«The unvaccinated seem to be at fault that vaccinations do not work well for the vaccinated.»
[«Die Nicht-Geimpften scheinen daran Schuld zu sein, dass bei den Geimpften die Impfung nicht richtig wirkt.»]
Dr. Ulrich Vosgerau
So, there are new Covid regulations in Germany — starting next week, we have 3G at work. You need to be vaccinated («geimpft»), recovered from Covid («genesen»), or be tested («getestet»). The tests are only valid for 24 hours and being recovered is also time-limited (six months). Only being vaccinated does not come with an expiry date (yet — looking at the reduced efficacy of the vaccines over time, I’m guessing soon the vaccinated will have to have a third shot to count as vaccinated, but apparently they want to use the lack of an expiry date as bait first). Then — depending on the amount of Covid cases on ICUs — there is 2G (if you are not vaccinated or recovered, you cannot participate in public life). Funnily enough, apparently it’s now common knowledge that even vaccinated can get and transmit the virus, so there is also 2G+, which means that even the vaccinated and recovered have to do a Covid test.
Do you know any other vaccines where you have to regularly prove that you are not infected?
Yeah, these are rather strange vaccines. Not exactly measles or smallpox vaccine level. Especially considering that much discussion is about the relative risk. For example, apparently, vaccinated are ten times less likely to be hospitalized and 10 times less likely to die. Yes, but the absolute risk of being hospitalized or dying is rather low, at least if you are not old and/or have comorbidities. And if I were in such a risk group, hell yes would I take the shot (and the second, and the third, and the fourth …).
But I am not, and thing is, I like vaccinations, I think they have done a lot for us — but they have to be done right. The human immune system is rather complex, not to mention the human body itself. This isn’t the place to cut corners. And no, I do not think that someone deliberately did act unethically. Put considering the huge social, political and financial pressure, and given that research does come with judgments on how to continue, I see the potential for bias. So I deeply mistrust the quick development and short time frame for testing. And yeah, usually you see side-effects of vaccinations early (and regarding Covid, there are a lot). But there can also be negative effects which are difficult to attribute to the vaccination. It’s hard to detect that signal in the noise of random fluctuations of illnesses which may or may not be due to the vaccine. And yeah, I might die of Covid, but it would not mean that my current assessment would be wrong, any more than a person’s assessment of getting vaccinated and then dying due to an extremely rare side effect would make that decision wrong. At the time it still was the best decision, it’s just that things did turn out different than expected.
I also deeply mistrust how the Covid pandemic was handled. The behavior of the politicians was atrocious. Lot’s of short-term thinking and overreactions. No wonder, considering the public fear. And yup, in the beginning (March 2020), I did see the pandemic as potentially extremely dangerous. When there were assertions by politicians that there won’t be any restrictions of public life, I started stockpiling food (and yeah, also toilet paper, if you don’t think that’s important, try living a week without it). As a rule of thumb, if politicians mention what they will not do, it means they thought about doing it, and they likely will do it later if the situation does not change. And looking at the map and the Covid cases spread over it, it was clear that stemming the pandemic was off the table. But in May 2020 the first numbers came in and it was clear that this wasn’t the Spanish Flu 2.0. The people who died were mostly people in their 80s and those with other illnesses. That does not make it okay, but I would have allowed us to focus on protecting these at-risk groups. Instead, we ignored individual risks and focused on a society-wide collective response. Even at work we had discussions on whether an employee with diabetes (at the time the risk of dying was estimated at 7%) could work from home, because guidelines did not differentiate between risk groups.
And it went downhill from then on. Fear — akin to a moral panic — motivated the one group to go for hard measures. Fear — I’d say justified concerns — of losing basic, constitutional rights motivated the other, who also regarded Covid as not that or only selectively dangerous. Now these positions have morphed into people who see vaccination (and boosters) as way out of the pandemic, versus those who see pressured/mandatory vaccinations as gross violations of the dignity and freedom of a human being, as violating everything from Nürnberg over Helsinki to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
And, not surprisingly, the pressure on the unvaccinated increases. As unvaccinated, starting with next week, you need to do a test each day to work. Takes around 15-20 minutes each day. Personally, I need 30 minutes to go to the testing center (14 minutes), do the test (2 minutes), and walk back (14 minutes). And these are more or less ideal conditions. Doing one test a week I lose a full workday during a semester. If I would do one each day (provided I could do them), I’d lose 2.5 hours a week, or almost a full week in the semester. And again, under ideal conditions. Others will face huge financial costs (probably work the first hour to finance the test) in addition to the time costs.
And for what — to pressure the unvaccinated to get vaccinated with a vaccine that is of questionable efficacy. The damage these pressures do to the public trust in government will be hard to repair. After all, they have shown that «free decisions» are a sham. If you don’t do what they want, they’ll just pressure you. Looking at the USA, what did Biden say? Something about «We tried to make it voluntary, you didn’t do it, now we have to use mandates.» That’s a strange definition of «voluntary».
But the increased pressure was only a question of time. After all, the number of unvaccinated decreases and while you might leave a political party, once you are vaccinated you stay vaccinated. Well, until you need boosters to be vaccinated, but at that time, you have already bought into vaccinations and its privileges, and it’s hard to go counter to ones public commitment. And if the politicians do have any brains, they will not speak of those vaccinated as unvaccinated, they will just say that they are not «boostered». Otherwise they would change the power relations.
The underlying assumptions are that the vaccinations work, are the only way out of the pandemic, and that it’s the best for all people. But these are huge assumptions. Sure, if you only test the unvaccinated, it’s easy to speak of a pandemic of the unvaccinated. But we’re dealing with an RNA virus that mutates quickly (luckily the Greek alphabet has a few more letters). The efficacy of vaccinations reduces over time. Vaccinated can get Covid and transmit it (but without testing, these cases go undiscovered). Considering the problems, protecting the vulnerable and treatment seem to be the more promising options to me. And that includes improving the situation in the hospitals — but that was a shitshow all around. Some clapping but not much else. And — I kid you not — reducing the number of ICU beds and even closing down hospitals. Still a lack of personnel, instead of using the last 1.7 years to specifically train nurses to deal with Covid-ICU-patients. But now the unvaccinated are at fault if the ICU beds are not available. And whether it’s the best for a person is this person’s decision. Each body is different and it is their body their choice. At least, as long as we still have a society that considers people as individuals who may decide for themselves.
And that’s my main concern here. We do have a move from individual freedom (personal responsibility/choice) to collective control. And the pandemic was probably the ideal wedge for this view to invade our society. After all, «your personal liberty to swing your arm ends where my nose begins», or translated to Covid, «your right to take part in society ends when you become a danger to society». Only, that assumption only holds true if unvaccinated are also infected (the default assumption as they have to prove each day they are not, and a dangerous assumption, as disgust leads to … well, things we do not want to have again). And only if the vaccinated cannot transmit Covid. But both assumptions are wrong.
But it is still used to establish the precedent that other people can decide what an individual has to do with his body. At the moment, it’s mandatory testing and providing personal health information to your employer. Just think about it — your employer gets information about your health status. At the moment only about Covid, but once we have started to share this information, why not about other medical information? Who cares about your right to privacy, it’s for the greater good.
You also see the collective focus it in some, frankly, astonishing assertions. E.g., that it’s egoistic to prioritize your own health (here: avoiding side-effects by not getting vaccinated and «putting others in danger»). Let’s just think about it for a moment — you should not put more importance on your health than the health of other people? Really? Are we cattle, where the herd is more important than an individual cow?
There are even voices arguing for not treating the unvaccinated. After all, they are at fault and risk the lives of others. But if we go that route, you can kiss this society good-bye. After all, a person who drives fast also puts others at risk. A person who runs a red light even did so deliberately. Should we let this person bleed to death in the streets because he’s «at fault» and «put others at risk»? And again, in contrast to these cases, the assumption is that unvaccinated are infected. Likely they are not, some will already have had Covid (but cannot prove it afterwards). And even if they do get it, is that a reason to let them die?
Next up will be mandatory vaccinations, replacing the societal, organizational and financial pressure with direct force. It’s the next step in this slow, almost imperceptible, incremental, step-by-step process of removing individual freedom in favor of collective control. Already planned in Austria (the non-Kangaroo country) and in discussion for some professions in Germany. Doesn’t affect you because you do not work in those professions? Well, Niemöller comes to mind.
I don’t think that will be the end. If forced treatments happen, things will then get worse. Either by becoming more totalitarian, or by the governments monopoly on violence being obliterated.
Both scenarios are extremely bad, and as a personal guess, I think a more collective, more totalitarian society is more likely.
After all, it’s for the greater good.