I see the world from unusual and unexpected angles. It’s the way I am. You might say the underlying mission in my life is to depict those unaccustomed perspectives, whether it be in novels or photos or articles, such that others can experience the world differently and in being moved by what they see or hear, possibly learn from it. Writing about vaccination I have done just that, taking a considerable risk by stepping outside the dominant discourse in favour of the ‘vaccine saviour’ to discover what might lie beyond. Pour une version française de ce texte, voir ici.
Short term fixes and long term solutions
One of the key lessons of this virus, which repeatedly reveals the shortcomings in our ways of doing things, is that we have a choice between finding temporary fixes in the hope we can continue with ‘business as usual’ till the next crisis or we can step back and ask ourselves some fundamental questions and try to address the dysfunctions that enable such a crisis to occur. Clearly barricading ourselves against each other is not a satisfactory answer and only creates a host of other problems. And vaccination? Is that the long term solution? Is it even possible or desirable to return tou the way it was before?
Vaccination is heralded as our sole saviour in the fight against COVID-19 and the science that produced it so quickly is seen as a veritable miracle. Such is the discourse trumpeted by most mainstream media. Yet the ‘miracle jab’ at best only protects against one virus for a short while and does so at great expense and not without risks. As such, it is a short-term solution and is ultimately a miracle only for those who have a vested interest in returning to ‘business as usual’. It does nothing to enhance our resistance to future viral threats. If anything it makes us increasingly dependent on expensive pharmaceutical fixes as our only rampart against disease. That doesn’t need to be the case.
The central questions must surely be: why is the effectiveness of our immune system on the wane? And how can we enhance our immune defenses? Instead of pouring millions and millions into the development of a large number of vaccines for one particular strain of virus, we might be better off spending a part of that money investigating why human immune defense response is diminishing. Some hard questions need to be asked. What role does industrial food production play in that? How do our ways of living and our ways of working impact our resistance to if not foster outbreaks of illness? To what extent the fact that we are polluting and ravaging the Earth contribute to laying waste to our own health? To what extent does inherent injustice and inequality in our societies condemn a substantial part of the population to ill health and ultimately threatens the remainder of humanity, not matter how many walls they build?
The answers to these questions may not be to the liking of everybody, especially not those who are currently privileged or who profit from the situation. Experience has shown the lengths those with vested interests are prepared to go to silence the answers to any questions that challenge their power and wealth. Yet acting on those findings will be the only effective way of moving towards a more healthy future for all of humanity. By taking the necessary steps to enhance everyone’s immune defenses, individuals need to be empowered to act for their own health and not be dependent on miracle drugs that enrich the few at the expense of the many.
Operating changes to the way we live and work so as to enhance our immune response is a medium to long term project that would necessitate immense political will and could well go hand in hand with something akin to the Green New Deal, which is also an attempt at a long-term response to deeper questions. But in the interim, shifting emphasis and investment to prevention, not by barricading ourselves against others, but rather by taking a number of well-known vitamins and herbal remedies, by getting suitable exercise, making sure we sleep well and eat healthy food and drink, by diminishing stress at work and in the home. In such an interim strategy, vaccination should be seen for what it is: a short-term fix while we implement long-term solutions.
Alan McCluskey, author.