Scholars argue in new study released on February 1 that current vaccine policies may lead to social polarization and multilayered global backlash.
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A group of nine highly qualified academics published a pre-print study (read below) detailing a slew of very bad consequences resulting from experimental COVID-19 vaccination requirements, passports, and anti-discrimination measures based on immunisation status.
The book “The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: Why Mandates, Passports, and Segregated Lockdowns May Cause More Harm Than Good” was published on February 1 and was written by scholars from Johns Hopkins University, Oxford, Harvard, the University of Washington, and other institutions with expertise in public health, epidemiology, bioethics, statistics, paediatrics, and law.
“Current population-wide mandatory vaccine policies are scientifically questionable, ethically problematic, and misguided,” says this group of academics.
“Restricting people’s access to work, education, public transport, and social life based on COVID-19 vaccination status impinges on human rights, promotes stigma and social polarization, and adversely affects health and well being.”
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Despite some encouraging outcomes from the immunisation programmes, the authors note that the injections had “significant waning effectiveness against infection (and transmission) at 12 to 16 weeks, with both Delta and Omicron variants.” The scientific foundation for vaccination programmes, as well as the reality that “little quantitative evidence of the threat the unvaccinated pose to high-risk individuals,” becomes “increasingly questionable.”
The experts note that vaccination mandates and passport requirements “do not seem to recognize the extreme risk differential across populations and, in many countries, ignore the protective role of prior infection.”
In addition, such vaccine policies “include elements that are punitive, discriminatory and coercive, including conditioning access to health, work, travel and social life on vaccination status in many settings.”
The report cites research that show such policies “are likely to entrench distrust,” “induce a net decrease in inclination to vaccinate,” and induce “a motivation to counter an unreasonable threat to one’s freedom.”
Health authorities and media provide ‘misleading’ information
The authors demonstrated how “[i]ncomplete or misleading information by health authorities and the media” led widespread public bewilderment and distrust. The Globe Health Organization and governments throughout the world stated in 2020 that injections of these investigational medications would not be mandated, “only to shift positions in mid-2021.”
Furthermore, original claims that the COVID-19 vaccinations would protect those who were injected from contracting the virus were later proven to be false, with significant rates of “breakthrough” infections among the vaccinated (74 percent) compared to the unprotected including hospitalizations.
“Concerns about safety signals and pharmacovigilance [from sources like VAERS] have been furthered by the lack of full transparency in COVID-19 clinical trial data,”according to the report. This is also true of “shifting data on adverse effects such as blood-clotting,” myocarditis, and menstrual periods.
‘Stigma as a public health strategy’ including ‘inflammatory rhetoric’ and ‘scapegoating’
The authors claimed that public health and political authorities used “Stigma as a public health strategy” by singling out the unvaccinated for “scapegoating, blaming, and condescending language using pejorative terms, and actively promoting stigma and discrimination as tools to increase vaccination.”
They use comments from leaders of state to demonstrate their point, such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who termed unvaccinated people “extremists who don’t believe in science” who are “often misogynists [and]… racists.”President Emmanuel Macron of France stated that he’s “pissing them off even more,” while Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that the unvaccinated were “endangering their health, those around them and the freedom of every Israeli citizen.”
Such harmful political language has “become socially acceptable among many vaccinated persons and pro-vaccine groups, as well as the public at large,” according to the authors. “The effect is to further polarize society – physically and psychologically – with limited discussion as to the reasons why people may remain unvaccinated.”
The researchers concluded that using “stigma as a public health strategy… is likely to be practically ineffective at promoting vaccine uptake,” citing a study published in The Lancet by Günter Kampf.
They also stated that “[u]nvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals often have concerns that are based in some form of evidence,” including “prior COVID-19 infection, data on age-based risk, [and] historic/current trust issues with public health and governments, including structural racism,” according to the researchers.
“Personal experiences,” such as adverse drug reactions, or “concerns about the democratic process,” such as the “belief that governments have abused their power by invoking a constant state of emergency, ignoring processes of public consultation, and over-relying on pharmaceutical company-produced data in their decision-making,” may also be reasons for not taking the injections.
The author said “Current inflammatory rhetoric runs against the pre-pandemic societal consensus that health behaviors … should not impact the way medical, cultural, or legal institutions treat an individual seeking care.”
Nonetheless, some governments “are now imposing medical insurance fines or premiums on the unvaccinated, while medical staff and hospital administrators are considering using vaccination status as a triage protocol criterion.”
In absence of transparency, ‘alternate explanations’ emerge, including ‘micro-chips’
Data, according to the authors of the article, reveals “the importance of being transparent about negative vaccine information to increase trust,” and “when health authorities are not transparent, it can increase receptivity to alternate explanations.”
As a result, it can be seen that “‘conspiracy theories’ have become widely circulated, especially among unvaccinated people.” Some issues, for example “include adoption of implantable tracking devices (including micro-chips), digital IDs, the rise of social credit systems, and the establishment of authoritarian biosurveillance governments.”
The academics remarked, “Paradoxically, the COVID-19 pandemic happens to coincide with far-reaching technological advances that do provide the capability for new and future forms of mass state surveillance.”
“Biocompatible intradermal devices” and “multifunction implantable microchips” are examples of such technology. When these possibilities are combined with vaccination passport regulations “as well as censorship by social media companies” will likely “reinforce and exacerbate suspicion and distrust.”
Vaccine mandates and passports ‘a tool for authoritarian behavior’
“COVID-19 vaccine policies represent a broad interference with the rights of unvaccinated people,” the scholars say in response to the loss of civil freedoms.
“Vaccine passports risk enshrining discrimination based on perceived health status into law, undermining many rights of healthy individuals,” the authors said. In fact “unvaccinated but previously infected people will generally be at substantially less risk of infection (and severe outcomes) than doubly vaccinated but infection-naïve individuals.”
This was the situation for top-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic, who was deported on the eve of the Australian Open last month despite having recovered from COVID-19. “The explicit characterization of Mr. Djokovic as a threat to Australian ‘civil order and public health’ … underlines concerns of vaccine mandates and passports as a tool for authoritarian behavior,” the researchers said.
Ethical principle of informed consent displaced by aggressive coercion
The writers shifted their focus to the erosion of informed consent after discussing the strong political divisiveness caused by vaccination policies, the privacy abuses linked with passports, and major infringement of human rights, notably the right to work.
They added, “Informed consent in standard healthcare settings requires that a person’s decision to undertake a health treatment be voluntary, and that the person receive adequate information about the comparative risks and benefits and can weigh these with their individual circumstances. Voluntariness is considered undermined by undue influence, duress, threats of harm, and coercion.”
“Many policies clearly limit choice and the normal operation of informed consent,” and so constitute coercion. Some rules “attach very serious consequences to refusal, such as loss of employment and livelihoods, potentially resulting in poverty and inability to care for family.”
“Others are at first glance less restrictive (e.g., restricting access to bars, concerts, sports events, international travel, some healthcare settings), but can still lead to a significant exclusion from social life, thus creating pressure towards compliance.”
Many government leaders have “admitted that such policies are inherently designed to be coercive,” as when Macron stated his goal was to “piss off [the unvaccinated],” therefore “one can conclude that they not only limit, but largely disregard, the ethics of informed consent.”
‘Punitive’ vaccine policies ‘have failed,’ violate ‘constitutional and bioethical principles’
The authors concluded that “adoption of new vaccination status policies has provoked a multilayered global and local backlash, resistance and polarization that threaten to escalate if current policies continue.”
They added, “Denying individuals education, livelihoods, medical care, or social life unless they get vaccinated does not appear to coincide with constitutional and bioethical principles, especially in liberal democracies.”
For these reasons, the researchers conclude that “the scientific case for punitive COVID-19 vaccine policies, given the proprietary nature of our current vaccines, no longer fits with pre-pandemic bioethical norms and public health ethics.”
The authors stated that it is time to “to regain a focus on non-coercive public health measures,” such as transparency of data, “media independence, and public debate and scrutiny about COVID-19 vaccine policies.”
Read the study below: