Study continues on COVID-19 — as does state’s coercive vaccine mandate on state employees
A new study found that exposure to young children did not lower COVID-19 infection rates but was associated with protection against severe COVID-19 illness.
Study authors write, “Our findings, based on data prior to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, provide potential epidemiologic evidence to suggest the possibility that cross-immunity to non-SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses may provide a level of protection against severe COVID-19 illness.”
The finding is music to some parents’ ears, after two-plus anxiety-filled years.
Studies like this one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journal, should remind us why it is inappropriate to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employment, child care or school attendance. We simply don’t know enough and are learning more each day.
A Washington State Board of Health advisory committee agreed with that and rightly recommended that the State Board of Health not add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required shots for K-12 students. The board accepted that recommendation. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, on the other hand, has mandated vaccines and boosters for some state employees. His directives on the issue have strengthened over time, despite COVID-19 lessening in severity and knowledge that the COVID-19 vaccines do not stop the contraction or spread of the disease.
COVID-19 is serious, but it is no longer a public-health crisis. It has become like other viruses that we have to deal with and do so in reasonable and voluntary ways. And we are continually learning new things that could be used to better guide public policy.
We are learning more about how the virus spreads and doesn’t and what nature lends us for help. We are also learning new things about the available COVID-19 vaccines, and we will eventually be learning more about long-term impacts associated with COVID-19 and the vaccines. We haven’t had “long-term” to weigh yet.
That is being taken into account by parents.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released this week shows that parents of the youngest children are not clamoring to get shots in the arms of their kids, despite the Food and Drug Administration's recent authorization. A majority (53%) of them view the vaccine as a bigger risk to child health than their kids getting infected with COVID-19, KFF reports. Balancing risk has always been important as we live with COVID-19.
As informative research about the virus and its promising cures continues, and as some numbers continue to show higher positivity rates for COVID-19 among the boosted than those who are fully vaccinated (but not the unvaccinated), Inslee has been reiterating that his booster-inclusive vaccine mandate is going to be permanent for some state employees.
This coercive directive in Washington state is not appropriate. COVID-19 vaccines appear to help fight severe illness and death, but the vaccine mandate does not serve public health, isn't patient-centered and hurts the state’s workforce.
Update: Public comment is being accepted on the booster-inclusive vaccine mandate during its rulemaking phase. If interested, submit written comments to Brandy Chinn at the Office of Financial Management, P.O. Box 47500, Olympia, Wash., 98501 or firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight August 3. Proposed rulemaking information is here: https://ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/rulemaking/rules_dev/WSR_22-14-104_CR102.pdf.