A problem-solving process known as the scientific method is something taught early almost everywhere and learned by most, but it is a lesson that apparently has begun to fade among some government officials.
To wit: Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor stood before the world this week and cited his personal concerns about the science that led to the development of COVID-19 vaccines as his motivation for challenging mandates. The lawyer deemed "not qualified by the American Bar Association to serve as a federal judge" said he thinks "the science really isn’t clear on this COVID vaccine."
O'Connor offered no evidence of his assertion, only unattributed statements about the supposed effectiveness of "natural immunity." Staffers later said he was referencing an Israeli study, which got a lot of hits on an Instagram post that failed to mention another finding in that study: Recipients of a single dose of Pfizer vaccine enjoyed even greater levels of immunity against the delta variant.
Two physicians with more medical knowledge than O'Connor rebutted the apparent science denier. They noted the science used to develop COVID-19 vaccines is the same that has been used to develop other vaccines.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford said the technology used for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been in development for several years. Operation Warp Speed, authorized by former President Donald Trump, authorized federal resources that allowed researchers to test the vaccines to ensure the production of vaccines safe for emergency use during a global pandemic.
Considering that 82% of all COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Oklahoma now involve those who are unvaccinated seems to be evidence of vaccines that work. About 473 million doses of COVID-19 have been administered and closely monitored in the United States, and adverse reactions continue to be rare.
Dr. Mary Clarke, a Stillwater family medicine specialist and president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said it is natural for people to learn and grow as new information and data become available. But for government officials to question the credibility of science and medical professionals without any evidence to the contrary "is a gross disservice to the public."
Science denial, or truth decay, is not a new phenomenon, but the novel coronavirus appears to be exacerbating it. But that can be stopped by returning to basics and applying the scientific method to the obviously false claims that breed corruption and threaten democracy.