In Patrick Henry’s June 4, 1788 speech, “A Wrong Step Now and the Republic Will Be Lost Forever” he pleaded for less power to the federal government and the preservation of states’ and individual rights as a condition for ratification of the Constitution. We got our Bill of Rights, including freedom of religion, speech, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We also have the right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” And we cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Despite the Constitution’s admonitions, fear and anxiety have led to an increase in federal powers. The Great Depression gave birth to some 70 new agencies and programs. The mother of all programs was the Social Security Act, constitutionally justified under the Congress’ Constitutional taxing power. We have been so irrational as to deem it constitutional to place American citizens in internment camps with no due process.
COVID-19 is the latest justification for government overreach in the name of public health. There is little reason for confidence given the CDC’s faulty COVID-19 tests, the conflicting information on the usefulness of wearing masks, and censoring of effective treatments that were not on the infallible Dr. Fauci’s personal favorite list. (Note: the World Health Organization recommended against the use of his favored drug, remdesivir). Adding to the erosion of trust is the change in definition of a COVID-19 “case.” Prior to the vaccination rollout, any positive COVID-19 test—with or without symptoms—was a “case.” Now, a positive test in a vaccinated person is only considered a “case” if the patient was hospitalized or died.
The federal health bureaucracy is encouraging businesses and local governments to mandate vaccines, despite the growing list of adverse effects, their modest effectiveness against the predominant Delta variant, and the imminent need for booster shots.
According to data gathered from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, as of August 23, 2021, there have been 13,068 deaths, 154,142 hospitalizations, 5,617 cases of anaphylaxis, 4,681 cases of Bell’s Palsy, 1,607 miscarriages, 4,861 cases of myocarditis/pericarditis, 13,812 life-threatening reactions, and 17,228 permanently disabled, among other issues. On one hand, it is arguable that this is a pittance given that 360,634,287 doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) vaccines have been given. On the other hand, a 2011 Harvard study concluded that only 1 per cent of adverse events are reported to the government system.
Other drugs have been removed for less. The 1976 H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine was rapidly developed over fears that the flu would overtake the nation as did the 1918 Spanish Flu. The vaccinations were halted after 45 million doses and 450 cases of Guillain Barré Syndrome (ascending paralysis). As it turned out, millions did not die.
We all remember the limb deformities at birth caused by the 1956 over-the-counter anti-nausea drug, thalidomide. It took four years to make the connection. Another hidden dragon was diethystilbesterol (DES). Believed to reduce miscarriages, DES was given to pregnant women for 30 years. In 1971, after it was discovered that DES could cause genital abnormalities and vaginal cancer, the FDA withdrew approval for pregnant women. It took 5 years to discover that the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx may cause heart disease. One report estimated that some 140,000 people suffered from coronary artery disease because of Vioxx.
We do not know all the risks of the current COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. Yet the vaccines are given in drive-through parking lots with little to no discussion.
Moderna’s, Pfizer’s, and J & J’s fact sheets warn that the “vaccine may not protect all recipients.” The Moderna and Pfizer fact sheets give special mention to myocarditis and pericarditis reported “during mass vaccination outside of clinical trials.” J&J specifically notes the large vein blood clots. Additionally, all the fact sheets note that “additional adverse reactions, some of which may be serious, may become apparent with more widespread use of the Moderna [Pfizer, J&J] COVID-19 Vaccine.” It appears that we are nonconsenting participants in the final phase of the vaccine trials.
Given that no one knows the risks, how can physicians (much less the “provider” in the drive-through window) give the patients the information needed to decide whether the potential benefit of taking the drug is worth the risk?
Drunk with power and preying on our fears, the federal government is having corporations do its bidding. Mandates unsupported by medical science could be the greatest threat to our lives and liberty.
Take heart. The spirit of Patrick Henry is alive. A professor—using the science—won a medical exemption from vaccination because his antibodies from a prior COVID-19 infection are longer lasting that those of a vaccine. Airline pilots are suing for a restraining order against mandates until “the science/medicine is more fully developed and better understood.” Teachers, health care workers, first responders are demanding choice.
Since the establishment of our republic, we have taken some very wrong steps. Let’s not let the COVID-19 response become another one.
About the author: Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist and Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Board member. She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. Dr. Singleton completed two years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law. She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers.