Are you, like us in Lalit, aware of the degree of Lack of Morality in the anti-vaccination campaign “My Body, My Choice, My Voice”?
The anti-vax campaign has at least 5 moral flaws.
1 It is selfish
The anti-vax campaign encourages “egoism”, and it does so at a time when society is dealing with an epidemic which threatens the “whole of society”, threatens us all. The goal of every morality is essentially to care for the whole of society. Not only does the anti-vax campaign disregard the care to the whole of society, it plainly encourages people to ignore the whole of society, to care only for “me, me, me,” and “I, I, I”. An influence whose aim is to make us believe that it is only when I save my body that I will save my life, and we see this when some young adults start to say, “I am against the vaccine. My health, the well-being of my body is more important than anything else. “
In fact, science shows us that the way to eradicate the Covid-19 pandemic is to achieve collective immunity. It is when we are part of this threshold of 60-70% or more of a vaccinated population that we will manage to develop the antibodies in a collective way to eradicate the virus. A valid reason to trust this advice is that, since the 1980s, the world recognized that the World Health Organisation has helped to eradicate the infectious disease measles at the global level. This demonstrates that vaccination can eradicate a highly contagious disease. This demonstrates that it is not only your problem when you do not get vaccinated.
2 It exposes the most vulnerable to harm
If you research, read and try to understand the global statistics on who is most exposed to the dangerous, and even fatal, symptoms of Covid-19, you will note that the most exposed are those who have complications related to heart diseases, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, high blood-pressure, those who are overweight, those with diseases such as cancer and diabetes that weaken their immune system, and those who are doing dialysis. Same as a pillar of every moral system, it is healthcare for the whole of society, a second pillar of every moral system is the care for the most vulnerable.
Already, as a society, especially in winter, we have strived to organize so that the elderly (and the very young, in this case) do not catch the flu, since there is a risk that they will suffer.
So, when we are organizing to encourage people to get the Covid-19 vaccine, we are helping those who are most exposed – including members of our family, our friends, colleagues on our worksite or people in our neighbourhood, who have any health problems that further expose them.
So when you take the vaccine, you already diminish the possibility that you will spread the virus to this group of people, who you know, who you love. And you decrease the risk of spreading it to anyone who is exposed. This can nurture our empathy. And this, too, is a basis of morality.
Were we part of this group, would not we be happy that others are contributing to prevent us from contracting the virus? It is a basic “norm” of any moral system.
But, the capitalist society has made us see competition and lack of empathy toward others as “normal”. But, like we have learned from wiser people, and who have managed to retain a more collective spirit, it is empathy which brings unity and ensures the common good. The way to do it is to take care of the most vulnerable in society, not just each for his own.
3 Anti-vax slogans use manipulation and fear
We denounce this campaign as immoral for a third reason. Because they make use of manipulation by way of “advertising” — huge billboards, misleading slogans — which aims to attract people who, for example, are “afraid of needles”; who lack consideration for people around them, who surfs on the anti-government anger that concerns different subjects. They aim to create fear of the vaccine, play on this somewhat “paranoid” tendency we all tend to have during a period of extreme stress where there is a threat to public health by an invisible and contagious virus. The aim of the campaign is to spread doubt. So if we make no effort to understand the reason behind our own fear, to solve it in a constructive manner during a sanitary crisis, very often we become victims of any campaign using our weakness for their own gains. It is important that we correct our position because the way we act will also have an impact on how young people will respond to vaccination. [with schools having resumed as from 5th July.]
Fortunately, the anti-vax campaign is not quite succeeding. In Mauritius, people are used to working together, on a scientific basis, to eliminate contagious diseases, and this experience is helping us resist this manipulation.
4 Absence of Reasoning, Absence of Scientific Method
And this brings us to the 4th point. Morality is also linked to reasoning, and, as far as possible, on scientific fact. In this anti-vax slogan, there is no reasoning about what is not good in the vaccine. And it is not surprising, since the reasons they put forward are nothing but misleading lies. For example, you have heard the anti-vaxxers claim that supposedly there are 5G nanoparticles in the vaccines, or that vaccine supposedly cause cancers, or that vaccines supposedly cause infertility, or that vaccines supposedly contain aborted foetuses, or that they supposedly contain aluminium, or that we are supposedly being used as “guinea pigs” by Big Pharma, or that God supposedly created this epidemic so we should not intervene, and they are always amplifying the side effects of vaccines. Their campaign has no scientific basis.
You will notice that criticisms against the vaccine are always changing: sometimes they are against the vaccines because they come from India or China (xenophobic points, that are immoral in themselves); sometimes, because the queues are too long in vaccination centres, the virus will spread; sometimes because the consent form is not good; sometimes because of all kinds of other anti-scientific lies. But, as long as we are not making this intellectual effort to read from serious texts, to research from websites that have scientific notoriety, to seek truth and reject lies, we are at risk of falling into the trap of conspiracy theories. It is important that we listen to the arguments of people who in different situations have proven that they are trustworthy.
Let us commit humility and energy to discuss and share ideas that enlighten us and drive us towards concrete solutions. Vaccination does this. Public health, including vaccination, is the scientific branch of medicine which has most helped the masses.
Even during the lockdown period despite isolation, in Lalit, as a party, we have continued to share ideas and analysis (when we stayed in contact by phone, emails, internet, and in our central meeting on Zoom and our branch meeting on WhatsApp) to understand the unfounded arguments that the anti-vax movements are spreading, to establish the truth so as to leave out this irrational fear.(i) Our work, as militants, is to help people overcome the fear of vaccines. And, besides, it is not that hard in Mauritius, since we have a long history of containing infectious diseases through vaccines: polio was eradicated, same for smallpox, every child is protected from infantile illnesses, the same way, every elderly is protected by the anti-flu vaccine. It is already a tradition, with as basis scientific knowledge.
5 Anti-vaxxers do not even Condemn Dangerous Forgery
We also denounce the behaviour of refusing to condemn people who have forged “vaccine certificates”.
One of the leaders of the anti-vax campaign, Ms. Julie Vranckx-Lepert, in a press conference with Bruneau Laurette, said that she is neither for nor against this forgery. What kind of morality is this? To justify lies in writing? So, according to them, there is no need to take a stand about counterfeiting a doctor’s signature? When someone lies about being vaccinated, when it is not true? They are sabotaging the work of public health in this fight? They refuse to accept that the vaccination card acts as a preventive method to inhibit the transmission of the Covid 19 virus to hospitalized patients? We denounce people who are propagating this kind of immorality, and we warn everyone to distrust them. Fortunately, few people are falling in their trap.
For these reasons we are encouraging people in the working class to lead the pro-vaccination campaign. That is, we are encouraging workers to go further than saying that they are getting the vaccine so they may keep their jobs because their employer is putting it as a condition, or because of the Government’s Regulation. It is true that employer, too, is in favour of vaccination — so that his enterprise can carry on. It is true that the Government is in favour so that the economy can resume. But, most of all, because it is in favour of the working class that we encourage everyone to get the vaccine.
We all possess the ability to reflect, to think who will listen to the truth on vaccine. It is true it takes time to discuss with people whom you trust, to sort out truth from lies, to put aside what cannot be proved, so that we understand and agree as a class, the collective-reasoning behind our decision to get the vaccine. We are encouraging vaccination to protect those who are most vulnerable to this virus and because it is for the common good. We are encouraging vaccination because it is based on science. We will not listen to manipulation of conspiracy-theories, nor to people who condone forgery.
We have a responsibility to stand up against declarations that bring doubt and encourage ambiguous positions. Our position is crucial because we have a moral duty to transmit true knowledge on the importance of vaccinating our children, on one side, and adults who depend on us because they cannot read and write.
We have a responsibility as a political party to help people understand, and to be able to act calmly with a composed mind. Despite the stress that the Covid-19 pandemic is putting us through, it also provides us with opportunities when the capitalist system is in crisis, to reclaim the rights of the working class to have confidence in our collective struggle and to nurture the sharing of knowledge for a better society where human energy is used for the common good.
(i) Read Lalit’s article with research to list credible articles to explain why the anti-vax criticisms are deforming the truth.
Source: Original version of this article was published in Kreol on LALIT website on 28th June 2021. Link: https://www.lalitmauritius.org/en/newsarticle/2894/kanpayn-anti-vaksinasyon-ndash-so-subasman-mank-moralite/
Translated into English by member of LALIT translating team.