Science, vaccines and abstentionists

Nicolas Guerra

It was the Ministry of Information and Tourism led by the Francoist politician Mr. Fraga Iribarne who devised the slogan “Spain is different!”: The tourist revolution began in the 1960s. Half a century later, and according to the venerable traditions, Mrs. Botella, politically descendant of the previous one, he raised the ridiculousness to infinity with his “Relaxing cup of café con leche in Plaza Mayor?” as “an added difficulty” to cleaning the streets.)

While Austria makes the vaccine against covid-19 mandatory and imposes confinement and Belgium and Mrs. Merkel’s Germany weigh very similar decisions, the Spanish Minister of Health resorts to a message that is already sterile despite its good intentions: “A those who selfishly are not going to get vaccinated, I tell them to think of others ”. (In the face of defined positions, words of awareness are useless, Dona Carolina; as during the game of hide and seek in the middle of the strong-adventurous plains: “Who has not hidden, has had time.”)

This is relevant because 35% of Austrians and almost the same proportion of Germans and Belgians reject vaccination. In Spain, four million people refuse virus inoculation. Many of them comment that “it can be improved”, an approach that deserves my respect but is not supported by scientific argumentation. What’s more: it can be doubted whether it is an intuition or perhaps a medical recommendation due to physiological incompatibility. radical

What if some of the Hispanic abstentionists were researchers of global prestige for the achievement of the “improvable”? Extraordinary! Spain would regain its scientific value as it had in 1933: Einstein, Nobel Prize in Physics, visited Madrid accompanied by our fellow countryman Blas Cabrera Felipe, professor and friend of his. It was the international recognition of Spanish research, radically annihilated as of 1939.

Luckily, one is already vaccinated against demagogic excesses of certain policies (an easy resource to win popular favor, the Valleinclanesque concave mirror that distorts the image projected on it). But as a user of the intellect, a rational power, I believe in Science although many, many times, it has been put at the service of barbarism: napalm, V-2 rockets from Nazi Germany, atomic, nuclear, cluster bombs, chemical weapons, biological, radiological, depleted uranium ammunition … or medical experiments on humans, Nazi prison camps.

Thus, the Summit of the Azores (2003) launched danger signals against Iraq, the supposed country possessing all weapons of mass destruction. We were deceived and swindled by Messrs. Bush, Durão, Blair, and Aznar because their military action had two reasons for being: the great economic interests of oil and a testing ground for the inexperienced new military industry.

And since I believe in Science in the case of vaccines (despite the fact that a billion-dollar source is often dehumanized for certain private companies), I will have no qualms about going to the appointment so that they inject me with the third phase of the anticovid. Nor did I hesitate – more: it did not even cross my mind – to rigorously comply with the vaccinations of my children from their first yawns in life: or the hidden danger of meningitis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis … or confidence in research rationalization.

Because scientific methodology has to do with the demands of precision and objectivity, that is, something clearly perceptible regardless of one’s own way of thinking or feeling. Science, therefore, is alien to beliefs or dogmas (rigorously respectable, of course) contrary to experimentation. However, by its own definition throughout the history of the human being fanaticism, integrity, radicalism, jihadism … they have been imposed and continue to live with contempt, indifference, insults, accusations, violent behavior …

Thus, for example, our countryman Dr. Chil y Naranjo, a doctor educated in Paris, scientific researcher and founder of the Canarian Museum, was accused by the Canarian Catholic Church (1876) of “Harmful childbirth of pernicious teachings”, considered as “false , impious, scandalous and heretical ”when defending Darwin’s evolutionary theory. And Mr. Gonzalo Pérez Casanova, professor (Natural Sciences) at the Pérez Galdós Institute, was expelled from the classroom and also persecuted since 1937 for explaining Darwinian evolutionism to his students “with documents”!

And the Science that leaves aside myths and whims or wills of the gods, remember, is part of human thought since the 6th century BC. C. with Thales of Mileto, rationalization of the phenomena of nature. It continues in the pre-rebirth; advances during the seventeenth century (the novel Don Quixote is a compendium of approaches on natural history, medicine, madness, mathematics …) and explodes with the economic flourishing of the bourgeoisie, interested since the eighteenth century in scientific research: it is El Siglo de lights.

And Science, then, as ‘Set of knowledge obtained through observation and systematically structured reasoning and from which general principles and laws with predictive and experimentally verifiable capacity are deduced’, as defined by the Academic Dictionary.

On the other hand, some highly debated questions: why “law, justice or reason” (in the Calderonian way) does the Superior Court of Justice of Galicia extend the authorization so that the covid passport can be requested at nightlife until 4 December (El Mundo) and, however, the correspondent of the Basque Country rejects it because “demanding it, as other communities do, violates fundamental rights” ( (Germany requests it even to “enter a hairdresser”, affirms the Canarian councilor.) Could it be concluded that this apparent contradiction violates citizen rights?

Would it be necessary to declare states of alarm or exception (the second must be authorized by Congress) to defend “the right to health protection” (Constitution, 43.1.) Against those who wield that corresponding to freedom not to be vaccinated? Right of a minority (four million) compared to the vast majority (forty-two million) in the face of the extremely dangerous advance of the outbreaks? The average incidence among those vaccinated has been 23.1 per 100,000 inhabitants and 64.5 among those who have not been immunized.

Nicolás Guerra is a professor and writer.

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Science, vaccines and abstentionists