**If you are a Medical Professional working in any Hospital System: Identify AT LEAST your SYSTEM, your TITLE (eg MD, LPN, RN, …), and ideally your full (or at least first) NAME in a comment below (otherwise, you can’t be included on the official letter and we need numbers).
THIS LETTER OF OPPOSITION TO COVID VACCINE MANDATES WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE EXECUTIVES OF THE FOLLOWING HOSPITAL SYSTEMS: Baptist Health, Norton’s Healthcare, UK Healthcare, UL/Jewish Health, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. **
We submit this letter to express our strong objection to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates being forced upon our organizations. We feel that true informed consent (the cornerstone of medical ethics) is being abrogated by a rush to push this medical procedure upon us regardless of medical, religious, or conscientious differences (even if some exemptions have been allowed). There has been a lack of debate, dialogue, and charity towards dissenting opinions in the greater medical community, which is now playing out here locally. The bases of our objections are detailed below:
1. All current COVID-19 vaccines allow permissive infection and transmission even by fully vaccinated individuals (particularly given the high incidence of breakthrough infection with the Delta variant). Therefore, they DO NOT incontrovertibly “provide strong protection against unintentional spread,” but may actually do the opposite due to a false sense of security in vaccinated individuals. The high incidence of vaccinated spread (particularly with the Delta variant) calls into question justifications for proposed discrimination on the basis on vaccination status in employee testing and safety protocols.
2. Natural immunity is at least equal to, and likely superior to, vaccine immunity, yet this has not been a part of the discussion, nor a basis for exemption, for unclear reasons. Of the healthcare providers in our system who are declining the vaccine, a high percentage are doing so due to prior infection, already having sufficient immunity to COVID-19, and limited available data on the interactions between natural immunity and vaccines.
3. Given the non-sterilizing properties of these vaccines, they will likely NOT lead to eradication of the disease, but rather induce selective pressure for development of variants with increasing vaccine resistance. We hope that future vaccines may be safely developed that are sterilizing to prevent infection and transmission.
4. These novel, gene therapy-based COVID-19 vaccines have only been available for 9 months, without long-term data. Additionally, these COVID-19 vaccines were developed using research on fetal cell lines, a point of deeply-held objection among many in our community. Each individual should be able to make his/her own personal medical decision and risk-benefit analysis with the guidance of their provider without coercion, duress, or harassment.
5. In addition to monoclonal antibody infusions, there are multiple cheap, oral medications which have been shown to be effective by multiple studies in mitigating the severity of COVID-19 infections which are NOT currently being prescribed or recommended by providers. If providers attempt any “off label” treatments they are censored, blacklisted, or treated as pariahs. The lack of any other early treatment of disease is a significant contributor to the increase of hospitalizations being seen. As a separate matter, many of us would be willing to spearhead rigorous study and/or implementation of these early therapeutics which are being used extensively in other countries, several of which have a long track record of medicinal safety.
6. We are unclear about the endpoint of this endeavor. If we look at fully vaccinated countries with high vaccination rates such as Israel and Great Britain, we see that cases and death continue to breakthrough. Looking to populations further along the mass-vaccination continuum than our state, we are seeing lowering effectiveness of the vaccine to the current Delta variant. We are being asked to forego our own medical reasoning, judgment, and conscience to promote this existing vaccine protocol of decreasing efficacy, rather than taking in all available evidence, including cutting edge science.
7. We understand that you often look to the CDC for recommendations and guidance (a matter worthy of reconsideration). The CDC does not mandate vaccination for their own employees, nor have they recommended such mandates. So, why has our organization decided to go beyond their recommendations on this matter?
8. You have trusted and respected our medical decision-making as physicians and healthcare providers in the community to-date. We have been trained to look critically at scientific data and make decisions using evidence-based medicine. We urge you not to make decisions based on fear or wishful thinking. We urge you to recognize and defend ALL of the science, not just that which fits a convenient narrative, and our medical expertise. Furthermore, we are open to and would welcome scientific, open-debate with other physicians with opposing perspectives.
9. The healthcare workers of our systems have all labored as essential workers tirelessly throughout the pandemic. They took on personal risk and provided the best possible care despite no available vaccines. They have spent years training to do their jobs and sacrificed their health and time with family and friends to care for the sick. Our front-line workers gladly accept these sacrifices as they are consistent with their calling. We simply ask that you rescind these mandates, further study these vaccines, and allow personal body integrity and informed choice for each of our employees.
Our goals are largely the same. We desire to see our entire community healthy and flourishing, as well as the broader population. We simply seek to work toward those goals in a way that respects bedrock principles like individual INFORMED CHOICE in health risk assessments and decisions, NON-COERCION for valid consent, and RESPECT between employers and employees in an industry with a universally-acknowledged, system-wide shortage of qualified professionals. We look forward to further dialogue.
Sincerely, the undersigned,