In December 2020, then-President-elect Joe Biden told Americans he didn’t think vaccines should be mandatory. He has since changed his mind.
Last month, he asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency order for employers to develop and implement COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Some state and local governments have issued their own warrants. Many companies have not only placed demands on their employees, but now require vaccines from their customers.
To avoid this madness, and the growing contempt for others that it engenders, I introduced the Vaccine Passport Prevention Act. Meanwhile, courageous Republican governors like Greg Gianforte of Montana and Greg Abbott of Texas have banned vaccine passports and certain vaccine requirements. Unfortunately, the rhetoric has become increasingly confrontational, marginalizing the concerns of those skeptical about the idea of ââreceiving a coronavirus vaccine.
Recently, a voter asked about reluctance to vaccinate: “If (they) are safe and effective, why shouldn’t they (they) be mandatory like many other vaccines?” Many people who support vaccines, and have taken them, oppose the warrants, but why are so many people opposing them right now?
Here are some of the most common objections shared with me.
Natural immunity. The question of natural immunity represents an important part of the objections. Normally, recovering from a communicable disease is recognized as conferring immunity. No vaccine required. Several studies, including this one from Israel (https://www.science.org/content/article/having-sars-cov-2-once-confers-much-greater-immunity-vaccine-vaccination-remains-vital), show that recovery from COVID-19 confers measurable protection against serious infections.
Those who have recovered from COVID-19 should be treated like those who have recovered from chickenpox. The CDC does not currently recommend the chickenpox vaccine for those who have proof of immunity against disease. Even nanny states like Italy, with strict vaccine passport laws, recognize that natural immunity confers protections and “counts “as a complete vaccination. Resistance to recognition of natural immunity to COVID-19 in the United States is inconsistent with other vaccination policies.
Risk according to age. The debate over the danger COVID-19 poses to children has also added to the confusion. At first, epidemiologists hypothesized that children were at a lower risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. Further research has confirmed that the risk to children is low. This goes a long way to justifying parents who have had to fight teacher unions and school districts who have tried to keep children out of the classroom.
Likewise, there are concerns about the rare side effects of vaccines that have been observed in children. While these side effects are not widespread, they are real and when weighed against the risk COVID-19 presents to children, it is understandable that some parents do not want to give their children this particular vaccine. .
Health and privacy. Health issues have always been protected by privacy laws and can normally qualify for exemptions. The Fourth Amendment has taken a beating over the past few decades, but until now healthcare has been seen as something between you and your doctor. People who are immunocompromised and those with certain genetic dispositions should not have to disclose these conditions to justify their choice not to receive the vaccine.
Disclosure and Liability. A lot of people want to see the disclosure and manufacturer liability data before they take it. Same Vice President Kamala Harris expressed doubts about how quickly vaccines were developed and – before he took office – publicly shared his own doubts about the injections.
Most of the evidence indicates that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths when people contract the virus. However, some may have questions about the ethics, method, timing, testing, or side effects of the vaccine. Because the FDA cleared the vaccines for emergency use, Americans were not given prior notice of confirmed reports of myocarditis and pericarditis occurring in people who were vaccinated. We all appreciate the importance of informed consent, but again, COVID-19 appears to present an exceptional case. The vaccine is too new to have the same extensive research that supports other required vaccines such as the MMR vaccine, chickenpox, and polio. Nevertheless, for these well-established vaccines there are religious, conscientious and health-related exemptions. Until recently, these exemptions were not controversial.
Comparable data. CDC data shows that a majority of Americans have already been vaccinated. Additionally, if the CDC has joined other countries in counting the estimated 120 million plus Americans who have recovered from COVID-19 (acquisition of natural immunity) to accurately represent the COVID immunity of states- United, America’s progress towards herd immunity is far better than the vaccination rate currently reported by CDC: 65.1% with at least one dose, 56.2% fully vaccinated. Even this number is intentionally low by reflecting all people rather than just adults.
It’s time for us as Americans to appreciate the access we have to vaccines, quality health care, and the freedom to speak privately with your own doctor about what’s right for you. It’s time to restore our way of life and rebuild our struggling economy. Let’s stay calm, respect our neighbors and defend freedom.
Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election in June 2016 and represents the 8th Congressional District of Ohio. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, he served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, The Old Guard and the 101st Airborne Division.