Vaccine Mandates are Unethical

Vaccine Mandates are Unethical BY Jayanta Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff for BrownStone Institute

COVID vaccines have become the touchpoint of a significant social battle, with unvaccinated Americans – mostly working-class people and minorities – forced out of work and to the edge of society by vaccine mandates. Given what we have learned about the epidemiological effects of the vaccines over the past year, the mandates have no scientific justification.

The evidence to date shows conclusively that the covid vaccines – even six months after full vaccination – protect well against severe covid disease, including hospitalization and death. Despite this fact, surprisingly, four lines of scientific evidence imply that not everyone needs to be vaccinated.

First, as for most other viruses, those who have recovered from covid have natural immunity. We now know that it is stronger and longer lasting than vaccine-induced immunity. In a study from Israel, the vaccinated were 27 times more likely to get symptomatic covid than those with natural immunity. This fact does not mean that it is better to get infected than getting the vaccine, but it does mean that the covid recovered are already well protected. They may get some additional protection from the vaccine, but since their risk is already very small any additional risk reduction is also small.

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Second, while anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in Covid mortality between the oldest and the youngest. For children, the risks are lower than from the annual influenza. During the first Covid wave in the spring of 2020, Sweden was the only major Western country to keep daycare and schools open for all its 1.8 million children ages 1 to 15. Without masks, social distancing, testing, or vaccines, there were precisely zero Covid deaths among the children, while the teachers had a lower risk than the average of other professions.

Third, as with any drug or vaccine, there are some risks with the covid vaccine, including myocarditis in children and young adults.It typically takes a couple of years until we have a clear picture of the safety of a new drug or vaccine.  For children, the mortality risk from covid is minuscule, so even a small risk from the vaccine can tip the balance in an unfavorable direction. The same is true for the covid recovered.

Fourth, unlike the polio and measles vaccines, the covid vaccines do not stop the transmission of infection. They are excellent at reducing the risk of severe disease and death, but their ability to prevent infection wanes after a few months. Therefore, even if you are vaccinated, you will eventually be infected.

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