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Thoughts on Vaccine Mandates

By November 6, 2021Commentary

The current federal administration appears determined to set some kind of record for enacting the most stupid policies in the shortest period of time.  It also is running out of feet to shoot.  The vaccine mandate obsession is the most recent example.  At a time when supply chain issues and labor shortages, including in health care, are a major drag on economic performance and a major contributor to “temporary” (meaning it won’t last longer than 20 or 30 years) inflation, pushing that almost-certainly illegal private company vaccine mandate is just plain inane.  If you want to persuade people that vaccination makes sense, you need to do just that, be persuasive.  Villainizing the unvaxed isn’t going to work.  On the positive side, it is clear that this strategy is turning a lot of people away from the Democrat party.  People are actually waking up to the totalitarian reality that is today’s Democrat party.  And it might be helpful if we had vaccines that appeared to actually make a difference in terms of reducing the number of cases and the rate of spread.  The current ones don’t appear to do that for any length of time.  It might also be helpful if a vaccine limited serious disease in the elderly who are most at risk.  Perhaps the impending more traditional attenuated virus vaccines will be more effective in these important areas.  In the meantime, it makes little sense to mandate vaccines that have limited value and effectiveness.

I have no real clue where the epidemic is headed in the US.  Part of the problem is our continued absurd testing regimens where we constantly are testing people who have no symptoms.  The inevitable result is lots of low and false positives and disruption of the lives of people who likely are not infectious.  It is also pretty clear, as noted above, that the vaccines aren’t keeping people from getting infected, at least according to the defintion of infected used in our over-sensitive tests.  So no matter what the public health “experts” say, we are headed to an epidemic of the vaxed.  Vaccinating more and more people isn’t a long run exit plan.  We have a number of states with very high vax rates that are experiencing case and hospitalization surges and it isn’t just the unvaxed who are participating in the surge.  The “seasonal” effect seems to be contributing as well, because the southeast looks at least temporarily done, while parts of the Rocky Mountain and Southwest states are having a wave.  In the Midwest, looking at all our neighbors, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and Iowa, we see a similar pattern to Minnesota, including in a couple of places our weird rebound in the recent couple of weeks.

Okay, Dave and I are working on more sophisticated analyses, but let me just make the following point about protection from infection and protection from the vaccines, at least in terms of getting either reinfected or having a breakthrough infection.  According to the DOH data as of Friday, there were 8546 breakthrough infections out of 806462 infected persons.  That is a reinfection rate of 1.06%.  We know that the total number of people infected is an undercount, by at least two, but the the rate of detected reinfections is similarly likely an undercount.  So let us leave that rate unchanged for now, assuming that the rate of undetected original and reinfections is similar.

The state is reporting a 1.78% rate of breakthrough infections among fully vaxed persons.  We know that this is also an undercount, as the state does not know everyone who is fully vaxed, missing people vaxed out-of-state, at the VA, etc.  So breakthroughs that occur in these people are not being counted, and because many of these are elderly people who leave the state in the winter and the average age of veterans is higher than the general population, there may be a greater rate of breakthroughs in this missed cohort, given the lesser effectiveness of vaccines for the elderly.  It is also likely that a number of breakthroughs were not detected, just as reinfections are missed.  But the overall likelihood is that the 1.78% number is too low, by a large amount, because the denominator on the vaxed group isn’t going to change nearly as much as that in the reinfection group, if we knew the true state of affairs.

Further complicating the analysis is that people can be both vaxed and have a prior infection and you would need to know that group and the order to do a proper fulsome analysis.  You need to do an age adjustment, the vaxed group may have an average older age than the previously infected one, but that adjustment probably doesn’t cut the way you think.  While older persons have higher rates of serious illness if they get infected, because of much lower average contact rates, they have lower per capita rates of infection.  I am updating that analysis, which I haven’t done for a while.  Finally, on average a person who was infected has had many more days of total exposure to reinfection than a person who was vaxed has had to a breakthrough.  So I am not sure where this all ends up, and the DOH sure isn’t going to do this analysis even though it is in the best positition to do so.  But my guess, and I think it is a very good guess, is that the rate of breakthroughs is at least twice that of reinfections, and you can draw the obvious conclusion–you get better protection from being infected than you do from being vaccinated.  Which is another obvious reason to not apply a vaccine mandate to those previously infected, if at all.

And Minnesota is lapping Sweden in the per capita deaths category, as we are at 1548 per million and Sweden at a paltry 1475.  Hmmm, which government had the more absurd attempts to suppress the virus?  Which place would you rather have resided in for the past 18 months?


Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • John Kulze says:

    I would encourage readers to look up Harvard immunologist/ epidemiologist Dr Micheal Mina’s push to expand at home testing. From his analysis they are 98%+ effective for detecting infection and very inexpensive and results in five minutes. They are not being mass produced in the US due to red tape with the FDA. To me it looks to be the answer in taking control away from gov’t and back into the hands of the individual. It’s also the immediate answer to the vaccinated asymptomatic super spreader.
    John Kulze MD

  • Dan says:

    Kevin. You appear to think king biden’s latest vaccine mandate it just like the others. It’s not by a long shot and supposedly effects 80 million. My CEO immediately send a company wide email saying they were looking into it which I read as code for they are going to follow orders. I will refuse to answer questions about my vax status and quit if necessary. It also makes me hate the idiots that voted for let’s go Brandon more then ever which works to further divide us which is part of their plan.

  • Bob says:

    If you think “authorities” will learn from this, you are mistaken. They have a hammer and everything looks to them like a nail. This is a disastrous situation where long-term studies on the mRNA jab have not been completed, but they are going to hammer children with this.

    Remember, while Pfizer has an “approved” version, it is not available and they are still using the EUA concoction. I thought EUA was for an emergency situation and a 99.7% overall survival rate with essentially 100% survival rate does not constitute an “emergency” by any definition of the word. I don’t think even progressive efforts to modify the meaning of words to fit their needs can transcend this.

    Lastly, age itself is not a co-morbidity. it is merely a proxy for the frequency with which co-morbidities occur as people age. Separating people with co-morbidities from the statistics, I think it’s fair to say that a healthy person (no co-rmobidities) has a survival rate that is not statistically distinguishable from 100%.

    Again, I don’t think the “authorities” will adjust their course. They really like the exercise of power and spending money foolishly.

  • John Wasilchick says:

    What disappoints me the most is the lack of honesty from leadership at the federal and (most) state levels. It looks like the vaccines were worth a try and have some value, but are not the end that we all hoped for. Leadership should just admit it. And admit that there is much that is not known today and won’t be known in time to help. Real science, the kind that involves tests and scrutiny of the tests and a lot of arguing takes time. Mandating vaccines that have a risk attached doesn’t seem like an honest approach. A very, very low risk of something like Guillane-Barre might as well be 100% for the guy who gets it a couple months after the vaccine even if it will never be a certainty that the vaccine caused it. And what little is available about children contracting and communicating the disease isn’t very convincing, yet they act like it’s a necessity to have every child vaxxed. One does not need to be a physician or scientist to know that our leadership isn’t really helping people at this point.

  • John Wasilchick says:

    UK journalist Toby Young has the Daily Sceptic website ( and often has good summaries of news concerning the epidemic in the UK. Today for example the lead article is about “The UKHSA has admitted for the first time that it is undertaking internal analysis “every week or two” to monitor the current real-world performance of the vaccines but not publishing the results.”
    Somethings seem to be universal.

  • Barry Meislin says:

    A government whose goal and self-styled purpose is to implement policies that harm its country and its citizens more than help them is very much counter-intuitive, hard to imagine and even harder to grasp.

    But that is the situation the USA now finds itself. Canada as well.

    (To be sure, the government’s rationalization is that it must cause harm in order for things to get better—i.e., from a globalist perspective. IOW it must, from a practical as well as from a moral standpoint, “destroy in order to save”.)

  • Abhijit Bakshi says:

    Bob, thanks for this observation: “Lastly, age itself is not a co-morbidity. it is merely a proxy for the frequency with which co-morbidities occur as people age.”

    True and timely, at a time when we tend this argue past one another with oversimplified platitudes.

  • Mike M. says:

    I wonder how many of the “reinfections” are of people who were not really infected the first time. Maybe they just had a false positive PCR test or a meaningless positive after an exposure that was dealt with by our first couple of lines of defense, without activating an adaptive immune response. So the official “reinfection” rate might be a large overestimate.

  • J. Thomas says:

    Another way of looking at this is that it’s NOT the disease that is killing people. Since there are 98%+ who survive after having it, it’s the individual’s other attributes, what’s being termed comorbidities. None of these comorbidities is going to be fixed with this or any other [vaccine].

    It’s stunning to see how blind and arrogant the administration is to the populous uprisings surrounding the mandate. They are going about this like the will own the white house forever, Putin, Jinping style. Mail in ballots have to go away unless you pick it up in person and demonstrate need. This is the lynchpin to the fraud and manipulation of the system. ALL energy must be put behind ending this COVID related change to our system.

    Also, OSHA has regulations regarding mask usage for dust and chemicals. All of these require a doctor exam for pulmonary function and a fit test, in which no facial hair is allowed. However, these reg’s were NOT followed for virus control masks in companies. Unless employees file suites, this will go unchallenged. This is all about the ‘liability’ dart never landing on anyone but the individual who they will say ‘chose’ to be vaccinated.

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