The debate over covid vaccinations is reaching a head.
The vaccination requirement was announced by the Biden administration. Businesses with more over 100 workers will be obliged to show that all staff have been properly vaccinated or are wearing masks and being tested on a weekly basis. Texas has already challenged the requirement's constitutional foundation, and the mandate was first barred by a federal court order. The case's eventual conclusion in court remains unknown.
The mandate's scientific foundation is questionable. The vaccination is said to be both effective and safe. If this claim were accurate, there would be no need for compulsion because everyone would take the vaccination on their own volition. Furthermore, those who receive the vaccination have nothing to fear from others who have not been vaccinated. Everyone who received the vaccination would be protected if it succeeded. The vaccination, of course, does not work for everyone. Due to the fact that the vaccine does not work for everyone, it is up to the individual to decide if the risk of immunization is worth the benefit. The vaccination is not safe, despite what is promoted on a regular basis. There is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database of adverse effects. There were 2,725,582 adverse events reported in 634,609 adverse event reports as of November 7, 2021, with 8,284 deaths, 9,726 life-threatening events, 9,580 permanent disabilities, 363 congenital anomalies or birth defects, 38,818 hospitalizations, 79,615 ER visits, and 121,100 doctor's office visits attributed to the covid vaccines. These are solely the dangers that we are aware of at this time. Nobody knows what the long-term consequences will be in one, five, or 10 years.
Because the dangers are unknown at this time, the risk against benefit evaluation is totally subjective. Even if the total risk was limited to what is currently known, the risk versus benefit calculation would remain subjective because death from covid and death from blood clots and other known covid vaccine complications are not directly comparable, and individual fear of one type of death is not equal to fear of all other types of death. Furthermore, given to the substantial differential in risk against age, the advantages to society of an individual covid immunization are not always the same for the person accepting the risk of the vaccination. While it may be noble to voluntarily accept a risk to benefit someone else, it is immoral to coerce someone to accept a risk to benefit someone else.
How effective are the vaccines? Claims of effectiveness are based on selective use of data that do not represent a true cross section of the population. I have previously shown the benefit of an increasing vaccination rate to be very small in the US.
Source: Data for the fifty US states and the District of Columbia. Each data point represents a state or DC. Vaccination rates are from usafacts.org. Covid deaths are from Worldometer. Data are from August 25, 2021. (bigger)
Figure 1 shows efficacy for the total population of the United States. The slope of the regression line may be used to calculate the number of people that need to be vaccinated in order to prevent a single fatality. As of August 25, 2021, it takes approximately 2,500 vaccines in the United States to avert a single fatality. The data for the developed world are worse. The slope of the regression line for a plot of new cases versus percentage of the population vaccinated is positive for the eighty countries with the highest per capita GDP—increasing vaccination rate increases the number of new covid cases.
The Biden mandate, as structured, does not make any scientific sense. The goal of the mandate is to ensure a safe working environment. However, there is no scientific evidence that covid vaccines prevent the transmission of the virus or decrease the viral load in infected persons. A fully vaccinated worker can transmit covid to coworkers, so any testing requirements for safe work environment reasons should equally apply to all workers irrespective of vaccination status. At this time, the only scientific argument in favor of vaccination is that one may be less likely to be hospitalized or die from covid following vaccination, but that has nothing to do with work environment safety. There is no scientific basis for extending the mandate to enterprises with one hundred or more employees. As stated above, it takes over twenty-five hundred vaccinations to prevent a single death. The mandate cannot be justified for enterprises with fewer than about five thousand workers.
The only way we will be able to make informed decisions about vaccination in the future is by monitoring adverse events. A vaccine mandate, if effective, would eliminate the control population, making it impossible to determine whether adverse events are due to the vaccine. There is no scientific justification for eliminating the control group, but perhaps this is a “feature rather than a bug,” to shield pharmaceutical companies from future liability. Mandating a 100 percent compliance rate for an experimental vaccine with completely unknown long-term consequences is hubris on an unprecedented scale. The Biden mandate could be the CDC’s attempt to win the next Darwin Award and unwittingly solve the Fermi Paradox.
What effect would a 100% vaccination rate have on the virus? The infection will not vanish, despite assertions to the contrary. Within a year, the second outbreak would come, with 100 percent breakthrough cases caused by a vaccine-resistant strain. Then we'd need yet another vaccination requirement, and then another, and so on.
There is a presumption that a vaccine mandate will even increase the number of vaccinations. Just as proponents of lockdowns failed to predict the adverse consequences of lockdowns, the proponents of vaccine mandates have failed to predict what will actually take place. My predictions about lockdowns were pretty spot on. It will take some time to resolve the court challenges against vaccine mandates. The outcomes of these challenges are uncertain. If the courts fail to protect individual autonomy, I predict four possible outcomes for society.
The least harmful outcome would be for black markets to emerge enabling those who decline vaccination to pretend that they have been vaccinated. Possible black markets include fake vaccine certificates. The fakes could include counterfeit documents, healthcare workers selling legitimate certificates, or healthcare workers issuing a legitimate certificate after jabbing someone with saline. There will likely emerge a robust market for medical exemptions. Given that everyone has reason to fear myocarditis or adverse events from blood clots, any person has a legitimate reason to obtain a medical exemption from a licensed practitioner. The only question is whether practitioners will serve the legitimate health concerns of their patients or serve as shills for the Biden administration.
Individual states refusing to enforce the rules would be the next least detrimental option if illicit markets are not permitted. In my native state of Texas, I am optimistic about this scenario. Texas' governor and attorney general's recent moves have given me cause to be positive. People who cannot live with the unvaccinated would relocate to places where requirements are implemented, while those who refuse vaccines would migrate to states where mandates are not enforced. It's possible that this will continue calm, but it's also possible that it won't.
I believe proponents of mandates underestimate the level of conviction held by people who refuse to take the covid vaccinations. Where individuals are not allowed to stay unvaccinated, the next least dangerous situation is that some people would quit their employment rather than be vaccinated. I anticipate that at least 10% of physicians and 20% of nurses will refuse to be vaccinated and will instead quit their jobs. In certain healthcare markets, this is already having negative consequences. This conclusion appears to be especially dangerous for the emergency medical services (EMS) system. Southwest Airlines recently had disruption of service due to a “sickout” protest of the vaccine mandate. Similar events in hospitals could precipitate a catastrophic collapse of the US healthcare system. Be careful what you wish for.
The worst-case scenario is outright civil war. This is too horrible to contemplate, but this possibility is real. President Biden said his patience is wearing thin. That works both ways. Things are getting tense in Australia. It could happen here, too.