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Jab jabberwocky

By Ultan Molloy - 04th Jun 2024

Covid vaccines

Ultan Molloy vents his frustration with the whirlwind of opinions that still exist around the Covid vaccines

‘A variant?  It’s not a f**kin variant. It’s a f**kin cold!’ says the comedian on Instagram to his 271,000 followers. Jesus Christ, am I done with the whole misinformation and lack of trust around the whole Covid experience, and indeed the social media, and other experts.  Conspiracy theories abound, due in part to the lack of trust we have in what we’re being told daily when we engage with these things. It permeates my life via my family WhatsApp group, which I had not been part of for several years, until my father’s passing in January, and the same “you know what you should do… conspiracy theory crap and religious dogma’ and other such fun in our ‘LOLs’ group abounds. ‘LOL’ stands for ‘laugh out loud’ by the way, just in case you didn’t know. Some LOLs and craic in my family WhatsApp, I’ll tell ya. 

I thought the conspiracy theory crap all went with Trump’s exodus from the White House and his relentless, poisonous, self-serving, fearmongering tweets ended, when he was banned from the bun-fight that is Twitter.

In the absence of education and trusted knowledge, we have a whole brigade of people, and comedians of course, telling us that viral variants are the flu. “Why isn’t everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated dead then?” proclaims another idiotic tweet, with 15,000 likes, which was shown to me by a friend earlier. I’ve deleted twitter, and I still can’t get away from it. Much like when I blocked Trump, thinking it would clean up inputs from my timeline, only to get fed other people’s tweets that quoted him or linked to him, or rather the tweet.

I had a close family member — close by birth at this point, rather than by relationship — ask me, “how can you vaccinate people with a vaccine when it’s killing people?” ie, by extension, how can you be part of killing people. It’s “experimental gene therapy”, he told me.

Then there’s the whole ‘If you’re not with me, then you’re against me’ buzz going on in my family of origin, which made the whole Covid experience far less than pleasant at every turn.  Jesus, as noted above, was involved also of course. Heavily involved when the going got tough, or indeed confusing, with Mr Trump noted and quoted as a good God-fearing man.  Heads were firmly buried in the sand rather than testing, lest they have to behave themselves in a socially responsible manner.

There’s no point in arguing with ‘stupid’ though, is there? Between a knowledge vacuum, or indeed chasm, the lack of trust in public health policy and the conspiracy theory influencers — not so many are public health experts, virologists, epidemiologists of renown mind you — what’s the point really. I have progressively limited energy at 48 years of age, and need to allocate it to what I care about, namely, my own young family, my close friends, my colleagues and our patients in Ballindine. That’s about all I can give, and I’m still exhausted. 

In a metanalysis of those who strongly believed in conspiracy theories, they were also more likely to be insecure, paranoid, emotionally volatile, impulsive, suspicious, withdrawn, egocentric and eccentric (see www.apa.org). Social media has precipitated these traits, and has us all feeling to some degree like we’re not seen to be important, funny, clever, attractive, educated, or insert character trait or ability here… enough. 


Then there’s the whole ‘If you’re not with me, then you’re against me’ buzz going on in my family of origin

It’s all a facade though. Ninety-nine per cent staged rubbish that is leading to decreasing levels of mental health, and increased anxiety and social issues. Often, it’s very clever people on these uncensored mouthpieces coming up with very coherent and cohesive arguments to explain happenings, with the narrative fallacy alive and well, and a failed appreciation in understanding the nature a correlation between something and the cause of a particular thing.

There is no ‘quality control’. There are no criteria for competence. Just an account, a profile picture (optional), and a few people to follow you so that you’ve an audience to address. I note the abuse that I received throughout Covid for vaccinating people mainly came from those with profile pictures of rabbits or robots. This may suggest that it’s easier to be an abusive p**ck when you don’t show your face, but correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causality of course, so I don’t know for sure.

I do know that writing this piece will probably only serve to irritate some readers, and if it does, then I’m sorry that has been your experience. Maybe there’s some food for thought in it for you? I hope so. I get to write these pieces, however, and this one is serving me more as a work of therapy than of literature.

I am struggling to understand medical professionals, including Mr ‘Experimental gene therapy’, doubting and challenging so strongly the public health advice and the science we have been advised on. Is following public health advice and vaccination schedules not the responsible thing to do? 

If this is a case of Darwinian selection and a cull of the population, then time will tell, won’t it. The concern of course in the meantime, were there to be more vaccine scepticism and reduced rates of vaccinations, could be the re-emergence of diseases that could affect the population as a whole, and unfortunately not just the unvaccinated. 

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