This is an open letter to Liz Willner, the subject of media attention last week when it was revealed that she was running a site that actively spread anti-vaccination misinformation.
I, like many others, have read both the Vice and Exedra articles about your website OpenVAERS. I feel compelled to write because of how strongly I feel about the issue of misinformation around vaccines. Based on the accounts I have read, due diligence is not being done on your site to ensure that the context and all relevant data are there as it relates to vaccine injuries. It does seem that the information is being posted in a biased way, through the lens of one who does not trust that vaccines are developed for the betterment of our health and safety.
It is not irrational to equate some harms with vaccines — adverse effects are rare but they can happen. It doesn’t negate the fact that the vaccines are keeping most people healthy. For example, have you watched the documentaries on the polio vaccine? You are not old enough to have lived through that, but I am. Polio was rampant, and the only thing that stopped it, and, frankly, spared me and millions of other children from the lifelong negative effects of that disease, was the vaccine.
And now we have COVID killing hundreds of thousands of people, and, again, just like in the days of polio, we have just one weapon in our arsenal — the vaccine. However, as I’m sure you know, the only way we can really get beyond COVID and back to life as we (now vaguely) remember it, is to get a large majority of people vaccinated. I’m sure you’ve read about the number of people getting ill from the delta variant, and the fact that a vast majority are them are unvaccinated. Those who are vaccinated may be contracting a “breakthrough” case, but are typically not hospitalized anywhere near the rate of the unvaccinated.
We all want to get back to our normal lives, but convincing people not to get vaccinated is not the answer. To steadfastly refuse to recognize the vaccine for the benefits it offers is not a reasonable stance in my view. We know the benefits far outweigh the risks.
I am assuming that you and your family are not vaccinated. I am also assuming that you and your family so far have not gotten COVID. I would like to remind you that you should be thanking the practically 87% of eligible Piedmont residents who have been vaccinated for helping to keep you and your family healthy.
I wish you the best and hope you stop what you are doing and get yourself and your family vaccinated.