Politicians such as Edwin Poots and Colum Eastwood are right to come out strongly in defence of vaccines

News Letter editorial of Thursday September 23 2021:

By Editorial
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:50 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 8:19 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

As this newspaper was going to press last night, Colum Eastwood, the SDLP leader, was coming out in favour of vaccine passports.

But there was at least as significant a political intervention earlier yesterday from Edwin Poots.

The DUP agriculture minister was dismissive of coronavirus vaccine conspiracies.

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He talked about people who have not had their jabs because they “have listened to nonsense that has been going out on social media”.

Mr Poots was talking more about anti vaxxer conspiracy theories and not about people whose opposition is based on religious grounds.

But even so, his comments are influential because he is a former health minister and a Free Presbyterian.

Some anti abortion campaigners are deeply concerned about the link between the developments of vaccines and aborted foetuses. But the vaccines on offer in Northern Ireland do not contain fetal cells.

According to the Department of Health, their development has “involved the use of cell lines grown in labs, having been replicated from fetal cells obtained decades earlier” and thus “any link between any vaccine development and abortions is incidental and remote”.

The debate about cell lines is a sensitive one. But the conspiracy concerns can be much more easily dismissed, with their grossly exaggerated claims about side effects of the treatments.

The vaccines do not necessarily prevent infection with Covid but have been overwhelmingly successful in suppressing its impact on people who have been double jabbed.

Many conspiracists are impervious to elementary statistical information on the value of getting vaccinated against coronavirus.

As both Mr Eastwood and Mr Poots say, repeated lockdowns are not feasible as a response to Covid. Vaccines are.

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