GELFAND’S WORLD - The Green Bay Packers lost their game to Kansas City on Sunday because Aaron Rogers was too much of a wimp to get the Covid vaccination.
As might be predicted, he eventually tested positive for Covid-19 and is out for a period of at least 10 days, which included last Sunday's game.
Without Rogers, the Green Bay attack was as deflated as a Tom Brady football. Kansas City only scored 13 points against Green Bay, a total that should have easily been overcome. Rogers could be expected to generate 14 points in either half on an average day. But instead of getting a nearly painless shot and developing some real immunity, he got some fanciful homeopathic nonsense.
Over the course of training camp and well into the season, Rogers claimed to be "immunized." It's just like that oft-repeated line from Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." There is a difference between a hard-won, scientifically validated treatment that has been carefully shown to work through testing on thousands of people, vs. wishful thinking based on assertions that have been disproved by dozens of careful studies.
In this case, the proof is in the pudding. Rogers continued to claim he was immunized, but he came down with a positive Covid-19 test.
Rogers wasn't candid enough to tell the world that he was using a different definition of immunization than the rational world uses. This is both intellectually dishonest and at the level of arrogance that we have come to expect from the anti-vaccine folks. They haven't done the hard work that goes into actually understanding physiology and biology, but they pretend that they know more than everybody else.
One critic says that the NFL should suspend Rogers because of his dishonesty, but won't have the guts to do so. Suspending Rogers is a worthy suggestion and probably also a good guess as to what the league will not do. It's a bit of an aside in this whole discussion, but here is a sports organization that blackballed Colin Kaepernick for his political views, but may very well look the other way when somebody endangers a substantial number of other players and members of the public.
When the public sector endangers the public
Pro football is a private business. People are free to attend games or not, and the players have a union to defend their interests. This is not the case for law enforcement. A member of the Sheriff's Department has the right to pull you over, and short of running away and eventually being arrested, you have no recourse. What if that officer has not been vaccinated and could be carrying an infectious case of the Covid-19 virus?
We as a society ought to define minimum standards whereby every law enforcement officer who is engaged in pulling people over or otherwise interacting with the public is required to be fully vaccinated. It's not unlike workers in hospitals being required to get flu shots in order to protect their patients.
But meanwhile, we have a Sheriff who is playing the same game as In-N-Out Burger -- he too doesn't want to be the vaccine police. That means that possibly thousands of uniformed officers with full police powers could be the ones to pull you over and get right in your face through your driver's side window. Here's what one recent article reported about the department:
"Of the sheriff's 9,656 sworn personnel, 3,942 are fully vaccinated, according to county records. There are 188 workers who are semi-vaccinated, while 1,698 are not vaccinated and nearly 1,369 are seeking exemptions."
Curious, that. The department is only reporting on 7197 out of a total of 9656 officers. We appear to be missing out on information about a full 25% of those officers. We do know that as of the end of last month, about one in five officers is not vaccinated. That ought to be a good motivation to drive safely.
Sheriff Villanueva won't enforce the rule, even on requiring officers to report their vaccination status, just as Aaron Rogers wouldn't obey the league rules. At least Rogers has concussion as a usable excuse for thinking strangely. What's the Sheriff's excuse?
By the way, the people who ought to be most concerned about an out-of-control Sheriff's department are the vaccine refusers.
I went on the internet and did my research
That's a statement we have read in the comments of vaccine refusers many times. What does it actually mean to do research? That's a deep question that I will leave for another day. Does going on Google result in any legitimate knowledge or more to the point, does it get you the right answers when it comes to questions like whether you should accept some form of medical treatment?
Suffice it to say that unless you have a fairly deep background and know where to look, you are more likely to be misled than to achieve deep understanding.
Let's conclude today's comments with a story quoting Aaron Rogers directly:
"The three-time MVP claimed he did extensive research on the vaccines, but said he was allergic to something in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. He sought alternative treatment when he said the two vaccines available weren't right for him.
"For me it involved a lot of studying in the offseason," Rodgers said. "I put a lot of time and energy into researching and met with a lot of different people in the medical field to get the most information about the vaccines before making a decision."
"Rodgers also said he consulted with his friend Joe Rogan and mentioned ivermectin, a medicine that is generally used to treat threadworms, roundworms and other parasites. That medicine is not approved for use in battling COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration."
What a load of nonsense (I'm trying to keep my remarks family-friendly here). What sort of "research" did Rogers do? What level of research would he be capable of doing? As I hope to discuss in a later article, real research is complicated and involves hard work. Even when "research" is limited to asking experts what they think, you need to be able to know which "experts" are the ones to trust.
Rogers claims to be allergic to some component of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but does not say what it is or might be. There is a published literature on Covid-19 vaccine allergies, including statistics on the number of reactions (about one in a hundred-thousand or less), and some pretty good speculation on what parts of the vaccine might be responsible for these reactions (polyethylene glycol, polysorbate) which are also found in thousands of over-the-counter products. If Aaron Rogers is actually allergic to one or the other (or some other item), it would be decent of him to tell us which one, and to provide some reason for us to believe him.
And one last thing. In an interview you can hear online, Rogers gives us a list of treatments he has taken that do not include either of the vaccines. He mentions that he has received the monoclonal antibody treatment. With all due respect, how could you claim that the mRNA vaccines are too allergenic for you, but then accept the complicated proteinaceous cocktail that makes up the monoclonal antibody treatment as just fine?
(Bob Gelfand writes on science, culture, and politics for CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected])