I have said and written in the past that taking a COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory. I no longer believe that. Herd immunity is indeed the best way to put the pandemic behind us, but the data over the last nine months has proven that the vaccines are not nearly as effective at preventing infections as advertised. People vaccinated against COVID-19 can still get the disease, and can pass it to each other. Even if we got to 100% vaccination status, COVID-19 would still be spreading.
Let me be clear: I am still very pro-vaccine. The vaccines are still tremendously effective at reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death. And while the risk of infection is by no means eliminated, the vaccines still reduce the risk of infection. I would strongly encourage people to get vaccinated if they are of advanced age or have health issues that increase the risks of COVID-19.
Sometimes, mandates are appropriate. There is a strong public-health interest in mandating vaccinations for some diseases, especially if vaccinations almost completely eliminate the risk of infection. At this time, the vaccines we have for COVID-19 do not do that. If vaccinated people are spreading the virus to each other - and they are - the primary justification for a government-mandated vaccine at the state or local level is crippled if not destroyed outright. Unless we get a vaccine that is dramatically more effective at preventing infection, government should not mandate vaccinations.
Private business, however, should be allowed to do as they please for the health of their customers and employees. In our free-market economy, we should allow private businesses to make their own decisions.
The hysteria over vaccinations has become absurd. Dana Milbank says that those who refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine are part of a "death cult." Keep in mind that the survival rate for COVID-19 for anyone 50 or under is 99.98%. The survival rate for people between 50 and 70 is still above 99%. I have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since May 2021. Those who do not make the same choice I did are not part of a "death cult." The idea that someone who does not want to take a vaccine for a disease with a 99% survival rate is part of a "death cult" is completely ridiculous.
Look, here is the bottom line: The pandemic is over. COVID-19 has become endemic. It will never go away, and people like Anthony Fauci who are pursuing a "zero COVID" strategy are on a fool's errand. What is worse is that Fauci and many others know this is impossible, but are still holding onto this fantasy for political reasons. It is deeply irresponsible and dishonest.
The vaccines are out there. Anyone who wants a vaccine can get one totally free of charge. If you choose to get vaccinated, that is your choice. It does not affect me one way or the other and I have no right to tell you what to do. We have the ability to protect the most vulnerable and there is no longer any reason to lock down the economy. The virus will never go away, and we have to learn to live with it. But people like President Biden and Dr. Fauci are determined to keep the "pandemic" going to enhance their own power and prestige, and to demonize political opponents. This must be stopped.