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The adverse effects of vaccine mandates on society

By Murray Hunter - posted Friday, 24 June 2022


We are now well and truly entering into the endemic stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to unprecedented public health mandates.

Even though the latter strains of Covid-19 are less of a public health problem due to the predominantly milder symptoms from infection, many mandates very quickly instituted around the world are too slowly being revoked. Vaccination mandates still exist across a number of countries.

One of the adverse spinoffs arising out of the pandemic was the suppression of debate on the nature and scope of mandates. Many commentors, and even international health experts had their social media accounts blocked, suspended, or even permanently closed, for commenting upon public health measures and mandates, even though evidence is slowly coming out proving their arguments correct.

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Over the last few months scientific papers from peer reviewed academic journals are being published. They are beginning to examine, question, and critic some of the mandates from both the scientific and psychology points of view.

One recent paper "The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: Why Mandates, Passports, and Segregated Lockdowns May Cause more Harm than Good", published on BML Global Health in May 2022, argued that:

COVID-19 with the rapid emergence of population-wide vaccine mandates, domestic vaccine passports, and differential restrictions based on vaccination status. These policies have prompted ethical, scientific, practical, and political controversy; however, there has been limited evaluation of their potential unintended consequences. Here, we outline a comprehensive set of hypotheses for why these policies may be counter-productive and harmful.

The paper argued;

...current mandatory vaccine policies are scientifically questionable and are likely to cause more societal harm than good. Restricting people's access to work, education, public transport and social life based on COVID-19 vaccination status impinges on human rights, promotes stigma and social polarisation, and adversely affects health and well-being. Current policies may lead to a widening of health and economic inequalities, detrimental long-term impacts on trust in government and scientific institutions, and reduce the uptake of future public health measures, including COVID-19 vaccines as well as routine immunisations.

The authors warned that mandates may undermine trust in the public health system;

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We argue that current COVID-19 vaccine policies should be reevaluated in light of negative consequences that may outweigh benefits. Leveraging empowering strategies based on trust and public consultation represent a more sustainable approach for protecting those at highest risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality and the health and wellbeing of the public.

In another recent paper focusing on the social psychology of mandates, "Reactance revisited: Consequences of mandatory and scarce vaccination in the case of COVIDâ€19," published in the Applied Psychology Health Well Being, the mass psychology of mandates were examined.

A summary of the paper's conclusions in regards to compulsory vaccine mandates:

Results revealed that reactance was stronger when a priori vaccination intentions were low and a mandate was introduced or when vaccination intentions were high and vaccines were scarce. In both cases, reactance increased intentions to take actions against the restriction. Further, reactance due to a mandate was positively associated with intentions to avoid the COVID-19 vaccination and an unrelated chickenpox vaccination; it was negatively associated with intentions to show protective behaviors limiting the spread of the coronavirus. Opposite intentions were observed when vaccination was scarce. The findings can help policy-makers to curb the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

These two papers, only weeks old, indicate public policy issues that were either overridden or ignored over the last two and a half years during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected that many more research studies will emerge over the next few months putting new perspectives on the public policy decisions made by politicians and public officials during 2020-2022.

It's hoped that the institution of public policy and administration across the world studies how mandates were formulated and implemented in the light of perspectives coming out from academic research.

 

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This article was first published on Murray Hunter.



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About the Author

Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He blogs at Murray Hunter.

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