Dr. Vinay Prasad, writing in U.S. News & World Report, explains that school boards that mandate that school children be vaccinated against Covid-19 are not ‘following the science.‘ Here’s his conclusion:
Some argue that mandating the coronavirus vaccine is the same as requiring other childhood vaccinations to attend school. In my view, it isn’t. There is more uncertainty around its benefits and harms at school age and could factor into why some peer nations are making different policy choices. And, this decision comes after nearly a year without in-person schooling, making the punishment even worse.
LA is making a bold public statement, and the move will be cheered by many. Other school districts may even take similar steps. But the reality is they are overstepping the certainty of the science, and they are taking out our collective rage and frustration – that this pandemic has not yet ended – on children. It is a shameful policy, and I condemn it.
But the argument over mandates is anything but settled. COVID-19, even since the triumph of the delta variant and the advent of vaccination, has remained overwhelmingly an older-person disease: Just 478 people under the age of 18 have died of it through Sept. 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s less than the 643 minors that the CDC estimates died during the 2017-18 winter flu season. Rare is the state that mandates flu shots; though in fairness, their effectiveness rate lags far behind those of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S.
The second main reason to favor the physical removal of unvaccinated students is to keep kids from spreading the virus to teachers and staff. But school employees have had priority access to vaccines for more than half a year by now. Given the microscopic infection results revealed by school testing—0.27 percent among the unvaccinated in New York City, around 0.6 percent in Los Angeles—it’s reasonable to continue concluding that school buildings are among the safest places for humans to gather in groups.
Consider, for example, Biden’s eviction moratorium, which he inherited from his predecessor but somehow made his own. In early August, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promulgated its 60-day emergency eviction moratorium, it did so even as Biden openly doubted the move was legal and said scholars had advised him it was likely unconstitutional. That followed a Biden administration spokesperson saying outright that the president lacked authority for the move, that “the president has not only kicked the tires; he has double, triple, quadruple checked.”
The president issued the order anyway, on this basis: “But at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are in fact behind in the rent and don’t have the money.” As Aaron Blake characterized it for The Washington Post: “In other words: It might not be legal, but even if it’s not, we’ll get some good done in the meantime.” The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the moratorium in late August, decrying the administration’s attempt to give the federal agency “a breathtaking amount of power.”
Time was when, even in Melbourne, we could chuckle at the absurdity of our Covid rules. We were told we could remove our face masks – still mandatory indoors and outdoors – in order to drink a coffee, but not to drink a beer. We were also told that if we lived with five other adults, we were not allowed to all leave the house in one group. Indoors, we were no risk to each other, but outside we were apparently a viral petri dish.
Laughter has since turned into anger. After over 230 days of hard lockdown, whatever was left of Melbourne’s social fabric has gone. And the city has been rocked by weeks of protests and violence.
This is the price of our ‘victory’ against Covid. Yes, our Covid deaths are low – far lower than the rest of the world. But how much longer can we live like this?
Well, Melbournians have been ordered to live like this until 26 October at the earliest. That’s when Melbourne’s sixth lockdown is scheduled to end – though you would be lucky to find a single person who thinks it will actually end on that day. By then, Melbourne will have been locked down for longer than any other city on the planet.
We got to this point because our leaders have been chasing the goal of Zero Covid. The successes of 2020 went to their heads and they believed they could do what no other country has done: eliminate the virus.
Zero-COVID is a zombie policy. Though brain-dead, it will not die.