“Ultimately, America’s paternalistic health providers should not ride roughshod over the legitimate, thoughtful concerns of their patients…”
Updated: August 11, 2021
Medical groups representing millions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers on Monday called for forced vaccinations of all U.S. health personnel against COVID-19, framing the move as a moral imperative.
“We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against covid-19,” the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and 55 other groups wrote in a joint statement shared with The Washington Post on Monday. “The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it,” the statement declared.
The joint statement claims the “primary way” out of the pandemic is through vaccination (many experts would disagree), and states healthcare workers have an ethical duty to put patients first and that means getting the jab.
The statement argues that mandated COVID vacation for healthcare workers is ethically indistinguishable from current workplace vaccinations requirements for influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis.
The groups’ statement caused a firestorm on social media and left many asking whether it is ethically justifiable to require a healthy person to take an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) vaccine that may result in the injury or death to that healthy person.
Medicine and Ethics: A Brief History
Historically, Western medical ethics is traced to guidelines placed on physicians in antiquity, such as the Hippocratic Oath, and early Christian teachings.
Fast forward to the 18th and 19th centuries, medical ethics emerged as a more self-conscious discourse. For example, in England, Thomas Percival, a physician and author, crafted the first modern code of medical ethics.
Toward the end of the 18th century, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant maintained that the ultimate moral principle, known as the categorical imperative, is to “Act as if the principle on which your action is based were to become by your will a universal law of nature.”
Kant insisted that no human should ever treat another human being as a means to an end no matter how good or desirable that end may appear.
But Kant was challenged by British philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.
Bentham and Mill contributed to an ethical and political doctrine known as utilitarianism, which holds that the rightness of a decision is judged by whether that decision promotes the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.
Following WWII, the argument that the creation of benefits for the many justifies the sacrifice of the few was largely scrapped. Instead, the scientific and medical community placed an emphasis on informed consent and human autonomy. These principles, codified in the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki, served as the guiding light in the decades to come.
The Morality of Mandated COVID Vaccines
Today, it seems the American health community is regressing to utilitarianism. But even under the utilitarian mode of medical ethics, philosophy (and legal) lines of reasoning must confront practical realities, and it’s the practical realities of this pandemic and the accompanying vaccines that make things ethically problematic for forced-vaxx advocates.
Here, I’ll address six practical realities that complicate the moral argument supporting forced vaccinations.
(1) Inaccurate Death Certificates & Flawed Testing
For starters, the government’s data surrounding the number of COVID cases is likely inaccurate, if not totally corrupted. This includes coroners reports and COVID testing.
In March of last year, the federal government changed the rules applicable to coroners and others responsible for producing death certificates and making “cause of death” determinations — exclusively for COVID-19.
The rule change states: “COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.”
Moreover, a series of studies, including the government’s own data, have shown the vast majority (90%+) of deaths listed as “COVID-19 deaths” involve an average of four additional comorbidities.
In addition to the death data, many have questioned the government’s testing numbers. In November of 2020, NPR reported the CDC knowingly allowed flawed coronavirus test kits to go to 100 or so public laboratories. The results of that final quality control test suggested the kits could fail 33% of the time.
Moreover, it now appears that the Real-Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, one of the most widely used COVID tests, is likely flawed, leading to a “shockingly high” rate (65%+) of false positive cases. Indeed, many manufacturer inserts furnished with PCR tests acknowledge as much, often including disclaimers like, “[t]he FDA has not determined that the test is safe or effective for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.”
Moreover, some have questioned the method by which PRC tests have been deployed. A PCR test amplifies samples through repetitive cycles. The lower the virus concentration in the sample, the more cycles are needed to achieve a positive result. Many US labs work with 35 to 45 cycles, while many European labs work with 30 to 40 cycles.
If the cycle rate is too high, the test picks up other things – such as viral debris– and is read as a positive test result for COVID, thus inflating the “positive” case numbers.
Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside, explained to the New York Times: “Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive. I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive. A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35.” According to the New York Times, up to 90% of positive tests at a cycle threshold of 40 would be negative at a ct of 30.
“That’s the concern that experts in this field have had all along is that they’re triggering false positives across the board when they’re running it [PCR testing] that high,” said Clifford Knopik, who holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science, a Masters in Information Systems. Knopik recently argued the COVID test results data that led to lockdowns in Washington state was “garbage.”
Julia Bach, a scientist, recently asserted that heavily reliance alone on PCR testing has led to the definition of “infected” being changed. In an interview with Alison Marrow, Bach asked why the standard of medical care shifted, noting that before 2020, a sample collected from someone suspected of being ill would have been set to a laboratory for further testing.
Bach explained, “So sending a test out for culture, confirms that not only is the microorganism present, that causes the illness, but that it’s actually active, it’s growing. So a PCR test can tell you whether a virus is present or absent…but it can’t tell you what condition that particular gene or microorganism is in.”
She continued by explaining that PCR testing alone cannot tell you if the the virus is replicating and able to infect you.
(2) Lack of Meaningful Informed Consent
Many medical and legal experts argue that healthcare providers are not providing full and complete informed consent regarding all risks and dangers associated with the COVID vaccines, as well as the potential options to the vaccines.
There’s no arguing that alternatives to vaccines, such as Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin have been suppressed and censored, not just in the social media context, but in the profession of medicine too. At the same time, Americans have been subjected to an aggressive, coordinated media campaign promoting the vaccines funded by the federal government with $1 billion.
Federal law holds that information regarding EUA vaccines should be freely and openly communicated in a way that the public can understand. But a recent study published in the JAMA reports that the “[e]xisting COVID-19 vaccine informed consent documents [from four major vaccine trials] were too long, difficult to read, and exceeded grade 9 in language complexity.”
In a tweet, Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor to mRNA technology, writes that while COVID-19 vaccines make sense for some, he supports full disclosure of the risks and free choice, but neither are currently “being met.” He continues, “…mandating vaccines is wrong.”
(3) COVID-19 Vaccines Are Likely Causing Harm
Further mudding the ethical waters is the real possibility that the COVID vaccines are, to some extent or another, are causing negative health effects. Typical vaccine development is complicated and can take more than a decade, but this process was discarded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s true that to date, about 339 million doses of COVID vaccines have been administered in the U.S., it’s also true the CDC has received substantially more death reports allegedly linked to the vaccine as compared to other vaccines on the market. This is evidenced by the government’s own data. Before the COVID vaccines, deaths from all vaccines combined per year was about 350,” writes Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.
The CDC’s revised data from Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) shows that between December 14, 2020 and July 19, 2020, the agency received slightly more than 6,200 reports of deaths after taking the vaccine.
Many have question the accuracy of the CDC’s vaccine death data, and a recent lawsuit brought by a doctor’s group and anonymous “whistleblower” alleges the true number of deaths linked to the vaccines is closer to 45,000.
Moreover, the total number of reported complications from the vaccines exceeds half-a-million (as of July 16, 2021), with more than 5,000 reports of people being “permanently damaged” as a result of receiving the jab.
VAERS reports are not conclusive proof that the vaccines caused a health problem. Serious observers would acknowledge that VAERS is far from a perfect reporting system and further investigation is needed to establish a causal link. But historical evidence shows fewer than one percent of all vaccine adverse events are reported to the CDC.
In late may, Steve Kirsch, a researcher, stated in a position paper that his examination, which he says was confirmed by three studies, concluded that possibly 25,800 Americans have died as a result of the vaccines.
A controversial study published last month reportedly showed lipid nanoparticles from the vaccine did not stay in the deltoid muscle where they were injected as the vaccine’s developers claimed would happen, but circulated throughout the body and accumulated in large concentrations in organs and tissues, including the spleen, bone marrow, liver, adrenal glands and — in “quite high concentrations” — in the ovaries.
Dr. Malone says it’s a “noble lie” to argue that COVID-19 vaccines are “perfectly safe” and are the only path to herd immunity.
(4) Current COVID-19 Vaccines May Lack Effectiveness
Another factor impacting the ethical issue of forced jabs is the question of whether the vaccines are truly effective at slowing or stopping the transmission of the virus. There’s an evidentiary basis to believe that even before the emergence of the COVID variants, the vaccines were not quite as effective as some were led to believe.
When studying the effectiveness of a medical intervention in randomized controlled trials, the effectiveness of a vaccine can and should be presented in two ways: Absolute Risk Reduction (“ARR”) and Relative Risk Reeducation (“RRR”).
ARR is considered by many experts to be the most useful way to present results to help in the policymaking process because it allows people to figure out exactly how many lives they’re likely to save.
ARR is the difference in risk for someone in the treatment group versus someone in the control group. For example, if 20 out of 100 untreated individuals had a negative outcome, and 10 out of 100 treated individuals had a negative outcome, the ARR would be 10% (20 – 10 = 10).
Because the ARR and RRR can be dramatically different in the same trial, it is necessary to include both measures when reporting efficacy outcomes to avoid outcome reporting bias. But with the COVID-19 vaccines, neither Pfizer/BioNTech nor Moderna reported ARR numbers.
According to an article published by the NIH, the ARR for the Pfizer Vaccine is a 0.7%, and the ARR for the Moderna Vaccine is only 1.1%.
From the ARR, one can calculate the Number Needed to Vaccinate (“NNV”), which tells bioresearches how many people must be jabbed before one person benefits from the vaccine.
According to numbers published in a Lancet comment, the NVV for the Pfizer Vaccine is 119, meaning that 119 people must be injected in order to observe the reduction of a COVID-19 case in just one person. By the way, that number could be as high as 217.
The NNV data shows 81 for the Moderna–NIH, 78 for the AstraZeneca–Oxford, 108 for the Gamaleya, and 84 for J&J.
Thus, while the public heard the much touted “97% effective” figure, most people were unaware that the ARR and NNV numbers painted a slightly different picture. Why wasn’t the public given the full-context?
Moreover, as Alex Berenson has noted, even if we assume the vaccines are highly effective on the front-end, there’s a growing body of evidence that shows the jabs, including those offered in the US, may become significantly less effective within just a few months after injection.
Israel’s health ministry said in a statement last week that it had seen efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine drop from more than 90% (RRR) to about 64% as the Delta variant spread.
(5) Natural Immunity to COVID-19 Is Real & May Be Long-lasting
A bevy of medical studies show that those with preexisting immunity have long lasting and robust natural immunity to COVID.
A recent Cleveland Clinic study reports natural immunity acquired through prior infection with COVID-19 is stronger than any benefit conferred by a vaccine, rendering vaccination unnecessary for those previously infected. “Not one of the 1359 previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated had a SARS-CoV-2 [COVID] infection over the duration of the study,” the researchers reported. The study concludes that people who have had COVID-19 are “unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination…”
A comparative study “questioned the need to vaccinate previously-infected individuals” and noted that previously infected individuals had 96.4% immune protection from COVID-19, versus 94.4% in those injected with the vaccine.
(6) Conscientious Objectors Should Be Respected
A finally factor that’s flown under the radar are the sincerely-held concerns surrounding the process used to manufacture the vaccines.
While the production of the vaccines did not require any new abortions, a number of faith-based moralists argue receiving the COVID vaccines is a “benefit from ill-gotten gains,” an unjust exploitation of the unborn.
Whether the objectors’ theological position is correct (the Pope disagrees) is a debate for another day. But there’s no questioning they are sincere in their beliefs.
It’s Far From Moral Certainty that Mandated COVID Vaccines Are Ethical
In sum, the case for forced COVID vaccinations is weaken by the practical realities. To be sure, much about this pandemic remains unknown. But the evidence suggests the vaccines may produce health complications (including death) in some while failing to keep their promise to stop the transmission of the virus. Moreover, the natural immunity obtained by those previously infected with COVID is real and possibly long-lasting. All of this, combined with the flawed underlying data on COVID-positive cases, plus the unknown long-term effects of the vaccines, makes arguments appealing to “the greatest good for the greatest number” highly suspect.
Americans of all stripes should agree that even in a public health emergency, patients should receive full disclosure regarding all the risks and benefits of any medical intervention.
Ultimately, America’s paternalistic health providers should not ride roughshod over the legitimate, thoughtful concerns of their patients, including those who object to the technology used to produce the COVID vaccines. It’s time for our healthcare providers to restore the public’s trust by showing their commitment to the sacred principles of informed consent and human autonomy.