OPINION / Antivaxers did not die out. They just retreated and are waiting for some other opportunity to spread their dark delusions again towards less educated people. Among them are doctors who have abandoned the path of evidence-based medicine – and this makes anti-vaxxers a real danger. Now they are trying to hold a “conference” in the Chamber of Deputies. It is so outrageous that one of the protagonists of medical education during the pandemic, an internationally recognized scientist working at a prestigious university in the USA, Professor Zdeněk Hel, started a signature campaign against this “conference”.
“Dear Madam President,
on November 20, a conference convened by the SMIS-Lab association and their collaborators is to be held on the grounds of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Protagonists of this event have been spreading anti-vaxxer misinformation and lies for a long time, for example that vaccination against covid-19 causes infertility and significantly reduces the number of children born, that vaccines kill tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people, that scientists, doctors and all major scientific journals are bribed, that it is about the conspiracies of world governments and pharmaceutical companies, and much more. They encourage doctors to refuse to vaccinate their patients. They are happy about the low vaccination rate of the population.
This event is unbalanced, and its holding on PČR land will increase citizens’ unfounded fears about vaccination. Similar misinformation undermines trust in doctors, experts and government institutions. In doing so, they directly threaten the health and lives of the citizens of the Czech Republic, including the most defenseless.
The holding of this unbalanced conference on the grounds of the Chamber of Deputies of the PČR gives the organizers a semblance of legitimacy. In my opinion, holding a similar event on the territory of the Czech Republic is undignified. This is a purposeful misuse of a public institution to promote the interests of groups whose activities can cause damage to society as a whole. I am not taking away the actors’ constitutionally guaranteed right to express themselves freely and confirm each other’s conspiracy theories. But let them do so in a building rented from a private entity, not in the dignified premises of a public state institution. It would be a shame for our country.
In the words of Jan Moláček: ‘Not allowing extremists, demagogues or manipulators to use the aura of institutions that are supposed to stand against extremism, demagoguery and manipulation is no restriction of freedom of speech. Conspirators can write, publish and hold events as they wish. But there is no reason to serve them the illusion of relevance and credibility on a silver platter.’
I hope that you will agree with the mentioned reservations and that you will do what is necessary according to your own discretion. Thank you very much in advance.
Sincerely, Zdeněk Hel, Ph.D., professor at Alabama University in Birmingham, microbiologist.”
In addition to a series of obfuscating gibberish, the SMIS (Society of Microbiologists, Immunologists and Statisticians) initiative has written on its website what it also wants: “To start a discussion about the usefulness of vaccinating children, adolescents and people who have antibodies.” The public space has reached a state where it is impossible to have a reasonable debate about vaccination without being branded a misinformer.”
In the 21st century, no rational discussion about the benefits of vaccination is possible. All scientifically acceptable evidence clearly shows that the advantages of vaccination not only against covid, but against all infectious diseases, fundamentally outweigh its disadvantages, the benefits are higher than the risks – by many orders of magnitude. And the SMIS initiative accuses itself of lying on its website. They write there: “SMIS … CAN YOU? Yes, sure. We are allowed to be curious, independent and free. We are allowed to ask questions, examine and investigate. However, we must be scientifically honest, responsible and honest.” But they are clearly not scientifically honest, responsible and honest. They have absolutely no scientific data for their anti-vaccination attacks.
Regardless, they are dangerous. Their website lists the founding members: MUDr. Hana Zelená, Ph.D., microbiologist and virologist. RNDr. Zuzana Krátká, Ph.D., immunologist (the masculine gender of the profession is listed on their website, it is a quote, note cars). Both ladies are doctors – so their presence in that association is orders of magnitude more dangerous than the presence of the male founders – one vet and two mathematicians.
Because when two female doctors – one from medicine, the other from natural sciences – question the benefits of vaccination, their degrees can give a stamp of credibility to many people – especially the less educated and therefore more vulnerable – to their pointless questioning of vaccination. And to make them neglect vaccination during this autumn’s covid wave, which is present in the population. Which can cost them their health, or even their lives.
This association has now, as fortunately noticed by Professor Hel, decided to confer in the Chamber of Deputies. This would raise the authority and credibility of the anti-vaxxers so high that the impressionable and unfortunately very large population group would simply refuse to get vaccinated. Not only against covid, but also against the flu. And covid would again, slowly and creepily, start killing. And the flu would continue to kill the unvaccinated as it does every fall. Because, despite the experience with the pandemic, an absolute minimum of people are vaccinated against the flu in our country. If these science-savvy doctors have their anti-vaxxer delusions backed up by a conference in parliament, those obscurantist positions will get the stamp of officialdom.
Share before the anti-vaxxers make us laugh!
Professor Hel posted his letter on twitter-X, adding: “Please share. To join, write to the following addresses: Ing. Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Cc. RNDr. Miloš Vystrčil, prof. MD Vlastimil Válek, CSc., MBA, EBIR.” And the e-mail addresses of the Speaker of the Chamber, the Speaker of the Senate and the Minister of Health.
The situation with the spread of obscurantism is intolerable, scientists have to resort to open letters and stir up the social networks of reasonable people, so that the modern-day obscurantists do not make themselves a pulpit in parliament. Their numbers are growing exponentially. According to Dr. Grygar, the number of people who believe the Earth is flat has tripled in the last ten years. And so, even though I don’t do it, I am a post prof. Hela shared. I downloaded the letter, attached it to an email, and wrote in the email:
“Dear Madam President, I join as a co-signatory to the letter of Mr. Professor Hel (in the attachment) against the holding of the congress prepared by the SMIS-Lab entity on the grounds of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Respectfully, I.” And I put both gentlemen in the copy. Share and send your signatures too, before the anti-vaxxers wipe us out with a new wave of vaccination neglect epidemic.