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Monday, October 2, 2023

Public ‘intellectuals’ who spread vaccine hesitancy, misinformation and yet escape accountability – Part II

Even as ‘public intellectuals’ clamor for all things large and sundry, let us take a closer look at what they have been up to during the current Covid crisis. Some of them have been sharing propaganda or nutty theories to try and encourage people to avoid the vaccine or make them unmask immediately. How much damage such lies and half-truths, disingenuously presented as ‘alternate viewpoints’ by mainstream media or well-funded left-liberal portals like The Print, have caused in creating vaccine hesitancy among the elderly and other vulnerable sections of the population is now becoming apparent. 

The One Rupee intellectual and the blue-eyed boy of the far extreme left, Prashant Bhushan, who seems to be at the forefront of all things negative and anti-Bharat, was harping since January that Covid has ‘gone away’ and that Bharat has achieved herd immunity. Now that the full-blown second wave caused by the more potent and fast-spreading UK variant and other variants has hit us, he is blaming the center for claiming a premature victory! This is a complete U-turn when one looks back into the near past when he was spreading misinformation and was encouraging the country to lower its guard.

The Covidiot Prashant Bhushan with his Lutyen’s lawyer buddy Rajiv Dhawan – mocking the CJI and Supreme Court for the one-rupee token fine imposed on Bhushan after he was found guilty of contempt of court 

In January, he tweeted that vaccines were being rolled out ‘without proper trials or transparency’ even though Covid cases in Bharat had dropped sharply. The latter was true, but the former was a blatant lie since various government health agencies continuously and tirelessly monitored the trials of made-in Bharat vaccines. 

Interestingly, he based his tweet on a report from a little-known portal based out of the US that was reporting on developments in Norway where they claimed that 23 who had received the shots, died! They also admitted that half of those deaths were nursing home patients who were at least 80 years old! They were administered the Pfizer vaccine (which has not been cleared for use in Bharat) and the Norwegian chief physician also added that common side effects like fever and nausea “may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.” Deceptively, Bhushan mentioned none of this.

Bhushan is a cunning operator who very well knows that a vaccine is not a medicine but merely a preventive measure. The replies that he got included extreme ones, where some wanted our PM, all his ministers & Niti Aayog members to be administered the vaccine first & observe its effect for 4 weeks! Something that the same people would have criticized as selfishness, had the government done so. 

On Jan 26, he again tweeted that ‘Delhi is near herd immunity, yet untested vaccines are being pushed on people’. Remember, Bharat’s vaccine drive had begun on 16 Jan with health care professionals and other frontline workers being vaccinated in the first phase.

By early February, seeing the dip in cases, his ire turned towards the government funding for the Covid vaccination drive. The finance ministry approving Rs.35,000/- crores for coronavirus vaccines didn’t somehow suit him. He wanted the money to be spent on migrant laborers and for providing MSP to farmers, groups that were simultaneously being supported by the government anyway. 

Incidentally, the same Opposition cabal that Bhushan supports have just recently demanded that the government ‘spend the Rs. 35,000 crore budgetary allocation for vaccines’, a gratuitous demand which assumes that the government is purposely not spending this money and that 1 billion vaccine doses can just be procured instantaneously from somewhere. But back in February Prashant Bhushan, a leading figure of the Nehruvian left-liberal intelligentsia that is tightly coupled with the Congress ecosystem, was claiming that the Rs. 35K crore allocation for vaccines was not needed! If not for short public memory and our crooked mainstream media, these charlatans would have been long relegated to the fringes of public opinion where they belong.

Bhushan based his ‘argument’ on the fact that the first wave was dying and that Covid numbers were coming down. The likes of Bhushan were also lustily cheering the ‘farmers’ protest at the time, which eventually turned out to be the super-spreader responsible for the deadly second wave. By mid-February, he referred to Sero-Surveys and claimed that Bharat was closed to ‘herd immunity’ and that ‘Covid is dying’

However, what he left out was that while such surveys did find that around 20% of our population had been exposed to Covid-19 and that Bharatiyas possibly had some degree of inherited immunity, medical experts also added that the situation could change rapidly due to virus mutations and that vaccination is very important to stay one step ahead in the battle.

On 30 March, he tweeted that government was ‘hyping the fresh Covid wave and vaccines’. In the same tweet, he wondered if the fresh wave was due to UK and South African variants of the virus!

He also claimed “studies show present vaccines are ineffective (against the new variants)”. The basis of this allegation is unknown since he provided no evidence to support the same. ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and its subsidiaries were already working on the same and confirmed that Covaxin neutralizes multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 including the double mutant strain. 

By April his tweets started to verge on absurdity. Bhushan tweeted a paper called ‘Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis‘. A single-author study that asked whether face masks are ineffective as they compromise on safety and effectiveness should be avoided from use. Even the author admits that there is no direct evidence and cites a WHO paper (dated the 5th of June 2020) that suggested that masks alone are not sufficient to curb the spread of the virus. 

Bhushan went ahead and childishly tweeted that ‘facemasks are ineffective to block transmission of viral and infectious diseases such as COVID-19’ and added that wearing masks ‘have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects’. Social media, especially the ones in the know exploded asking Bhushan to be wiser about his anti-mask, anti-vax propaganda. Twitter was forced to take down his post the very next day.

Unfettered he goes on creating doubts and spreads them on social media. When all else failed he started resorting to the rising number of deaths to ‘prove his point’. He also started concentrating on doctors who in spite of having had their doses taken were still turning positive. 

One doctor came out with a rebuttal and informed that the vaccine works, and added that out of around 500 doctors in his hospital who were all vaccinated, only 37 or less than 8% had turned positive, out of which only 5 were hospitalized (most because of significant comorbidities), and even those 5 didn’t have severe Covid-19 disease, i.e. vaccines provide almost 100% protection from severe and fatal Covid-19 disease.

Even then, Prashant supported his claims with a Caravan article. Interestingly, even that article made it clear that it takes roughly 45 days after the first shot to develop immunity and that it prevents serious disease but not the infection itself. Many have seemed to understand except Prashant and other English-spouting pseudo-intellectuals of his ilk. Astonishingly, the guy has 22 Lakh followers on Twitter and yet neither our courts nor our government has stepped in to stop him from spreading such negativity and fake news. Meanwhile, such publicity-hungry Covidiots continue their attempts at anarchy unhindered. 

(Read Part – 1 of this series here)

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