The following article was written by a medical doctor who has requested their name to be withheld to avoid repercussions to their job and career.
I think vaccines are good.
I’m grateful that I live in a time when I can go about my life without worrying about polio, diphtheria, and measles. Without question, we have vaccines to thank for this.
I am a parent. I had no hesitation in taking my children to receive the early childhood vaccines recommended by the Australian Government.
I’ve spent a good part of my professional life implementing public health policies and I’ve always seen vaccines as a valuable tool in the pursuit of public health.
I’m convinced that most vaccines are quite safe, and the side effects are uncommon.
Despite all this, the events of 2021 are sending chills down my spine.
On the 19th of August 2020, “liberal” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the as-yet undeveloped, entirely hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine would be “as mandatory as you could possibly make it”.
Fast forward one year, and Australian Federal and State Governments are implementing a compulsory COVID vaccine for all workers in aged care. Employers in various other sectors are pushing to impose the vaccine on their employees. Refusal will mean joining an unemployment queue already lengthened by revolving-door lockdowns in our major cities.
At least one judge in the United States has allowed convicts to take a vaccine in exchange for probation.
There is plenty of talk of “vaccine passports” being a future condition of partaking in ordinary activities of life: dining with friends in a restaurant, attending a concert or sporting match, watching a film at the cinema. This is exactly what has come to pass in France.
While political and corporate leaders implement such policies, there is a sizeable mob cheering them on from behind their keyboards.
Whether by force of law, threat of unemployment, fear of economic and social disadvantage, or plain old social stigma and shaming, relentless pressure is being applied to people to have a COVID vaccine. To one degree or another, we are creating a kind of apartheid, where a class of people will be permanently locked out of various privileges and opportunities.
Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that the COVID vaccines were developed in record time, partly because certain steps were skipped over, and other stages were completed in parallel rather than sequentially.
Let’s set aside the fact that the biological mechanism by which the available COVID vaccines work is completely novel, and very much unlike that of the tried and trusted vaccines that we and our children have previously received.
Let’s set aside the raft of side effects, some of them serious (including blood clotting in the brain, heart inflammation, and nerve paralysis), which came to light only after the health and scientific authorities assured us that the vaccines were “extensively tested”.
Let’s set aside the immense pressure on Governments to do anything to end the perpetual cycle of lockdowns, the social distancing, the school closures, the isolation from the world.
We are repeatedly assured that the serious risks are “rare”. This may be so. But let me ask you: how does it make you feel to consider that on any mathematical analysis using the most optimistic view of the risks, a few dozen Australians will have to suffer significant injury, permanent disability, or death, in order to lower your risk of catching COVID?
That those Australians may have hesitantly gone forward to take their vaccines, perhaps because not to do so would have meant losing a job, the ability to travel to family, or the ability to watch their child play footy?
Does your conscience allow you to gamble the well-being and the freedom of another human person in this way?
It is precisely because of this kind of moral question that there exists a human right to not be pressured or coerced into having a medical intervention. The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights¸ adopted by the UN in 2005, states:
Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice. (Emphases added.)
The meaning of this is clear. No vaccine, even one which is 100% safe (though there is of course no such thing) must ever be given under compulsion. No one must ever be pressured, in any way, to have a vaccine. No one must ever suffer any kind of loss for declining a vaccine.
Some will say that this is a special case. It’s a public health crisis. This is not about individuals, it is about the whole community. In this instance, the needs of society must take precedence. Well, the same Declaration also states:
The interests and welfare of the individual should have priority over the sole interest of science or society.
Once we step over this line, there is no going back. Once we deprive people of their right to say “no” to an intervention upon their body, the moral and legal precedent is set, and the door is opened to further abuses of human rights.
Today, we require certain groups of people to have a vaccine if they want to keep their job or attend a birthday party.
For the good of society.
Tomorrow, we may require certain groups of people (say, the mentally disabled, or those who already have four children) to be sterilised.
For the good of society.
The day after, we may require obese people to take weight loss pills, for their own good and to save on the expected long-term health care costs.
And then we may require people with mild psychiatric conditions to take their psychotropic medicines.
And then we may require certain pregnancies to be terminated.
And then we may require some people to give up a kidney. You know, to help out another person who desperately needs one.
And then we may require some elderly, demented people to depart this world, even when they need to be held down as they receive the “treatment”.
All for the good of society.
If you think that this is not a slope that our godless society can very easily and quickly slide down, you are ignorant of history and naïve about human nature.
The effectiveness of the vaccine is irrelevant. The safety of the vaccine is irrelevant. The duration of the pandemic is irrelevant. This is a matter of fundamental human rights; the basic right of every person to freely choose what is put into his or her own bloodstream.
Scott Morrison and other leaders do not believe in this human right. Do you?