Photo: Steven Senne/AP

Feeling confused about Pfizer’s announcement about vaccine efficacy against Omicron?

December 8, 2021

~ 8 minutes read

What actions should we take based on this new data?

To the left…

  • Everyone should get a booster to ensure you have full protection.

To the right…

  • Big Pharma companies like Pfizer often push products that are excessive in order to increase profits — we shouldn’t blindly trust their studies.
  • The results have not been peer reviewed, and the study was conducted in a lab setting, not in human patients.
Does omicron pose a threat?

To the left…

  • Omicron is spreading fast, even among the vaccinated, which means more hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Even if it’s mild, a variant that can evade vaccines can mutate again to become more deadly.

To the right…

  • Omicron might be spreading faster, but the symptoms are milder and the risk of death is much lower.
  • People in power are refusing to accept that Omicron is not a big threat — they don’t want to acknowledge this good news because stoking fear keeps them in power.
What are the risks associated with vaccines and boosters?

To the left…

  • The risk of adverse side effects to the vaccine is small and much less of a risk than the effects of a COVID-19 infection.
  • Everyone should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

To the right…

  • For some, the risk of adverse reactions to vaccines is larger than the risk posed by any variant of COVID-19.
  • Individuals should consider their specific circumstances to decide the best way to protect themselves and others.
The Narrative

There is very little risk in getting a booster shot, so even if omicron is mild, everyone should make sure they are as protected as possible. The more people who get vaccinated and get their booster, the less likely it is that another variant will emerge.

Even though the risk of adverse side effects is small, the risk of mild variants like omicron is even smaller for a lot of healthy people. Until we get more reliable data, we shouldn’t blindly accept Pfizer’s recommendation when they stand to profit from it.

What actions should we take based on this new data?

To the left…

  • Everyone should get a booster to ensure you have full protection.

To the right…

  • Big Pharma companies like Pfizer often push products that are excessive in order to increase profits — we shouldn’t blindly trust their studies.
  • The results have not been peer reviewed, and the study was conducted in a lab setting, not in human patients.
Does omicron pose a threat?

To the left…

  • Omicron is spreading fast, even among the vaccinated, which means more hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Even if it’s mild, a variant that can evade vaccines can mutate again to become more deadly.

To the right…

  • Omicron might be spreading faster, but the symptoms are milder and the risk of death is much lower.
  • People in power are refusing to accept that Omicron is not a big threat — they don’t want to acknowledge this good news because stoking fear keeps them in power.
What are the risks associated with vaccines and boosters?

To the left…

  • The risk of adverse side effects to the vaccine is small and much less of a risk than the effects of a COVID-19 infection.
  • Everyone should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

To the right…

  • For some, the risk of adverse reactions to vaccines is larger than the risk posed by any variant of COVID-19.
  • Individuals should consider their specific circumstances to decide the best way to protect themselves and others.
The Narrative

To the left, there is very little risk in getting a booster shot, so even if omicron is mild, everyone should make sure they are as protected as possible. The more people who get vaccinated and get their booster, the less likely it is that another variant will emerge.

To the right, even though the risk of adverse side effects is small, the risk of mild variants like omicron is even smaller for a lot of healthy people. Until we get more reliable data, we shouldn’t blindly accept Pfizer’s recommendation when they stand to profit from it.

We’ve all come across news about studies that we don’t trust — perhaps, as with Pfizer’s study, because of who funded or conducted it, or maybe because the results just don’t feel correct given our prior experiences. Similarly, we’ve all come across news about study results that instinctively feel right. 

This intuition is developed through experience, and is useful for sorting through the massive amounts of information we come across each day — from recognizing a grumbling stomach as a sign we should eat lunch (and not, for example, a sign that there’s an alien moving around inside our body), to deciding which news source is most likely to get the story right on Pfizer’s study results.

When our intuition tells us a new study is trustworthy, it’s results resonate and become fact in our minds; but when our intuition tells us not to trust it, we are less likely to incorporate their findings into our worldview. 

As we can see from the information each side is focusing on in this story, there’s good reason to lean either way. It’s up to us as individuals to be aware of how our intuition is guiding us, and whether we actually agree with that subconscious snap decision.

Notable Amplifiers

What do you think? Do you agree with one side, or do you fall somewhere in between? Give us feedback on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, or by emailing info@narrativesproject.com.