COVID is not serious enough to warrant vaccine mandates

The saying that desperate times call for desperate measures was never more true than when applied to vaccination.  Consider the first vaccine in 1796, when a young boy was inoculated against smallpox.  It had been noticed that milkmaids almost never contracted smallpox.  Milkmaids frequently caught cowpox, a mild illness related to smallpox.  British physician Edward Jenner theorized that infecting someone with cowpox would confer immunity to smallpox.

The procedure was simple enough.  A cut was made in the arm, and fluid from cowpox blisters was smeared in the cut.  The person would contract cowpox and then be immune to smallpox.  Jenner's theory was correct, and he is now considered the father of vaccinology.

The procedure was simple, but to a modern eye, it also seems disgusting.  Smearing liquid from cow blisters onto open wounds is not something most of us would care to do.  Or would we?  Smallpox was a very contagious disease that killed many of the people who contracted it.  The survivors were immune to another attack, but they were also usually disfigured for life.  Many people were very willing to take a desperate measure to prevent such a fate.

Louis Pasteur was not even a doctor when he developed a vaccine for rabies.  In our modern world, rabies is a plot point in movies like Old Yeller.  In Pasteur's time, rabid animals were so terrifying that any pet dog was suspect and might be killed out of hand.  Rabies is almost 100 percent fatal.  It causes hallucinations and painful spasms, and a person infected with the disease could become violently aggressive.  People were so desperate that, by 1886, when it was known Pasteur had developed a vaccine for rabies, 350 people traveled to Paris to beg for treatment.  Only one of the patients developed rabies.  The rest were saved.

Now consider COVID.  The total population of the world is more than 7 billion people.  The number of people who have died from COVID is 4.9 million.  That's a lot of dead people, but it's less than a fraction of one percent of the world population.  Most people who get COVID don't get very sick.  Some of them don't have any symptoms at all and only find out they've been infected with COVID when they test positive for it or turn out to have antibodies.  The survival rate is estimated at between 97% and 99.75%.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  When a contagious disease spreads rapidly, makes people horribly sick, kills a large number of the people it infects, and leaves the survivors disfigured for life, that is a time for desperate measures such as unproven procedures from people who may not even be doctors.  That's how we learned that vaccines work, by people terrified of an agonizing death from smallpox or rabies and willing to be experimented on to have a chance of survival.

For the vast majority of the world's population, COVID is nothing more than a day or two of the sniffles.  It's just not a serious disease that calls for mandates for mass vaccination.  It's true that COVID is very contagious, but so is the common cold, and no one ever thought of shutting down the world before to prevent people from catching the sniffles.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a black 21st-century teenager who is sent back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South.

Image: Slaying a rabid dog by Dioscorides Pedanius of Anazarbos, from the Wellcome Image collection.  CC BY 4.0.

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

If you experience technical problems, please write to