On marginalization and vaccination

It is axiomatic that if there is a world view we hold as a society, some thoughts are marginalized as they undermine that society. Op-ed.

Dr. Moshe Leibler ,

vaccine refrigerator
vaccine refrigerator
Magen David Adom

With Covid around, people have been writing for and against the vaccine. Both sides hold strong opinions. Neither side really wants to hear the other side. Yet the anti vaccine side has been bombarding me with remonstrations that "if you would only hear the other side, you may change your mind" and "you are being narrow minded."

I hold that a certain level of narrow mindedness is of great value.

Take the issue of a Palestinian Arab State. This was anathema till 1993. And even afterwards, this was anathema in Israeli politics for roughly 10 years. But what became mainstream in the media was "seeing both sides", the Arab and the Israeli side. Till 1993 no one would give legitimacy to the PLO , bar the far left. The "normal" left might not shoot into a rioting Arab crowd to calm them, but they did not officially legitimize the PLO. Till 1993. Suddenly, we were meant to "see the other side". I remember once driving past an army roadblock, and the soldier told me to open my trunk, telling me that he had to check Jews
If we are all vaccinated, the chance of an outburst would be only 0.25%. But if large swaths of the population are not, we may see outbreaks of the virus, every so often.
just as he has to check Arabs.

Why do I bring this up? Because it is axiomatic that when there is a world view we hold as a society, there are thoughts that COULD be entertained, but they just are NOT, they are marginalized thoughts and ideas, because they undermine the existence of Society as we know it, and we don't wish to see them aired, except in the form of "know thine Enemy", know him but never acknowledge him.

So the "open-minded"ness of those who supported Oslo, and made the Palestinian Arab State a legitimate issue, is really an agenda to undermine society in Israel as we knew it, at least till the beginning of the 21st century.

Demarginalization of ideas is legitimate as long as those ideas don't threaten society. Then those ideas are "creative". Otherwise, the demarginalization of ideas is a way of pushing an agenda.

Back to the anti-vaxxers. It has been axiomatic in Western Society since Jenner and Pasteur that vaccines and hygiene are the solutions to awful medical diseases. I for one remember polio as a dreaded killer, and one girl in my elementary school had a limp from it. But who remembers diphtheria or smallpox?? The vaccines I got allowed me to get to adulthood, whereas my grandfather was one of 24 children, about half of whom succumbed to childhood diseases. My wife's aunt even died at the age of 10 from diphtheria.

How do vaccines work? Any vaccine has a level of protection. That should be 100%, i.e., if the vaccine has taken in a particular individual he should be 100% protected, but the vaccine is effective in less than 100% of the population. That means that if the vaccine against measles, for example, is effective at the level of 98%, still 2% of the population will be susceptible. Their susceptibility (non-immunity) is at the level of 100%.

So what need be done? If everyone, but EVERYONE, is vaccinated, then the chances of 2% of the population meeting up with 2% of the population are 0.04% and even if the entire 2% of the population that were not immune were infected, the outbreak of measles would be localized, limited, and controllable. Non-epidemic.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of COVID, and if we are all vaccinated, the figures are that the vaccine is 95% effective. (Pfizer will be collecting data on the Israeli population, and we will be the model for deciding what the exact efficacy of the vaccine really is). Thus, if we are all vaccinated, the chance of an outburst would be only 0.25%. But if large swaths of the population are not, we may see outbreaks of the virus, every so often.

Which brings me to my point. While it is good to "know" the other side of the argument, it may yet be quite harmful to take it seriously. If 30% of the population is not inoculated, then there is a 9% chance that an inoculated person may contract COVID if he or she should come in close contact with an infected other individual. Do we want to promote that possibility?

The "try looking at the other side " attitude thus can cause much harm. It should be marginalized. A narrower view of things is in order here, and I for one feel that airing "the other side" in a show of "open mindedness" is inimical and should be avoided at all costs.

NOT all marginalization is bad.

Dr. Moshe Leibler is a Senior Educational Psychologist living in Israel