Reasons for rejecting a vaccine mandate in Northampton

Published: 01/13/2022 11:42:30 AM Modified: 01/13/2022 11:41:37 AM This is an open letter to the Northampton Board of Health, regar...

Published: 01/13/2022 11:42:30 AM

Modified: 01/13/2022 11:41:37 AM

This is an open letter to the Northampton Board of Health, regarding the vaccine mandate proposed late last month.

I want to thank you for the hard work you do to keep us all safe. Having said that, I am against the proposed vaccine mandate, for three reasons.

First, simply asking if a person is vaccinated is a poor measure of their ability to transmit the coronavirus. Two-dose vaccination is much less effective in stopping transmission of omicron compared to previous variants. Early research estimates that it is only 30-70% effective without a booster, and this effectiveness decreases sharply over time: a person who was vaccinated six months ago is much more likely to be infected and transmit the virus than a person who has been recently vaccinated.

Second, the mandate is easy to subvert and places an additional burden on workers. People who wish to circumvent this mandate can do so very easily: all they need is a fake vaccination card. It’s just a piece of paper without any security features. Most cities with money orders even accept a photo of the card, which is even easier to forge.

More so, we will place the burden of verifying vaccination cards on service workers. I hardly need to reiterate the abuse workers suffer for enforcing mask warrants, and now we will be calling on them to enforce vaccine warrants as well.

Finally, the mandate will strengthen the state of surveillance. With this warrant, whenever an adult wants to go out to eat, drink, exercise, or be entertained, they must show their ID, and the warrant does not appear to give a clear timeline or measure to put end to this requirement.

Creating a broad identification and surveillance policy without a clear endpoint is dangerous. These may sound like extreme comparisons, but remember the Patriot Act and other laws meant to protect us were passed in light of 9/11, but these laws led to mass surveillance of our private phone calls, of our emails and SMS.

And I don’t need to remind you of the TSA, since you have to deal with this costly and restrictive bureaucracy every time you get on a plane. If you have to go for a mandate, please tell us at the start when and how it will end.

Instead of a vaccination mandate, I urge the Board of Health to invest in air filtration. We know that air filters help prevent COVID as well as other respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu. Better yet, air filtration will reduce indoor particulate pollution, which is often generated by kitchens and is a common cause of cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.

Recently, Smith College donated $ 500,000 to Northampton for use at the mayor’s discretion. By using less than a tenth of this donation, the City could provide a subsidy to each business affected by the proposed mandate to purchase air filters. The Northampton school system already has policies for the choice and use of air filters, and you could give those same policies to the business community at large.

Hope this provides an effective, actionable, and inclusive alternative to think about, and thanks again for reading me.

Joshua Yearsley lives in Northampton.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Reasons for rejecting a vaccine mandate in Northampton
Reasons for rejecting a vaccine mandate in Northampton
Newsrust - US Top News
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