What’s the best vaccine policy? | Daily News

What’s the best vaccine policy?

Sri Lanka's vaccination drive was very successful
Sri Lanka's vaccination drive was very successful






Sri Lanka’s vaccine policy for COVID has been lauded all around and there has been muted celebration over the fact that this may have shorn up tourism numbers as well. In the wake of this fact there has been a cry for booster vaccinations for all and sundry including children and certain physicians in the medical sector lobby, and other physicians have been advocating such a booster regimen.

But no regime can afford to listen to medical lobbies alone at the exclusion of other conscientious members of the community including medical professionals that are dissenters that see no use in such a vaccine regimen.

Let this be said. Endless booster shots as seems to be happening say in Israel for instance is something this country should try to avoid under all circumstances, even though there seem to be some physician-pundits in positions of power who seem hell bent in taking the country in the direction of endless jabbing.

However, this endless jabbing scenario is not even recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is questioned by physicians in many countries in the developed world, and also defies common sense. Why some physicians in this country with so-called nationalist credentials want to go in this direction of endless jabs even for the underaged, is anybody’s guess.

However, there is a narrative being promoted that argues for endless jabbing and there are elements that profit from this narrative to say the very least.

But there has been no evidence whatsoever that children are at particular risk from COVID, therefore it is common sense more than anything else that should prompt decision makers to look at all aspects and arrive at a proper decision before ordering even more ‘booster’ jabs.

This is not vaccine hesitation. It is in keeping with the opinions advanced by competent experts, some in the WHO etc. who say that indiscriminate booster vaccinations are not necessary.


“Blanket booster programmes are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate,” said WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

That’s from one perspective. Meanwhile the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States (US) is questioning the need for booster shots even as the President of the country Joe Biden says he will ensure that every person in the US will have a booster jab soon.

“The FDA staff view reflects that of many scientists who have questioned whether the boosters are necessary broadly, even as President Joe Biden has pushed for the additional shots …,” states a Reuters story.

Now, that is as far as the openly articulated views are concerned. But, there is enough healthy skepticism among the physician community and conscientious objectors to advise caution before a country mandates vaccines for anyone, leave along children.

From time to time there have been various shrill pronouncements being made by persons in positions of authority in this country about passing vaccines mandates into law, but thankfully there are no such sanctions yet.

Why should there be vaccine mandates when there are no COVID jabs that are mandated by law in most countries that manufacture these inoculations in the first place? The booster shots are in most countries a matter of choice as have been the first two shots in the first place.

In countries such as France, there have been vaccine mandates which are enforced through circuitous means. Instead of saying that jabs are mandatory the French President Emmanuelle Macron is keen on requiring certification for people who want to enter public places such as shopping malls or concert venues.


However, in the United Kingdom (UK) Boris Johnson the Prime Minister now embroiled in all types of theatrics that involve his own behaviour flouting pandemic rules, is lifting most of the sanctions because he says ‘the UK is entering a period of ‘Living with COVID.’

Some say that he is lifting COVID related regulations because he is under siege politically and wants to find a way out. But what is the inference from that? He obviously finds that lifting sanctions is more popular with the people than having them, which gives the lie to the earlier theory, that most people want the sanctions because they feel safer that way.

The vaccinations are not necessary if most people in the community have contracted the disease even in mild form at any time. There is an interesting story about the Amish community in Pennsylvania in the United States. Being a stubborn community of persons following a rather uncommon faith the Amish decided early during the pandemic that they are not going to be kept at home by government diktat.

They decided that when they go to Church, they would dip the wine chalice in a large vat of wine and make everybody take a sip from the chalice which was made to go around from hand to hand. This meant that everybody was made to be exposed to the virus from the very outset.

Today, it is reported that the Amish community in Pennsylvania is the first that has reached complete herd immunity in the United States. This has been achieved without any significant death toll in the community from COVID.

Nobody is advocating the Amish solution for countries because achieving herd immunity in voluntary fashion as the Amish did would not be considered either civilized or practical in pluralistic communities in which various people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds live.

But the Amish story forces us to look at alternative solutions that eschew the multiple booster route. There should be no unholy hurry for booster shots when the pharmaceutical companies are now promising new alternate vaccines that would serve as regular flu and COVID shots combined, for example. There are also new pills that are emerging for treating COVID at the very outset of symptoms. This should be good news at least to those who are not interested in looking at any thinking other than the ‘science’ that is taken to be gospel on the matter of vaccines.


If they feel that the pharma people should have the solutions — after all they have been in the game for so long — well here are the pharma people themselves saying that there are better solutions on the way, so why be so hasty with boosters?

The issue of probability has not been looked into at all, and this is especially disturbing when it comes to the case of youngsters, i.e. school age kids.

What are the chances of children dying of COVID? Minimal, by all accounts which is not to say that there is not a single death recorded. But, the chances of child mortality as a result of COVID are so negligible that mandating a continuous vaccine regime for them defies all common sense.

The problem is that some physicians — with nationalist credentials we will say — have decided that vaccinating our way out of COVID is the best solution. Nationalist or otherwise physicians tend to look at jabs as the only way out and it is imperative that all other facts and all other input from experts be considered before these booster jabs are mandated, especially for children.

There is also no case whatsoever for stamping down on cherished civil liberties on account of a pandemic that despite the scares about Omicron etc. is now very much under control. We have been there and done that. The results to say the least are visible in terms of a hobbled economy.

Therefore nationalist or no-nationalist, prescriptions from mere physicians for boosters upon boosters should be given short shrift. There are so many other considerations such as the fact that there are possible side effects etc. to consider, and these issues are extremely important when considering that the probability of death from the virus in young children in particular is minuscule.

The Supreme Court has already in an opinion from the Bench stated that vaccines are not mandatory in this country, and this is the law that ought to be followed.

This is not to claim anything against the efficacy of vaccines. But, there is enough out there to say that the people’s choice cannot be interfered with especially if they decide they do not want endless booster shots.

(The views expressed are the writer's own).

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