In the fight against corona, are we at the mercy of “a handful of psychopaths” and a “greedy elite” who want to vaccinate our children? Flemish health economist Lieven Annemans caused a stir on Twitter last week with this verbal firebomb.

Annemans, affiliated with Ghent University, shared a folder on that medium who questioned vaccination of young children because the ‘benefits are minimal’ and the ‘risks are maximal’. He called the information “advisable” for “all parents and grandparents of young children.” It is striking, because Annemans is not only professor of health economics (and happiness research), but also chair of the Social Recovery Committee that advises the Flemish government on corona policy.

A storm of criticism arose. Ghent University distanced himself van Annemans tweet, but said not to take any steps against the professor. Some experts denounced Anneman’s attitude and felt that the economist had gone far beyond his field of expertise. The well-known virologist Marc Van Ranst promptly posted on Twitter: an article from The Scientific American This shows that the risks of corona for children are much greater than those of vaccination. Annemans finds that study too limited.

Lieven Annemans
Photo ANP

Annemans also threw oil on the fire adding: “As long as policies are co-driven by a handful of narcissistic sociopaths who form a coalition with a greedy elite, while others watch out of cowardice and ignorance, it’s hard to survive.” Annemans then offered for the tweet about being sociopaths apologies to “if I have hurt people”. He underlined that “a lot of wonderful people” are participating in the policy.

That heated political diagnosis also went too far for direct colleagues of Annemans. A fellow member of the Recovery Committee, also an economist, said to The standard about Annemans that he did not know him that way. “I don’t know myself like that,” he admitted to the Flemish newspaper. So one should ask, “why does someone so affable and peace-loving make such sharp statements.”

Annemans, 58, has been critiquing the corona policy for some time on alternative stages. Last year the ‘happiness professor’ was awarded the Peace Prize of the right-liberal think tank Libera!. He praised his opposition to the one-sided virological corona policy that would unnecessarily create a “culture of fear”. Annemans was in the Netherlands recently guest at the YouTube channel The New World, which pays a lot of attention to corona policy. There he made an “urgent appeal not to vaccinate children”, the channel summarizes the conversation concisely.

Opinions also differ in the Netherlands about the need for children’s vaccination, although virologists emphasize that the risks of vaccination for children are many times smaller than those of a corona infection. Vaccinating healthy children carries more risks than benefits, he insists. More than 77 percent of the Belgian population has received at least one dose; among children aged 12-15 this is more than 76 percent.

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