Vaccine Mandates and COVID-19
There is no public health justification to mandate a vaccine that does not prevent transmission of a virus.
I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and I have taken a booster. At the end of July, I caught the virus from someone who was also fully vaccinated. I wrote earlier this year that a vaccine mandate was not justified, and my own (thankfully mild) case of COVID-19 made my conviction stronger.
A year ago, I thought a vaccine mandate for COVID-19 was justified. We had already seen several hundred thousand casualties from the disease, and it was important to stop the spread through herd immunity. Then came Omicron and it was clear that the vaccines were not stopping the spread of the virus. The data indicates vaccines reduce the severity of the disease and prevent hospitalization or death, but they do not stop the spread.
Some would argue that the vaccines should be mandatory because they do protect against severe disease. But that was never the justification for a mandate, and has not been the justification for other vaccines such as measles, polio, pertussis and smallpox. These are public health measures designed to prevent transmission of disease, not decrease personal risk. Government has a role in preventing someone from sickening his neighbor, but the justification for mandates is much weaker when it comes to personal risk assessment.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a heavily politicized issue, and far too many people have developed a religious zeal for their preferred policies. This has long ago ceased to be something where we base policy on facts, risk and potential harm done by government policy. It has become a signal for one's politics. This does not reflect well on our society.
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