Not only do vaccines protect you from illness and death, but they make you less stupid, too

Not only do vaccines protect you from illness and death, but they make you less stupid, too

A study that was recently published in The Lancet says, and I quote: “Based on official reported COVID-19 deaths, we estimated that vaccinations prevented 14·4 million (95% credible interval [Crl] 13·7–15·9) deaths from COVID-19 in 185 countries and territories between Dec 8, 2020, and Dec 8, 2021.” 

There are more numbers and information in that article, but the gist of it, really, is that vaccines clearly work in reducing mortality from, well, pretty much everything you get vaccinated against. 

[I know. We shouldn’t even have to say this.] 

I don’t have a lot of time for anti-vaxxers. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. I don’t care for them one bit. 

I have a lot of time for those who cannot get vaccinated, for medical or other serious reasons. Note that “my religion doesn’t like it” is not a serious reason. Neither is “I don’t like needles.” I don’t like needles either. Very few people do. I got five COVID shots in my left shoulder anyway, and a flu shot too for good measure. Serious reasons are exactly what the word implies. 

recent story gave a few details on a fund established in late 2020 for people injured by a vaccine approved for use in Canada: 

According to new statistics, Canada’s Vaccine Injury Support Program has approved or paid out more than $2.7 million to claimants since the program opened in 2021.

So far, 50 claims of a serious and permanent injury connected to a vaccine authorized by Health Canada have been approved.


To be eligible for compensation, you must have suffered a serious and permanent injury connected to a vaccine authorized by Health Canada that was administered in Canada after December 8, 2020.

The program includes all vaccines that provide protection against preventable diseases, including, but not limited to, COVID-19 vaccines.

Serious permanent injuries are, well, serious and permanent and we should indeed look after people suffering them. The story does not explain how much each person receives or whether it’s dependent on the seriousness of their injury, but regardless, these people should get the help they need. 

The number of people who submitted an application is quite small relative to the number of people who received a vaccine. I’m not an immunization specialist but I expect it’s within the range of what’s to be expected in normal circumstances with mass immunization campaigns. 

Still, it made me curious to know more about people who say they suffered, or continue to suffer, serious side-effects from the COVID shots. More than “I felt flu-ish for a day and my arm was sore,” I mean. 

I put out a call on social media and received very few answers. One from a person who suffers inexplicable and debilitating gastro-intestinal effects and fatigue; they are currently being assessed by health care professionals to see if they might be connected to the COVID vaccine or to something else. And another person who had an extraordinarily rare anaphylactic reaction to all four COVID shots they received — in their allergist’s clinic, under supervision and with the use of epinephrine. 

This person, by the way, is grateful to have received all four shots despite the risks. And they are not especially keen to hear from people who are anti-vax because of potential side effects. 

I don’t have time for anti-vaxxers, but I have sympathy for those who can’t get the shot. The best way to protect these people is for those of us who can — the overwhelming majority of the population — to get vaccinated. If for no other reason than to show we’re not morons.

No, really. A study published this week shows COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is “associated with significant increased risks of a traffic crash.” 

The scientists who conducted the study wanted to find out whether people who “tend to resist public health recommendations might also neglect basic road safety guidelines.” 

The conclusion of the lead investigator, Dr. Donald Redelmeir (who incidentally is notorious for doing interesting and headline-grabbing studies), is that the study “demonstrated traffic risks were 50 to 70 per cent more frequent for adults who had not been vaccinated compared to those who had. This does not mean COVID-19 vaccination directly prevents traffic crashes. Instead, it suggests that adults who do not follow public health advice may also neglect the rules of the road.” 

I can hear your eyeroll from here. 

At this point there is nothing much that can be said to convince the anti-vaxxers (not the unvaccinated for legitimate reasons) that they’re hopelessly out to lunch. But as you head into holiday meals with your obnoxious anti-vax uncle, you can tell him he should be extra careful on the road and watch out for idiots like him.