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Reports about allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines will undoubtedly cause anxiety in people. Robert E. Bartholomew & Kate MacKrill remind us that, if history is a guide — and given the large number of people to be vaccinated — a mass anxiety event is not improbable.

Psychological Risks with COVID‑19 Vaccines

The news media have an important role to play in the current race to vaccinate enough people in the United States and around the world, so that we can reach the all-important goal of attaining herd immunity — the key threshold whereby a sufficient number of people have been inoculated and are immune to infection. When that tipping point is reached, person to person infection is expected to become much less likely. By current projections, American immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci projects that the United States could reach the early stages of herd immunity by late March, 2021.1 The biggest impediment to attaining it is what the World Health Organization describes as “vaccine hesitancy” — the reluctance of people to get vaccinated. Even before the pandemic, the WHO was warning that vaccine hesitancy was a significant threat to world health.2

A major problem in maintaining public confidence in the safety of the vaccines that are being rolled out are reports of allergic reactions in health care workers shortly after being inoculated. The first reports appeared in England and involved two persons with a history of allergic reactions. More recently, two patients in Alaska were affected and more can be expected. Health authorities have been quick to point out that none of these cases were life-threatening. […]

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SCIENCE SALON PODCAST # 148

Have Archetype — Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon

In this special episode of the Science Salon podcast Dr. Michael Shermer reflects on the recent resurrection of Jordan Peterson, the resurgent criticism of him and why so many people attack him, why similar such unwarranted attacks have been made against public intellectuals like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris today, and of Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan in the past. Dr. Shermer then reads his essay of this title that was originally published in Skeptic magazine 23.3 (2018), and on skeptic.com, and is reprinted in his essay collection Giving the Devil His Due.

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