I HAVE an ocean of sympathy for anti-vaxxers – the people who say they will refuse to have the Covid-19 vaccine when it comes around. We know health authorities can bungle massively in the drugs they prescribe. Some of us remember the thalidomide scandal, when a drug seen as  a breakthrough treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women wreaked terrible damage on the embryo.  Big Pharma is concerned for you, not because they love you but because they can make money out of you.  Who knows what will be the long-term consequences of taking the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine? The answer is nobody, because long-term means years into the future.
 
But if you’re going to be an anti-vaxxer, you should be consistent. When you take a paracetamol tablet, do you know what is in it? Do you know how it works in  your body? Probably not. But you take it just the same, you inconsistent ninny.
 
 And if you break a leg or an arm, do you say “No, guys, back off, I’m not having X-rays done on my shattered limb, it could make me radioactive” ? And if, God forbid, you were to contract the Covid-19 virus, would you declare “Leave me here,  if I’m carted to hospital they’ll put a mask over my face and a tube down my throat and pump me full of animal DNA”?
 
 To be clear: Mother Nature has a role to play in our health. Maybe you remember when reporters first brought news of workers in Japanese factories and how at the start of the day, they would line up and engage in twenty minutes of vigorous exercise, before peeling off to their assembly line or desk. How we laughed! Imagine –grown adults doing physical jerks. Now, however, we realise that exercise doesn’t just tone up your body, it enhances your happiness: you feel better after doing it than you did before you did it. In addition, exercise addresses what should be a key part of any health system: preventative medicine.
 
If you stay reasonably fit, you’re less susceptible to a whole range of horrible diseases. 
 The problem is, medical science has progressed at such a pace, we’re all in danger of bewilderment and suspicion. When I had my appendix removed in 1957, the nurse would occasionally take my temperature by telling me to open my mouth, the doctor would put  his stethoscope on my chest and back and tell me to take deep breaths. Nowadays, you see hospital patients hooked up to devices of all kinds which feed 24-hour information to the medical people about your heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and other matters I couldn’t even pronounce.
 
 Back in the 1950s also, the clever hand of the surgeon did the job of slicing skin and removing the offending organ or matter. Nowadays, the surgeon’s skill is married to robotics, allowing for surgical work that far surpasses the surgeon’s skills in precision and treatment. And the idea of sending a camera into your guts (yes, Virginia, from either end) is so commonplace, it’s hardly worth remarking on. And MRI scans are as common as pillows. We no longer marvel that, using MRI scans, doctors can see inside our joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, as well as measuring how our brains are built and how they function.
 Most of us put our faith in this amazing technology and  the people treating us. Granted, it can take an effort to pass control of our fate into the hands of others – ask anybody who has fear of flying about that. But the alternative is, if you’re to be consistent, that should you pass out or find your body won’t do what you tell it, you wave away medical assistance and declare “I’ll fight this myself.”  Dumb and dumber.
 
 Will I take the vaccine when and if they offer it to me? Christy Moore was asked the same question and he replied “In both arms and using all three vaccines, thanks very much.”  Me too, Christy.