This matters, this counts.

By Brenda Steele:

A a regular watcher of the WHO press conferences, I was surprised by the rather forthright manner  of Dr Ryan when he rebuked Jamey Keaten of Associated Press for the manner of his question.  WHO officials are normally much more diplomatic.   04/12/2020  the last ten minutes or so – from 1 hour in.

Be careful with your rhetoric.  This is an important time for us to have a proper dialogue.  And the way that you formulate a question can often betray the way you intend it to be answered – and that’s how misinformation and disinformation spreads.”

Later on Dr Ryan says “This matters: this counts. People being vaccinated matters.”

Soumya Swaminathan follows on gives a good explanation of how new vaccines have been developed and why are becoming available so quickly.

Why is this of interest? Well. It looks like misinformation/disinformation or at the very least doubts as to the safety and efficacy of vaccination are creeping onto this very site.

Contrary December 6, 2020 at 8:22 am:

This isn’t strictly to do with this article, but with the new vaccine about to be distributed and people having concerns, or not enough concerns (!), I thought it would be useful to post this comment here too:

Writer first notes Devi Sridhar retweeted.  Well that does seem to be a good start.

With Scotland due to start vaccination next week with the Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2 coronavirus vaccine, what do we know about it? a thread

So who is this?

Thomas Christie Williams

Wellcome Trust ECAT Clinical Lecturer

  • MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine

Prior to joining the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the IGMM, I was a Paediatric Registrar in Edinburgh, working mainly in Neonatal Intensive Care. My previous work includes research in neonatology, international child health and human evolution.

I hold a BA (1st class) in Archaeology and Anthropology from St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, and a medical degree (MB BChir, with Distinction) from Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge.

Disappointing that he is

  • Not in Public health,
  • Not a virologist,
  • Not treating Covid-19 patients hands-on.

Hmmm. Not so impressive then.   And what does Dr Thomas Christie Williams have to say about the efficacy and safety?    Good question.  A big fat nothing as far as I can see.

But Contrary has extrapolated from his purely technical description.

A lot of it might not be particularly accessible for most people what with the medical detail, but you can get the gist by scrolling through the thread. It is experimental stll, so not enough is known for guaranteed long-term safety and certainty in efficacy, in all categories of people anyway, but it is going to work to some extent and it won’t kill you.

And Contrary goes on to say

I think it’s useful to watch Jeanne Freeman’s Covid Statement in parliament (you can find it on parliament tv, in recently archived) about how they are distributing and the plans and what the guidelines are. First off, she acknowledged the above issues – experimental nature and uncertain efficacy – and sets out who is in the Phase 1 inoculation group, those that will receive this Pfizer one; that’s medical and care staff, then 80+ aged people and some young vulnerable people.

Recently archived?  Sorry – don’t have the time to hunt that down. A date is required so exactly what she said can be verified. Given the take on Dr Thomas Christie Williams’s thread, that might be important.

My own recommendation is that if you want to bone up on the science and keep up with the latest developments there is nowhere better than  At first it may seem all too technical but persist and your understanding will improve. It is a lot better than the BBC  and a whole lot more enjoyable.

8 thoughts on “This matters, this counts.

  1. Well put, John. We are, at the end of the day, masters of our own fate.
    I tend to believe medical experts (experts: yes, I know) on the efficacy of medicines: I hold snake oil mendicants in the same regard as Brit Nat “journalists”.
    Every drug that humans use/take has a derogatory effect on some of us–I am allergic to penicillin for example—so this is something, not to fear, but to have awareness of.
    These vaccines have been fast-forwarded by governments because they lack the forbearance of our ancestors—who lacked the ability to cure pan/epidemics, so had to sit them out. In Scotlands case, by closing borders to England, and preventing trade with the Continent.
    The Good Old Days.


  2. Thanks John, will check out the links, good to know that. It’s all about making informed choices, and getting things into perspective, we know that the BBC and the BritNats even or maybe particularly, in the Scottish parliament, want us all to do the opposite.


  3. I will not take this vaccine until it has been tested further.
    Sad to say that these days with private companies competing for the business there will undoubtedly be competition .
    Competition to be the first to sell a vaccine
    Competition to sell the most effective vaccine
    Competition to sell the highest quantity of the vaccine

    I such circumstances you have to weigh business acumen and trust in your mind then make a balanced judgement

    If I were in my eighties I would take it because the virus would probably kill me

    I’m in my sixties
    I will take my chances continuing to keep a distance from other people and I will continue to wear a mask

    And I will review this decision regularly

    Thanks for the link it will help me review my decisions


    1. Someone today – on another site – commented that, as they were under 70, they weren’t going to think too deeply about this vaccine because it’s likely to be at least march before that age group is reached. By then (a) there’ll be more data on the Pfizer vaccine and (b) other vaccines may well have been tested and become available.

      So your plan to carry on with sensible precautions and review the latest information sounds about right to me. (At any rate, I’m in my 60s too and am planning to do much the same. :D)


    1. I suppose I better use the right to reply – I really don’t have time for this level of trolling, and that is all Brenda is doing here, accusing someone of misinformation then firing on and doing so herself.

      The tweet referred to is by a medical doctor and geneticist – if you don’t find that impressive you can’t know what it involves – the virus has been developed using genetics (that’s what mRNA means) – he is very well qualified to analyse the research which is all he does, he doesn’t give guidance on anything else. It was his conclusion that was the main bit:

      “In summary
      -No evidence to date of adverse effects specific to mRNA vaccines
      -No evidence to date of adverse effects specific to the BNT162b2 vaccine
      -BNT162b2 appears to be highly effective, but no data yet on asymptomatic infection/transmission”

      People need to scroll through to realise BNT162b2 is the vaccine.

      I can’t even tell what it is you suggest is misinformation. Was it the bit about phone your GP if you still have concerns?

      Was it the bit where we’ve been told by Jeanne Freeman that the phase 1 roll out will be complete in March? Which you couldn’t even be arsed checking? This doesn’t give me much confidence in your knowledge on the matter.

      Brenda does not know how the vaccine was developed – using genetics – doesn’t understand the role of different types of medical practitioners – isn’t interested on how our government plans on distributing it – and hasn’t clearly stated what the problem with my post was.

      Everything linked to and everything said was positive re the vaccine – with caveats – and telling people to shut up and take their medicine is hardly going to allay fears, which is all Brenda appears to think is allowable.

      Anyway, readers can decide themselves. This place has become so toxic – any differences in political opinion, which includes believing in a different solution to the constitutional question, should never affect reasoned discussion on other matters – but the no-debate culture is so all-pervasive, the people selling it appear to think if you don’t believe a certain thing that’s just opinion, then you don’t have the right to discuss anything.

      Brenda shooting down what was said because of WHO said it was stupid and wrong, to allow her personal judgement to colour the usefulness of actual information, to not approach it as a useful discussion and do so at the time, is a snide and underhand way to go about it.

      I’ve had to deal with some bullying issues at work this year, and I am very alert to the problem and have no intention of exposing myself to that same toxic environment in my leisure time. John, you have my email, next time just be open and honest and tell me privately to butt out of your carelessly formulated toxic environment, and I’ll stay away, I can only guess that Chomsky is no longer your hero.


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