Letters March 4, 2021

To do no harm

I have noticed that Gary Kohl’s dubious articles, supported by dubious facts, produced by many doctors and scientist who have not undergone accredited peer review before publishing their papers – or else who quote non-peer approved sources written by experts whose facts have been widely disputed – his anti-vaccine articles have not been published in The Reader lately. And for this I applaud the Duluth Reader for using simple common sense before rejecting his input.

If Gary’s generally unsupported views affected only those who wish to believe him, very few of us would question their rights to refrain from vaccinating their children, or for refusing to be inoculated with today’s Covid-19 vaccines. But it’s not a simple as that, because Covid-19 and its several mutations are easily transmittable to the general populace, and therefore spreading false or misleading information about how valuable they really are, can do very real harm to thousands or millions of people worldwide.

Gary frequently quotes the portion of the Hippocratic Oath which affirms that doctors will “do no harm,” but ironically and illogically, the end results of a populace which is manipulated by doctors or scientist who spread unproven doubts about covid-19 vaccines, can do enormous harm when their faulty information convinces hundreds, thousands, or millions of people worldwide to fear and reject them.

If it were just a question of one, or a few families refusals to accept the advice of their doctors, or to reject vaccines that have been proven to be safe, then you or I would shrug our shoulders and say, “to each his own.” But we all know the situation is not as simple as that; When one families children have their safety jeopardized by seductive quackery then everyone else’s are endangered too! Unvaccinated children may become sick or die, or else become unknown carriers of Covid-19 or of any infectious disease And do real damage when that disease spreads to teachers, or older citizens who can die from such exposures.

So not only should doctors take their oaths seriously when giving inoculations to millions of people, but we should all accept the wisdom of Science Officer Spock in the old Star Trek series when his race’s wisdom states that the well-being of the many surpasses the well-being of the few.

We have already lost about 10 times more lives in one year, than died during 10 years of war in Vietnam War! We all need to take scientific facts seriously!

Peter W. Johnson
Superior, Wisconsin