Trust of vaccines focus of SACPA talk

·3 min read

During the COVID pandemic, concerned individuals debated the topic of vaccinations, increasing the division on individuals’ perspectives. Could this division be linked to the lack of trust people have within the medical healthcare system?

A local philosophy professor has raised the current issue of trust.

The history of vaccinations and their resistance of them was the topic of discussion at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) on Thursday at noon. Guest speaker Bryson Brown, a philosophy professor, expressed the lack of trust which has shifted peoples’ perspectives.

“Trust, of course, is a very big issue here. I suspect most of us here, if not all of us, have enough trust in the medical system to actually get a vaccine that's recommended by our doctors and by other significant medical figures. With that said, we've seen a lot of resistance and a lot of complaints, some of them from someone we can all think of quite readily right now,” said Brown.

The topics he discussed were the history of vaccinations, the history of resistance to vaccinations, evolution, trust, and the emergence of biological and biochemical knowledge, which formed new tools in shaping vaccines in progression. He shared his speculation on the resistance to vaccinations and the caution which he believes triggers individuals.

“There are other people out there who feel that way, who want to spread some misinformation about it; you can justify that feeling of yours by saying, ‘oh, these vaccines aren't any good,’ or there's no good reason to trust them anyway. And then you can feel comfortable because you're uncomfortable with getting the vaccine.”

During the open question-and-answer portion, a spectator, Klaus Jericho thanked Brown for his presentation, and Jericho was the first to bring up the question of freedom.

“You didn't mention this word freedom. Say something about freedom of vaccination,” said Jericho.

Brown replied with, “I'm tempted to say freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.” The audience laughed and applauded with his comment.

“There are all kinds of tangles around the word freedom, and because it seems ideological. It's about how you feel about things. I'm much more concerned about my freedom to say things in front of the microphone that I believe and provide arguments and argue back and forth over those things that that to me, that's freedom.”

Brown is currently a professor and chair in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge. He has co-authored and co-edited six volumes of scholarly papers. He noted his inspiration for wanting to speak on the specific topic of vaccinations and the increase in resistance.

“I wanted to take this on partly because I, like a lot of us, have been very concerned by the kind of ill-informed resistance to vaccination that we have seen over the last couple of years since the vaccine was first developed for COVID.”

Steffanie Costigan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald