Americans are used to confusing messages and questionable theories – even from our leaders. Are the oceans truly dying? How big a danger is global warming? Is nuclear energy a threat to humanity? COVID-19 has pushed us beyond confusion. We must make life and death decisions every day while trying to plow our way through constantly changing and thoroughly confusing information from the very highest levels of government. As a result, Americans are losing faith in medical science. And in vaccines in particular.
While President Donald Trump and his administration have mismanaged many issues, it is perhaps their mishandling of COVID-19 that has gained the greatest international condemnation. It is not uncommon for science to be rejected for political reasons. If a factory will generate jobs but dumps deadly chemicals, there are thousands of examples where the local government tries to downplay or even outright reject evidence that would close the factory. But it wasn’t Trump that started the rejection of science.
As science has risen, so too has science rejection. But the general direction has been that we have a way of living, and then science tells us that we need to change. Early medical research started with hygiene. Keep people away from sewage and garbage and we are healthier. Scientific research found that sewage water and drinking water need to be separated, or contaminated water spreads cholera, diphtheria, and other diseases. When we focused on the nature of the disease itself, we developed disinfectants, antibiotics, and vaccines.
But it has been rare indeed that the direction of science has been reversed, and was headed backward. Consider the past month of the Pandemic. Medical experts would tell us one thing and then politicians would say the opposite. The President would have daily Pandemic briefings, and the medical experts were kept quiet while only politicians were allowed to talk. A podium full of silenced medical experts during a Pandemic does little to encourage trust in medical science.
Anti-vaxxers have been around since the earliest vaccines in the 19th century. But the rise of the modern anti-vaxxer movement started recently, in the late 1990s. It started with a questionable report about a measles vaccine. The real issue isn’t if the vaccine was good or bad. The question was why a fairly obscure report without a lot of medical authority, was quickly accepted by so many families. All sorts of issues with mainstream medicine had undermined decades of goodwill. The rapid pivot to anti-vax status showed that belief in the “goodness” of the medical system had been leaking away for years.
At the same time, mainstream medicine began marketing a new generation of painkillers. Promoted by manufacturers as a safe and non-addictive alternative to older opiates… Oxycontin, Tramadol, and similar painkillers caused severe addiction and unprecedented overdose fatalities. The secret was out, and America was discovering just how deadly modern “medicine” had become. At the same time families were learning that our foods and household products were filled with preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings, and other chemicals that are linked to cancer, autism, and other disorders.
Once again, it almost doesn’t matter if the accusations are true. What matters is that the speed at which the American public accepts alternative theories about product safety is accelerating. Soon, we are told, a new vaccine will arrive that can protect us against COVID-19. The first one may come from Russia or China. But going from the world’s record of 4 years to deliver a safe vaccine, to less than one year… will raise more questions than any other vaccine in history. Yet, some political figures are staking their careers… and perhaps the American economy… on the public turning out in massive numbers to take the vaccine.
But what if they don’t. Polls and surveys tell us that less than 50% of Americans would take the vaccine. If the vaccine is made outside of the US, especially if it comes from Russian or Chinese, even lower vaccination rates are likely. Is there an alternative?
The world of cannabis medicine has been focused on developing less toxic but effective medicines that use natural elements like cannabis and terpenes. This natural approach provides some of the same health benefits as good nutrition, exercise, and exposure to nature.
Big Pharmaceutical companies need to develop patents as much as medicines often leading to the use of obscure chemical compounds that can be both effective and toxic. The rush for a COVID-19 treatment has over 100 companies competing to deliver the first vaccine, and dominate this trillion-dollar market. Concerns about the effectiveness and the ethics of using a rushed vaccine are being voiced by just about very newspaper and media outlet around the world. Plus comments from Medical Colleges, scientific journals… even the Vatican is taking a stand.
There are good arguments both for and against, but if vaccinations become MANDATORY, then it could be a battlefield between needs and beliefs. Every family with a special medical condition or an ethical or religious issue could be on either side of the fence, but lines will be drawn. Both between families and even within families.
Ever since the Swine Flu in 1976, some have questioned if vaccine side-effects are a bigger issue than the disease the vaccination prevents. In 1976 hundreds of Americans came down with a rare and highly disabling neurological disease. In the 1990s, the measles vaccine was questioned, with some believing it causes autism. Today, it may not really matter if the COVID vaccine is good or bad… if no one takes the vaccine.
Vaccinations are already down across America. The Houston Chronicle reported that childhood vaccinations in Texas are down by 44%. The Lansing State Journal found that vaccinations in Michigan were down 64%. Is the Anti-Vaxxer movement has been growing. The American consumer is now much more suspicious of taking medicines without knowing exactly what’s in that medicine. The American consumer has rejected additives in food, home products and anything else that comes in contact with their family mmebers.
What America is accepting, and is spending ever larger sums of money on, is natural medicines. It goes by many names… nutraceuticals, cannabinoid medicine, super foods, alternative medicine, aroma therapy, mega vitamins… and it embraces a variety of disciplines and products, but this is where America goes when it cannot use or cannot trust mainstream medicine.
For decades America has been slowly headed towards “do it yourself medicine”. By one study, 77% of all Americans take nutritional supplements. Consumers will continue in the same direction they are already headed, and continue to put their money into natural alternatives. The battle over vaccines will undoubtedly grow the DIY medicine market, and may even lead to a few revolutionary new products based on all natural ingredients.
What about you, dear reader? Are you planning to take the first vaccine? Will you wait a while? Or do you plan to skip the vaccine? Perhaps you even have an alternative medical plan! Let us know!