Europe's vaccine lunacy

Why on Earth have so many European governments decided to give the virus a greater lease on life?

A vaccine.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

There's a famous puzzler in popular moral philosophy known as the trolley problem. A runaway trolley is barreling down a street, aimed straight at a group of five innocent pedestrians. If nothing stops the trolley, the pedestrians will be struck and killed. You can save them, but only by pulling a lever that will divert the trolley down another street — and that street also features an innocent pedestrian. So the only way you can save the five innocent people is via an action that will definitely kill another innocent person. Is it morally right to do so?

I'm thinking about this philosophical abstraction because much of Europe is in the process of executing a new and perverse variant thereof. Starting with Denmark, and now including the three largest EU members — Germany, France, and Italy — country after country have decided to stop using the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine because of safety concerns, even as a new wave of infections begins to build across the continent. In so doing, they're diverting the trolley away from a street that may be completely empty, and onto a path that is packed with pedestrians, many of whom have still not recovered from the impact of previous trolleys.

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