The Claim: After Anthony Fauci suggested that schools mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for students to attend school, advocates compared this to required MMR vaccines. Fauci stated, “we’ve done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis. So this would not be something new.” Is this an accurate comparison? (Occurred August 30, 2021)
All 50 states have laws requiring students to been vaccinated for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) before attending public school. While these vaccines are an important part of medical care and are extremely safe and effective, the libertarian question is this: should the government be allowed to mandate a vaccine for children to attend school?
An epidemic of a virus is an externality in society. When that externality occurs, the government has the power to take action. Keep in mind that our laws should revolve around this concept: an individual has the freedom to make whatever choices he/she wants as long as those choices do not infringe on the rights of others.
MMR viruses are extremely transmissible. An individual with Measles, for example, will end up spreading the disease to 90% of people he/she comes into contact with. These viruses also cause serious symptoms in children, and herd immunity is required to effectively prevent transmission. It’s a reasonable argument that a child should not be allowed in a public school sitting with other children unless they have been vaccinated for these dangerous threats. It is arguably a good incentive to convince parents to do the right thing and vaccinated their children.
COVID-19, in the context of school children, is not a threat. 361 individuals under the age of 18 have died of COVID-19 in the United States, and it is likely that every single individual already had a major medical complication. Children have a statistically 0% chance of dying from COVID-19. Children only make up between 1.5% to 3.5% of patients in the hospital due to COVID-19. Their symptoms are very mild (or they are asymptomatic).
The bottom line is that children under the age of 18 are not at risk of COVID-19. Why should a healthy child be vaccinated for COVID-19 at all?
Regardless, President Biden and his administration continue to falsely claim that children are dying and should mask “when they leave home.”
What about colleges?
The same points can be argued for 18-22 year olds at the University level. Statistically speaking, individuals at that age do not need the COVID-19 vaccine to prevent them from hospitalization and/or dying.
The main argument in favor of college vaccine mandates is that the vaccine is not just for the benefit of the recipient, but those around them. First of all, if the goal is to protect the unvaccinated then that is absurd. Every individual has the opportunity to get vaccinated. If you are unvaccinated, and you test positive for COVID-19, that was a result of your own action.
That argument for vaccine mandates fall flat when talking about COVID-19 compared to other diseases. If a person already has the COVID-19 vaccine, they do not need to worry about the vaccination status of those around them. Vaccine effectiveness is as high as 95%.
A CBS article published on September 2 cited a recent COVID-19 study based off real-world data. The study explained the following:
“The data, gathered from December 8, 2020, through July 4, 2021, show that of more than 1.2 million adults who received a first dose, fewer than 0.5% reported contracting breakthrough infections two weeks or more after getting the jab. Among those who got both shots, fewer than 0.2% experienced a breakthrough infection a week or more after getting their second shot.
“‘Among those who did experience a breakthrough infection, the odds of that infection being asymptomatic increased by 63% after one vaccine dose and by 94% after the second dose,’ the study’s authors wrote in The Lancet.“
The push for COVID-19 vaccine requirements also ignores the fact that there is a large percentage of individuals who already had the virus, and thus have natural immunity. Naturally immunity may prove to be more effective than the vaccine itself in preventing breakthrough cases, a study from Israel argues.
COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in reducing death and hospitalization. Breakthrough cases are extremely rare, and symptoms are minor. For most vaccinated people between the ages of 18-22, a breakthrough COVID-19 infection will likely feel like a mild cold/flu.
There is not a valid reason to mandate that every student is vaccinated. College students should have the right to perform their own cost-benefit analysis for their medical care. If a student opts-out of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, they are not a significant risk to their vaccinated peers. Vaccination requirements (and post-vaccine masking) are not rooted in science. The requirements are rooted in a false sense of security.