Proposed U.S. government censorship of vaccine misinformation, in partnership with Facebook, was announced during a recent White House press conference. White House wants Facebook to censor posts containing ‘COVID-19 misinformation’ . As people point fingers and accuse each other of censorship and misinformation, I hope to
avoid further spread ing vaccine misinformation about the White House spreading vaccine misinformation about the public spreading vaccine misinformation. So let’s straighten out this mess by first mis-defining vaccine misinformation. The word truth comes to mind. As long as vaccine information is truthful, even if it is quoted so out of context as to be 100% misleading, it is not misinformation. Furthermore, the whole misleading truth must not leave out information in a way that misleads one so as to draw untruthful conclusions.
For example, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have a vaccine efficacy, or relative risk reduction, of approximately 95%. But the
whole misleading truth is that the mRNA vaccines also have a much lower absolute risk reduction of approximately 1%, which is not more meaningful for clinical and public health purposes, and certainly more misleading for personal purposes.
Most COVID-19 cases also occur in unvaccinated people. But the
whole misleading truth is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer counts cases in vaccinated people unless they are hospitalized or die, potentially undercounting millions of breakthrough infections in people receiving mRNA vaccines, and equally undercounting millions of unvaccinated infections with practically no where vaccines have 65% - 85% clinical efficacy. CDC’s unbiased and inevitable undercount of COVID-19 breakthrough infections (trialsitenews.com) is similar to its also inevitable undercount of unvaccinated COVID infections - both are large - and because it is neither possible nor desirable to test asymptomatic people unlikely to be infected. The whole truth also includes the fact that lower socioeconomic groups, having higher susceptibility to COVID-19 before vaccine availability, also have more vaccine hesitancy , partly as the result of propaganda like this. AP analysis doesn’t prove COVID-19 vaccines prevent deaths (trialsitenews.com), but other things do, and AP analysis makes it seem very very likely.
the whole a very partial subset of the truth about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to the recent White House press conference, in which the spokesperson claimed that the vaccines save lives. Where is the clinical evidence proving this claim? The only causative proof we have of vaccine efficacy are the clinical trials, which demonstrated that vaccine groups had fewer infections with mild symptoms than unvaccinated groups. Death is hardly a mild symptom, and no conclusive estimates of death risk can be drawn from these trials. Let us forget that the trials showed that many fewer people caught COVID, and that those who did had milder infections, and ignore the logical corrolary that therefore COVID deaths will be reduced. Let us ignore the real-world data from fewer total COVID deaths / infection by a factor of 10 or more in countries like the UK where deaths and infections are both well monitored.
Nevertheless, White House misinformation that the COVID-19 vaccines save lives threatens to trample the public’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech by censoring social media. After all, what good are First Amendment rights if you die from COVID-19 because you were convinced by someone’s Facebook blog to forego vaccination? Very little. In a statement that carefully avoided mention of misinformation censorship, Facebook boasted that it also saved lives by posting “authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines,” Facebook pushes back against White House criticism, says it’s ‘looking for scapegoats’
The problem, of course, is that arguments to save lives by censoring misinformation are awash with their own
misinformation contain broadly correct information that 90% of scientists would agree is our best understanding, but do not agree with my views so must be wrong. Where is the proof that people are dying because they declined vaccination after reading Aunt Millie’s rant against vaccines, posted along with her favorite meatloaf recipes on her homepage? No matter, according to proposed government policy, Aunt Millie must be censored from social media! While the chances are small of nieces or nephews being influenced by this, and then dying, even Aunt Millie would probably see the point of the deadly misinformation to be taken down in the rare cases when it does happen. I might reckon that Aunt Millie and her gullible family deserve all that they get, and killing a few people who are stupid is good for the country, but that is not a very empathetic attitude. Some would even say it is elitist and unfair.