Tag Archives: Vaccine Hesitancy

Coercion and the Covid-19 Vaccines

Are you keen to be among the first people to try out one of the new Covid-19 vaccines? Or would you prefer to wait and see how these vaccines affect the ‘early adopters’ before deciding? 

Well, you may not be allowed the choice to hang back. We are seeing the beginnings of a campaign that will threaten to make life so difficult for anyone who doesn’t agree to be vaccinated that it amounts to making it compulsory.

The signs are all about us: Quantas (the Australian national airline) warned this week that it expects to allow only passengers who can prove they have been vaccinated onto international flights. 

In the USA, the New York State Bar Association passed a resolution urging the state to consider enforcing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. The group’s task force on COVID-19 said people should be made to have the vaccine, even if they object for “religious, philosophical or personal reasons.”

Meanwhile in England, Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health) has refused to rule out making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory, suggesting ministers could make it a requirement if initial take-up is lower than expected. The Health Secretary said the Government was not “proposing” a legal requirement for people to be vaccinated because some would be unable to have a jab due to medical reasons – but he added he has “learnt not to rule things out”. 

Professor Julian Savulescu, whom I have had cause to mention here before in connection with his advocacy of eugenics, has described an algorithm for justified mandatory vaccination. He says that penalties or costs could be imposed on people who refuse the vaccine, including withholding of benefits, imposition of fines, provision of community service or loss of freedoms. He also argues that people “should be paid to do the right thing”, eg parents should be paid for getting their children to be immunised or workers should be paid for having the jab. This doesn’t strike me as a very ethically sound proposition from the holder of the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford.

Fresh from culling 17 million mink, on Tuesday 17 November the Danish government finished considering a new law giving itself extended powers to respond to epidemics. Parts of this law propose that:

  • People infected with dangerous diseases can be forcibly given medical examination, hospitalised, treated and placed in isolation.
  • The Danish Health Authority would be able to define groups of people who must be vaccinated in order to contain and eliminate a dangerous disease.
  • People who refuse the above can – in some situations – be coerced through physical detainment, with police allowed to assist.

While here in the UK, according to an article by Rosalind English on the UK Human Rights Blog

“In July 2020 a group of philosophy and law academics presented written evidence to Parliament proposing that individuals should undergo vaccination as a condition of release from pandemic-related restrictions on liberty, including on movement and association. The authors of the report base this proposal on two “parity arguments”:

a. If Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ measures are compatible with human rights law, then it is arguable that compulsory vaccination is too (lockdown parity argument);
b. If compulsory medical treatment under mental health law for personal and public protection purposes is compatible with human rights law, then it is arguable that compulsory vaccination is too (mental health parity argument).

They contend that there is “an arguable case” for the compatibility of compulsory vaccination with human rights law.”

Well, one can always rely on academics and philosophers to find arguments in support of tyranny; but in England, medical treatment without consent, including vaccination, is prohibited by the criminal law on assault, which could even be construed as grievous bodily harm if the consequences of the treatment are serious.

So, knowing this, it seems likely that the government will be instead relying on pressure exerted by all those organisations with whom we normally interact, such as shops, pubs, restaurants, health centres, airlines, sporting venues, theatres, etc, to act for them by disrupting the lives of anyone who has doubts about being vaccinated. 

As John Gapper in the Financial Times of 28/29th November put it in an article headlined ‘Those who are inoculated deserve more freedom’:

“…governments that do not make vaccination compulsory themselves will be tacitly relying on companies and organisations to do it for them. It will force the latter to make unpopular decisions but they should be allowed, even encouraged, to protect customers and employees from harm.” 

Gapper speculates that: “Offices and public venues may scan mobile phone apps that link the proof of vaccination or a negative test to digital identities before letting people in. National passports are only needed occasionally for travel, but ‘immunity passports’ could intrude into everyday lives.”

It’s therefore clear that in the near future, if we want to enter shops, drink in a pub or have a meal in a restaurant, attend a sporting event, see a play or concert, go to work in an office, visit a doctor or hospital, travel abroad via ship or plane or even just get on a train or bus, then we will have to have the jab – or normal life cannot be carried on. 

This now seems to be deliberate government strategy. Nadhim Zahawi, who on 28th November was appointed by Boris Johnson as Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment at the Department of Health & Social Care, confirmed in a radio interview on 30th November that it will become virtually impossible to lead a normal life if you don’t have the vaccination. He warned that many businesses were likely to require proof of the jabs once they become available, in the same way they now ask customers to check-in using QR codes. He admitted ministers were looking at so-called ‘immunity passports’ on the NHS Covid-19 app as a way to provide evidence of vaccination. Asked if that meant people who did not have a vaccination would be severely restricted in what they could do, the minister said: ‘I think people have to make a decision.”

Yet despite the threats of punitive action, governments around the world are clearly worried that not many people will want to get vaccinated. Simon Kuper in the FT Magazine reports that between 43 and 50 per cent of the French populace say that they will probably or certainly refuse the vaccine. And here in the UK, a survey by market research company Kantar at the end of November found that 75 per cent of people in the UK were “likely” to accept a jab. But only 42 per cent said they would definitely do so, and “the hesitancy is growing”.

To try to counter such scepticism, the government and the NHS in England are drawing up expensive PR campaigns. According to The Guardian:

NHS bosses plan to enlist celebrities and “influencers” with big social media followings in a major campaign to persuade people to have a Covid vaccine amid fears of low take-up.

Ministers and NHS England are drawing up a list of “very sensible” famous faces in the hope that their advice to get immunised would be widely trusted, the Guardian has learned. 

Health chiefs are particularly worried about the number of people who are still undecided, and about vaccine scepticism among NHS staff. “There will be a big national campaign [to drive take-up,” said one source with knowledge of the plans. “NHS England are looking for famous faces, people who are known and loved. It could be celebrities who are very sensible and have done sensible stuff during the pandemic.”

This issue has a personal resonance for me, as I am one of those people who does not want to have the jab. There are many reasons why but here are just a few of them:

  • When I was 21 and wanted to visit the USA, it was mandatory to have a smallpox injection. It was fairly brutal to receive and was far from perfect; I had side effects serious enough to keep me off work for a week and I still have a small round scar from it on my upper arm. On the plus side, smallpox as a disease has now been eliminated around the world.
  • The smallpox vaccine had been around for many years but the new Covid-19 vaccines are being rushed out without the normal routine of tests. Leaving aside the dispiriting spectacle of crony capitalists rushing to make fat profits from vaccination, as well as Judith von Halle’s eminently sensible observation that “Humanity’s way of thinking has become so corrupt that it can no longer even realise how absurd it is that production of medicines is subject to financial interests,” we should note that Big Pharma has been given blanket immunity by health policymakers around the world. In order to get drug manufacturers to invest in research and development, it seems necessary to allow them complete freedom from accountability – so that they can’t be sued when people are hurt by their vaccines. This is a dream come true for drug company executives – billions of dollars are being funnelled their way, prototype vaccines are being pushed past administrative red tape and over licensing hurdles and clinical trials are being fast-tracked – but when one of these vaccines arrives, remember that if anything goes wrong, you will not be able to sue for any side effect, known or unknown.
  • Dozens of new prototypes for vaccines are being trialled and among these are some which use techniques that have never been tried before. I don’t pretend to understand what Messenger RNA is, for example, but Bill Gates, (who has invested $10 billion dollars in global vaccines over the past two decades and has said that he expects to get a 20-fold return on his money), thinks mRNA as being produced by Moderna will be a winner “because it’s much faster to manufacture” and “you essentially turn your body into its own vaccine manufacturing unit.” There is a catch, though, Gates added. “We don’t know for sure yet if RNA is a viable platform for vaccines. Since Covid would be the first RNA vaccine out of the gate, we have to prove both that the platform itself works and that it creates immunity. It’s a bit like building your computer system and your first piece of software at the same time.” 1 Oh dear – anyone who has memories of Bill Gates’ early Microsoft operating systems such as MS-DOS will not be reassured by that analogy.
  • We have no idea for how long these vaccines will provide immunity. I was ill last February with what I suspect was Covid-19 but at that time there was no test I could get hold of to determine it. By the time I was able to get an antigen test kit eight months’ later, I had no antibodies and the test was negative. Anecdotal and speculative, I know, but it made me think that any immunity I might have had after the illness will have lasted no more than six or seven months. Will the vaccine do any better – or will you need to have an injection every six months?
  • I’m worried about what these vaccines might contain and whether we will ever know the full list of ingredients. We do know that they are much more than just a virus in a saline solution with the worst bits of it taken out. They contain ‘adjuvants’ (an adjuvant is a pharmacological or immunological agent that improves the immune response of a vaccine). Adjuvants are added to a vaccine to boost the immune response to produce more antibodies and longer-lasting immunity, thus minimising the dose of antigen needed. That sounds sensible, until you realise that these immune system stimulants include adjuvants like aluminium; preservatives like thimerosal (which contains mercury) and formaldehyde; antibiotics like neomycin and a wide range of ‘excipient’ ingredients (ie that bulk up or stabilise the active ingredient). These excipients can include DNA from whatever cells have been used to amplify the virus in manufacturing production – and in some vaccines these have been cultured from aborted human foetuses, or dogs, monkeys, insects and more. 2
  • It’s known that at least six Covid vaccines, including two leading candidates from Moderna and Oxford University, are manufactured using human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293 cells) drawn from a baby aborted in 1972 and since multiplied millions of times over. Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine is being developed with their patented Per.C6 cells, retinal cells taken from the eyes of a baby aborted at 18 weeks.3 How do you like the idea of that being injected into your arm?

Vaccines are not yet mandatory in the UK, and the government’s own guidelines on vaccinations say individuals “must be given enough information to enable them to make a decision before they can give consent.” The information I have so far discovered has enabled me to decide that I do not want to give consent. How about you?

1. The Vaccine Race, Explained. www.gatesnotes.com April 30, 2020

2. US Centers for Disease Control, Vaccine Excipient Summary, February 2020

3. Vaccine, 2001; 19:2716-21


Filed under Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic