Due to the Joint Statement by various organizations that all “health care and long-term care employers” should impose a requirement to receive “the COVID-19 vaccine” on all their workers, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) declares that all human beings have the right to liberty, which they do not forfeit when they serve the sick or the disabled. The ethical commitment to protect others does not require workers to surrender their bodily integrity and self-determination and accept “the” intervention dictated by a governmental or quasi-governmental authority.
As around half the population has received injections permitted under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which by federal law cannot be coerced, variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 have been proliferating, and hospitalizations and deaths are increasing, not diminishing as one would expect in an effective vaccination campaign. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons are succumbing. Reports of post-injection death or long-term disability to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are reaching unprecedented levels.
Medical interventions are rarely completely safe or effective, and risks and benefits differ in individual patients and differing circumstances. Achieving a premature stamp of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—premature because studies are not scheduled to be complete until the end of 2022—does not confer safety or effectiveness. FDA-approved products have frequently been withdrawn in the past.
The Joint Statement recognizes only a medical exemption, and omits mention of a religious exemption though many workers object to receiving these products based on their religious beliefs. Medical exemptions are virtually never recognized for the COVID vaccines, because there is improper denial that they cause harm to anyone.
Long-term effects of these novel, genetically engineered products cannot possibly be known at this point. These could include autoimmune disorders, antibody-enhanced disease, infertility, cancer, or birth defects.
Employers are obligated to protect their workers from foreseeable hazards, even from risks as low or lower than 1 in 10,000, and to compensate them if they suffer an injury. They are not permitted to impose risks that may well be that significant, especially without compensation. Benefit to the public does not justify sacrificing workers who do not willingly accept the risk. Moreover, the benefit to the public in this instance is purely hypothetical. Uninfected persons cannot transmit infection just because they are unvaccinated. Vaccinated persons can still infect others. Many medical workers already have natural immunity, and mandated shots impose risks with little or no benefit, yet there is no provision to exempt them.
AAPS favors insistence on fully informed, truly voluntary consent for all medical interventions. This includes full disclosure of all risks, and a diligent effort to identify and track risks. Otherwise, workers are being conscripted into a mass experiment, one which would not be approved by an Institutional Review Board on both ethical and scientific grounds: no consent; no disclosure of the experimenters’ conflicts of interest; no control group; no follow-up of subjects for COVID status, immune parameters, or adverse effects; no provision for medical care of the subjects; and no criteria for stopping the experiment if subjects are being harmed.
Instead of depending solely on experimental vaccines, medical institutions should be leading the way in innovative infection control such as ventilation and air purification; exemplary housekeeping to protect against all pathogens, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria; prophylactic and proactive early treatment, which is generally not being provided today; and immune system support including adequate vitamin D. Our medical organizations should be advocating for free and open discussion, and opposing censorship by governmental agencies, media, Big Tech, and corporate health care.
Without freedom, there is no safety for either workers or our patients. Liberty has overcome every crisis
in the past, and if given a chance it would overcome this one, too.