A medical journal is calling for mandatory coronavirus vaccines and noncompliance penalties "for persons in designated high-priority groups who refuse vaccination."
The New England Journal of Medicine published an article, "Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2."
"As COVID-19 continues to exact a heavy toll, development of a vaccine appears the most promising means of restoring normalcy to civil life," the piece is prefaced, asserting that pushing a vaccine to the mainstream market and a high vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity are the two restorative components that will save the public from the pandemic.
A recently-published poll conducted by an American Medical Association affiliate in April of this year found that "[c]oncerningly" only 49 percent of Americans planned to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Respondents were members of AmeriSpeak, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US household population.
The perspective piece went on to encourage mandated vaccination in order to increase vaccine uptake. The authors then rattled off a list of six substantive criteria that should be met before a state imposes a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine mandate, recommending a roll out to specific demographics first cited as "high risk groups."
“[T]he elderly, health professionals working in high-risk situations or working with high-risk patients…persons with certain underlying medical conditions" and those in “high-density settings such as prisons and dormitories” should face mandatory vaccinations, the paper states. The discourse also suggests that active-duty military service members should be among the initial set.
If not enough of the population is voluntarily vaccinated within the first few weeks of availability, vaccines should be transformed into an obligation with "relatively substantive" penalties in place for refusal in the form of "employment suspension or stay-at-home orders."
"Because the constitutional power to protect public health rests primarily with states, each state will need to adopt its own legislation," the essay notes.
Although state vaccination mandates are typically tied to grade school and daycare entry, mandated COVID-19 vaccines for youths are not necessary because children do not constitute a high-priority group, the reported acknowledges.
State mandates should not be structured as compulsory vaccination with absolute requirements; "instead, noncompliance should incur a penalty," the write-up claims.
"[B]ecause of the infectiousness and dangerousness of the virus, relatively substantive penalties could be justified, including employment suspension or stay-at-home orders for persons in designated high-priority groups who refuse vaccination," the medical composition alleges.
Neither fines nor criminal penalties should be used; fines "disadvantage the poor" and criminal penalties "invite legal challenges on procedural due-process grounds," the experts admits. "Both are bad public health policy for a COVID-19 vaccine because they may stoke distrust without improving uptake."
"As with social distancing orders, we can expect that the advent of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines will spark intense clashes of feeling about what people owe to one another in the fight against the pandemic," the article ominously concludes.