The latest contention in the COVID saga appears to be vaccinated versus unvaccinated. I am puzzled why this would cause friction, since vaccinated citizens can apparently still carry the disease to others. Why would anyone care whether someone else chose to decline the needle? I wish to explain my public views about why vaccination is illogical for me, personally.
I say “for me, personally” because that is paramount for all of us. It is paramount that each Vermonter be granted the simple liberty to make their personal choice about vaccination for themselves and their minor children. That has been the law of the land and should remain so. The ideological virus that threatens this fundamental, common-sense liberty is a greater threat than COVID — and that is paramount.
My personal decision to decline vaccination is informed by laws, experience and facts.
As I explained in an analysis of U.S. Constitutional law, the government has no right to compel any citizens to be inoculated — no case has ever held that mandatory vaccinations are permissible. But yet, a factual, scientific situation might arise that could justify an intrusion into personal liberties — for instance, a disease with a high mortality rate, like ebola.
The facts relevant to the law
COVID-19 is nowhere near ebola in deadliness, except for those over age 80 and those with underlying health conditions. Of course, the disease is deadly and injurious, and includes risk of long-term heart and lung damage. But we should protect the vulnerable, not victimize the healthy young with a disease that has an extremely low chance of killing or injuring them.
The facts here are simple: this disease does not present a mortality threat sufficient to overcome Constitutional legal strictures. Anyone who advocates either compulsory vaccinations — including as condition for access to school programs or other public services — or a mandated “vaccination card,” are flagrantly offending against basic human rights ensconced specifically in our constitutions.
My personal facts
My health was outstanding until Lyme disease destroyed me back in 1997. I went years undiagnosed for the Lyme, and then took antibiotics for some 12 years, year-round. I suffer from chronic pain (fibromyalgia) around which I am compelled to organize my life. Even so, I’m not headed here toward “I’m too sick to be vaccinated.” Ultimately, my personal reasoning is that I’m too healthy to be vaccinated. Allow me to explain.
My physician, a Lyme disease specialist, was a proponent of antibiotics and vaccinations. Years ago, we shared a conversation that went approximately so:
“Doctor, do you advise that I take the flu shot?” I asked.
“Yes, Mr. Klar,” my doctor replied. (He’s like that — extremely brief, almost curt.)
“Well, I’ve heard it’s only partially effective, and may only protect a small percentage of those vaccinated against the flu. Is that true?”
“No, Mr. Klar. While it is true that no flu vaccine is fully protective, statistically in most flu seasons the benefits are statistically justified by those people who do gain effective immunity.”
“What about risks from the vaccination itself?” I asked.
“Those are extremely small, and do not merit avoidance of vaccination,” he replied.
This all seemed quite logical to me, and I trusted this physician sufficiently to have taken a guinea-pig regimen of potent antibiotics and other medications for years (including hydroxychloroquine, which is used in conjunction with antibiotics to kill the Lyme spirochete).
But, being the inquisitive lawyerly type, I had one more inquiry for my chief witness while he was still on the stand:
“Doctor, do you take the flu shot?”
“No, I do not Mr. Klar.”
“Doctor, why don’t you take the flu shot?” I asked, continuing my interrogation to extract evidence from the taciturn witness.
“Because I prefer to develop my immunity naturally,” my doctor replied.
Well, that was good enough for me. I’m a farmer, and I get it — farmers are generally healthier in part because we are exposed to so many bacteria. (The compulsory exercise is also a health plus.) I stay current on my tetanus shot — that shot is something that seems justified in my personal life. But I’ve never had a flu shot.
These are just my personal reasons, for my personal choices.
I can share some personal scientific data on what happens if one never takes the flu shot: one eventually gets the flu — some years none, some years mildly, and two years that really walloped me.
In winter 2004-2005, the water to our many large barns in Barton froze underground. The weather stayed brutally cold, dropping each night into the high 20s below zero. We had about 100 sheep, 40 pigs, four draft horses, 70 goats, and 15 cows at the time. I hauled hoses out to the various tubs each day to run water from the house basement for two weeks while having the flu. That developed a wicked good natural immunity. Had I had a flu shot, I may have avoided that ordeal. Or, I may have just gotten flu anyway. That’s just the science — flu vaccines protect only 40-60% of the population in seasons when flu vaccines are well-matched to “most circulating flu viruses.” The flu vaccine is not always so “well-matched”: it was merely 29% effective in 2018-2019.
Why I won’t be taking the COVID-19 vaccine
I won’t be taking the COVID-19 vaccine because it makes no sense for me, personally. I am healthy, and I could carry the disease anyway, so there is no need to use government funds — or to pay a massive pharmaceutical industry that is exempt from any liability for its products — so that I can get jabbed. Like flu, it will be an annual ritual as COVID mutates; and like with flu, I will take my blows and risk death, especially since the science shows I have about the same risk of being struck by lightning as dying of COVID.
Those who are vulnerable, especially the elderly, should get vaccinated in priority to others, as the government has advised and many have chosen. But while the government advises vaccinations, the Constitution compels governments to protect the fundamental sanctity of personal bodily integrity.
Vermont’s H.283 powerfully acknowledges these fundamental precepts. During a legislative session where a bully majority is devotedly attacking liberties and wallets like starved piranhas, it is refreshing to see an effort to protect rights rather than further subjugate Vermonters. I support H. 283, “an act relating to bodily autonomy and health care decision making.”
I wear masks in stores and other public places. I’m largely a recluse, so I’m no danger to others. If COVID becomes more virulent, and eager human guinea-pigs have demonstrated this novel vaccine is safe and actually works, I may line up for shots. I’m not anti-vax, just pro-Constitution.
Those who are anti-vax may have legitimate scientific (or personal) reasons for their positions: surely they have liberty to think for themselves. What I don’t understand are the anti-Constitution people — there are no scientific or personal reasons to support their position. As a society we must prevent illogical, unscientific fear to be used to eliminate the personal liberties.
Personally, I will fight both these viruses — one biological, the other ideological — until one or the other kills me. That’s because long ago I chose to be “vaccinated” with the United States Constitution.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.