Should AstraZeneca Vaccine Be Paused?

Millions of people in dozens of countries have received the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine with few reports of ill effects, and its prior testing in tens of thousands of people found it to be safe.

But recently, blood clots and abnormal bleeding in a small number of vaccine recipients in European countries have cast doubt on its safety, although no causative link has been found between the patients’ conditions and the vaccine. The reports have prompted more than a dozen countries to either partly or fully suspend the vaccine’s use while the cases are investigated. Most of the nations said they were doing so as a precaution until leading health agencies could review the cases.

This is from Denise Grady and Rebecca Robbins, “Should You Be Concerned About Blood Clots, Bleeding and the AZ-Vaccine?,” New York Times, March 15, 2021.

The countries that have paused include Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, and Iceland.

This makes no sense, but it is, unfortunately, not so unusual for governments to substitute their own risk assessments for those of their sheep citizens.

There’s such an obvious solution: have the governments of those countries warn people that there might be blood clots, tell them the data, and leave them free to choose. I guarantee that millions of Europeans would be willing to take the small risk of blood clots and go ahead and get vaccinated.

Oh and, by the way, my solution applies to the United States, whose government is even worse: the Food and Drug Administration has not yet allowed people to take the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Economist Thomas Sowell is famous for saying “There are no solutions. There are only tradeoffs.” I don’t agree. I’ve just given a solution, one that lets people make their own tradeoffs.

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