When I look at the photos from the flooded villages of Karlovy Vary, my first thought is that there is hardly anything scarier than losing your home, belongings, life.
Then, on a still hazy Wednesday morning, I hear the phrase “low interest”, only this time without the involvement of a dispute between show greats. And I wanted to…
The remark comes on a far more serious occasion, because on the air of bTV academician Bogdan Petrunov, an immunologist, is worried that the interest in vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough in Karlovsko is weak.
What Academician Petrunov does not say out loud is the warning that without urgent vaccination, an epidemic can creep up against the background of all the rest of the tragedy.
An epidemic of, I want to emphasize, preventable diseases.
However, skepticism towards the delivered preparations wafts not only from Karavelovo and the neighboring villages, but also from the haunt of all conspiracy theories – social networks. There, users are already launching pseudo-helpful theses in the style of “That’s not the most important thing” and rehashing old props about “pharma mafia” and “human experiments”.
Having misunderstood exactly which vaccines are in question, they also repeated their concerns about “experimental liquids”.
Eight hours away and eight thousand kilometers from here, in New York, there are no floods, and at first glance there are no reasons for comparison with Karlovo. However, a state of emergency has been declared on the East Bank because of a case of another vaccine-preventable disease, polio. Warning again.
The similarity between modest Bulgaria and the Big Apple is obvious – in both places, the mistrust of vaccines conquers ever-larger segments of society and starts ticking like a time bomb.
When the coronavirus vaccines came out, the main arguments against them were twofold: they were too new and there was no point in using them against a not-so-deadly virus.
Back then, anyone who doubted the preparations for COVID-19 kept pointing out that he was not against vaccines in the first place, but only against those – the new and allegedly not sufficiently tested. There was nothing wrong with the old vaccines, only the new ones are bad.
Even then, I suspected that such people were only trying to hide their far larger distrust of modern medicine, but now the confirmation is here.
There has been a tetanus vaccine since 1924, and a polio vaccine since 1932, so the argument that these preparations are new and untested falls away. On the contrary, they have been entrenched in the Western immunization calendar for decades.
And while we can very flippantly write off the coronavirus as less deadly, the death rate from tetanus is 10 percent, and pictures of children crippled by polio are not for the faint of heart.
And no one dares to call these diseases “summer snot”, as, for example, doctor Georgi Todorov allows himself to call COVID-19.
The thesis “I’m not anti-vaxxer, BUT…” cracks loudly and shows that in addition to natural disasters, we will obviously have to fight with otherwise preventable epidemics.
Vaccines, doctors like to say, are victims of their own success. They know very well that a vaccine against skepticism and human recklessness has not been created, and they can only warn – where successfully, where increasingly unsuccessfully.
Today the warnings may be for small Karavelovo, Bogdan and Slatina. They can also be for the greater New York and its region.
At some point, however, there may be no one to hear the warnings. And this is not unnecessary drama, but an assumption that more and more things indicate that it may turn out to be true.