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This Is Israeli COVID Anti-vaxxers’ Most Crooked, Toxic Claim

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Israel’s summer-long struggle against the virulent delta version of COVID has strained tempers and resources, and cost approximately 1,000 lives in the past six weeks alone. Like some other Western countries, one of Israel’s chief obstacles in the fight against COVID is citizens who decline to be vaccinated.

The portion of holdouts is estimated at 12 to 17 percent of those eligible (over 12 years old).

The Israeli unvaccinated hail from a variety of social communities and, as such, their reasons for abstaining vary. Polls show that fear of side effects (or "fear the vaccine will damage health") is the top reason, while others found that many unvaccinated believe recovered patients have sufficient immunity – among the factors driving lower rates within the Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities, who were hard-hit by the disease.

But it is the subset who have become anti-vaxxer missionaries and their arguments, now familiar worldwide, that drives the social debate to polarization, rage or naked nastiness. Oddly, some of them may well be vaccinated themselves. Yet this group has developed a tangled web of arguments to oppose all existing and future evidence about vaccine safety and effectiveness, and spread them all around.

The themes include skepticism about the severity of COVID individually and socially, conspiracy to suppress vaccine side effects or ineffectiveness, delegitimization of medical and public health leaders, corporate conflicts of interest.

This group places profound weight on obscure social media sources, while dismissing peer-reviewed published research studies especially when reported in irreparably discredited "mainstream media."

One vaccine skeptic summarized the argument to me succinctly: politicians, pharmaceutical companies and the media have squandered public........

© Haaretz

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