If you pick up a COVID infection during your next visit to a hospital or medical office, maybe send a thank-you card to President Biden. His COVID vaccine mandate was one of the most perverse public-health edicts in modern times. Vaccination status went from being a proxy for health to being a substitute for sane healthcare policy.
Last September, Biden announced that he was mandating COVID vaccines for all 10 million healthcare workers in America — as well as for any American working for a company employing more than a hundred people. In a televised evening speech, he announced, “My job as president is to protect all Americans.” Actually, his oath of office was to uphold and defend the Constitution, but no matter.
Biden issued the equivalent of a declaration of war on 80 million unvaccinated Americans, portraying them as Public Enemy Number One (except for postal workers, who the White House exempted from the mandate due to the clout of postal unions). Biden castigated the unvaxxed: “We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.” Biden’s declaration sounded like the threat a dictator makes prior to invading a foreign nation. Biden finger-wagged: “This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you — the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.” But who would protect Americans from Biden’s dictatorial mandates?
Biden’s vaccine lies
The Biden administration has consistently portrayed vaccines as a pandemic panacea. Shortly before dictating the mandate, Biden promised, “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” When he announced plans to impose the mandate in a September 9 speech, Biden declared that “there’s only one confirmed positive case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per day. You’re as safe as possible.” Biden deceived the American public by pretending that the vaccines would keep them safe by preventing all contagion. To buttress the Biden storyline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased counting the vast majority of “breakthrough infections” among vaccinated people several months earlier. The Washington Post reported that the CDC’s “overly rosy assessments of the vaccines’ effectiveness against delta … may have lulled Americans into a false sense of security.” In October, Biden repeated his claim that vaccines prevent COVID transmission — even though the CDC had finally admitted its failure on that score.
The moral principles involved in Biden’s decree were showcased in numerous court battles late last year. Three days after Biden’s mandate speech, a federal judge temporarily blocked New York State’s vaccine mandate for all healthcare professionals, which was a mirror-image of the new federal mandate. Seventeen healthcare workers who claimed religious exemptions had asserted that the mandate “emerges in the context of an atmosphere of fear and irrationality in which the unvaccinated are threatened with being reduced to a caste of untouchables if they will not consent to being injected.” Biden did his best to fuel hostility, assuring vaccinated individuals that “I understand your anger at those who haven’t gotten vaccinated.”
Biden did not formally issue his vaccine decrees until November 5, when his appointees unveiled a 150,000+-word Federal Register sidewinder announcing his “jab or job” ultimatum. The official notice touted the initial 95% claimed efficacy of COVID vaccines from the clinical trials but ignored subsequent studies that revealed plummeting efficacy. Team Biden’s announcement explained that it was mandating vaccinations because the “most important inducement [for vaccination] will be the fear of job loss.” And the president had the right to destroy people’s jobs for the “public good” — at least according to the latest progressive version of the Constitution. The ultimatum was justified, according to the Federal Register notice, because “vaccination mandates have generally been more effective than merely encouraging vaccination.” In other words, compulsion produces submission.
Healthcare workers fight back
Across the nation, thousands of healthcare workers were fired for refusing to get injected. The Cleveland Clinic fired 700 employees. In New York, a hospital closed its maternity ward and ceased delivering babies because of a shortage of vaccinated nurses. One health system curtailed elective and nonemergency surgeries and reduced radiology treatment in part because of loss of health personnel due to the vaccine mandate.
After conflicting decisions on the Biden mandate in federal appeals court, the Supreme Court speedily took up the case. According to a brief from the attorneys general of Missouri and Nebraska, Biden’s mandate “threatens economic ruin and patient harm throughout the [healthcare] industry” and “will have disastrous consequences on [health care] particularly in rural communities.” The Federal Register notice on the new mandate dismissed concerns about the loss of healthcare staff because “there is insufficient evidence to quantify” the impact. Since the feds chose not to tabulate the damage, the problem didn’t exist. Biden responded to shortages of critical personnel by sending in a thousand U.S. military personnel to assist hospitals but provided zero relief for most healthcare facilities.
In its brief to the Supreme Court, the Biden administration declared that the vaccine mandate was “critical to preventing outbreaks of (COVID-19) that had devastated Medicare- and Medicaid-participating facilities earlier in the pandemic.” However, two weeks before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments, the CDC changed its previous guidance on healthcare workers isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. The CDC decreed that the quarantine time for COVID-infected health employees can be sharply reduced if there are staffing shortages. Some COVID-19-positive nurses across the country have been told to come into work and treat patients even if they still have symptoms.
People who contract a virus and recover have natural immunity that subsequently protects them. But the Biden administration ignored post-infection immunity, perhaps because it did nothing for presidential bragging rights – “100 million shots in 100 days,” as Biden crowed in March 2021. According to Biden policymakers, it was better for hospital patients to be treated by fever-ridden COVID-positive nurses (whose COVID-19 vaccinations failed to safeguard them from the virus) than by unvaccinated nurses with no COVID. Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, president of National Nurses United, said the new policy “will only result in further transmission, illness and death.”
Shortly before the Supreme Court heard the case, Biden declared that “almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated.” But the fully vaccinated accounted for 21% to 27% of COVID-19 fatalities in Oregon from August through November and 40% to nearly 75% of deaths in Vermont from August into October. The data had become so embarrassing to the Biden administration that the CDC stopped publishing vaccination details on COVID deaths in October.
Biden admits “no federal solution”
Biden also admitted in late December that there is “no federal solution (to COVID-19). This gets solved at the state level.” That was a far cry from his pledge in his final debate with Donald Trump in October 2020, when Biden promised: “I will take care of this. I will end this. I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country.” Biden’s “no federal solution” offered ample justification for the Supreme Court to reject Biden’s mandate.
On January 7, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments amidst the worst COVID surge ever. “Mandates have curbed almost everything except COVID-19 cases,” Yahoo editor Javier David quipped. Even though almost two-thirds of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated, more than a million new COVID cases were being diagnosed every day in early January. But that surge did nothing to stop Biden from prattling about a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
During oral arguments, Justice Elena Kagan declared that the Biden policy is saying to healthcare providers “the one thing you can’t do is to kill your patients.” Workers must get vaccinated, Kagan said, “so that you’re not transmitting the disease that can kill elderly Medicare patients…. You can’t be the carrier of disease.”
Unless the carriers of disease are CDC-approved, as my USA Today op-ed on the morning of the court’s arguments noted. At that point, more than half a million healthcare workers had already had COVID-19 infections, and more than 99+% of them survived. However, the Biden mandate presumed that vaccines were the sole source of good health and protection and ignored postinfection immunity because of perceived “uncertainties … as to the strength and length of (natural) immunity.” However, a major Israeli study in August found that people who had COVID-19 have far better protection against the delta variant than people who have received multiple COVID-19 vaccine injections.
The Supreme Court’s deliberations occurred in a make-believe world that tacitly assumed that the vaccines were still the miracle cure that politicians like Biden initially claimed. But the effectiveness of the COVID booster shot had fallen to 31%, according to CDC. Nobel Laureate scientist Luc Montagnier noted in the Wall Street Journal that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines after 30 days had no “statistically significant positive effect against Omicron infection, and after 90 days, their effect went negative — i.e., vaccinated people were more susceptible to Omicron infection.” Later studies confirmed that vaccines and boosters increased the odds of contracting Omicron. CDC later admitted that almost half the COVID deaths in early 2022 were among the fully vaxxed. On January 11, Biden’s FDA acting chief Janet Woodcock told a Senate committee that “most people are going to get COVID.” So what was the point of mandatory vaccines?
SCOTUS vaccine rulings a mixed bag
On January 13, the court voted to uphold the vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers by a 5 to 4 vote. (A separate ruling struck down Biden’s mandate for employees of large companies.) The court’s healthcare mandate ruling declared, “Ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession: first, do no harm.” Unfortunately, federal policymakers were exempt from the “do no harm” admonition. The justices ignored or failed to comprehend how the Biden administration’s welcome mat for COVID-positive nurses obliterated both its legal and moral case for mandates.
Shortly after the decision was announced, The Lancet, one of the most respected medical journals in the world, editorialized that healthcare workers who recovered from COVID should be exempt from vax mandates.
COVID vaccines can help reduce the risk of severe outcomes from COVID among the elderly and people with compromised health. But there was never any scientific rationale for forcing every healthcare worker or every American to get an experimental jab that performed worse with each new COVID-19 wave.
Biden’s vaccine mandates are another demolition of freedom that do nothing to end the most politically exploited pandemic in American history. But the government has no liability for the injections it mandates or the freedoms it destroys. For bureaucrats and politicians, gaining power and compelling submission are victory enough, even when their policies fail to vanquish a virus. How much longer will politicians pretend that their iron fists are a magic bullet?
This article was originally published in the September 2022 edition of Future of Freedom.