How Do We Practice Gracious Dialogue When Talking about COVID-19 Vaccines?

Ugh. :roll_eyes:  

Right now, I realized that I’m reacting with shock, and “I can’t believe,” instead of “I need to understand.” Sorry! The aim of the OP is to learn–and I should be working on that. I think it is in large part because of feeling overwhelmed that people reject vaccines–conspiracy theories come out of that, too.
I’d be interested in your thoughts on that.

1 Like

Randy, you are not alone feeling overwhelmed. And I find that state itself to be incredibly destructive to my own thinking and ability to exercise patience and graciousness to anyone, particularly in person. It’s easier to be a very bitter clam.

1 Like

I get the feeling that rejection of vaccines has little to do with the actual science, but I’m not sure many people would freely discuss those deeper reasons.

Unfortunately, vaccines and the science surrounding it have become politicized. This brings in group identity into the mix as well.


Nice article.

1 Like

21 posts were split to a new topic: What does it mean to graciously disagree about COVID?

How many people were wearing “high quality” masks and using them properly?
Vaccines have there place, but what they can do was oversold and therefore undermined peoples confidence in them. And also pushing them for children who have nearly no risk of severe consequences from Covid seems an overreach to say the least.
Perhaps I have much less trust in the Chinese Communist Government and their nefarious ways. Pretty crazy that the lab working on just this kind of virus was so close to the wet market. Not definite proof, but still leaves a lot of open questions and too many people make money off of China to be unbiased.
All I’m trying to say is that their are scientists on both sides and in between on these issues and they should have open debate, not be shut down by those who are in power.


i think the problem lies in that in the process, faulty information was being put forth as fact by some factions, with there not being open debate on the merits of positions based on data, but using the debate as a proxy for philosophical differences and value judgements (personal freedom vs. social responsibility. The philosophical differences are valid subjects to discuss, but it should be clear that that is what the subject is. The question was not “Do masks work” but was really “Does society have the right to require masks” and “Does the social cost of wearing masks exceed the possible benefit in lives saved and disability avoided?”

1 Like

Studies have shown that the vaccines have saved millions of lives, 3 million just in the US.

China certainly could do more to instill trust. At the same time, look at how much misinformation about the source of SARS-CoV-2 has spread around the globe? Even in the absence of evidence people are inventing it out of nothing. Because of this, I can see how China wouldn’t be excited to supply more information that could be twisted and and turned into disinformation.

And there is a healthy scientific debate, but it is one based on evidence and not misinformation. The majority position amongst scientists right now is that there was a natural source, but if evidence to the contrary does come forward then that conclusion will change.


I think there is mounting evidence that masks did not work, and that the requirement to wear them was not appropriate.

Forcing little children to wear them now appears to be completely unjustified.

The vaccines appear to have been very good for old people. Giving vaccines to the young (20s and below) seems to have been an inappropriate path.

I had to get a vaccine to travel. My son-in-law, who reacted terribly to his first shot, cannot cross the border to the US because of his wise decision not to subject himself to a second shot. Forcing people to get an experimental drug or be required to stay home is an inappropriate restriction of rights.

Depends on how you define “work.” No doubt they prevented infections when used properly. Since few used them properly, and there was never universal usage at least in my part of the world, it is hard to know what the true numbers are. As to masking children, I am inclined to believe that is an exercise in futility, but even there, it probably prevented some of them from becoming orphans. Was it worth it? Good question. It probably also secondarily prevented deaths due to flu in that age group, as those deaths few to nothing

Yet many of us have doubts, so “no doubt” is inaccurate.

Well, it was shorthand for “?no doubt in my mind” but pardon the lack of precision. Any supporting evidence to the contrary?

No, I have no evidence that you do not have doubts.

I accept your assertion that you do not have doubts.

If you mean is there evidence that masks don’t work, perhaps a comparison of locked down California (with masks and restrictions and people denied the right to work and denied the pursuit of happiness) to open Florida (with its relative freedoms) will be helpful.

Didn’t Florida have one of the highest death rates around (#7) despite the possible manipulation of statistics? This site has it at 0.19 per 100K. Vs. California at .017 per 100K. Lowest was Utah at 0.01 per 100K. Perhaps that is where we should look as a model. States ranked by COVID-19 death rates

And Florida had one of the oldest populations.

Adjust for the demographic difference.

Old people move to Florida to spend their last years, and Covid was much more severe for old people.

Alas, it is not so simple, though. Maine has a much higher median age, and a lower death rate. Vermont has a similar median age, and a lower death rate. The Utah rate has a lot to do with ethnic demographics, health habits, population density etc. so it is an unfair comparison as well. It is tough to draw conclusions from some of these things, but that doesn’t prevent many from doing so.on both sides of the argument.


I agree that it is not simple. Wander a mall in Georgia and a mall in Utah and you will see the differences in potential health risks from Covid and many other diseases.

But we do know this much: states that were clearly much less restrictive on the population, such as my state of Georgia and neighboring Florida, did not clearly have worse outcomes than those states who locked down their people and economies.

So if the Covid-health outcomes can’t be differentiated, while the economic and mental health and school success outcomes can be differentiated, then the prudent decision award goes to the less restrictive states.


It is these types of responses that make us suspect that subjectivity has more to do with your position than objectivity. Phrases like “denied the pursuit of happiness” tend to make us think that you don’t like the lockdowns which then makes you think masks don’t work because that is more convenient for your subjective emotions surrounding the topic.

The same would apply to vaccines. It never seemed like those who objected to vaccines were basing their position on data. Rather, it was a gut level, subjective emotion that was commonly tied to partisan politics. It was conclusion first, data a very, very distant second.

This is where a lot of us are coming from. Perhaps we have misread what people are telling us, but at least you can have a better idea of where we are coming from.


"The Department of Energy has recently concluded that COVID-19 most likely came from the Wuhan lab, according to the classified intelligence report cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The so-called [lab leak theory] was widely dismissed as a conspiracy or “fringe” theory. It was labeled as “misinformation” by Democrats and major news outlets, and social media companies in the early stages of the pandemic suppressed the theory from being circulated."

1 Like