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if you want people to trust the vaccines
create a free market solution
let’s put on our economist hat for a minute and coase-y up to vaccine markets.
many health agencies, politicians, physicians, and citizens seem distressed about what they (arguably disingenuously) term “vaccine hesitancy.” this drives them to want to force vaccinations on others with mandates, predication of privilege, and hectoring moral opprobrium.
these are not tools to reduce “hesitancy” they are a means to increase it. “this is so good for you i need to force it on you” is not much of a sales pitch, is it?
the simple fact is that there are good/plausible reasons for vaccine skepticism around covid.
the false equivalence of “well the measles vaccine is great and safe so you should take this one too” is not helping either. that’s a vaccine with a 70 year track record of incredibly strong safety and very high, sterilizing efficacy. we have lots of really good information to make a risk/reward decision.
you’d also never even consider forcing it upon someone who has already had measles.
covid vaccines are not like that. they are new, have 6 months of published data in humans vs the 7-10 years generally used for a vaccine to call it safe, are a new modality never before approved in humans, have contested and seemingly rapidly waning efficacy, a stunningly high side effect profile vs other vaccines, and look highly “leaky” (non sterilizing).
this last point is a big one as it’s becoming clear that your vaccine does not protect me nor mine you or at least not to any great extent. maybe it’s 40%, maybe it’s far lower, but it’s not 90 and nothing like 100. hard to make those claims when the data from one of the most vaxxed countries in the world looks like this and it undermines faith in health authorities when you do.
the vaccinated can and do still contract, carry, and spread covid. possibly, it lets them act as asymptomatic superspreaders with ~250X the viral loads on mucus membranes as prior variants as shown in fully vaccinated health care workers.
this is not what we were promised.
our health agencies have made up and misrepresented data. they have flip flopped on covid more than a miami beach boardwalk on a holiday weekend.
this is not a joke anymore. it would be seriously astounding to watch.
there is simply no basis for trust between the public and public health officials.
nor is there any basis for trust with many medical professionals. they have been bullied and silenced and bribed and threatened by government and their industry organizations alike.
so when you cannot find anyone to trust, what are you supposed to do?
trust the market.
if you want to restore trust, we need proper incentives and real skin in the game from those involved. this is what markets are best at if you just let them work.
it’s your body, your health and should be your choice.
that choice should be as informed as possible.
so let’s do a few simple things, things we do with damn near every other product, good, and service and that works wonderfully to provide the safety and quality we actually want.
end all liability waivers for vaccine manufacturers. the rule is simple: you sell it, you’re responsible for it.
all vaccines to come with a specific set of efficacy claims and, more importantly, risk warnings. it’s up to the drug companies to decide what they should be.
if the aggregate experience with these drugs diverges materially from these claims, manufacturers are held liable. you lie, you pay. you get it wrong, you pay. you miss something and kill people, yup, you pay.
it’s that simple. let them decide how much testing they need to describe efficacy and safety, but make them do it not from a position of unassailable impunity, but responsibility for outcomes. let them decide how much info is enough and what claims and warnings they can make. and let them own the profit for making a good product and the liability of making a harmful one.
they get freedom and we get real data provided because they face real risks if they lie or get it wrong.
and you get to make a real choice. VAERS is reporting around 7k deaths from vaccines. this is almost certainly far lower than reality as reporting is certainly incomplete (though how incomplete is anyone’s guess) but if you can get compensation for bad outcomes if they vary from claims, people experiencing them and the associated expense have much more incentive to be sure everything gets reported. right now, they have none.
real data, real choices, real measurement.
vaccination, like any healthcare decision is a cost/benefit decision.
to make that decision well, you need a sound accounting of the costs and the benefits.
to get such an accounting, you need those who provide such facts to face the consequences of getting them wrong and have incentives for gathering real data.
it’s that simple. you would not buy a parachute from a company that was not liable if it was defective and really contained an anvil. why should you accept a vaccine on such terms?
and if companies will not accept such terms, then what does that say about their faith in their products? again, would you buy a helmet from a company that refused to be liable if it was defective and injured you?
and yet we have done everything here to prevent just this sort of honest accounting. vaccine companies are explicitly shielded by law from liability. so are doctors who prescribe vaccines (though perhaps not those who don’t). the government is not really tracking safety. VAERS is wildly incomplete and was not designed for this sort of tracking. and does anyone really trust government to set standards around donors this big and regulators this captured?
efficient outcomes require efficient markets. so let’s get one. put everyone at the table with real skin in the game, and see where we land.
there is some clearing price of safety and efficacy, speed and thoroughness of testing, but only a market can tell us what it is. so let’s let it.
you’ve had a look at the alternative. you seriously think we cannot do better?
public health is not too important to be left to free markets. it’s too important not to be.