Pokin Around: What kind of world is it where vaccines and masks are likened to Holocaust? – News-Leader

Posted By on August 18, 2021

I wonder what Elie Wiesel would have thought about Monday night's City Council meeting?

About 15 people wore yellow starsto liken the oppression they say they feel as they resist COVID-19 vaccination and masking to the oppression that Jews felt during the Holocaust.

They donned yellow stars to express their fear that vaccination and masking isprelude to a holocaust similar to theextermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

As a resident of Springfield, I am embarrassed by their display.

It is self-indulgent and lacking in empathyto liken an inconvenience like a vaccination or a mask that would help the greater public good to genocide.

Wiesel, who died in 2016, lived through the Holocaust and wore a real yellow star.

He wrote the book "Night," which was published in English in 1960.

He was a Jewish teenager when imprisoned at theAuschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.His parents and his little sister perished.

I've read "Night."

No, your supposed oppression as anti-vaxxers is not like the oppression of Jews during the Holocaust.

No, a mask ordinance is not like the Nazis requiring Jews to wear a yellow star.

No, a resolution approved 8-1 to encourage Springfield-area residents to get vaccinated is not a first step in an inexorable march to genocide.

More: Springfield city council passes resolution encouraging vaccination over vocal opposition

When our nation waited desperately for a vaccine to end this pandemic, I never imagined so many, particularly here in the Ozarks, would resist.

Theresistanceuses disinformation that, like the virus, mutates.

Anti-vaxxers grossly misrepresenteddata from theVaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS).No, hundreds of thousands of people are not dying from vaccines.

Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 351 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through this week.

During this time, VAERS received 6,631 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if its unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.

It seems that when one piece of disinformation is debunkedanother pops up. Likewhack-a-mole.

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At that raucous Monday meeting,an anti-vaxxermisinterpreted data fromIsrael to try to discredit vaccines. She said Israel had more infections among vaccinated individuals than unvaccinated.

I certainly did not know that; I do not routinely track COVID-19 in Israel.

Yes, it is true.I do not out-of-hand dismiss numbers just because they donot support my pre-existing beliefs.

But the clear message from Israel is to get vaccinated if you don't want to get sick or die from COVID-19.

About 40 to 50 percent of new COVID cases in Israel are among the vaccinated,according to a news story published in an Israeli newspaper in June.

The Delta variant has spread widely since then.

This number of break-through infections certainly is concerning.

ButIsrael is the poster child for advocating for vaccination to end COVID-19.

More: Pokin Around: No tears over leaving this building; it's the journalism that matters

It has used lockdowns, masking mandates and widespread vaccinations to get to the point where 60 percent of its population is fully vaccinated.

That is the 11th best figure in the world, according to the New York Times. It represents 80 percent of Israeli adults.

From a peak of over 8,600 new cases a day in January, the number fell to a few dozen new cases a day in Israel in May. That is due largely to vaccinations.

Then the Delta variant hit Israel this summer, as it hit the Ozarks, as well. Delta is far more contagious.

What is important to note is that few ofthe vaccinated people in Israel who have become infected have become seriously ill. Almost none of them are dying.

It is clearly the unvaccinated who are dying of COVID-19 in Springfield, in Israel and around the world.

Those wearing the yellow stars failed to mention that.

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Israel already has approved vaccine booster shots. As recently asFriday, Israellowered to 50 years old from 60 the minimum age of eligibility for a COVID-19 booster. It also recommends them for health workers.

The anti-vaxxers on Monday brushed aside scientists and medical experts who recommend vaccination by shouting out that they simply are in it for the money.

To me, the only way you can accept that degree of worldwideconspiracy is to have a worldview that consists of little more than araised middle finger directed at people ranging from Dr. Anthony Fauci to your family physician. It dismisses what humanity has traditionallyconsidered knowledge and expertise.

I would be foolish to think I will convince any of those at Monday's meeting to change their mind on vaccination or masking. I would be no more successful in that endeavor thanconvincing some people that Trump really lost the election.

It is the yellow stars that caught my attention from the Monday meeting.

In response, here's a dose of reality a vaccination, if you will taken from "Night":

"Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes … children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me?)

"So that was where we were going. A little farther on, there was another, larger pit for adults. I pinched myself: Was I still alive? Was I awake?"

These are the views of News-Leader columnist Steve Pokin, who has been at the paper for nine years, and overhis career has coveredeverythingfrom courts and cops to features and fitness. He can be reached at 836-1253, spokin@gannett.com, on Twitter @stevepokinNL or by mail at 651 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65806.

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Pokin Around: What kind of world is it where vaccines and masks are likened to Holocaust? - News-Leader

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