Why do people think the coronavirus vaccine should be an exception to mandated vaccinations?

August 6, 2021 • 9:15 am

On the news last night, and almost every night, one can see irate parents objecting to their children having to be vaccinated for school (mostly college now), or having to wear masks. And the mantra they cry is “We’re the parents: we make the decisions for our children and know what’s right for them.” Likewise, much of the objection by adults to getting vaccinated centers around the freedom to make decisions that affect their own bodies. While that reason may hold water for things like abortion, it doesn’t work for vaccination, because your “freedom” can make other people sick, whether it be resistance to masks or to the jabs themselves.

Most of you, at least if you’re American, know that vaccinations are required to attend most public schools unless you file a religious objection, and so it’s not up to the parents to decide about getting jabs for their kids. They could, however, send their kids to religious schools, or try homeschooling, if they wish to avoid vaccination.

To check on this again, though, I looked up the public-school vaccination requirements for two states: my own liberal state of Illinois, which has been pretty strict about masks and restrictions during the pandemic, and Louisiana, which has the highest per capita rate of infection and a lot of vaccine resisters. It turns out that the school requirements for vaccination are pretty much the same for both states, and in fact require a fair number of jabs. Here are are for the states, with the links to where I got the data:

ILLINOIS:

Vaccinations

The State of Illinois requires vaccinations to protect children from a variety of diseases before they can enter school. Students must show proof of immunization against up to 12 vaccine-preventable diseases (the number and schedule of these vaccinations depend on a student’s grade and age).

More information about minimum immunization requirements for Illinois can be found here. A summary of State of Illinois immunization requirements by grade follows:

Pre-K: Immunization records that reflect the following:

    • Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis – four doses
    • Polio – three doses
    • MMR – one dose
    • Hepatitis B – three doses
    • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) titer – 4 doses
    • Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine – one dose
    • Pneumococcal series, or one dose after the age of 2

Kindergarten: Immunization records that reflect the following:

    • Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis – 4 or more doses, most recent must be dated after 4 years of age
    • Polio – 4 dose series with the last dose dated on or after 4th birthday
    • MMR – 2 doses
    • Hepatitis B – three doses
    • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) titer 4 doses – (not required after fifth birthday)
    • Varicella vaccine – 2 doses, first on or after first birthday, second no less than 28 days later

Grade 6: Immunizations as per kindergarten requirements listed above, plus

    • Proof of having received a Tdap booster
    • Proof of having received one Meningococcal vaccine (first dose received on or after student’s 11th birthday)

Grade 12: Immunizations as per grade 6 requirements listed above, plus

    • Proof of having received 2 doses of Meningococcal Vaccine with the second after age 16 (only one dose required if the first dose was received after the age of 16)

All students who are new to a district in any grade will be required to provide complete immunization records.

Exemptions to immunization requirements:

  • Religious: Parents/Guardians requesting religious exemptions from health requirements must complete the required form along with their child’s healthcare provider.
  • Medical: If your child has a physical condition that prevents adherence to the vaccination schedule, their healthcare provider should indicate this on a physical examination form or in written documentation. Depending on your child’s medical condition, this may need to be reviewed on an annual basis.

**************

LOUISIANA:

 

Note: Students can participate in school without the required immunizations listed above if either of the following are presented: 1) a written statement from a physician stating that the procedure is contraindicated for medical reasons; or 2) written dissent from the parent/guardian.

The requirements for both states are pretty much the same, except that Illinois requires flu shots and Louisiana doesn’t. Also, Illinois will exempt kids only if they have religiously-based objections or medical contraindications. In contrast, while Louisiana, like Illinois, allows religious exemptions, it also allows parental exemptions of any sort, and I’m not sure if any written dissent will suffice.

As I wrote several years ago, religious exemptions from vaccination requirements are nearly ubiquitous:

  • 48 states have religious exemptions from immunizations. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states that require all children to be immunized without exception for religious belief.

That those two states don’t allow religious exemptions is surprising, as they’re both in the South. But good for them: there should be NO religious exemptions allowed for vaccination given that if you get ill you can make others ill. This is a case of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. And public healthcare is Caesar’s purview, not God’s.

This is only one of many religious exemptions from children’s healthcare that are required; see the post just above (and this one). Being religious gets you a real break if you don’t want to have to give your kids science-based medical care when they’re ill (I wrote about this in Faith Versus Fact.)

What about nonreligious objections? I assume that every state, like Illinois, allows students to be exempt from some vaccinations if they have medical conditions that may make vaccination dangerous, but I haven’t looked that up. What I have looked up is nonreligious and nonmedical exemptions: philosophical or “other” exemptions like those in Louisiana. Here’s what I found:

In 20 of those [48 states that allow religious exemptions from vaccination], you can also avoid vaccination if your exemption is based on philosophical reasons.

So in 48 states you can avoid jabs if you have a religious reason (and I’m not sure how strict they are about what “religion reason” counts), and in 20 you can avoid jabs if you have a philosophical reason. (I imagine that they’re not too strict about what constitutes a “philosophical reason.”) Ergo, religious belief trumps rational thought—though I’m not arguing that there are rational objections to most vaccines. It just shows how much American’s prize religion over philosophy.

In 30 states, then, your children must get vaccinated regardless of the parents’ wishes unless they can make a religious case.

But neither philosophical nor religious reasons constitute, in my view, valid reasons to exempt public-school students from vaccination. In fact, one can argue that all children, regardless of whether they attend public school or not, should be vaccinated unless there are medical contraindications.

The point of all this is that—except for religion—there is no parental “right” to decide whether or not to get their children immunized—not if they want them to go to public schools.  It makes me angry to hear those parents vehemently assert their “rights”, without any apparent awareness that those “rights” deprive other children of the “right to stay healthy by not being forced to go to school with unvaccinated kids.” It’s like the old but true bromide: “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins.”

I feel the same way about masking. Though the data on mask efficacy isn’t as thorough as for vaccine efficacy, if public-health officials in a state look at the data and decide that masks prevent the spread of infections to and fro, there should be no parental “right” to disobey. Parents can of course object and make a data-driven case, but if they fail, well, they’ll have to send their kids to St. Corona’s.

Now parents could argue that the mandated vaccines for school have been around a much longer time, so we know what any deleterious effects might be, while the newer jabs are “unproven”. But if you know the statistics, that objection doesn’t wash much. Yes, there may be longer-term effects of the jabs that we don’t yet know about, but what are the chances of those effects outweighing the substantial protection from illness and death that the vaccines confer?  Well over 95% of people in hospitals with Covid-19 now are unvaccinated.

I am always wary when one invokes “rights” as an argument stopper, for that smacks of objective morality when in fact, as with most things claimed to be “rights”, they are subjective decisions based on a philosophy of social harmony. As a consequentialist utilitarian, I prefer “dicta”—we should make those rules with the most salubrious effects. And I don’t think one can argue that allowing people to avoid avoid vaccination when they have no good reason to do so (unless they are hermits), or avoid letting their kids get vaccinated, is a better alternative than letting everybody decide for themselves.  Now, the U.S. yet has no laws for doing this except for schoolchildren, but I’m in favor of them, particularly laws that you can’t work at company X unless you are vaccinated against coronavirus. I hope Biden mandates this for federal workers.

Call me a hardass; it won’t bother me.

Jennifer Haller, left, smiles as the needle is withdrawn after she was given the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

124 thoughts on “Why do people think the coronavirus vaccine should be an exception to mandated vaccinations?

  1. It is probably for several reasons:
    – There is a truly mind boggling amount of false information on social media, from the farcical , such as microchips or turning you into an alligator, to the more insidious, less difficult to disprove ones, such as causing miscarriages, where the data are scant.
    – Covid appears -at first sight- to affect children much less. And there is , of course , the flu, that does affect children, but is not mandatory (for several reasons).
    – The religious leave it to the Lord, and often don’t buy into the narrative that the Lord guided the scientists developing the vaccine. ( try to sell that).
    – Last but not least, the development was indeed fast, mainly by running phase 1, 2 and t3 trials simultaneously, but many do not appear to want to understand that.

    I also note -on a side note- that the meningococcal vaccine is surprisingly only administered at age 11, here it is given during the first year of life. That has the positive side effect of reducing upper and lower respiratory tract infections in young children.

    1. I think the practical reason is that Covid is new, and federal approval and legislation tends to be slow and conservative (in the ‘preserve the status quo’ sense). As one example, the first chickenpox vaccine was invented in the 1970s, the current form used in the US was invented in 1981, licensed in 1995, and added to the list in 1996. That was with nobody having any political problem with it.

      So we can probably expect the Covid vaccine to be added to most state lists by, oh, 2030 or so lol.

      1. I agree. It’s the supposed novelty of the flagship vaccine’s mRNA technology (though that’s actually not all that new), but also—crucially—the politicization of the vaccine even before it existed. That wasn’t ever the case for the previous vaccines—how many people were even aware of which party was in power when the hepatitis or meningitis vaccines were developed and introduced? There were always anti-vax crazies (along with flat-earthers and hollow-moonies), but those nutters were far, far from anything like mainstream politics on either side of the aisle. The politicization of the vaccine is just part of the whole recent ideological contamination of medicine, and science in general, and the issue with school mandates is just one of a thousand manifestions of the rot that’s set in.

  2. I believe the military is about to announce the vaccine as mandatory, although I do not know why it was ever in question. The only reason seems to be the experimental question as the FDA has not gotten passed that as yet. The military has always required mandatory vaccinations and there is no religious or other excuse. It is a question of readiness and security but anyway, from my experience they vaccinate you for everything and then some. There is very little about your personal rights in the military, it just is not part of the equation. Most people would agree that school should be mandatory as well.

    1. Corollary (and his Ceilingcatness may have 0.03€ of experience on this) is that by refusing to get vaccinated for (say) polio, you were safe from getting drafted to go and kill strangers in distant countries.

  3. What Nicolaas said, but also of course acceptance has been fractured along political and other affiliations. Conservatives because they see it somehow as an affront to their rights. African Americans often express their vaccine reluctance in terms of deep suspicion toward the medical profession, saying that black people were subjected to experiments (the Tuskagee experiment).
    Another factor is that this is new. Wasn’t there resistance to wearing seat belts when they first came out?
    It was said by a commenter a couple days ago that people tend to seize upon an opinion (I expect along their political and other affiliations), and then they fill in their reasons afterwards. That seems very relevant here.

    1. Tuskegee, and early 1900s under-the-table US sterility treatments for the poor and minorities, and the FDA approving thalidomide. Being anti-vaxx is irrational, but the overall US culture of suspicion about new government-supported drugs didn’t come from nowhere; it has at least some basis in historical bad acts and mistakes.

      Though this one is a bit of an odd duck because the smallpox and polio vaccines were (AIUI) pretty readily accepted during this same historical period. MMR, etc. – they’re all 20th century inventions. So in the past this generalized suspicious attitude towards government-promoted drugs wasn’t applied to vaccines for communicable diseases, where now it is. Blame Trump, I guess.

      people tend to seize upon an opinion (I expect along their political and other affiliations), and then they fill in their reasons afterwards.

      Yep.
      In this case, that’s a cause for hope. We can expect anti-vaxxers will become pro-vaxxers when they get the vaccine, because they got it and hey since they’re smart and make smart decisions, that must’ve been a smart decision.

      1. Even if one was to factor in these mistakes, I suspect it still makes sense statistically and scientifically to get vaccinated. The number of people saved by vaccines must be orders of magnitudes higher than those damaged permanently by them. In other words, while we can perhaps see the origin of the fears, they still aren’t justified. I also bet that only a tiny percentage of the unvaccinated even know about those earlier mistakes. They aren’t the basis for their “distrust of government”.

        1. To be clear, with hundreds of millions of vaccines administered, the numbers of people “damaged permanently by them” is not just orders of magnitude smaller, it is close to 0. I think there is only one confirmed case of death due to a COVID vaccine, and less than a handful “permanently damaged”. Your ‘orders of magnitude’, albeit correct, still appears like an understatement.

          1. Perhaps you missed the rest of the thread. The conversation was not only about COVID but included “under-the-table US sterility treatments” and so-called thalidomide babies.

            1. I’m not sure I’m getting your point. I agree with Nicholas on the vaccine statistics, but it makes no scientific sense to justify getting the Covid vaccine by mix and matching statistics from thalidomide etc. My point in mentioning them was to say this distrust of government assurances of safety doesn’t come from nowhere. But I don’t think we solve the distrust problem by citing government statistics demonstrating safety at these folks, since that would be to make an argument from authority for an authority they believe to be lying. We’re probably just going to have to personal anecdote our way out of this – when everyone personally knows friends who have been vaccinated, vaccination becomes more normal and trustworthy in their eyes. I do agree with other posters that the FDA moving them from emergency use to regular approval will help.

              1. My point was that even if you accept the historical failures (thalidomide, etc.), taking the COVID vaccines is the smart choice statistically. This is not an argument justifying their skepticism. In other words, if you treat government skepticism analytically, you still get the same decision: get the jab!

              2. And my counter-point to your point is that Covid will not be seen as the ‘smart choice statistically’ by these folks, because they think the statistics are lies.

      2. Tuskegee, and early 1900s under-the-table US sterility treatments for the poor and minorities,

        I was under the impression that such “trials” were going on into the 50s or 60s, but that’s a question for Americans. Maybe I heard wrongly.

        and the FDA approving thalidomide.

        And again, I’m pretty sure that the FDA’s refusal to license thalidomide as a general sedative was the near-cause of one FDA medic’s career problems, and a huge issue for CIBA’s marketing department.
        It’s later approval for treatment of leprosy and some cancer-treatment regimes long postdates those initial fuck-ups. I wonder if the number of beneficially treated people now matches or exceeds those harmed. Since nitroglycerin is a useful heart drug, I also wonder what it’s current harm-benefit ratio is.

  4. Although the unproven nature of the COVID vaccines is a factor, as you note, the fact that the FDA still regards them as experimental doesn’t help much. After all, not wanting to take an experimental vaccine should be considered as reasonably following the science when it is the FDA’s judgement.

    Of course, many who say they’re not getting vaccinated because of the FDA’s “experimental” label are likely just using this as an excuse. I guess we’ll find out soon as the FDA is expected to lift the label in the next month or two, at least for the Pfizer jab. It will be strange if one vaccine is fully approved and the other two are still marked experimental. I hope that will be just for a very short time.

    1. I’m sure some percentage of the ideologically opposed will vaccinate once they are formally approved, but I’ve little doubt the majority will find some other reason not to get the shot.

  5. Well, let’s be clear. Existing vaccine mandates are very limited. They extend to children engaging in public education, and the vaccines are for diseases that are common to children. Most of them also have much higher mortality or potential long-term issues for children than Covid-19 does. There is a vast difference between vaccine mandates in those circumstances, and saying the government can mandate vaccines for everyone. A particularly troubling, arbitrary extension of government power is NYC’s requiring private businesses to refuse service to the un-vaccinated. The government can’t say who you can do business with.

    1. AFAIK the federal court has never told the states they *can’t* require a specific vaccine for schools. There’s no mortality or chronic effect criteria like you imply. The fact that Illinois requires the flu vaccine should tell you that that logic doesn’t hold.

      The government can’t say who you can do business with.

      Of course it can. The whole civil rights movement was predicated on the fact that the government can tell business owners they must serve blacks. More directly relevantly, some states can and do require private charter schools to follow public state school vaccination requirements. New York is one of them. So for the New York state government to tell private businesses their customers must be vaccinated is neither new, nor, AFAIK, state- or federal- unconstitutional.

    2. “The government can’t say who you can do business with.”

      What??? Where have you been??? Of course the government can say who you can do business with. The government says you can’t sell liquor to people under 21 or to people who appear inebriated. The government says you can’t sell handguns to people who don’t pass a background check. The government says you can’t sell prescription drugs to people who don’t have prescriptions. I’m sure there are hundreds of other examples. All of these are just other forms of safety measures, just like it’s a safety measure to say that unvaccinated people are dangerous can’t come into certain public places.

    3. “A particularly troubling, arbitrary extension of government power is NYC’s requiring private businesses to refuse service to the un-vaccinated. The government can’t say who you can do business with.”

      I’m reminded of recently hearing of at least one business (in CA) that refuses service to those vaccinated. I contemplate the noble, reasonable, rational reason why. I reasonably assume that the owner is against vaccine passports but nonetheless feels entitled to – and must necessarily (arbitrarily?) – ask prospective patrons if they are vaccinated. I assume that if they refuse to answer (as they can without penalty in response to a government query) the owner can refuse them entrance.

      (At that point perhaps the vaccinated person could start waving money under the owner’s nose, in increments of $50, to determine the minimum bribe necessary to gain entrance, a la financial incentives to prompt the unvaccinated to get vaccinated.)

    4. Surely you’ve been following the news about potentially lethal complications arising in children from (earlier variants of) Covid-19, and the fact that the most recent variant of the virus spreads far more easily, and is seemingly quite a bit more dangerous, to younger people than the earlier versions—and that’s happened within only the second year of the pandemic. Is it not clear that this virus is showing the capacity to be just as deadly to children as to adults? Are schools, and the laws regulating the safety of children who attend them, not supposed to take account of these increasingly dangerous tendencies?

      1. “Is it not clear that this virus is showing the capacity to be just as deadly to children as to adults?”

        Although the delta variant seems to affect younger people more than did the earlier variants, I don’t think it close to being just as deadly as it is to adults.

        1. No, not as deadly as it is to adults. But the statistics I’ve seen suggest that a measurably greater number of younger people are getting seriously or gravely ill, relative to the numbers for young people affected by the earlier variants. The science is still fluid, but it does seem fairly certain at this point that there’s reason to think more children are getting sick with this variant than ever before (e.g., https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/566686-evidence-mounts-that-delta-variant-is-dangerous; https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/delta-variant-more-dangerous-children-growing-number-kids-are-very-n1276035, etc) That alone means that pronouncements that ‘Existing vaccine mandates are very limited. They extend to children engaging in public education, and the vaccines are for diseases that are common to children’ have to viewed with serious skepticism. Putting a bunch of unvaccinated children together in the presence of what is now a ferociously infectious variant that discriminates far less than before between kids and adults is pretty much asking the disease to become ‘common in children’.

          1. PS: you’re right, Paul—looking back over my previous note, I realize that what I was thinking and what I was writing don’t jibe. I had meant to say, ‘deadlier to children than previous variants’, or something like that; it came out though as the factually quite incorrect statement you picked up on. I don’t think it affects the point at issue, but definitely a misstatement.

    5. They extend to children engaging in public education,

      Stop educating children (funded through general taxation). There’s a policy that will get an uncomfortably large number of votes.
      On either side of the Atlantic.

  6. The only sort of valid objection to mandating the COVID-19 vaccines is that none of them are yet fully authorized by the FDA. Once the first one is (which the NYT reported should be by early September), there will be no legal excuse left for mandating the vaccines for public school.

    That still won’t make every antivaxxer out there shut up and get their shots, but I hope enough will.

    (That being said, this is an emergency situation so I’m in favor of already making people prove their vaccination status to do all sorts of things.)

    1. I hope the full approvals work too but I bet many unvaccinated will claim that the FDA is only doing it due to political pressure or orders from the Biden admin. And, of course, the pressure is real enough.

      1. Cough, cough.
        I smell nothing here. [finger pointing up emoji] [finger pointing up emoji]

    1. The way to think about it is which is worse, the small chance of an unexpected vaccine side effect vs the much larger chance of dying of COVID-19? We have the statistics.

        1. So you have an additional data point. You’ve had COVID and you know how you’re body reacts to it. Same here. Was it the delta variant? That might be different. And when will your natural immunity disappear? After all, flu immunity sure doesn’t last long. Different viruses but who knows? Things to consider. Good luck.

        2. It is good that Fortune smiled on those (however many) dozens you know. Would that it had similarly smiled on the 600,000-plus others who died that millions of other Americans knew.

        3. Probably you know a fair number of smokers, or former smokers, who haven’t (yet) died from various cancers or emphysema. Does that constitute a valid ‘But on the other hand…’ argument that cigarette smoking is gravely dangerous to anyone who hopes to live out a normal lifespan?

        4. People tend to lend them more weight to anecdotal experiences than they really deserve. The safety and effectiveness of the vaccines has been well established ahead of FDA approval, and a month or so more won’t change that status. Please get the shots. You are more protected that way, and that protects those closest to you.

        5. It is obvious you haven’t been in an ICU recently. I’ve never seen an ICU where all patients suffered the same before (Covid in case you were wondering what that could possibly be) . And they do not die nicely, they suffocate, suffer horrible deaths. Yes, some have no to mild symptoms, but many (about 700.000 in the US) did not and died.
          And we don’t even mention ‘long Covid’: people who are disabled for long, possibly permanently, or those who die six months after the ventilator from an ‘ordinary’ pneumonia.

        6. I apologise if this comment is a bit long, or a bit too direct, but this really matters to me, as you will see if you read to the botom. Any appearance of incivility is certainly not intentional. That said….

          Best to all is a nice sentiment, but I struggle to accept it as genuine. What it really means is ‘best to me’. If you did wish ‘best to all’, by far the most effective way of achieving that goal is to get vaccinated.

          The observation that you and your pals were OK is mere anecdote; an uncontrolled, unqualified, unquantified data point. But even if we accept your ‘all had it mild’ claim prima facie, it can only be used to justify vaccination hesitation by applying sloppy (and self-serving) reasoning.

          Why? Well we know that the COVID-19 death rate is actually quite low, so even if many of your friends have had it, you may be unlikely to see one die, or even become gravely ill. This is one of several fundamental issues that make your data unreliable, almost to the point of total irrelevance.

          Of vastly more importance in the vaccination debate is the data you don’t have. You have no idea how many other people were infected by you and your COVID-19 infected acquaintances. You also have no idea how many people died as a result of your cohort passing the virus on. This could be a significant total, yet you have no way of knowing. These are real people, from real families. They’re not just numbers.

          I can guarantee that you do many things every week that are far, far more dangerous than being vaccinated, and many more for which safety has not been scientifically demonstrated and verified (by the FDA or otherwise). However, you ignore those risks simply because they don’t rank high in the current zeitgeist and have not been cherry-picked by cheerleaders of a certain political persuasion.

          The risk of vaccination is minuscule, many orders of magnitude lower than catching COVID-19. To delay or deny vaccination does not make one an independent thinker; it demonstrates that the flood of misinformation and drum-beating from Fox News et al has worked. This propaganda has succeeded in making many millions of people become vaccine averse, and in turn, more selfish. That this can happen in the 21st century fills me with despair.

          Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t have thought twice about the jab, so what changed? I suppose it could be that, contrary to everything else in medical technology, vaccinations became more dangerous and less effective. Or immunologists became less competent. Maybe world governments really are conspiring to sicken their populations? That this would destroy their support base, cost them billions and get them ousted from power, is neither here nor there.

          I used to be friends with a guy called Steve, and saw him every day when I picked my daughter up from school. We had a lot in common, lived in the same village, and we would go to the pub occasionally (at least before COVID). He was the same age as me (47), a nice guy and really funny. For the last 6 months Steve’s daughter has been collected by his parents, because Steve died of COVID. He was fit and well, and had no medical conditions. It sounds awful, but I now I dread collecting my daughter – I simply can’t cope when I see Steve’s daughter with her grandparents. What makes it worse is that they are the only option; her mum – Steve’s wife – died of leukaemia when she was 4 years old. Life can be so cruel.

          There must be a gazillion families similar to Steve’s, and gazillions more in other tragic situations. We all must help in doing whatever we can to stop the deaths and rid us of this horrible pandemic.

          So please, think of others, and just get bloody vaccinated.

      1. Actually IMO the way to think about it is: you are putting others at risk of sickness and death in order to mitigate a very small risk to yourself. Is that the selfish sort of person you want to be?

        When the vaccines are approved for my kid’s age group, I’ll make him get it. Not because there is a minute chance he gets a life-threatening reaction to the disease. He’s healthy, I don’t really think of that as an issue at all. He’s getting it because if he were to come down with even a mild case of it, his mild case spread to others could end up putting them in the hospital or morgue.

        1. Yes, good point but I was trying to keep it simple. One can justify getting the vaccination without considering the possibility of being a disease vector. After all, there is some uncertainty as to how much a vaccinated person with a breakthrough infection can spread it vs an unvaccinated infected person. Of course, logic says that the advantage goes to the vaccinated but that’s not data.

    2. Donna, I don’t mean this as criticism, but as encouragement. Your reasoning to wait might have been a sensible assessment of the risks back in December. But tens of millions of people got the vaccines (and many others didn’t), so there is now lots of real-world data on the relative risks and benefits of getting vaccinated and of staying unvaccinated. The net benefit of you getting vaccinated (both to you and to everybody you interact with) is now known to be so much greater than of staying unvaccinated that it doesn’t make sense to wait. Especially because Delta is so much more infectious (to others if you get it) and may be more pathological. You should get vaccinated!

  7. Just an update note on the Covid recent deaths. A leader in the republican party in Texas who made a lot of noise about your rights to avoid masks and the vaccine has died at the age of 45.

    1. I would like to see the data on Covid deaths and political party. It would be no surprise to find that Republicans are dying at a higher rate…

      1. Yes but that births its own conspiracy theory. I have seen on right-wing websites that very (possible) phenomenon being noted and of course the response is that there must be some diabolical work at hand (by the government/democrats/leftists/globalists/bill gates) specifically targeting and killing off conservatives.

  8. My own employer has already told us that COVID will be another of our mandatory vaccines in the coming months. Which to me makes total sense, and won’t cause any issues with my own group who all lined up the first day we were offered a chance. I do agree with other posts that full FGA approval will cause an objection to drop – since full approval will be one manufacturer at a time I wonder if full approval of Pfizer, likely first, will be interpreted by the general public as full approval for all formulations.

    The answer to your question though is clearly, at least in large part, the politicization of this particular shot.

      1. Your question prompted me to go and check. The only one that is a condition of employment is an annual flu (I assume covid will be added to this), although they checked through the whole standard set and made sure everything else was up to date when I arrived, and send me periodic reminders if anything is due. However, it seems that those are voluntary.

  9. The biggest universities in my state have announced vaccine mandates for all faculty, staff, and students for this fall. I expected a similar mandate would be announced at our university, but for some reason it was announced that they are not requiring people to be vaccinated even for in-person classes. This is baffling.

  10. Firstly: what Jerry said.

    And second,

    because your “freedom” can make other people sick

    You just committed what American conservatives consider a thoughtcrime. You noticed that an act which directly affects the specific individual who chose it, can indirectly and involuntarily impact others. This is a fact which must not be seen, heard, or spoken.

  11. COVID-19 vaccines are approved by Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. That means you cannot sue the vaccine manufacturer, which means the manufacturer has no duty of care to consumer. If the manufacturer has no skin in the game, I am not clear how you can mandate the consumer be forced to put their skin in the game. Seems fundamentally unfair to force people to be guinea pigs with no legal remedies if things turn out bad.

    1. It’s not fundamentally unfair if you consider the alternatives that must be weighed. Although uncertainty may prevent one from bringing a lawsuit, one still has to make a decision with whatever knowledge one has. Getting a vaccination is safer for society than not getting one, regardless of one’s inability to sue based on a bad outcome.

      1. Morally, I believe everyone eligible should get a COVID-19 vaccination.

        Legally, I also believe everyone should be permitted NOT to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

        I do not believe this based on a general objection to making vaccination legally punishable by civil or criminal sanctions ( I think there should be mandatory vaccination, the loopholes tightened up significantly, and criminal penalties for parents), but because I have a specific objection to making someone take a vaccine approved on an emergency basis.

      2. On further thought, I do not believe in rights without responsibilities. You can’t shift the cost of adverse outcomes to one group (the public) and then force that group to get vaccinated. Vaccine companies profit, consumers get harmed. If you want to mandate vaccination, nationalize the vaccines, have the government distribute them for free, and set up a fund to handle claims for personal injury as a result of vaccination. If you do that, I am fine with it.

        1. The vaccines are nationalized and free here in the US, though private companies are involved at all levels. I disagree about the need for a fund to handle claims for personal injury but the government should provide free healthcare for any that suffer from serious vaccine effects. AFAIK, this hasn’t been an issue with the COVID vaccine.

          Personal injury payouts are based on the idea that some company has failed to deliver something promised explicitly or implicitly. That’s not the situation with a pandemic. A better model is a natural disaster like a hurricane. You can’t sue the rescuers for not reaching you in time unless you can prove they did it deliberately and out of malice. You may be able to file a claim if you have flood insurance.

          1. No, the vaccine makers are profiting from the sales of the vaccines and We the People are buying the shots from pharma. If there is going to be a vaccine mandate, it needs to include a victim’s recovery fund (which should come out of pharma profits to a significant extent) to make awards to people who suffer adverse consequences, like the 9/11 fund.

            1. But didn’t Jeep profit from the government during WWII? People aren’t directly buying the shots from Big Pharma, the government is. This is why war or response to a natural disaster is a better model for what’s happening than customers buying from a private company. There’s are mandates for other vaccines but no victim’s recovery fund to cover ill effects and they are fully approved vaccines. I’m an advocate for government provided healthcare so I’m not against a victim’s recovery fund in principle.

        2. I don’t know what state you live in, but in VA the vaccines were distributed by the government for free. If you tell me what state you live in, maybe I can help you find the state program that can get you a free vaccine.

          And your previous statement about “no legal remedies” is incorrect. In the case of any EUA drug, the government assumes the legal risk. You don’t lose your power to get legal relief, you just go to the government instead of the drug company for it (the same is true for lots of technologies these days; as the DHS SAFETY Act has been giving exactly this sort of protection to lots of things for going on 20 years now). Now, I like yours and Paul’s ideas about a pre-set fund. The current system is not that perfect. But there IS a system of legal relief and complaint adjudication, so your complaints about no skin in the game, that rights should go with responsibilities, etc. are unfounded.

          So now you know the people giving the drug have the skin in the game which was your big sticking point, AND it’s being given free, I’m sure you’ll be fine with it. Right?

    2. Its been said before that you are part of the experiment with these vaccines. Its called being in the “control group”.
      But that is just a joke of sorts. More seriously, despite the formality it is very well established that the vaccines are as safe as any vaccines, and they are more effective than most vaccines. So the legality thing is really not a good point.

      1. I would like to see higher vaccination rates by any means necessary, so long as you are not looking at private companies profiting and the risk of adverse outcomes being completely unloaded on the public.

        The question I have is what is the best way to increase vaccination rates, and what is going to be perceived as legitimate in the eyes of the public. My preference would be for nudging people than outright coercion, and I would be concerned that coercion could backfire and trigger a backlash. My minimum ask for a coercion strategy would be that there is an adequate system for compensation of victims prior to the imposition of a mandate, and I think that can be accomplished along the lines of the 9/11 victims compensation fund. As far as coercion versus persuasion, I am not clear which strategy is best (nor do I claim some kind of special insight or training in public health).

        Obviously, you could have the national guard round up all the unvaccinated and put them in quarantine camps, feed them bread and water and prevent them from leaving until they get vaccinated or the pandemic is over. I don’t think such a strategy would be perceived as legitimate, and I think it would badly backfire on decision makers.

        I believe we need to use the best available public resources to obtaining higher vaccination rates.

  12. Here’s list I found with questions/ideas. Take from it what you will:
    1. Are there possible adverse event outcomes? 543,000 in VAERS database (7/15/21) – https://vaers.hhs.gov/data.html

    2. Do the pharmaceutical companies have total indemnification from liability? Yes, congressional “PREP ACT”

    3. Is this a vaccine? No, mRNA messenger is a lab synthetic

    4. What additional chemicals are in the injection? Moderna SM-102 proprietary

    5. Is the vaccine FDA approved? No, emergency approval only

    6. Were drug interaction studies done? No

    7. Were single dose toxicity studies done? No

    8. Were toxicokinetic studies done? No

    9. Were genotoxicity studies done? No

    10. Were carcinogenicity studies done? No
    11. Were pre/postnatal studies done? No

    12. Is the mRNA injection effective? Mild reduction in symptoms

    13. How long does it protect against Covid? Don’t know

    14. Does it help people who contracted and survived Covid? Don’t know

    15. Does it prevent transmission of Covid? Don’t know

    16. Are there medical treatments for Covid? Yes, ivermectin, hydroxichloriquin, vitamins D, C and zinc

    17. What are Covid survival chances? 0-14 99.9998%, 15-44 99.9931%, 45-64 99.9294%, 65-85 99.6297%
18.
    Is the PCR test accurate? Cycle threshold must be less than 35, FDA approved up to 40. Fauci – over 35 is dead nucleotides, not able to cause infection
    Can you get natural immunity if you contract but survive Covid?

    If yes, do you still need a vaccination?
 If yes, why
    What population percentage of vaccinated/immune constitutes herd immunity? Why?

    How does testing differentiate between Covid variants?
    If I get vaccinated can I stop wearing a mask(s)?”
Government: “NO”
    If I get vaccinated will the restaurants, bars, schools, fitness clubs, hair salons, etc. reopen and will people be able to get back to work like normal?
Government: “NO”
    If I get vaccinated will I be resistant to Covid?”
Government: “Maybe. We don’t know exactly, but probably not.”
    If I get vaccinated, at least I won’t be contagious to others – right?”
Government: “NO. the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission.”
    If I get vaccinated, how long will the vaccine last?”
Government: “No one knows. All Covid “vaccines” are still in the experimental stage.”
    “If I get vaccinated, can I stop social distancing?”
Government: “NO”
    “If my parents, grandparents and myself all get vaccinated can we hug each other again?”
Government: “NO”
    So what’s the benefit of getting vaccinated?”
Government: “Hoping that the virus won’t kill you.”
    Are you sure the vaccine won’t injure or kill me?”
Government: “NO”
    If statistically the virus won’t kill me (99.7% survival rate), why should I get vaccinated?”
Government: “To protect others.”
    So if I get vaccinated, I can protect 100% of people I come in contact with?”

    Government: NO”
    “If I experience a severe adverse reaction, long-term effects (still unknown) or die from the vaccine will I (or my family) be compensated from the vaccine manufacture or the Government?”
Government: “NO – the government and vaccine manufacturer’s have 100% zero liability regarding this experimental drug”


    1. What I take from this is that you copy other people’s ideas (yes, it is a vaccine, for crying out loud). Look at your dumb answer to question 3, for example. Oh, and I take it that you’re looking for excuses not to get vaccinated. Good luck, pal! I already said that it’s not 100% effective and we don’t know the long-term effects.

      Good luck, Big Steve! I hope you’re not “big” because you’re obese, because that will increase your risks of dying if you get sick.

    2. Big Steve’s numbers in his #17 easily imply that less than 2 people per thousand with a case of Covid will die, though the logic suffers from a seriously false premiss:

      Some actual numbers at present:
      Norway–6 per thousand,
      Denmark–8 per thousand,
      Sweden–14 per thousand,
      US—17 per thousand,
      Canada—18 per thousand,
      UK—23 per thousand.

      Many other countries obviously have inaccurate numbers, though plenty of others are reasonably reliable. In time, the deaths per thousand of overall population in all of these will be known pretty accurately, though cases won’t be nearly as accurate.

      I’d hesitate to pay him much to transfer to me ownership of the Brooklyn bridge—also hesitate to believe anything else he wrote down here.

    3. You are doing the Gish gallop there. just some points where you are wrong
      1 – VAERS is an open site, it is not controlled and not followed up. Of the 45 300 ‘adverse effects’ 45 299 may have nothing to do with the vaccine. We don’t know. VAERS cannot show, let alone prove, anything.
      3 – Yes it is a vaccine, it is part of a virus that elicits an antibody response, and that protects against disease and death. So yes, it is a vaccine.
      4 – Thiomersal!!
      I’m not 100% sure about 5 to 11, but all 3 phase trials were done, in view of your other unreliable ‘information’ I feel justified to have my doubts.
      12 – Is it effective? A resounding YES!! it is highly effective protecting against serious disease and death.
      13- Probably longer than ‘naturally acquired’ immunity, as preliminary data (quite surprisingly at first sight) appear to show.
      15 – It definitely reduces transmission, albeit not 100%. False news.
      16 – No those products have not been shown to have any beneficial effect on Covid, and they are not harmless.
      I’d like here to warn specifically against Ivermectin. Ivermectin is a veterinary product used in one single dose against worms. Chronic use leads to liver and kidney damage. Ivermectin use is rife in South Africa, and we are confronted with liver and kidney failure due to Ivermectin on a daily basis. Even more sinister, it masks the signs of Covid and hence patients using Ivermectin present late, often too late to save them (according to the South African Council of ICU specialists).
      It is tiring to counter a Gish gallop, but there are so many points in yours, that I think it is superfluous to counter more points. Your post is suspect, if not fake news altogether. We may safely ignore it.

      1. He fails to realize that the Gish gallop only can work (sometimes) in a verbal debate, unless the participating audience to a written one is uniformly stupid.

    4. So that’s a NO from you Big Steve.
      Have you ever thought of what western societies would look like without vaccinations… that would be a NO I guess. Bringing it down to ground level, underground specifically, think of what it would be like if we had NO sewage systems. We would be up to our eyeballs in shit and misery… likewise vaccinations… it’s a small part that makes a big difference.

  13. The short answer is that the vaccine has not received FDA approval. It has emergency approval only. You can’t require someone to get a vaccine that hasn’t even been properly vetted by the FDA yet.

    There’s a whole framework of legal liability that just doesn’t apply to an unapproved vaccine.

    1. Sure, but the right to sue is not the determining factor as to whether requiring vaccination is a good idea. You might use it as a personal justification to go unvaccinated but that kind of thinking is completely on you.

    2. Once it becomes FDA approved, then insurance rather than the government will be paying for it, and it will not be cheap, and the financial pains will be felt by most. I would rather the FDA drag their feet…

        1. I haven’t heard that there’s a law or some mechanism where full approval leads to government no longer covering the vaccinations. I doubt this is the case. Of course, the government could decide to do this. It might be the most motivating move they could make. “Get it now or talk to your health insurance company.” Scary.

      1. I would rather the FDA drag their feet…

        I don’t think the FDA should be in the business of trying to game the system for any reason. It should call these matters straight down the line to maintain its own credibility.

    3. I’m not in the USA so don’t know the details there. In general, I guess you’re right that lack of formal approval by FDA is an obstacle to mandates. But only for small organizations. For large institutions with resources and legal staff, who could defend themselves against a legal challenge, imposing a mandate based on real-world efficacy and safety data seems like a defendable practice even before FDA approval. Isn’t it really a matter of how much legal versus medical risk the organization is willing to tolerate? Apologies if I misunderstood something about the legal part.

      1. Much of the excuse it hasn’t yet been approved and still under emergency order is just that…an excuse for those who don’t want to get it. But it is very lame. The reason for this situation is because the vaccines were developed so fast. And so, to get them into use it had to be emergency action. But now tons of people of all ages have had the vaccine and over 600,000 in the U.S. are already dead from the virus. The FDA is not operated at rocket speed so the official approval takes time. Shall we wait until we are dead or get the vaccine and live.

        1. Yes of course we should get the vaccine and live. I wasn’t asking about what individuals should do. I was asking about what organizations should do, and the perceived legal obstacles to vaccine mandates.

  14. I also think a good place to start mandating vaccinations is for airplane travel. The Feds have control over airports/airplanes and they could give the TSA the responsibility to check for vaccinations. Right now, it’s up to flight attendants to enforce mask rules, and I’m sure everyone’s heard of the unruly plane passengers when it comes to mask wearing. It seems that flight attendants (and bus drivers for that matter) have become de facto public health officials, and that’s irresponsible and unfair.

  15. Survey of vaccination policies in many countries is at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination_policy#New_Zealand . Some unexpected features include the following. Pakistan, generally Islamic/backward on many things, has adopted a tough policy of mandatory polio vaccination: the police commissioner is quoted as saying “There is no mercy, we have decided to deal with the refusal cases with iron hands. Anyone who refuses [the vaccine] will be sent to jail.” ” Islamic Malaysia mandates most conventional vaccinations; Islamic Saudi Arabia is listed as mandating vaccination against covid, but none of the conventional childhood jabs. Vaccs against various diseases seem to be most widely mandated in Brazil and in east European countries, including Liberal ones (Czechia, Slovenia) and ones which have gone authoritarian (Poland, Hungary). In the Nordic countries, vaccinations tend to be recommended rather than mandated.

    Casual conclusion: government policies on vaccination worldwide show little or no correlation with politics or ideology.

  16. I am finding the rationalizations of some for not getting vaccinated to be a depressing microcosm of logical fallacies. Lets’ see… justified reasoning, moving the goalposts, post hoc, appeal to ignorance, confirmation bias, Dunning Kruger (I know the issues on that one), and possibly others will appear shortly.

    1. EYA? Explain Your Answer.
      In any case, there are venues that are requiring it so there we are. FDA approval will help (I hope), but I also think that many “wait until FDA approval” people will immediately come up with some other excuse.

    2. Could you unpack that? Does “can’t be required” mean “requiring vaccination would probably lead to a lawsuit by employees or others under the mandate” because those employees would object? Or does it mean “requiring vaccination would lead to a lawsuit by government or regulators” because the mandate would violate a statute?

  17. The government mandates that you to wear a seat belt in your automobile. Why don’t the “don’t tread on me” freedom fighters get more upset about that? People not wearing seatbelts endanger mainly themselves.

  18. For Covid-19 infections in the unvaccinated, I would like to see all government assistance denied for hospital and or medical treatment. Health insurance companies should also be allowed to exempt coverage for medical bills incurred in the non-vaccinated due to Covid-19 illness. Maybe this could also apply to all illnesses that can be avoided in vaccinated people/children. Let parents and others put their money where their beliefs are.

    Of course the very small percentage of people/children who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons would be exempt from non-coverage.

    1. There are many people who are unvaccinated due to poor-to-nonexistent access to medical/social services. I suggest you consider The Atlantic‘s coverage of this problem before recommending such a broad-brush policy (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/07/unvaccinated-different-anti-vax/619523/). The problem is that many of those who are unvaccinated live in desperately poor communities, and haven’t had their jabs precisely because of subpar performance by the official agencies responsible.

    2. Slippery slope however. We’ve had these arguments about people who engage in risky behaviour: smoke, eat poorly, drive on busy highways. If you start denying treatment and coverage for the unvaccinated, you have to ethically consider denying treatment and coverage for those others.

      1. You omitted ‘having unprotected casual sex’ for unfathomable reasons. Great spreading, important public health problem.
        Do we deny those people medical help? No, we don’t..

  19. As I had recalled, seatbelt laws were vocally opposed when they came out:
    https://www.history.com/news/seat-belt-laws-resistance.
    So here too it will probably come down to people just getting used to the new reality regarding the Covid vaccines. But meanwhile, high thousands of people will die needlessly, thousands will be maimed permanently, kids will grow up without a proper in-person school experience, and so forth and so on. The personal costs are going to be staggering, and much of that will be borne on the innocent.

    I am getting really ticked off with the hold-outs. They have a chance to put their shoulders in alongside us and be a part of the solution. But they are blowing it.

  20. I find it odd when Americans think of Covid as an American disease. They take no account of Canada, Australia, The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, or really anyone else at all. Based on approval in other countries, I would take the vaccine even if the FDA never said a word about it.

    We should also do more to help other countries get vaccinated, since their health will affect our health in the months and years to come.

    1. They take no account of Canada, Australia, The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, or really anyone el”se at all.”

      What are these silly sounding places, something from the Narnia books or whatever? I’m American. The world has like 10 real countries, them being USA, Mexico, South America, England, Europe, Russia, China, the other Chinas (like Japan and those others), Africa, and Aussieland. Oh, and the North Pole.

      I’m guessing that your from England cuase you speak American. I thought the schools taught better of their.

  21. We don’t do religion – we do vaccines.

    Vaccination compulsion is spreading
    PUBLISHED 17 JULY 2021

    In France, Australia, the United Kingdom, Greece and Italy, among others, vaccines are required to work in the health and care professions.

    Indonesia and Turkmenistan have introduced vaccination requirements for all citizens.

    In Fiji and Saudi Arabia, for example, the vaccination requirement applies to everyone who wants a workplace to go to.

    According to Björn Rönnerstrand, a researcher in political science at the University of Gothenburg, compulsory vaccination can be effective, but at the same time they risk lowering confidence in healthcare and institutions in certain countries.

    [ https://www.svt.se/nyheter/snabbkollen/vaccinationstvang-breder-ut-sig ]

    You can not force anyone to take a vaccine. In Sweden, there is constitutional protection against forced physical intervention. However, under certain conditions, an employer can move staff who have not been vaccinated.

    [ https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/vaccinationskrav-for-vardpersonal-sa-resonerar-arbetsgivare-och-jurister ]

  22. I have to agree with those who mention FDA approval as an issue. The following statements were on the consent form I signed to receive the vaccine-
    “The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is an unapproved vaccine that may prevent
    COVID-19. There is no FDA-approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19.”
    “These may not be all the possible side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19
    Vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19
    Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials.”

    There seems to be a difference between allowing people to receive an unapproved vaccine on an emergency basis, and requiring people to take an unapproved vaccine. Liability being one issue. If some small number of kids start being born with flippers, or a tiny number of the vaccinated spontaneously combust or whatever, a private company or even a state who required the vaccine might not share Pfizer’s immunity from liability.

    The vaccine does not need to actually cause your miscarriage for an employer to face an adverse judgement in court. It just takes the right jury.

  23. According to the data you show, Illinois does not require the flu shot to attend public school. “Haemophilus influenzae” is not the flu. It is not a virus, but instead a bacterium (initially thought to cause the flu, hence the name).

  24. The covid vaccinations do not stop the transmission of the virus. The vaccines lessen the effects of the virus on the individual. Therefore there is no reason to mandate the covid vaccines because they do not stop transmission therefore do not contribute to wider public health. No one will not get covid because another person hasn’t been vaccinated. That is not how these vaccines work.

    1. Sorry, but you don’t seem to have any idea what you’re talking about. The vaccination can stop you from getting infected because the antibodies kill the virus, ergo you can’t transmit it. I advise you to educate yourself on how these vaccinations work. It’s like saying that smallpox vaccinations do not stop transmission of the smallpox virus. IN FACT, THEY DID, so there are no more infected people on the planet.

    2. The COVID vaccines do slow (not stop) transmission because fewer people get infected. However, if someone vaccinated does get infected (a so-called breakout infection), they are very capable of transmitting it to others, at least with the Delta variant. This is why the CDC is now recommending masks again. I would also expect that a vaccinated person with the disease would spread it less than an unvaccinated one, though the opposite might be true for someone who is hospitalized.

      As many have pointed out, if everyone got the shots, COVID was virtually disappear in a matter of weeks.

      https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/30/health/breakthrough-infection-masks-cdc-provincetown-study/index.html

  25. I don’t see where people get the idea that there’s no right to impose risks on other people, or that “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins” when it comes to masks or vaccination, or that a provable statistical benefit implies that it should be mandatory.

    We’ve never organized society around the idea that there is no right to cause risk to others. On the contrary, we’ve always organized society around the idea that there is a general right to engage in activities that expose others to minor and diffuse risks. For example, you have the right to burn wood in your fireplace, make camp fires, smoke, fly, and drive cars (even just for fun), even though we know that air pollution directly or indirectly kills hundreds of thousands of people each year in the US alone (and millions globally). You have the right to drive 65 MPH on the highway even though we know it leads to thousands of annual deaths that could be prevented if we lowered the speed limit. You can drive after drinking a “reasonable” amount of alcohol even though it’s not completely safe and inflicts some risk on others. There are lots of recreational activities and lifestyle choices that inflict minor risks on others.

    There is no principle or tradition in our society that people can appeal to that sacralizes the idea of complete safety from imposed risk. On the contrary, we’ve generally held freedom to be the higher ideal and sought a reasonable “middle ground” between freedom and safety. At least… up until this year. People who want to remake long-standing social principles because of COVID need to explicitly justify that, and can’t expect all of society to go along “just because”.

    1. You’ve erected a number of strawmen here by using absolutes: “no right”, “complete safety” “remake long-standing social principles”. The avoidance of imposing risks on people is a strong consideration but not an absolute. I doubt anyone here would claim that society promises that no one can impose risks on others no matter how small. If they did, I missed it. Society is virtually all about tradeoffs.

      That said, I find it horrible that so many people would risk spreading infection just to avoid wearing a mask. IMHO, that’s one tradeoff that’s a no-brainer.

      1. They’re not strawmen, though. A lot of people have argued in this comment section over the past year that there is ‘no right to impose risk on others’, that it’s “immoral” to not wear a mask, and similar things. I think such a principle logically requires either a massive change in social norms or massive hypocrisy, both of which I oppose. The onus is on the promulgators of a new moral code to persuade others, not on others to jump onboard by default.

        To the extent that people are arguing from the standpoint of a practical trade-off, then I think that is fine. I’d say that with COVID, reasonable people can disagree on the trade-off. The disease is slightly dangerous; maybe 3-6x the usual flu and enough to alarm some portion of the population, but not all. I believe that if the media didn’t tell people about the pandemic most people wouldn’t have even noticed its existence. The fact that there’s a massive effort to bribe, cajole, and threaten those who don’t accept protection from it shows how not-dangerous it’s perceived to be by many.

        Did you wear masks for the flu? You’ve known about the flu for decades. You’ve known that it kills tens of thousands each year. I expect you’ve known about masks for decades too, and that in some countries it’s normal to wear them. But you chose not to. Were you being horrible? If it’s acceptable and normal to risk killing x people but horrible to risk killing 5x people, I hope you can see that it sounds like a very arbitrary and subjective determination, and that others may draw the line in different places without being fundamentally any different from a moral standpoint.

        If COVID has now changed your moral views such that even if COVID entirely disappeared you’d keep wearing masks forever because of flu, that’s respectable, but you can’t expect everyone to have the same epiphany – again, I think the onus is on the promulgators of a new moral code to persuade others – and I’d expect you to quantify at least approximately just how much ‘unnecessary’ risk is morally unacceptable so you can cease any other activities that exceed the threshold. Otherwise, like someone who rails against climate change but flies everywhere in their private jet, it’s hard to take such a moral commandment seriously.

        Many people say things are horrible and immoral – taking an unnecessary flight (causes climate change), eating meat (ditto, plus cruelty), etc. but simply saying so isn’t an argument by itself.

        1. I spotted one sentence in your response that makes me doubt your sanity. At a minimum, it allows me not to have to respond to you further:

          “I believe that if the media didn’t tell people about the pandemic most people wouldn’t have even noticed its existence.”

          What a ridiculous thing to say. I think people notice when their loved ones go to the hospital and some of them die. You’ve jumped the shark this time, mate.

          1. I think he meant “most people” as is in “most people who live in caves or in isolated outposts in the wilderness or on desert islands” or “most people who are NEETS living in their mother’s basement and subsisting on takeout” rather than “most people working in intensive care at a hospital” or “most people with loved ones in nursing homes” or “most people in the service industry”.

            1. Yes, most people. I don’t know anyone who’s died, and I don’t think I know anyone who knows anyone who’s died. Moreover, if my 85-year-old grandfather died of a respiratory illness, I wouldn’t suspect something out of the ordinary was happening. Remember, the median age of people killed by COVID generally equals or exceeds normal life expectancy.

  26. Covid death rate is 1.8%. Vax death rate is 0.0018% per VAERS. (Actual Vax death rate is likely much lower since those vax deaths are unverified.) Which means covid is at least 1000 times deadlier than the vax. I’ve been telling this to antivaxers in online comments; never hear from them again.

  27. Problem is, beyond religious exemptions, there are exempt groups
    specifically mentioned by Biden: illegal immigrants, USPS workers, Congress and Congressional staff.

    Additionally, there are groups that seem likely to not be forced to comply with Biden’s mandate: New York Teachers’ Union members (who, as reported by Spectrum News, have an option for the unvaccinated) and Afghan evacuees (since they were deemed exempt from COVID testing).

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