Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Five years ago, I began seeing a menacing trend amongst the various hospitals where I worked. The hospital administrations were requiring all employees who did not receive a flu vaccine to wear a mask during the flu season. In my view, this was problematic on numerous levels.
First, the effort seemed scientifically unsound. Quite simply, forcing the few people in a hospital who do not receive a vaccine (a vaccine often with an effectiveness hovering at about 60%), especially if they are asymptomatic, to wear a mask in a facility teaming with visitors that may be actively contagious and not wearing masks themselves, is ludicrous. The campaign begged the question, who are you trying to protect? If you are trying to protect patients, then everyone entering the facility should be masked. If it's the employee, then you stumble onto privacy issues, which is my second problem with the policy. I viewed the meddling of companies into the preventive health affairs of workers as an invasion upon their privacy, a bubble that should be breached only fleetingly and with good reason.
Finally, I thought the policy of wearing a sticker or a mask represented a shaming of those who refused to comply with corporate policy by forcing them, and only them, to wear a mask. Remember, unlike COVID, people without respiratory symptoms caused by other viruses are rarely contagious.
As Chief of Staff, when my hospital tried to pressure the Medical Executive Committee into implementing the same policy for the medical staff, I vehemently and successfully objected. Later, when serving as State Representative, I was so offended by this policy that I contacted the nurses' lobbyist to see if they were interested in promoting legislation that would prohibit the practice of nurse shaming. It was an advocacy association's dream, the legislator calling it to team up on an issue fraught with injustice. I was disappointed to hear that the association's board had turned down my offer.
With the arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, I found it reasonable to have all healthcare workers wear masks during the pandemic, the primary reason being that in the case of this very aggressive virus, people who were asymptomatic could be contagious. Additionally, the issue of visitors not wearing masks had been similarly addressed as they were prohibited from even entering the building.
Since then, our understanding of the disease has improved to the point where the mortality associated with contracting the virus has diminished markedly, and now, we're on the cusp of deploying a vaccine that will confer at least temporary immunity upon all those interested in receiving it.
But now we have another problem. The CDC has recommended that people receiving the vaccine be handed vaccination cards proving the person's inoculation status.
Sounds like a good idea. . . except it's nobody's business whether I've been vaccinated or not, particularly not the government's.
Let's play this out. Suppose everyone has the opportunity to get the vaccine like we will in about six months. Then, what difference does it make to anyone else if you've been vaccinated or not? If you're sufficiently worried about contracting the illness, then you will obtain the vaccine. Otherwise, you won't. Thus, if you're sitting in a plane next to some guy who is snoring with a runny nose and you're vaccinated, what's it to you? If you're not, then it was your decision not to receive the vaccine.
How about the argument regarding herd immunity? That's a very important one when discussing policy aimed at the complete eradication of the disease. But this argument is moot here because no one believes that COVID-19 will be completely eradicated despite the deployment of a vaccine. If SARS CoV-2 is eradicated, it will be through mutation or its natural dissipation over time, not through vaccination.
On the flip side, the deleterious effects of issuing these cards could be ominous. How about, you don't get hired unless you've been vaccinated? Or you can't travel without a card. Oh, and you can't see that movie in the theater either. It is the sticker-or-mask policy to which I objected on steroids. You think the Left likes to sound alarms about its fictitious systemic racism? Well how about the very real systemic vaccinism it is about to zealously promote and embrace? People will be harassed, sued, shamed, tracked, and subdued based on whether they have a current, valid vaccination card or not. . . when in fact, it's nobody's business.
Which brings me to my original point. I wish that nurses' association had taken me up on my offer to fight these oppressive policies back when it was merely a seasonal flu issue. Perhaps we would have laid down the framework to use against the incoming wave of vaccinism.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He served in the Florida House of Representatives. He is the author of numerous books including The Federalist Pages, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, and Coronalessons. He is available for appearances and book signings, and can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon living in Florida. He is a lawyer, author, and former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He is available for speaking engagements at firstname.lastname@example.org