The Many Ways The Vaccination Seat-Belt Analogy Fails

The Many Ways The Vaccination Seat-Belt Analogy Fails

If you don’t wear your seat belt, I am at greater risk of catching coronadoom. And thus my grandmother might die, you granny killer.

Is that what they mean by the vaccination-seat-belt analogy?

Maybe. Let’s see by reading the peer-reviewed paper “Vaccination, Risks, and Freedom: The Seat Belt Analogy” by Alberto Giubilini and Julian Savulescu in Public Health Ethics. A paper, mind you, that came out in October 2019, before the coronadoom panic began.

Before we get to it, let’s agree to some facts:

  • Strapping on a seat-belt will not likely injure you; it will not cause myocarditis or cancer; nor indeed will you suffer any side effect, except perhaps for a pinched finger or slightly burned chest (by wearing the belt shirtless on a hot day in a closed car).
  • You will not need to be boosted, unless you are child under a certain weight and height. That is, as you drive, on a per-trip basis, you will not need to strap on a second, third, fourth belt during a single trip.
  • If you do not strap on a belt, you do not lose your job.
  • You do not have to provide proof of seat-belt use, except on rare occasions where police need to meet their ticket quotas.
  • Foreigners can enter the United States without having to prove that they used a seat-belt in their home country.
  • Seat belts can indeed protect against severe injury and death: they are efficacious and known to be efficacious; the evidence is unambiguous and clear to everybody.
  • If you are not wearing a belt and crash, you will not cause harm to anybody else, except perhaps, very rarely, and indeed heretofore unheard of, as your shredded body exits through the windshield and lands on a passerby.
  • If a belted person crashes, the injuries he may or may not suffer do not cause you physical harm. The belts themselves can sometimes, though rarely, cause worse injuries in crashes, crashes that are not individually predictable.
  • Some belted people, but likely not many, may drive more recklessly, reasoning that they are “protected”, in the same way helmeted and padded football players tackle harder than bare-skinned rugby players.
  • When you are done driving, even in places that mandate you must wear seat-belts while driving, you can take the seat-belt off.

I sincerely believe people on all sides of this debate would agree to these facts.

Now let’s see what our academics say.

I am pleased to copy their first two sentences, with which I am in agreement: “Like almost any medical drug, vaccination entails some very small risk of more or less serious injury. The risk is extremely small and normally it is vastly outweighed by the benefits of vaccines.”

Yes: vaccines by design cause injury, in the hope that later infections will be less harmful, and last a briefer time, hence reducing, but not eliminating, the chance of transmission.

And we all see their “normally” qualifier.

As I have tried to explain many times, vaccines do not prevent infections. And cannot. How could they? It is like saying seat-belts prevent crashes.

Tell people of that vaccination-seat-belt analogy.

What about mandates?

With coercive vaccination policies…the risk of vaccine injuries is simply imposed on individuals, either adults or children, and it is imposed without any underlying medical condition that justifies their use. The lack of any pathology to be treated reinforces some parents’ perception that the risks of vaccines are not only great and greater than they actually are, but also unnecessary…

Well, yes. But:

Needless to say, but perhaps worth emphasizing, there is no evidence to support the idea that the risk assessment of those who oppose vaccines—and on such basis oppose coercive vaccination policies—is rational. For instance, the flu vaccine, as mentioned earlier, might—and we say ‘might’ because the causal link is contested—entail a very small risk of causing Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a serious and sometimes incurable autoimmune disorder that can result in paralysis and death; the risk is in the order of 1–2 cases per million flu vaccine doses.

This argument goes wrong because if you take the vax, you purposely open yourself up to risk of injury, not just to GBS, which we also saw with coronadoom, but other injuries, too. Meaning the overall risk of serious injury or death from purposeful vaccination is higher than 2 in a million—a number which of course changes by kind of vax.

Whereas, one might never even get certain diseases, and if one does not, the chance of GBS (or other injury) due to the vax or that disease is 0.

And then, especially if one is young and strong, one might properly judge oneself unlikely to be badly injured by the flu, another malady—or the doom. Especially the doom.

How did they forget this part of the argument?

And then one might have already had the doom and have gained naturally acquired immunity, and therefore the risk of injury from re-infection is very low or negligible, especially if one is not old. Something is similar for flu, which has, like the doom, many variants. It’s not as true for other diseases, mainly found in childhood.

So it is indeed rational, and could even be, as with the doom in many cases, the better bet not to be vaccinated.

And this is all before considering the efficacy of the vaccine, about which our authors are largely silent, saying only things like vaccines provide a “significant benefit”. They do not quantify this benefit.

Which for some vaccines can be high. Say, measles. But for some vaccines it can be low, over-promised, and lied about by public officials—like the doom.

Do I even have to remind you that Pfizer initially claimed an efficacy against infection (an impossibility) of over 95%? And that we are now on our, what, fourth or fifth shots? And that the same sources are now bruiting annual shots? Each instance bringing new risk of injury. (Again, our authors knew the doom vaccine not.)

On being rational, our authors say, “However, some have argued that vaccine denialists are not as irrational as they are sometimes taken to be; instead, they are often part what Mark Navin calls ‘resistant epistemic communities’ that refuse to trust science with regard to the risk assessment of vaccination (Navin, 2015: 31).”

I argue that rationality has left the room whenever anybody uses terms featuring “denialist” or “trust science”, let alone monstrosities like “resistant epistemic communities”.

We are now at the seat-belt analogy itself.

Let me agree with their first words about that, too: “There are two main reasons why coercive vaccination policies could be enforced: to protect vulnerable people who cannot be vaccinated through herd immunity, and/or to protect the individuals receiving the vaccination.”

It is easy to conjure situations where, say, a virulent encephalitic virus, in a very real sense, rips through a population, destroying minds, with rates of transmission and severity of effect so large that it will with something approaching certainty destroy a civilization. In these cases, even modestly efficacious vaccines can be mandated.

This isn’t true for flu, and it certainly wasn’t true for the coronadoom.

Now “All Western countries have some form of seat belt mandates, with the exception of the state of New [Live Free Or Die] Hampshire in the USA; most other countries all over the world also have seat belt mandates”. The parenthetical remark is mine.

Of course, nearly all universities have DIE officers. So ubiquity is not indicative of the good.

And “seat belt laws were introduced and proved to be extremely effective in increasing seat belt use”, which is surely true. But it’s just as relevant that in France, guillotines laws were extremely effective in increasing the supply of headless corpses.

Our authors say that even if adults can choose to ignore seat belts, and hence vaccines, children have to have choices made for them, and if parents are going to make the wrong choices (no belt, no vax), the state should step in and criminalize dissent. To which I say: no. Not in these cases. Especially for the doom vax, because kids have such a low chance of dying from covid.

And because of the Slippery Slope. Once you begin letting Experts decide what is best medically for your kids, as we have seen, are seeing, and will continue to see, there is no end. No stopping point. The Slope has been greased with credentials. And horrors.

If the government can force blanket medicalizations, they can make you take anything.

Thus, adopting a more forward looking perspective, we can say that the fact that coerced vaccination is opposed by those who appeal to individual liberty and to mistaken risk assessment should not stop states from introducing coercive vaccination policies—unless we also think it was wrong to introduce seat belt requirements in spite of public opposition.

Something like that, yes.

Now that that’s over, I can give you the Big Reveal. We have met the appalling Julian Savulescu many times.

He wants to bioengineer people to “fight” “climate change”, design a pill to eliminate “racism”, claims to be against after-birth abortions but lists some ackshuallies, and so forth.

Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.

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  1. PaulH

    Early in the “mask up” madness, I posted this to our local health authority’s facebook page when they pushed the seatbelt analogy on their unsuspecting readers:

    “Masks aren’t like seatbelts. There are decades of real-world evidence
    that seatbelts save lives. There is no risk of self-contamination from
    adjusting a seatbelt. All seatbelts are manufactured to exact
    specifications. No one recommends using a homemade seatbelt. Seatbelts
    don’t trap germs in a moist pocket in front of your mouth and nose. There
    is no risk of skin lesions or hypoxia from using a seatbelt.”

    It’s almost too easy. 😉

  2. bruce g charlton

    I worked as a public health doctor in the middle 1990s in the UK, and it was already evident even then that there had been a strategic decision to use the open-endedly broad category of vax as if it was *a single agent*; with a single profile of risks plus/minus benefits.

    A climate was created in which to oppose even one type of vax was regarded as the same as opposing the use of all possible vaxes.

    (The astonishingly over-the-top and sustained demonization of Andrew Wakefield* was very much part of the rhetoric here – it has long been taught as a – faked – cautionary tale to UK school-kids.)

    In other words; because several vaxes of the past had had very favourable benefit to risk ratios for common and highly lethal or crippling disease; this was taken to imply that all rational Men ought to approve the use of all possible future vaxes – for any indication, including rather and very-seldom-lethal diseases.

    Increasingly from the 90s; anyone who expressed any vax reservations at all, or regarded any particular vax as liable to do more harm than good was labelled (vehemently in the media, and sheeplike, by many others) as dumb/ insane/ evil.

    Eventually the situation was reached when all vaxes were assumed to be not just A Good Thing, but essential – and any dissent from this was regarded as dangerous ignorance.

    This created a climate of opinion when more and more, less and less valuable and safe, vaxes could be introduced with impunity and bigger-and-bigger profits.

    Thus was the ground prepared in advance for 2020 and its subsequent events.

    I personally am in no doubt that there were some persons in positions of global power, who (even 25 years ago) knew – if not *exactly*, then at least in general terms – where all this was intended to go.

    *For the, fake, official version:

  3. spudjr60

    If you get into an vehicle accident and you aren’t wearing a seat belt, the emergency room doesn’t refuse medical care.

  4. Robin

    But on the plus side, vaccines won’t wrinkle your clothes like seat belts do. I once travelled with a woman who refused to wear a seat belt for this reason.

  5. Vermont Crank

    Another smashing post, Briggs.

    The experts surely hate you.

    An interesting book that dethrones King Vaccine as out universal rulers by which we measure progress (ju catch that humorous homonym?) is “Dissolving illusions; Disease, Vaccines and forgotten history” by Humprhires and Bystrianyk.

    Engineers have done more to improve there health of man than have vaccines.

  6. C. P. Benischek

    Per Dr. Charlton, see half a century ago, 12 deaths, nationwide shot-suspension:

    Here we’ve had 12,000 (plus) yet nary a dent to the religion of branch covidianism.

    Pope Benedict requiescat in pace. The Sine Qua Non of collapsing global Catholic resistance to the Covid Scheme, was the theft of the papacy, via the Coerced Resignation, and subsequent imposition of Bergoglio, Francis XL (Fortieth Antipope in Church history), who is Covid All In.

    Recall the unprecedented forced Worldwide Closure of the Catholic Church–for a flu–by Bergoglio and his minions. And, in an Orwellian Whopper of Magnitude Proportions, do recall the Antipope declared: the Covid-19 shot, brought to you by Pfizer from the death of human babies, is “an act of love.”

    Viva Cristo Rey!

  7. The True Nolan

    “Foreigners can enter the United States without having to prove that they used a seat-belt in their home country.”

    And they can enter without a clot-shot. Well, at least they can if they are a POC from a third world nation, and cross the border in violation of US and international law. Then they can enter without the jab. In fact, we will even encourage and welcome them. We will even pay for their food, medical care, housing, phone, education, and “walking around” money.

    But try coming in legally, and… tsk! tsk! tsk! BACK YOU GO!

  8. William Wallace

    In the USA it has long been understood that driving is a privilege and not a right, hence the myriad ways they can restrict it. You are free not to drive or ride in a car. Walking is a natural option for transportation.

  9. Orthogonal to the current vaccine issues, the over-aggregation problem in the idea of “1 per million” is terrible.

    Say there’s an epidemic of foot-in-mouth disease (FIMD). There’s a vaccine for FIMD that (a) prevents all FIMD, but (b) is fatal to full professors of philosophy. Since fewer than 1 in 1,000,000 people are full professors of philosophy, the maker, Fipzer, says that the risk is minimal (less that 1 PPM) compared to the problems created by FIMD (like fighting with your in-laws). So, many authoritarians want it mandated for everyone and call full professors of philosophy who had observed the effect on early-vaccinated colleagues “deniers.”

  10. Forbes

    The seat belt and vax argument is typical of persons making The Science argument, i.e., an argument by analogy, because they don’t have the necessary facts and assumptions to make the vax conclusion–so it’s not a persuasive or winning argument.

    The analogy is used to make the coercive mandate seem reasonable–don’t be like those irresponsible people who won’t or fail to wear a seatbelt, to their great regret, should an unforetold accident occur (just like catching a virus).

    It does have the habit of convincing people because it’s heard like the simple storytelling that the public is accustomed–a passive acceptance.

  11. Milton Hathaway

    “Vaccines do not prevent infections” is a bit disingenuous as a sound bite, don’t you think? Most people (and all epidemiologists) would hear this claim as the equivalent of “vaccines don’t reduce infections”, because reducing the number of infections by even one is “preventing” that infection. I prefer my sound bites with a little more meat on them. Just sayin’.

    Jose C Silva: I really really like your FIMD hypothetical. A pretty good assumption is that the mRNA vaccine is 100% fatal to some as-yet-unidentified segment of the population; is it moral to force those people to die, simply because we don’t yet have the ability to identify them? If the vaccines were advertised this way, how many people would happily get in line? Yes, humans are notoriously innumerate when it comes to assessing risk, which is why advertising was invented. How else could we coerce the same population to get flu shots and buy Mega Millions tickets?

    Having once worked for a boss who made important decisions based on analogies, the topic is of some interest to me. An analogy is a great tool, a ‘mental can opener’ to facilitate discussion and elicit alternate approaches to a subject. Essentially it is a window into the analogy-wielder’s mind; it reveals a lot about their thought process. But an analogy reveals nothing about subject itself; using an analogy as supporting evidence is a logical fallacy. (The “False Analogy Fallacy” doesn’t quite cover it, as all analogies are necessarily either false or useless; how could they be otherwise?)

    I never found a productive way to deal with that boss. My usual approach was to come up with my own analogy to poke holes in his analogy (as PaulH notes, it’s almost too easy). He’d respond by revising his analogy, I’d respond by revising mine, etc. Invariably he’d get angry with me, and I’d quickly back off. He dinged me pretty badly on my performance reviews, for poor reasoning skills or some such, but he was demoted after the project finished, and the poor review ended up not hurting me in the long run (actually, his reputation was so tarnished after the failed project that I think the bad review ended up helping me, by putting some distance between me and the failed project).

    (Insert pithy summary comment here)

  12. Rudolph Harrier

    I guess I missed out on the official prediction thread, but let me make a prediction regarding the vaccines:

    Within two years the damage done by the clot shots will largely be accepted even by mainstream sources. However, this will only cause the anger against those who did not take the shots to grow. The argument will go that since we knew about the possibility for disastrous side effects, that we are responsible for those side effects (and not, say, the people manufacturing the drugs or those who forced them on the population.) They will shamelessly rewrite history to make it seem as though they sought an open exchange of ideas, but that we kept our mouths shut to spite them.

    Before we get to the full anger stage, there will be a stage where the masses accept Scott Adams’s frame of “You were 100% right about everything you said but you’re all still idiots who got lucky because the experts at the time said you were wrong.”

  13. DAD

    “The argument will go that since we knew about the possibility for disastrous side effects, that we are responsible for those side effects (and not, say, the people manufacturing the drugs or those who forced them on the population.) They will shamelessly rewrite history………” Rudolph Harrier (Above)

    From the very beginning I suspected that at the end of this debacle there would be an attempted persecution of those of us who saw the future and said ‘No’. Early on I wrote to my doctor giving my reasons why I would not be accepting the offer of a vaxx jab. She accepted it without comment. If (when) there will be, finally, acceptance of the evil that the jabs have done to the health of thousands I will remind her, and as many other people who pushed the vaxx, that the evidence was there at the very beginning of the ‘pandemic’ that they should not have proceeded with giving the vaxxine.

  14. Johnno

    I hope this Julian ValetGuy dies in a traffic collision with a Stop Sign from a rare unlikely injury caused directly by the seatbelt after a sudden bloodclot makes his brain temporarily lose focus.

  15. Vermont Crank

    Pope Benedict requiescat in pace. The Sine Qua Non of collapsing global Catholic resistance to the Covid Scheme, was the theft of the papacy, via the Coerced Resignation, and subsequent imposition of Bergoglio, Francis XL (Fortieth Antipope in Church history), who is Covid All In.

    The mean men who forced Ratzinger to resign were not only powerful, they were clever. “They” forced him to resign among forced him to claim publicly said he resigned of his own will. “They” are double secret sneaky.

    I live in Florida where mosts Bishops did shutter their churches but because Gov. DeSantis is not insane, he did not mandate any church or synagogue or Mosque be closed.

    I did not miss a single Divine Liturgy because Mary Mother of the Light Maronite Catholic Church in Tequesta, Florida never closed- and neither did the SSPX Chapel in West Palm Beach, Florida

    And the conclave that elected Bergoglio was not a conclave but rather, a faux exercise, and there never was a vote by the Cardinals present in the conclave?

    Are you a member of the DOA Cult (Disciples of Ann) ?

  16. Bill

    I did not get the Covid shot because of the aborted fetal cell line research that was used. Also I had mini strokes that run in my family. My brother and sister were made/advised to get the shot and they did. My sister got a stroke and died a few weeks after. My brother succumbed to massive clotting a year after his. My point is that some people should never have been advised to get the Covid vax. Not enough data was available because the mRNA was not adequately tested. But that is changing as the compliant were Guinea pigs. By the way, I got Covid and recovered in a few days 100%.

  17. Asa

    “some people should never have been advise to get the Covid vax” No people should’ve been advised or advised now to inject genetic material that’s proven to be so damaging … in any type of living creature, human or otherwise. There are, and have been multiple regimens to combat C-19.

  18. AG

    If you dig into the research, in a small number of accidents, the seat belt was a contributor to death.

  19. Didymus

    Rebekah’s substack post ( merits a read in respect of the analogy, as does Michael Kowalik’s paper ( referenced therein.

    Your reference to Julian Savulescu’s many junk papers is noteworthy. But also of note is the fact that both of these numpty (“dumbass” in US parlance) authors are guilty of a seemingly relentless push for vaccination coercion and/or mandates. See for example…
    Good reasons to vaccinate: mandatory or payment for risk? –
    The Ethics of Vaccination –
    Which Vaccine? The Cost of Religious Freedom in Vaccination Policy –
    The moral obligation to be vaccinated: utilitarianism, contractualism, and collective easy rescue –
    Balancing incentives and disincentives for vaccination in a pandemic –, etc., etc., etc…
    The 2nd of which includes (among many other nonsensical claims) the “fact” that “There are two ways in which an individual can enjoy a relatively high degree of protection from an infectious disease like the flu: one is by being vaccinated and the other is by not being exposed to infected individuals.” Two ways?

    The fact that they were funded mostly by Wellcome may or may not have any influence on their irrational views.

    For “bioethicist” read “bioterrorist”, ’nuff said!

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