I’d like to escape the seductive embrace of this laptop. I don’t want to be a member of the laptop class, who from behind their virtual screens, know better than those engaging physically and essentially with the material world. I tell myself it’s time to retreat into the olive groves, to inhale the sweet aroma of the herbs and flowers , to taste the pungent odour of my favourite flock of anarchic goats. I tell myself to do this is running away. In the end my ability to access both the vociferous unison of voices within the dominant class and the contradictory chorus of oft subdued voices in opposition offers in equal measure despair and hope. Hence, especially over the last two years. I’ve spent far too much time in my Greek garret ‘surfing the net’, to use an already old-fashioned turn of phrase, seeking critical thought from whomever and wherever. It has felt an obligation to do so. In the tiniest of ways it felt a contribution to that vital questioning of the status quo, of the motives of the powerful, without which, I fear. our hard-won rights and freedoms are in grave jeopardy.
With this in mind, I intend to be more relaxed about pointing you to pieces of writing, which I find stimulating. Whilst it’s always fruitful to try to find one’s own words and good for oneself, it’s not at all always necessary. In this light I recommend this article by David Bell, a public health physician based in the United States. After working in internal medicine and public health in Australia and the UK, he worked in the World Health Organization (WHO), as Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, and as Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, USA. He consults in biotech and global health. MBBS, MTH, PhD, FAFPHM, FRCP.
Mass vaccination of those at minimal risk, with a vaccine that does not reduce transmission, is poor public health practice. Where this diverts financial and human resources from diseases of greater burden, it becomes a public health negative. This is orthodox, normal, and should not be controversial.
While the West is absorbed in its internal bunfights over vaccine mandates, masks and freedom, there seems one thing upon which all agree: ‘Vaccine Equity’- Ensuring those in low- and middle-income countries have the same access to Covid-19 vaccines as high-income populations. Even those skeptical of mass vaccination have been promoting the transfer of stocks to low-income populations, in preference to Western booster programs. Giving stuff to the poor is a good thing – that no good person could oppose – it shows we really care. A “global good.”
The World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi Alliance, CEPI, the World Economic Forum and governments globally are flying the humanitarian flag under the ‘COVAX’ umbrella, echoing the catchphrase “No one is safe, unless everyone is safe.”
A beguiling slogan, one that perfectly underlines the fallacy that is this entire charade and the shrewdness of its selling. If the vaccine is protective, the vaccinated are safe. If this is not true, if all remain unsafe, then this vaccine is not fit for this particular purpose. An international program costing many billions of dollars is based on empty, incoherent jargon.
To emphasize the absurdity, UNICEF has joined the rush to sell and implement this program whilst simultaneously recording the unprecedented harms the mono-virus focus of the Covid-19 response has caused to the children whose welfare UNICEF is supposed to protect. Humanity, and particularly those who claim humanitarian ideals and principles, need to pause, analyze this phrase, and then ponder a little deeper. Complacency is a betrayal of ourselves and others.
In the end, this is about truth, and speaking it. The mass media, sharing ownership with key pharmaceutical companies, is no longer able to speak truth to power.
COVAX is a vehicle by which a very powerful and wealthy group seeks to impose a new paradigm on global public health, with centralized, pharma-based interventions replacing community-driven healthcare and national health sovereignty. We cannot afford to leave it as a side issue to the local battles that we face, or our successes will be pyrrhic. The corporatist, centralized health paradigm that COVAX epitomizes is a fog of delusion that seeks to ensnare us all.