Mark S. Abate MD
Today you cannot watch the news or read the newspaper without hearing about yet another COVID- 19 vaccine mandate. These mandates now affect health care workers at all levels, teachers and students as young as five years of age, in both public and private schools, policemen and firefighters, most government employees, airline workers, air traffic controllers, professional athletes and the list goes on and on.
Some of the mandates have no exceptions while others may allow a medical exemption, religious exemption or a testing option. But in all cases, the mandates amount to a true quid pro quo – a form of coercion. The person must accept a medical treatment, receive one of the three available COVID-19 vaccines by a certain date, or be terminated from their employment. These mandates have caused untold emotional and financial stress on millions of our fellow Americans.
The development of the COVID-19 vaccines has been a monumental scientific achievement. New technologies involving messenger RNA and adenoviral vectors were used. These vaccines were all approved for emergency use in people in record time. It is for that reason, however, that we have little long-term safety and efficacy data. There are a number of valid reasons why an individual may choose not to receive a COVID-19 injection.
First, in the development of each of these vaccines, fetal tissue was used in the testing, development, and/or manufacturing to varying degrees. Due to deeply held religious beliefs, many Americans find receiving any of these vaccines unacceptable and their beliefs should be respected. Some of these COVID-19 mandates do not allow for any religious exemptions, and in other cases the government is making it difficult for them to be granted by the employer.
Secondly, receiving any vaccination is the acceptance of a medical treatment. All treatments in medicine involve the careful evaluation of the risk/benefit ratio for that particular individual. For these new COVID-19 vaccines the risk/ benefit ratio is not the same for every person. We should not have a one size fits all injection mandate policy.
Informed consent is normally required for any medical treatment. This involves a balanced presentation of relevant medical data regarding risks and benefits of the treatment, a decision made by the patient, in consultation with their physician, and occurring in the absence of any coercion. Because these vaccines were developed in record time and made available for use in people in December of 2020, we have no long-term data on safety and efficacy. However, we are currently seeing an increasing number of toxicities and adverse events, including deaths, as reported on the VAERS ( Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) website, which is very concerning. As well, we are seeing a decline in the vaccine efficacy, especially since the Delta variant has become the dominant strain, as evidenced by both increasing numbers of documented breakthrough COVID-19 cases occurring in fully vaccinated persons, as well as the potential need for a booster injections, due to declining immunity. For all these reasons the decision to receive a COVID-19 injection is not black and white and should be individualized for each person.
Finally, “We The People” need to remind our elected legislators and leaders in Sacramento and Washington, as well as our local representatives about the principles and freedoms upon which our country was founded.
All men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are endowed by our Creator and are not granted to us by governments as they see fit.
Governments are instituted among men to secure and protect these basic rights, not to take them away. The government has no intrinsic powers. It’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed.
During this pandemic our government has been exercising emergency powers. Although emergency powers are allowed under some circumstances, they should be used judiciously, restrict freedoms as little as absolutely necessary, and remain in place for the shortest time possible. With the recent onslaught of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, we are seeing many examples of government overreach. These vaccine mandates are dangerous, divisive and have become discriminatory against the unvaccinated – those choosing not to get the injection. Their basic freedoms and economic livelihood are being threatened.
Whether you have chosen to be vaccinated voluntarily, have done so under coercion, or have chosen not to receive the injection, as Americans who value freedom we should ALL be concerned. It is dangerous to us ALL when any group of Americans has their freedoms and livelihood stripped away by the government.
A famous piece written by a German Pastor – Martin Niemoller about the horrors of Nazi Germany, reads as follows:
First they came for the communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the socialists and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Forced COVID-19 vaccine mandates have gone too far. Every American and who values individual freedom and liberty must speak out and resist in their own way. Our system allows for peaceful protest, and can provide relief through the courts when laws are unconstitutional and individuals are harmed. We can also, over time, make corrections through the ballot box.
Thank you for being willing to consider my personal perspectives on this current and consequential issue.