By James Bovard, The Brownstone Institute | May 10, 2023
On Saturday, President Biden tweeted: “One of the most underrated professions in America is nursing. Nurses don’t just help you live, they make you want to live. This National Nurses Week, let’s celebrate and appreciate all they do to provide compassionate care.”
Except when politicians like Biden destroy their lives and careers. In September 2021, Biden dictated that every American working in health care must have a Covid vaccine injection. Thousands of nurses lost their jobs after they refused to submit to his command. Unlike European nations, the Biden administration chose to ignore the natural immunity that individuals possessed after recovering from Covid. Instead, 17 million health care workers and 84 million other private employees were tossed onto a sacrificial altar as part of Biden’s propaganda campaign to portray vaccines as the only defense against Covid.
Those mandates were battered in federal appeals courts before landing at the Supreme Court on January 7, 2022. At that point, there were more than a million new Covid cases reported each day, mostly among people who were fully vaxxed. The soaring case numbers vivified the vaccines’ failure. The effectiveness of the Covid booster shot had fallen to 31 percent by the time the Court heard the cases.
Nobel Laureate scientist Luc Montagnier noted in the Wall Street Journal that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines after 30 days had no “statistically significant positive effect against Omicron infection, and after 90 days, their effect went negative—i.e., vaccinated people were more susceptible to Omicron infection.” CDC later admitted that almost half the Covid deaths in early 2022 were among the fully vaxxed.
But the Supreme Court’s deliberations on Biden’s mandates occurred in a nether world that tacitly assumed Covid vaccines worked. Histrionics and wild-eyed exaggerations of perils took center stage. Justice Sonya Sotomayor wailed: “We have over a hundred thousand children [with Covid]— which we’ve never had before — in serious condition and many on ventilators.”
In reality, fewer than 3,500 kids nationwide were hospitalized with Covid – fewer than were hospitalized each week for tonsillitis. Justice Stephen Breyer implied that the vaccines could miraculously prevent all of the 750,000 cases that were occurring on a daily basis. Justice Elena Kagan declared that the Biden policy is saying to health care providers “the one thing you can’t do is to kill your patients.” Workers must get vaccinated, Kagan said, “so that you’re not transmitting the disease that can kill elderly Medicare patients…. You can’t be the carrier of disease.”
The Supreme Court justices had not bothered keeping up on the unraveling of federal Covid policy. I laid out those failures and the absurdity of the vaccine mandate in a USA Today piece that appeared on the morning of the Supreme Court oral arguments:
COVID-positive nurses are in our hospitals. But Biden’s mandate forbids unvaccinated ones.
The Supreme Court on Friday will hear challenges to President Biden’s vaccine mandates, including his order for more than 10 million health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccine injections. That mandate is being challenged by numerous state attorneys general. This case could be a bellwether on the fate of civil liberties during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration has consistently portrayed vaccines as a pandemic panacea. In July, Biden promised, “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” When he announced plans to impose the mandate in a Sept. 9 speech, Biden declared that “there’s only one confirmed positive case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per day. You’re as safe as possible.”
Biden vastly overstated vaccine efficacy in part because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had ceased to count the vast majority of breakthrough infections several months earlier. The Washington Post reported that the CDC’s “overly rosy assessments of the vaccines’ effectiveness against delta … may have lulled Americans into a false sense of security.”
Vaccines will not end this pandemic
More than half a million health care workers have already had COVID-19 infections and more than 99 percent of them survived. However, the Biden mandate presumes that vaccines are the sole source of good health and protection and ignored post-infection immunity because of perceived “uncertainties … as to the strength and length of (natural) immunity.”
However, a major Israeli study in August found that people who had COVID-19 have far better protection against the Delta variant than people who have received multiple COVID-19 vaccine injections.
According to a brief from the states of Missouri and Nebraska, Biden’s mandate “threatens economic ruin and patient harm throughout the (health care) industry” and “will have disastrous consequences on (health care) particularly in rural communities.” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry derided the Biden administration for giving health care workers a “jab or job” ultimatum.
The Federal Register notice on the new mandate dismissed concerns about the loss of health care staff because “there is insufficient evidence to quantify” the impact. Across the nation, thousands of health care workers have been fired for refusing to get injected, including many who have natural immunity after surviving COVID-19 infections. In New York, a hospital closed its maternity ward and ceased delivering babies because of a shortage of vaccinated nurses. And one health system is curtailing elective and nonemergency surgeries and reducing radiology treatment in part because of loss of health personnel due to the vaccine mandate.
Biden responded to shortages of critical personnel by planning to send in 1,000 US military personnel to assist hospitals.
A maddening mandate
In its brief to the Supreme Court, the Biden administration declared that the vaccine mandate was “critical to preventing outbreaks of (COVID-19) that had devastated Medicare- and Medicaid-participating facilities earlier in the pandemic.”
However, two weeks ago, the CDC changed its previous guidance on health care workers isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, and said the quarantine time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages. Now, some COVID-19-positive nurses across the country are being told to come into work and treat patients, even if they still have symptoms.
According to the Biden administration’s policies, it is better for hospital patients to be treated by COVID-positive nurses and workers (whose COVID-19 vaccinations failed to safeguard them from the virus) than by unvaccinated nurses with no COVID.
The new policy is outraging nurses across the nation. Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, president of National Nurses United, denounced the new policy: “Weakening COVID-19 guidance now, in the face of what could be the most devastating COVID-19 surge yet, will only result in further transmission, illness and death.”
Vaccination status has gone from being a proxy for health to being a substitute for sane health care policy.
Biden’s COVID-19 policy continues to ignore a torrent of evidence undercutting its mandates.
Biden recently declared that “almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated.” But the fully vaccinated accounted for 21 percent to 27 percent of COVID-19 fatalities in Oregon from August through November; 40 percent to nearly 75 percent of deaths in Vermont from August into October.
In a recent television interview, Biden declared, “How about you make sure you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anyone else.” But CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted in August: “What (COVID-19 vaccines) can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”
Biden recently responded to the record-breaking number of new COVID cases by saying that “nobody saw (the Omicron variant) coming.” Many scientists had warned of new variants, but that apparently never showed up on the White House radar screen. The chaos from the surge in cases has been compounded by Biden’s failure to fulfill his pledge for easy accessibility to COVID-19 tests….
Almost a year ago, Biden promised in his inaugural address to “overcome this deadly virus.” Biden admitted last month that there is “no federal solution (to COVID-19). This gets solved at the state level.” Biden’s admission provides ample justification for the Supreme Court to reject Biden’s latest iron-fisted wild swing to end the pandemic.
On January 13, 2022, the Court voted 6 to 3 to overturn Biden’s vaccine mandate for all private employees of large companies. However, the Court also voted to uphold the vaccine mandate for 17 million health care workers by a 5 to 4 vote. That ruling declared, “Ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession: first, do no harm.” But federal policymakers were exempt from the “do no harm” admonition. The Justices ignored the Biden welcome mat for Covid-positive nurses that obliterated the legal and moral case for mandates. Shortly after the decision was announced, The Lancet, one of the most respected medical journals in the world, editorialized that health care workers who recovered from Covid should be exempt from vax mandates.
Nurses who were fired for refusing Covid vaccines remain the unsung victims of Biden’s Covid policies. Between 2020 and 2022, one in five health care workers quit their jobs. A July 2022 American Bar Association analysis noted that “nurses could have one of the highest hesitancy rates for the vaccine. The major reasons for refusal are concerns about the vaccine’s safety, effectiveness, and side effects. There is also mistrust in the government and drug companies…” Wary nurses have been vindicated with the subsequent revelations of vaccine side effects and government deceit.
The folly of policymakers ignoring natural immunity has become clear even to individuals who previously zealously supported repressive Covid policies. Dr. Leana Wen, a Washington Post columnist, wrote in December, “A Lancet study found that those who were vaccinated but never had covid were 4 times as likely to have severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death compared to the unvaccinated who recovered from it.” But that is no consolation to people who lost their careers because they refused to obey an unjustified federal mandate.
The Biden administration will end the vaccine mandate for health care workers on May 11. But don’t expect politicians and bureaucrats to honor the “First, Do No Harm” rule in the future. Inside the Beltway, federal edicts will likely continue to be “close enough for government work” to sane health care policies.
James Bovard, 2023 Brownstone Fellow, is author and lecturer whose commentary targets examples of waste, failures, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power in government. He is a USA Today columnist and is a frequent contributor to The Hill. He is the author of ten books.