- The Washington Times
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

OPINION:

Freedom is tattooed on the hearts of Americans at birth. Traditional notions of personal liberty, though, are vanishing as President Biden issues coronavirus mandates that trample the right to make health choices based on vaccine efficacy. His one-size-fits-all approach has triggered a backlash. This is, after all, “the land of the free.”

Speaking in a Chicago suburb Thursday, Mr. Biden said, “I’ve tried everything in my power to get people vaccinated.” His vaccine mandates for federal workers and the U.S. military, he boasted, have pushed many large businesses to follow suit.


Boeing, one of many firms to fall into line, vowed Tuesday to fire any or all of its 125,000 employees who fail to vax by the president’s Dec. 8 deadline. More immediate was the impact of a similar announcement by Southwest Airlines. The airline suffered an abrupt shortage of pilots and other staff willing to fill weekend jobs and thousands of flights were abruptly canceled. CEO Gary Kelly claimed the sudden staff deficiency was mere coincidence while reviling the Biden vax mandates.

Seven-time NBA all-star Kyrie Irving hasn’t disclosed his rationale for refusing the jab, but it might be he holds something more precious than the $38 million salary he would forfeit if the Brooklyn Nets follow through on their threat to bar unvaccinated players from the team. It may be the freedom to choose he reveres, or simply life itself.

Historically, vaccine mandates for childhood diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, and chickenpox are nothing new. Why, then, are certain cohorts resisting the president’s decrees? It may be the astronomical rate of adverse vax reactions that have some Americans fretting over the choice between job and jab.

The number from the administration’s own Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is telling. U.S. deaths resulting from COVID-19 inoculations conducted January through September 2021 totaled 7,437. The number of deaths from all other vaccines from 1990 to the present: just 5,129. These include the influenza vaccine, which has logged a death rate of 0.35 per million, 2006-2021. The death rate for COVID-19 vaccines from 2020 to the present stand in sharp contrast: 18.71 deaths per million, or 53 times more lethal.

By comparison, the chance of being struck by lightning is vanishingly small — 2 in a million. Yet Americans are urged to take cover at the first rumble of thunder. Is it any wonder, then, that some — particularly those in youthful age categories with a virus death rate of essentially zero — conclude the risks of vaccination aren’t worth the rewards?

Mr. Biden has tightened his authoritarian grip just as COVID-19 is fading. The number of cases has fallen nearly 50 percent during the past six weeks, while the proportion of inoculated citizens in the vulnerable, 65-and-older U.S. demographic has reached 84 percent rate. Moreover, a therapeutic pill developed by Merck promises to reduce hospitalizations and death by 50 percent.

Stripping Americans now of their freedom-loving birthright is presidential overkill.


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