A group of scientists and academics from the Universities of Oxford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and more has published a paper setting out why coercive vaccination policies are “counterproductive and harmful”. Covering behavioural psychology, politics and law, socioeconomics, and the integrity of science and public health, the authors – two of whom are funded by the Wellcome Trust, a major funder of medical research led by Sir Jeremy Farrar with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry – set out why the “risks and harms of punitive public health strategies far outweigh the benefits”.
The full list of authors is as follows:
- Dr. Kevin Bardosh, Applied Medical Anthropologist, University of Washington
- Dr. Alex de Figueiredo, Research Fellow, Vaccine Confidence Project, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- Dr. Rachel Gur-Arie, Postdoctoral Fellow, Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
- Dr. Euzebiusz Jamrozik, Fellow in Ethics and Infectious Diseases, Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford
- Dr. James J Doidge, Senior Statistician, ICNARC
- Professor Trudo Lemmens, Health Law and Policy, University of Toronto
- Professor Salmaan Keshavjee, Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
- Professor Janice Graham, Medical Anthropology and Infectious Diseases, Dalhousie University
- Professor Stefan Baral, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University
In the paper, the authors point to the backlash against coercive vaccination policies and the breaching of important ethical norms and the implications for public health in the future.
The adoption of new vaccination status policies has provoked a multilayered global and local backlash, resistance and polarisation that threaten to escalate if current policies continue. It is important to emphasise that these policies are not viewed as ‘incentives’ or ‘nudges’ by substantial proportions of populations, especially in marginalised, underserved, or low COVID-19-risk groups. Denying individuals education, livelihoods, medical care, or social life unless they get vaccinated does not appear to coincide with constitutional and bioethical principles, especially in liberal democracies. While public support appears to have consolidated behind these policies in many countries, we should acknowledge that human rights frameworks were designed to ensure that rights are respected and promoted even during public health emergencies.
They argue the coercive policies are ineffective on multiple fronts and not fit for purpose.