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Zakaria: We’re Spending So Much Time Thinking About Risk When We Should be Considering the Reward



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The pandemic has brought out the crazy in all of us. We’ve all been selective about the science we take seriously and the stuff we disregard. We’ve often been more moved by vivid anecdotes than scholarly studies.

But I really start to worry when even the experts seem irrational. Consider the decision from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to recommend pausing distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six cases of severe blood clots were reported in the United States (now nine). Nearly 7 million Americans had already safely received the vaccine. That’s a 0.0001 percent chance of a blood clot.

The pause is helping to fuel many people’s fears about vaccine safety, perpetuating conspiracy theories and wasting precious time at a moment when the crucial imperative is to get people vaccinated.

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