I wrote this rambling reply to a Cruisers Forum conversation surrounding the Gov’t’s ability to communicate facts. Then I decided not to post it. But it has some thoughts worth preserving so…

[QUOTE=Mike OReilly;3401382]Yes … see even I’m doing a piss-poor job here, and I’m a science writer :redface:.

If your choice is binary: mRNA vs viral vector, it makes perfect sense to go with the one that has slightly less risk, and slightly more efficacy. But none of these choices are binary. There are multiple factors, including availability AND most importantly getting any vaccine sooner rather than later.

The risk of contracting Covid-19 far outweigh the risk of getting a weird blood clot; by something like 10,000 fold. But an honest scientist will tell you the risk is greater with AZ and Jansen than with Pfizer or Moderna, so in some hypothetical situation where you can reduce your risk of contracting the disease to near-zero, it makes sense to hold out for the lower-risk vaccine.

But this all requires an ability to rationally assess risk, and that is something few people know how to do.

It reminds me of the first time I went to see a lawyer. I wanted to know if I could start a business without doing anything other than opening a bank account. An hour of risk assessment, fear mongering and over-explaining worst-case scenarios he wrapped up up with a simple “yes, but you will be personally liable.” Since all I wanted to do was graphic design under a company name it seemed a bit hysterical. I now realize that all that liability he was talking about applied to him as well. If he didn’t do his damnedest to scare the bejesus out of me he would have been “shirking” his responsibilities.

It is really hurting my brain to listen to all the people who b*tch about governments lying and withholding information or just plain being wrong. Do I think this whole thing has been a case-study in communication f*ck-ups? Yes. But the thing most people think the gov’t is there to do isn’t accurate (at least outside the US…they have a weird origin story…). They aren’t primarily responsible for telling us the truth etc.—they are responsible for the common weal. And if anyone has been a parent you know that doesn’t always involve “truth” or “justice.” We can argue about that if you want, but I just want my government to do what needs to be done—I really couldn’t give a damn if they have to mislead me in order to get the rest of the population to line up and toe the line. Up to a point.