Censorship and COVID-19

My recent article on booster shots was censored by a prominent Medium publication.

Riad Kherdeen

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Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

I recently published an article titled “COVID-19 Booster Shots: Boosting Immunity or Boosting Profits?” The article, however, was rejected by one of the publications that I often publish in because the editor who reviewed my article felt the need to “err on the side of caution and reject it as this article could impede vaccination efforts and violate Medium guidelines.” This editor must have mistook my article which questioned the Biden administration’s strategy to offer booster shots to the general public and the massive profits that the pharmaceutical industry would make from boosters as anti-vax propaganda.

In the article, I clearly stated that “vaccines are undoubtedly the best tools we have to protect ourselves from COVID-19 and manage the pandemic.” I myself am vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the formal name of novel coronavirus which causes the disease known as COVID-19), and have encouraged others to also get vaccinated.

I am, however, skeptical about the claim that everyone who is already fully vaccinated should get a booster shot six or eight months after their last shot. The data on the efficacy of booster shots for the general public is far from conclusive, and the outside advisory committee that is convened to advise the FDA on vaccines just voted against making booster shots widely available. (The margin was not even close: 16 against, 2 for.) Many other physicians and researchers have also voiced their reluctance.

So why did this editor really refuse to publish my article? I have nothing to gain, personally, from the article being published in that particular publication. But it is frustrating that the large audience of the publication will not be exposed to these questions. Again, there is nothing fringe or conspiratorial about what I wrote; the majority of experts are aligned with what I said about the data on the efficacy of boosters and about boosters not being very beneficial to the general population. (For those in high risk groups, such as the elderly and people with immunodeficiencies, boosters should certainly be made available, as the FDA just voted in favor of.)

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Riad Kherdeen

PhD Candidate at UC Berkeley. Your source for original, critical, thought-provoking content about art, history, culture, and politics.