Why An Open, Transparent, Informed Debate About Mandatory Vaccination Is All But Impossible in the EU

There is just too much murkiness for anyone, including MEPs, to reach anything like an informed decision. 

It is time for the EU to start thinking about mandatory vaccination. That was the message issued last Wednesday (Dec. 1) by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as Europe once again becomes ground zero for the Covid-19 pandemic. Austria has already unveiled plans to mandate vaccines for every resident in the country over the age of 12, becoming the first European nation to take such a step. Under the proposed bill, anyone who refuses to get the Covid-19 jab after February 1, 2022, will face a fine of up to €600 every three months.

The German government is also considering taking a similar step after it recently imposed tougher restrictions on unvaccinated people in the country. In Greece, which already has some of the highest poverty rates in Europe, authorities have said they will start fining unvaccinated people over the age of 60 €100 for every month they remain unjabbed after January 15. Almost two-thirds of of Greece’s 11-million population is fully vaccinated but more than 520,000 people over 60 still haven’t had the jab.

“Greeks over the age of 60… must book their appointment for a first jab by January 16,” the premier said in a statement to the cabinet. “Their vaccination is henceforth compulsory.”

A Huge Can of Worms

Van der Leyen’s proposal to discuss EU-wide mandatory vaccination opens up a huge can of worms. How will the governments of the EU’s 27 member states go about forcing, in most cases, a large minority — and in cases such as Romania and Bulgaria a sizeable majority — of the population to take vaccines against their will that have already proven to be incredibly leaky against the Delta variant? The way things are current looking, the vaccines could well be even less effective against a variant like Omicron, with such a large number of mutations.

The overwhelming body of evidence does suggest that the current crop of vaccines do reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death resulting from Covid-19. But is that enough in and of itself to justify obligating virtually an entire continent to take them? What sort of exemptions on medical, ethical or religious grounds will be allowed? What sorts of punishments or privations will be meted out to those who continue to refuse to take the vaccine?

Once the precedent of universal mandatory vaccination in the EU is established, will it be extended to other already existing vaccinations such as the flu jab or new vaccinations that come on line in the coming years? That would represent a huge windfall for pharmaceutical companies developing innovative gene therapies.

The Covid-19 vaccinations have already generated bumper profits for their manufacturers. As Oxfam recently reported, the companies behind two of the most successful COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna — are making combined profits of $65,000 every minute.” Even as the vaccines’ efficacy against the Delta variant has come under the spotlight, the manufacturers have still managed to sharply increase their prices, as EUObserver reports:

As per their latest deals with the EU, Pfizer, and Moderna can now respectively charge €19.50 and $25.50 [€22] for jabs. Europeans were paying between €15.50 and $22.50 in the first orders. Yet, one study by Imperial College London shows that mRNA shots could be produced for as little as $1.18.     

Mission creep has certainly infected the EU’s vaccine passport system. In its own regulation 2021/953, the EU stated that “[t]he issuance of [Covid] certificates… should not lead to discrimination on the basis of the possession of a specific category of certificate”. This basic principle was reiterated by Resolution 2361 (2021) of the Council of Europe, Europe’s foremost human rights organisation. Yet many EU Member States have used the EU’s Green Pass legislation to justify visiting unprecedented discrimination upon those who do not possess a vaccine certificate, with both Austria and Germany even going so far as declaring a so-called “lockdown of the unvaccinated.” 

The long-term risks of the vaccines are also as yet unclear. More than a million adverse events have already been reported to the European Database of Suspected Adverse Drug Reaction Reports (EUdraVigilance), the EU’s equivalent of VAERS. In addition, the EU — like most jurisdictions — has granted the vaccine manufacturers wide-scale immunity from liability if anything goes wrong. As such, any compensation for vaccine injuries will probably have to come from the respective national governments. 

These are all major issues that will hopefully be taken into consideration in any public debate about mandatory vaccination. Unfortunately, under the current state of affairs it is all but impossible for the European Union to hold an open, transparent discussion on these issues, since most EU lawmakers do not even have the necessary information at their disposal to reach a sound, informed decision. In many cases they do not even know who has been negotiating the deals with the vaccine makers on behalf of EU citizens. 

The agreements the Commission signed with the vaccine manufacturers earlier this year are also shrouded in secrecy, even for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Five MEPs from the Greens/EFA Group have submitted a case application to the European Court of Justice alleging “implicit refusal” from the Commission to provide access to information regarding the vaccine contracts, as Euractiv reported in October:

Five MEPs of the Greens/EFA submitted the case application on 22 October “after months of correspondence between the Greens/EFA and Commission, during which the Commission did not agree to provide transparent access to the contracts,” according to a press release published on Friday (29 October).
The MEPs party to the case are Margrete Auken, Tilly Metz, Jutta Paulus, Michèle Rivasi, and Kimberly van Sparrentak. Kimberly van Sparrentak, a Dutch MEP, said it had been nine months since the Commission was formally asked for access to the full set of advance purchase contracts for vaccines.
“For nine months the Commission has refused to disclose them, but after being heavily criticised for the opacity of its vaccine policy, they have published heavily redacted contracts,” she said adding that it is “clearly insufficient”.
The Greens/EFA Group stated that transparency in the vaccine proceedings was not ensured despite health being a “matter of public interest”, and added that the European Commission had failed to consider the overriding public interest in the disclosure of the vaccine contracts.

The information the MEPs are demanding access to includes details on liability and indemnification, vaccine production (quantities, locations, prices and cost of research and development) and the names of members of the steering group appointed by the Commission and Member States to negotiate the contracts. 

It is worth recalling that some of the conditions in Pfizer’s vaccine contracts with countries in Latin America were so onerous that some governments, such as Brazil and Argentina, initially refused to sign along the dotted line. In its negotiations with both countries, Pfizer asked for sovereign assets to be put up as collateral for any future legal costs. Brazil’s then health minister said in January: “I guess I don’t need to repeat it, but I’ll be succinct: complete disclaimer for side-effects from today to infinity. That simple.” In the end both countries relented.  

Destroying Evidence (Again)?

Von der Layen herself has been accused of deleting communications with Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, which by October had 80% market share of the Covid-19 vaccines in Europe. In April, as the Commission’s negotiations with Pfizer were drawing to a close, the New York Times reported that von der Leyen and Bourla had been in regular contact by phone and text messages as they tried to seal a deal to buy/sell 1.8 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Most of this information should be readily available to EU lawmakers. But as Der Spiegel reported in November, the Commission denies having possession of the communications between von der Leyen and Bourla:

Texts and other short messages are by their “nature a short-lived document which does not contain in principle important information concerning matters relating to the policies, activities and decisions of the Commission,” wrote Ilze Juhansone, the Commission’s secretary-general. In that respect, “the Commission record-keeping policy would in principle exclude instant messaging.” This means that if the Commission wants to keep something in the dark, it can simply use WhatsApp.
The spokesperson didn’t answer the question as to whether von der Leyen’s messages to Bourla were deleted, whether they still exist or whether the Commission just doesn’t know. And that principle still applies today, a Commission spokesperson confirmed when asked by DER SPIEGEL and its international partners. After all, the spokesperson said, “there are no technical means to capture text messages.” However, in its internal rules issued in 2015, the Commission itself wrote that important texts and similar messages should be copied into a mail or registered in some other way.

This is not the first time von der Leyen has been caught deleting sensitive information. In December 2019, less than a month into her new job at the helm of the EU’s executive branch, it was revealed that a mobile phone she had used as German defence minister had been wiped clean of all data, as Politico reported at the time:

Members of a German parliamentary committee investigating [a contracting] scandal cried foul over the deletion. They had wanted to examine the phone as part of their probe into how lucrative contracts from the defense ministry were awarded to outside consultants without proper oversight, and whether a network of informal personal connections facilitated those deals.
An official from the ministry told the committee on Thursday that the phone, which lawmakers had demanded since February be examined as evidence, had been wiped in August — the same month that von der Leyen left the ministry after she had been elected as European Commission president (German newspaper Welt first reported about the wiped phone).

Vaccine Passports Not Working (And Are Illegal According to a Belgian Court) 

That the EU is shifting its focus toward mandatory vaccines may be interpreted as a tacit admission that the EU’s Covid-19 certificate — the so-called Green Pass, introduced at the end of June — has failed to contain the virus. Five months after its introduction, Europe is once again the epicentre of the global pandemic. Since Rome took the unprecedented step of banning all unvaccinated Italians from being able to earn a living within the formal economy, in mid-October, the number of daily cases has surged five fold. In France, one of the first countries to ban people without the vaccine passport* from accessing all hospitality venues, case numbers began rising exponentially in mid-October and are now close to setting a record high.

Rather than reducing infection risk, the Green Pass – and all the national iterations it has spawned since – may have actually led to more coronavirus infections as opposed to fewer, by encouraging those who are vaccinated to let down their guard. When Belgium’s Covid Safe Ticket (CST) was introduced, not only did it lead to a negligible increase in vaccine uptake but public venues and events that require a CST were allowed to drop face mask and social distancing measures, says Belgian microbiologist Emmanuel André:

“Therefore, the CST led to the opposite of what was expected, also because other measures were phased out when it was introduced… Masks, alongside the vaccine and good ventilation, remain one of the most important ways of protecting against the virus.”

Covid-19 cases are now at a record high in Belgium. Last Tuesday, a court in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, ruled that the CST was illegal. The case was brought by a non-profit organization called “Notre bon droit” (Our good right), which is also contesting the legality of vaccine passports in France.

According to the judgement, rules requiring everyone to show their CST before entering cafés, restaurants, gyms and cultural venues represented a disproportionate constraint on individual freedoms. The court also ruled that the CST may also contravene European law and the right to the protection of personal data.

If the Walloon government doesn’t rectify its policies within seven days of the judgement, it will have to pay a fine of €5,000 for every day it continues to enforce the use of the CST, reports the Belgian daily Le Soir. The regional government said it will appeal the decision. It also claims the ruling does not affect in any way its ability to enforce vaccine passport measures.

“Notre bon droit” has launched a similar case against the CST in Brussels. If the same verdict is reached, there will be no escaping the irony: a court in the EU’s capital, where the Green Pass was conceived just over five months ago, will have ruled that vaccine passports are illegal.  


* To qualify for France’s vaccination passport, the so-called “pass sanitaire,” you need to be fully vaccinated, to have tested negative for Covid in the past 24 hours or have suffered a Covid infection in the past 180 days. 

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Its unfortunate for the EU that Covid is a human disease, not an animal one. As animal diseases fall under the competence of Brussels then there would have been a centralised, coherent response (as with foot and mouth, 20 years ago). But human public health is covered by a confused overlap of regional, national and transnational agencies, so there will never be a coherent Covid response at an EU level.

    The amazing thing is that the ethics and practicalities of compulsory vaccines have been a matter of intense discussion and analysis for at least 50 years, multiple books have been written about it from many angles, and yet here we are, nearly 2 years into a pandemic, and everyone is still struggling to get to grips with the most basic arguments and concepts. There is a strong argument for compulsory vaccination when you have a generally sterilising vaccine (so far as I’m aware, there is no such thing as a 100% sterilising vaccine), but the arguments are far weaker with Covid.

    One issue that Europe along with everyone else will face – and this is probably why politicians are getting keen on it – is that its probably true to say that in most countries a majority favour vaccine passes and possibly compulsory vaccination. Rightly or wrongly, many vaccinated people are getting very angry with refuseniks as they are blaming them for making the situation worse. Politicians may well think that they are pushing an open door with this, but they might not like what’s behind the door.

    1. Cocomaan

      Politicians may well think that they are pushing an open door with this, but they might not like what’s behind the door.

      Agreed. I’m seeing some weird trends on the ground here in the USA:

      1) the mandate seems to be a white collar phenomenon. In talking with friends and family, the industries not mandating are blue collar: plumbers, landscapers, mechanics do not have workplaces that require it. Instead, employer mandates have become purview of white collar large corporations. Vaccines have become a requirement to participate in white collar work.

      2) religious revivalism is a sleeper factor in politics at the moment, but religious exemptions could create a nascent “great awakening” that will make religion a force in politics again.

      The big mandates start in early January in the USA, will be interesting to see how it all goes down.

      1. w d w

        i sort of wonder, with the US being a ‘Christian’ country how do we get a religious exemption? it’s not in the Bible, but what is there indicates that Christians are commanded to take care of others. which we seem to have trouble in doing, in areas of the bible belt

        1. Arizona Slim

          Sotto voce: I have heard of cases of people, ahem, getting religion so they can get that exemption.

    2. Carolinian

      Here in the US most of Biden’s vax mandates seem to be on hold pending the courts. Our local hospital was threatening to fire unvaxxed employees, now says it will await the court decision. In a comment here IM Doc talked about the need for giving people clear and accurate information in order to persuade them to cooperate with medical policies, not force them. This is advice that has been ignored here in the US and as in so many things the rest of the world seems to be following our bad example.

      1. w d w

        i wonder how the Polio, and other vaccines will be impacted if the SOCTUS rules that vaccine mandates are not valid (given current court case law and the SCOTUS rulings in favor of mandates)

        course i do wonder exactly how those who want to not surrender to the virus will deal with it if at all?

        and i do wonder how those who had no issues with getting the vaccine, will deal with working with or being around those who arent vaccinated? will they just keep their masks on, and hope and pray? or will they refuse to participate in any thing that forces to gather with others, who they dont know if they are vaccinated? and require their children being at home for school?

        1. Carolinian

          You do realize the vaccinated can get it from the vaccinated and that vaccination conveys far less protection against this than actually getting covid?

          So those vaxxed should be wearing their masks regardless if they are worried about getting covid. And no it won’t necessarily be milder if vaxxed. They can still die from it, some of them.

          1. Futility

            That is not factually correct. The likelihood to end up with a severe case in an ICU are much, much lower when vaxxed. And numerous studies show that the vaxxed shed less virus for a shorter time. Can they still get it, sure, but with less likelihood. How it will be with omicron remains to be seen.

  2. Cocomaan

    I’m trying to think of another time when industry had such a stranglehold over government. The oil crunch of the 70s comes to mind, though that involved some sovereign control over the resources. Tech has been similarly powerful, but nobody is mandating a Gmail account. Yet.

    Really disturbing precedent when we know almost nothing about what future variants might do.

    1. Lee

      “I’m trying to think of another time when industry had such a stranglehold over government.”

      Finance capital and the military industrial complex come to mind. I’m particularly peeved at the moment at the economic model imposed upon us by the former, whereby about half the work force must be kept on the job, not for necessities, but for the production of things we could afford to do without for awhile because to idle the non-essential workers would disrupt the flow of profits.

      1. w d w

        well, business can limit who they sell to. they really dont need to have any reason to not do that, if they think a lot more potential customers will avoid their offerings. which many might do if they view them as being unsafe.
        same problem could show up in other businesses, how would retail stores deal with that issue? or sports facilities? or movies theatres? or the countless others?

  3. David

    The first point is that health is essentially a national competence. The Commission is involved a bit (and as always with the Commission they would like to be involved more) but these will be essentially national, and in some cases regional or local decisions. There are also differences of legal approach: yesterday, the French government announced that it had received the “green light” from one of the three organisations it has to consult about the different medical, legal and ethical aspects of vaccination for its proposal to vaccinate 5-11 year-olds. .

    In effect, an EU-wide response is impossible, and Von der Leyen is just trying, not very skilfully, I think, to encourage states to work to approximately the same plan. The problem is that so long as free movement remains in force, each member state is going to be affected by the policies of each other state. There are all sorts of long-term political consequences here that have hardly begun to be considered.

    1. Ignacio

      This is quite true as for instance in Spain the ‘Comunidades Autonomas’ do take different approaches quite notable with the so called vaccine certificates which under scrutiny can be considered as an hypocritical or indirect vaccine mandate.

      Many epidemiologists agree that such schemes directed to increase vaccination are not only useless but quite possibly counterproductive. As a matter of fact these can be considered as the only measure that clueless regional authorities have grasped to keep restaurants and other business open when incidence is skyrocketing. So this is hypocritical in two senses: first you are attacking personal liberties that are hard written in Constitutions, EU treaties (Lisbon) etc and second, the hidden motif is just to be business friendly in a situation that does not recommend stimulating exposure.

      I am highly worried about this drift from the original thinking in the sense that vaccination must be a free decision to now trying to force it directly or indirectly. Mr. Corbishley has an excellent point when he mentions the unknown risks of repeated jabbing and this is indeed one of the main worries I have. This is not only an authoritarian drift but also has in my opinion very high political risks that with time might give rise to the friskiest political alternatives if and when nothing goes according to plan.

      I haven’t read this in any official site but I was told that it was proposed that the green pass or vaccine certificate would be valid only for 9 months after which a new jab would be needed to renovate. Such a scheme is not short of being cruel. Everyone should be given the chance to refuse or to have power deciding if and when to receive further shots. For instance, in my case I could decide that certain period of the year my exposure to Covid is very low and I don’t need further protection but may be I would need it somehow later when my exposure could rise and spacing the jabs might make a lot of sense. Other instances might include people that during thse 9 months had been infected resulting in high levels of antibodies making the jabbing not only useless but also dangerous.

      1. w d w

        just curious, US has many rights in its constitution, but in the past, the way vaccines mandates were addressed is that your right to choose doesnt include allow you to hurt others. is that the same in Spain? and if not, how do they keep any health problems from overwhelming everyone?

        1. Ignacio

          You are assuming something that cannot be assumed: this is that by not vaccinating you are hurting others. As a matter of fact you can be fully vaccinated and harm others. The harm is not done by the vaccination status but your behaviour. It is almost certain than in Spain, with more than 80% vaccinated most ‘harm’ by your definition is done by vaccinated people.

          A few days ago there was a superspreading event in which everybody (hospital crew Christmas meeting) was vaccinated. Results 180 in the event. 68 contagions. Nice, isn’t it?

          1. w d w

            yes you can assume that, since if you are unvaccinated, you have a greater chance to become contagious, leading to others getting infected. and if you are infected, but dont show systems (which many do), you are still contagious, and able to help the virus spread to others. but the vaccines do seem to at least slow infections, where as being unvaccinated doesnt even put up much if any resistance to the virus. since the health system has been corrupted or is inept, the best we can do is to look to see how many are in hospitals to see how many are in the ICUs with COVID, and how many were vaccinated or unvaccinated. so far, the unvaccinated are the vast majority of those in hospitals with covid
            one other minor point is that ICU beds are limited in supply, many hospitals have less than 10, others may have many times that number. but since the virus takes up many of those beds, which means that others that have dire needs (strokes, heart attacks, traffic accidents, etc) may find that the nearest hospital with available ICU beds, is a long way away.

            1. Ignacio

              This is utter nonsense, i regret to say. It is not about vaccination but behaviour, I repeat. So you can be unvaccinated and never be infected, so never transmit the virus, depending on how careful you are or on your life style. You can be vaccinated and carelessly go to parties, restaurants refuse masks etc and in this way be infected and transmit to others.

            2. drsteve0

              I’m not going to presume to know anything about your level of understanding of these vaccine’s effectiveness. They do appear to reduce morbidity (gettin’ sick) and mortality (dying) for the individual that is vaccinated and IMHO most ADULTS will benefit from ‘the jab’ (at least up thru delta). But Ignacio is trying to help us all understand that these vaccines that are available now may do little to blunt transmissibility, contagiousness, communicativeness, whatever you want to call it. The problem with the official propaganda floating about is vaccinated folk think they are safe from contracting the disease, not true. Vaccinated folk have also been lead to believe that they can’t transmit the disease, total BS. The danger is that with this false sense of invulnerability, some vaccinated folk may let down their guard and actually be more dangerous than an unvaccinated individual, particularly an unvaccinated person taking precautions. Hard to grok, but work on it.

          2. Jon S

            I would like to add that whether vaxxed or not, you are only hurting people who have chosen to be unvaxxed. You can’t be responsible for other people’s poor decisions.

            1. Yves Smith

              If you are going to peddle false information (“Making Shit Up”) you will not be welcome here. And you make it worse with your unwarranted tone of righteousness.

              There are not only “breakthough cases” as in the vaxxed getting Covid, but also “breakthrough hospitalizations”. The Wall Street Journal had a recent story about them.

              And the vaccines do not appear to offer much protection against Long Covid and other morbidities. From a UK study of 20,000:

              …..previous vaccination does not appear to be protective against several previously documented outcomes of COVID-19 such as long-COVID features, arrhythmia, joint pain, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, sleep disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders


              1. Jon S

                But what else are you going to do? Is the plan to mask up forever? Avoid Christmas parties with the family forever? Because I don’t believe COVID is ever going to go away. Our grandchildren will likely still be dealing with it. COVID is a risk, and a different risk for different people. As you point out, vaccines don’t fix everything, but they dramatically reduce the risk of hospitalizations and death. And I believe that is the best we can do. Following the mask, social distancing, protocols fundamentally change the way people live. And I’m very sure they aren’t going to find it acceptable to live that way forever.

                I apologize if my comment came across as an unwarranted tone of righteousness. It wasn’t my intention.

                1. Yves Smith

                  Do you not recognize that there are times when no choices are happy ones? The vaccines do not prevent long Covid and other morbidities. So you can party on and incur multiple Covid infections over your life, with the likely result of the loss on average of 10 years of life? And that’s the result of interim damage like brain inflammation reducing your IQ?

                2. Basil Pesto

                  Because I don’t believe COVID is ever going to go away.

                  Whether this is reversible now or not (and I believe, technically, that this is reversible, or that the threat of Covid could at least be greatly minimised if suitable action were taken, from the grassroots up). Never, ever forget that it never had to be this way. It is a political choice that has been made for us, a fait accompli, not a scientific inevitability.

                  And when and if that particular penny drops around the world, it could get quite ugly.

                1. Basil Pesto

                  What does this have to do with the above? The article you cite (from January) appears to proceed on the erroneous assumption that the vaccines stop infection by or transmission of the virus, which, for the millionth time, they don’t. Thus:

                  How do you weigh the (low) risk to yourself from getting the vaccine against the (potentially much higher) risk to those around you that you create by foregoing it?

                  Is the wrong question, since foregoing the vaccine only creates risk to yourself (which can be mitigated by taking other steps to avoid infection), not others.

                  1. generic

                    At least for Delta that’s strictly wrong. The best guess is still that there is a significant protection against infection for at least four months. A bit longer for Moderna. Of course the effect is much smaller than wearing a well fitted N95 equivalent, but it’s still far from zero.
                    And there is also the fact that creating risk to yourself in the context of a health care system that’s already over capacity automatically results in higher risk for everyone. If all the wards are full with covid patients all easily treatable maladies will have worse outcomes.

                    1. Basil Pesto

                      which part is strictly wrong? This?

                      the erroneous assumption that the vaccines stop infection by or transmission of the virus, which, for the millionth time, they don’t.

                      It’s possible I was overly absolute, but if they only stop infection for four months (infection full stop? or symptomatic infection), a brief respite in the scheme of a crisis of this magnitude, that’s a lot less than the purported benefit in the article linked without comment, which might change peoples’ risk analysis (which is what that article was about, and for my part I was totally willing to get the vaccine.

                      I’m happy to be corrected on this though because I don’t want to get ahead of myself/the facts when arguing on such a fraught topic.

                      And there is also the fact that creating risk to yourself in the context of a health care system that’s already over capacity automatically results in higher risk for everyone. If all the wards are full with covid patients all easily treatable maladies will have worse outcomes.

                      Yes, I agree and have in fact made this point myself before, but as far as I can tell that’s not what the above link speaks to, which is what I was trying to get to the bottom of. It was a weird, ostensibly incongruous link to put there.

                    2. Yves Smith

                      Your statement was absolutely correct now that we have Delta as the dominant strain. The vaccines did reduce transmission of wild type. There is now zero correlation between vaccination levels and Covid case levels. The vaccines help people clear the virus faster. They do not, or only so marginally as to make no difference in practice, reduce contagion.

                2. Ignacio

                  Too simplistic as argued above – You cannot say that by vaccinating one (or all) the virus stops spreading in non linear fashion. Might be, if you could manage to vaccinate everybody in a very short time all around the world. Even in that case the effect would be transient. Spread would restart from any reservoir (human or animal) soon after. Guaranteed. We have unleashed a difficult beast. You also have to consider potential effects on the bottleneck you are originating (this means more uncertainties on what comes after). Proofs of this in front of our noses. Incidence skyrocketing in countries with 80% vaccination rates.

                  Some believe the solution is vaccinate the children. Wrong again.

          3. vlade

            There is one case where vaccinating does help others – vaccination does seem to (for Delta and previous) reduce hospitalisations significantly (most vaccinated countries have multiple of earlier waves of incidences, with far less hospitalisations).

            Hence getting vaccinated reduces load on hospitals, which does help people who need it (not just for CV).

            That said, there could be made a very good argument that vaccination (after the PR push by authorities) significantly increases risky behaviour in the mistaken belief that vaccinated = totally safe, which is, in fact even further encouraged by special extemptions that logically don’t make sense (i.e. unvaccinated need tests, vaccinated don’t), and that as this vaccination induced risky behaviour increases incidence, it increases load on hospitals too..

            1. Ignacio

              The question is whether you need to sacrifice a basic liberty in order to safeguard lives or reduce hospitalizations, isn’t it? The outcome you mentioned (less hospitalizations) has worked without doing the sacrifice. Do the circumstances grant a similar effect now by making it mandatory? I have tried to explain that not (because immune response fading, because Omicron, behavioural stuff…). If you keep other liberties the opposite is granted. Unfair outcomes granted. End of trust as we knew it granted. Despair granted. Another political alternative would be to introduce again partial or total lockdowns. More effective but when we had already believed that we were entering post-covid era, because vaccines, it doesn’t seem politically palatable.

              Once you are in the mood for sacrificing important things to save lives why not doing something much bolder, Chinese style, a Vigilante State with extensive monitoring of everyone’s life? A few more liberties sacrificed with good motivations. That would be much more efficient and not only reduce hospitalizations but keep Covid at bay.

              So far Germany had been exemplary in the EU about Covid management. Now, in the late days or Angela Merkel and in the midst of a wave with 14d notification rates that triple those seen last winter in the country common sense and hard thinking has been switched off in German government. Was the push for mandatory vaccine in Germany hard thought (with supporting analysis) or has just been pushed by fear? I bid for the second option.

            2. Olivier

              “getting vaccinated reduces load on hospitals, which does help people who need it (not just for CV)” While this is technically true it would be monstrously hypocritical for governments that spent the last few decades massively closing hospitals to put that argument forward: it is their fault that there aren’t enough hospital beds. See for instance this article in the WSWS about Germany; I believe much the same thing happened in France.

              But anyway this is not about vaccines: this is a pure show of force by governments that know their legitimacy is shot and want to prove to the world and themselves that they are still in charge.

            1. Ignacio

              So, only satisfied if I somehow reckon that you are right and not vaccinating just hurts people in general. Niiiiiice!

              1. w d w

                nope. i can be convinced that i am wrong (happens to all of us). but to do that you have a pretty strong logical backed up with data that i am wrong)
                while i suppose i can be contankerous
                you seem to be unable to convinced by any one else either

                1. QuicksilverMessenger

                  w d w: You are in the wrong lane. Ignacio is a long time contributor here, and along with others like GM, KLG, IM Doc, is part of the NC Covid brain trust. This is not an appeal to authority- the authority is in their many contributions now and in the past. And all are available and searchable in the comments section.
                  You would do well to take them seriously

      2. Ignacio

        I forgot to add another commentary. Think the administrative authorities are clueless? They are not alone. The jurisdictional branch, judges, are absolutely clueless as well. The Supreme Court in Spain, ruled against the High Basque regional High Court that had previously ruled in favour of NOT enforcing the Vaccine Certificates in this Regional Community. I would like to see what kind of scientific evidence did the judges evaluate or consider in their decisions in each case. Besides, if this is taken to the Constitutional Court I believe that the Supreme Court judgement would be found unconstitutional.

  4. sporble

    Things are grim here in Berlin – and only seem to be getting worse.
    Good piece at the Berliner Zeitung today:
    “Unvaccinated: Now I’m one of the bad guys”
    (everything in quotes I’ve translated)
    The unvaccinated female author writes about her relationship with her vaccinated sister and how, despite the media and politicians, they are able to communicate well and understand one another. “We will stick together. We won’t allow ourselves to be incited against one another.”
    She also writes: “For the first time in my life, I feel that the country where I live is a threat.”
    I feel the same.
    Original German here: https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/open-source/ungeimpft-ich-bin-jetzt-eine-von-den-boesen-li.198530

    1. ahimsa


      Here in Bavaria, I am seething after the propaganda line “Pandemic of the unvaccinated” has been exposed by journalists who revealed that the Minister President, Söder, used extremely misleading numbers when presenting his case and pushing for lockdown measures against the unvaccinated.

      Alas, I suspect too many European politicians will blindly double down in their efforts now to reanimate and reimpose their failing technocratic solutions upon an airbourne virus and those within their own citizenry unwilling to acquiesce.

      Mandates are not justified, not equitable, not proportionate, and not safe.

      I view this as a dangerous precedent and will be protesting any vaccine mandate measures.

      “And if you tolerate this,
      then your children will be next, will be next, will be next…”

          1. Travis Bickle

            Colloquial British English: killed, died. A native speaker will split the hair appropriately; possibly from having their head knocked?

            1. Eustachedesaintpierre

              Sorry about that – it’s probably English West Midlands slang that I picked up from older relatives & could even just come from Stoke on Trent, but it does mean to be killed perhaps originally by beheading. There are many slang terms that still hang on in the Potteries & when I moved there back in 1969 I could hardly understand what my grandparents were saying. ” cos kick a bow agin a woll and edd to it bosses ? ” was a phrase that step Grandad Reg teased me with.

              Can you kick a ball against a wall & head it until it bursts ?

    2. Olivier

      All neoliberal governments are a threat to their citizens, e.g., through the destruction of public services (see my point above about hospital closures). Because markets, as Lambert is fond of saying. That is not new; the COVID crisis has only brought it into sharper relief.

  5. pyatnitski

    “In France, one of the first countries to ban unvaccinated people from accessing all hospitality venues, case numbers began rising exponentially in mid-October and are now close to setting a record high.”

    France has not banned unvaccinated people from accessing all hospitality venues. You can get access if you have had a recent test (used to be within 48 hours, now it’s within 24 hours) or COVID itself, regardless of vaccination status.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      You’re right, Pyatniski. Should read: “… ban people without vaccination passports from accessing all hospitality venues…” Thanks for the correction, have amended the text.

      1. Ignacio

        Wow, cruelty in power! Softened very much by the alternative analysis but still. Why vaccinated shouldn’t be tested equally?

        Why is it that humans with apparent good intentions can end being the cruellest?

        (this written by a commenter that was willingly vaccinated with no regret about it, mind you)

    2. Ignacio

      And if the treatment is urgent, do you need to wait to test results? Hopefully not…
      I only see unnecessary complications here.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Is this maybe a language/crossed wires issue? Hospitality here refers not to hospitals but to restaurants, bars and things like that

  6. William Hunter Duncan

    So if I follow the logic, starting with the fact that the mRNA vaccines do not entirely stop transmission, and a statistically significant number of breakthrough cases will arise, then variants could still be an issue even in the theoretical idea that 8billion people are vaccinated, thus we will be required to booster every six months forever or suffer social and financial ostracization? And then, if the logic holds, anyone who does not vaccinate will be susceptible to a virus that is mutating according to ever evolving vaccines?

    Can I also presume if my logic is correct, then Mr Fauci & Ms von der Leyen are already clear about said logic?

    Of course logic is only as good as the data you allow, and between certain variables like it being unknown if these experimental vaccines effect people adversely over time, and myriad adverse vaccine-induced events, and there being like 400million guns in America, maybe these technocrats do not really have the grasp on reality they claim to have the right to lock down?

    1. Sawdust

      As someone who’s chosen not to get the covid shots, I am suddenly very grateful for all the rednecks being armed to the teeth.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        That being one of the variables to this Official Logic, the assumption that America’s security forces will be there to backstop the mandates should it come to more overt coercion, when in fact many if not a majority of America’s Official security warriors might qualify as vaccine dissidents, “rednecks”/ deplorables armed to the teeth.

      2. marym

        As someone who’s chosen to get the shots I’m continuously grateful to all those – vaxxed or not – who have been diligent in wearing masks, observing precautions in distancing and indoor gathering, and not harassing or threatening workers, business owners, or public officials who ask them to take those precautions.

        I can’t speak for other countries, but in the US, in my opinion, the anti-everything faction has contributed to undermining the credibility of those opposed to mandates; and the vax-only/mandate faction has contributed to undermining support for a multi-layered approach.

    2. w d w

      well, considering how some countries health systems, basically fail at ever point, to gather much in the way of any data (in the US we have one state that basically just corrupts the data, others by the way its set uo, have large areas that have no data collected at all), the best they can see, is the numbers at the hospitals, who are infected, and those who die. course that depends on everyone who is infected actually going to the hospital, or having one to go to, or a doctor even, some have none of the above. while i dont have much issues with guns, as long as they arent in areas with lots of people, where they could accidentally fire it, and kill their neighbors. and many seem to think that science works at the speed of TV shows (it doesnt), so with poor to corrupted data, they fall back on what history of virus teaches us. and there are many who oppose the vaccine only because their leaders didnt advocate for it.
      now where in the US constitution say we have the right to endanger others?

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        Contrary to many media reports, many GOP leaders have in fact advocated for vaccines. That so many refuse the vaccines depends less on what their leaders say, and more on an inherent distrust of American Officialdom, statistics they know to be more often than not gamed, a health care system that is an exercise in racketeering and a pharmaceutical industry that has a very long history of gross malfeasance and profiteering at the expense of health.

        As for the the Constitution not enshrining a right to do harm to others, it does in fact enshrine serious limits on the government’s right to do harm to the citizenry. Surely if the government were not so readily willing and able to defy the Constitution in that regard, most citizens would be less inclined to defy it. As for vaccine dissidents putting their fellow citizens at risk, I find it just as or perhaps more distressing, vaccine defender’s willingness to ignore vaccinated transmissibility, masks and embracing of the demonizing of dissidents.

        1. w d w

          they do some times,and get booed for it. but is also a luke warm version of advocacy do it if you want to, or dont do it if you done want to. and example is dear leader in Alabama
          and while vaccinated can be infected, and become contagious, the numbers are much lower than those who arent vaccinated. since for them , there is nothing even trying to reduce the contagion. yes, the constitution protects individuals from the government, not individuals from each other or businesses. but the courts have long held that governments all have interest in protecting as many as they can (as the reason for governments to begin with is protect as any as they can, or why have them at al and some times they will protect their supporters more than others)?. and vaccines were first used in what is now the US, in the revolution war, and they were mandated for Polio for the army. but since the virus could care less about what we want or wish to be, it has only 1 goal, replicate as much as it can as thats the only way for the virus to continue to exist (which is what all virus want…nothing else matters)

  7. Anthony Stegman

    During war time national governments assume all kinds of emergency powers, including the suspension of various rights. Why haven’t national governments taken control of the entire vaccine process – nationalizing Pfizer’s vaccine business as an example. In this way vaccines could be produced at low cost and widely distributed. No profits would accrue to Pfizer. The government would assume all costs, including liability for side effects. In the United States the courts have given the Executive branch wide latitude during times of national emergency. A pandemic that has already killed more than 800K Americans certainly qualifies as a national emergency.

    1. flora

      The national leaderships need to take that step. The failure is in the leadership.

      an aside: There’s a large number of current and recent past national leaders who’ve taken the WEF’s young leadership program. This program and its graduates indirectly reminds me of the Chicago Boys path.

    2. jim truti

      Great point, but the precedent was set in 2008. They could have done that with the banks, nationalize them, wipe out the shareholders, write off the debts and privatize them again, but they didnt. Leadership matters.

  8. HH

    The antipathy toward COVID vaccination is deeply irrational. The US is heading for one million dead as a result of COVID, and the evidence that the vaccines are saving thousands of lives is irrefutable. Yes, there are some adverse reactions. Yes, the pharma companies are profiting. Yes, the bureaucrats are incompetent. But the bottom line is that the benefit of lives saved grossly outweighs the disadvantages. The notion that we should let tens of thousands of people die to preserve the “right” of individuals to kill themselves through ignorance and stubbornness is madness.

    1. w d w

      or kill others because they dont like the solutions that are offered? many try others than even the manufacturer says doesnt work on COVID (who knew that viruses are like worms?)

      i suppose in many areas you could just stay home, and not see any one (that you dont live with all the time) and would likely be safe (unless some critter gets on your place…then all bets are off)

    2. lyman alpha blob

      You just listed several very good reasons to distrust the vaccines – you left out the fact that they are not sterilizing and do not prevent the spread. I would argue that the antipathy is not at all irrational for the very reasons you described.

      The fact is that the vast majority of people who catch the rona are not hospitalized and they do not die. Just like we do not know for certain all the long term effects of the rona, we also do not know all the long term effects of the vaccines. This is by definition since we haven’t gotten to the long term yet.

      Some grown adults have looked at all of this evidence and determined for themselves that they are willing to take the risk of not being vaccinated. Since I do not need other people to be vaccinated for the vaccine I received to work, I’m still at a loss as to why we’re demonizing the unvaccinated. I really don’t care what they do at this point as they are presumably all adults able to make up her own minds.

      If the vaccines were sterilizing and actually stopped the spread, that would be a whole different can of worms, but that is not where we’re at.

      1. w d w

        there is nothing that humans have ever made that 100% effective all the time nor is anything 100% perfect either, it just doesnt exist. RONA?
        maybe the demonizing as you called is, is because your choice impacts anyone and everyone else that is around you whether vaccinated or not. basically, your choice is a threat to others. course the problem is how to detect who does and who doesnt is infected. think the cost of the vaccine is so high, the tests are much higher, and do have reliability issues to go with them. never mind that the virus doesnt wont show u for at least 2 days.
        i suppose we could try to just separate everyone by no less than 100 feet, with walls too, and all must wear masks, and hazardous environment suits. as that would be the most effective at reducing the contagion, and maybe that would reduce the threat.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Again, why do you need other people to be vaccinated for the vaccine you got to work? Or are you suggesting that maybe it doesn’t?

          Perhaps unvaccinated people are putting other unvaccinated people at risk, but they are in the minority and should know the risks involved. This “pandemic of the unvaccinated” is complete bushwa.

          1. w d w

            because as anyone infects many others, that increases the amount of virus in the air, which can and does overwhelms the vaccines (sort of like this. if you jump in a pool that isn waist high, the likelihood of drowning is lower than say jumping into as pool that 3 times your height, which is essentially what the Delta version does).
            but we do have data that supports that its the unvaccinated we can see that that are spreading, because the hospitals are full of them with the virus, while we dont any where as many that are vaccinated and in the hospital.

            1. NB

              Hi wdw,

              “this increases the amount of virus in the air”? What air? Where? This doesn’t sound very scientific. At least you admit the vaccines don’t work. Do you also agree the vaccinated are as infectious as the unvaccinated? If so, isn’t the point here who has the virus rather than who is vaccinated? A vaccinated person with Covid is also a 3x your height pool, after all! The way people have been hypnotised into thinking unvaccinated people are all infectious is increasingly scary.

              1. BlakeFelix

                To my understanding two shots cuts the average time infectious from 7 days to five, and makes it less likely that you will be infectious at all. And not working 100% of the time isn’t not working, for three shots it’s like 95% effective against serious illness and more effective against spread. It shouldn’t be the only thing we rely on, but 95% is much better than nothing but still endangered. The demonization of unvaccinated people and pretending vaccinated people are perfectly safe is stupid public policy and messaging, but the vaccines work by any reasonable definition of the word. Granted they aren’t sterilizing and I wish they were.

            2. bsun

              “its the unvaccinated we can see that that are spreading, because the hospitals are full of them with the virus, while we dont any where as many that are vaccinated and in the hospital.”

              You’re talking about two different things here and they’re not necessarily connected: being contagious and being very sick. Unvaccinated people are a lot more likely to be very sick, yes. But that doesn’t mean they are a lot more likely to be contagious. This study from the UK shows that there really isn’t that big a difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated people when it comes to spreading the virus to others, especially when it’s been a few months since a second vaccine dose:


              1. saywhat?

                Unvaccinated people are a lot more likely to be very sick, yes. bsun

                I’m not even sure about that since people are not counted as vaccinated until 14 days after their first jab? After the window when adverse reactions to the shot are most likely?

                So many “noble” lies have left me to trust my own judgement and whatever immunity I have naturally and as a result of having had Covid before the current “vaccines” were available. And if I die from faulty judgment in this regard, at least part of the blame will lie with the “noble” liars.

        2. Ed S.

          This has been stated countless times but is still worth repeating (and I’m granting you the benefit of the doubt that you’re sincere and not trolling):

          1) The current vaccines provide limited protection against contracting the virus generally and apparently virtually none against the latest variant (see, for example, the recent outbreak of Omicron at the Norway Christmas party discussed here on Sunday – all attendees vaccinated and with a negative test prior to the party yet 100 of the 120 attendees contracted Omicron);

          2) The current vaccines provide limited prevention of transmission to vaccinated individuals (ibid); also see Israel cardiologists who contracted and spread Omicron (“triple vaccinated”);

          3) Vaccinated individuals contract COVID at the same rate as those who aren’t vaccinated (see Israel or the most recent UK data);

          4) The vaccines have provided protection against the most severe outcomes of contracting the virus (if you get COVID and have a prior infection OR vaccine, there is a reduced chance of hospitalization or death), but whether this is the case with Omicron is yet to be determined.

          This “vaccine” isn’t comparable to the polio vaccine or to smallpox, measles, etc.; those vaccines provide sterilizing immunity. The mRNA vaccines don’t; they solely provide some protection against severe illness (which is NOT the way they were promoted but is the case nonetheless). With respect to the 100% effective – this talking point was introduced in the summer when it became apparent that the vaccines did little to prevent infection and spread. I understand that no vaccine is 100% effective, but there is a huge difference between, for example, polio and COVID mRNA. The case rate for polio in the US is effectively zero; even for “fully vaxxed” COVID recipients new cases are in the tens of thousands every single day .

          The best course of action is to continue to stay out of crowded indoor settings, distance, improve ventilation, and wear a GOOD mask when around others. Look at the “3 C’s” in the Sunday Omicron discussion and proceed accordingly. Vaccines should be the final line of defense, not the first and only defense.

          1. Ignacio

            Just to clarify. The vaccines do not give sterilizing immunity, not because these are mRNA vaccines but the special biological properties of the virus and it’s spike protein in particular (plus the human receptor). The entry site, airborne capabilities, similarities between spike protein epitopes and human protein epitopes, the gaming with innate responses etc. Many of these properties still don’t understood.

    3. Ed S.

      As Nick notes in the article (and with a link provided) the EU has had over 1,000,000 adverse reaction reports (the actual number is over 1,227,000). As of April.

      Hardly “some adverse reactions”

      For comparison, the inactive Polio vaccine (from the same data source – POLIOMYELITIS VACCINE (INACTIVATED) – 6,300.

    4. Basil Pesto

      There is a difference between antipathy towards the vaccines per se (I am – happily is the wrong word, but willingly vaccinated), and antipathy towards vaccines as the primary policy response to the pandemic when that is a task that they are simply not up to, and relying on them for that purpose has cost lives and caused damaging infections to people – including vaccinees – in a way that negates much of the irrefutable life-saving benefit that the vaccines do have to offer. The vaccines were (and continue to be) advertised as “the road out of the pandemic”. This was known to be wrong in Dec 2020, was obviously wrong by July/August 2021, and indisputably, self-evidently wrong by November, particularly – it seems to me anyway – with the Gibraltar case study. You have glossed over these shortcomings.

      Why you can’t or won’t appreciate this distinction is beyond me. It seems you won’t even discuss it, engaging in drive-by hits of vax-critical posts now and then without engaging in any critical discussion of the vaccines. Yes, there may be some dogmatically anti-vax commenters below the line, but editorially the writers here have repeatedly emphasised that they’re not anti-vax, so what exactly are you talking about?

      1. flora

        Thank you. I largely agree with this. I will add that there is an antipathy to the rising authoritarianism in the West which shouldn’t be dismissed as know-nothing stubbornness, but is based on something important.

        There are many things to consider for the long term good. Maintaining the EU as a bastion of rights and civil liberty and respect for the individual is a foundation good, imo. Rising authoritarianism undermines that important foundation.

    5. Yves Smith

      Why don’t you have people stop driving cars, while you are at it? Stop smoking? Stop having unprotected sex (a friend got tertiary syphilis despite having gotten a course of penicillin when diagnosed many years earlier)?

  9. Brian Beijet

    I posted this comment this morning under the post about Biden’s galtering speech, but I believe it is better suited to this post. Forgive me for the double posting of a comment, but I think it relevant to this topic.

    A quick anecdote from here in Sweden. Yesterday, I spoke to my boss about the state’s contemplation of putting in restrictions again due to the increasing number of infections. Everyone knows at work that I’m unvaccinated. I haven’t gone out of my way to tell people, but I’m honest about it if asked. Three other peopke are also unvaccinated at the office, but no one else knows this. Anyway, my boss asked me why I don’t just get the vaccine. I explained that it boils down to an irrational gut feeling of “Hell NO.” that I simply can’t ignore. I didn’t go into the infinite number of boosters one will be expected to have, the shady history of fraud and deception of the pharmaceutical companies, nor the suspected utter irrelevance of the vaccines against Omicron. I find it best to just blame myself and my “gut” for my hesitancy. My boss said, “But if you get the vaccine; you no longer have to think about Covid. Covid will just be like getting the flu.” I realized then that this is probably what the average Swede believes. It would explain why fewer than a dozen people in my city of a half million wear masks while indoors or on public transport. It explains why everyone is going to restaurants, bars and concerts. All public venues with more than 100 people are “vaccine pass protected” of course. Life for them is back to “normal”… and the cases are increasing. Then, and this is why I’m posting this anecdote, my boss says to me, “If we have to return to restrictions; you will be the ones we blame.” She said this while pointing her finger at me. I reminded her that I am the most cautious of anyone at work, and that I haven’t had Covid since May 2020 (before I started wearing masks, etc). She replied, “None of that matters.” I wasn’t sure if I will be blamed because I’m unvaccinated, or an immigrant, or both; and I didn’t really want to ask. I realized then how powerful the propaganda is all over the Western world that life would be back to normal if it wasn’t for “them”, whoever the “them” is in your country. Whoever it is, it most certainly is NOT our leaders, nor the medical/ scientific industry… and certainly never the pharmaceutical companies. No apologies will be asked of them, and none will be given. What a depressing world we live in…

    -An update. As of tomorrow, Sweden will start returning to previous restrictions; masks should be worn in crowded spaces, we should try to keep distance from one another, and there will be more public spaces restricted to vaccine pass only. For Sweden, this counts as “restrictions”. During the speech, the head of the Health Ministry, Lena Hallengren remarked that those that are vaccinated can celebrate Christmas together but “Det gäller att vara noggrann och inte dra sig för att fråga varandra om man har vaccinerat sig så att man inte utsätter någon för smitta”, säger Lena Hallengren. Translated: It is important to be careful and not hesitate to ask each other if you have been vaccinated so that you do not expose anyone to infection, says Lena Hallengren. Both my Swedish work collegue and I interpreted this as a caution to the vaccinated not to risk infection from the unvaccinated. She even went further and suggested that vaccinated people should refrain from hugging the unvaccinated, so as to not become infected. In Sweden, hugging is a common way of greeting friends. There was no acknowledgement that the vaccinated are equally contagious as unvaccinated, just for fewer days. There was no explanation for the rationale behind encouraging everyone to get vaccinated while telling them to be fearful of the unvaccinated because they are “infectious”. There were clear distinctions made between how life can proceed as usual for those that are vaccinated as long as they’re not in the company of the unvaccinated. Very few perceive the government’s contradictory messages as being illogical. I fear my boss was right. I, and the other 20 percent of those unvaccinated in Sweden, will be blamed for the ongoing increase of Covid cases. I never realized just how easy it is for those in power to scapegoat a group of people so quickly. I thought it would take years, not months, to end family relationships, friendships and careers.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I do not understand this fear of the vaccinated being infected by the unvaccinated at all. It’s as if they are admitting that they don’t believe that the vaccines they got actually work, and yet still want to require everyone to get one. It’s pure virtue signaling tribalism.

      1. megrim

        I just can’t wrap my brain around this cognitive dissonance. These are the same people telling us that if we get a breakthrough infection it will be a mild nothingburger! Which one is it??? I guess I should have anticipated that after Russiagate, nothing coming out of the mainstream would ever make sense again.

        1. Stephen C.

          The Social Psychologists are now calling this “Mass Formation” rather than “Mass Psychosis.” There are some good podcast shows you can watch about this topic.

        2. w d w

          as far as why the story keeps changing it takes more than the 60 minutes of your favorite show to study the virus, identify how it operates, what it does or can do. these actually take weeks or months or longer. they started with basic corona virus impacts and how they operate.
          well as far as i know, its based on what hospital records show, that the vast majority of those in the hospital, are unvaccinated, and most of them will be in much worse shape. the unvaccinated get there also but the ratio of those to unvaccinated, is about 20% are vaccinated, the rest are unvaccinated. course if we knew how many were infected but had no symptoms (we dont test every body. only those with symptoms but is expensive, and error prone) , so this number is unknown (which in a way makes it like driving a car with no speedometer). we do seem to know that of those in the hospital, most with bad reactions, tend to be unvaccinated, those with dont seem to have this impact. unvaccinated vs vaccinated tend to be heavily skewed as most are unvaccinated.
          most of us know that the virus actually exists, and that it can be fatal, or painful long term, or it can have no impact at all, but we dont know how to determine what the infection will do, and how to identify those at risk. some time back it was thought if you were elderly, a chronic condition, or unhealthy, you were at risk. turns out that was wrong, even children can get it, and die.
          so i just wonder if not the vaccine, or masks, or distancing, exactly how do some of think we can address the virus without having a lot of us die?

      2. w d w

        well, i am guessing the vaccinated dont want to be put at risk, any more than others would, for decisions that others made. so i suppose what we could do is separate all that are vaccinated from those who are unvaccinated. and keep the that way for as long as the virus is around (which can be a very long time, measles is still around, just mostly infecting the unvaccinated, as is polio, and there are some in our bodies that if they were gone, we would be too)
        the question then becomes how do we do that, without discriminating against one or the other *which will be extremely hard to do….our past history doesnt make it likely). one way is for everyone to wear hazmat suits. that way no one can actually see the face of those around them . and allow any one whose job doesnt require them to be in an office to work remote. it also reduces the traffic on roads and at rush hour.

        1. bsun

          “well, i am guessing the vaccinated dont want to be put at risk, any more than others would, for decisions that others made. so i suppose what we could do is separate all that are vaccinated from those who are unvaccinated.”

          You keep referring to this idea that unvaccinated people are putting vaccinated people in greater danger of infection than they would otherwise be. Do you have any evidence to support this?

          1. w d w

            sure, where did the vaccinated get infected from? where are the unvaccinated being infected from? were they just in company of those who were vaccinated, or were there times that they were in company of those who werent? were unvaccinated only in the company of unvaccinated or vaccinated? if we could answer those questions, then we would know how they were infected. but since we dont and cant, we cant say that the unvaccinated arent a risk to the vaccinated since we dont have any data to support that do we? one of things we do know is Delta is more contagious than earlier versions, because it increases virus load (i.e. more virus is in the air from delta than older versions), which means that if you talk to someone who is contagious, there a much better chance of being infected whether vaccinated or unvaccinated , even if the unvaccinated has a better chance of not being infected

            as it is., unless you think you are immune (and many are), but since we dont really know who is going to be badly impacted by the virus (other than a vague idea of type A, B or AB blood which are more likely to be infected, which is basically almost all of us) or why some arent impacted at all (but this changes for each version), would you want to take the risk of death or long covid just to go back bau? if so why?

            1. Yves Smith

              You act as if you understand what you are talking about. You don’t.

              The CDC reported that the nasal viral load for Delta for baccinated and unvaccinated people was the same. That means absent differences in behavior, they are likely to be just as contagious.

              1. Ultracrepidarian

                If viral loads are the same for vaccinated and the non vaccinated, where does this idea that the vaccinated suffer less from the virus come from? I dont see the logic in it.

                1. BlakeFelix

                  Vaccinated people are contagious for less time on average I think. It’s certainly not the reduction that they are pretending that it is, but I think that there is some level of average spread reduction (easily counterbalanced if people are less careful). A very careful unvaccinated person is likely less likely to spread it than a vaccinated person going around unmasked, IMO.
                  The viral loads in the nose and lungs are similar I think because the vaccines we have are blood based and the nose and lungs get hit before the blood does, but most of the damage occurs after it’s spreading in the blood, and the vaccines seem to help a lot with that.

            2. bsun

              sure, where did the vaccinated get infected from? where are the unvaccinated being infected from? were they just in company of those who were vaccinated, or were there times that they were in company of those who werent? were unvaccinated only in the company of unvaccinated or vaccinated? if we could answer those questions, then we would know how they were infected. but since we dont and cant, we cant say that the unvaccinated arent a risk to the vaccinated since we dont have any data to support that do we?

              If you actually read or even skimmed the abstract of the study that I posted in my other comment, you would know that there is a way to answer these questions and that researchers have done some good work on them. I’ll post the link again so you can take a look at it:


      3. fajensen

        The vaccines works well enough for the vaccinated. They keep most of the vaccinated out of hospital, where, should one get ill enough to be admitted, the case fatality rate is running at about 10% across all age groups. If people choose not to get one, it just sucks to be them – and, on the current trajectory, they *will* put all of the bed-blockers in 1980’s ABC-tents off-site, somewhere, where they will most likely die.

        On top of that, they are absolutely going to pin “everything bad that happens” on the unvaccinated. That is a given.

    2. JM

      “I never realized just how easy it is for those in power to scapegoat a group of people so quickly. I thought it would take years, not months, to end family relationships, friendships and careers.”
      This is in my mind the most important , dangerous aspect of the whole pandemic and one which if not quickly recognized and corrected by ALL OF US leads in REALLY dark directions IMO

      1. Ignacio

        I have been told by friends in different environments that the atmosphere is becoming rarefied by vaccine mandates/vaccine passports. Trust is in short supply and unpredicted consequences in the pipeline.

    3. ahimsa

      Thanks for sharing, Brian.

      Similar vibes from some colleagues here in Germany. Some really think the unvaccinated are at fault. If only we would be sensible, solidary, not so selfish… I asked one if she was prepared to sign up for a lifetime of biannual boosters with Pfizer. She replied blankly, “Of course, if that is what it takes to stop the economy shutting down again. We will all have to get boostered every year.” She is a somewhat conservative, well-educated, regular reader of the daily mainstream news.

      I asked another if she thought it reasonable that a (likely very small) portion of frontline workers who have worked through the whole pandemic would now lose their jobs if they don’t get vaccinated when a healthworker mandate comes in. There was a pained look, and a resignated reply of, “Well, if that’s what it takes.” They know it doesn’t make any sense to patient care and outcomes, but they are lost, floundering. People want “to get back to normal”, and if the politicians promise normal is possible through vaccination mandates, then so be it.

      Hardly anbody where I work is keeping up with the data and studies anymore. There seems to occur (a very understandable) disengagement the moment anyone I know gets the jabs (and has no side effects). Why bother to keep picking over new developments once you’ve made your pact with pharma. They naturally assume or rather hope they have made the right decision and any further research can only jeopardise that psychological security.

      I share that I am not certain of my position, that I am still open to getting vaxxed, if I was comfortable with the long-term safety profile or if I genuinely thought it would end the pandemic or safe someone’s life. I feel this to be the most honest position I can have at the moment, one of uncertainty/rational scepticism/openness.

      It is their conviction that surprises me. It’s become a quasi-religious belief system. My uncertainty, my open questioning of vaccination, questions their belief system, it’s threatening.

      1. Jon S

        I am fully vaccinated with a booster. All the evidence shows that I can still catch the virus and still spread it. But it will likely have a very marginal impact on my personal health if I do catch it.

        I have no issue if you choose to remain unvaccinated. If the science is accurate, I can cause far more damage to you than you can to me. And if you are willing to accept that, why should I care?

        A lot of people seem to believe that if everyone would just get vaccinated, the coronavirus would go away. That’s just not true. And someone at a high enough level needs to say that very publicly.

          1. Basil Pesto

            it’s probably worth remembering when we state the benefit of vaccines (they stave off death/serious illness) that these benefits appear to be temporary, hence the need for boosters. iirc IM Doc has reported several vaccinated patients getting very sick indeed.

        1. w d w

          depends on if we can get the rate of infection down to less than 1 person infecting one other er day. sounds ok so far? what happens next is each of those 2 people infects 1 person. and it goes up from there, it wont be long and there might not be many of us left. and the vaccines arent perfect (then nothing we can do will ever be). once the rate of infection is less than 1, the virus may fade away, but it may never be gone. Polio is one example of a virus that is almost gone, but not quite eliminated. another would be the plagues. they are still around, they just dont bother advanced countries much (if at all). but then by nature a virus has a very short life, which leads to lots of variation, and the most successful one of those survives, the other tend to die off. and the life space of a single virus spore is in hours, not days. so they tend mutate really fast

    4. Michaelmas

      Ironically, Sweden is where the initial response to COVID was shaped by Anders Tegnell, the state’s top epidemiologist, pushing the lie in 2020 that natural herd immunity would be achieved if the state imposed no meaningful restrictions on Business As Usual.

      As anybody who looks at a virology 101 text for five minutes knows, there’s no natural immunity possible with most of the coronaviruses. So the esteemed state “expert epidemiologist” lied like a dog to preserve BAU in Sweden. It’s still the same project now, only the vaccines are being promoted as the panacea that will allow BAU.

      ‘Governance’ like this is inevitable in societies captured by a model where the elites who run it are composed of people with other skill but the extraction of financial rents from the rest of society. If the whole edifice of continual debt and rent extraction stops, these people — competent only at financial parasitism — lose their place at the top of the heap. Thus, BAU at the cost of all else.

      1. w d w

        well, the virus will likely never go away, and mutate for as long as there is any of remaining. since its ‘generations’ are so short, its really hard to stop them, can be done (Polio anyone?) it just takes effort to do so. and the virus mutates so often, vaccines will have to try to keep up (even though its unlikely that it can…when variations show up. takes time to figure out what can be done tone the virus down). but the one thing we can say is that trying to naturally get herd immunity is a prescription for many people dying and reducing the number of people in the world. and really wont help the economies at all. cause the consumer is what drives them, dead consumers dont buy much. and if an economy cant adapt, then it will fail. so basically the economy has to adapt, as will every thing it does, like globalization, since it seems that requires just in time delivery of parts, which as we see now, doesnt work when there is a pandemic. at least not the way most of the world did it. Toyota started it, but about a decade ago they changed it because of a quake. now instead of all parts being just in time, they actually look to see how hard a disruption will impact those parts, if its really bad (say chips) then they will stoke those more than say hoods and other parts that arent as hard to get. so BAU will not recover from covid, life has changed, even if we can get some semblance of control over the virus, its here to stay, and ignoring it will not help get the economy off its back

    5. fajensen

      It is not done to openly defy authorities in Sweden. Even retarded authorities like FHM and Anders Tegnell (or my management), must be not only complied with – but also, at the very least, their directives followed with at least some ritualistic displays of enthusiasm and support for their current servings of re-heated gibberish on LinkedIn and Slack!

      Sweden’s FHM just recently recommended that persons vaccinated against Covid-19 shall not be tested for it when their lungs conk out and they appear in the emergency clinic. They have, I.O.W., decided that the vaccines are perfect and testing how much that is the case is like questioning God.

      I think that being unvaccinated, especially at this time, when Denmark and Sweden have decided that “don’t fix anything, just let it rip” will be The Way Forward, is just really, really stupid, and now that the “Russian Bots” have the exact number of those being stupid, it will only get worse. For them. Because those bots will pour energy into widening the fissures created between “them” and “us”, and the minority will be the loser in that game.

      Having had Covid-19 twice, being unvaccinated as a right is not the hill *I* personally would choose to “die” miserably on, but, that’s my opinion – or perhaps lack of core values, as it were.

    6. Brian Beijer

      So, due to the questions about why would the vaccinated be afraid of the unvaccinated, I watched the press conference. When the press conference was presented live, my collegue and I only listened to it. First, I gave the wrong title to Lena Hallengren. She is the Social minister not the minister of health. There have been some changes in the government recently, so I was confused when only listening. Second, the warning to not hug or get too close to others was mentioned twice. Once was what I quoted earlier that Lena Hallengren said. She went on to say that it was to protect the unvaccinated from getting Covid. The second time hugging or being close to others was mentioned came shortly after the first. It was that the unvaccinated should keep distance from those over 70 and/ or in risk groups because the unvaccinated are at higher risk of being infectious. I apologize for spreading confusion about this. It was not a good idea to share information based on only listening to this while working. I will have to inform my work collegue in the morning. We both blended the two statements together. Obviously, there is still a distinction being made by the government that the vaccinated are not a health risk to the elderly and those in risk groups…. but the unvaccinated are a danger. I agree that the unvaccinated pose a greater health risk if they live with someone who is elderly or at risk, but only because they are infectious for a longer period, not because they release more virus into the air. During a brief encounter, the vaccinated and unvaccinated are equally at risk of spreading the virus to others. This difference is not at all being clearly stated by the government here.
      Again, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.

    7. Brian Beijer

      So, due to the questions about why would the vaccinated be afraid of the unvaccinated, I watched the press conference. When the press conference was presented live, my collegue and I only listened to it. First, I gave the wrong title to Lena Hallengren. She is the Social minister not the minister of health. There have been some changes in the government recently, so I was confused when only listening. Second, the warning to not hug or get too close to others was mentioned twice. Once was what I quoted earlier that Lena Hallengren said. She went on to say that it was to protect the unvaccinated from getting Covid. The second time hugging or being close to others was mentioned came shortly after the first. It was that the unvaccinated should keep distance from those over 70 and/ or in risk groups because the unvaccinated pose a higher risk of spreading Covid. I apologize for spreading confusion about this. It was not a good idea to share information based on only listening to this while working. I will have to inform my work collegue in the morning. We both blended the two statements together. Obviously, there is still a distinction being made by the government that the vaccinated are not a health risk to the elderly and those in risk groups…. but the unvaccinated are a danger. I agree that the unvaccinated pose a greater health risk if they live with someone who is elderly or at risk, but only because they are infectious for a longer period, not because they release more virus into the air. During a brief encounter, the vaccinated and unvaccinated are equally at risk of spreading the virus to others. This difference is not at all being clearly stated by the government here.
      Again, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.

  10. David

    At least in Europe, the problem is not that politicians are in league with drug companies, or that they sit up all night thinking of new ways to take away our liberties, it’s that they are a decrepit and incompetent political class overwhelmed by a crisis that they never expected, can’t really understand, and are desperate to consign to history.

    The collective motto of the European political class is “back to normal.” Anything that might conceivably achieve that objective is not only acceptable, it’s also obligatory. I’m quite certain that some leading politicians, at least, actually believed that the vaccines were sterilising, because they desperately wanted them to be so. When all you have is a vaccine, a vaccine is obliged to be the magic solution you are looking for. Thus mandates. I don’t think the European political class has even begun to consider the implications of the virus hanging around for even, say, five years: an eternity in political terms. It was interesting watching the rather sober and downbeat press conference given by the Prime Minister and Health Minister of France yesterday. There was, for once, no suggestion that the virus was an enemy that could be beaten. Rather, the current “fifth wave” would be managed as the previous four had been. What happened after that was carefully left unspecified: all the government is looking for is a dip in the figures before the elections in April. And the talk was, for once, not of hand washing, but of masks and proper ventilation, suggesting that some kind of reality is starting to seep through.

    As regards vaccines and protective measures, I think you can say that the current upsurge in cases is linked primarily to two things. One is simply that the cold weather is bringing more people indoors, especially as the festive season approaches. The other is that the protective measures introduced earlier are simply not being respected as much as in the past. Whether from fatigue or just bloody-mindedness, people don’t wear masks as much as they should, they gather in enclosed spaces and revert to pre-endemic forms of physical closeness. That said, today’s figures show that, whilst nearly half of the critical care beds in France are now taken up by Covid patients, you are roughly ten times as likely to be in one if you have not been fully vaccinated.

    1. flora

      I think one important question about the hospital beds is this: Did the patients go to hospital because of Covid, or did they go to hospital for another problem, get tested, show a positive, and are now reported as Covid patients though they may be in hospital for a heart problem or diabetes or cancer or accident or child birth or some other reason?

      The way numbers have been collected and reported – or not – is one problem I have with the MSM reporting.

      1. David

        All I can say is that these are the official figures from the French government, updated daily on their smartphone application. It includes “the number of patients suffering from Covid-19 currently on resuscitation, in intensive care or under observation, as a percentage of the total of emergency beds available before the crisis.” They are generally pretty reliable, and I think they refer, in principle at least, to people hospitalised after a diagnosis of Covid. Given that the figures were only 20% just a couple of weeks ago, it’s hard to interpret these much higher figures as anything but the spread of the disease.

      2. w d w

        how would we be able to determine that? think folks dont like vaccine mandates, think how they will react to testing mandates? since the only to come up with any sort idea who infected who. and this isnt a MSM deal, collecting the data is a state and local issue, since all US health departments are managed by the states. so numbers to even try to determine this dont exist. so any media company that says they know, are making it up

    2. Michaelmas

      David: At least in Europe, the problem is not that politicians are in league with drug companies … it’s that they are a decrepit and incompetent political class overwhelmed by a crisis … The collective motto of the European political class is back to normal.

      There are some 25,000 political lobbyists in Brussels. There are slightly less than 12,000 in Washington, by comparison.

      So perhaps you’re being naive. Yes, the European political class are decrepit and incompetent. But also they’re corrupt.

      The EU was founded by neoliberals, after all, at least on the German end of the France-Germany axis.

      Wilhelm Röpke was personal advisor to Konrad Adenauer, the West German Chancellor, and was his Minister of Economics in the late 1950s when the EC was coming together, then left to be president of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1961. Ludwig Erhard, the second Chancellor from 1963-66, had been a member of the Mont Pelerin Society since 1950.

      Similarly, Robert Mundell, chief architect of the Euro in 1999, was also the father of ‘Reaganomics’ and was on record boasting about how the Euro would work to ‘discipline’ the European working classes.

      You can’t get any more neoliberal than that. So what’s happening now is par for the course with the EU.

      1. w d w

        well…i think its not just the politicians in Europe, it seems to have infected those in the UK, and just about every country that was spun off from the UK.

        some of this seems to be that most of the politicians are beholden to others than their constituents, and so they vote how those want, and for things they dont care about, for some of what their constituents want,,,some times

        its just the financialization of politics. its not new, been that way for a very long time

      2. flora

        And Ursula von der Leyen’s husband is Heiko von der Leyen, medical director of biotech company Orogenisis, a company company that specializes in “cell-based vaccines” and gene therapies. It’s possible that connection influences her decision making. (One wonders what was in those deleted text messages on her govt cell phone before she returned it at the end of her term in office.)


      3. David

        Brussels isn’t making these decisions, national governments are, and the number of lobbyists in Brussels, though scandalously high, has nothing to do with national decisions. Simple observation reveals that what I said is true. This is a bunch of hopeless incompetents looking in panic for a way out.

      4. vlade

        I’m afraid you have a very little understanding of the EU workings and its history (or, I’d say, a biased one), and somehow I suspect that you have an attitude where trying to correct that understanding is an act of futility.

  11. jim truti

    I interact with a lot of people daily, and my impression is that inadvertently the vaccines are maybe doing a lot of harm to stop the spread of the virus regardless of their effectiveness.
    How? Almost all vaccinated people I know have a reckless behavior, dont mask, party and act as they are 100% protected and can do no harm. When I tell them that the vaccine doesnt protect you from getting and spreading the virus, they look at me as I am some right wing nut. Those are normal working class people who watch a lot of TV and dont read Yves blog.
    Many unvaccinated I know on the other hand seem to be suspicious and afraid of the virus and in doubt they abstain from big gatherings and usually mask in interactions with others, but those are solely my observations .

    1. w d w

      thats how vaccinated cause more harm than good, they seem to believe that the vaccine is an impervious shield. it’s not. and the unvaccinated dont seem to care, they think it wont impact them (since it doesnt exist, or its fiction, or pushed by the other), and they search for cheaper treatments (that dont work since they were created to address viruses but are cheap) . the delta version is much contagious (and with many never knowing they had it, and others having no idea they do, the virus can overwhelm the defense of the vaccine. course its new version will impact how well of it the vaccine still does its job).

      1. Brian Beijer

        Please don’t stereotype the unvaccinated as people who “dont seem to care, they think it wont impact them (since it doesnt exist, or its fiction, or pushed by the other), and they search for cheaper treatments”. I hear this sh*t practically everyday. I have taken this pandemic far more seriously than my government, everyone at my workplace and, based on the number of people I see wearing masks, more than 99% of the city I live in. The issue of vaccine hesitancy isn’t so simple as to be able to lump everyone in one group. We’re not all ignorant, right wing Covid deniers. That is just a lazy assumption. If you’ve read the comments posted by the unvaccinated on this site; you will find no one who fits your description.

        1. w d w

          maybe where you are, every one, vaccinated or not, is masked, but thats not how all of the states operate. much of the south and part of the west, dont do anything different. the only folks with masks on in stores, work there, the majority of shoppers do not. they dont even distance.
          well then how do you propose to stop the virus? short of all of us going back in lock down, masks on all who have to go any where, and limiting the number of shoppers in stores. mandating stores start transitioning to curb side or direct to customer delivery of goods. no gatherings of more than 10 people (and most church services go all remote).
          you seem to think that just because they dont do anything to stop the virus, its not because they dont care, then why do they not? and how would i know they dont other than how they talk?

          1. Basil Pesto

            You seem to have a serious reading comprehension problem. Mr Beijer is unvaccinated, takes the virus very seriously, and takes steps to “stop the virus”. In fact he has explained that his vaccinated colleagues are going about unmasked because they don’t believe they need to be. Therefore it is likely that Mr Beijer is in fact doing more to “stop the virus” (your oversimplification) than any of his colleagues, because vaccines do not stop transmission, but well worn masks (particulay respirators) do. He is explaining that maybe, just maybe, he is not the only such person and would appreciate it if you didn’t stereotype him as someone who “doesn’t seem to care”.

      2. Ultracrepidarian

        I am not vaccinated and I absolutely do care.
        Personally, I never go unmasked, make sure to avoid gathering and closed spaces, and when I have no choice, I make sure I have a nice N95 nicely fit. I have reduced travelling to what I really need and so with family gathering.
        Reason why I dont want to get the vaccine? My brother, very healthy dude, got it and has had myocarditis / arrhythmias and all kind of complications about 2 weeks after second shot. He is still on betta blockers (6 months later) and doctors seem to have an “omerta” on even discussing the issue, very frustrating.

  12. w d w

    i do wonder just exactly what those who oppose the vaccine, or masking, or distancing do to stop the virus? and how many will die under that plan? and why you think it will that low? and why isnt that surrender to the virus?

  13. djrichard

    US to terrorists when we invaded Iraq for the safety of the homeland from terrorists: nothing personal, it’s just business
    US and wokists to extremists when we deplatform them for the safety of our democracy: nothing personal, it’s just business
    US to unvaccinated when we mandate vaccines for the safey of the vaccinated: nothing personal, it’s just business

    Evil doers already know all this. You’re grist for the mill for somebody’s war campaign.

    1. w d w

      those examples came from both sides of the aisle. we all know that both parties are in bed with business (while we usually see them with an R OR D and a state name. some think they should instead have the business/industry they are beholden too). maybe we could get the media to do that, but i doubt that it could ever happen. since they seem to be beholden to business too

  14. Dave in Austin

    I’m fascinated by one aspects of this debate. The techniques of persuasion and compulsion are designed to coerce behavior without creating martyrs. No “If the unvaccinated are 25% then that’s the percent of hospital ICU beds we will allow for the unvaccinated”; no “We will put you into jail if you are unvaxed and disobey”. Just more fines. Jail or “Sorry, no ICU beds” would create an identifiable victim for sob stories- the equivilant of the $10,000/person voyages from West Africa ending at the English Channel in $3,000 rubber boars and all new life vests. Causes need martyrs.

    So we get fines and restrictions. What will the EU do to a Greek pensioner with no money in the bank, living expenses of $1,000 and a $500 rent check due who simply refuses to get a shot and lets the fines accrue? Order Greece to take it from the next check and have him stop paying rent? And then what? This is the classic “Middle Class Persuader” like Walmart’s requirement that office workers get Covid shots but the cashiers who refuse keep working- and are a real threat to customers. Why? The cashiers can quit; the office workers can’t.

    Here in Texas we have an “Unpaid child support? Then no drivers license” rule and garnishment of paychecks. So the broke guys (AKA “Deadbeat Dads” ), who often are paying partial child support, simply call the state’s bluff; they become like the illegals and drive without licenses. Everyone mentions the employment statistics problem- the employer surveys show one number of people working while the Household Survey shows a much larger number working, and the difference keeps growing. All while the usually unwed rural Texas mothers (AKA “Moms”) lie on the welfare forms while dad provides an irregular but real stream of support.

    Governments know this dynamic but they respond to organized pressure groups (women and the vaccinated in these cases) by passing laws that can’t be enforced without putting large numbers of people in jail- which they know is not a possibility. The press also knows but turns a blind eye.

    And so we end up with the official world of “We are Doing Something!” vs the unofficial world of “My brother George is still sleeping with her and handing over half his off-the-books earning to keep the relationship going”.

    Are any other N C people with lower class contacts (like maybe Amfort the Hippie) seeing the same pattern? Drop a comment if you are.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please do not spread disinformation. The vaccines do little if anything to stop the spread of Delta. What makes anyone like a teller a “threat” is not their vax status but how good a mask they wear and how well they wear it. And how much and how loudly they talk.

  15. Tom Stone

    I am at risk from both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, and perhaps more at risk from the Vaccinated.
    Simply, the vaccinated may have lesser symptoms and shrug it off as “Just a cold” while being contagious and they are more often engaging in reckless behaviour because they believe that they are
    When a scapegoat is needed the weak are always chosen regardless of their responsibility.

  16. Author unknown

    I think for the ending comment, it seems appropriate to heap a little praise to NC for the quality readership and commentary it attracts (and moderates).

    I just read the entire thread of commentary after the article and had two thoughts.

    First, I was enlightened at most every step. Thoughtful people. Even the laughs are on cue.

    Second, as I followed the lively exchange, I was reminded of the old tickle about two hunters coming across a set of tracks on the ground.

    “Those are deer tracks,” says the one.

    “No, they’re moose tracks,” says the other.

    After debating for more than a minute, they got hit by a train.

    I learn more from this website’s commentary than many articles on the subject. Gratitude is my only point.

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