Opposing Vaccine Mandates

 

America is learning to live with Covid. The Biden Administration and many corporations are pushing vaccine mandates, but America is pushing back.

Many government mandates have already been rescinded because too many firefighters and police officers were going to be terminated for refusing to be vaccinated. Many corporations have also walked back their mandates when they realized they wouldn’t have enough workers to keep the doors open. It’s great to be confident your workers won’t get sick, but you’ve still got to be able to provide the services the public needs. Missing from these mandates was scientific and common sense. If you’ve already had Covid, you’ve got natural immunity and you don’t need the vaccines. If you create a working environment where no one wants to work, you can’t keep your workers.

Once again, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking the lead in pushing back against government and corporate mandates. Earlier, DeSantis took action to prevent cruise ships in Florida from mandating vaccinations for all passengers. That decision is currently being challenged in the courts. This week he signed a quartet of bills that put new restrictions on vaccine mandates by employers. “We’re making sure that people have a right to earn a living,” DeSantis said. “We are respecting people’s individual freedom in this state.”

The bill was the product of a special legislative session called by the governor. The main bill, HB1B, bans vaccine mandates by local governments on employees. For private businesses, any vaccine requirements for workers must include exemptions for religious or medical reasons. Any worker who previously had Covid-19 is also exempt, as well as anyone who agrees to regular testing for Covid-19 and wearing protective gear.

The bill is a direct response to President Biden’s executive order imposing a vaccine requirement on businesses with more than 100 workers.(The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has since stayed the mandate’s enforcement.)

To be sure, DeSantis did not get everything he wanted in the bill. The new law expires in June 2023 and doesn’t help workers who were already subject to vaccine requirements by private businesses. Walt Disney World, the largest employer in Central Florida, required its workers to be inoculated earlier this year after negotiating with its unions. DeSantis has already filed suit against the Biden rule but wanted to go further with new state laws restricting vaccine mandates. The rule has already been temporarily stayed by a federal court in a separate case, and DeSantis has stated he believes it will be struck down.

The latest statistics show 196 million Americans or 71% of adults are fully vaccinated; 228 million or 82% are partly vaccinated. If you add in those who have survived a Covid infection and have natural immunity, the number of unvaccinated people without natural immunity is quite small. These “antivaxxers”, as they have become known, are unlikely to change their minds in the near future.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. appears to be the darling of the antivaxxers. He recently released a book, called The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accuses Dr. Fauci, Bill Gates, and Big Pharma of being partners in a $60 billion global vaccine scheme that flooded the world with propaganda exaggerating Covid’s dangers. It has become an instant Amazon bestseller. I’m no fan of Fauci or Gates, but I doubt Gates needs the money. And Big Pharma has its many detractors, but where would the world be now if not for the vaccines they have produced? We should not be surprised that Kennedy is an antivaxxer about Covid. He is the same Kennedy responsible for spreading lies about vaccines causing autism. We should also realize that being against vaccines is not a conservative ideology. Kennedy is a hard-left liberal.

With most of America vaccinated or having acquired natural immunity, it’s time to let people make up their own minds. I am definitely pro-vaccine – I’ve had three Pfizer shots and my wife has had 3 Moderna shots. I believe the government should encourage people to get vaccinated, but vaccine mandates violate our freedom to choose what’s best for us. Those who choose to refuse vaccination understand the risks – now let them make their own decisions.

(Disney suspended their vaccine mandate shortly after Governor DeSantis signed the bill.)

The Control Pandemic

 

Since early 2020, the world has been experiencing a pandemic due to the novel coronavirus we now call SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19. This has claimed the lives of 767,433 Americans and 5,126,415 people worldwide according to the Johns Hopkins Corona Virus Resource Center.

Naturally, this has brought changes to our world we have all become accustomed to living with, including wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent use of hand sanitizers. Most Americans have received vaccinations from a variety of vaccines including those produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. In other countries many other vaccines are being used with varying effectiveness.

I’ve just returned from a trip to Europe where I experienced the full impact of the changes Covid has brought to our world in a very personal way. In preparation for my trip, I had to prepare documentation far beyond the usual federal passport and travel documents. It was necessary to also produce documentation of vaccination more than two weeks before departure. I had to have a PCR Covid test performed less than 72 hours before departure with a written report of a negative test.

Since my trip was predominately to France, I needed a French Health Pass, which had to be obtained from a French government website where most of the information was only in French. I also needed a Certificate of International Travel, also only available from a French government website. Getting all this information in written documents took me most of a day and challenged me to the full extent of my computer expertise.

Finally prepared, I began my travel at the Orlando airport where the agent at check-in required my passport, proof of vaccination, and a negative Covid test. She was uninterested in my French Health Pass or Certificate of International Travel. She lamented that she had been turned into an immigration agent, not just an airline counter agent. Upon arrival in France, no one checked my documents until I embarked upon my river cruise ship.

The river cruise ship checked my passport, vaccination passport, and the results of the Covid test. They too were uninterested in the French Health Pass or Certificate of International Travel. However, they did declare my negative Covid test invalid since it was obtained 80 hours before arrival on their ship. They promptly tested me again and, thankfully, found me still negative!

Over the next 16 days I was tested daily for Covid with a saliva test each morning. Counting the test performed before departure and the one upon arrival, that makes 18 Covid tests in 20 days! All were negative. The experience of my co-travelers on the ship was similar. We were all tested daily, all fully vaccinated, and yet all required to wear masks in the presence of others, including excursions whether on buses or by foot, indoors or outdoors. To be sure, many of us were non-compliant at times when we thought we could get away with it!

Upon my return flight preparation, I was informed I would need a Netherlands Transit Form filled out since my flight plans passed through Amsterdam. I dutifully downloaded this form from the Netherlands’ website, then had to get help printing the form since the onboard computer had no printer. The form required my signature. When I got to the airport, the French counter agent wasn’t really interested in that form, but said they would check it in Amsterdam. But he informed me I would also need a similar form for reentry into the United States. As it turned out, no one in Amsterdam or the U.S. ever asked for these forms.

Those who have chosen to avoid vaccination for Covid are seeing their world shrink rapidly. It is currently impossible to fly internationally without proof of vaccination. It is also unlikely you will be able to take a cruise anytime in the near future. Failure to wear masks on airplanes is being treated as a federal offense, literally, and I wouldn’t be surprised if even domestic airlines insist on vaccination soon. In truth, airplanes represent one of the safest ways to travel, not only for their excellent safety records, but also because their air filtration systems rival the best operating room suites. Wearing masks on airplanes makes no sense at all, especially if you have been vaccinated.

All this lacks scientific credibility. It is more about control. The Covid pandemic has given those who seek control a golden opportunity to restrict our freedoms. This is mostly seen in local, state, and federal governments, in this country and world-wide. It is also being seen increasingly in private corporations, mostly out of concerns about diminishing profits and liability issues. But one has to wonder if these corporations are actually sacrificing profits in the name of virtue signaling, government cooperation, or heightened liability concerns. Our river cruise ship was only two-thirds full when the usual situation is packed cruises well in advance. Government officials may also suffer the consequences of these restrictions of our freedom in the next election.

Fear makes people compliant. We saw this dramatically after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. People were mostly willing to give up some privacy in the name of tracking down terrorists so the Bush administration easily justified the Patriot Act. Today we are seeing this in response to the Covid pandemic. Many fearful people willingly submit to even unscientific government policies such as wearing face masks even outdoors in vaccinated people!

Fear generally makes people do things, or accept things, they normally would not tolerate. We must all consider this in the coming days as wearing masks becomes an acceptable norm in society world-wide. But fear is not of God. The Bible offers comfort, whether you favor the Old Testament or the New Testament:

Isaiah 41:10“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

II Timothy 1:7 – “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.”

 

Technology Improvements Change Roe v. Wade Debate

Science often lags behind in discovering the truth. The truth has always been there, but it may take time for scientists to learn that truth. There is no better example of this than the debate over when life begins.

In 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), the scientific technology of ultrasound was poorly developed. Pro-abortion activists were able to convince most people that life didn’t begin until a baby was born. Ultrasound was still in its infancy and couldn’t be relied upon to show life in the womb. Justice Harry Blackman was able to say that at that “point in the development of man’s knowledge,” there was simply no consensus about when life begins. In other words, the fetus could not be said with any certainty to be alive and therefore wasn’t worthy of legal protection.

As I look back on my own medical education, which began in 1975, I was taught by my medical school faculty that life begins at conception. There was no debate about that. We were taught that once conception happened, the only thing needed for the next nine months was a womb that provided nourishment and protection. We didn’t need a fancy ultrasound to tell us a baby was growing in the mother’s womb. The only debate concerned the morality of doctors aborting that baby, no matter when it occurred.

But the ambiguity of the viability of those growing cells in the womb allowed liberals to justify abortion on the grounds that “it isn’t really a baby.”

No more. Science has now caught up to the truth. New ultrasound technology is so good it gives us 3D images of that growing baby. Grazie Pozon Christie is a diagnostic radiologist who shares her experiences with modern ultrasound in The Wall Street Journal. This is especially important given that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenges a new Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks. Dr. Christie has written an amicus brief urging the justices to rethink Roe, a case premised on a claim about science that is obsolete. She is joined by two other female physicians, a neonatologist and an obstetrician, who also value their youngest patients, believing that whether inside their mothers or born, premature or full term, they are worthy of respect and protection.

Dr. Christie tells us the first ultrasound machines were introduced in 1958. The machines were enormous, the images rudimentary. It wasn’t until the late 1970s (after the Roe decision) that fetal ultrasound became widely available, with increasingly detailed images of recognizably human babies. Black-and-white ultrasound images are now found on refrigerator doors of expectant parents across America. New 3D images have put a human face on the person once dehumanized as a mere clump of cells.

Perfectly apparent now to the justices sitting on today’s SCOTUS, as well as the public, are the liveliness and humanity of babies at 15 weeks gestation – the age at which Mississippi proposes to protect them from elective termination. Dr. Christie tells us these fetuses on average are 6.4 inches long and weigh 4.1 ounces. They have the proportions of a newborn – seemingly all head and rounded belly. The major organs are formed and functioning, and although the child receives nutrients and oxygen through the mother’s umbilical cord, the fetal digestive, urinary and respiratory systems are practicing for life outside the womb.

The sex of the child is easy to discern by this point. The baby swallows and even breathes, filling the lungs with amniotic fluid and expelling it. The heart is fully formed, its four chambers working hard, with the delicate valves opening and closing. A healthy baby at 15 weeks is an active baby. Unless the child is asleep, kicking and arm-waving are commonly seen during ultrasound evaluations. The fetal spine is a marvel of intricacy, and it is most often gently curved as the fetus rests against the mother’s uterine wall.

At 15 weeks, the brain’s frontal lobes, ventricles, and thalamus fill the oval-shaped skull. The baby’s profile is endearing in its petite perfection: gently sloping nose, distinct upper and lower lips, eyes that open and close. With the advent of 3D ultrasound, we can now see the fetal face in all its detail.

It is undeniable that a human baby is growing in the womb of a mother at 15 weeks gestation and the justices of the SCOTUS must face that reality. It is no longer acceptable for them to take the same view as Justice Blackman did in 1973. To paraphrase his words today, “we have arrived at a much different point in the development of man’s knowledge about life in utero.” Dr. Christie says, “The Supreme Court’s judgement should reflect that advancement and put an end to the casual cruelty of unfettered abortion.” I certainly agree.