Rodolphe Bacquet, “Enough with the Anti-Antivax Discourse,” Alternatif Bien-Être, November 19, 2020.

Original article, in French:

Marre du discours « antivaccin »

Source discussed below: Interview with Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre on France Inter.

Translation by Dennis Riches

There was a surreal moment on France Inter this morning: journalist Léa Salamé was hosting Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of the infectious diseases department at Henri-Mondor Hospital in Créteil. He’s a vaccination specialist.

Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre interviewed on France Inter, 2020/11/19

During the program, journalists spoke of this worrying figure: “50 per cent of the population is reluctant to vaccinate.”[1]. Horrified by this “rising anti-vaccine discourse” the journalist asked Professor Lelièvre a question:

“You have twenty seconds to convince with simple words someone who does not want to be vaccinated… to get vaccinated. What would you say?”

Already, you will notice the scandalous implication of this question: people who are reluctant to get vaccinated are fools, so you have to convince them with “simple words.” This prestigious scientist was taken aback, but then contrary to the expected response he replied:

“I’m not here to convince. I’m here to explain. It’s a question of the balance of benefit and risk, and at the moment we don’t have all the elements to ensure the absolute safety of these vaccines.”

Bravo for your intellectual honesty, Professor Lelièvre. Yet there was disappointment among the journalists in the studio. Léa Salamé had thought she could finally put the nail in the coffin of the “antivax” argument, but as a vaccine specialist, Professor Lelièvre answered as a scientist and told the truth about the upcoming anti-Covid vaccine: its actual effectiveness is unknown, as is its long-term safety.

When asked about promotional material of the American laboratory Pfizer, which announced the effectiveness of its vaccine as “90%”, then raised its figure to 95%[2] after another laboratory, Moderna, announced an effective vaccine at 94.5%[3], Professor Lelièvre replied, “Scientific efficacy should not be confused with public relations… Pfizer wanted to be first out of the gate with an announcement… It’s shameful…”

Léa Salamé then asked Professor Lelièvre if he supported compulsory vaccination against Covid. His answer, again, was honest:

“We must be against mandatory vaccination… First everyone is free to get vaccinated or not. Secondly, making a decision about mandatory vaccination means stepping back from an immediate decision to make vaccination mandatory. It means being sure that vaccination is 100% effective, that it has no adverse effects, that it will protect you and also protect others. We lack all of these elements that we need before we can say that the vaccine should be mandatory.”

Well done for your honesty, Professor Lelièvre. For, although you were questioned as a “vaccine specialist,” thus supposedly “pro” in the eyes of journalists, you recalled this fundamental principle of medicine that many forget: first do not harm. But in the mainstream media, it’s all black or all white.

Just between you and me, Professor Lelièvre, I am afraid that having now given such a measured and careful comment on the effectiveness of a future vaccine against Covid, and by objecting to mandatory vaccination, you will now be labelled as one of those dangerous “antivax” people.

In the eyes of France Inter in this interview in any case, questioning the future vaccination against Covid was equated with being behind the times, anti-progress, and dangerous.

That two journalists who have given up all critical thinking are the first to run to receive an injection when a vaccine is available, well, good for them. But public debate is not served by fools equating the necessary caution with opposition to Covid vaccination. We are not morons, ladies and gentlemen, journalists, when we warn about the risks and the dark side of vaccines. To caricature and belittle us by asking a professor of medicine to “convince us with simple words” is a rejection of serious analysis. The truth is that it is narrow-minded and sterile to be “for” or “against” vaccines. Just as it is silly to be for or against coffee, for or against planes, for or against 2021.

Vaccines are part of our time and no sensible person labelled “anti-vaccine” has ever decreed that what remains, in many ways, a decisive advance in medicine, must be abolished. On the other hand, to question the recent excesses related to vaccines is a crucial fight. Because these excesses are not so much the work of honest doctors like Professor Lelièvre but of well-funded government bureaucracies and laboratories that will not allow their cash cows to be threatened, or even questioned.

In short, vaccines are not a religion to believe in or not to believe in. These are manufactured medical products that are sometimes effective, sometimes ineffective; rarely without side effects. To highlight their risks, to ask for studies of certain interactions and side effects, to complain about the silence around these risks, is to demand more transparency. This requirement is paramount at a time when laboratories are racing to produce a vaccine that is supposed to eradicate a disease that was unknown just one year ago. Think about that: All this is being done in less than a year!

In revealing the risks of such a hasty development, by calling for more rigor and transparency from laboratories and governments, we are not for or against vaccines! We  are  for  health.

– Rodolphe Bacquet, 2020/11/19

Notes

[1] Franceinter, Le 7/9 par Nicolas Demorand et Léa Salamé, émission du 19 novembre 2020. Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, Véronique Fayet, Olivia Ruiz, Patrice Blanc. https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/le-7-9

[2] Vincendon Salomé (19.11.2020). Pfizer et Biontech déclarent leur vaccin efficace à 95%, selon des résultats complets de l’essai. BFMTV. https://www.bfmtv.com/sante/pfizer-et-bio-ntech-declarent-leur-vaccin-efficace-a-95-selon-des-resultats-complets-de-l-essai_AN-202011180202.html

[3] RTSInfo, le 19’30, émission du 16.11.2020. Une efficacité à 94,5% pour le vaccin contre le Covid de Moderna https://www.rts.ch/info/sciences-tech/11755052-une-efficacite-a-945-pour-le-vaccin-contre-le-covid-de-moderna.html