Earlier this fall, Edwards’ Department of Health served notice that it would add vaccination for the Wuhan coronavirus to the Office of Public Health’s immunization schedules, both for those delivering education through high school and beyond. This has drawn scrutiny from the GOP-run Legislature, who vowed to hold hearings on the matter next month and to search for ways blunt this move.
At present, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given full approval for vaccines just for people aged 16 and older, it wouldn’t have much impact. Further, in schools below higher education, families can opt out for any reason, further diluting the impact.
Still, the moral case against this kind of vaccine passport for schooling has proved compelling for some time. Children are the least affected by the virus and deaths almost nonexistent; the latest data from Britain shows only one in 20,000 who caught it died, and disproportionally the fatalities were among those with co-morbidities. That’s about the same rate as with the typical influenza season – although the past year seems very atypical with far fewer flu deaths among adults and children, likely as a result of increased nonpharmaceutical interventions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and its opportunistic poaching at the expense of the flu. The flu also appears less likely to send children to hospital, although the coronavirus cases once there tend to be more severe.
Add to this that the World Health Organization has frowned upon policy compelling vaccination of children, for this and other reasons such as anecdotal evidence of much higher negative side effects associated with vaccination. And, again, transmission of the coronavirus occurs regardless of whether someone has been vaccinated, with the only difference being it transmits less virulently at the endpoints of the infection cycle.
The comparison is apt precisely because the present immunization schedule doesn’t include for the flu. Of course; the immunizations currently on the list are long-lasting while the flu’s is an annual best guess of transient duration because of its many variants – just how the coronavirus is developing. Why should LDH include one when it excludes the other?
Understand the motivation for adding the Wuhan coronavirus to the schedule has little to do with sound public health measures and everything to do with political and partisan fashion. It attempts to goad the public into thinking in crisis terms that eases the path towards more and bigger government allegedly needed to fight the “emergency,” to benefit the political left’s agenda.
But it’s a strategy that elections in Virginia earlier this month determined was a loser. In a state carried by Democrat Pres. Joe Biden by ten percentage points barely over a year ago, Republicans won its executive offices including the governorship as well as took control of its lower house.
Education policy emerged as one of the main factors driving the vote, and within that attitudes about school closures and virus policy. Simply, majorities saw negatively restrictive policies, with those being advanced by Democrats, producing large support for Republicans.
Louisiana’s legislative Republican leadership during the pandemic often has folded like a cheap card table when voicing opposition to the counterproductive and intrusive pandemic policy of Edwards, who has followed assiduously the leftist playbook on the matter. It had science on its side but still exhibited feet of clay. Maybe internalizing the dynamics of the Virginia elections finally will embolden it enough to act, if not now at least in next year’s regular session, to direct state virus policy down a sensible path away from the state-first, people-second zero COVID fantasy – and it can begin by finding a way to negate the proposed new vaccination requirement.