January 26, 2022
To the Editor at the Cape Gazette;
David Tam and the Executive Staff at Beebe Healthcare;
Terry Murphy and the Executive Staff at Bayhealth;
Janice Nevin and the Executive Staff at ChristianaCare;
Judi Sciple and the president and leadership at Del Tech; and
All local businesses and organizations that have implemented Covid Vaccine Mandates for staff, faculty, students, visitors, and members:
I am writing to address the proliferation of Covid vaccine mandates and testing requirements for our local healthcare, educational, municipal, and other facilities. I appreciate your efforts to address a very challenging situation. It makes sense that you are considering all the tools at your disposal to do so.
Many high-quality studies have shown, worldwide and right here in Delaware, that
* Vaccinated individuals catch and spread covid-19 in a manner similar to unvaccinated individuals; and
* Unvaccinated individuals who have recovered from covid-19 have superior, long-lasting immunity, just as past and current scientific research has found with Covid and other viruses.
The CDC’s own research has shown the same viral load in the nasal passages of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Covid vaccines, while seemingly able to reduce symptoms of infection with earlier strains of Covid, are unable to _prevent_ infection and spread. Therefore, requiring covid-19 vaccines for people who live, study, and work in our state is of no value in terms of stopping the spread of the disease, because vaccinated individuals still carry and spread it, and it is especially unfair to covid-recovered persons, documented or not, because they already have the immunity that such a treatment might confer.
In other words, there is safety (which mandates purport to ensure, but do not) and then there are optics (balming certain people's fears). Unfortunately, that balm for some is harmful when it translates into the expense of others' livelihoods.
People in our town, those from neighboring towns who regularly work and do business here, as well as visitors from all over the world have diverse, highly personal reasons for getting a vaccine or not getting one. Right here in Lewes reside dozens of the tens of thousands of unvaccinated Americans who are being fired and demonized, and these are mostly working-class persons, especially minorities. Many of these people are the "essential workers" who put their lives on the line and made it possible for "the laptop class" to work from home for the past nearly two years. They - nurses, policemen, sanitation workers, firefighters, truckers, etc. - worked on the front lines, and many have already had COVID as a result. They should be thanked for their selflessness, not segregated into a new underclass. And of course, there is no reason these unvaccinated people should be treated any differently than anyone else, for the reasons noted above.
Such scientifically-unsupported public policy has implications for people's personal health, and it also sets a tone for exclusivity and condemnation. Is this what we want to teach our students, children, residents, and guests? As human beings, we seem, so far, only capable of recognizing our unjustified exclusion of another group in hindsight; it is high time we change that, learn to recognize it in the moment, and correct for it.
I understand that, in the face of the testing numbers, attempted federal mandates, and calls from others in our town and beyond, you feel you have to take action in whatever way you can. But the responsible thing to do is to be a voice of reason, to actually follow what the evidence shows, be scientific about your decision, and then act to inform and educate people about what really helps promote health and prevent disease.
I am urging you to lead in aligning your covid-19 public health policy with science and justice, and remove your Covid 19 Vaccine Mandates in all forms. On local and state levels, we must strive for equity, diversity, and inclusion. We must NOT create rules that draw sharp, condemning lines between people while protecting no one. Please do NOT call for or support COVID vaccine requirements for businesses, public spaces or anywhere in Delaware.
Thank you for your reasoned and respectful leadership at this time.