I write in reply to Del. Lauren Arikan’s opinion/letter in the Aegis on Aug. 25. In her commentary, Del. Arikan conflates different issues and compares apples to oranges.
It is true, as she says, that those who claim they were injured by the COVID-19 vaccines have no recourse to sue their employers mandating the vaccines and they have no simple recourse to sue in federal courts for compensation if vaccine injuries landed them in hospitals and caused them enormous bills.
It is also true, every human is unique and vaccines, through the ages have caused idiosyncratic reactions and serious side effects in some. With the COVID vaccines, other than the VAERS self-reporting system, there seems to be no independent or serious pharmacovigilance program, set up by the federal government, to monitor, study and help those who claim vaccine injuries. No matter the side effects with the first shot of the mRNA vaccines or vector vaccines, people are asked to go back for the second shot because COVID is worse.
Doctors are asked to report side effects to vaccine manufacturers but such reports are often investigated by the vaccine makers and dismissed as “correlation is not causation.” Besides, asking vaccine makers to investigate serious side effects from their vaccines, especially when the vaccine makers are immune from lawsuits themselves, is like the farmer asking the fox to keep the chickens in the hen house safe. I agree with Del. Arikan, there should be a better way for those who are hurt by any vaccine.
On the other hand I disagree with her making the COVID vaccines synonymous with the Supreme Court stated, “unavoidably unsafe products.” COVID vaccines don’t belong in that category. Millions of people across the world have taken them without lasting, deleterious side effects or damage and millions of unvaccinated people, far more than vaccinated people, have contracted COVID, with lasting, serious side effects and permanent irreversible damage including death. These folks are filling up hospitals, taking space, exhausting doctors and nurses, extending the pandemic, straining the economy and health insurers, causing tremendous personal loss and grief to family members and communities across America.
Yes, as The Lancet has reported, vaccinated folks can have high viral loads of the delta variant and may be able to transmit the virus but what Del. Lauren Arikan leaves out is they are not hospitalized or ventilated at the same rate or die in the same horrific numbers as the unvaccinated. That is the key. Del. Arikan, being a Republican, must subscribe to the rights of private companies to make their own mandates and rules.
No, the vaccinated should not stay home and allow the unvaccinated to roam free, because the vaccinated should refrain from infringing on parental rights and the rights of the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated and unmasked have been assessed by science as being bigger threats to themselves, society and the world itself, in this pandemic. The unvaccinated should mask up with N95 masks, at the very least, and stop creating chaos and pain across American communities.
Vaccinated folks should have the right to sue employers and the federal government if they can prove vaccine injuries and they should be believed and treated with compassion and care, pending thorough investigations, if and when they claim such injuries but the unvaccinated cannot run free claiming that they won’t vaccinate just because such injuries are possible. Is there a medication for any disease that has no side effects and won’t cause serious injuries in some? It is a benefits-versus-risk ratio that counts and, in the case of the COVID vaccines, the ratio skews in favor of the benefits, for now, not in favor of the risks.
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