With new media reports about the vaccines appearing every day, it’s important to view them with a critical eye. When we see a headline or story about the Covid-19 vaccines, we need to use our best judgement and not be misled.
Here are just a few things you can bear in mind:
What is the source of the information? Is it impartial? For example, a university study may seem credible – but not if that university department is funded by a vaccine manufacturer.
What are the numbers behind the story? Are they big enough to draw any real conclusions from? A study of 100 people doesn’t really tell us anything. A study of 100,000 people is much more informative. Be wary of percentages – these are often used when the actual numbers aren’t very large.
If scientific claims are being made, have they been peer-reviewed or verified by another source? We are seeing many media reports based on short press releases that are light on detail, rather than the full data.
Are differing but credible opinions being suppressed, censored or ignored? It’s been alarming to see so little open scientific debate over the past year. Social and traditional media companies are generally presenting a very narrow range of opinions, so it’s more important than ever to actively research rather than unquestionably consume our information. Find a few trusted but less mainstream sources that are prepared to question current narratives and don’t simply rely on press releases.
We think it’s safer to wait for more reliable analysis before giving children the Covid-19 vaccine.
References and further reading:
https://www.ukcolumn.org/ https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/11/26/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-lets-be-cautious-and-first-see-the-full-data/ https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2021/05/transmission-of-covid-19-post-vaccination/