled and sick helped the Government dip the toe. Now, the logical leap from entry mandates is that staff in those venues must be vaccinated. The Government has also floated that non-vaccinated entry to some contact with the public service and essential services such as supermarkets will be assured.

The last point I do not think is sustainable in the present form. It is far more likely 'special arrangements' will be required for individual unvaccinated access. Worker rights and the rights of the client base will have business and Government litigation adverse and lead putting these changes in place.

Hospitality has required vaccine mandates, why not the work canteen? the smoko room? can an employer reasonably guarantee that an unvaccinated employee maintains a mask when using communal staff toilets? Remember, it is the employer as the PCBU is responsible for the safety of all within the premises. This means trying to manage all areas of potential contact.

Do I have the right to exclude an unvaccinated Police Office from my home? Would a warrant specify that only vaccinated officers have entry. Would this be the same for close contact in the street? in the cells? Other emergency workers such as Fire Fighters may be required to give resuscitation or other close contact - if a health worker is mandated to protect you in the same circumstance, why not the other emergency services? Or, equipment provided to avoid these situations - at further cost, or some (unvaccinated) emergency workers are reassigned from potential close contact actions.

Call Centres require the removal of masks for core parts of the job, a non-vaccinated employee would have to be isolated in a different work area. Is this a reasonable cost to the employer? If not, can the unvaccinated person continue to be employed? Receptionists that are front of house. A PA in close contact with a manager? A manager in close contact with a PA? A mayor? Shared work vehicles, are masks safe enough? Taxis?

The situation with retail is a no brainer. Hospitality has set the pattern. Is the person selling tee-shirts as vulnerable as the person selling sushi? Package food over freshly cooked? While hospitality has some need for mask removal for eating of drinking, employees in retail have the right to ask for a safety analysis which will be including the veracity of masks. If a hazard still exists, it must be managed.

There will be expansion of mandates as this is the most cost effective way employers can reasonably protect the workers from potential risk. Employers are very aware of the legal and financial consequences of not doing this.

The Barron said...

It is always an interesting historical exercise to look at those thar were 'on the wrong side of history', and their later self-justication not only of their own position, but also why those that took the stance historically supported, were still actually wrong.

During the McCarthy hearings, those that had warned of Hitler and Mussolini were accused of "premature criticism of fascism".

David George said...

Ken Mair, Wanganui, is deeply worried about the division, of course he looks at it from a Maori perspective but this is turning ugly more broadly:

"I have major concern in particular for Māori workers about how they're being treated, ostracised, isolated and alienated," Mair said.

"Some of them are really concerned around losing their jobs and also what's the next step? Do they get charged, are they made criminals for this decision that they've made?

"In the workplace, I can see major fall-out and division, people being distraught – really, really frightened for their wellbeing, for their whānau's wellbeing, their economic wellbeing. The impact upon the Māori community will be massive."

Trev1 said...

Deeply immoral nonsense Mr Trotter. This is evil (and yes I am double jabbed).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Funny, for years bars have been refusing service to people who are intoxicated, wrongly dressed, wearing jandals. No one seemed to complain. All of a sudden you refuse service for someone without a vaccination and its a hanging offence. Try showing some personal responsibility. And take the consequences if you can't. As they say in the memes, "the fuck your feelings crowd sure have a lot of feelings."

A O said...

In the current Covid climate, refusing service to the unvaccinated is not seen as a hanging offence by most people, Guerilla. Arguably, this type of action is being welcomed especially by my side of the political divide. I never thought I'd see the day when discrimination would be coveted by many people on the Left....

greywarbler said...

GS that's similar to - I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.“ - Tom Lehrer. (He embraces she.)

The Barron said...

Now your both epidemiologist and fortune teller. Scientist and mystic.

Booster shots maybe needed, so what? It seems that up to 95% of New Zealanders are willing to do what will be required for the safety and security of family and friends, and more impressively for the health and well-being of those we may never meet.

Being part of a society comes with mutual responsibilities.

It is hard to comprehend unvaccinated visiting aged care, but we know they will if restrictions are not in place. It would seem outrageous that the unvaccinated would work intimately with pregnant women, the sick and the disabled, but we know they would without restriction. It is repugnant to think of those that have not taken public health precautions with teaching authority over children, but we know the ego disregards the needs of others.

As we are watching a communal response to a crisis, we should find solace that the vast majority embrace at duty of care to our neighbour.

A O said...

Booster shots will be needed, Israel is leading the way with this and showing the rest of the world what is to come. Thus, each and every one of us here will (re)join the ranks of the unvaccinated if you either do not get your booster on cue and then for the first 14 days after the shot.

As for societal responsibilities, what does society say about division and discrimination? Furthermore, what does it say about today's world if society shows itself to have little problem with either. Mind you, for all I know, society may have always had little problem with either, granted, this has not being the society that I have been a part of.

And as for the "communal response". How much of this is natural and how much of this has been influenced by the unrelenting and unchallenged messaging that the entire world, let alone the little communal NZ team of 5m has endured all throughout this crisis?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"booster shots are going to become part of your life from here on. Probably every six months, otherwise your vaccine passport will lapse and you will be cast into the pit of the unvaccinated."

So you never get the flu jab? You've never had an update on your tetanus? God you conservatives must be short of real stuff to complain about now aren't you? :)

Tom Hunter said...

So you never get the flu jab?
No, knowing that it's a hit-and-miss affair for the given strain of flu forecast for that season. Also because I am - relative to most of the commentators here - young and healthy so never saw flu severe illness/death as more than a theoretical, low-probability threat.

Also never had anybody demand I get it to save others who had the flu shot.

You've never had an update on your tetanus?
Just a few years ago actually but it was based on a friendly, non-coercive discussion with my doctor, who did not have my vaccinations records so merely raised it as a question. Given the risk of infection (low) but severe/illness impact (high) it seemed like the sensible thing to do.

Funnily enough it was also another vaccination where nobody demanded I get it to save them from catching the disease.

Luckily there is a solution to all of this and it's a system easily within reach of this government:
Lin Jinyue, lead designer of China’s social credit system, extolls its value and his hope for worldwide adoption:

“If you had the social credit system, there would never have been the Yellow Vests, we would have detected that before they acted.”

The Barron said...

"division and discrimination"???

You are 20 x more likely to get Covid19 from an unvaccinated person than one who is vaccinated. Someone who is 20 times more likely to cause the harm or death of others, and decides through sheer arrogance not to take a simple measure to negate this, is the cause of division.

The health and well-being of the vulnerable (and, indeed the healthy) is not discrimination. That is like suggesting putting disables access is discrimination against the bipedal.

greywarbler said...

Covid discussion seems like a circle of Pass the Parcel, no-one wants to hold the subject and its gravity, long enough to actually encompass its effects on us all and that it is serious and not SEP.

Go back to basics on what can happen to individuals who have it or can catch it, and the concern that drives all and disrupts life for those not in gated communities, and the reality of life interferes with the airy- fairy and the dedicated masticators of ideas and perception. Jaw, jaw, is what so many people who write here specialise in, and no concern for actual society. I think what the self-important want is a symposium, or at least a drawn-out discourse, while other ordinary people not in big business are desperate for needed action, with their basic needs met with reasoned and timely action.

We are so ineffectual often as a country yet have the appearance of a modern society. A Covid concerned NZr trapped in the USA was quoted comparing us to their systems. How can we 5 million people go forward with such high expectations and such poor ability or willingness to meet them; we break off into theory, prefer discussion, with no definite, reasonable outcome that we can all agree on, a plan to go forward with.

A O said...

"You are 20 x more likely to get Covid19 from an unvaccinated person than one who is vaccinated. Someone who is 20 times more likely to cause the harm or death of others, and decides through sheer arrogance not to take a simple measure to negate this, is the cause of division."

Now all you have to do The Barron is provide the verifiable scientific evidence that supports this claim. The unvaccinated are "20 times more likely to cause the harm or death of others" is a seriously, seriously big claim, thus the evidence that supports this claim should be numerous or at the very least, compelling. So please The Barron - provide the evidence! Understand, The Barron, that providing verifiable evidence is the key to this entire crisis. If we are to follow the dictates of the government, which now includes willful discrimination and division (which is typically foreign behavior to the Left)then we need to at least, ensure that the science underpinning these dictates (and our own understanding of any given facet of this crisis)is both sound and easily verifiable by any one of us!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"No, knowing that it's a hit-and-miss affair for the given strain of flu forecast for that season. Also because I am - relative to most of the commentators here - young and healthy so never saw flu severe illness/death as more than a theoretical, low-probability threat."

Then you're free riding on those of us who do. Bludger.

"based on a friendly, non-coercive discussion with my doctor"

No one is coercing you to do anything. If we look at this in conservative terms, all they are doing is providing you with "choices". You know, like all those people who "choose" to be poor that you conservatives keep blagging on about.

Tom Hunter said...

You are 20 x more likely to get Covid19 from an unvaccinated person than one who is vaccinated.

No link but I gather from other blogs that this is sourced from Stuff.co.nz (Dominion Post), which is not a surprise as very old people still get their news from the likes of it, plus the cosy 6pm news on One or Three.

By contrast you can actually go direct to Bloomberg and find that...

People inoculated against Covid-19 are just as likely to spread the delta variant of the virus to contacts in their household as those who haven’t had shots, according to new research.

In a yearlong study of 621 people in the U.K. with mild Covid-19, scientists found that their peak viral load was similar regardless of vaccination status, according to a paper published Thursday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal…

…“Our findings show that vaccination alone is not enough to prevent people from being infected with the delta variant and spreading it in household settings,” said Ajit Lalvani, a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London who co-led the study. “The ongoing transmission we are seeing between vaccinated people makes it essential for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated to protect themselves.”

So there you go, they're still pushing for people to get vaccinated as a protection against getting sick and dying, but obviously these vaccinations won't stop it spreading, which is something that's been obvious with all the massive increase in Delta cases in highly vaccinated places like Singapore, Ireland and Israel.

The good news is that Delta is even less lethal.

David George said...

Sometimes these questions are best answered at the personal, moral (or even psychological) level.
I was reading about someone that received an invitation to a private social gathering, it stipulated: Vaccinated Only to attend. Would you, as a vaccinated person that would like to attend A/ accept happily or B/ refuse to attend on principle.

I'm conservative, reasonably liberal, possibly vulnerable but vaccinated. I would choose option B.

Tom Hunter said...

Then you're free riding on those of us who do. Bludger.

Well I'm glad that you are at least being consistent in this, having recognised that you have to be given that you've swallowed this "logic" whole for Covid-19.

However, within the context of the flu vaccines, and vaccines as we've dealt with them for the last century or more, the logic of "free riding" is a new and unique argument. To be it bluntly I am not protected from you and your virus at all.

If we look at this in conservative terms, all they are doing is providing you with "choices"
I know that you think you're being awfully clever, but when the state is using the private sector to obtain their choice then it amounts to the same "choice" I have in obeying or disobeying any other state law, rather than the positive choice of learning something and getting a job in order to not be poor.

Besides, when it comes to your beloved welfare state people have been free-riding on me for decades and this was held to be entirely acceptable by the likes of you.

The Barron said...

Yep, Christopher Baker and Andrew Robinson writing in Stuff, Oct 30 2021 -
"Your unvaccinated friend is roughly 20 times more likely to give you Covid"
(originally published in the Conversation)


Christopher Baker is a Research Fellow in Statistics for Biosecurity Risk at The University of Melbourne. Andrew Robinson is the CEO of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk
Analysis at The University of Melbourne.

*Recent reports from the Victorian Department of Health find that unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to contract Covid than vaccinated people.

* vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the disease even if they become infected. The Doherty modelling from August puts the reduction at around 65 per cent, although more recent research has suggested a lower estimate for AstraZeneca. [for the thought exercise take the lower value of 50%]

* if they were vaccinated, they’re 10 times less likely to be infected and half as likely to infect me, following the numbers above.

* Hence, we arrive at a 20-fold reduction in risk when hanging out with a vaccinated person compared to someone who’s not vaccinated.

* The calculation holds true whether you yourself are vaccinated or not. But being vaccinated provides a 10-fold reduction for yourself, which is on top of the risk reduction that comes from people you’re mixing with being vaccinated

* dining in an all-vaccinated restaurant and working in an all-vaccinated workplace presents a much lower infection risk to us as individuals, whether we are vaccinated or not. The risk reduction is around 20-fold

I guess AO you missed it if you were marching.

As for Tom, I hold any seemingly intelligent person in absolute contempt if they are not taking a simple health precaution for the safety of others. As I have previously shared on this blog, I was in Samoa when children were dying because of previous non-engagement with a Measles vaccine plan. Your disregard for the safety, welfare and lives of the vulnerable in society based on a pugnacious, arrogant and ignorant disregard for evidence has been annoying on this blog, but now it threatens others it should be called out for what it is.

A O said...

What is actually missing, The Barron, is the study undertaken by the Victorian Department of Health that finds "unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to contract Covid than vaccinated people". This is the science that matters, bearing in mind that this claim underpins Messrs Baker and Robinson's hypothesis that supercharges(doubles)this claim through using a specific type of calculation (a relative risk calculation)of variables assumed to be true. In short, it is the study that matters, it is this study (or report) that you need to produce because the claims being made from it and as a result of it are monumental in size.

Furthermore, in regards to the article in general, the musings of a couple of qualified people along with the insertion of a scientific method(modelling)of figures unrelated to the central claim here, may on the surface look impressive, but no, they simply muddy the waters. We need the evidence behind the big claims being made, we need evidence akin to the Bloomberg link Tom Hunter recently provided that easily links to the science behind the information it touts.

Tom Hunter said...

Your disregard for the safety, welfare and lives of the vulnerable in society based on a ...

... scientific understanding of the difference between this virus and Measles and the difference between a sterilising virus like that for Measles and the Covid-19 vaccine.

To be fair I can't really be too harsh on you about this since your beloved Prime Minister has, in public, made exactly the same comparison between the two. As even pro-vaccine people have noted, this is incredibly stupid.

As far as your "Stuff" link is concerned Christopher Baker and Andrew Robinson simply don't match up to the links I put forward from the Lancet in terms of the study, arguments and qualifications of the likes of Ajit Lalvani, a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, plus the people who worked with him on the that study.

But nice try on the moral outrage and high dudgeon. Had I not run into exactly the same from Far Lefters like you before I'd have been convinced.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well Tom, you've completely missed my point of course which is that conservatives will free ride when they want to, but condemn other people for doing it. In other words it's hypocrisy.
How often do we hear conservatives saying about people not getting a decent wage "Well they choose to work in that job". As if it's a true choice. If you're learning that we don't necessarily have true choices, I guess that's a good thing. Keep it up.

The Barron said...

I can't be bothered engaging in a ridiculous google search for alternative stats and studies. Most people could not live with themselves if they were given reasonable evidence that they could be harmful to others but did nothing. I can't really give a shit about AO or Tom's self justification, if you remain unvaccinated you increase the possibility of the spread of Covid19 to children, elderly and disabled. Many in this blog focus on the fact that if the unvaccinated contract Covid19 there are repercussions to the health system, but my argument is simple - by allowing the spread of the virus you are consciously placing the health of others in danger.

The vaccinated elderly are less robust with vaccines (this is true of all vaccines), whereas the young and children may get very ill from Covid19, but the greatest danger is that up to one in three will contract Long Covid. Below is a link to the Herald interview with Prof. Warren Tate of Otago University in which he is a world expert on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, where he agrees with most international experts that Long Covid is a form of CFS. All with CFS are disabled for life to some extent, with one in four unable to work or study.

Currently under 12s are unvaccinated (vaccination greatly reduces the development of Long Covid even if infected with Covid19). Three-quarters of British children may have contracted Covid (link below). Children can contract CFS / ME are can be disabled for life.

I support mandatory vaccination for those working in health or education (I simply cannot understand why anyone would have such disregard for the safety of the vulnerable client base to be unvaccinated). As we open up before booster shots for the elderly and vulnerable or vaccination for those 12 - 5 years, that people would spend their time trolling the net to justify the endangerment of others should be beyond me. However, given the previous post from right-wingers, I should not be surprised. I think Chris was right about a death cult amongst us.



A O said...

The problem here, The Barron, is that this claim “You are 20 x more likely to get Covid19 from an unvaccinated person than one who is vaccinated.” is incredibly divisive and very, very eye-catching. As such, one would expect that the science that underpins this claim is made available to be verified by any one of us. I am not asking for ‘alternate stats or studies’, The Barron, I am simply asking for the science that underpins this claim. The article that this claim is the centre of, refers to the science, but does not link to the science. Surely, for the sake of unity and good will, we should at least try to find out if there is any truth to such divisive claims.

The Barron said...

You asked for the reference, it was provided. It came from research from two highly qualified medical statisticians.

I presume you do not share their qualifications otherwise you would present a counter article for the Stuff network. Instead you bleat on in someone else's blog under a nom de plume.

You have been provided with the link, the authors, the basis of their research and their qualifications.

As I have expressed elsewhere, the term divisive is only applicable if you give status to the right of the unvaccinated to cause harm. I do not. I support all measures to restrict their to the vulnerable in the community. The Australian statisticians simply reiterate the need.

Tom Hunter said...

It's likely not possible to penetrate the fear of an old person still addicted to The Herald or Stuff/Dominion Post, but let's take just two statements from The Barron:
if you remain unvaccinated you increase the possibility of the spread of Covid19 to children
whereas the young and children may get very ill from Covid19,

First, there is no need to Google; you can simply have links to places like The New England Journal of Medicine, CDC, Lancet, Johns Hopkins, etc etc. And the CDC stats show that children less than 12 have suffered a Covid-19 death rate so close to zero that it is effectively zero. Which then leads to this:

“Thinking that everyone must be vaccinated is as scientifically flawed as thinking that nobody should. COVID vaccines are important for older high-risk people, and their care-takers. Those with prior natural infection do not need it. Nor children.

Wow! I wonder what fringe nutcase said that:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and epidemiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He helped develop the CDC’s current system for monitoring potential vaccine risks.

A Harvard Medical School colleague specializing in drug and vaccine safety research, Jeffrey Brown, said that Kulldorff is a “world-class” vaccine safety “superstar,” “His qualifications are spectacular,…He’s an international expert in vaccine safety. No one on earth would question whether he’s qualified. … He’s a pioneer.”

But yeah. The Herald. Stuff. A couple of biostatisticians with an Australian computer model, telling the already frightened and fearful exactly what they want to hear. Super trustworthy and scientific.

The Barron said...

See my 1/11 post regarding Ling Covid and children.

Strangely when I read your posts Tom I get Maggie Smith's voice in my head as Jean Brodie idealistic in send youth to their death on Spain.

I am finished with this thread, but I leave with a question for you Tom -
Can you make you make your hat out of supermarket tin foil or do you have to get special stuff on line?

A O said...

"You asked for the reference, it was provided. It came from research from two highly qualified medical statisticians."

I asked for the science that underpins the calculation performed by the aforementioned medical statisticians that has led to this incredibly divisive claim - “You are 20 x more likely to get Covid19 from an unvaccinated person than one who is vaccinated.”

Until we can verify the variables being calculated (which currently we cannot) then the claim is invalid. The science matters.

kaya said...

Mr Trotter. You are advocating free speech but in this article you want to punish those who, with the current available evidence, made a choice based on science and real world information. Not "The Science" as you call it. There is no such thing as "The Science." Real science lives and breathes on the ability to challenge it.
There may be a case that you wrote this at a time when many people were conned and propagandised to an extent never seen before, though I would have thought you would have been intelligent enough to see the basic flaws in the narrative.

However, in the light of all currently available information, do you still stand by your comments and your desire to punish fellow citizens for doing nothing more than making free, informed choice based on real science? Or will you revisit this subject and have the moral fortitude to admit you were wrong, and vow never to call for the punishment of people who have done NOTHING wrong, ever again?
You are an intelligent man who has much to offer with your usually on point observations, do the right thing. It will not go away. There are hundreds of thousands in NZ and millions around the world who will never forget. We WILL forgive, but not without acknowledgement that what happened was wrong.
Over to you. If you don't publish this and at least acknowledge this is a thing, we will know you have chosen the coward's way.

As for some of your commenters, The Barron, Guerilla Surgeon in particular. Your comments didn't age well did they? When people wonder how they would have acted during the segregation days in the US in the 50s or the demonisation of the Jews in 1930s Germany, now you know. It's disturbing, but also enlightening to see your fellow human beings exposed in this way.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Kaya

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, Kaya.

Knowing now what I didn't know then, I may well have searched harder for a way of accommodating those who feared and/or opposed on principle the Pfizer vaccine.

Certainly, the events of February/March 2022 in Parliament Grounds gave me real cause to think again about the effects and consequences of the Vaccination Mandates.

Essentially, however, I believe the posting stands the test of time. The nation was (and still is) in the grip of a pandemic. Its government did its best, with the knowledge it had, and the advice it received, to keep the New Zealand people safe.

The counterfactual - Kaya's Way - would, almost certainly, have produced something much, much worse.

After all, the Vaccination Mandates have gone - and dozens of New Zealanders are dying every week.

Brendan McNeill said...


The vaccine mandates are not gone, they have been delegated to employers and individual groups and associations.

You will find that Health workers in several categories are still under employer vaccine mandates, and that individual employers and voluntary associations appear to still be able to mandate vaccinations:

"Employers can choose to require workers to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment."


I know people who are unable to volunteer their services to the Cancer Society, or attend U3A meetings because these organisations have retained vaccine mandates.

All this, even though we know that the vaccinated and unvaccinated are equally able to be infected, and to pass on the virus. Such is the irrational fear our Government has intentionally generated. People's lives continue to be diminished as a result.

kaya said...

Sorry if I posted multiple times Chris. My first time around was rejected due to too many characters, then I didn't know if it was being uploaded or not. Cheers.

kaya said...

Chris - There was no "hindsight" involved in what I posted. I was following and listening to those experts who understood what would happen, not those favoured by mainstream media because they happily supported a clearly fabricated narrative.

Yes, people are dying every week, as they always do. There is excess mortality in NZ, the rise of this follows exactly the rollout of the vaccines. It will be a combination of many things including lack of diagnosis during lockdowns, weakened immune systems, depression etc. Predicted and predictable outcomes from untried interventions during a pandemic. The stupidest being that it was known that the worst thing you can do is vaccinate DURING a pandemic.
I did quite a long post on it, that's the one I was apologising about, but it looks like you haven't posted that one.

Needless to say, it contradicts your belief that your post "stands the test of time." As someone who purports to advocate for free speech I would have thought that should be even more important when it comes to bodily autonomy. Suppressing someone's pov is one thing, but forcibly injecting them with an experimental product or punishing them if the decide to decline is next level fascism.

If you don't publish I'll understand. "Free" speech isn't always free.