It distresses me that The Grapevine continues to publish dangerously inaccurate information about COVID-19 and its vaccines. I am an advocate of free speech but the concept doesn’t require that any media vehicle offer itself as a forum for factually incorrect information that can endanger people’s lives. In fact, I feel it’s irresponsible to keep doing so.
Both Stephen Malthouse’s letter and the other one published last week contain so many wrong statements it would be difficult to take the time to refute them all. I will mention that the references Stephen cites are discredited. The fact they include the far-right Breitbart news site – a platform for misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist diatribes – should give readers pause right there.
The claim in the other letter that people have died as a result of COVID-19 vaccines is completely wrong. No deaths have been attributed to the vaccine around the world. Yes, some people have died in the weeks following their vaccinations but the death rates are not higher than usual for their age groups (remember that the elderly have been given first priority for vaccinations due to their high risk if they contract the virus).
As a member of a B.C. First Nation and the Communications Manager for the First Nations Health Authority, I particularly resent the fear-mongering implication that Indigenous people (and the elderly) are being used as some kind of vaccine guinea pigs.
While these populations have not been well-served by the health system, that sad fact should not be twisted when the health system does treat them fairly, as is occurring when they are made a priority for vaccinations.
It is nothing short of miraculous that safe COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in less than a year and that they are as effective as they are (more than 90 per cent effective). This is the news we should be sharing and celebrating.