The rapidly escalating pressure on many Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine is undermining trust in public health, according to Martin Kulldorf, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
New York City became the first major metropolitan area in the United States this month to require proof of vaccination to enter numerous businesses, including gyms and restaurants. Other cities and states are imposing vaccine requirements on workers, including police officers and nurses.
“At best, it’s sort of a very coercive way to get people to vaccinate, and I think that’s very bad for public health,” Kulldorf, also a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders.”
“One reason is that, why do you coerce people who are immune, or people who are young, who have very small risk, when the vaccines are much more needed for older people in other places? So that’s an ethical aspect to it. I think it’s very unethical to do so,” he added.
“The other aspect is that if you force something on people, if you coerce somebody to do something, that can backfire. So public health has to be based on trust. And if [a] public health official wants the public to trust them, public health officials also have to trust the public.”
Kulldorf has long worked on vaccines, including messaging surrounding the shots. A key aspect is maintaining confidence in vaccines so many people get them, achieving herd immunity.
“There’s a small group of people who are against vaccines but they haven’t really been influential. They’re very vocal, but they haven’t been influential because most people trust the vaccines and have confidence in them. What the vaccine, I would call them vaccine fanatics who are demanding vaccine passports and vaccine mandates, pushing for that—they have done more damage to the confidence in vaccines than these so-called anti-vaxxers have ever been able to do,” Kulldorf said.