‘How to make Covid-19 vaccine at home’ being a top online search is a worrying development
If the real-world consequences of this were not so worrying, “how to make corona-vaccine at home” being a top search trend on Google would probably have been fodder for amusement. People have used the time-gains from increased productivity from work-from-home and from forced lockdowns because of Covid-19 to hone their DIY (do it yourself) skills, but this takes DIY to absurd limits. Beyond the absurdity lies a more troubling truth. With the communication on vaccine strategy so muddled, and almost every prominent vaccine candidate coming under some or the other cloud, the trust of the masses in vaccines is perhaps dangerously eroded.
Some of the communication failure, of course, is because Covid-19 has no precedent; governments didn’t have templates for pandemic communication ready, either. Vaccine development has been accelerated beyond what could have ever been imagined because the world needs a pharmacological response to the pandemic. But, if people are really trying to make vaccines at home—bear in mind, people have ‘Googled’ all sorts of information and built garage nuclear ‘reactors’—the portents are ominous.
A haste to clear vaccines has meant subversion of norms and led people to question the process of clearance. It hasn’t helped that governments have tried to obfuscate with terms like ‘clinical trial mode’. Indeed, in India, some doctors have come on record that they won’t receive a particular vaccine. While the government needs to do more to quell concerns, it also needs to win people’s confidence if vaccinations are to be successful. Unless science informs decisions and is not edged out by symbolism, such searches won’t be a ‘fringe occurrence’; worryingly, moonshine ‘vaccines’ could become a cottage industry.