Medical ethics is about protecting society from medical malfeasance and the self-interest of the humans whom we trust to manage health. It's therefore disturbing when prominent people, in a prominent journal, tear up the concept of medical ethics and human rights norms.
It's worse when they ignore broad swaths of evidence and misrepresent their own sources to do so.
It further concludes that the best way to implement such mandates is for employers and educational institutions to threaten job security and the right to education.
The Lancet was once a credible journal with a rigorous policy of peer review. However, in this article, it appears to have dropped its former standards, promoting medical fascism (coercion, threat, and division to achieve compliance with authority) without insisting on a rigorous evidence base to justify such an approach. This suggests an attempt to normalize such approaches in mainstream public health.
Avoiding the Discomfort of EvidenceThe authors of this Lancet paper, ranging from academics and medical consultants to the daughter of a prominent politician, attempt to rewrite human rights in medicine as if precedent never existed. Their argument for coercion in mass vaccination recognizes that "vaccine mandates," whether issued by governments, employers, or schools, all involve a loss of rights. No serious attempt is made to provide a medical justification for mass vaccination with a non-transmission-blocking vaccine.
The paper focuses on the premise that coercion, commonly considered a form of force, makes humans do things they wouldn't otherwise do. Banning fellow humans from making their own health choices on pain of loss of normal participation in society has an impact on increasing vaccine uptake. This is hardly a revelation to any thinking human, but clearly important enough to justify publication in The Lancet.
Ignoring the Awkwardness of RealityPost-infection immunity in the unvaccinated is a threat to arguments for mandates. The authors disingenuously state: “Evidence suggests that the immunity produced by natural infection varies by individual, and that people with previous infection benefit from vaccination. New variants further undercut the case for adequacy of previous infection."
Degrading Public Health Degrades SocietyWe are left with a paper stating that coercion is a good path to increase compliance for a product that doesn't reduce community infection risk and has potentially serious side effects. Ignoring both of these aspects of COVID-19 vaccines is a poor approach to justifying mass vaccination. The sole nod to any human rights concern—“Some objectors argue mandates represent undue encroachment on individual liberty”—is an interesting way to characterize removal of the rights to income, education, and the ability to socialize with others.
Public health has been down this road before. We have seen the path society takes when basic public health principles are subverted to achieve an aim that some perceive as "good." We have also seen how most health professionals will comply to the actions involved, however horrific. There's no reason to believe that this round of medical fascism will end differently.
We rely on medical journals such as The Lancet to apply at least the same standards to the purveyors of such doctrines as they do to others, and to demand a rational and honest evidence base. Anything less would raise legitimate questions as to the role the journal is taking in promoting these doctrines, and their place in a free, evidence-based, and rights-respecting society.