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Conspiracy Theories – Between a Well-Known Pharmacist and My Grandmother

Conspiracy Theories – Between a Well-Known Pharmacist and My Grandmother

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, January 22

Although there are nearly seventy years between what my grandmother told my father about vaccinations, and what was stated by a well-known pharmacist in a clip that spread on Kuwaiti WhatsApp groups, the idea, content and logic of both messages are the same. Despite the immense scientific and medical progress our world has experienced, it seems as if some habits die hard. I still recall the time when the government announced its plan to vaccinate all school children against polio. The following week, almost all schools in Kuwait were empty of students. A large percentage of parents were afraid to send their children to school for the fear that the “authorities” would forcibly vaccinate them – and thus diminish their fertility or stunt their development. I specifically remember the argument that broke out between my father, a proponent of vaccinations, and my grandmother, who warned us against taking the shot. As a mischievous child, I sided with my grandmother, hoping to use the vaccination as an excuse to stay at home and avoid school. Meanwhile, last week, a well-known pharmacist released a video urging the public to avoid the COVID-19 vaccination, suggesting that it has secret adverse effects on those receiving it. According to the video, the vaccine was not thoroughly and scientifically tested and was rolled out in a hasty manner to quell public pressure. Granted, the pharmacist’s tirade was utter nonsense based on conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated rumors. But this didn’t stop the spread of the dangerous video. Actions like that of the pharmacists, alongside other vaccination skeptics, are a crime against modernity, science and logic. These people are an insult to human progress and a shame to all of us. Think of the scientist who developed the vaccine, the test participants who took part in the clinical trials, the nurses who administer the shots to patients. All of these people have risked their lives in order to protect hundreds of thousands of others – including this notorious pharmacist. There is no way to end this phenomenon but to name and shame those who spread conspiracy theories. Ultimately, they are the ones who should be held liable for the preventable death of thousands of people who foolishly followed their message and believed their lies. Are we really willing to let our friends and loved ones die because of the foolish actions of others? – Ahmed Al-Sarraf (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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