Corona, Compulsory Vaccination and Government

  • Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo emphasized the importance of strong government in the war with Corona in his state.
  • Compulsory vaccination is generally required by children in public school.
  • Compulsory vaccinations is a good idea but the human rights issue may interfere.

Corona virus has taught the importance of government.  The governments of the world have taken charge of the threat of the virus through enforcing quarantine. When there was no medicine and no vaccine quarantine is the only other solution. Without any government restrictions, the disease would be allowed to spread naturally out of control until almost every person in the world became infected. Some people would die and others would live. There wouldn’t be enough hospital space for everyone. People would die at home. People have died at home anyway in New York.  People die at home from other diseases like heart failure. There is a limit to ambulances and a limit to hospital space. Corona has no limits. It has the potential to infect the whole world.

Andrew Cuomo governor of NY has had a hard battle in his state with Corona. He emphasizes cooperation of his people with government regulations.

There is the hope that people who have contracted the disease have produced antibodies which give them permanent or temporary immunity. Measles before there was a vaccine gave children immunity, many families even with the vaccine prefer that their children should have natural immunity. This year there was a measles outbreak. Religious leaders and public officials encouraged everyone to vaccinate.

Amongst the Chassidic community there was opposition to vaccination. Very often in religious communities the people prefer to rely on God than to rely on man. Christian Science is still followed by some Christians. The schools in the Chassidic neighborhoods in New York and Israel insisted that children vaccinate. They were forced to show a certificate from a doctor that they had vaccinated to be allowed to attend private school.

The vaccine for measles had already been tested.  The vaccine’s effectiveness lasts many years. In 1963 the Edmonston B- strain of measles virus was turned into a vaccine. The WHO recommends that measles vaccine be given at nine months of age. When the rates vaccination of a population are greater than 92% outbreaks of measles typically no longer occur

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on April 9, 2019 in response to the Measles outbreak. In those neighborhoods where the outbreak was more intense, he enforced a mandatory vaccination. This required that everyone living or working in these neighborhoods marked by Zip Codes more than six months old should receive vaccination or be fined $1000.  Older people who grew up before the vaccination were not required to vaccinate. Even President Trump recognized the importance of vaccination, “they have to get shots. The vaccinations are so important.”

President Trump says he is using the malaria drug Hydrochloriquine with permission of the White House medical staff.

Moderna Therapeutics Inc. claims to have already produced eight successful vaccinations and the Corona Virus vaccination is on the way. There is still a question if the antibodies produced by people who have healed from the disease give them immunity. Flu shots have to be repeated each year. Measles vaccine was never made compulsory. Due to this outbreak only in these troublesome areas was it made compulsory subject to fine.

The flu vaccination cannot compare with Measles. For Corona there needs also to be a medicine. President Trump has publicized that he is taking the malaria medicine Hydro-Chlorophine under the supervision of the medical staff at the White House. There is also Remdesvir which is a drug used for Ebola. Plasma is being used with anti-bodies of those that have recovered from Covid-19.  The results of using plasma are favorable especially in moderate cases.

For Democratic governments it is difficult to force adults to take vaccinations. They are able to force children learning in their day schools to take vaccinations. All 50 states in America require children to be vaccinated in order to attend public schools. Forced vaccination is rare and typically only happens as an emergency measure during an outbreak. Compulsory vaccination greatly reduces infection rates for the diseases it treats. In a democracy compulsory vaccination is a difficult issue requiring authorities to balance between public health and individual liberty. Democracy has to also consider individual liberty while a dictatorship or theocracy the king or dictator makes the decisions without the consent of the people.

Dictatorship, Theocracy, Democracy, Public Health

Democracy is legally obligated to consider human rights. When dealing with children a democracy has  control over the need for vaccinations. The main danger of Corona is to senior citizens. In 50 States in America there is compulsory vaccinations. There are people anti-vaccination who object to vaccination for various reasons including religious. Corona has awakened the public to the danger of viruses and the importance of public health. People have forgotten the past Spanish Flu, Small pox, Polio which crippled civilization. Compulsory vaccination or treatments in an emergency, a Pandemic is the decision of the Department of Health. The power of the Department of Health is limited by the Supreme Court. Human rights are defended in the Supreme Court.

Corona has brought the religions of the world together in interfaith prayer.

Democracy has a weakness in making decrees for the sake of Public Health which a dictator like Communist China can make with less concern for human rights. Human rights are important but when disease endangers the public it is an obstacle. Governor Cuomo extended quarantine until June 13.  Human rights was not an issue.

To return to be governed by a theocracy with a King like in Biblical times is not practical today. The quality of life in a kingship depends on who is the king the dictator.  The Kingship of Israel is the inheritance of the children of King David. King David was a good King. His son Solomon followed his guidance but at the end of his life may have been overwhelmed by his harem of a thousand wives.

The kingship becomes an inheritance and the king reigns until death. The modern State of Israel has just made a new government after three elections. Jews are all born from families connected to their religion. Some Jews have stronger connection to their religion than others. Judaism the first Monotheistic religion was a theocracy.  Today the State of Israel is a democracy which includes all types of Jews from all backgrounds. The Jewish people have produced leaders in the secular world as well as men of wisdom teachers of the Torah.

Jonas Salk who made the polio vaccine was from a Jewish family. The new vaccine which is planned to be produced in the near future is connected to a Jewish firm in Israel. Politicians in America are from Jewish families both in the Senate and House of representatives. Successful businessmen, lawyers, scientists and doctors are from Jewish families. The State of Israel has a place for the secular Jew and the religious Jew. The religious Jews are connected to biblical law which is even more narrow minded than the law of other theocracies. Judaism has no recognition to other religions.

The Universal faith which combines all the three major religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam through the resurrection of their prophets Moses, Jesus and Mohammed is religion for democracies where there is freedom of religion. A theocracy is either Jewish, Christian, or Islam with no free choice and an obligation to its king and the law of their nation. Already when the world has changed over from theocracy to democracy for better or worse, vaccinations like religion can only be compulsory for children.

Not all adults in a democracy will accept compulsory vaccination without a court order. Democracy gives free choice both in secular life and religious life. An example of the difficulty dealing with virus pandemic is HIV-Aids. Even though the new viral medicine ART has been developed less than 50% of HIV infected people are under treatment. There is also objection to Aids testing based on human rights. A dictator can order his people to take vaccinations and required treatments.

In a theocracy or dictatorship only the King is free since there is no one above him but God.  In a democracy every person is like a king. This may be a problem in a Pandemic or another emergency. We hope that there will be no more emergencies and the world will return to normalcy in stages with success. Most important is that in each nation there is law and order. Democracy is not perfect.  Theocracy is not perfect.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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