222. Needle Points | Norman Doidge

    Despite rushing COVID-19 vaccines to market for public health, compromises in testing and transparency raised concerns for long-term side effects and public trust. External oversight and transparency are crucial for ensuring vaccine safety and efficacy.

    enJanuary 31, 2022

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    Why so many are hesitant to get the COVID vaccines, and what we can do about it.


    Needle Points,’ Tablet’s exploration into the sources and nature of vaccine hesitancy, is presented in four parts. To download a free, printer-friendly version of the complete article, click here


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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Norman Deutsch, advocates for respectful communication and a participatory model to address vaccine hesitancy, emphasizing the importance of humane physicians and effective government communication to build trust in public health.
    • Our immune system protects us from diseases, but our behavioral immune system can trigger fear, disgust, and avoidance, leading to emotionally charged debates about vaccines.
    • Despite widespread vaccine availability and pandemic urgency, vaccine hesitancy persists, leading to increased efforts to encourage and mandate vaccinations. However, this can create a 'tyranny of the majority,' stifling free thought and potentially leading to ostracism and persecution for those who disagree.
    • Recognizing the historical significance of vaccines and addressing hesitant individuals' concerns can lead to a more effective and inclusive public health response.
    • Vaccines represent the delicate balance between risk and protection in health and healing, with a complex history involving triumphs, challenges, and ethical dilemmas.
    • The history of vaccines includes major ethical advancements and controversies, shaping public perception and vaccine safety regulations
    • The 1990s saw concerns over the pharmaceutical industry's growing profit influence on scientists and government agencies, leading to non-disclosure of financial interests, deceptive marketing, and serious patient side effects. Books exposing these issues resulted in significant fines for companies.
    • Pharmaceutical companies can influence studies leading to drug authorizations through industry funding, revolving door, ghost-writing, and lobbying, eroding public trust
    • Scientists should openly share unfavorable findings to build public trust, overcome hesitancy, and promote informed consent in vaccine research
    • Anxiety can indicate threats or dangers, but it doesn't determine sanity or insanity. Understanding its complexities is crucial for navigating challenges.
    • Despite the urgency to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, concerns over transparency in trials and potential conflicts of interest could impact vaccine hesitancy, emphasizing the importance of transparency in experimental science.
    • Despite rushing COVID-19 vaccines to market for public health, compromises in testing and transparency raised concerns for long-term side effects and public trust. External oversight and transparency are crucial for ensuring vaccine safety and efficacy.
    • Transparent communication about clinical trial results and their endpoints is crucial to build trust and understanding around COVID-19 vaccines.
    • The ongoing clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines may not be adequately powered, raw data is not publicly available, and this lack of transparency fuels distrust and raises concerns for potential conflicts of interest.
    • Accurate and consistent communication from public health officials is crucial for building trust and alleviating anxiety during public health crises, especially regarding vaccine rollouts and pregnant women.
    • Vaccine hesitancy is multifaceted, driven by concerns about future unknown effects and fear of side effects, and fueled by distrust towards vaccine troika and lack of transparency in scientific research.
    • Emails from Dr. Fauci revealed funding of risky research at Wuhan Institute, FDA approved controversial Alzheimer's drug, top FDA vaccine officials left under pressure, Pfizer pushed for boosters despite potential risks, concerns about transparency and impartiality during critical public health time.
    • The approval and promotion of COVID-19 booster shots were based on small, limited studies with questionable methods and data, raising concerns about their durability and potential adverse events.
    • Transparency, open dialogue, and scientific rigor are crucial in public health to build trust and mitigate skepticism, especially during a pandemic. Conflicting statistics and divisive language can fuel confusion and undermine the effectiveness of vaccines and other health interventions.
    • Despite initial beliefs, vaccine effectiveness isn't simple or consistent. While they prevent severe illness and hospitalization, they don't completely stop transmission or infection. Ongoing monitoring and open communication are crucial.
    • Public health officials and experts need to provide more transparency and honesty about the data and the challenges, rather than relying on simplistic messaging and behavioral psychology to encourage vaccination
    • Limited trial size and duration make it challenging to rule out long-term health effects of COVID-19 vaccines, such as myocarditis, which can emerge months after vaccination. Ongoing rollout makes it difficult to conduct new trials and compare rates of myocarditis caused by COVID-19 and vaccines by age and sex.
    • Despite fewer vaccinations, Ethiopia's young population, rural lifestyle, low obesity rates, natural immunity, and other factors contribute to its relatively low COVID-19 death rate, challenging the dominant focus on vaccination as the sole solution to the pandemic.
    • Individuals with natural immunity from COVID-19 are less likely to experience reinfection and may have long-lasting immunity, challenging the need for mandatory vaccinations for those already infected.
    • The pandemic has activated people's fear and distrust, leading to complex reactions to vaccines and mandates, requiring thoughtful public discourse and ethical arguments for any state compulsion.
    • Focus on getting back to normal with a combination of strategies, including developing better outpatient medications, lowering individual risk factors, and prioritizing vaccines for the highly vulnerable during outbreaks.
    • Transparency, understanding, and empathy are essential for building trust in public health initiatives, including vaccines. Coercion and demonization are counterproductive.
    • Acknowledge conflicting studies, address individual concerns, and foster open dialogue to increase receptiveness and bridge divides during health crises

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy: Insights from a Renowned Psychiatrist

    Dr. Norman Deutsch's essay "Needle Points" provides a profound analysis of the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and the emotional charged debates surrounding COVID policies. As a renowned psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and author, Dr. Deutsch offers valuable insights into the brain circuits triggered by contagion and the importance of respectful communication between healthcare professionals and patients. He argues against coercion and advocates for a participatory model, emphasizing the need for humane physicians and effective government communication to enhance trust in public health. This essay, which has resonated with many individuals across political lines, is available in its entirety on YouTube and podcasts, making it accessible to a broad audience.

    Understanding our reactions to vaccines and diseases

    Our reactions to vaccines and infectious diseases are deeply rooted in our evolutionary past. Vaccines work with our immune system to protect us from diseases, while our behavioral immune system (BIS) is designed to prevent us from getting infected in the first place. The BIS can be triggered by anything that seems like it might carry disease, causing reactions such as fear, disgust, and avoidance. This system is involuntary and can lead to false alarms, making discussions about vaccines emotionally charged and controversial. Both sides of the vaccination debate can have their alarms triggered, leading to a state of panic, fear, and distrust towards each other. Understanding the evolutionary origins of these reactions can help us navigate these complex and emotionally charged discussions.

    Vaccine hesitancy and social pressure

    The vaccination rate in the US has slowed significantly, despite the availability of vaccines for a larger population and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This shift has led to increased efforts from public health officials and government entities to encourage and mandate vaccinations. However, vaccine hesitancy persists, with some people believing officials are lying about vaccine safety. This moment in history, marked by a pandemic and a clear majority opinion on vaccines, has brought about a new form of social pressure and coercion towards those who disagree. As observed by Alexis de Tocqueville, the tyranny of the majority can stifle progress and free thought, and this phenomenon is not limited to health-related issues. The definition of legitimate speech, thought, and action can change rapidly, leading to a sense of ostracism and persecution for those who do not conform to the majority view. It's essential to be aware of this dynamic and strive for open and respectful dialogue to promote understanding and progress.

    Understanding the historical context of vaccines and acknowledging concerns can bridge the divide

    The current divisive climate surrounding public health measures, such as vaccinations, can lead to a loss of empathy and understanding towards those who hold different beliefs. This can be detrimental to the overall goal of ensuring the wellbeing of all members of society. It's essential to recognize that those who are hesitant to get vaccinated may have valid concerns rooted in history and experience, rather than ideological opposition. Instead of resorting to coercion, public health leaders should focus on building trust and engaging with these individuals to address their concerns. The history of vaccines shows that exposure to a weakened form of a pathogen or toxin can lead to immunity. This practice, known as variolation or vaccination, has its roots in ancient times, with early records dating back to China and India. The first successful smallpox vaccination was administered by Edward Jenner in the late 18th century, using cowpox as the protective agent. Despite initial skepticism, the practice gained acceptance and revolutionized public health. In summary, understanding the historical context of vaccines and acknowledging the concerns of those who are hesitant can help bridge the divide and lead to a more effective and inclusive public health response.

    The Intersection of Danger and Protection in Vaccines

    The intersection of danger and protection, as symbolized by the rod of Asclepius, is a deep-rooted archetype in human health and healing. This concept can be traced back to ancient myths and rural observations, including the use of snake venom for healing. However, the acceptance and implementation of life-saving vaccines, such as those for polio and smallpox, have not always been straightforward. While these vaccines brought about significant triumphs, their development and public acceptance were not without challenges and setbacks. The history of vaccines also includes darker chapters, such as the Tuskegee Experiment and other public health abuses, which involved dehumanizing people and disregarding informed consent. These incidents led to the establishment of ethical guidelines for research subjects, like the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki. Ultimately, the complex history of vaccines and public health demonstrates the importance of balancing the potential benefits and risks, as well as upholding ethical standards, in the pursuit of health and wellbeing.

    Vaccine history and ethical advancements

    The history of vaccines is marked by significant breakthroughs and controversies. The normalization of patient consent for medical procedures, including vaccines, was a major ethical advancement. However, events like the swine flu vaccine debacle in the late 1970s and the controversy surrounding the DPT vaccine in the 1980s led to public skepticism and mistrust. These incidents significantly influenced the public's perception of vaccines and vaccine safety. The government's response to these crises, such as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, shifted liability for vaccine safety issues from manufacturers to the taxpayers. This shift, in turn, may have reduced incentives for manufacturers to improve vaccine safety. Understanding the complex relationship between the scientific basis of vaccines, their production and regulation, and public communication is crucial for addressing vaccine hesitancy in today's society.

    Pharmaceutical Industry's Influence on Drug Production and Approval

    During the 1990s and beyond, the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and scientists involved in drug production and approval decisions raised concerns due to the growing influence of profit. Instances of non-disclosure of financial interests, such as royalties, by researchers like Dr. Anthony Fauci, fueled public suspicions. The pharmaceutical industry was found to engage in deceptive marketing practices, influencing medical schools, organizations, and even government agencies like the FDA. These abuses led to serious side effects and even lethal outcomes for patients, as seen in cases involving drugs like Vioxx and Celibrax. The lack of transparency and the compromised nature of government agencies further eroded public trust. Books like "The Truth About Drug Companies" by Marsha Angle and "Bad Pharma" by Ben Goldacre exposed these issues, leading to significant fines for companies like Pfizer, GSK, Abbot, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, and Merck for illegal activities and fraud.

    Pharmaceutical industry's relationship with FDA raises concerns over drug approvals

    The pharmaceutical industry's relationship with regulatory bodies, particularly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has raised concerns over the integrity of drug approvals and studies. Companies like Johnson & Johnson have faced massive fines for deceiving patients and regulators, leading to public skepticism and outrage. The FDA's reliance on industry funding and the revolving door between regulators and pharmaceutical companies create incentives for regulatory capture, allowing companies to control the studies that lead to their product authorizations. These studies can be ghost-written by the companies themselves and presented as independent research, further eroding public trust. The pharmaceutical industry's significant lobbying power also hinders adequate oversight. Delaying the reporting of medication side effects until after patents expire is another common tactic used to maintain market dominance. Ultimately, the post-licensure evaluation of vaccine safety is crucial to ensure the detection of rare or delayed side effects, emphasizing the importance of ongoing monitoring and transparency in the regulatory process.

    Choosing transparency over censorship in vaccine science

    Transparency is crucial in building public trust in vaccine science. New York Times science writer Melinda Winter Moyer discovered that some vaccine researchers were censoring unfavorable findings out of fear of public backlash. This not only hinders good science but also potentially generates misinformation. Moyer emphasized that scientists should choose transparency over censorship to earn public trust and overcome vaccine hesitancy. The trend towards personalized medicine and recognizing individual risk factors further highlights the need for transparency in vaccines, as they are a one-size-fits-all intervention. It is essential for medical and political authorities to uphold the era of informed consent and encourage open dialogue about vaccine safety and efficacy.

    Anxiety as a valuable signal

    Anxiety, like distrust, can serve as a valuable signal, indicating potential threats or dangers, whether external or internal. However, the presence of anxiety alone does not determine sanity or insanity. This concept was exemplified during the COVID-19 pandemic when industries like pharmaceuticals, government, and healthcare, which were seen as net negative by Americans, played a significant role in shaping public perception and trust. Meanwhile, figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci provided a sense of stability and trustworthiness during uncertain times, despite some inconsistencies and flip-flops on certain issues. Ultimately, understanding the complexities of anxiety and trust is crucial for navigating both personal and societal challenges.

    Race for COVID-19 vaccine raises concerns over transparency

    The race for a COVID-19 vaccine moved at an unprecedented speed, with governments and pharmaceutical companies collaborating to produce vaccines as quickly as possible. However, the lack of transparency in the vaccine trials raised concerns among scientists and the public, with some arguing that withheld study protocols and potential conflicts of interest could affect vaccine hesitancy. The traditional secrecy in the field and the identification of companies before the vaccine was fully assessed added to the perception of corruption for some. Transparency is essential in experimental science to ultimately dispel doubts and ensure the validity of results. The summer and fall of 2020 marked a unique experience in medicine, with studies of this scale and consequence being conducted and a medicine produced at an unprecedented rate for hundreds of millions of people.

    COVID-19 vaccine development compromises and public trust

    During the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, there were compromises made in the name of speed and public health. The vaccines were tested for only two months after the second dose, and some safety testing was skipped due to the urgency of the pandemic situation. While this approach may have saved lives by making vaccines available more quickly, it also raised concerns about potential long-term side effects and the erosion of public trust due to conflicting messages and lack of transparency. The use of mRNA technology and the unique way the vaccines were produced were initially emphasized as novel and game-changing, but later downplayed when side effects emerged. The lack of transparency and external checks during the clinical trials also raised questions about accountability and the role of government agencies in advocating for the public. The need for speed and the complex nature of biological systems underscore the importance of empirical science and the value of external oversight in ensuring the safety and efficacy of new treatments and vaccines.

    Criticism of unclear communication around COVID-19 vaccine trials

    The communication surrounding the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been criticized for its lack of transparency and clarity. The reasons for pausing clinical trials were not immediately disclosed to the public, causing confusion and mistrust. When the trial results were announced, there was a lack of clear definitions and answers to important questions about the vaccines' efficacy and real-world impact. Critics pointed out that the trials were not designed to detect reductions in serious outcomes like hospitalizations or deaths. The primary endpoint for the Pfizer and Moderna studies was any clinically significant infection, which is unlikely to occur in significant numbers due to the mild symptoms experienced by most people with COVID-19. Only one person died of COVID-19 in the Pfizer trial during the study period, and Moderna considered death a secondary endpoint. The lack of clear and transparent communication has fueled skepticism and confusion about the vaccines' true effectiveness and benefits.

    Lack of transparency in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines

    The ongoing clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines may not be adequately powered to assess their efficacy against hospital admission and death, and the raw data from these studies is not being made publicly available in a timely manner. This lack of transparency has fueled distrust in the vaccine development process and raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest, as some of these vaccines were supported by government agencies with a financial stake in their success. Despite this, vaccines have been administered to billions of people worldwide, and public health officials have relied on data from the vaccine manufacturers and their own experts to make decisions about vaccine safety and efficacy. However, the lack of access to raw data limits the ability of outside experts to verify these findings and potentially identify any hidden risks or benefits. This situation undermines trust in the vaccine development process and highlights the importance of transparency in scientific research.

    Clear and transparent communication from public health officials about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

    Clear and transparent communication from public health officials about the ongoing research and potential uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy could have helped build trust and alleviate anxiety among pregnant women and their families. Instead, conflicting messages from authorities, such as CDC Director Rochelle Walensky's statement during a press briefing in April 2021, which recommended the vaccine for pregnant people but contradicted the CDC's website, created confusion and mistrust. This situation is a reminder of the importance of accurate and consistent communication in public health crises. The public's trust in public health officials is crucial for effective vaccine rollouts and the overall success of public health initiatives.

    Vaccine hesitancy: Complex reasons beyond distrust

    Vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue that transcends race, religion, and political affiliations. While certain groups, such as frontline healthcare workers and specific ethnic communities, have been identified as having higher rates of hesitancy, the reasons are multifaceted and not solely based on distrust or lack of education. Instead, concerns about future unknown effects and fear of side effects are common reasons cited by the hesitant. Moreover, distrust towards the vaccine troika, including big pharma, government, and public health institutions, is a recurring theme in many countries. The attempt to explain vaccine hesitancy solely through group identifiers can be misleading and shifts attention away from the real issues creating distrust. Furthermore, the funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a third party, despite denials from key figures like Fauci, raises questions about transparency and accountability in scientific research.

    Conflicts of Interest and Questionable Decisions During COVID-19 Pandemic

    During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout, there were concerns about potential conflicts of interest and questionable decisions made by government agencies and pharmaceutical companies. For instance, emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed that his organization had funded risky research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was linked to the outbreak. Meanwhile, the FDA approved a controversial Alzheimer's drug despite concerns about its effectiveness and high cost, which some saw as prioritizing corporate profits over patient welfare. Additionally, top FDA vaccine officials left their positions due to pressure to approve boosters prematurely, while Pfizer called for boosters and continued to push for their use despite potential risks. These events raised concerns about the transparency and impartiality of these institutions during a critical time in public health.

    Limited Data and Questionable Methods in Booster Studies

    The approval and promotion of COVID-19 booster shots, particularly the Pfizer booster, were based on small, limited studies with questionable methods and data. The studies did not provide sufficient information on the durability of the booster or potential adverse events. The FDA panel voted against approving boosters for all ages due to these concerns, but the decision was overruled by higher authorities. The public discourse around COVID-19 science was also marked by censorship and suppression of dissenting voices, which hindered the free flow of information and undermined trust in the scientific process. The importance of critical inquiry and open debate in the scientific community cannot be overstated, as it is the foundation for arriving at reusable conclusions based on sound evidence.

    Cracks in the master narrative of vaccine effectiveness

    The suppression of scientific debate and open discussion in public health, particularly during a pandemic, can fuel public skepticism and undermine trust in vaccines and other health interventions. The summer of 2021 saw cracks in the master narrative around vaccine effectiveness, as Israel reported high numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations among the vaccinated population. This led to conflicting statistics and concerns about the long-term implications of vaccination. The situation was further complicated by divisive language and stigma towards those who were not fully vaccinated, which was later applied to those who had not received booster shots. The contrasting experiences of Israel and Sweden, which had similar populations and vaccination rates but vastly different COVID hospitalization numbers, added to the confusion and raised questions about the role of natural immunity and public health policies. Overall, the importance of transparency, open dialogue, and scientific rigor in public health cannot be overstated.

    Challenges to initial assumptions about vaccine effectiveness

    The effectiveness and protective benefits of COVID-19 vaccines may not be as simple or consistent as initially believed. While vaccines have proven effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization, they do not completely stop transmission or infection. Sweden, which relied on natural herd immunity and vaccines, experienced fewer deaths per day than Israel, which had a largely vaccine-based immunity, challenging initial assumptions. The Pfizer vaccine's effectiveness in Israel and other countries was found to wane over time, leading to concerns about breakthrough infections. The CDC's messaging on vaccine effectiveness and transmission also evolved, acknowledging the potential for vaccinated individuals to spread the virus. These complexities highlight the importance of ongoing monitoring and open communication about vaccine effectiveness and limitations.

    Growing concerns and uncertainty as vaccinated individuals experience breakthrough infections

    The narrative of the pandemic being solely an issue of the unvaccinated was increasingly being questioned, as vaccinated individuals were experiencing breakthrough infections. This led to growing concerns and uncertainty, especially among those with compromised immune systems. However, instead of addressing these concerns, public health officials and experts resorted to behavioral psychology to encourage vaccination, using rewards and punishments. Meanwhile, data from Israel suggested that the potency of vaccines was fading over time, and the earlier one was vaccinated, the less protection one had against the Delta variant. Despite this, officials continued to emphasize that nearly all COVID deaths were among the unvaccinated, a statistic based on earlier data when few Americans were vaccinated. More accurate, month-to-month data was hard to come by, and the gap between the messaging from public health authorities and the emerging data was widening. The approval of the Pfizer vaccine with six months of follow-up data came through, but the control group in the trials would no longer be able to be followed as a control group. Overall, the situation called for more transparency and honesty about the data and the challenges, rather than relying on simplistic messaging and behavioral psychology.

    Long-term health effects of COVID-19 vaccines uncertain due to limited trials

    The limited duration and size of current clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines make it challenging to rule out long-term health effects. For instance, conditions like myocarditis, which can have serious consequences, were not detected until months after vaccination. While vaccine supporters argue that most side effects occur within six weeks, there are examples of late-emerging issues. For instance, it took nine months to detect narcolepsy after the swine flu vaccine. The ongoing rollout of vaccines makes it difficult to conduct new randomized control trials due to the lack of unvaccinated individuals. The complexity of the situation is further compounded by the fact that COVID-19 itself can cause myocarditis. The situation is evolving, with some countries pausing the use of certain vaccines for specific age groups due to concerns about myocarditis. Comparative studies on the rates of myocarditis caused by COVID-19 and vaccines by age and sex would be beneficial. The lack of larger and longer trials hinders our ability to assess long-term safety and increases uncertainty.

    Ethiopia's Low COVID-19 Death Rate Challenges Vaccination-Centric Approach

    The Ethiopian experience with COVID-19 challenges the dominant narrative in the US and other Western countries about the primary importance of vaccination in controlling the pandemic. Ethiopia, with its young population, rural lifestyle, and low obesity rates, has experienced a relatively low death rate despite fewer vaccinations. Factors like population age, density, travel patterns, ventilation, sun exposure, exercise, and natural immunity may play a significant role in protecting against COVID-19. Moreover, natural immunity from previous infections appears to be strong and long-lasting, and the available data suggests that it may be more effective against new variants than vaccine-induced immunity. The US and other countries' focus on vaccination as the sole solution to the pandemic might overlook these crucial factors.

    Study shows natural immunity offers better protection against reinfection

    Natural immunity, gained from recovering from COVID-19, may offer better protection against reinfection compared to vaccination. A large Israeli study found that individuals who had a previous COVID infection were 27 times less likely to experience symptomatic reinfection than those who were vaccinated. Additionally, studies suggest that even mild infections can provide long-lasting immunity. Some experts argue that those with natural immunity should not be mandated to get vaccinated, as it infringes on informed consent and the classical medical ethic. The focus on vaccination as the only solution, disregarding natural immunity, can be seen as a new ideology, or "vaccineism," which overlooks the importance of individual circumstances and exceptions. It's crucial to consider the ethical implications of vaccinating those with natural immunity and the potential impact on global vaccine distribution.

    The pandemic's impact on trust and fear

    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a complex web of fear, distrust, and rigidity in people's minds, making it challenging for good news, like the effectiveness of natural immunity, to be fully accepted. This mental rigidity can be attributed to the behavioral immune system, which was heavily activated early in the pandemic, leading people to associate vaccinated individuals with safety and unvaccinated individuals with danger. However, many people's trust was broken during the lockdowns, which devastated small businesses and their employees, while enriching the wealthy. This distrust, coupled with vaccine hesitancy, has led to calls for mandates and punishments for the unvaccinated. Yet, the fear of government overreach and medical procedures without consent runs deep, leading some to question the morality of mandates and the potential for historical abuses. It is essential for public discourse to engage these complex questions and for any state compulsion related to people's bodies to be based on a flawless, well-communicated argument.

    Uncertainty of herd immunity through mass vaccination

    Achieving herd immunity through mass vaccination is uncertain and the science is constantly evolving. Current vaccines provide limited protection and the virus continues to mutate, making eradication an unrealistic goal. Instead, the focus should be on getting back to normal by using a combination of strategies, such as developing better outpatient medications, lowering individual risk factors, and prioritizing vaccines for the highly vulnerable during outbreaks. The justifications for mass public mandates are weakening, and a more participatory public health approach, like Sweden's, may be more effective in building trust and increasing vaccination rates.

    Building trust in public health initiatives

    Trust is crucial in public health initiatives, including vaccines. Coercion and mandates can undermine trust, making it more difficult for public health officials to effectively communicate and persuade people. Transparency and understanding are key to building trust. Researchers have highlighted the importance of making clinical trial data and regulatory decision-making processes more accessible to the public. Demonizing those with doubts or concerns about vaccines is not effective and can even be counterproductive. Instead, focusing on transparency, understanding, and empathy can help build trust and encourage vaccine acceptance. The push for mandates may temporarily increase vaccination rates, but it also risks creating a resentful and skeptical population that may be less likely to continue getting vaccinated in the future.

    Communicate effectively and engage respectfully to build trust

    Effective communication and respectful engagement are key to addressing concerns and increasing trust, especially during times of health crises. As seen in the example of Domania's approach, acknowledging conflicting studies, addressing individual health concerns, and fostering open dialogue can lead to more receptive audiences. Ignoring or silencing dissenting voices, on the other hand, can further widen the divide and hinder progress. It's crucial to find a balance between respecting individual rights and ensuring the greater good, as Tocqueville and Mill emphasized in their works on democracy and individuality.

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    437. The 2024 Presidency, Joe Biden’s Age, Gigantism, & Facing Reality | Dean Phillips

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with entrepreneur, U.S. representative, and 2024 presidential candidate Dean Phillips. They discuss his now-suspended presidential campaign, the monolithic opposition he faced getting platformed, the reality of President Joe Biden’s age, the core issues facing America right now, and the comparative pathologies of Republicans and Democrats respectively.


    Dean Phillips is an American businessman and congressman, serving as the U.S. representative of Minnesota’s 3rd District since 2019. Phillips has started and run several companies over the years (Such as Talenti Gelato) and served as CEO of his family's liquor business, Phillips Distilling Co, for 12 years (2000-2012). Phillips ran as the only Democrat against Joe Biden in the 2024 election. On March 6th, 2024, he suspended his campaign.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Dean Phillips:


    On instagram https://www.instagram.com/repdeanphillips/?hl=en


    On X https://twitter.com/repdeanphillips?lang=en 

    436. What Your Left Brain Won’t Tell Your Right Brain | Dr. Iain McGilchrist

    436. What Your Left Brain Won’t Tell Your Right Brain | Dr. Iain McGilchrist

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down in-person with psychiatrist, researcher, and philosopher Dr. Iain McGilchrist. They discuss right brain/left brain hemispheric specialization, the basis of delusion, “unknowing” as a necessary step toward wisdom, consciousness and the divine ground of being, and the imposition of mediocrity in the modern West.


    Dr. Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist, neuroscience researcher, philosopher and literary scholar. He is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and former Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. He has been a Research Fellow in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore and a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Stellenbosch. He has published original articles and research papers in a wide range of publications on topics in literature, philosophy, medicine and psychiatry. He is the author of a number of books, but is best-known for The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Yale 2009). In November 2021 his two-volume work The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World was published by Perspectiva Press.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Iain McGilchrist:


    Website https://channelmcgilchrist.com/


    On X https://twitter.com/dr_mcgilchrist?lang=en


    The Matter With Things (Book) https://tinyurl.com/5d3cfns6


    The Master and His Emissary (Book) https://tinyurl.com/3p4favfe

    435. This Is One of the Biggest Medical Malpractice Scandals in History | Michael Shellenberger

    435. This Is One of the Biggest Medical Malpractice Scandals in History | Michael Shellenberger

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with bestselling author and journalist Michael Shellenberger to discuss the shocking revelations now being published in the WPATH Files.


    Michael Shellenberger is a climate activist, journalist, and bestselling author. He has covered climate for over 30 years, as well as AI, emergent technologies, the Twitter Files, and most recently, the WPATH files.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Michael Shellenberger:


    On X https://twitter.com/shellenberger/status/1764799914918490287?s=20


    On Substack https://substack.com/@shellenberger


    The WPATH Files Official Document https://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/wpath-files 

    434. The Darien Gap & Postmodernism | Bret Weinstein

    434. The Darien Gap & Postmodernism | Bret Weinstein

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with evolutionary biologist, author, and podcaster Dr. Bret Weinstein. They discuss the migration crisis, what values make up the “American Identity,” the potential for defining the transcendent, the origins of mutual reciprocity, and how the founding fathers codified these ideas into guidelines for the most functional nation in history.


    Dr. Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in adaptive trade-offs. His current focus is on the interaction between genetic and cultural evolution. He has studied tent-making behavior in neotropical bats and worked for 14 years as a professor at The Evergreen State College. He has testified to the U.S. Congress, and been a visiting fellow at Princeton University. He hosts the DarkHorse Podcast and is a New York Times best-selling author. Bret has been a frequent guest on The Joe Rogan Experience and has done live events with Richard Dawkins, Jordan Peterson, Eric Weinstein, Peter Boghossian, Sam Harris, Douglas Murray and has been interviewed by Bill Maher, Russell Brand, Glenn Loury, Dax Shepard, Tucker Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Glenn Beck, Bari Weiss, Derrick Jensen, and Lex Fridman, among many others.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Bret Weinstein:


    DarkHorse Locals Community https://darkhorse.locals.com/


    On X https://x.com/BretWeinstein

    433. Streaming, Politics, & Philosophy | Destiny (Steven Bonnell II)

    433. Streaming, Politics, & Philosophy | Destiny (Steven Bonnell II)

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down in-person with Steven Bonnell II, also known as Destiny. They discuss the differences between the left and the right, force versus invitation, the feasibility and pitfalls of command economies, the dangers of ideology, and government response to worldwide crises.


    Destiny, also known as Steven Bonnell II, is a prominent political commentator and content creator known for his debate skills and provocative takes on various issues. With a passion for gaming, politics, and philosophy, Destiny engages in lively discussions that often challenge the status quo.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Steven Bonnell II:


    Destiny’s YT Channel https://www.youtube.com/@destiny


    On Instagram https://www.instagram.com/Destiny/


    On X https://twitter.com/TheOmniLiberal?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor 

    432. The End of the Tent Cities | Minister Jason Nixon

    432. The End of the Tent Cities | Minister Jason Nixon

    Jordan Peterson sits down with Alberta’s Minister of Seniors, Community, and Social Services, Jason Nixon. They discuss the dire problems created by unregulated homeless encampments, the onset of both indigenous and foreign gangs and cartels, and the two schools of thought on how to approach drug abuse—one that enables “safe” usage, where the other focuses on real addiction recovery.


    Jason Nixon is Alberta’s Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services. As minister, he is responsible for his province’s policies on housing, homelessness, and government benefits for vulnerable people. He previously served as Leader of the Opposition, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board in the province of Alberta.



    - Links -


    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  


    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  



    For Minister Jason Nixon:


    On X https://twitter.com/jasonnixonab?lang=en 

    431. The True Stories That Drive Spiritual Growth | Bishop Barron

    431. The True Stories That Drive Spiritual Growth | Bishop Barron

    Jordan Peterson sits down with author, speaker, and Bishop of the Dioceses of Winona-Rochester, Robert Barron. They discuss the use of new technologies to interpret and explore religion, the fallacy of self-deification, the spiritual blocks to the flow of grace, and how to stop servicing power and become an orchestrator of peace and love.


    Bishop Barron is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He was a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on FOX News, CNN, and EWTN. Bishop Barron’s website, WordOnFire.org, reaches millions of people each year, and he is one of the world’s most followed Catholics on social media. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 131 million times, and he has over 3 million followers on Facebook.


    - Links -


    For Bishop Robert Barron:


    On X https://twitter.com/BishopBarron


    On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BishopRobertBarron/


    Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bishopbarron/?hl=en


    Word on Fire (Website) https://www.wordonfire.org/