A THREAT TO OUR EXISTENCE
History has shown us indubitably that vaccination is the best weapon we have against most infectious diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, influenza, tetanus, hepatitis, pertussis, chickenpox, diphtheria, meningitis, and more to the point, Covid -19. The argument that “I am healthy, exercise every day, and eat right,” is not valid as that does not provide even a shred of protection for any infection, especially not Covid-19. The argument that having had Covid-19 should exempt you from vaccination is also flawed. Firstly there is very little data on immunity after infection. Fully one-third of people who had Covid-19 generated no antibody response. The immunity from the disease is variable and not as reliable as vaccine immunity. Another study out of Israel gives reason to have more doubts about the quality of that immunity. The breakthrough events, defined as getting infected again after either having had the disease or getting vaccinated, occur at twice the rate in natural immunity as in vaccine acquired immunity. This suggests that even though an individual has had the disease, immunization is still required, in opposition to the opinion of what one US Senator says.
Herd immunity is acquired by a population when there is no more of a reservoir for the virus to infect, and therefore the virus cannot multiply and cannot mutate. The risk of mutation is a major reason to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the next, possibly more lethal virus that may or may not be susceptible to the vaccines. That level of immunity is said to be a minimum of 80%. Current worldwide immunity is at 35%, not even halfway there.
There are many reasons why worldwide immunity is so low. The poor nations do not have the infrastructure and funds. The wealthy nations have pushback from the people that are anti-vaxxers for a variety of reasons: lack of education, fear, religious objection, genuine medical contraindication to the vaccine, and just plain stubborn ignorance.
There are efforts to get the poorer nations to meet their needs through private and public actions. Vaccine hesitancy is another major obstacle. China, through mandates that only an autocratic government is able to muster, has reached the goal of herd immunity and is beginning to relax its mandated programs. It is now focusing on segments of the population that need more attention, such as those that were missed in the first round or need a booster.
To date, there are 21 countries that are in the process of various levels of mandates from rigorous, such as no vaccination no job, or the unvaccinated are simply shut out of their economy, including denial of hospital admission, to more lenient attitudes such as a vaccine passport or frequent testing. That list should give you a hint as to the conviction all these nations have of the need and urgency to do this! These countries all, by and large, are democracies and have public health agencies that have found it necessary, despite all the effort to do this on a voluntary basis, to implement methods that require a more aggressive demand for compliance:
Australia Indonesia Russia
Britain Italy Saudi Arabia
Canada Kazakhstan Sri Lanka
Costa Rica Lebanon Switzerland
Fiji Malta Turkey
France Micronesia Turkmenistan
Hungary Netherlands United States
It has become obvious that mandates will be necessary for most countries to achieve the herd immunity we need. I realize that this will bring much resistance and even potential violence. But this has been necessary for past situations, even in our Democracy. A threat to our existence is a powerful motivator. When we are threatened by annihilation from another country, for example, we will arm ourselves and shoot (to kill) the enemy. This is not the first time we have done this! People that refuse to participate (known as draft dodgers) are put in jail. When existence is at stake (and 700,000 deaths are getting very close to the level of an existential threat), we have in the past restricted civil rights, even imprisoned innocent people, with no due process whom we judged to be a threat.
To demonstrate what fear of a perceived threat can do, if you have not done so, I would suggest you visit Manzanar in central California, one of the prison camps for Americans of Japanese descent during WWII (120,000)– two-thirds of whom were born and raised in the United States of America!