In May 2020, the New York State Bar Association issued an 83-page report calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all Americans; the only exception, the association said, would be doctor-ordered medical reasons. The association — one of the nation’s largest state bar groups — joins a growing number of organizations, government leaders and corporations voicing support for mandating the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available. Even large entertainment companies like Ticketmaster have announced plans to require patrons to show proof of vaccination before they’re permitted to attend music, sporting and other events.
However, there is a growing divide among Americans over whether they’ll get a COVID-19 vaccine. In the latest poll from the Pew Research Center, which surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. adults in September, about half of respondents (51%) said they would definitely or probably get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today. When Pew conducted the same poll months prior, 72% said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine when it became available. The share who would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine now stands at 21%, half of what it was in the spring. The sharp decline comes amidst widespread concerns over aspects of the vaccine development process, concern about side effects and uncertainty over safety.
Despite positive headlines about the success of some COVID-19 trials, there are numerous issues with bringing the vaccine to market at warp speed. Most notably, vaccine manufacturers cannot ensure the long-term safety of any COVID vaccine since the products have only had months of clinical observation. First-generation pharmaceutical products are also notorious for unintended side effects such as birth defects found with the drug thalidomide or antibody dependent enhancement seen with the dengue vaccine. This is a phenomenon where subjects who receive a vaccine for a virus become significantly more ill when they’re exposed to that virus in the wild. (In other words, rather than the vaccine offering protection, the vaccine actually causes them to get extremely sick or die.)
During standard clinical trials of any new vaccine, scientists are required to first test the vaccine on animals to determine its safety and effectiveness. Only after surviving repeated tests in animal models can a candidate vaccine be tested in human trials. However, in a race to bring a coronavirus vaccine to market, some coronavirus vaccines under development have completely bypassed animal trials, and others overlapped tests instead of doing them sequentially. Biomedical ethicists and others in the scientific community say such shortcuts eliminate important safety measures.
Additionally, two of the COVID-19 vaccine frontrunners utilize mRNA technology, yet mRNA vaccines are clinically unproven. No mRNA products have ever been approved for commercial use, and there is much that is not understood about the technology, including how it might affect your DNA and what the side effects will be over the long-term.
Under current U.S. Supreme Court law, in order to mandate a medical intervention there must be an epidemic that imperils the entire population. According to the CDC’s own data, most people have more than a 97 percent chance of surviving COVID-19. In fact, for people under the age of 70, the survivability rate after infection ranges from 99.5 percent to 99.9 percent. Moreover, the COVID-19 vaccine is not supposed to prevent transmission; it’s merely supposed to lessen symptoms. Given the above — and the fact that there are a variety of preventative measures for coronavirus as well as treatments that have been successfully used by healthcare clinicians around the world — there is no basis upon which to require the vaccine.
Vaccination is one approach to dealing with a virus such as COVID-19. It is not the only approach. It’s up to each individual to decide how to care for their body based on their own judgment and unique physiology. Individuals should not be asked to cast aside their own convictions (be it personal, ethical or religious) to follow the advice of public health officials whose policies are shaped and influenced by the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry.
It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical industry stands to make unprecedented profit from vaccines for COVID-19, which has created an entirely new investment pipeline with a captured market. That market —which is supported by taxpayer dollars through Operation Warp Speed — stands to increase exponentially if the COVID-19 vaccine is made mandatory.
It is unethical and immoral to mandate an experimental vaccine that has known safety concerns and for which there is no liability (due to the PREP Act of 2005). Requiring individuals to get the vaccine in order to work, attend school, participate in their community, travel or enjoy other privileges is subjecting them to a medical intervention through coercion, which violates their informed consent. Such subjugations also violate individuals’ basic human rights, constitutional rights and religious rights.
As the financial stakes get higher and public pressure mounts for individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine, what will you do when you are asked or told to get the vaccine? What if you have concerns? What if getting the vaccine violates your religious convictions or goes against your morals or better judgment? What if you or your child is at risk for an adverse reaction? What if you’re not at risk for COVID? Or what if you just feel like saying no?
New Jerseyans must stand up for their basic human rights NOW! Every individual has the right to informed consent and to decline a medical intervention! Tell Governor Murphy and your local lawmakers that medical mandates don’t belong in a free society. Click below to send a pre-drafted (and customizable) email and tweet urging your officials to support A5096, a bill to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary. Let them know that personal choice, not public pressure or coercion, must be the only factor in getting the vaccine.