Boots & Sabers

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0835, 09 Feb 23

Government mandates another vaccine

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

The Wisconsin Department of Human Resources has released new vaccine requirements for children who attend child care centers and schools next year. In a previous era, perhaps a more innocent era, such an announcement would pass unnoticed and unscrutinized as a sensible precaution being enacted by government officials motivated by goodwill and informed by science. However, we live in a post-pandemic world where such trust in our government is no longer warranted — if it ever was.


The new requirements from the DHS make some minor changes to the timing of vaccinations that are already required and introduce a new requirement for children to be immunized against meningococcal disease, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis and sepsis, in the seventh grade with the meningococcal vaccine followed by a booster in the twelfth grade. Vaccine requirements are the rage nowadays.


The meningococcal vaccine was introduced in 2005 and has seemingly worked well. Although rare, meningococcal disease can cause devastating life-altering damage and death. Before the vaccine, there were usually between 30 and 50 cases per year in Wisconsin with several deaths, according to DHS data. Between 2012 and 2022, there were rarely more than 10 cases with just four deaths in a decade. In 2022, there was a single reported case.


Despite the rarity of the disease and the demonstrably effectiveness of recommending the vaccine, state government officials have mandated the vaccine for children. Why?


The short answer is that some unelected government health bureaucrat thinks that the vaccine is a good idea, so it should be mandated instead of allowing families to make their own informed health care decisions. It might be a good idea. Indeed, the data seems to show that the vaccine is a good idea for a lot of people. But is a mandate necessary?


Part of what is driving the new mandate is that state health bureaucrats are concerned about the drop in overall vaccinations. According to state date, the number of students who were compliant with required immunizations dropped by 3.2% last year as compared to the prior year. 88.7% of students complied with immunization mandates, but state officials are concerned about the increasing resistance to compliance.


A more reflective government health bureaucracy might recognize the underlying cause of the drop.


They have nobody to blame but themselves. We remember their behavior during the COVID pandemic. We remember the lockdowns that devastated lives.


We remember the public shaming. We remember the idiotic mask mandates. We remember forcing children to get unproven vaccines despite the infinitesimal risks of COVID for healthy kids. We remember being forced to stand in the snow to see loved ones in nursing homes through a window. We remember being forbidden to attend funerals to comfort the bereaved.


We remember it all. And we remember that it was all for naught. All of the physical, emotional, mental health, economic, and educational pain and suffering inflicted by these same government health bureaucrats far outweighed the negligible, if any, impact on mitigating the spread and effects of COVID. Yet their failures have not dampened their hubris.


The COVID pandemic unmasked the government health bureaucracies as often incompetent, sometimes corrupt, occasionally untruthful, unjustifiably arrogant, and heavily influenced by monied special interests like the pharmaceutical companies. In other words, they are subject to all of the same human failings as any other human institution.


The realization that our government health officials are human and may not be acting in our best interests has engendered a healthy skepticism of their recommendations and mandates. If you have a child entering the seventh grade, should you comply with the government mandate to get the meningococcal vaccine? Don’t trust your government. They have not earned your trust. Do your own homework and take responsibility for your child’s health care.


0835, 09 February 2023


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