“Children do not just play to pass time; it is a way of expressing ideas and feelings in the context of what is currently happening in their life and in society.
“Just the other day I overheard a small group of children in the home corner talking about how their baby had the virus and was going to die if they did not get an injection. I watched on as concerns for the doll’s health quickly changed to happiness, as they pretended to inject the doll. The calm nature of this quite serious situation captivated me, the children had taken on the responsibility of saving a life, but it seemed they were unaware of the magic in their work.”
Children know that the coronavirus is dangerous but, too often, the adults are more afraid of masks or the vaccine than of the virus. Misinformation, which is often motivated by greed, overrides people’s judgment. Shouldn’t we care about one another?
If preschool children can understand the importance of the COVID vaccine, why can't adults?
As epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said, “People are still being hospitalized with this variant [omicron], as well as dying.”
- COVID is still a major problem for children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics
“COVID-19 cases among children have spiked dramatically in 2022 during the Omicron variant surge, over 3.5 million child cases were reported in January.”
- It's not over.
As Health Day News reports, coronavirus infections are spreading among our children:
“More than 1.1 million American children were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the week ending Jan. 20…. That is 17 percent higher than the 981,000 cases diagnosed the week before and double the number from two weeks before that.”
- Diabetes has also been added to the list of long-term problems for children that can be caused by COVID.
Yet, they also note that vaccination rates are still too low. Only about “…63.8% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated… This includes about 55% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 19.9% of children ages 5-11….”
Why are so many parents refusing to get their children vaccinated?
Dr. Jessica Ericson, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Penn State Health Children's Hospital, explained that being vaccinated “… makes a big difference in kids, just as it does in adults.” She went on to say, "We are not seeing many vaccinated children needing hospitalization, even among those high-risk children…."
Why are parents afraid of the COVID vaccine but not the COVID infection?
In November, I asked why parents were afraid of the COVID-19 vaccine, and in 2022, I’m still asking why parents are afraid to have their children vaccinated. The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective. Millions of children are getting sick every day with COVID, and schools are still having to close in many areas because of COVID. Why would parents risk their children getting sick and possibly dying? Is misinformation responsible?
For more on fear of vaccines: Misinformation Kills: Has Your Child Been Vaccinated? Or, Are You Waiting?
What is the driving force behind misinformation?
As someone said many years ago,
"Only two things are infinite — the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
The quote is often listed as coming from Einstein, but as Quote Investigator shows—that may not be the case. Nonetheless, I think that it may be a very appropriate quotation for what is happening in the world today.
How do you explain so many people believing some of the outrageous things that are being said on social media? Even on some supposed news media stations? At rallies? Again, I believe the answer is misinformation. I also believe that one of the primary driving forces behind this misinformation is greed.
Frederick S. Perls, a psychiatrist of the 1940’s and founder of Gestalt therapy, once stated that an
“… impatient, greedy attitude is responsible more than anything else for the excessive stupidity we find in the world.”
Although I do not agree with gestalt therapy, I do think Perls’ statement on greed and stupidity has provided insight into human nature. Greed may be one of the reasons that so many people are pushing “alternative facts,” misinformation, and just plain lies.
Look behind the scenes:
- Everyone by now has heard about the Spotify uproar between Neil Young and Joe Rogan over, fake information about vaccines. Young goes on to mention the 200 plus doctors who joined together to write a letter explaining the “… dangerous life-threatening COVID falsehoods found in SPOTIFY programming.” He said, "I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others."
You might be asking, why are SPOTIFY and other companies supporting misinformation, especially since misinformation about COVID has been shown to be so dangerous?
Money. Or as Perls said, greed.
I applaud all who are standing up to Spotify and the selling of misinformation. I think that Neil Young has started a protest that may actually do some good. Money talks.
SPOTIFY is not the only source of misinformation: there are dozens of these social media sites. They make a lot of money selling falsehoods.
- Joseph Mercola, a leading anti-vaccine advocate who has been thrown off of YouTube and Facebook, has started his own political newsletter. He is among the top 20 listed on Substack and his subscribers pay $50 a year. The Washington Post has estimated that he makes about $2.5 million in revenues from his newsletter. He keeps 90 percent and Substack takes 10 percent. So, you can quickly see why Substack wants to keep Mercola happy. They do not care what he writes or says. It can be true or false. Mercola and Spotify are making money. The concept of a subscription service is bringing in so much money that Twitter and Facebook are planning paid subscription-based newsletters as well. Greed abounds; forget truth. Truth doesn’t make much money.
Another source of misinformation is the “Disinformation Dozen.” As Mary Pappefuss explains:
“The “Disinformation Dozen” produce 65% of the shares of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms, concluded the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. … [The Disinformation Dozen are] individuals who do not have relevant medical expertise and have their own pockets to line, who are abusing social media platforms to misrepresent the threat of COVID and spread misinformation about the safety of vaccines.”
“Anti-vaccine activists on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter reach more than 59 million followers, making these the largest and most important social media platforms for anti-vaxxers…”
For more on the dangers of misinformation, read: How Dangerous Is Misinformation?
Again, what do we see as the driving force—greed, money. These people are making bundles and bundles of money selling lies. I’ve listed only three. How can we stop this?
We need to love and care about each other.
I do not know how to stop misinformation, but, as a psychologist, I do know that we need to love and care for each other. We need more kindness and less name calling. We need compassion and concern for someone other than just self. We need less anger and hatred. We need to reach out and help others. We need to show others that we care each and every day. Caring for others is healthy and creates wellbeing. Hate and anger do not.
I do think that the protest that Neil Young and other musicians started with SPOTIFY is helping. If you take money away from the social media companies, then perhaps they will begin to care about the welfare of innocent people, especially the children. As adults, we should do all that we can do to protect the children. Taking masks away from children in schools and refusing to vaccinate children is not protecting children. It is doing the opposite. I believe that social media, misinformation, and political parties are driving the hate and the anti-vaccine movement.
We need to search for the truth. We need for everyone to be vaccinated.
Yes, the COVID vaccine is safe (even for children), and it saves lives. Researchers from Yale University and the Commonwealth Fund found that the vaccine saved approximately “… 279,000 additional deaths due to Covid-19 -- about 46% more than there were -- and as many as 1.25 million additional hospitalizations if there were no vaccinations.”
Vaccines save lives. If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. Vaccinate the children too and don’t forget to get your booster shot. As the slogan goes: “the life you save may be your own.”
A new variant is coming our way.
Right now, Omicron BA.1 is responsible for 98% of the COVID infections worldwide, but Omicron BA.2 is beginning to spread. Omicron BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1—that means that you can catch it more easily, and it passes from one person to another more easily. Research has shown that unvaccinated people are more likely to catch BA.2 and to pass it on to others, as a Danish study shows:
[BA.2] “…spreads more easily among unvaccinated people…. Unvaccinated: about 10% more likely to catch the coronavirus from someone with BA.2 than the fully vaccinated household members, and about 20% more likely to pass it on…."
As with Omicron BA.1, fully vaccinated people (with booster) are less likely to catch BA.2 or pass it on to someone else.
So, yes everyone needs to get vaccinated. It’s not about “freedom,” “personal choice,” or “control.” Every single person who isn’t vaccinated is potentially exposing every other person in their community, neighborhood, family, or school because unvaccinated people are allowing COVID to continue to grow, spread, and change into new variants. When people refuse to get vaccinated, they are actually supporting COVID-19 because they allow the pandemic to continue. Yes, when you are unvaccinated, you are encouraging COVID to spread. Don’t take my word for it. Read this report.
Why can’t we care about each other?
If you are unvaccinated, should you feel responsible when you make someone else sick?
Do you remember the teacher who took off her mask in September to read a story and made children sick?
An unvaccinated teacher from Marin County, California decided to go ahead and go to school and teach one day even though she had a cough, slight fever, and a headache. During reading time, she decided to take her mask off to read to her students. Although the students were wearing masks, 80% of the students sitting in the first two rows, those closest to the teacher while she was reading, later tested positive for COVID-19. Four siblings of these infected students also came down with COVID. Four parents of children who tested positive from this one classroom episode, also came down with COVID, and only one parent was unvaccinated. Six students tested positive for COVID after a sleepover that was hosted by one of the students from the original class. None of the students were eligible for vaccine because they were younger than 12 years old. Of the 26 elementary students who caught COVID from this one unvaccinated teacher removing her mask to read a story, 18 of the students were tested and found to have the Delta variant.
For more on this story, read: Coronavirus is Raging Through the Schools. We Must Have Mask and Vaccine Mandates to Protect the Children.9-8-21
Why can’t we care what happens to someone else? Should we only think about ourselves—not our neighbor? Many of the unvaccinated claim to be Christians. Whatever happened to “love your neighbor as you love yourself?” The opposite of love is not hate. It has been pointed out that the opposite of love is selfishness:
“So what is the opposite of love, if it’s not hate? The truth is, the opposite of love is selfishness which is seen far more often than hatred. Love results in giving, so its opposite is selfishness – the absence of giving.
“Hate is created by something that affects the things we love.”
We need to find a way to heal our nation. Instead of selling hate, we need to encourage compassion, concern for others, helping your neighbor, caring for children—all children, not just your own. We need peace and love.