Attached to this article by Glenn Greenwald is a short and excellent video interview with NBA player Jonathan Isaac explaining why he has declined to vaccinate for Covid-19. As a lead in to that, GG makes this personal statement with which I fully agree:
<<That the unvaccinated are inherently primitive and stupid troglodytes was always a claim as baseless and offensive as it is counter-productive. Although I personally took the vaccine the first day it was available to me — as I repeatedly said I would in every forum where I speak, including Fox News — it was always clear that there were cogent reasons why those with different circumstances and risk factors (age, health, prior COVID status) might assess their own risks differently and reach a different conclusion. And what made me most comfortable about my choice to get vaccinated, or to decide whether my kids should, was precisely that it was my choice, after informing myself: the idea of forcing someone to do it against their will, or condition people's rights and privileges on vaccine compliance — as both President Biden and the ACLU astonishingly advocated — always struck me as inconceivable.>> ( https://greenwald.substack.com/p/an-nba-star-and-new-yorks-governor )
[Direct link to the interview for convenience of the reader: https://youtu.be/xVS6aUWAWDg ]
Having been vaccinated myself, let me emphasize two words he uses here to describe +coercion+ to vaccinate, "offensive" and "counter-productive". The attempt to force people to vaccinate is inherently offensive to the people who have or have not yet vaccinated as it violates their bodily autonomy and their moral authority to make their own medical decisions for themselves, privately. As the author here notes, it is also offensive (or darn well ought to be!) to those of us who vaccinated willingly because it denies our choice, violates our medical privacy in being required to furnish proof of vaccination status, and enlists us to participate in an unethical scheme to coerce others. Because this scheme is inherently offensive, it is extremely counter-productive: vaccination rates have plummeted since Biden's mandate was announced.
In the video, Isaac explains his choice clearly and well. At his age and in his condition, having already had and recovered from Covid, his personal danger of severe illness from Covid-19 is tiny and the chance of side-effects from the vaccine are low but also non-zero. Is it possible that vaccinating may have a benefit in improving immunity beyond natural immunity? Sure, some results suggest this, but not all, it is not scientific certainty and it HIS call how much benefit it is to him that a vaccine could move his risk of severe disease from near-zero to slightly-nearer-to-zero.
OK, so that is his personal choice. Being at higher-than-normal risk for severe disease, my internal calculus was a bit different. What about a duty to those around him?
<<But the attempt to suggest that some type of societal good justifies denying Isaac the right to choose quickly falls into incoherence. To whom is an unvaccinated Jonathan Isaac a threat? The reason vaccines have become so celebrated — the reason I took it — is based on the claim that they offer enormous protection against serious illness or death in the event that one contracts COVID. When President Biden addressed the nation about COVID on September 9, he said that “the vaccines provide strong protections for the vaccinated” and, for that reason, “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” In other words, according to Biden, the vaccinated are no longer endangered.>> (ibid)
So, now, Biden, having "lost patience"(*), is taking the rather contradictory view that because the chance of severe illness among the vaccinated is "not zero", the unvaccinated are an existential threat to society and need to be forced. But, as Isaac points out, the chance of side effects is also "not zero" and there is no credible scientific reason to believe that any amount of coercion will reduce the risk of severe disease to "zero", especially since even those vaccinated can still spread the virus!. It has not halted spread in totalitarian China or Australia. It has not in vaccine-mandate Israel. It has not in US prisons. Having been vaccinated personally, my risk is not and will not be zero, even if I successfully held a gun to the head of everyone around me. So why would I feel the need to soil myself to that end?
And this is to say nothing of the "difficult optics" of a largely white upper-crust allegedly-"progressive" social elite trying to say that someone like Jonathan Isaac (who happens to be black) doesn't have the unfettered right to his own body.
(*) Biden and "lost patience": nu, and I should care?