Should Vaccinated People Be Forced to Contract COVID?

Natural immunity following recovery from COVID-19 appears to offer better protection than the vaccine. Yet vaccine mandates offer no exceptions for somebody who has acquired natural immunity. The argument is that taking a vaccine on top of natural immunity provides better protection than either natural immunity or the vaccine alone, as some studies show. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a person who has had COVID but didn’t take the vaccine is twice as likely to get reinfected with COVID as somebody who has had both. So if a person who had COVID is better off if they also get the vaccine, then it follows that people who have had the vaccine are even more protected if they also get COVID. I know that sounds crazy, but the logic of requiring COVID survivors to get the vaccine to improve resistance works both ways. And, it’s unfair to force one without forcing the other.

On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced a revision to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s safety standards to require companies of 100 or more employees to take the vaccine. It’s not completely far-fetched to say that OSHA has jurisdiction over workplace safety and that COVID can be dangerous. But, if we’re setting a safety standard, shouldn’t we be establishing a tolerable standard of risk? The only way to make a workplace completely safe is to shut it down and prevent any activity at all. No coal could be mined, no corn could be harvested, nothing involving power tools or heavy equipment could be allowed if we set safety standards too high. 

So if OSHA wants to set the minimum safety standard in a workplace to equate to a fully vaccinated workforce, then that should be the standard. If natural immunity is greater than or equal to mere vaccinated immunity, a COVID survivor should be deemed fully compliant with the safety standard.

But our good friends in the government who want to keep us safe have imposed a mandate requiring COVID survivors also to get a vaccine. Again, I’m not saying I agree with the intrusion upon freedom, I am merely tracing out the logic of this argument. If the minimum standard of safety is natural immunity plus the vaccine, now everyone who has only had the vaccine is out of compliance. To reach the same level of safety as a vaccinated COVID survivor, they must be barred from work until they can test positive for natural antibodies.

We’re told that a vaccinated individual who is otherwise healthy, in theory, should be able to survive a case of COVID with an acceptable level of risk. Isn’t that why we’re getting the vaccination? So why are we giving the non-COVID survivors a pass? 

What this shows is that the new OSHA rule is arbitrary, because people who already meet the standard are being required to get the vaccine anyway. That should have been addressed before the rule could go into effect.

Of course, it’s ridiculous to think the government might force workers to contract a disease in order to increase immunity to that same disease. At least it is now. But many things that seemed crazy a year ago are a reality today. Wait a year and the world might get crazy enough to make such an edict the new reality. So as a matter of liberty, bodily autonomy, and individual choice, let me just state for the record that I firmly oppose the government forcing vaccinated people to also contract COVID.

But here’s another arbitrary glitch in the rule. People who have the vaccine need everyone to get the vaccine because, as Biden said in his speech, we need to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. If people who don’t have the vaccine want to continue working, they need a COVID test every week. By why isn’t everyone getting a COVID test if the vaccinated can still also contract and spread the disease?

This isn’t about establishing a uniform safety standard. It’s about harassing and excluding people until they get the vaccine.

These thought experiments illustrate the legal problem with the Biden vaccination mandate. It’s not that OSHA doesn’t have jurisdiction over workplace safety. You can argue about whether it should but that’s a different discussion. But to legally impose a rule, OSHA normally has to issue a public notice (notice of proposed rulemaking). OSHA is attempting to circumvent that requirement on the basis that there is a public health emergency requiring immediate action.

This “emergency” has been in effect since March 2020 and it doesn’t show any signs of abating anytime soon. If this is an emergency, then we’ll be in an “emergency” forevermore. The permanent “emergency” is the tool of choice for the tyrant as it maintains the illusion of a legal framework while permitting the tyrant to sweep away individual rights that interfere with the accumulation of power. 

Even if the Biden Administration could justify the mandate on an “emergency” basis, the rule is completely arbitrary because it establishes two different safety standards depending on whether somebody has survived COVID. Further, because this rule is a “major rule” with an economically significant impact, the president should be required to submit the proposed rule to both Congress and the Government Accountability Office for review before it can take effect.

In reality, OSHA should have submitted this rule for public comment over a year ago. What’s going on now with the pandemic is not materially different from any of the previous surges. We should not be expected to submit to such a sweeping and arbitrary rule that will have a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of so many people.

About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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