COVID-19: WHO Says Countries Should Have ‘Healthy Debate’ About Mandatory Vaccination

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Robb Butler, executive director for WHO Europe, feels countries need to have healthy debate around mandating vaccines for all.

    • He feels that every single person in every country needs to be vaccinated.

    • Science indicates vaccines don't stop transmission or infection, manking vaccine mandate policy out of touch with science.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there constant fear associated with COVID without presenting statistics like infection fatality rate which indicate only a small subset of the poulation is at risk to COVID?

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The World Health Organisation suggests countries should begin having a healthy conversation about COVID-19 vaccines.

Robb Butler, executive director for WHO Europe, said during an interview with Sky News “Mandatory vaccination can, but doesn’t always increase uptake.”

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He added:

“There are lessons of history here where mandates have come at the expense of trust, social inclusion. So it is very delicate, but we believe it is time to have that conversation, from an individual and population-based perspective.”

Robb Butler, executive director for WHO Europe

As we head into winter months, cases are rising again in Europe, pushing people like Butler to offer comment. But if we have learned one thing since the beginning of vaccine rollout, vaccines wane, and many physicians agree that not everyone in the poulation should be vaccinated nor needs to be, so why is policy always focused on mandates?

By February in Austria, if people are not vaccinated they can face fines or even jail time. We’re already seeing these policies play out and they are clearly authoritarian. Further, they seem out of touch with science and reality.

For example, a new Lancet study, “Community transmission and viral load kinetics,” looked at the transmission of COVID-19 among the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated indicated.

When it comes to the Delta variant in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated in the UK, both were just as likely to spread COVID-19 in their household.

The vaccinated also had a similar viral load as the unvaccinated.

“Although vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from COVID-19, our findings suggest that vaccination is not sufficient to prevent transmission of the Delta variant in household settings with prolonged exposures.”

Lancey Study – Community transmission and viral load kinetics

Vaccines we’re using today were designed for the Alpha variant. But the primary variant now is the Delta, and the paper indicated that the current vaccines are not effective at reducing transmission of the Delta variant.

This raises questions about the necessity for vaccine mandates. Why mandate something that does not stop infection or transmission, but is instead merely a drug for symptom management? Do we want to cross the line and set a precedent for mandating a drug?

Keep in mind, the overall infection fatality rate of COVID remains low globally. Some portions of the population are more vulnerable, while others (like children), face almost no risk from COVID, including longhaul COVID.

A study from July 2021 by John P.A. Ioannidis concluded that,

“Across all countries, the median IFR in community-dwelling elderly and elderly overall was 2.4% (range 0.3%-7.2%) and 5.5% (range 0.3%-12.1%).

IFR was higher with larger proportions of people >85 years.

Younger age strata had low IFR values (median 0.0027%, 0.014%, 0.031%, 0.082%, 0.27%, and 0.59%, at 0-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60-69 years).”

This data indicates that your chances of dying from COVID if you are infected with it, in the following age groups is:

0-19 = 0.0027%
20-29 = 0.014%
30-39 = 0.031%
40-49 = 0.082%
50-59 = 0.27%
60-69 = 0.59%
70+ = 2.4%

That said, people with multiple comorbidities are more vulnerable to COVID, something that has been clear since the beginning of the pandemic. People with comorbidities like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, immune system illnesses etc, should have more focused protection. Helping them manage their comorbidites also goes a long way in preventing death from COVID.

When it comes to long haul COVID, children were found to experience it significantly less than adults. Long haul COVID can be as simple as it taking a week or so longer to get over COVID, or as extreme as having symptoms like brain fog or fatigue stick around for many weeks. the rate of long haul COVID appears to be about 2% in children, but with little clarity about how common more extreme cases are.

Yet, governments are rolling out vaccine programs for kids who are at virtually no risk from COVID. According to the data above, a child has a 0.0027% of dying from COVID, it’s almost immeasureable. Instead of putting children at risk with these vaccines, money spent on these doses could be better spent handing out vitamin D to the more vulnerable or educating the more vulnerable to manage their comorbidities.

Policy is instead, “vaccinate everyone” which provides a false sense of security and lines the pockets of pharmaceutical companies, the largest government lobby that exists – bigger than Big Oil.

Regardless of the statistics and the clear indication that vaccines are only helpful for a subset of the population who are vulnerable, Robb Butler from the WHO feels that “what we need is every member of society vaccinated.”

Our society is faced with a deep moment of questioning. Can we take a step back, beyond the fear, beyond the voices of the ‘authority’ who have been platformed at all costs, and ask: what is really happening here? How can we stand side by side, not against each other, and make sense of what is going on?

This of course would require us to set aside pajoratives like ‘anti-vaxxer’ and simply look at what the story tells us. This is a moment calling for emotional regulation, a look at our bias’ and an engagement in asking questions that can lead us in a direction of unity as opposed to war.

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