My Second Letter to Russell Broadbent
Thank you for speaking on behalf of the unvaccinated. I am an ethicist (published in the BMJ on the question of vaccine mandates) and I want to share with you my strongest arguments against the mandates.
Summary of the three strongest arguments against the ethical permissibility of vaccine mandates and why any medical procedure imposed by coercion must be refused.
1. Vaccine mandates imply that all humans are born in a defective, inherently harmful state that must be biotechnologically augmented to allow our unrestricted participation in society, which amounts to discrimination on the basis of healthy, innate characteristics of the human race. This devaluation of the innate human constitution is not only universally dehumanising, but it perverts the very concept of human rights; discrimination against the unvaccinated implies that our innate human constitution is no longer a guarantee of full human rights. The present argument is fully developed here: https://jme.bmj.com/content/48/4/240.
2. Medical consent must be free – not coerced – in order to be valid. Any discrimination against the unvaccinated is economic or social opportunity coercion, precluding the possibility of valid medical consent. The right to free, uncoerced medical consent is not negotiable, under any circumstances, because without it we have no rights at all; every other right can be subverted by medical coercion. Crucially, by accepting any medical treatment imposed by coercion we would be acquiescing to the taking away of the right to free medical consent not only from ourselves but from our children and from future generations, and we do not have the right to do this. Acquiescence to medical coercion is always unethical, even if the mandated intervention were a placebo.*
3. Vaccines are known to occasionally cause deaths of healthy people. When an employee is required to receive vaccination as a condition of employment, that employee is economically coerced to participate in an activity where some percentage of employees are expected to die ‘in the course of employment’ as a direct result of the mandated activity. This goes against the fundamental principles of medical ethics and workplace safety. It may be objected that infectious pathogens also kill people, but these two categories of deaths are not ethically equivalent. Infection with a pathogen for which there exists a vaccine is not mandated, whereas deaths resulting from mandatory vaccination are mandated deaths, a legalised killing of some people for the prospective benefit of the majority. Critically, any discrimination against the unvaccinated (or a privileged treatment of the vaccinated) amounts to a violation of the right to life, because a small percentage of the targeted population are expected to die as a result of this coercive treatment. By refusing to accept mandated vaccines we take an ethical stance in defence of the right to life.
An earlier version of these arguments were formally submitted to the Inquiry into Public Health Amendment Bill 2021 (No 2) ACT and subsequently published here.
I have also contacted several regulatory agencies (SIRA, Australian Government Department of Health, Mr Gavrielatos at Safe Work NSW, Australian Medical Association, and Safe Work Australia) with two questions relating to a possible conflict between Covid-19 vaccine mandates and workplace safety. I have received only generic responses; not one agency or person contacted has explicitly answered my two questions, which were formulated as follows:
1. Do you acknowledge that Covid vaccination occasionally causes death of healthy people, even if the overall outcome benefits most people?
2. If yes, do you acknowledge that when an employee is required to receive Covid vaccination as a condition of employment, that employee is in effect required to participate in an activity where some percentage of employees are expected to die as a result of their mandatory participation?
Would you be willing to present these questions to the health minister?