Vaccines Can Help End The Pandemic, If We Choose To Get Them


A public health expert recently noted that it is impossible to convince a person who is thinking illogically by using logic.

Although COVID vaccines save lives, more than 60 million adults still go unvaccinated, some fearful, and worse yet, some hostile to vaccination and even masking.

Politicization regarding the COVID crisis and vaccination is rampant. Millions of people are ready to believe the disinformation coming from junk websites and social media, politicians and some right-wing media rather than information provided by public health professionals and officials and their own healthcare providers. personal health care.

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David Leonhardt (New York Times) and Philip Bump (Washington Post) wrote articles explaining that the irrational politicization of COVID, COVID vaccines and masking has created a coronavirus death rate gap between Blue and Red America. The once small gap has widened considerably and gradually since the vaccine became available, with conservative areas having significantly higher mortality.

Forty percent of Republicans are unvaccinated compared to 10 percent of Democrats. The fight against COVID must be a public health battle, not a cultural one.

There is no substitute for vaccination for the greatest and longest protection. Those who are not vaccinated will continue to bear the greatest burden of disease.

Fully immune status, at 60 percent nationally and 50 percent in Indiana, is well below collective immunity. Indiana has one of the lowest rates in the state. As winter sets in, we are experiencing a new wave of Delta infections once again and the disturbing new variant, Omicron, is looming before us. Yet the illogical thinking continues. Recently, Governor Holcomb and the legislature, in special session, attempted to prematurely end the COVID emergency order, gut the ability of companies to impose vaccines and codify misinformation.

The bill, postponed but already re-tabled for the next session, is a symbolic nod to resistance to “government excess.” What a dreadful message to the public – “It’s time to move on, the pandemic is over. “

With the persistence of insufficient vaccination rates, vaccination warrants are a rational last resort public health measure to achieve herd immunity of 85 to 90 percent vaccinated. Nobody really wants mandates, but this is the only way out of this crisis.

America’s smallpox vaccination mandates date back more than 200 years. School mandates are responsible for our high childhood immunization rates. Nonetheless, many conservative states have enacted laws that prevent local and state governments from requiring COVID vaccination in a variety of ways, including Indiana. With the proliferation of companies requiring employee vaccinations, nine states have banned private companies from doing so. The Indiana legislature appears poised this session to restrict trade mandates as well. What happened to the Conservative philosophy of a small, non-intrusive government?

Biden’s mandatory vaccination rules conflict with most state vaccination bans. Federal regulations take precedence over state laws. We may be heading for a showdown.

Two previous Supreme Court decisions have upheld the constitutionality of vaccine mandates at least at the state level. Constitutionally, the application of the law in matters of public health is largely reserved to the states. Federal mandates are more uncertain. Federal courts recently issued conflicting rulings on the constitutionality of warrants and now a slew of lawsuits from more than two dozen states, including Indiana, will be played out in federal courts. Without a doubt, the controversy will end in the Conservative-dominated Supreme Court. Will the Court rule contrary to its own precedent? Someone’s guessing.

The belief that individual freedoms are never absolute, always balanced with the common good, and diminished when they cause harm to others has played an important role in constitutional determination. I am a firm believer.

If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If vaccinated, get boosted. It is the logical thing to do.

Dr. Richard Feldman is a family physician in Indianapolis and a former Indiana State Health Commissioner. Email him at


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