By Brian C. Joondeph, M.D.
American Thinker January 19, 2022
Vaccine mandates are one of many stifling measures brought on by the ongoing COVID pandemic, a consequence of those trying to “follow the science” and doing anything but or of government and bureaucrat officials using the opportunity to flex their authoritarian muscles. Whether they serve a useful societal function is an open question.
The CDC website cites a book chapter by research scholars Kevin Malone and Alan Hinman that describes vaccine mandates as a means of “drastically reducing infectious diseases in the United States.” Mandates present a challenge “when societal interest conflicts with the individual’s interest.” With vaccine mandates, there is the assumption that “Increased immunization rates result in significantly decreased risk for disease.”
According to the chapter,
Although no remaining unimmunized individual can be said to be free of risk from the infectious disease, the herd effect generated from high immunization rates significantly reduces the risk for disease for those individuals. Additional benefit is conferred on the unimmunized person because avoidance of the vaccine avoids the risk for any adverse reactions associated with the vaccine. As disease rates drop, the risks associated with the vaccine come even more to the fore, providing further incentive to avoid immunization. Thus, when an individual in this common chooses to go unimmunized, it only minimally increases the risk of illness for that individual, while conferring on that person the benefit of avoiding the risk of vaccine induced side effects.
Herd immunity, a term that can get one banned from social media and polite society, is the key. Both vaccines and natural infection can achieve herd immunity. Once herd immunity is reached, the risk-benefit ratio pivots from less benefit for every last person being vaccinated to more risk from vaccine adverse effects. This is the logical way infectious diseases have been approached in the past, until COVID apparently changed relatively settled science regarding vaccines, masks, distancing, and mandates.
The above premise assumes that the vaccine in question prevents contracting and transmitting the underlying infectious disease. Or as the chapter describes, “An important characteristic of most vaccines is that they provide both individual and community protection.”
Are the COVID vaccines providing both individual and community protection? If they are, then a case may be made for vaccine mandates although that is debatable. If not, then such mandates make no sense.
An excellent person to ask is Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, the largest COVID vaccine maker. In a recent Yahoo Finance interview, Bourla let the cat out of the vaccine bag,
And we know that the two doses of the vaccine offer very limited protection, if any. The three doses, with the booster, they offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths—and, again, that’s, I think, very good—and less protection against the infection.
“Limited protection if any,” is not a strong endorsement. It’s a polite way of saying two doses of the vaccine don’t work as previously described and promised. And with a booster, the protection becomes “reasonable.” He didn’t say robust or excellent, only reasonable, meaning that there is limited benefit. And it’s a benefit to the individual, not to other people.
An umbrella provides “limited protection if any” in a hurricane and a raincoat offers “reasonable” protection but, in both cases, you will get soaked and blown around.