WALL STREET JOURNAL – The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a remarkable stream of scientific investigation, but that knowledge isn’t translating into better public policy.
One example is a zealous pursuit of public mask wearing, a measure that has had, at best, a modest effect on viral transmission.
Or take lockdowns, shown by research to increase deaths overall but nonetheless still considered an acceptable solution.
This intellectual disconnect now extends to Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The policy is promoted as essential for stopping the spread of Covid-19, though the evidence suggests it won’t.
Mandates infringe on personal autonomy, which can lead to political strife and unintended consequences, but they have value in some situations.
In general, however, wise policy making respects the intrinsic value of personal autonomy and seeks the least burdensome path to achieve social gains.
The common argument for vaccine mandates is: You have no right to infect me. But cases are partly driven by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread—people who are unaware that they even are infected. It isn’t practical to punish adults who have no symptoms.
This is why other diseases that can be spread by people without symptoms—such as influenza, genital herpes and hepatitis C—are met with policies like voluntary vaccination drives, screening protocols for sexually transmitted diseases, and clean needle exchange programs for intravenous drug users. Doctors and public health officials used to understand that stopping spread is usually not practical.
Here’s another problem: The vaccines reduce but don’t prevent transmission.
Protection from infection appears to wane over time, more noticeably after three to four months, based on a large study of more than 300,000 people in the United Kingdom.
As clinical studies from the U.S., Israel, and Qatar show—and many Americans can now personally attest—there is substantial evidence that people who are vaccinated can both contract and contribute to the spread of Covid-19 … READ MORE (subscription may be required)