Discrimination happens when vaccinated and unvaccinated people are allowed different rights
This is our third episode in our Right to kNOw campaign which aims to raise awareness over the potential for discrimination against those who are unable - or hesitant - for medical reasons, to receive a covid-19 vaccine. This week, including in our video (below), we look closer at the legal implications of the discrimination that increasingly means vaccinated and unvaccinated people have different rights and privileges.
Whilst we've targeted this campaign at a particularly large group that makes up at least 10% (and potentially considerably more than) of the population in industrialised countries — those that suffer from, or are at risk of, autoimmune disease — we fully acknowledge that there are many others who, for medical reasons, also feel that the covid-19 vaccines pose too great a health risk.
At least in the USA, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) has updated its guidance to employers over covid vaccine adverse events. If employers require employees to be vaccinated to maintain their job and they suffer an adverse reaction, then the event becomes both recordable and reportable, which opens the company up to liability. If the company only makes a recommendation (employees must have a truly free choice and not be penalised if they refuse), then OSHA will not enforce recording of any adverse events post-vaccination.
This week's video (below) walks you through some of the most important legal implications involved in riding roughshod over informed consent, why coercion might breach anti-discrimination laws and why institutions and companies also have a duty of care for citizens.
You can read more on the strong scientific and legal base to this campaign in our White Paper, published 13th May 2021. Now is the time for us to make a stand whilst these vaccines are still experimental. The powers-that-be are doing all they can to push the full vaccine licences through, but let's make sure that we do all that we can to ensure a win for the autoimmune as the evidence is so strong. It is our hope that this win will then pave the way for protecting many others.
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All governments – whether national, regional or local, have a collective duty of care to do what they can to protect their citizens from existential threats like nuclear wars or new diseases – covid-19 being no exception. This is based on the principle of beneficence that’s enshrined in human rights treaties and law (here and here).
But based on available data of the risks of SARS-CoV-2 to different population groups and taking into account the still-experimental nature of current covid vaccines many countries have decided not to mandate covid vaccines at a national level.
What’s happened instead is that an ever-greater number of institutions and private companies have decided – sometimes as a result of their obligations to rules or laws passed by government authorities – to require students, staff or customers to have vaccines.
Unfortunately, this is something of a double -edge sword.
Risks from the virus as well as potential risks of adverse events from the vaccine appear to be greater among younger rather than older people. In fact, some employers are recognising the possibility that if a vaccine injury occurs because of their private mandate, it would go down as a workplace incident and render them liable. So some employers — such as the Chicago-headquartered US construction firm Clayco — have decided to reverse their vaccine mandates.
Not only this, a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation published in April 2021 suggests that vaccine mandates for staff might not be legal for vaccines that haven’t yet received full authorisation by drug regulators, such as the FDA in the USA, which is still the case for all covid vaccines.
Receiving consent from individuals before any kind of medical intervention is administered – vaccines included – is a legal obligation under the principle of respect for autonomy of persons. This includes being given adequate information to make an informed decision – without coercion. Yet it appears that many millions of people are being given vaccines without due regard for the legal requirements of informed consent.
In most countries that have yet to impose vaccine mandates, public or private coercion to vaccinate has now become almost ubiquitous.
Cause, effect and discrimination
What hasn’t received much public attention is that this kind of public or private coercion might breach anti-discrimination laws. This is particularly relevant where the affected party is one that has medical concerns over vaccination – such as those with an autoimmune history.
In our two previous videos in this series, we’ve explained why people with an autoimmune history have plausible medical reason, which could also be construed as a philosophical belief, against consenting to receive covid vaccines. As we lay out in our White Paper, there’s a clear mechanism for this — molecular mimicry — and now there’s also evidence of a covid vaccine-induced autoimmune signal. That comes in the form of the widely publicised adverse reaction that includes the potentially deadly combination of blood clots and low platelet counts. This autoimmune condition has been termed ‘vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia’ or VITT.
Concerns might be greater for younger people, especially women, who statistically face greater risks, including their ability to have or raise children.
The reality is that many institutions and private companies have yet to balance how they should manage their own duties and responsibilities against the country or region’s duty of care for the population as a whole – and this almost certainly won’t happen until more data are available and the courts in different jurisdictions have a had a chance to weigh in.
Right to kNOw!
Our Right to kNOw campaign is all about drawing citizens’, health professionals’, institutions’, companies’ and policy-makers’ attention to how people with autoimmune histories might face unfair and potentially illegal discrimination.
If you have an autoimmune history or you work with patients or clients who do – and you’re concerned about how those who choose not to be vaccinated might be discriminated against – please contact us as we’re documenting views and concerns both by citizens, and doctors and other health practitioners.
By airing these concerns and working together, we hope – as progressive and enlightened societies – we’ll be able to put a stop to discrimination against the 10% plus of the population with an autoimmune history.
Such discrimination can profoundly impact and disadvantage a person’s life and his or her future by limiting rights and civil liberties to a greater extent than those who’ve been vaccinated. This may be through reduced access to education, ability to work or be entertained, as well as by limiting freedom of movement.
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