«And like that … he’s gone.»
Verbal in «The Usual Suspects»
Apparently, Covid regulations are going down. Some universities have no restrictions anymore for the coming summer semester (yeah!). Apparently, because we will see how that will turn out. Some universities aren’t especially known for their consistency, sorry, they react quickly to changing circumstances. Would be great if it were scientific circumstances, but in many instances, it seems to me to be more likely political circumstances.
In one university hygiene regulation, I read the assertion «Who wears a mask protects himself and others well against infection.» with the name of a politician as a source. So we have science quoting politics as evidence when it comes to the efficacy of health measures. I mean, that sentence epitomes what I think of the Covid policies of many universities — many followed not the science, but politics. And yeah, that’s where a lot of the money comes from. But if that is what a university does, and if employed scientists have to accept that kind of behavior, then these universities at least owe it to the public to state this clearly to the public. Otherwise, the naive public (and somewhat idealistic but no longer naive scientists) falsely think that universities check political measures and criticize them if needed. The public rightly takes a lack of criticism as support for the political positions. And if universities can no longer fulfill that critical function, to check politics (and others) on how well supported assertions are, for which the public finances them (politicians «only» distribute the tax money, at least, as employees of the public that is what they should do), then that failure of function should be known.
In this sense the pandemic posed the question in which direction universities want to go. Uncritical followers (or even mouthpieces) of political positions, or a trusty — especially because criticism of those in power is a costly signal — critically thinking organ of society that is not bound by political money or ideology.
Personally, I am not that optimistic how that choice will turn out, especially considering that vaccinations are mandatory for (students of) many health professions in Germany now. If you want to study medicine at some (all?) universities in Germany, you have to be vaccinated against Covid. And yeah, some vaccinations do make sense, especially if the vaccine is well established and its risks are known (and even in these cases it should be voluntary). But the Covid vaccinations are not typical vaccines. Heck, most are not even vaccines in the classical definition. And they do not work well, if at all. Not surprisingly, considering a fast mutating RNA virus. They weren’t even tested right and big pharma’s data release policy, the documents themselves, or their attempt to remove any control group (mandatory vaccinations) speaks for itself.
In this sense, the coming generation of doctors and nurses will be filtered by adherence to a questionable so-called vaccine. After all, it’s not solely a public commitment (everyone knows they did get vaccinated), it’s also a medical/biological one. You cannot undo a vaccination. That is very hard to criticize later (although it is possible, especially if you think that you were fooled, just talk to any ex-hard-core-religion atheist, or heck, just take tattoo regret). But yeah, those students who do not trust it and judge their bodily autonomy higher than a career in medicine will study something else. They have the grades for it. We will be left with future generations of medicine professionals who are — on the whole — way closer to big pharma. And within such a small group, even a small shift in attitudes carries a big effect.
I mean, damn, sometimes I wonder whether even the CEOs of the pharmaceutical companies could have imagined the windfall of the last two years. Huge profits is one thing, lack of accountability another, but not only did they turn from (for good reasons) least-trusted “big pharma” to (a highly questionable) “big savior”, they also removed critics from their target audience. That’s just priceless.
Well, at least for them, it’s the public who will have to pay the price.