The following article from the Brownstone Institute
Medical ethics is about protecting society from medical malfeasance and the self-interest of the humans whom we trust to manage health. It is therefore disturbing when prominent people, in a prominent journal, tear up the concept of medical ethics and human rights norms. It is worse when they ignore broad swathes of evidence, and misrepresent their own sources to do so.
On July 8th 2022, The Lancet published a ‘Viewpoint’ article online: “Effectiveness of vaccination mandates in improving uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in the USA.” The article, which acknowledges the controversial nature of vaccine mandates, primarily concludes that coercing people to take a medical product, and reducing options for refusal, increases product uptake.
It further concludes that the best way to implement such mandates is for employers and educational institutions to threaten job security and the right to education.
The use of coercion goes against the established ethics and morals of Public Health, and could be argued to be anti-health. In this case, the article justifies it by stating that “the current evidence regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in adults is sufficient to support mandates.” However, it offers scant evidence to back this assertion, and ignores all evidence to the contrary. They apparently consider the ability to work and support a family, or gain formal education, as something that is to be granted or taken away, not a human right.
The Lancet was once a credible journal with a rigorous policy of peer review. However, in this article it appears to have dropped its former standards, promoting medical fascism (coercion, threat and division to achieve compliance with authority) without insisting on a rigorous evidence base to justify such an approach. This suggests an attempt to normalize such approaches in mainstream public health.
Past experience has shown us where fascism behind a façade of public health can lead. The sterilization campaigns aimed at coloured and low-income populations of the US Eugenicist era, and the extensions of similar programs under Nazism in 1930s and 1940s Europe, relied heavily on the normalization of such approaches.
Leading public health voices from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and other institutions championed a public health approach of sanitizing populations rather than environments, encouraging the idea of a tiered society where health ‘experts’ determine the rights and medical management of those deemed less worthy.
Avoiding the discomfort of evidence
The authors of this Lancet paper, ranging from academics and medical consultants to the daughter of a prominent politician, attempt to rewrite human rights in medicine as if precedent never existed. Their argument for coercion in mass vaccination recognizes that ‘vaccine mandates,’ whether issued by governments, employers or schools, all involve a loss of rights. No serious attempt is made to provide a medical justification for mass vaccination with a non-transmission-blocking vaccine.
The paper focuses on the premise that coercion, commonly considered a form of force, makes humans do things they would not otherwise do. Banning fellow humans from making their own health choices on pain of loss of normal participation in society has an impact on increasing vaccine uptake. This is hardly a revelation to any thinking human, but clearly important enough to justify publication in The Lancet.
The article links to evidence of vaccine mandates used for state school entry that show higher compliance when the right of religious and personal belief exemption is removed, or where onerous requirements for exemptions are put in place. Leaving ethical questions aside, the obvious lack of similarity between the authors’ predicate childhood vaccinations that block transmission and COVID-19 vaccines that have minimal impact on transmission, and may even promote it, is ignored. The one mandated adult vaccine predicate referenced in the article, the influenza vaccine, provides only a 2.5% reduction in pneumonia ‘when the (mandated) vaccine was well matched to circulating strains’ in the reference quoted.
When raising the sacking of non-vaccinated workers, the authors seem comfortable with the approach but coy in admitting its consequences. Their admission that “a few large US employers have terminated hundreds of workers for non-compliance references an article in Money magazine which actually paints a bleaker picture, characterizing it as a ‘great resignation.’