This Travel Blogger Makes Huge Mistake Refusing To Get Vaccinated

Brian Cohen writes The Gate travel blog and has declared that he will not get vaccinated against Covid-19. I want to take his arguments seriously, because vaccine hesitancy – while continuing to decline – remains one of the major barriers to ending the pandemic.

Cohen says he doesn’t need a vaccine, and doesn’t want to virtue signal by getting one. And he has concerns. He says he is “not completely convinced that it is effective” because “we [do not] know what side effects may result in the short term and long term.”

Ultimately he says “no vaccine is guaranteed to be 100 percent effective for 100 percent of the people — and the side effects can potentially be significant.”

The ways in which this is wrong are manifold.

  1. These vaccines are highly effective not just in trial data but in real world data. When we talk about effectiveness like ‘95%’ (phase 3 trial for Pfizer-BioNTech) that’s just against symptoms, the vaccines are even more effective against severe disease, hospitalization, and death – the things we care about. Pfizer reports 97% effectiveness in Israel.

  2. These vaccines protect other people, not just yourself Pfizer reports 94% effectiveness against asymptomatic cases (so the possibility that someone is a silent carrier who spreads the virus). The CDC found that Pfizer and Moderna together were 90% effective against asymptomatic infection.

    The case fatality rate for those diagnosed with Covid-19 who are over 80 years old is around 15%. Since vaccines reduce the chance you’ll spread the virus, getting vaccinated keeps you from killing grandma.

    You might say but older people should get vaccinated to be protected but vaccines are also less effective in those taking certain drugs for other medical conditions. And this is a travel blogger writing, remember that vaccine availability is much greater in the U.S. than elsewhere, 80 year olds in much of the world haven’t had a chance to get vaccinated yet.

  3. Contra Brian, we do know the short-term side effects. For the mRNA vaccines there’s about a 1 in 100,000 risk of anaphylaxis, due to allergy to the lipid nanoparticles used to deliver the mRNA. And since that’s a known risk, vaccinated patients don’t leave immediately after getting their shot and those providing doses have medicine on hand to counteract the effects.

    The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site, but some people experience headache, fatigue, and chills – especially for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines after the second shot (unless they’ve already had Covid-19 then more frequently after the first shot). These generally resolve themselves within 24-48 hours.

  4. Risks of vaccines have to be compared to risks of Covid-19. Even rare blood clotting which has been attributed to the AstraZeneca vaccines – which isn’t approved for use in the U.S. but is approved in over 70 countries – is treatable and overall worth the risk given the effectiveness against Covid-19, especially against hospitalization and death.

    Already almost one in 500 Americans has died of Covid-19, and we’re not done. And death isn’t the only bad outcome, being hospitalized is miserable, and so is having a terrible version of the flu for two weeks. While there are ‘risks’ associated with vaccines, there are greater risks associated with that which the vaccines protect against.

  5. Getting vaccinated reduces the risk of mutations. Covid-19, like all viruses, mutates within human hosts. The more potential hosts, the more possible mutation opportunities. If you don’t get vaccinated you’re more likely to contract the virus, and allow it to mutate in ways that could become more transmissible, lead to more severe disease, and potentially escape vaccines. Do you really want to risk moral culpability on par with the guy who first ate that bat? (I know, I know, it likely wasn’t direct bat to human transmission.)

  6. Brian sets an impossible standard. We haven’t followed test subjects for 20 years so by definition we cannot say based on empirical evidence what happens 20 years post-vaccination. But we do understand the science of the vaccines – viral vector vaccines deliver the spike protein, mRNA vaccines tell the body to create it – the body fights these off and then it disappears.

    Moreover we have evidence of safety from over 600 million vaccine doses administered worldwide. There’s never been a vaccination campaign this closely watched in human history. Trial subjects were scrutinized to an incredible degree, did you know that one of Moderna’s phase 3 trial participants was struck by lightning and that incident had to be dismissed as not being the result of vaccination?

Brian writes that he’s gotten other vaccines, even ones that aren’t 100% protective, and against risks that are far more remote than contracting severe Covid. He says he doesn’t like virtue signaling but seems to be doing just that, against getting vaccinated for what’s a very real risk right now. That’s disappointing.

Thank goodness we’ve had access to these vaccines. Getting to shots in arms less than a year since human-to-human transmission of the virus was first identified is akin to the first moon landing. We all owe bioscience a huge debt of thanks. And Pfizer is now even prepared to file for full FDA approval, which is great because that will take off the table the misleading talking point of the anti-vaxxers that the vaccines ‘aren’t fully approved’.,

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What is your favorite part of the experimental covid gene therapy ‘vaccine’?

    – That you still need to wear a mask?
    – That you still need to social distance?
    – That you can still get covid?
    – That you can still die from covid?
    – That the drug wasn’t tested on unhealthy people, and thus, received high efficacy rates?
    – That you’ve taken an experimental drug that hasn’t been tested on animals?
    – That your health insurance is VOID in some countries if you take the vaccine?
    – That some businesses are BANNING people who have been vaxxed because of unknown health effects that their public liability insurance policy won’t cover you being in their store?
    – That you have no idea of long term health complications from taking it?
    – That you get free Krispy Kreme?

    You can both be pro-vax, and anti-covid-vax.
    Covid vax is NOT the same as other vaccines.

  2. Nice rebuttal Gary

    Brian isn’t an idiot. He just made a foolish post. He’s also a free rider. There’s a risk with all vaccines. For COVID-19 (and most other diseases) that risk is much smaller than that of the disease. That’s why we don’t vaccinate for small pox anymore. Society collectively benefits from each individual that is vaccinated. Brian wants the rest of us to take the risk while he enjoys the benefit. I would like that too. Unfortunately, it’s not a sustainable strategy.

    Don’t be selfish. If your doctor clears you to take the shot, take the shot.

  3. @whocares: Step away from the pipe!

    Everyone else: Who are you going to believe, all of the best doctors and medical scientists in the world, or a few wing-nuts on the internet?

  4. Thank you for this. Brian’s article all derived from him claiming to be pro-vaxx because even though he doesn’t want the covid vaccine, he got a yellow fever vaccine (which of course he later admitted was required to travel). I called him out on this fallacy and he dug himself into a hole he can’t escape from. His logic is so warped, it’s astonishing. Again, I’m sure if/when the vaccine will be required for travel, he will change his tune.

    Most, if not all of the readers on BordingArea, follow these blogs because they love to travel. The covid vaccine is perhaps the only way we can have can travel truly return to normal. This “industry” should be promoting any safe and logical way to make that happen. If Brian can’t promote the science, then readers should ignore him and save our clicks for other bloggers.

    Much respect for you Gary.

  5. Vaccines do not need to be administered to 100% of the population to prevent pandemics. Hopefully only a small minority will choose otherwise. They should have the right.

  6. Simple fact is if no one got vaccinated hundreds of thousands more would die, if everyone got vaccinated hundreds of thousands of lives would be saved. Not rocket science, just common sense. The people who think they have special knowledge about the vaccine that they learned on the Internet are simply disregarding the common good for their own self centered perspective and their desire for a conspiracy theory to give their lives some meaning.

  7. Excellent post. I got my second Moderna shot about 10 days ago and I am stoked.

    I do, however, disagree with the concept of not reading somebody because we disagree on an issue (or issues). Part of the problem with the world today is so many people only read, watch, and listen to what they agree with, I feel it’s better to see both sides, and then hopefully know which is best. Granted this requires more thinking, and less enjoyment of the preaching to the choir.

    Only listening to those you agree with leads to the sharp polarization we have today. Many people can’t debate an issue without resorting to personal attacks (stupid, moron, imbecile, etc.). I watch CNN and Fox, and see both are biased and cheery-pick what they’ll feed the audience, Sometimes it’s like the two blind men trying to describe an elephant, when one was holding the tail and the other the trunk.

  8. That’s an unfair take Gary. What even being it up.

    Cohen recognizes the risk of taking a vaccine are greater than the risk of Covid. Covid has a 99.999% survival rate. It has been purposely exaggerated by the media/academia/institutions/the government for political and ideological purposes. It’s used as a pretext to curb civil liberties and fundamental freedoms. The various vaccines have a lot of reported side effects and numerous people have died after getting the vaccines. Of course the institutionalist and globalist medical community downplays the risker the vaccine. When government/academia/the media/globalists want the public to do something, it’s probably better to do the opposite.

  9. @Jackson Waterson – check your math. The claim that “Covid has a 99.999% survival rate” is 100% false.

    – There have been 554,000 Covid deaths in the U.S.
    – If every single American had already had Covid-19 it would be a 99.8% survival rate. Of course not everyone has already had it.

    Your number is literally impossible. And as I wrote in the post, ~ 15% of diagnosed 80+ patients die of this. Younger people who are less likely to die *spread it* to those 80+ year olds.

    “numerous people have died after getting the vaccines” and numerous people have had their dishwashers break after getting the vaccines, that doesn’t mean the dishwashers are the cause, cite your sources on deaths *from* the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines that are approved for use in the United States?

  10. Very soon most of us will conclude that we have been willing to put up with some restrictions for a time because some haven’t had the chance to get vaccinated yet, but we are not willing to put up with restrictions to protect those who make the poor decision not to get vaccinated when they could have been. Either there will need to be a vaccine passport system whereby vaccinated people can participate in all normal activities while the unvaccinated are barred from some things; or restrictions will need to end entirely Those who keep dying will be those who chose to put themselves at that risk; and any health care professionals who remain at risk will be those who chose to be.

    At the international level, it is certain that many countries will require proof of vaccination for admittance, and of course those who don’t have it will be free not to go.

  11. Wow… who knew that so many sitting in the same plane that I may be on are raving morons.

  12. Great post and thank you for taking a stance. I just got my second dose and, to be honest, am really hoping that the vaccine passports comes sooner rather than later. I don’t want to fly on planes with people like Brian and would be glad to know that everyone in that metal tube has already been vaccinated

  13. Great article, Gary. A couple things I would add:

    The outcomes from COVID-19 are not just you die or you don’t die. We shouldn’t just look at the fatality rate, many people are suffering from “long COVID” and this is a drain on society.

    As for the timing of how quickly the vaccines reached EUA: The main reason that vaccine trials have historically taken much longer is the population attack rate of natural infection is much slower for other diseases. Because we are in the middle of a raging pandemic, it is much easier to measure and calculate the statistical difference between the vaccine and placebo groups in the trial. It only took a few months for high case numbers to appear in the placebo group and low case numbers to appear in the vaccine group to prove the statistical efficacy of the vaccines.

    As for long term side effects, at this point hundreds of millions of people have gotten vaccines, the longest time being about a year. There is no precedent in the history of immunology for a vaccine side effect suddenly appearing that long after immunization. (ADE not a concern here, the antibodies are doing their job zapping the virus!)

  14. Spot on Gary, but we’d all be better off ignoring rather than feeding this indignant and dangerous nonsense. Brian’s blog seems to be mostly ignored, I rarely see any engagement with his posts, likely because he doesn’t bring any relevant news or analysis to the table. That’s not meant as a personal attack, I normally just ignore his posts as a Boarding Area follower, but I’m guessing his controversial stance has brought him significantly more attention than he’s ever received, or deserved based on the content he writes. Now you have a prominent blogger with a significantly larger following amplifying his selfishness and directing more people to him. I’d rather ostracize people like this than shine a light on them.

  15. I can’t wait for the anti-vaxxer covidiots to be banned from traveling. Not having to have an annoying-as-Ted Cruz travel blogger like Cohen posting pics of specs of dust on a lie-flat seat he freeloaded and a close up of warm nuts while complaining of something entirely trivial while 550,000 dead American bodies pile up will be a nice respite from a year of misery. I look forward to the covidiots isolating themselves into oblivion. They are the most selfish, anti-science, foolish, ridiculous people on earth. It will make Americans be able to restore our badly damaged reputation abroad when only vaccinated science-believing logical people are allowed to travel. And I won’t associate with any of the anti-vaxxer pro-death crowd or allow any of them anywhere near me. Enjoy your caves, troglodytes! You’ve earned a spot in history among the dumbest! Way to go. Concierge Key Idiot Level Unlocked!

  16. Brian will change his tune as soon as the Penis Museum requires him to be vaccinated to enter. How will he be able to go on without making his return visit??

  17. The only upside of all this is maybe by not getting it he catches it and then we don’t have to read his blog for a while! And yes he is an idiot!

  18. @Heidi The vast majority of those saying they are waiting for the vaccine, or some other similar statement when I ask them what vaccines have they taken its crickets. Many if not all have not taken a flu shot. They are anti-vaxxers for anything. Your other comments way off base. For example, those who took JNJ in the studies none were hospitalized after getting Covid. If you want 100% absolutes of anything with medicine or vaccines -illogical thinking.

  19. The CDC reports that there have been more than 2100 COVID VAX deaths associated with vaccination. This makes the vaccine more deadly than the placebo in the Pfizer study. QED.

  20. One good thing about the Liberal mindset is if those with vaccine passports are ok to fly then those with IDs are ok to vote.

  21. It’s not mandatory. And even if it becomes so, the ways around mandatory things when you have enough money is laughable. And until then, I’ll keep going to Mexico and Costa Rica every few weeks since they are wide open.

  22. The fact remains that it’s experimental. You are talking out of your a44 again, Gary.
    What are the possible effects after 4 years? Answer: Don’t know.
    I respect everyone’s right to get it or not get it. But don’t shame someone for not wanting to get it (there are credible reasons).
    And no – you don’t “kill” grandma if you don’t take it. In fact my Aunt died after she was GIVEN the vaccine. So blow it out of your a44, Gary, you suck a44 you.

  23. Bruce. do you understand that’s what people calling lying?
    The CDC has actually said about 2500 people have died since receiving the vaccine and do not see any correlation between the deaths and the vaccine…….people do die and the vaccine doesn’t prevent death from everything, just Covid.

  24. @Plinkerton Plank “The fact remains that it’s experimental.” this is simply false.

    @Bruce also 100% false, people who have gotten the vaccine have died, people who have gotten the vaccine have had their dishwashers break, and people who have gotten the vaccine have had some delicious meals but the vaccine didn’t enhance their taste buds (except by preventing Covid which can affect sense of taste).

  25. Well done, Gary!

    I have e-mailed your posts on this issue to my friends on both sides of the political spectrum and they are in agreement with you — and myself.

    It is totally stupid not to get a vaccine — even the Astra Zeneca one, although that in not available in the USA (although the blood clotting risk is miniscule compared to the complications that could arise from Covid).

    Mask adherence after vaccination is another thing.

    Although I can eat in restaurants with more assurance that I won’t contract Covid, I’m just not ready yet to do so — that is a personal choice, as is, whether I will always strictly adhere to always wearing a mask for however length of time I may be outdoors.

    Indoors and where required, I will still do so, if not for myself, then for others who are still fearful of contracting this disease.

  26. I think brian is just trying to stir up controversy. After all his blog is so successful that I had never heard of it. I am already convinced he is dumb though.

  27. Somebody above claims that the CDC reports 2500 deaths after receiving the vaccine. This is true. However, the entire paragraph reads as follows:

    “Over 145 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through March 29, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 2,509 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports. A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths. CDC and FDA will continue to investigate reports of adverse events, including deaths, reported to VAERS.”

  28. Speaking as someone who has had Covid, and is still dealing with long haul neurological symptoms, and who got vaccinated, I WILL say that Brian Cohen is a dumb ass.
    The politicization of the Covid situation is one of the more irrational moments in American history.
    I got the vaccine after suffering through Covid to both protect both myself and others, be they Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Trumpies, QAnon creatures, whoever.
    It’s a virus, not a political statement. And Cohen IS “virtue signaling” in the negative.

  29. Gary, for someone who explicitly speaks out against virtue signaling, you’re laying it on pretty thick. Who are you to decide what risks are and aren’t acceptable to someone else? Get off the soapbox, eagerly await your place in the largest experimental drug trial in the history of mankind, and give others the dignity to decide for themselves without shaming them.

  30. Time to realize the hoax. How many were told that radiation didn’t affect you if you wore your goggles, and protected yourself from the blast during nuclear testing? Most of those service members died of radiation poisoning. How many were told Agent Orange did no harm? Thousands of vets come down with cancer and die each year. How many were used for syph experiments and not told the truth? Same with coke. You take the jab. BTW, it’s not a vaccine. Any animal trials?

  31. @Ben it’s not just about risks to the individual, it’s the risk that they spread it to others.

    But if someone who opts not to get vaccinated wants to 100% isolate themselves so they can’t spread the virus and kill other people [until everyone has had the chance to get vaccinated], and wants to sign away any obligation of others to treat them if they get sick, then ok pass on vaccines.

  32. I suggest that the next time he gets a headache, to call a piano tuner, instead of seeing an MD !
    What an idiot !!!

    (5 generations of MDs in the family, and counting…)


    So the CDC sees zero correlation between 2500 deaths of recently-vaccinated individuals within 3.5 months yet insists that everyone who dies with coronavirus in their system died from Covid?! And this is reasonable science?!

    Of course, some post-vaccine deaths are not directly caused by the vaccine *AND* some people who die with Covid did not die from Covid. But no one can reasonably say no deaths were related to the vaccine *and* all deaths are related to Covid. Cause and effect works both ways – not just when it suits.

    The point remains that when, how, why, and if anyone chooses to get a vaccine is up to them. No one should welcome an angry mob deciding their health decisions – that should be terrifying for everyone.

  34. @ Gary Leff

    We endanger the lives of everyone around us all the time… through ailment and behavior. That is part of living and dying.

  35. @Gary – Where did my comment go? I saw it after posting and there was nothing worth dropping it for. It just said people should be capable of listening to different views without then resorting to personal attacks (the comments – not you). Too many people only take in content they agree with and it has led to the polarization that exists today.

  36. I don’t understand the rationale of the anti-axxers. Do they think that if we do nothing that Covid will just magically disappear? That sounds like something Trump said a year ago. Time to give their head a shake.

  37. @Gary Leff look @ those mice can’t catch the C19 like humans. They could run the tests on only standard mice because the other type had no been bred. Suspending rights and ethical conduct should not be done. Folks have a short memory. Nuremberg Trials pointed out humans do NOT get mandatory injections for experiments. Does “My body, my choice.” ring a bell? How about answering the questions on Agent Orange and Nuclear testing. You were fast on the first one… As for me even the State and County Health Dept couldn’t answer my questions about C19. I’m over 70 and had C19 .It will be a real cold day if I’m forced to take the jab. One question- Where are the studies on the antibodies of those 1200 or so C19 infected sailors from the U.S.S. ROOSEVELT last April?. A. prime opportunity.

  38. @Sarah…………So you want the FREEDOM to continue spreading the virus? I don’t hear any solutions from you.

  39. Sarah where is the threat to ‘freedom of speech’ (government censorship) I note your comment appears here without editing.

    The vaccines are not ‘gene therapy’ though they do not alter your genes

    Viral vector vaccines deliver the spike protein attached to a harnless virus your body learns to recognize and fight that protein that is part of SARS-CoV-2.

    The mRNA vaccines work differently. Pfizer and Moderna fall into this category. Let’s review how they work. DNA creates RNA and RNA makes protein. The vaccines deliver an RNA instruction to your body to make protein – the spike protein of the virus. Your body makes that protein, fights it off (it is not the rest of the virus). Then the rna instruction and spike protein you create are gone.

    There is no ‘editing of genes’ involved. That is just false..

  40. Heidi and Brian and several others here are the only ones reading the REAL SCIENCE! Gary you need to get together with dan from dans deals, as you both are travel specialists, but you have been propagandized by the media, the technocrats, the deep state, the drug companies making billions. Why is there such censorship if they are so sure their gene therapy works and is safe? Why is it called a vaccine anyway, when it is a gene therapy. Please read their application for emergency use authorization. And this is ONLY part of the issue. The real issue is defending out FREEDOM. Maintain8ng free speech. Not having our bodies be used as tests for down the road, if not sooner, when other problems may be created. Read Robert f. Kennedy Jr. and his children’s defense league. Read These and m ay others are dedicated people who promote health and well being and are among others being chastised. Very disappointed you people don’t believe in freedom.

  41. @Gary – Jackson Waterson is a known white supremacist (in addition to being an outright liar, as you note). I get you don’t want to ban people, but the combination of racism + endless misinformation doesn’t exactly add much to the dialogue.

  42. It is beyond foolish to criticize someone for not wanting to get a Covid vaccination. First of all, young people should definitely NOT be vaccinated at this point. Did you know that fewer than 1,000 Americans under 25 have died “with” — and not “from” — Covid? This includes some gunshot victims, by the way. Fewer than 2 percent of the (very few) deaths of young Americans have been from Covid — far fewer than even (traditionally) from flu. Just because everyone is hysterical and is being fed misinformation is not a reason to get a vaccine.

    Especially when the vaccine is still experimental. I think it very unlikely that the vaccine will turn out to be “dangerous,” but it certainly could. History is filled with examples of medicines that turned out to kill people. If you don’t think that couldn’t happen now, you probably think that mask wearing has been highly effective in “stopping” Covid. Meanwhile, I know many young people who have been vaccinated and have had bad side effects. My own cousin was bedridden for 4 days after being vaxed — worse than a typical reaction to GETTING Covid at that age.
    As you get older, the risks from Covid get greater. I personally think the risk/reward becomes favorable to being vaccinated at about age 45. But that’s a personal decision. I would never say someone is foolish for making a different choice. In general, we all need to stop criticizing people for making choices different from our own, especially when the facts are far less clear than the conventional wisdom suggests.

  43. @chopsticks –

    first, it is highly misleading to call these vaccines “experimental” – no corners have been cut in testing, there was substantial trial data on their safety and efficacy, and now we have tremendous real world data as well.

    second, there’s pretty much no scientific theory that tells a story around how vaccines – given over 600 million times, and with some people followed as long as a year – “turn[..] out to kill people.” what’s the scientific process by which this could happen?

    third, actually getting covid varies in its severity for young people, death is highly highly unlikely, though it can be a miserable experience and in rare cases with prolonged effects. but that’s rather beside the point. the vaccines are highly effective at stopping spread, which means a young person can be around others without making them sick.

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