Public Health

Would John Locke Get the COVID Jab?

Augusto Zimmermann and Gabriel Moens (‘Emergency measures and the Rule of Law‘, Quadrant, October 2021) present us with an erudite analysis of a rule of law founded on Natural Law, and how it might be applied to emergency measures associated with the COVID epidemic. Eminent jurists and legal academics are enlisted in support, and especially the writings of John Locke. They give confident advice to the High Court on the application of the Constitution to legality of emergency powers.

In Australia, vaccination is by consent, but they want absolute freedom, oppose any mandated vaccination or other indirect restriction on the unvaccinated and assert that this would violate the democratic principle of equality before the law.

In their analysis they have ignored important aspects of John Locke’s writings and his life.  John Locke arrived at Oxford in 1652 to pursue a vocation of medicine, as well as study of philosophy.  At Oxford he was a contemporary of Robert Hooke, and other young students of natural history who attended the experimental laboratory of Robert Boyle.  He also attended physiology lectures and the anatomy lectures of Thomas Willis, famous for his books Cerebri Anatome and Pathologicae Cerebri.  During this time, he met Thomas Sydenham, the most erudite physician of his era.  He served as a clinical apprentice to Sydenham.  Study of natural history, physical sciences and disease was accelerating.

In 1665 he witnessed the Great Plague in London, which caused him to return to Oxford to resume his studies of medicine.   Under the influence of Boyle and Sydenham he began to collect records of the epidemic — the Bills of Mortality and records of the weather. His career became that of a medical research scientist.

During several years spent in France he continued to record regular observations on the climate, geographical locations and prevailing illnesses in many notebooks. He made observations about malaria, scurvy, childhood bladder stones, thyroid enlargement, gout and nerve palsy due to lead poisoning.  Robert Hooke published in 1665 Micrographia, the first book of research findings from using a microscope. Microorganisms had not yet been discovered, and infections were thought to be carried in the air.  Locke visited Anthony van Leeuwenhoek in 1686, who has been described as the father of microbiology because of his later finding of bacteria using his microscope.

Thomas Sydenham and John Locke recognized the epidemic nature of diseases, such as whooping cough, that came and went over a period of time, only to recur after an interval of years.  They were prototype epidemiologists, exploring the causes of disease. John Locke had more to say than Zimmerman and Moens have told us – that we are born into a  

State of Nature that has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges everyone, and reason teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that all being equal and independent, no one ought harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”  and that everyone  “ought he as much as he can preserve the rest of mankind.”    Freedom is not “a liberty for everyone to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not live by any laws.” — Second Treatises  

John Locke was a firm advocate of liberty, and much of his writings on political philosophy were directed towards rulers, lawmakers and the judiciary. They had a great impact on the writers of the American Constitution, and  were probably written as a counter to the absolutist political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.  His Treatises were published towards the end of his career. He makes clear the obligation upon the individuals not to disregard the interests of society as a whole, and to play their part in observing  rule of law.  Health would have been high on his list of priorities.

To bolster their argument on emergency powers, Zimmermann and Moens slide easily into the  “boo” phrases: Public officials with power to detain citizens prevent them returning to their homes amid forced lockdowns.  Events in Germany in the 1930’s are cited: lawyers who provided legitimacy to the Nazi regime, and “ruthless violence and basic contempt for the rule of law.”  This has  progressed in Australia, they assert, to “the army brought in to conduct surveillance and enforce compliance” and  a “violently repressive and discriminatory police state.” 

But all this is the preamble to a rant against vaccination worthy of the wildest anti-vax fringe attitudes.  They have used every phrase they can muster to denigrate vaccination. Vaccine hesitancy is justified because “vaccines are still experimental”  and there is “lack of confidence in their effectiveness”;  people distrust AstraZeneca and there are “many different and inconsistent opinions” and it is “potentially unsafe” with a “shambolic rollout”. Further,

“The government response…has… “fatally compromised the rights and freedoms of people and devastated the economies of the free world.”

  Nothing to do with COVID? Blame the government instead?

The AstraZeneca vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus”.   This objection reminds us that when Jenner’s cowpox vaccine came into use in England around 1800 a cartoonist had fun (above) drawing patients who had grown cow parts.  As yet there are no reports of patients acquiring ape-like features following AstraZeneca!

Taken to extremes  the argument  against restrictions on the rights and freedoms of the individual could be used to oppose many laws.  For example, laws seeking to control anti-competitive behavior, corporation laws, planning regulations, and regulations for social security benefits impose restrictions on individuals that are deemed for the benefit of society more generally.

To understand the role of vaccination it may help the authors if they study the story of smallpox vaccination. It has a long history, if one includes the observations of cow herdsmen in ancient times.  But the modern story begins with Edward Jenner’s explorations of the apparent immunity of milkmaids and cowherds. John Hunter, his teacher and friend, famously advised “do not think, but try; be patient be accurate”, which led to a clinical trial. Jenner had his paper on vaccination initially rejected by the Royal Society, of which he was a member.  Jenner lacked the support of a modern laboratory, even a knowledge of viruses and bacteria, but his observations eventually led to the complete eradication of smallpox, a disease with great morbidity.

They could also study the great epidemic scourge of my childhood era, poliomyelitis, and the discovery by Salk and Sabine of vaccines against poliomyelitis.

In an epidemic, the purpose of lockdowns and quarantine is to stop our hospitals being overrun with ill and dying patients.  Even with a vaccination rate of 80 per cent of those over 16 years of age there may be too great a burden on the staff of our hospitals. But the value of vaccination is clear – over 90 per cent of those in hospital and ICU are unvaccinated.

Certainly, there is much to criticize in the administration of emergency health regulations, in particular the disastrous hotel quarantine mismanagement implemented by Victoria’s Daniel Andrews,  and other ineffective quarantine measures.  Clumsy border closures often failed to recognize the social and economic needs of local communities, including work, education and health.  Families were kept from their homes and even children separated from parents.  This is the working of an inconsiderate and slow bureaucracy and not, I fear, anything that the High Court could fix.  By definition, emergency regulations must be temporary.

Would John Locke have taken the jab?  If one reads in full his life and writings there is little doubt that he would, for the good of society. Pestilence, the horseman of the Apocalypse riding his black horse, is still one of the great threats to our freedom and liberty, and John Locke, the student of epidemiology, would recognize this.

The authors try to cite John Locke’s writing On Slavery in urging civil disobedience. But John Locke, epidemiologist and believer in the rational application of Natural Law, would be in the forefront of urging us to take the vaccine during an epidemic.

John Wheelahan FRCS FRACS, retired surgeon.

 

References

  1. A Review of John Locke’s Research in Social and Preventative Medicine, Kenneth Dewhurst (1962).   Bulletin of the History of Medicine , Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 317-340. The Johns Hopkins University Press URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44449184 JSTOR.
  1. Locke- A Biography. Roger Woolhouse (2014)   Cambridge University Press.
  1. America on Trial, Robert R Reilly, (2020) Chapter 8: John Locke  PP 225 – 247.
  1. The Life of Edward Jenner, M.D. Medico-Chirurgical Review (1827). A Review of John Barron’ Biography of Jenner. London (1827)  Available online at NCPI/NIH. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/2459/

 

29 comments
  • Andrew Campbell

    Martin Luther would have also been at the forefront of both taking the jab and helping where he could. He wrote an open letter explaining his position. Some, he says:

    ‘ … disdain the use of medicines; they do not avoid places and persons infected by the plague, but lightheartedly make sport of it and wish to prove how independent they are. They say that it is God’s punishment; if he wants to protect them he can do so without medicines or our carefulness. That is not trusting God but tempting him. . . .

    No, my dear friends, that is no good. … I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid persons and places where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

    And not only that, Martin and Katharina opened their home to care for the sick.

  • Simon

    “In an epidemic, the purpose of lockdowns and quarantine is to stop our hospitals being overrun with ill and dying patients.”

    -The hospitals nearly always become overrun during the annual flu season. There wasn’t this level of concern over the flu epidemic of 2019, was there? I don’t recall entire nation states going into lockdown and shut out because of it.

    In fact, I don’t recall entire countries shutting down for SARS-Cov-1 either. Or the HIV virus. And, bless him, Kevin Rudd didn’t shut down the entire country for the Swine flu of 2009/10 either. This reaction to SARS-Cov-2 is entirely unprecedented, for a good reason.

    Many people I know aren’t anti-vaxxers – they are just leery of the particular ones we have on offer. Personally I am holding out for the Novavax vaccine to arrive, which sounds a lot safer and a lot more effective to me.

    While you can rail against Zimmerman & Moens for their take on the constitution and legality of how this country has confronted Covid-19, these matters will be tested in a court of law. And my view is that if the constitution is to mean anything in this now fragmented country, it must mean that the closing of inter-state borders is illegal -for any reason whatsoever.

    And it must mean that no Australian is forced to take a medical procedure against his / her wish. That’s just a basic human right.

  • Christian

    Well said Peter, almost entirely my sentiments though I’m not longer as sure about Novavax as I was before.

  • Stephen Due

    I’m trying to imagine John Locke urging me to take one of the Covid vaccines. Presumably he would have studied the data on their safety and efficacy in some detail. He would be aware that they are not very effective. He would know that they offer only a small reduction in absolute risk (except for the elderly and those with relevant comorbidities). He would be aware that they did not undergo the full course of animal and human trials. He would realise that much is still unknown about he population effects of mass vaccination with mRNA vaccines. What about shedding, for example? On an individual level, what about the uncertain relationship between the amount of material injected, and the amount of immunity-provoking toxin generated in the body? What effect does the toxin have in the different parts of the body, including the brain, heart, lungs and reproductive system? There are many uncertainties.
    Naturally, Locke would be aware of the grave concerns of a number of elite scientists regarding the safety of these vaccines. He would know about the alarming spike in infections and adverse events reported on the US, European and UK databases since the Covid vaccination program started. He would be concerned about the selective pressure on escape variants, evidently being driven by mass vaccination with these products. He would be worried about the narrow immunological focus of the mRNA vaccines, for several reasons. And he would be aware that the vaccines lack anything remotely resembling long-term safety data.
    Of course he would also know about Covid treatments, since vaccination is only one part of a broader medical undertaking designed to protect the individual and society from the effects of disease. He would know that there are proven early treatment protocols using safe repurposed drugs. Technically, they render the vaccines superfluous, or at best an optional extra. Finally, Locke would obviously not recommend a vaccine for anyone who had already acquired natural immunity to the disease through having been infected and recovered, or for whom the vaccine might present a known risk.
    From my perspective, the obsession with compulsion in the matter of these vaccines is most alarming. I cannot say whether John Locke would support compulsory vaccination. But I note that compulsion of every kind, backed by sustained campaigns of fear-mongering, has been a hallmark of the government response to this disease in Australia. We seem to be descending into a dystopian totalitarian nightmare rather than a science-driven public health exercise designed to educate and protect the community.
    When persuasion fails, and then terror fails, and finally threats fail, it surely is time for the authorities to address their own shortcomings as administrators. It is certainly not the time to bring out the riot squad and mobilise the army, which is what some premiers have done. It is hard to imagine a worse setting into which to introduce a policy of compulsory vaccination.
    The idea seems to be that we will not allow people who are unvaccinated to contaminate the vaccinated in workplaces, restaurants, theatres, churches, and so on. The logic behind this idea is rather obscure. Leaving that aside, are we seriously to believe, in this 21st century, that our society cannot tolerate a minority that does not wish to take a vaccine at the moment? We know there are better treatments and also better vaccines in the pipeline. Surely those who wish to wait for those are within their rights? And if anyone has personal reasons for not wanting to take a vaccine at all, are we really unable to accommodate them? Of course they may be wrong. On the other hand they may just be right.
    Finally, may I make this plea? IF there are scientists ‘out there’ who remain convinced that a dreadful catastrophe will befall us should some remnant of unvaccinated people continue to mix in Australian society, then would they please provide their evidence for public scrutiny?

  • STD

    Perhaps the problem is not so much the truth of the matter, but the people who say they are the arbiters of that truth , and purport to have our best interests in their sights.
    It’s apocryphal is it not…………………
    The political and bureaucratic animals advocate for abortion at the point of conception right up too and including delivery, they also abrogate their care for the elderly by offering them the opportunity to take their own lives, that is the best political and productive KPI (hope) on offer.
    Instead of spending more on good palliative care, we direct that monies to parasites that languish in the delirium of welfare ,without having in some cases ever contributed.
    So when it comes to COVID-19 all life is sacrosanct and is to be saved- to hell with the cost.
    Outside of the ages of abortion and euthanasia is where societies counterproductive (“productive”)consuming occurs.
    Wisdom let’s me know who is to be trusted.
    Psalm 51:6 “ Sincerity and truth are what you require,
    Fill my mind with your wisdom”.
    Dear Doctor, do you ever wonder why people distrust the advice on offer- the Hippocratic oath is now just lip service.
    It is interesting that when discussing vaccination with my local GP his response to my queries did not exactly fill me with enthusiasm, that left me with under informed ,consent.

  • Losthope

    sir,
    “Would John Locke have taken the jab? If one reads in full his life and writings there is little doubt that he would, for the good of society.” this is NOT why one gets vaccinated. one gets vaccinated to protect one’s self. My parents vaccinated me to protect ME, Secondly, the vaccines ARE experimental. no one knew of the side effects
    In an epidemic, the purpose of lockdowns and quarantine is to stop our hospitals being overrun with ill and dying patients. Even with a vaccination rate of 80 per cent of those over 16 years of age there may be too great a burden on the staff of our hospitals. But the value of vaccination is clear – over 90 per cent of those in hospital and ICU are unvaccinated.”
    112,186 test on the 7th of October yielded 577 cases on the 9th October, and 11 deaths…. hardly being over run.
    there is something like 20 deaths a day EVERY DAY,due to heart disease. are hospitals over run.. preventable ICU bed occupancy???

  • Losthope

    As you have stated, Locke did his ” homework”. Others are doing theirs and weighing the risks. it is not about doing harm to others, it is about doing harm to yourself.The rub still remains, that if , by your metric, you are vaccinated, you are safe, QED the philosophy of vaccinations. If everyone needs a vaccination to protect everyone else, it seems your reasoning for vaccination is a little muddled. there is more information today. Logic, reasoning, and data influence. Rhetoric is emotional.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    The sovereign gold standard person on whom to pose this question is Jesus Christ. No need to speculate as to the answer and the reason given.

  • Citizen Kane

    If the author had done his homework he would know that the Chinese were already in the practice of inoculation with cowpox before Jenner introduced the practice to Europe after likely having the Chinese precedent communicated to him. He would also refrain from labelling those who remain cautious around mRNA & mDNA vaccines as ‘anti-vaxers’ – a term which is simply a convenient political stigmata. The primary concern around mRNA & mDNA vaccines is that they co-opt endogenous cellular machinery to synthesis a foreign protein – an analogue of the Covid spike protein. That this acts as a ‘poorly efficacious’ vaccine is a secondary function. If an mRNA or mDNA agent were utilised as an anti-inflammatory for example and people held similar concerns would they be labelled anti-anti-inflammators and politically scorned? The use of the 90% figure for unvaccinated in hospital is both highly selective and specious as is the allusion in the article that lockdowns are effective. Perhaps the author hasn’t read recent news on Melbourne case numbers. I would also note as a retired, no doubt wealthy, surgeon the author has no real skin in the game as to the consequences of lockdown on livelihood. Yet he is quick to show his authorities bent which has so marked many in his profession during this ongoing debacle.

  • terenc5

    You have absolutely no idea what Locke would do. None. Your worthless assertions means a job beckons at the ABC or as a psychic. Why would anyone get an experimental vaccine for a bug that has a lower death rate than a bad flu.

  • terenc5

    ABC radio carried a report that 24 fully vaccinated workers at an Australian hospital had contracted the Fauci-China virus. Big news i thought. Not mentioned in the oz the next day.

  • Alistair

    I think its OK to present a rational argument for vaccination or against vaccination but if the argument is based on fraud, what is the point of calling it a rational argument? I ask – Would John Locke support mandatory vaccination and/or vaccination passports “for the good of society” – if he knew the touted efficacy of the vaccine was based on fraudulent statistics? Would he support the use of children as experimental guinea pigs in this yet to be approved vaccine “for the good of society”? Would John Locke lie “for the good of society”? I dont know the answer to that, but I know what the answer is for me.

  • rosross

    If John Locke was as acute as they say, NO HE WOULD NOT GET THE JAB.
    And that is because one presumes he would do his research and he would know that the genetic treatments for Covid are not vaccines and therefore vaccines offer not a shred of valid data to assess their value, and he would know that these genetic treatments called vaccines are rushed, poorly tested, unapproved, highly experimental in ways never before done to humans, and he would know that the virus against which they are recommended, is no threat to 99.99% of people.

    More important, who cares what John Locke might or might not do in a hypothetical scenario? He lived at a time when infectious diseases were common and deadly and where vaccines did not exist and his world when he died, was half a century away from Jenner’s disease-spreading and death-inducing vaccine experiments.

    As an empirical observer he would be quick, should he pop back for a visit today, to perceive the shockingly sloppy practices used in the development and testing process of the genetic treatments called vaccines.

    As someone with a good mind and a capacity for empirical analysis, he would be on the hustings advising people NOT TO BE JABBED.

  • abrogard

    If John Locke knew what we know today he certainly would not.
    Over 400 links here dating back more than a year spelling out truths we’ve known and do know: https://covidhonesty.com/

  • lbloveday

    “..when discussing vaccination with my local GP his response to my queries did not exactly fill me with enthusiasm, that left me with under informed ,consent”.
    .
    GPs deal with hundreds of different issues from hundreds of different people and have much to know and keep to to date with – that is a function of “G”. As “my” GP said “You know more about it than me” – unsurprising when I have only one issue I’m currently concerned with and the time to research.

  • Brian Boru

    Thanks to John for adding some facts on Locke to the debate. I am sure that Augusto and Gabriel, as men of principle would also be pleased to have those facts put in the pursuit of honest debate.
    .
    I don’t really care if Locke would have been vaccinated but I do care that our already over burdened health systems can cope. I don’t want to see those with non-covid health issues compromised in their treatment because others who could have been vaccinated are occupying ICU beds.
    .
    Along with many other Quadrant commenters I have also been concerned about the smelly Ivermectin matter. But I noted that Professor Clancy who contributed in support of Ivermectin use is also pro vaccination.
    .
    Those who do not wish to be vaccinated could consider if their convictions would also lead them to refuse hospital admission if they get COVID.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    I started to write a comment here and then thought better of trying to further plough the fields of liberty.

    So: a credo. I support the current vaccination against Covid while recognising that the existing vaccines are far from perfect, although not quite the danger they are painted by some. At this time they are best restricted to adults. Covid is a new ‘enhanced’ respiratory virus that causes systemic vascular damage and is worth avoiding. I am completely against mandatory vaccination requirements and any mandated separation and stigmatizing of the unvaxxed. I hope for less contentious vaccines and well-proven treatments to be available as soon as possible. Governmental over-reach has been hysterical, undemocratic and deeply unfair. The sooner it is behind us all, the better.

    What would Locke have done?

    Some things are unknowable.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    I want to congratulate Quadrant for allowing an alternate view on their site. I cannot imagine the opposite viewpoint’s being published in an ordinary newspaper! Shutting ourselves off from any opposing view does not benefit our mental capacity, nor does it increase our ability to debate the issue. Therefore, I am glad that John Wheelahan was able to give us his opinions; he’s entitled to them, just as much as are the authors he denigrates.
    However–I also thank the commenters that did not allow him to spread his nonsense unchallenged. Let us not shut down debate, but be grateful for a rare chance to engage in it!

  • Elizabeth Beare

    Seconded, Rebekah. Dr. Wheelahan makes some good points,, especially when he addresses the unwarranted scorn poured upon the Chimpanzee adenovirus vecto in Astra Zenica. Such vectors are commonly used in most vaccines and Astra Zenica was my vaxx of choice due to its slightly more traditional mode. AZ has also been given a bad press stemming in large part from various political considerations in the EU rather than scientific ones. In fact it is now seen to offer a longer-lasting immunity than the Pfizer. As Dr. Clancy has noted in his excellent overview of future Covid directions for Australia, the spike protein issue is one that is hard to avoid when creating a vaccine against Covid; even Novavax seems to use it.

  • Citizen Kane

    mRNA & mDNA vaccines co-opt your cells own protein synthesis to synthesis a COVID spike protein analogue. Novavax simply introduces a modified spike protein into your circulatory system. That is the difference and it is significant!

  • Simon

    “Those who do not wish to be vaccinated could consider if their convictions would also lead them to refuse hospital admission if they get COVID.” -Brian Boru.

    -And where does this end? People who don’t have the annual flu vaccine must stay at home and die? People who are bitten by sharks must bleed out on our beaches?

    God help us.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    Well said, Simon!

  • Brian Boru

    Simon and Rebekah, it is a matter for each of us to weigh up the considerations. On the one hand we have vaccines available which offer a good degree of protection with apparently minimal risk as supported by Professor Clancy and others. These vaccines offer us all a way of keeping scarce hospital beds free for shark attack victims and others with life threatening emergencies which cannot be lessened by inoculation.
    .
    On the other hand, we have those who have a conviction against being vaccinated for reasons which are honestly held. I certainly would not deny those people hospital treatment if they needed it.
    .
    I have simply suggested that they should also consider another matter along with the concerns they are weighing in the balance. That is, whether it is ethical for them in all of the circumstances to consider the many others who desperately need treatment (including in ICU) in our stressed health system that could be denied because of COVID patients taking up those beds.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    I can see your point. I’m not sure that this consideration should apply to those refusing vaccination any more than it does to people who choose to drink, smoke, or repeatedly overeat, but I realise that most of these habits lead to chronic problems that use valuable resources, but not necessarily ICU space. However, I doubt that our hospital systems would be much if any more overwhelmed by a covid outbreak than by a bad cold-and-flu season.
    Of course, there is another way of looking at it. These vaccines have already led to some nasty side effects, and some are predicting that they could lead to much worse in just a few years. Should that prove to be the case, then it would be the vaccinated filling up the hospitals–with, perhaps, few healthy doctors and nurses to treat them.

  • Stephen

    I always hate it when people talk about their rights. Rights or human rights should never be used alone in a sentence. We have rights AND responsibilities. You have the right to have a drink but the responsibility to not then jump into your car and drive off. I’m double vaccinated both to protect myself but also to protect others from me should I become infected.

  • Citizen Kane

    Stephen. How would you being vaccinated protect others from you should you become infected? This comment highlights better than most how muddled the logic is for so many who do not understand how these vaccines work. Let’s be absolutely clear, these vaccines offer no sterilising immunity in regards to viral transmission.

  • iain

    Matthias Desmert, a clinical psychologist from Belgium has an interesting view on people’s reaction to this virus – available (atm) on YouTube.

  • padraic

    I was so pleased to see this article of John Wheelahan’s offering a different view of the virus. It seems to be the only article I have seen in Quadrant that does not look at the virus mainly through the lens of individual human rights or economics and so I endorse Rebekah Meredith’s comment :
    “I want to congratulate Quadrant for allowing an alternate view on their site.” The Covid virus has not been to university and does not take any notice of man-made laws. It is a law unto itself. Wheelahan makes the valid point that “John Locke makes clear the obligation upon the individuals not to disregard the interests of society as a whole,,”. The fact that Governments have taken the steps they have before a vaccine was available will not result in Australia turning into a Marxist totalitarian state. There have been slip ups and excesses (as in Victoria) but the basic principle holds true. We all drive on the same side of the road, we all go to school, we all work to earn a living, we all pay rates and taxes, pay our train fares etc. These may be infringements on our liberty to do as we like in a strict sense as individuals but they are in the interest of society as a whole and based on common sense. One of JS Mill’s legislative principles was that the State has the responsibility to take antecedent precautions prevent harm in the community. There was no outrage when people had to get smallpox, cholera and typhoid vaccine when travelling overseas and this resulted in those diseases fading away with the result that those temporary restrictions were lifted. Two generations before me in our family lost children through whooping cough and diphtheria because there were no vaccines available at the time plus other children died young from infections that are easily treatable today with antibiotics, so I grew up in an environment that embraced vaccinations. As a result I am puzzled by people, especially in America, who would rather die or get very sick from Covid than get a minor pain in the arm on two occasions. Another thing I don’t understand is the argument used a lot on TV where annual death statistics from all the usual causes are trotted out and compared with deaths from Covid showing that Covid deaths are less than cancer, for example. The reason for that is because of the steps taken to minimise exposure to Covid in the first instance and then when vaccination kicks in. If left alone and ignored Covid would decimate populations. Cancers, heart attacks etc are a remorseless normal feature of the ageing process and not part of a one off pandemic that can be contained in order to minimise deaths. When Covid restrictions began in 2020 and Quadrant articles about Covid took on the human rights/economic flavour I posted the following statements and made no further comment, because I knew I was outnumbered and you can only make a point once:

    “1st April 2020
    In a normal year the majority of people get the flu vaccine and the few out of 25 million of us don’t, so many of that group die. That’s because the rest of the population has immunity and can carry on as normal. With Covid-19, without a vaccine, the whole population is without immunity so even if you isolate the oldies the virus will spread like wildfire among the rest if they all stay at work. That means many will get very sick at the same time and have to stay away from work or die (even younger people) so the economy will be stuffed anyway, plus health facilities overwhelmed with the sick and dying and with health professionals and allied staff all going down with it as well. The choice is do you let the economy crash in a blaze of spreadsheet statistics or subside in a series of falls which ensure a better outcome as we emerge from this disaster, hopefully with a vaccine as soon as possible to stop it in its tracks.

    I normally would not disagree with any of you, but having to set up a huge tent hospital in Central Park in New York plus a Navy hospital ship plus nearly a 1000 deaths a day in Spain and Italy it looks like people get very sick. It’s not the same with seasonal flu – you don’t see ice rinks converted into mortuaries or bodies being loaded into refrigerated trucks. That does not say we have to panic in Australia but we certainly have to exercise a degree of caution if we are to get through it.”

  • Elizabeth Beare

    “mRNA & mDNA vaccines co-opt your cells own protein synthesis to synthesis a COVID spike protein analogue. Novavax simply introduces a modified spike protein into your circulatory system. That is the difference and it is significant!
    Not every researcher thinks the genetic mode is deleterious. Some think it is the platform of the future because it is easily adaptable to a range of other diseases. So much attention re its use in Covid will probably see gentic modes fall from favour now for some years, whether the fear is warranted or not. For something like Covid, a more traditional vaxx might have been a better first approach, calming fears.
    One thing to recognise about Covid – it is a contagious vascular disease which, while it predominantly affects the lungs via the respiratory system, can also clot, injure or even destroy blood flow in many other parts of the body. In other words, a genuine nasty and worth avoiding via vaccination, especially in the elderly. With Delta strain, herd immunity will eventually do it for everyone else, albeit with casualties..

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