Thursday, January 20

The gift that science gave us



We ask for immediate certainties, but science produces valid results because it admits to being refuted and is self-correcting. You do not have the same information about the virus and its effects now that you had in March, and this has been key to reducing mortality. A few weeks ago, a French doctor encouraged vaccination in an open letter in Release: “Scientific medicine may not be the best way to practice it, but it is the one that society and our ancestors have chosen, it is the one taught in medical schools and the one practiced in Europe and the West. It does not allow to cure all diseases, it is not perfect, but it is our benchmark. Please get vaccinated. ” We must assume – and there is a lack of pedagogy – that science does not have immediate answers, that it does not understand partisan interests and that it is incompatible with the required social immediacy. If a vaccine has been reached in 10 months it has been, among other factors, because there were many research groups working for a long time, sometimes in precarious conditions and with cuts that have occurred in the last 10 years! that has no comparison with any other activity. “Doubts remain, problems will arise and new obstacles will emerge to overcome, but humanity as a whole -thousands of millions of people- will benefit from the fruits of a collective scientific enterprise without parallel”, thus concludes his article “Why the vaccine of covid-19 is the greatest scientific feat in history ”in The Conversation, Juan Ignacio Pérez Iglesia, Professor of Physiology at the University of the Basque Country. Many people ask me: What about the vaccine? I have no doubt, I will wear the one that touches me when it touches me, aware that it can produce effects on my body, but nothing compared to the effects that COVID19 can produce and aware, above all, of the risk that the world population represents exposed to this virus. With all the imperfections and uncertainties, we should remember that thanks to science there is no smallpox and we are about to eradicate hepatitis or measles. Thanks to science there is no plague and hardly any leprosy. Thanks to science, many cancers can be cured and AIDS, which took so many lives, is today a chronic disease, despite its seriousness.

Politicians have to pitch in, and citizens too. Politics should measure up to scientific prowess and, in my opinion, it faces two challenges. On the one hand, the mass vaccination process is showing that the logistical difficulties involved require as much or more effort than the scientist. All the EU countries and all the Autonomous Communities are showing uneven application and showing signs of some delay. For this reason, all the Presidents, councilors and health advisers of the communities should maximize collaboration with the Ministry of Health, to be more effective in the face of the enormous logistical challenge that we face, so that as soon as possible and in the best conditions most of the Spanish population vaccinated. It is the only way out and the most urgent that we have as a country and as a society. That is the policy that people expect and demand; that is the leadership that should be exercised. There will be time to fight elections, because if we do not fight the virus there will be no resources, not even for ballot boxes. Today more than ever it is necessary to put Science at the center of the political agenda by increasing its investment – the general budgets for 2021 have increased it by 60% -, and keep the scientific community as a central figure in political advice and decision-making. decision making. Not generating false expectations, listening and understanding the concerns of the scientific community and greater transparency in the data would be some of the conditions to be fulfilled in order to be able to demand from citizens the commitment to collaboration and the essential discipline in a public health issue that requires a collective response. We will have to convince our environment to help maintain levels of confidence in scientific advances, so that the vaccine is seen as a gesture of responsibility and solidarity. We are facing an extremely serious situation, people die every day and we have to measure up. They have given us a gift, now it’s time to open it.


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