Let’s get the first objection off the table immediately. I’m not anti-vax. COVID vaccines cut down on likelihood of death in at-risk individuals; the data is clear on this.
However, we should all be wary of mandates which claim to make workplaces safe by requiring all employees of any age to take a vaccine which does not prevent breakthrough infection or transmission.
The narrative fueling the mandate frenzy is the unsubstantiated notion that we are suffering a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Hidden in that phrase are two glaring omissions and the failure to disclose those realities is often responsible for politically charged rifts between many family members and is unnecessarily exacerbating political polarization throughout the country.
When those omissions are examined and included in the discussion, it becomes clear that if we remove the unvaccinated (who have not had the natural infection) from the equation, the pandemic still has plenty of momentum thanks to a vaccine that is inadequate to stop infection and transmission. Based on the preponderance of the data, it appears likely that those with natural immunity may be doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to herd immunity.
First, the term unvaccinated does not differentiate between those who chose to remain unvaccinated after recovering from COVID infection vs those whose immune systems remain naïve to the virus. This is a critical distinction given the robust and durable immunity which follows in those who recover from natural infection.
Second, based on well documented case studies we know that m-RNA vaccines cannot reliably stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Based on the cases cited below, spread can occur rapidly after exposure and viral load is high even among vaccinated individuals.
“In July 2021, following multiple large public events in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 469 COVID-19 cases were identified among Massachusetts residents who had traveled to the town during July 3–17; 346 (74%) occurred in fully vaccinated persons.”
A study summarized in The Defender, raises questions about legitimacy of vaccine-induced herd immunity. A COVID outbreak spread rapidly among hospital staff at an Israeli Medical Center in a population with a 96.2% vaccination rate. 238 vaccinated and 10 unvaccinated individuals were exposed. 42 cases were diagnosed. 38 of 42, or 90%, were fully vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. One case had received one dose of vaccine and three (3) were unvaccinated.
Vaccinated staff, who accounted for 19 of the 42 cases (45%) recovered quickly. Five (5) of 42 or 12% died. Two of the unvaccinated cases that were tracked had mild disease.
The paper noted several transmissions likely occurred between two individuals both wearing surgical masks, and in one instance using full PPE, including N-95 mask, face shield, gown and gloves.
The authors concluded:
“This communication … challenges the assumption that high universal vaccination rates will lead to herd immunity and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks … In the outbreak described here, 96.2% of the exposed population was vaccinated. Infection advanced rapidly (many cases became symptomatic within 2 days of exposure), and viral load was high.”
In Norway, 90 percent of adults 18 years or older have received their first dose and 83 percent are fully vaccinated. In a bold, yet statistically valid move, the public health officials in Norway have reclassified SARS-CoV-2 as a respiratory virus with similar risk as seasonal Flu. This is based mainly on the observation that most of the at-risk population is now protected on the basis of natural immunity and vaccine-derived immunity. And new cases tend to be in lower risk groups that are not a burden on the healthcare system and at low risk of death. And the majority of the very ill tend to be in a high risk group regardless of their vaccination status. And breakthrough cases in previously vaccinated high-risk groups are not getting as sick, even though they make up a significant percentage of COVID hospitalizations.
This from a study by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health:
“40 percent of those who needed to be admitted for care in Norway during the past week have, for example, been fully vaccinated but have then an overwhelming majority belonged to risk groups. Around 5 percent have been partially vaccinated and around 55 percent of those admitted have not been vaccinated at all.”
Consider the Delaware County (Ohio) experience. Delaware county has one of the highest vaccination rates of any county in the U.S. and the highest in Ohio with upwards of 80% of eligible persons fully vaccinated. Despite this, they recently failed on 4 out of 5 score card metrics for COVID which meant they were in the red zone. Red Zone for cases per 100K, red zone for positivity rate of tested samples, red zone for ICU capacity, red zone for cases per 100K in schools. The only score card metric that was a passing grade was the vaccination rate!
For the three-month period ending July 31, 2021, Delaware county Health District published data for its fully vaccinated residents. The fully vaccinated accounted for 21% of all cases from May through July, 41% of hospitalizations and 20% of all deaths.
The purpose of a mandate is NOT to protect people from themselves or their choices. If we did so, we would have zero tolerance smoking bans for all citizens all the time and require everyone to maintain a healthy body weight and exercise regularly and so on.
The justification of a vaccine mandate, in the eyes of mandate advocates, is to protect at-risk individuals from contracting the infection from people acting as vectors who “refuse” to be vaccinated. This, of course, would require a vaccine that prevents transmission – which is not true of our current vaccines. And it is an admission that the vaccine is ineffective at preventing infection.
So, the obvious question arises: under the terms of a vaccine mandate, how do we account for vectors who are vaccinated? A mandate would unjustifiably declare every vaccinated person to be safe by definition, yet the data indicates that a significant percentage will experience breakthrough infections. That same mandate will simultaneously marginalize those with superior natural immunity who are less likely to become re-infected compared to their vaccine-only cohorts and who are unlikely to benefit from vaccination. That goes beyond simply allowing discrimination to occur, a vaccine mandate ensures discrimination and unequal treatment by design.
If the proposed mandate cannot guarantee that the individual vaccine recipients are protected against breakthrough infection or hospitalization or death, nor prevent the spread of the infection to at-risk people (vaccinated or not), then the mandate is based on a false premise. The predicate for the mandate is that it will create a safe workplace or safe healthcare setting; this is simply not true based on the evidence cited in this article. And if the COVID-19 vaccine cannot guarantee a safe workplace or a safe hospital environment, then its entire premise is flawed and any justification for its implementation evaporates simultaneously.
Some argue that vaccination, though far from an infection-preventive vaccine, cuts down some on chance of infection thus decreases the overall viral transmission. While this argument has statistical credibility on a population level basis, a mandate applies to individuals. Specifically, a mandate is punitive against those individuals who have recovered from COVID19 and who have superior immunity compared to what the vaccine can provide. And since we can’t predict which individuals will fall victim to a breakthrough infection, basing a mandate on a vaccine which doesn’t protect well against infection is like requiring a body cavity search prior to boarding a plane, but not inspecting the carry-on bag.
Therefore, we must stand against mandates and/or legislation which alleges the erroneous claim that m-RNA COVID vaccines can create safe workplaces or provide herd immunity in highly vaccinated populations when these same vaccines do not prevent breakthrough infections or transmission.